Beginner Class of Winter 2021 - How is it going?

I thought it might be nice for those of us who are currently taking the B2B course and are more or less new to playing bass to have a place to hang out, share our big bass revelation moments and frustrations, encourage each other, post videos of our desperate attempts to play Billie Jean, ask questions about certain lessons, get to know each other…

This should not deter anyone to post in other forum sections on specific topics but some of the discussions there sound quite advanced and are really long. So it might be nice to have a place where beginners mostly talk to beginners. A place where we can be clueless and clumsy without shame. :wink:

Advanced players are welcome to cheer us on and if it really feels appropriate, maybe give a hint to the solution of a problem, but please don’t take over, we might enjoy figuring things out as we go. And of course we can always head over to all the other threads and see you there.

So, beginners en route to badass, how is it going?

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Awesome idea for a thread!

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So maybe I’d better start with my own little progress report.

I signed up for B2B at the beginning of January after playing around on my bass since May, mostly trying to learn from tabs on Ultimate Guitar. I had done a few lessons on Fender Play after I bought my bass but got bored and unmotivated after a while. So I knew some basic techniques when I started B2B.

The first modules felt relatively easy although some bass lines where still pretty challenging. I’m now in module 7.

Some of my bass learning revelations so far:

  • Getting a setup is really worth the effort. I did it myself, although I had to redo it today because there was a whole lot of buzzing playing on the 15th fret. Might have it set up professionally in the spring.

  • Pauses are something that you actually actively do.

  • Chugging is so much fun! I had thought of myself as someone who enjoys more melodic stuff, but there is nothing quite like going fast and repetitive, especially when you have some frustration and anger built up inside.

  • Whenever I peak into a new module I get a little scared (scales, OMG…) but then I remind myself that it’s @JoshFossgreen teaching and that all will be well.

Three of my favourite bass lines from the course so far:
M1 L4 - Smooth Groove
M5 L2 - Musical Intervals (I think I played this for hours, never totally nailed it but loved it)
M6 L3 - Cranking Up Right Hand Speed
And many more.

I struggled most with Billie Jean and just got annoyed, moved on and don’t really intend to go back there.

And I’m really not sure if I have a sense of rhythm or not. How can you check if your timing is right?

Biggest mystery: How does this instrument actually produce sound? I mean, what’s the difference between all these basses that people are obsessing about? Which part of the sound is the amp, which is the bass and these knobs? Ok, of course I experiment with different settings and all but I really feel clueless. Sometimes it sounds close to what I think is a good sound and sometimes it feels off. When this lockdown is over, I’ll finally go to a shop and have them explain everything to me…

Sorry, this was long. I’m curious about your experiences so far.

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It differs, I started more then a year ago, restarted somewhere this winter. I’m not new to music, nor performing, or owning a bass. Got mine jazzbass more then 30 years ago, gosh I almost feel old :face_with_hand_over_mouth: now.
So I take my time, play as I want, lurk the forums, go back a lesson, go forward as I please. All along with the joy of making music.
But simply put: it depends on my mood how things are going.

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This will be my only unsolicited post here lol. Just here to say it’s awesome everyone is pursuing bass, it’s a great instrument, and if you do have any questions or need any help on anything I’m here for you, just @ me lol. In my experience I can have 2-3 people explain something to me and it still makes no sense and doesn’t click with me, but then the 4th person explains it how they do and for whatever reason the way they did made it click! So, I’ll explain it my way if you ask, and maybe it won’t make sense, and maybe it will click. Best of luck in your journeys!

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I started recently ,but I’m not really new to playing bass.
After a hiatus that was far too long the bug bit me on the arse to actually learn in a structured way and like many I found my way to bassbuzz.

I’m over half way through the course,being mainly hampered by weeks when I’m working 12s and the demands of a zoo household.
I usually do a module in a sitting when I can and learn the full versions of songs if they are in the extras.

I actually started reading the forums before I even loaded the first module up and went into the 50 songs section first to see how the difficulty is set. I went straight to Billy Jean,first to learn it the way I’d play it just as I used to before- just from the tabs and then when I got to it in the course I could see how different the approach is. So much efficiency is lost when self thought…that’s my takeaway!

My main issue with being self taught was that I was stuck in patterns I didn’t understand,but now I know I have just discovered a few intervals without knowing what I was doing and more importantly without knowing where else to go.

So far the most important thing the course has given me is a renewed motivation to learn and the platform to understanding why something used to fit right and other things just didn’t.

