Hi all! I wasn’t sure where else to post this, feel free to delete/move as necessary.
I started playing just over a week ago and thought it would be good to get a bit of a “form check” to make sure I don’t ingrain any bad habits early. If anyone could watch this 40 second clip of me playing part of U2’s “With or Without You” and give some feedback on what I could improve in my form, that would be much appreciated!
(Sorry about the awful audio quality - this is just my laptop’s mic picking up my amp. I may invest in some recording gear later but right now I’m more concerned with playing!)
Some things I’m curious about:
Is the bass at a good height? I’ve experimented with this a bit and this position feels okay but I do find I get a bit of a sore neck after a while. I’m also 6 months pregnant so the awkward belly bump isn’t helping
I’m trying to be cognizant of not touching the neck of the bass with my left palm, but I’m curious if this looks ok (especially with my pinky)
All constructive criticism welcomed and appreciated! Thanks
I can’t tell from the video, but in my case I use a wide, padded strap. This has helped my neck and shoulders a bit. My preference is a KLIQ Aircell strap (long, not regular) , but there are lots of varieties out there.
Whoa! Mama. That’s great. Thank god for the belly carve, lol.
Position vary some likes the headstock pointing up some like it horizontal. Most are somewhere in between. It all depends on who’s your musical hero and how they hold their bass. Two of my heroes are more horizontal Nathan East and Pino Palladino so I learn to position that way.
Do try to work on getting the fingers closer together and less flying it will promote better control and improve speed. Looks like you’ve got your fretting pressure down already.
Your baby (congrats!) will determine your bass height for a bit yet, so don’t worry about it. If it is comfortable, it is the right height. Don’t be surprised if you adjust this over time as you gain more experience. As others said, wider or softer straps can help neck issues, but…remember, you are a week in, your neck and shoulders need to adjust to a bass around them, this comes with time too. How long before your neck gets sore (are you taking breaks, etc).
Form looks fine as can be for 1 week in - don’t get too hung up on form quite quite yet. As long as you are not doing anyting really out there, you are fine. Just remember to stay as relaxed as you can.
As for the back of the neck - there is no hard and fast rule that says it must be all thumbs - if there is I am in big trouble (and so are others like Paul McCartney, etc). I have more palm on the neck on lower frets, more thumb on upper.
Ah the pinky - this lilttle piggie has a mind of its own and will come to terms with what you want it to do in time, but it takes time. There are exercises to help it understand you are the boss (Josh has one, Talking bass, etc) but over time it will gain strength and submit to your every whim.
Don’t sweat it in general, you look like you are doing great, keep it up!
That’s very cool, I wonder if the baby will be rocking along on their own instrument at an early age. That would be awesome if the music/rhythm carries over from Mum to bub.
Very early days for you yet and your hand strength will improve as you go. One thing I can see is it looks like your are fretting the notes with the pad of your finger. I’m coming from learning guitar and in particular chords, where being more on your finger tip helps with fretting the notes as well as speed. Not sure if this is as important on bass as I’m still very much learning, but I have continued being on my fingertips.
It can take a while to get used to it, but as a starting point for hand shape, curl fretting hand into a fist with the thumb on the outside. Now slowly uncurl the fingers from under the thumb, but don’t really move the thumb (just enough the let the fingers past). Next see if you can touch each fingertip to your thumb. From there, try to see if you can place your slightly uncurled fist around your bass neck and see if you can fret on your fingertips.
You may also need to try moving the thumb slightly closer to the middle of the neck (it looks like it’s down lower towards the G string).
The pinky will take a while to properly join the party, but Joss regulary reminds you in B2B. I also suggest practicing alternating between ring and pinky. They share nerves I think, so you have to really concentrate to get them to work independently (it will happen eventuall).
Josh has recommended having the bass at height that will be the same whether you are sitting down or standing up. That’s a good beginner guideline. As you progress you have to to find what works most comfortably with the ergonomics of your body. Torso, shoulders, neck, wrists, and elbows all play a part in this.
Yes. A good wide padded strap can make all the difference. I tried using a strap like yours and my fretting hand would start to go numb. I got a wide padded strap and never had that problem again. Highly recommended.
You’re only a week in and you’re actually using your pinky independently and you’re aware of your form. Both of those are really good. As you go through the course Josh continues to reinforce details about form and you seem to be on the right track
Being a beginner myself I won’t comment on the form but will comment on the baby’s ability to hear the music being played. When I was pregnant with my youngest, my husband spent a lot of time practicing Fly by Night on the guitar. After she was born, every time that song came on the radio she would turn her head to try and see who it was!