I desperately need help with technique and don't know where to begin

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Wrenn
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Re: I desperately need help with technique and don't know where to begin

Post by Wrenn » 06 Jun 2017, 13:25

If you feel that you're pressing too hard on the string...you are.
If you feel that you're picking too hard...you are.
Relax, you're not holding on to your life, you're just fretting and picking :D
For me if I feel like I'm doing this I'll do some breathing exercises.
Enough yada yada :). I do the following (even without a bass)
1 Breathe in...pick down, pick up (2x)
1 breathe out...pick down, pick up (2x)
Repeat until you get the rhythm
:2c:
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rev matt
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Re: I desperately need help with technique and don't know where to begin

Post by rev matt » 06 Jun 2017, 13:47

This guy, Scott Devine, is often good for some pointers here and there.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17G1DD6Z9Wc
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bloodmason
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Re: I desperately need help with technique and don't know where to begin

Post by bloodmason » 06 Jun 2017, 15:29

This series is great for picking tips & may help you out. It is aimed at guitarists but I think the stuff about pick angles for string jumping etc applies just as well to bass if you are trying to play quickly:



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKiO3VhdNmY
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jezzamac
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Re: I desperately need help with technique and don't know where to begin

Post by jezzamac » 06 Jun 2017, 17:54

I know this sounds dull but scales and arpeggios will help, especially for playing across strings. Try alternate picking with 2, 3 and 4 notes per string. Divide the scales into bars so it you can get used to the meter (eg 8 notes up and 8 notes down). Start slowly and repeat... you know the rest. (Do as I say; not as I do).
Fender '78 Precision, Squier CV Jazz, Maton JBIV, Ibanez SR405, G&L Tribute SB2, Ashbory and Markbass CMD121P, Fender Rumble V# 12" cab, GK 400RB, No-name 4x10 cab
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tribal
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Re: I desperately need help with technique and don't know where to begin

Post by tribal » 07 Jun 2017, 11:31

Allaneightyfour wrote: I need practical exercises that I can do to help improve my technique. I have limited time available to me, amongst band commitments, family commitments, and work commitments, so I can't just sit down and practice for 4 hours a day or anything. Therefore, I want to focus on improving my technique first and foremost, and once I've improved that I think I'd like to focus on other stuff - but technique is by far the most pressing thing at present.
You can't have it both ways. If you really want to improve, you need to practice and practice and practice and practice and do it routinely, and that will take time. You have to think about what you really want and work out what is more important to you...and go for it.
Allaneightyfour wrote:A lot of our material is a lot of up-down strokes. The strokes are uneven. I play too hard, I grip the pick too tight, downstrikes are louder than upstrokes. Playing runs across multiple strings often results in my pick getting caught and messing up the run. Notes don't sustain as well because I'm pounding the strings unnecessarily hard. It doesn't sound as smooth as I'd like. I don't want to have to feel like I have to compress the hell out of myself to just sound decent.

Are there any solid exercises that I can focus on practicing, say, half an hour a day, that will assist with improving the above deficiencies? Youtube seems full of tons of difference exercises, so ideally I'd like to be able to sit down with a couple of different exercises on youtube and just go from there. I just don't know what to practice at this stage, so I'm hoping for some guidance.
Just relax and enjoy it! Put your expectations aside, get a metronome app (metronomous is my favourite) and do scales (I'd be happy to send you tab that covers the neck). Start painfully slow, say 60bpm and work on getting your hands syncing together - it probably isn't your picking hand you are having all your problems with ;)

I was in your exact same spot at this exact same time last year. Playing in a metal band doing stuff around the 200-250bpm mark and I knew I had to improve my picking, so I dropped everything - no socialising, no screens. Just work, family and practice for 2-3 hours a night after dinner. Within a few shorts months my picking improved greatly - but the real benefit was that I felt comfortable picking.
Allaneightyfour wrote:This is a pretty humiliating post to make so thanks for reading, and thanks for any help you can provide. Cheers.
Nothing humiliating about asking for help if you need it... we're all in the same boat in one way or another :lol:
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giggawazza
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Re: I desperately need help with technique and don't know where to begin

Post by giggawazza » 07 Jun 2017, 16:29

Try Pentatonic scales in all 5 positions up, down and across the fret board in groups of 2, 3 or 4 and play games with it.

Eg; Em Pentatonic, 2 notes per string starting with open E. First time through play hard to soft E string to G, then reverse, E string to G soft to hard. Rinse and repeat ad nauseam.

