Joining bands and starting different music groups is one the most fulfilling aspects of playing bass guitar. I remember my first band being a Nirvana-esque cover band that had a few songs we wrote. I still smile when I think of those memories.
But how do you start a band?!?
The first step is defining what type of band you want to be in. Think of different parameters, but here are some questions to ask yourself.
- What type of music do you want to play?
- Where will you practice?
- How many people do you want your band to have (ideally)?
- What are you willing to give if you start a band?
- Are you willing to tour and take the show on the road?
- Do you want to signed or stay independent?
Think long and hard about these questions. They will save you time in the long run, even if conversations about getting signed seem far off in the distance.
The next step is finding band members that share those common goals and aspirations. If you want an original rock band, don’t settle for a drummer that only wants to play 80′s classics. If you want different things then the band will surely split up.
The third step is getting together for a band meeting. Discuss a regular band time that you all can meet up to. It may also help to set rules such as “If you don’t show up for 3 practices without a good reason, you’re out of the band.” Start brainstorming band names and other important decisions that everyone should be a part of: A band is a democracy, not a dictatorship.
You’ve done it. You got together a group of musicians and formed your band. Congratulations! Now go play a show.
These bass guitar exercises are meant to stretch out your hand. Do not worry if you have smaller hands, just complete the exercises without overstretching, if possible.
The numbers above some of the tabs are the recommended fingerings. (Where 1 is your index, 4 is your pinky) Also: I just made up the names.
If you don’t know tabs, check out How to Read Bass Guitar Tabs.
Carpal Tunnel (of love)
The Advanced Gnome
As with all exercises, practice until you have great technique, then build speed. Happy playing!
A nostalgic moment for me as I approach 5 years of actively playing bass.
My first bass was 4 string Peavey from the MAX starter kit (or whatever the starter kit was named back then). A cherry red hunk-o-junk with fret buzz that could start an earthquake. But it was my bass.
I didn’t appreciate it when I had it.
This post is about appreciating the gear you’ve got, no matter how crappy, fret buzzy, or otherwise horrible it seems to be. Just remember that it’s your gear.
But that doesn’t mean you deserve better, or need to move on. I am 100% sure I took the right step when I got my next bass, even if I do miss that cherry red.
Sometimes you have to let go in order to grow (or something along those lines). Think about your gear and whether you deserve an upgrade, even though it can be hard to let go sometimes.
My part about playing bass is jamming with others. Specifically, drummers!
They are our rhythmic counterpart, and we share a lot of similarities. But how do you play with one?
Actively listen to what patterns the drummer is playing. Think about what you are playing and how you could help accent, or add to the drummers groove.
2. Lock in with the Kick
Pay attention to the big kick drum (the thumpy one). If the drummer is playing a recognizable pattern, play your notes so that they land right on time with the kick.
3. Take Turns
If it’s just you and the drummer, chances are you will trade solos at one point. I love this part! Keep trying to increase the impressiveness of your solo and leave the drummer in the dust.
4. Don’t Overplay
Playing with other musicians is different and the same. I define overplaying as trying too hard to fit in something that doesn’t belong, or just showing off. Don’t force it. Don’t try to be a superstar.
5. Keep Going
Do not stop the music because you made a mistake or hit a bad note. Keep the flow going and the rewards will follow. Don’t let a technical error ruin what should be an awesome experience.
Share any other tips you have about playing with a drummer below!
As well as the two finger technique, playing bass guitar with a pick is extremely popular. You will find many rock and metal bass players use a pick to get the coveted gritty rock tones.
Start with the right size pick for you. I prefer a medium size pick that is very thick. I do not like flimsy picks! Use what you are most comfortable with: I prefer Fender Heavy Picks.
Grab the pick in between your thumb and index finger. If you prefer, you can also use your middle finger to add more grip to the pick.
The most popular picking technique is alternate picking. Basically, down up down up. Start by position the pick so the flat side is parallel to the string. Push down on the thickest string (E) and pull back. Find a balance between plucking too hard and barely scraping the string.
Play the example below, V represents down picking (Away from you), and ^ represents up picking (Towards you).
Keep practicing this and gradually build up speed. Try playing this pattern on other strings, just remember to keep your form correct.