Haalp...New at Bass

Am approaching 74 yrs young and started Bass. I have a good theory background and been around as a lone music hobbyist (Keyboards) for a while. The church volunteer music group needs a Bass player and I have the time now. They have 2 guitars, a keyboard and drums. I never played with a group before and don’t want to make a fool of myself but would like to help out. Can I fake it until I can make it with using the Root and fifth in different rhythm patterns for each chord until I get better? It’s a Catholic church so the music is mostly slow and solemn and nothing like the Evangelical stuff …lol. Time is short. Thanks a heap for any advise friends!


Yes, you sure can. Roots, root-fifths, and root-fifth-octaves, are totally fine, especially in your use case.

Anything much more would be for…different music.


Hey @Hammy welcome. Head over to introduce yourself there are bunch of great members there.

It’s awesome man. Just have fun.


Mike C: Thanks a lot…blessings! My mind is a litlle bit at ease now.




Where do I go to introduce myself.


Mike C: Later I shall try and wake them up with a little hardrock transpositions…lol




+1 to everyone up above who said “yes, go for it, roots-and-fifths will get you there!”



You are leaps and bounds ahead of me when I started as my original question was can I make it camping out on root notes

Here ( https://youtu.be/7-zvZ-mEho4?si=gdl31IyfZHUxGYWl ) is my root fifth octave performance and I joined BAD A$$ August of 2020 having zero musical background

Stay Groovy ,


Welcome. We all tend to start out learning to play just the “money notes” of the progression adding the 5th and others at times as we “walk” up or down from one chord change to another. It works.

IME the most important thing for guitarists to learn when converting to bass is that it’s not a guitar. Don’t overplay and always be on the “One” when it’s time to be on the one. But you play keyboards so you’ve probably got that part down. The rest is just building off those fundamentals as you add scales and rhythmic feel to the bass lines you play. It’s a journey. No more, no less.


Hi Hammy. At 67, I’m in a simular situation. After 50 years of guitar & mandolin, I was asked by a new choir to cover bass. Usual Catholic folk choir (piano, guitars, drums). Roots & 5ths is a good start. Pay attention to muting - Bass has extreme physics and muting three strings while play one takes a little getting used to. Our choir mixes the music styles a bit: slow stuff - hymns & psalms, some comtemporary music and some gospel (fun). Root & 5ths will get you by (then look at chord appegios, pentatonic & scales). Also be aware for slash chords (if you see G/C, the bass plays C usually). Oh, and become the drummers best friend. That helps.

Also, something to consider, I when thru the bassbuzz course to fast rack my technique, then I moved on to a music teacher to help me with technique and how to write bass lines.

Good luck & have fun.
~ Tom


I have been playing bass for 50 years. My church connect group wanted me to play bass at a Christmas party carol singing. I found out these carols, written many centuries ago, don’t have the typical modern day chord progressions and are more like classical music. I had to read charts, something I don’t like doing, but had to since there was a different bass note on lots of the lyric syllables. I will never do that again. I will stick to Christian rock. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Hey welcome @Hammy , you can create (and there have been created) a lot of basslines just using root/5th/octave.
I think if you play those patterns in good timing in your band you will sound very good

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Thank you @Hammy for this post.
I’ve been struggling with how to improvise with friends or just in general and have now started the rabbit hole of trying to learn all about root/5/oct.

Through my digging I realized that Hotel California is basically all this, and in some spots reversed oct/5/root. I had been avoiding that song, but now it makes sense.

Anyway, Back to my rabbit hole. I just wanted to thank you for this thread!


James at EBass Guitar has a lesson with pdf on Hotel California

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