My technique is improving and I no longer struggle as much with finger placement as I used to.
Scales are starting to make sense and I’m even having some distant-near-eureka moments with theory…yet still hampered by my lack of consistent time for practice.

I have to say that this forum is on another level when it comes to answering questions one might have ,but also in giving motivation in seeing how many people have the same experience +the myriad of ways how to overcome or understand often occurring issues.

I’m learning songs outside of the course and also listen and read other sources for theory pieces,but I have to say it is all down to how Josh has structured his course.
I’m actually into theory now! After oh so many years of thinking I was too “punk” for that !

So now I’m re- learning the songs I used to play and it is so much fun to observe the ( for now dim and anaemic) lightbulb go off when I encounter something written ,let’s say in A minor…and realising the “why” of note choices and also how much easier it is to play when you are starting from a structured reference point ,rather than the first number on a tab.

Wish I had something like this years ago! The wall I have smacked against years ago,believing I hit the limits of talent,now seems scalable…because there are steps! And however small they might be for now,I’m actually moving again!

I’m chuffed…just wish I wasn’t turning into a pimp-my-bass&need-more-gear lunatic,but that’s another story!

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This is very beautifully put. Could be a song.

It really is a great feeling to slowly start understanding things. I’ve always felt intimidated by music theory (still am) but I also know that I need to understand in order to learn. That’s why I came here. Otherwise it feels like painting by numbers instead of creating art.

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I started in November and have got the bug big time. I thought I might drop a couple of things that i learned from playing guitar that apply to learning bass.

  1. Find some way of having your bass always out in the room. Either hanging up, on a stand etc. This might seem like a simple thing but what you’re trying to do is remove any kind of ‘friction’ between you not practicing and doing something else. If it’s out and you’re staring at it. Then it’s a gentle reminder to pick it up.
  2. Give yourself a small target to play every single day. Start with 5 mins. Say to yourself ‘no matter what, I’‘m going to pick my bass up and play something for just 300 seconds.’ Don’t think ‘Oh I’ll add it onto tomorrow and do 10 mins then’. Develop this daily habit and before long you’ll be doing 20 mins, an hour a day whatever floats your boat.
  3. There will be things that seem impossible now (Billie Jean at the fast tempo for example). Break it down into smaller parts and give yourself small achievable goals. 1 minute a day of Billie Jean. By the end of the month you’ll be crushing it. It’s all about small amounts of focused practice that add up over the year.
  4. There is no such thing as talent, it’s work that improves your playing. Put the work in and you’ll be rewarded with sounding better. Simple formula.
  5. It’s not a race, everyone learns differently, play bass to have fun. Don’t compare yourself to others. Just do your own thing and enjoy the fact that you are literally making an inanimate object sing. Remember there’s always someone cooler than you, and that’s OK, keep on trucking with your thing and in a years time you’ll be amazed at where you are.
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I started B2B in January and I just finished Module 9 last night. I have had my bass for quite a while and took lessons when I first got it. I really didn’t like my instructor and I never had a connection with him. I felt like he really didn’t care if I learned the instrument I was just a piece of his paycheck. After one really frustrating lesson I seriously contemplated throwing my bass out the window of my truck as I drove home. Thankfully I didn’t, I just finished the few lessons I had paid for and never stepped foot in that music shop again. It later went out of business… I wonder why?? Being and elementary school teacher, I have come to understand that connection and trust between a student and a teacher is the key to success in any kind of teaching / learning. This guy did attempt to make a connection and he never earned my trust.

Sorry about the side story, but I have really been enjoying the B2B program!! Having messed around for a few years with my bass I was able to go through the first few modules quickly and without too much trouble. I have slowed quite a bit now and I’m trying to make sure I listen closely to learning the notes and the light theory. Another thing that slowed me it the increasing difficulty of the music. I have decided it is better to do lessons over when I don’t really have the line down. I’m really enjoying learning from Josh and like the way he teaches. So to answer the question of how is it going, I would say it is going good and I’m glad I came across this program. It has been really fun and I’m enjoying playing my bass again.

A side comment to finish my post, when I came to play tonight I couldn’t help but to wonder about Mod 8 Lesson 2 Higher and Higher by Jackie Wilson and how that really kicked my a$$!! I couldn’t get that line down even on the slow workout. I know Billie Jean by Michael Jackson was tough, but I eventually got that one. I ended up having to give myself a pass on Higher and Higher. I worked on it more tonight and it is getting better, but that is a tough one. Thanks @JoshFossgreen for making things tough enough to challenge and easy enough so we can have some successes! Smart teaching sir!

