B2B progress & questions

Hello all,

I am now on Module 4, Lesson 2 of the B2B course and I do not know if I am making very much progress. I really like Josh’s “positive” style and his style in his teaching. But I find myself making many mistakes and get the feeling that I am not progressing very much.

Until I discovered BassBuzz and the B2B course, I was taking lessons with an instructor at a local store of a national guitar & music store chain. I have taken 3 lessons there and am paid up for 1 more. But I think that I am going to stop taking lessons at the store and concentrate on the B2B course and its DVDs. The instructor at the store seems to be very skilled at playing the bass but when he talks, he talks very fast (due to his ethnic origin?) and I have asked him to slow down, which has helped a little. Between this and my less than best hearing, from working in loud factories for much of my life, my learning experience with him has been less than what I had hoped for.

He has had me playing short “lines” out of a Hal Leonard instruction book, but I am not sure what the title is. Anyway, I thought that I would stop taking the in-person lessons and just concentrate on my B2B DVDs. It is a 14-mile trip to the store and I would just as soon stay home and work at my own pace. Does this sound like the right way to go?

Being an absolute newbie at playing bass, I have a few questions. I see that the more accomplished bass players never have to look at the frets or strings and I have to look at the frets and where to put my fingers. How long does it take to where a person does not need to look at the frets & strings while playing? Months? Years?

Also, I was wondering if it would be a good idea of obtaining music for some of the more simple songs I would like to learn to play, such as songs by Creedence Clearwater and Steppenwolf (I am showing my age here). Is this how people really “learn” bass playing - by obtaining the music and practicing and memorizing the notes?

I am very sorry for asking these dumb questions, but I thought that maybe I could get some good advice here. Thanks for reading this and also for the encouragement that I have received in the past from the BassBuzz members!

6 Likes

Years or never. Some very accomplished bass players still look at the frets, so don’t fret about this.
talkingbass’s sight reading course really is great for this if you want to focus on this (and learning to read sheet music) - I am in Module 2 of 9. Warning - the 9 modules are a journey, not a destination. I am about a year and a half in. I go away from it and go back to it as I feel like.

Yes yes yes.
Check out Constantine on YouTube and his website, he has a lot of tunes like this and what I did starting out. He has over 1600 songs tabbed and covered. Some of his earlier YouTube videos don’t have the tab attached, but can be found on his website or by emailing him. He is super friendly.

http://bassinstructor.ca/bass-notes-tab/

Also check out our 50 Song Challenge, curated by Josh and goes along with the course. The Easy level is a great place to start, but if you don’t like these songs, go see Constantine’s resources. Play what moves you. If it is too hard, put it aside for later and you will be pleasantly surprised when you come back to it and it becomes easier. You don’t have to record yourself and post if you don’t want to. Josh picked these songs purposefully to help us all progress, so think of them as assignments from a live instructor (and a lot cheaper).
Tabs are on the BassBuzz site, but additional resources can be found offsite on discord.

Discord…
1)Join the Discord.
2)There is a chat channel on the left called “50-songs-100-weeks.” Click that.
3)On the top right click the push pin which is for “pinned messages” and the link to the Drive folder can be found there.

Good idea! Save that lesson for when you have specific things you want help on post B2B.

These are not dumb questions.
These are the questions you should be asking (and most others also ask) - you are on the right path @Bradford

For me, in the beginning, easy meant slow bass lines. One of the first I did outside of the 50 Songs was Madonna’s Take a Bow, but there are a load of old classic rock tunes on Con’s site. Just pull up a tab, have a look at it, noodle a bit, save it if you like it, and try to play it if it is not too difficult.

6 Likes

John_E -

Thank you for the very helpful reply. I have run across Constantine on YouTube and will check him out further. I will also check out the “50 song challenge” and maybe that will be of some help.

I have only been into the B2B course for a few weeks and I do not feel that I am progressing very fast. But maybe I am expecting too much too soon.

I did a search for bassbooks.com on the internet but was unable to access that web site. Maybe their server is down? Thanks again…

Brad

6 Likes

FWIW I finished the course three years ago and I still look at my frets, and I regret nothing :rofl:

I mean, I have to look somewhere, might as well be at the nice rosewood.

