I parked B2B for eight months

I got so cheesed off with failing miserably at Billie Jean that I ended up parking B2Bs for months. I didn’t play from August last year and then pretty much stopped learning bass altogether until end of February this year.

B2B wasn’t working for me, partly because I couldn’t seem to find the time to invest in the course. Probably also something to do with the way my head is wired.

Anyhoo, I was staring at my basses one day and had a lightbulb moment; I looked up my old bass tutor from 2001 and, thankfully, he’s still tutoring. I started back with him early March and had five two-hour sessions on a weekly basis. Half an hour of the first session took care of ironing out my worst mistakes and then we got down to some basics.

After the second round of tuition, I bought another bass to leave in the office. I struggle for time to practice because life keeps getting in the way, so instead of going for a walk during my lunchtime I now practice bass. I have my own office and use a headphone amp.

I went back to the beginning of B2B (again) last week and have blitzed through the first four modules in a week. I mastered the medium speed lesson of BJ today on the first time of asking (this time around) and I did it a second time to make sure I hadn’t got lucky. I’m going to do the whole lesson again tomorrow and see if I can hit the full speed, although that might be a bit much.

Face to face lessons, B2B and prioritising time to practice and I’m finally making something resembling progress.


Damn that Billie Jean!!!

Glad you’re back.


It’s ok to move on and come back to a lesson. I know you know this already, but it took me awhile to allow myself to do this. I just finished B2B last week, still going back and doing some of the more challenging lessons. I find these are much more fun to play after some time away. The first time around, I think I spent a lot of time spinning my wheels getting stuck. Move on, it’s ok. Come back to it. For me, B2B was probably not meant to be a linear course.


Try to never let one particular lesson hold you back. Admittedly that lesson should probably be further in, but Josh frequently suggests to just keep going and come back later to revisit. It really is great advice :sunglasses:


Thank you, @Gio :pray:

I’ve just done the lesson again and nailed both the slow and medium workouts. I tried the fast workout, just for shiggles, made a decent fist of the first bar and then lost it. Not to worry, I’ll move now and try it a gain once I have a few more one-to-one lessons and B2B modules under my belt.


At some stage last year, I reached Module Seven, wasn’t happy with my progress and went back to the beginning. I’m much happier now though, and I feel like I’m starting to get somewhere. I think now that I’ve made time to practice, I’ll progress at the pace I always hoped I would.


@JoshFossgreen makes that point a number of times throughout the course. I totally understand his reasoning and I agree with it. For me though, leaving it there at slow or medium speed and moving on is easier said than done. Being autistic, I obsess over detail and leaving a job undone makes my nerves jangle. Even now I’ve nailed the medium speed workout of BJ, it’s a bit of a wrench to move on. I will though; I’m not letting it hinder my progress any more…

Hitting the medium speed of BJ at the first time of asking yesterday was huge achievement (for me, anyway). I’ll leave it for now, move on and try again in a few weeks.


Definitely a great achievement hitting medium speed. Getting to fast comes eventually. I’ve started specifically working out my ring and pinky fingers on my fretting hand in isolation and getting some good results. I think my index and middle where a lot more developed so I was being slowed down by the other two.

Another thing you could try if it’s the repetition that’s the issue - can you play just 2 bars at fast tempo? If so, play 2 bars, stop. Repeat this process a few times and then try 4 bars, stop. Only add another 2 bars each time when you’re comfortable.

From memory, I also didn’t use my pinky on the A string as I found that harder. It’s like the ring fingers “job” was A and the pinky was D. When you change to D and G strings, ring gets D and pinky gets G.

1 Like

Yeah, Billie and I don’t get along but there’s plenty of others you’ll like. ZZ Top and Rolling Stones are two groups that are easy to play along with. Don’t give up!

1 Like

The real bummer about Billie Jean is that if you just set it aside and progress in the course a bit more you will find that when you come back to it it’s not so bad. You just need more time under your fingers than you have when you first get there.

Just leave her be until finishing the course, and then go back :slight_smile:


+1 I dropped it until after module 12 and was able to finish it on medium feeling pretty confident. I’ll finish module 16 this week and head back to Billie to see if I can knock it out on full speed. I still use it as part of my warm up every day.


I made it to the end of module 9 and felt the same, that I wasn’t happy with my progress so I have started from the beginning and I can definitely see the improvement from where I first began the course. I’m still classing myself as an absolute beginner but there is definitely improvement. Billie Jean was definitely beyond me the first time around but I’m hoping when I get there this time I’ll at least be able to nail the medium workout.


Walking away from frustration is a good thing. When I force myself to keep at a task and am pissed off, usually something breaks (like when working on a car). Billie Jean kicked my butt. I got really mad and walked away for a week. I came back to it and was able to do the medium almost right away for some reason. It is funny how this one song is a speed bump for so many people. But it feels so good once you get over it.


@tmartinlvnv I agree it is good to walk away before things break and come back to it later. Our brain gets busy solving the problem in the background.

One thing I have learned throughout the process of learning bass (and any instrument for that matter) is that it is SO important not to discourage yourself. I mean, I watch Charles Berthoud on YouTube and sometimes think “why am I even playing? I’ll never be that good…” when the reality is you should never compare yourself to anyone else and truthfully you might get that good some day!

There’s loads of songs I simply can’t play (yet) but the best piece of advice I’ve read, and I remind myself of this often, is from Mike Dirnt from Green Day. When asked what advice he would give to aspiring players he said “…you’ll get better”.

It’s so true. Persistence pays off. Stick with it and you’ll be so happy you did! Billie Jean sucks even when you can play it without thinking about it. Don’t let road blocks get in the way!

1 Like

When I watch him, I usually walk away with “well, that did nothing for me.” That’s not completely fair and there are many exceptions, like some of his original solo work is really nice, but the pointless “bass expert shreds out” content got old in the first year.

When I watch Charles, I walk away inspired. He is a great musician, which I admire greatly. He composes, arranges and plays with facility, creativity and style. My sense is he has only started to realize himself as an artist.

Thank you! I just got to Billie Jean today, and she kicked my butt. My fretting fingers simply trip over themselves. We’ll try again later.


I just find it exceptional how technically proficient he is and how incredibly smooth his movement are. I mean, most of what is on his channel isn’t really functional music for most situations but it’s still pretty cool to see what he can do with the instrument.

1 Like

His original solo work is really good:

but his more mass market content just isn’t my thing. YMMV.