Pentatonic scales are always useful and playing in groups helps, plus you're practicing dynamics. Killing all your birds with one scale/stone. Half an hour to an hour a day, 7 days a week and beast mode will find you before you know it :)
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slashin_velvet
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Re: I desperately need help with technique and don't know where to begin

Post by slashin_velvet » 09 Jun 2017, 09:24

tribal wrote:
Allaneightyfour wrote: I need practical exercises that I can do to help improve my technique. I have limited time available to me, amongst band commitments, family commitments, and work commitments, so I can't just sit down and practice for 4 hours a day or anything. Therefore, I want to focus on improving my technique first and foremost, and once I've improved that I think I'd like to focus on other stuff - but technique is by far the most pressing thing at present.
You can't have it both ways. If you really want to improve, you need to practice and practice and practice and practice and do it routinely, and that will take time. You have to think about what you really want and work out what is more important to you...and go for it.
I find it amusing that I was about to post the exact opposite.

No-one should be practicing for 4 hours per day to play in a hobby band. A better strategy is to make sure you get 30 minutes to an hour in every day doing exercises where you can track your growth. I think most importantly, you know the areas you wish to improve, and that's much better than being blissfully ignorant.

I'd actually suggest finding songs in a similar genre to you, and learn all of those too, they'll teach you how other similar players approach playing similar bass lines and runs. I know this is the way I learn best because it seems more engaging and valuable than just playing scales or runs. If you're practice routine isnt enjoyable, you'll have to have a real drive to keep it up. Whereas if you focus on nailing songs you like, you'll actually want to practice.

I'd also suggest if you know your deficiencies at the moment, you implement strategies so they are less of an issue. If you know your downstrokes have more punch than your upstrokes, then make sure you're hitting those downstrokes on the fundamental pulses of the track, and using the upstokes on the notes between those fundamentals.

I agree with the holepunch through the pick idea, as well as trying different gauge and size picks to see if you're using an implement less optimal. Also agree with a foam mute under the bridge.

tribal
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Re: I desperately need help with technique and don't know where to begin

Post by tribal » 09 Jun 2017, 09:31

I was just going off the OP comment "It's going to be sold internationally. It's being played on Triple J" and that that sounded a bit more than just a hobby when I was writing my reply - hence my tone :)
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Allaneightyfour
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Re: I desperately need help with technique and don't know where to begin

Post by Allaneightyfour » 09 Jun 2017, 10:26

tribal wrote:I was just going off the OP comment "It's going to be sold internationally. It's being played on Triple J" and that that sounded a bit more than just a hobby when I was writing my reply - hence my tone :)
Yeah, we kinda got lucky with people actually seeming to enjoy our music (!?), but still the fact remains that I have a fulltime job and a family to take care of, so for all intents and purposes - yeah, I don't have four hours a day to practice haha.

Thanks for all the phenomenal suggestions in this thread you guys, I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. Going to spend some time working out a daily 'game plan' that involves technique practice this weekend that I can realistically achieve on a daily basis.

Cheers

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cleary
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Re: I desperately need help with technique and don't know where to begin

Post by cleary » 09 Jun 2017, 10:34

Allaneightyfour wrote:...
Going to spend some time working out a daily 'game plan' that involves technique practice this weekend that I can realistically achieve on a daily basis.

Cheers
Full time worker here, with two more casual jobs, and a family to take care of - I thought I'd mention what I do:
One of the great things about bass is it's quiet acoustically (slapping excluded), therefore you can practice effectively with headphones. I still get 45-60 mins a day practice in every day (you've got to be disciplined), and I do it in the morning before anyone is up 5:45 - 6:45am.
I find if I wait til evening, after a full day working, family bath/meal/put down/another casual shift, etc I am absolutely physically and mentally drained - and doing anything effective at that time of day is just wishful thinking. Contrast with the morning, I've had a full nights sleep, and I'm effectively at full (or as full as it will get for the day) recharge state - it works for me, I understand many people are not morning people, but it might be worth a try?

