Learning Pains - Where's The Tylenol?

Well, I think this might become a regular feature as I progress towards bass playing perfection, haha.

As I mentioned in an earlier post I got a great deal on a Yamaha TRBX504 and slowly pieced together the remaining essentials - Headphones (to keep the wife happy - and me above ground awhile longer), Rumble 40 amp, Zoom B1X Four pedal, bag and strap. I had a tune-up, and the dealer put on new strings (don’t remember the brand), and I finally worked out a schedule for my volunteering and home business that would include daily Bassbuzz sessions.

I had reviewed the lessons several times over the past few months, and now that all was in place, I was pumped to get going. Even my wife was finally supportive and not throwing comments about "when the band was going to be formed, haha).

Module 1 - Lesson 2…The E string was smoking! I’m plucking along, feeling good and looking forward to what was to come over the next several months and beyond.

Module 1 - Lesson 3 …Alternating Plucking …You could hear the air escape out of all of the tires, haha. My A string definitely didn’t match anything that Josh was playing in the video. Arghhh!

Questions rang through my aching head - Were there problems with the setup that was done? Is the bass really tuned properly? Are the strings the problem? Do I need to figure out how to adjust the amp and/or the knobs on the bass? Did my wife sabotage something when I wasn’t looking?

In any event, I packed up my gear, secured them in the storage room away from my dogs, mopped up the tears that were pouring down my face and slowly walked upstairs to watch tv.strong text


Six words…

Don’t give up, it gets better!

BTW, do you have a tuner? A good one? This is essential gear as your bass goes out of tune regularly.


100x this. Keep at it. You got this…

The B1Four has a (IMO) good tuner…


Thx…I’m going to do my best to see the lighter side of this adventure. I’ll take the same approach when I’m coaching new players…

I understand the zoom has tuning capabilities…I just have to sit down over the next couple of days to figure out my gear.


@Hoopscoach Slow down and take IT one step at a time.

Here’s a suggestion for someone with the same setup:

1 - Forget the Zoom B1 for now and plug your Bass directly into the amp(which should be off)
2 - Turn the volume on the Bass and the Gain and Volume on your amp all to 0
3 - Set all the other Bass knobs to the middle of their range
3 - Set all the EQ controls on the amp to 12 o’clock
4 - Turn on the amp
5 - Turn the Bass volume control up to about 80%
6 - Set the amp gain to 1/4 and the amp volume to 1/4
7 - Adjust amp volume up or down to taste
8 - Set amp EQ to taste
9 - Check the Bass tuning
10 - On to the B2B lessons

I think many times we overthink things and just get too frustrated with ourselves. The old saying that we are our own worst enemies is so true.

If you do not feel like practicing today, or even tomorrow don’t. Take a break but don’t leave it too long and DO NOT GIVE UP!! YOU CAN DO THIS!!!


Checking if the bass is in tune is the first thing I’ll do every time I pick it up.
To use the tuner on the Zoom is easy: press down both pedals at the same time :wink:


Ditto that, @Celticstar . . . I still battle with overthinking, but I’ve made a lot of progress in that area :wink:

Great advice to @Hoopscoach, and thanks for your post,



Thanks for the walkthrough. I haven’t used the Zoom yet, but the control setup is exactly what I needed.


Thanks for the tip

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Zoom tuner works great and super easy to use!!

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On the amp settings, Josh has a video on this.
Bass up a bit, miss down a bit, treble down a bit more.

At such an early stage I would do this and then forget the knobs exist for a while.
Dialing in a killer tone doesn’t do much if you are struggling with playing. Use these settings to practice.

That said, when you are feeling sore etc or need a break, but still want to do some bassin’, set time aside to see what your amp knobs do, one at a time, move things. Pluck around the neck, move that knob back and try something else. Same goes for zoom. If you isolate time for exploring but keep practice time for learning, one doesn’t interrupt the other.


Btw. Every time I sit down and have an issue I, like most, look down at the equipment and wonder what’s wrong. In general, it’s not the equipment. Your learning, it will come, give it time.

Pro tip, don’t throw equipment across the room or out any windows hahahaha



I received my Zoom B1X Four a week and a half ago and other than making sure that it works still have not really done anything with it. As a beginner you have to be careful with things like the Zoom because it is easy to get caught up playing around with all of it’s features and the next thing you know an hour or two has passed and and you have not really done any practicing and practicing is the main key to success.

Here is a screen shot of my usual amp controls with the Bass volume set to 80% and the other Bass knobs in their mid/detent position. The Active/Passive switch is set to Passive.:

Note that for the sound/tone that I am going for the active/passive switch is in the Passive position on the Bass, but keep in mind that this is what pleases me. Sound/Tone is very subjective and you just have to play around with the controls until you find something YOU are happy with the sound of.
The output volume of the amp from this point is controlled by the Master volume control and not the Gain control.
Anyways this should give you a good starting point and as @Krescht mentioned make sure your Bass is tuned .
Hope this helps.


Looks VERY familiar here… :grin:


For us simpler folk, here is mine:

I usually play how its set right here: with the bass and mids set to noon and the treble up a bit. I keep the contour and overdrive buttons out, and volume at 25%. I put the treble up a bit because I play a P-bass with flats, so I wanted to give it a little more high end for practice.

For extra zing, I made my own Steve Harris-ish patch for the Zoom B1four (I tried to emulate the Sansamp SH1 box a bit). I’ll post it elsewhere else.

I concur that the Zoom tuner is on a par in goodness with sliced bread.