7 Secrets Other Bassists Don’t Want You To Know
These are 7 secrets other Bassists don’t want you to know.
Firstly, they’re not rules – and I may add to this list in future, but they are the seven most important things I’ve learned along the way, in more than 25 years’ of playing Bass.
I joined my first band in 1990. What did I know about being a Bassist? Not very much. I was on my own.
1. Practice technique
Thomas Risell is one of the most popular Bassists in the world today. He is also known as ‘MarloweDK’ and teaches Bass on-line via his Youtube channel, which has more than 100,000 subscribers.
He currently plays as Bassist in Love Shop, Henrik Hall, and Al Campos & Soul Harmonic, and has also played in various bands through the 80’s and 90’s including; Buzstop, Paris Paris, Mænd i Blåt and Back To Back.
If you need to know the difference between ‘Pentatonic’ and ‘Dorian’, or need someone to show you how to slap your bass (if you’re that way inclined), and explain how to make your Bass lines groovy, Thomas is your man.
Thomas says, “I got the idea to make tuition videos, to show the things I would have wanted someone to teach me“.
“A friend introduced me to Youtube in 2006, and I began by recording over 70’s funk tracks. I had been playing the tracks 20 years earlier, but they (and I) needed a serious dust off”.
Here’s a lesson on how to ‘mute’ strings and incorporate ‘ghost’ notes, because it helps Bass lines sound more rhythmic.
Although a ‘slap’ bass lesson, ‘dead notes’ and muting are also important when playing finger style too: –
2. Make space for you and your instrument
For any musician, finding some personal space to keep your gear and work on improving technique, or writing and recording something completely new is important.
If it takes more than about 10 minutes to set up all your cables and accessories, then it probably won’t happen.
This space should be away from any mental or social distractions. Otherwise, when you are conscious that someone might be listening to you practice, you are going to be affected.
Find the space where you can put headphones on and disappear into a place where it’s OK to sound like you.
3. Listen to other musicians
Learning how to be as good as other Bassists is much easier now. When I started out, a sales person at my local music shop and one or two print magazines were all I had for company.
Today, there are online forums to broaden your knowledge base. Sign up and dip in as often as you need.
The one I recommend is: –
- Basschat: “The UK based Bass players forum ~ for Bassists everywhere”.
In general, never repeat anything online that you wouldn’t say to anyone else in public.
4. Buy pre-loved gear a big percentage of the time
G.A.S or ‘Gear Acquisition Syndrome’ is a type of OCD: obsessive compulsive disorder.
There is no known cure for GAS. One thing you could do is sell your own used gear first. If you don’t use something much, then trade up. Gear value is always relative.
In my experience, most musicians take great care of the instruments and accessories they own. Therefore, It’s definitely better for you and your financial health if pre-loved markets and online auctions are the 1st or 2nd place you look.
Obviously, if something looks like it might have been played to death, then common sense should prevail; unless you can try it out first.
- Read reviews on forums; watch and listen to videos ~ if they’re available;
- Don’t get into a war on price with other buyers. Be patient;
- Aim to pay 60 percent (or less) of the RRP for an item in excellent condition, with the original box.
If things don’t work out, you will get most of your money back ~ most of the time.
I might have saved around £10K if I’d listened to my own advice. C’est la vie.
5. Record yourself
Making a recording is the most revealing part of being a musician because it’s brutally honest.
Every missed note or timing that’s slightly out. This is the real deal.
You will discover where you are as a Bassist, whilst learning the art of audio engineering and production.
Recording can also reveal problems with how you’ve rehearsed what you’re going to record.
If you’ve recorded something over and over, and it doesn’t sound like something you want to share with anyone, then you’re not ready to record.
You should be able to play the track all the way through, at least three times comfortably.
Listening to a good recording can give you confidence and prove that you are making progress.
Today, a 24-bit USB/computer interface and a fully featured Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), costs around £100.
The DAW I recommend is called Reaper by Cockos for Windows and MAC.
I bought a personal license key for around £50, and also wrote an article >> “Why I love Reaper DAW.”
6. Use your speaker cabinet like a monitor
You owe it to your inner Bassist; the people you’re playing with and your public, to have total control of what you hear when you’re playing, at any time.
There’s zero chance of delivering a great performance if you can’t hear what you’re playing clearly.
In short, if you have your cabinet behind you, just turning up the volume can be counter-productive.
What happens? everyone else turns up too! Try this instead: –
- Point your cabinet towards you. This can either be out front or to the side.
- Place yourself in the sweet spot. Adjust your volume until it fits with everything else. In particular, the Drums and lead vocal, or the instrument playing the melody.
- Let the house engineer have the D.I. (Direct Inject) from your amp.
- You are helping THEM out by allowing your music through their system.
7. Tone down – but don’t turn down!
The last word
“Not all advice is good, but no advice at all is much worse.”
InfinityBass.com | by Simon Edward | December 13th, 2014.