Good luck! We'd be keen to hear how you go :)
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noplanb
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Re: I desperately need help with technique and don't know where to begin

Post by noplanb » 11 Jun 2017, 22:55

Other things possibly not mentioned:
Do you play just the one bass? Is it set up ok? (ie does another bass feel/play differently?) I find I have to do a bit of work on any new bass to get the strings to respond evenly - think heights/angles of pickups/pole-pieces. I used to hate how the G would always twang too loud for me, then I changed to heavier gauge and never looked back (55 to 105 or so).
Also, your cabinet can make from low A (or G) sound louder/more upfront than anything below it, eg low end of the E string. If thats the case, you'll need to try another cab at some stage, but first, a good setup goes a long way.
For pick movement exercises, have you tried strumming acoustic guitar with a pick?
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Boopbohead
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Re: I desperately need help with technique and don't know where to begin

Post by Boopbohead » 11 Jun 2017, 23:11

Something I've just cottoned on to is humming or singing or even mouthing the notes as you play them. I'm far from having mastered this technique, but have found an improvement in my feel and flow across the strings. I run out of breath and lose it, but it certainly helps thinking about your playing.
Kingy

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jezzamac
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Re: I desperately need help with technique and don't know where to begin

Post by jezzamac » 12 Jun 2017, 11:54

My 2 cents worth, again. Thanks for the hole punch idea. The OP originally asked for advice on technique. Playing Scales is important, especially playing 3 notes per string as it forces you to alternate your picking across strings. It also familiarises you with the fretboard. Start slow to get even picking, then speed up. It can be boring but also quite meditative. Of course, don't just play scales - play songs too to keep your interest. Start with the scales, though, say for 10 minutes minimum, as this will warm you up too. Arpeggios are good for playing across strinds and string hopping too; try playing the notes in different orders. Basically this is what just about what everyone has said. Even with only 30 mins a day you'll notice an improvement soon. Soon you won't even have to think about what you're doing, it'll just happen.

Also: Try playing different styles to what you are used to; you'll be surprised 1. How much commonality there is between styles and 2. What licks and ideas you can appropriate to give a different colour to your playing.

Also: There's no ignominy in using a compressor, lots of people use them for many reasons. Remember that the studio will expose every aspect of your playing as the tracks are isolated. Any glaring mistakes are permanent but when everyone else is playing your instrument becomes one of many. Although you should be the best you can, don't get hung up on playing perfectly especially if it gets in the way of playing with your feel that got you the gig in the first place.
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Slapfest62
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Re: I desperately need help with technique and don't know where to begin

Post by Slapfest62 » 19 Oct 2017, 02:16

cleary wrote:
05 Jun 2017, 10:10
Seconding maxgroovers excellent advice, I would also recommend you record yourself.

The key to efficient practice is to go straight in to the places you're making mistakes, and work to correct those mistakes specifically.
Couldn't agree more with that.

I also agree that 1 hour is plenty per day , and it doesnt have to be a consecutive hour, either. . . 2x 30 . 3 x 20 . .
And try really hard NOT to play stuff you already know . . thats not practice . . thats playing stuff you already know.
And have a plan of what and how you are practicing . . it wont just happen on its own .

I have had or done pretty much all the things you are doing (yes, some time back) but I remember parts of this . .
The pick . . well F@#$ me, there's gotta be a better way . . . it' was just a constant punish, for me, anyway.
Advice - How relaxed are you with these songs? . . . not very? . . . maybe you could look at how you are playing them,
and whether you know them well enough to feel relaxed when playing them ? . .
Only if you regain some fine muscle control in your forearms, will you be able to curb your enthusiasm and increase your accuracy. And people scoff at playing through things s l o w l y, but it definitely is a more accurate way for your hands and brain to acquire new techniques, and reproduce them fluently , at tempo. Also, recording yourself, mentioned earlier, can be a real eye opener, and is a MUST..
I would add, that when I eventually decided to put aside the pick, jump the barbed wire fence and go skittling off into fingerstyle territory, I only PRACTICED with my fingers , and still gigged as before.
Eventually, I brought the fingers in , a song here , a song there, and just built the list and my confidence. .
But thats me, and how I stumbled through it.
Your comment about being an effective band member is great to hear ,
hold onto that.
If you have limited time etc . . maybe just get as comfortable as you can with your sets and know every song backwards.
The issues you would like to control are all totally acheivable , for any player, even given time constraints.
But it takes a little momentum to get over those speed humps, so dont expect miracles immediately .
However, if you change your practice to focus on addressing these goals , you will find they will be corrected fairly swiftly.
If you dont, . . . they wont . . . .
Its up to you, really
Better technique actually makes the job so much easier - once its under your fingers
But that requires consistant muscle stuff to form the muscle memory needed to change or acquire techniques.
Unfortunately, the only way through , is practice . . . IF thats what you want .
Its a personal choice .
Good luck with it, . . I'd give a guy with your attiude a shot, anyday.
Feel free to msg or contact me , if you wanted practice suggestions etc.

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