Billie jean

Starting a new one.

Anyone have a practice idea for Billie Jean.
I didn’t continue on I’m still trying to get it where I don’t mess up. Anyone have tips, or stuck like me?

Weird thing. I find it easier to play on my Jackson concert series bass instead of my Fender precision

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Time & practice my friend. Billie Jean is thrown into the course very early on and is supposed to be challenging. I remember struggling with it as well but the other day I decided to try and play it and it feels basically effortless now.

If you search the forum you will find many other identical threads to this one. The only way is to slow it down and just methodically practice. Such is the answer for every song.


Thanks. Appreciate it. That’s what I’ve been doing. Slowed it down a bit to try and get use to it.


Yep, this is good acvice :slight_smile:

Don’t let anything in the course hold up your progress too much, just put it to the side and come back again later to work on it.


The real key is to slow it down to what seems like stupidly slow.

It sounds counterintuitive, but the slower you practice, the quicker you’ll nail it. It’s tried and true.


Practice a couple minutes every day. Practice slow so you do it right. You’ll get it. But move on. You can get halfway through the course without touching it at all, and come back and find you can nail it.

So move on.

The Jackson (which is also Fender) looks like a fast neck


Here’s what seems to be working for me…
I found the slow video way too fast for where I am. So, I paused the video at a point where the first tab line was showing, and opened a free online metronome. I set it to 60, which is a lot slower than the slow workout and took my time picking apart only the first four bars, which are all the same. Once I got to feeling competent, I’d turn the metronome up 4 beats at a time. I’m up to 76, which is slower than the slow workout, but getting there.
Other things that helped me:

  • Visualizing the eight notes of each bar as two consecutive notes differing strings (D and A), a set of three back and forth notes on D, and a set of back and forth notes on A,

  • Realizing that on the plucking hand, the middle finger should pluck on lowest frets of the last six notes of each bar, and the index finger should pluck the highest ones.

I have found that my brain consolidates this stuff for me after a night’s sleep, so I am OK giving up before it’s perfect. The next day, these things are always a little better learned. It’s neuro-magic.

Hope this helfs.


Sleep really helps, and your brain is open after you first wake up. So if you practice a couple minutes before you sleep and just after you wake, you can pick it up pretty quick.


This is exactly what I’ve done. Just repeating the pattern and concentrate on fingering correctly.

I just have to don’t think about it and let the muscle memory do the rest for me. When I start thinking about what I’m actually playing, I mess up.

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I sometimes watch TV or Twitch when I am building muscle memory. The mind can’t get in the way.


My newest piece of advice is that you should mess up for a few minutes and then try to stop and slow it down (like @MarkS described). Once you get it right a few times, tell yourself “this is the way I’m supposed to play this.” Otherwise, you might not focus on what’s right and wrong.

You can also go back to the lesson and go through the riff step by step.

And you should absolutely move on and come back to this one later. Don’t stop the whole course for this one. :smiley:


Billie Jean is a Wicked Mistress has a lot of tips for dealing with her.


That is my Jackson concert series. It’s neck is a bit faster than my Fender precision


Try posting this in the Show Us Your Basses (Part 2) thread.

More people will see it there.:wink:


I still need to go back to this. I vaguely got the idea of it then moved onto the next part of the course. I now have mastered the ska riff in module 5 so I’m tempted to go back to Billie Jean as I’m hoping that will be easier now!
I think I need to have the tab up on the screen and practice that without trying to keep to time to help my fingers remember where they need to go next.