Understanding octaves is important and critical if you want to expand your playing “vocabulary.”
An octave is the same note with a different pitch. Start by playing the thickest string open. This is ‘E’. Now, on the second-thinnest string, hold down the 2nd fret. That is ‘E’, but one octave higher.
Here is a little background on musical notes. The musical scale includes ‘A, B flat, B, C, C sharp, D, E flat, E, F, F sharp, G, G sharp’ and then loops back to the beginning (A). It sounds a lot more complicated than it really is.
The octave is important for all types of music, and is regularly found in songs that have a lot of “slapping and popping technique. For example, the “Higher Ground” remake by the Red Hot Chili Peppers has an octave based riff.
Check out the youtube video.
There are three octaves in this riff, E, G, and A. Watch the video and listen to the song, it’s a really incredible riff and the octave reinforcement makes the entire song powerful.
Still unclear? Leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to answer it.
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.
In this lesson we will dissect tablature, better known as tabs.
Tabs are the easiest way to learn knew songs and licks for beginner bass players. There are hundreds of tab sites that show you how to play along with your favorite songs.
Dissecting a Tab
- G, D, A, and E represent your bass guitar’s strings. G being the thinnest, and E being the thickest and lowest.
- The 1 2 1 2 1 2 on top shows you what finger to use when you play the note. This is not always included with tabs, but is extremely useful. 1 is your index finger, 2 is your middle finger.
- The 0-0-0-0 represents the playing of the open E string. Any number corresponds to the fret number, counted from the nut up (From left to right for right handed players. The higher you go, the higher the pitch).
- The | often represents the start and end of a measure.
- Sometimes the beats of a measure are displayed, instead of the finger. (i.e., 1 2 3 4 | 1 2 3 4 | 1 2 3 4 | etc.)
- Also, when a pick is recommended, a V represents a down pick, and a ^ represents an up pick.
- Lots of tabs on the internet have fast notes pushed together, so you can’t always tell the difference between two 1′s and an 11th fret note. Use common sense and listen to the song.
If you have any additional questions are suggestions, please let me know below.
This post will cover the two finger technique that is extremely popular for bass players. It involves the index and the middle finger, playing alternately.
Position the bass guitar on your lap and rest your fingers on the E string (The thickest string). You may find it comfortable to rest your thumb on the pickup, it’s your preference (Here is a picture).
Drag your finger across the thickest string, from the bottom part of the string, pulling the string upwards towards you. Do not dig under the string, there should only be a small amount of resistance and you should hear the note ring out.
The tab below uses the number 1 to represent your index finger and number 2 to represent your middle finger. Play this pattern progressively faster!
You will start to develop calluses on your strumming hand’s fingers. These hurt initially but are an integral part of you growing as a bass player!
Leave a comment if this was unclear or if you have any other questions!