7 Likes

Bradford, at only a few weeks into B2B, you are doing fine. The first several lessons are designed to cover fundamentals. As such, they are “simple.” But deceptively so. Master those principles, even if you don’t think they are getting you very far, because, in truth, they are.

Looking at our fret hand is absolutely no big deal. Everybody does it, beginner to pro. But guess what? Over time, and with dedicated practice, virtually anyone can play without looking at the frets on some tunes. It happens when you dig the tune and you get in the zone. Liking the tune drives you to master it, and when you do that, you will play it as second nature because you dig it. If that sounds a bit circular, you’re right; it is: Love of music leads to love of music.

So relax. Pick some easy classic rock tunes you really dig, and play around with tab to learn them. Go for small wins and have fun.

Patience, practice, and passion will get you where you want to go.

3 Likes

Spoiler alert: there’s nothing fast about it. It’s a lifelong pursuit.

4 Likes

Be warned. You are about to face Billie Jean. That song is, arguably, the most difficult song in the course. Most people don’t play it successfully at the fast tempo until they are finished with the course.

For more on this, go here: Billie Jean is a Wicked Mistress

It’s not a competition. Move at your own pace. As long as your still having fun, then everything is moving along as it should. Trust Josh. If you can get the slow workout, keep moving. When you come back later, to do the medium and fast workouts, you’ll be surprised how much easier it all becomes.

Part of the reason it works is because the lessons all build on each other and keeping moving helps give perspective to everything else you’re doing.

Not all instructors are the same and not all instructors will be a good fit. From what you’ve written, this instructor doesn’t seem like a good fit for you. It happens. Finding a good instructor you gel with is it’s own task.

Like @John_E , I also recommend finishing the course before looking for an instructor. You will have a much better idea of what you’re looking for and how to identify someone that can help you.

I don’t ever expect to completely quit looking at my fret board. Specifically, when it comes to slides. It helps, a lot, to look at your target fret when you’re doing a slide. Plenty of professionals still look at their fret board. The more you play a song some movements will start to become rote and your fretting hand will know it’s job. It’s one of those things you will see happen as you progress. Not a big deal and certainly not something to worry about at this early stage.

Absolutely! This is supposed to be fun. One good thing about the songs your looking for, songs of that era have been repeatedly tabbed out and are probably available for free on the Internet.

However, just because you can find a tab for a song doesn’t mean it will be right. You will find a tab, try to play it, and realize it’s wrong. This can be frustrating but try to enjoy this really cool moment where you realize how much you’ve learned to be able to recognize that it’s wrong.

Not at all @Bradford . This is, primarily, a beginner forum and the whole idea is for people to be able to come here and ask any and every question they have. So, bring on the questions!

4 Likes

As an in-person instructor, I also agree with this.
If the lesson is not feeling like a great learning experience, get out!

B2B is pretty exceptionally perfect for the beginner bassist.

For progress -
It might take 3 months for module 1.
Just take the time until it makes sense and feels good.
Check in here if you need help.
Find another in-person instructor who goes slow and has patience and can work with you where you’re at.

There’s lots of good ways to move forward from here, and I think that everyone else has had real good ideas too.

Hope it gets better and more hopeful!

3 Likes

A related warning, based on my mistakes:

  1. Psyched myself out based on Billie Jean’s reputation
  2. Nailed it at full tempo without issue (ymmv; I started the course with some previous experience)
  3. Got all puffy-chested and overconfident
  4. Breezed through the next few modules
  5. Syncopation exercises in Module 8 hit me like a freight train :grimacing:

(Reality check: well-earned confidence is based on effort as much as – maybe moreso than – achievement.)

5 Likes

I’m fascinated my things that are hard for one and easy for another and vice versa. I just think it’s cool how everyone gets wired differently on startup.

4 Likes

@John_E Yes, exactly!! Chaos theory in practice :slight_smile:

2 Likes

Interesting. I did Billie Jean at full tempo, too. That said, I wasn’t aware of all the “Danger, Will Robinson!” admonitions about it ahead of time.

Syncopation wasn’t too tough because I like the tunes and had the feel in my head. That kind of stuff helps a lot.

