Billy Jean exercise frustrating!

i started on Sunday night with the program being an absolute NOOB at Bass ( not knowing anything) already in lesson 4 module 6. its been really fun and i keep wanting to play each day in my spare time!
Spent a good 2 hours trying to get the riff down for Billy Jean in the Beginner to Baddass lessons last night. This lesson module made me realize that my ring finger doesn’t want to move where I want it to in relation to my pinky - its almost like it has a mind of its own.
Part of the riff involves you putting you r pinky on the 4th fret of the A string, and then the next pluck will be to switch your pinky with your ringer on the same 4th fret of the A String… I will look at my ring finger , and in my mind I want my ring finger to go to press down on the 4th fret of the A String - and it just sits there and says NOPE. other times it will do exactly as told! almost as if i am un coordinated – so frustrating!
then i get through the riff - and then i need to start over and i always end up hitting the wrong string on my right hand!

i know Josh says to keep moving forward in lessons, but I feel this is to important to just pass up and I also want to learn how to play this! just came here to gripe! i know it will take practice…
edit:: didn’t realize until i did some searching that pretty much everyone else who enrolled in this course has been frustrated by this song lol. i am not alone!! will do this lesson again 1 more time today -and then move on to the next lesson

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You are not alone. There are many threads, and many Bass Buzz players, that have been tricked, bamboozled, defeated, mocked, and even struck by the smooth criminal that is Billie Jean. It’s a more difficult thing to play than it seems at first and catches many off-guard. I imagine it is one of the most, if not the most, skipped workouts in the entire course.

But fret not, many have also eventually come to love Billie Jean, even if the kid is not their son.

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You’re not being asked to pass it up, @WillieD . . . :slight_smile:

You’ll come back to it over and over until you get it right. That might take weeks or months, but it WILL happen. I wish that I had a dollar for every time one of our members gets frustrated or asks a question, or wants to let off some steam over Billie Jean :rofl:

So, yes, you are right . . . it will just take practice! :grin: Go ahead with the course and every once in a while, try Billie Jean again. You will find it gets better and better.

Cheers
Joe

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Listen to the bass instructor.
You are paying him for his advice.
I didn’t nail it until about a year after the course, and I am just fine.

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You can also try rolling your pinky to hit the 4th frets of the D and A string. If you want a really good song to practice pinky rolling, you can learn the intro to Bernadette by the Four Tops. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough also has a lot of pinky rolling but it doesn’t start until around the bridge

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true - i will try it again today best I can and move on.

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will do - thanks. after doing some searching i quickly realized this is a very tough exercise for almost all!

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good idea. i do need to practice that as i am still trying to build strength and coordination in that pinky. as other have said I will try this lesson again today and do my best with it and then move on.

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To clarify, you should try to fret, specifically aim for the bottom

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I’m in the exact same spot as you. I’ve been trying both to use my ring finger to hit the 4th fret on the next string down and just rolling my pinky finger over. Going slow, I can use my ring finger without issue. But, as soon as I try to speed up, my pinky wants to do all of the work. I’m going to spend a little more time on this one before moving on. I got frustrated last night, put down the bass, then watched a documentary on Iron Maiden on YouTube. All was better afterward :rofl:

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It takes quite some time to gain independence between your ring and pinky as they share a nerve.

There are multiple exercises you can do and at first some of them might frustrate you, but eventually they will learn to mostly go their separate ways. Most will just be whilst practising, but you can also do little things like rest your fingertips in a flat surface and gently try to lift just the pinky or just the ring. At first they won’t want to go, but eventually they will a little bit. Over time this will improve.

And with the song, come back to it for sure. I didn’t really have the finger independence issue (I’ve developed it on guitar), but it’s a fast piece that’s challenging for beginners.

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You’ve only been playing for 5 days so don’t worry about it.

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Bruh. That one is a killer. Don’t let it get to you. I played that every day for about 6 months before i felt like i had it. Fact is, i had the notes but the timing! Aaargh!
Look, everyone here has met Billie Jean-and She’s a strong level boss-but you can beat it :joy:. Slow down. Play other stuff. You’ll get through it.

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Welcome to the love/hate relationship with Billie Jean! She says your the one, but there are many of us.

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@WillieD I started in November, finished the course in four months and just TODAY was able to play Billie Jean…at the medium speed. :roll_eyes: :sweat_smile:

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Hi @WillieD ,
I had the same situation a while ago. I paused the training for a few days. Then I started again with some finger trainings, such as playing major and minor scales up and down.
It took me a while until I get Billie Jean done. It’s still not my favorite, but let me tell you, that there will some really nice lessons coming further on. :wink:

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@WillieD yeah I had a VERY similar experience with that lesson and I also probably spent too much time trying to get it down. But I got it going pretty good and then followed Josh’s advice and moved on. There will be more lessons that challenge you and a lot of stuff is starting to come more easily. I have been practicing about 1.5 - 2 hours daily and absolutely loving @JoshFossgreen’s course. I can’t say enough about how well organized and carefully thought out it is. I am also spending time just noodling around on my bass and going through all the notes on the fretboard. I am working on major and minor scales, and major and minor pentatonic scales. Just practicing those and loving all this new info coming into my brain. :crazy_face:

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yeah i passed this lesson up 2 days ago lol. I will just come back to it. currently on module 5 lesson 5.

yeah i ended up skipping it, and learning some new techniques which I think will help when i go back to this song!

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One day i will come back and do it flawlessly!

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