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Love the idea of this thread! I started mid-January and I’m up to Module 10 now. Figured I’d go for the 3 month pace but it’s been so nice and smooth it’ll probably be closer to 2.

I too started on the Fender Play app, then there was some sort of technical glitch and I was unenrolled. Rather than signing up again I took a look around and quickly found BassBuzz and haven’t looked back.

The notorious Billie Jean also bested me on first pass, and I even went back a week later and still wasn’t happy with how I was playing it. Billie Jean was part of the toughest stretch I’ve had in this course M4L2-M5L3 when I was having a hard time keeping up with basically all the play-alongs, but since then it’s been back on a steady pace.

I read other people on the forum saying they went through the course multiple times and thought that wouldn’t be necessary. However there’s so much good stuff in here that Josh is talking about and while I can play the workouts, I’m only really focusing on rhythm and fret numbers. Now that we’re talking theory I’m following the discussion and I can “decode” the sheet music and some of the other theory elements but I’m not really connecting it to my playing yet. I think these elements might fall into place for me better on a second go around.

I haven’t made the time yet to learn any full songs since I want to maintain my momentum with the course. So I’ll probably try learning two or three before going through the course a second time.

Today I went back and played With or Without You for no particular reason. I like the song and I remember the fast workout felt really fast at first even though it’s so simple. Now it’s a breeze, so I’d suggest if there’s a song that we played early that you liked, and it was a bit too much of a stretch at the time, go back and try again, you just might get it this time.

@Regina I also really enjoyed M5L2 Musical Intervals, but I remember having a hard time with that one, I should give it another shot.

Three of my favorite lessons so far have been
M7L3 Melodic Improv with the Major Scale
M8L5 Pride and Joy
M10L2 House of the Rising Sun

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Oh cool, so the three (@GanglyCloth, @BigRichieO) of us started around the same time but you guys are way ahead of me. I know it’s not a race, just interesting. I’ve actually started to pace myself and do max 1 lesson a day in order to let it sink in. And sometimes I lose myself in trying to learn a particular song.

@GanglyCloth: I just followed your example and went back to With or Without You. It’s funny, first time around it was more like just play as fast as you can but now there is time to do every plug very consciously. Although those 8th note rhythms are really unforgiving. If you start falling behind just a tiny bit you’ll end up being totally wrong two bars later. And not much chance to correct it. This really bugs me and is what I’m mainly working on at the moment in terms of technique.

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Hi there, I guess we’re virtually in the same class then. A friend started playing guitar, I bought a bass (best idea I had in this lockdown) and started the Badass course. Well, that was the next best idea, I guess. I’m at M8-L1 now, and things are going great. Yes, M5-L2 is also one of my favourites, ska is fun to play and Josh (“pick it up, pick it up”) is the best.
In between lessons, we (the friend and me) are jamming together, putting on a track and trying to play within. Not perfect, but hey, we’re having fun, and that’s what we’re after, right? :metal:
With the DVD in the player, it’s like Josh is standing next to me in the room. I sometimes wonder “Can this dude hear me or what, it seems like he’s having fun also.”

I 'll keep you posted on the progress I make. Meantime, have fun! Erik from Belgium.

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This is definitely a challenge, if I get lost I just try and jump in on the next 1-beat, rather than trying to “catch-up”, especially on the more complex bass lines.

@MrE that’s great that you’ve got someone to jam with and learn together! I hope to find others nearby to jam with once restrictions ease up here but for now it’s just me and my headphones.

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My bass is a lockdown idea, too. It’s really helped to keep a degree of sanity. :slightly_smiling_face:

And I envy you a little for having someone to play with already. I know one or two guitarists who would be up for it but it just hasn’t happened yet. So in the meantime I’m just trying to get as prepared as possible for that moment.

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Going really well. But I had a slight wrist issue because I was walking too much…never the less I used the couple weeks to rest it and tomorrow I’ll be back at it. Oh and also decided to build my own bass. Will post some drawings and models soon. Peace

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On Module 5, my PC died, and I’m waiting on my tax return to build another.

In the interim, I’ve upgraded my axe, and learning a few songs via tab.

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After reading your post @Regina I went back and replayed your favorites. What I thought was funny is how I remember playing the pieces but it took replaying them to fully remember them. All the more reason to go back do the whole series again.

I plan on going through yours tonight @GanglyCloth, at least the ones I have already played.

Take care all!!

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Hope you get another one built soon!!

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I’d love to hear what some of your favorites have been so far

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I bet you he can, Erik. Even around here.

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