3 Likes

Absolutely. If I already have the tune in my head & am playing it based on tab alone, I won’t even notice the syncopation in the bass line. Reverse engineering it by counting notes and rests along with a metronome, when the tune isn’t playing (in my head or otherwise) is a whole different beast. (But important to me b/c improving my weak sight reading, especially in keys other than C major and A minor, is a personal goal - one not everyone will share!)

4 Likes

Thanks to all for the very nice replies and encouragement. I am just wondering if I am approaching my learning in the wrong manner? I find myself making mistakes on almost every work-out, even at the slow and medium speeds. For the most part, the fast work-outs are out of the question, without myself making a LOT of mistakes.

Should I be devoting, say, a half hour to each lesson and concentrate on being able to do everything without mistakes, or should I do as Josh says, and just keep moving forward? Sorry for the dumb question.

Brad

5 Likes

Not a dumb question at all, Bradford. Everybody feels the way you do at first.

Remember, the course is called Beginner to Badass. If you didn’t make a ton of mistakes, you wouldn’t be a beginner; you’d be a badass, and you wouldn’t need this course.

I’ve gone on to the next module even if I wasn’t thrilled with how I did on the one before. Then, sometime later, I’ll go back to the “problem child” module and hit it again. And you know what? I’m better than I was before. I just approach it differently than I did the first time.

I find that if any part of a module is not coming easy to me, I’ll work on just that part slowly. And I mean S-L-O-W-L-Y, until I can nail it cleanly. There’s no shame in playing a bit at glacial speed as long as you use proper technique. So slow your timing down until your hands can do what you need. You can always speed up incrementally later.

Just take a line or a riff, or even just a two-note bit that’s causing you trouble with fingering/hand shifting/etc., and work on just that until you can make a little progress.

Once you’ve done that comes a vital part of practicing: putting down the bass and walking away. Your subconscious mind will chew on what you were working on while you’re doing other things, and, especially, when you’re sleeping at night.

Break things down and go slow. Things will come, guaranteed. Just give yourself permission to be human and make mistakes. It’s perfectly OK and completely expected. Hang in there, man. You’re good.

4 Likes

My opinion - watch the video.
Josh mentions in the videos what you should be able to do before moving on.
If you move on too far continuing mistakes then you are practicing mistakes Vs what’s really to be played and learned.
Slow too fast for you?
Go slower - with a metronome or drum beat.
Take your time.

3 Likes

Of course. Do what Josh lays out, particularly proper technique. That is key.

But, if for any reason, things in a module don’t gel with you, break them down into chunks, slow down, and work on them at a pace that’s comfortable for you.

Take your time. Just as A-B-Cs are vital for kids to get in their heads before they can read, the fundamentals Josh teaches are at the core of learning to play bass.

3 Likes

I’ll chip in as well. I’ve been taking the course since January of 2020. I’m not finished as life puts the squeeze on my hobby. Someone said something about no timetable on a lifelong pursuit; I’d have to agree.

As far as progress goes, all you really have to do is look over your shoulder to see how far you’ve come. In my case, I’ve leaned to listen for bass in songs, learned bass culture and lore, I can pick up a bass and actually look like I know how to play it, and I have a lot to learn. I just enjoy strapping it on. I am only miserable when I start thinking in terms of progress. I must admit, there are times when I wish I could do this or do that-- so I mush on. I’ll get there.

5 Likes

THIS :point_up_2:

4 Likes

So there are many ways to learn. I won’t define the best one for you. Playing=learning is really all i can say. Keep playing, you’ll get there.

As for those super cool people who can play without looking at the fingerboard? Yeah, they can play-and they been dong it a lot longer than you.

After a year now, i still have to look at the board. It’s getting better slowly, as it will for you. One day you’ll just realize “oh, i get that now” muscle memory will kick in and synaptic reprogramming will occur while you didn’t notice. The key element in that is-keep it in your hands.

There is no limit to what you can do other than the limits you think are there. Look At how far you’ve already come! The journey is a long one, and it happens slowly…but you’ll get to play some sweet stuff on the way.

Turn it up, keep thumping!

5 Likes