In my long-time pedagogical practice in teaching students of different ages, I’ve noticed many mistakes. In this post I would like to point out 10 most common false guidelines in the very beginning of learning and practicing bass guitar.
Many bass guitarists are asking: “How can I improve my slapping on bass?” or “How to practice bass guitar the right way?”
So here are the 10 most common mistakes many bass guitarits and other musicians make.
1. I want to become a master right away!
They choose hard and virtuosic examples from the very beginning. Then they rehearse them for days, months and years and try to prove themselves with just a few examples. Such music could also be called “I’ll prove myself” music.
Are you trying to prove yourself too?
This is why we should begin with initial and basic exercises and upgrade them later on. It is also advisable that you don’t skip or leave out exercises. Also do not to practice just a few examples for a very long time. Instead, it is advisable to change them and let them mature.
Even a child that stands on his feet for the first time can’t start running immediately!
2. I want to know everything by heart
They often learn examples by heart and those are that few, although enviable, 155 examples of funk! All of these examples are, again, mostly complicated and don’t correspond with the needs of the music group in which they play.
This way a musician closes his path to new ideas.
In music you need to take your time and space. Music has to sound right. It goes the same for bass lines and solos.
Even three notes can have a good sound. Complicated and excessive rushing through bars seldom truly has a good sound, in a sense, that it is acceptable for the listener’s well-being and his ears.
3. I’m ambitious, gifted and I have a big talent
Though there are a few, the majority of success is based on persistent and hard work. Those without the systematic and progressive learning are just the ones that end up in a one way street without ideas.
4. I will learn everything by myself. I don’t need anybody in my learning process
They take the whole education into their own hands and are certain they master the subject. Autonomy is a good and desirable trait, but everyone needs a role model and correct guidance in their development.
Even the best musicians rehearse systematically and gradually. They reach their virtuosity gradually and with slow steps. These steps are also presented in my Big Funk Text Book – Slap, as a universal school of funk-slap.
5. The reasons for my failure lie in in the bass guitar, strings, effects, amplifier, etc.
They often change their guitars, strings and effects and spend a lot of time and money on it.
Invest in your knowledge first, you can add effects and special equipement later on.
Prerequisite for success is a quality school, correct teaching methods and regular correct exercises!
6. Poor knowledge of bass guitar
Before they even get to know everything regarding the bass guitar, they concentrate on the effects and various devices and expect exceptional results.
The basic sound of funk-slap is reached without additional apparatus and effects. Such are mp3 examples from my workbook, they are recorded exactly in that manner – without colouration and effects.
7. They are convinced that they are already very good
But the fact is they haven’t even got started with building their success and knowledge. It could take a decade before a musician really starts to hear the sounds.
Practicing certain techniques can take as much as a year or two! We build our musical personality our whole lives.
We build our musical personality our whole lives.
There are never too many ideas. It is always possible to upgrade your technical and harmonical knowledge.
8. They listen to only a few musical genres, or maybe just one musical genre and few selected musicians
There is nothing wrong with that, but listening to different genres opens up horizons, broadens knowledge and gives us new ideas.
All ideas and concepts cannot always be just our own – we need role models. But we have to make an effort to interpret the ideas our way and develop our own style.
And develop your own style.
We have to learn to listen to music and focus only on the bass, drums, or even other instruments and details.
9. They compete in music and perhaps even participate in some competition
Though there is a lot of competitiveness and rivalry in life, there isn’t much space for it in art. Therefore I do not support competitions between musicians, just creativity.
10. And last piece of advice, which is rather cliché
Slow and steady wins the race.
Here is the deal! You can always improve your playing skills, but it is crucial that you also practice correctly and use quality resources.
So, what is your experience and how are you becoming a better musician? Feel free to drop a comment!