Looking for Accompany Tutorial

Hello all!

Situation: you’re on a birthday party, a small band is performing some songs. The bassist suddenly feels bad and the band stops playing. They say “who can play the bass? we give you the chords, it’s all popular music.”

OK, I grab the bass and the singer tells me: “Easy, just do G-C-G-D-G, with some variations, ok?”. Well, I do know where to find the notes on the bass… but I am in such a nervous state that I can’t recall proper music theory.

What I need is some finger-muscle-memory that tells me just what strings I have to play to accompany those chords… do you know what I mean?

Does anybody has a cool video for this? Or can tell me some good patterns?
@JoshFossgreen? :slight_smile:

Kind regards


Hey Mario,

I don’t actually know what you mean by “finger-muscle-memory…” Do you want to play without looking? Just find the notes?

Maybe start by just looking at the fretboard to find your notes. And keep it way simpler than you “can” play, you need the brain power to stay with the band.

Maybe this video helps:

All you need is to find the notes before you start playing, just play through the progression, then join the band. :slight_smile:


PS: Great name, @mario_j_gaida, my brother’s first name is Mario, too. :grin:


If you know how to do it already but forget when you’re in front of people, perhaps it would help to play around other people more. When I went and saw a teacher after finishing B2B I was so nervous and couldn’t do anything properly in my eyes. I meant to start playing with other people in a more social, fun way but never got round to it. I know I’ll be anxious regardless but I know the anxiety will decrease over time. Good luck!

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That’s cool, usually it’s everyone else in the band who could tell you what chord to play.

First thing first, probably a couple of people in the audience would know if you hit the wrong notes unless you are playing iconic songs like “under pressure” or “come together” for example, lol.

I agree with @StartedAt48, if you are nervous about playing in front of people then do more of that. It doesn’t make it go away but you’ll learn how to deal with it. As for playing different songs for the first time situation, you just have to practice for it. Put a song on and just figure the key. You’d be surprised after a few hours of this you’d be pretty decent at it. It comes in handy in situation like this for sure. Lol.


I do know what you mean!
Unfortunately, playing music with a band and practicing by yourself are very different things. Even if you practice every day and work very hard to know all the notes on the fret board and all of the patterns, there is still a huge change when you’re in the chaotic environment of following music on stage with a live band.
The ultimate solution would be to play in as many live scenarios as possible.
I remember early in my playing - I had been in bands for years (playing original music with few covers) and taking lessons and practicing for years - but I was still so confused and struggling in a professional jam session because it was new, the musicians called out chord changes with numbers instead of letters, it was tricky.
The more I played with bands and in various styles, the better it all gets.

Having said that - when practicing at home, definitely know your fret board. Know where all your notes are, particularly in those lower frets.

And practice songs! Learn popular songs and bass lines so that you’ll be familiar with what great bassists do to back up a song and a chord progression.

That will give you the foundation so that when you’re next in a live scenario - as confusing as it can be - you’ll have the bass playing information you need to make it work.

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Yep, that nailed it mostly. Thank you very much! “Shapes” is the right term for the thing that I am looking for. Roots + Fifths is a very simple shape and I think I can memorize it :wink: I will see what other shapes I can find.

Kind regards

Thank you all very much for your helpful tips!

5 Easy “Shapes” for Kickass Bass Lines (Bassist Shortcuts) - YouTube - is what I was looking for :slight_smile:
And yes - I really need to practice in a band with an audience.

Kind regards

Hi mario. The best advice anyone could give you is to learn the notes on all four strings, from Frets 1-5.

If you memorize these notes, it will go a long way to relieve your anxiety about where they are on the fretboard.

Having memorized these notes now, I am able to freely work around the fretboard without concern. That’s the best advice I can give you.

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At 73 I’m past the actual band stage. Been there done that. :slightly_smiling_face:

I play several jams a week and now that summer is here usually we will meet in a park somewhere and jam there. Only problem you may have with bass is power. Sometimes you can obtain power near a snack bar or service area. Always ask if you can plug in if you do use their facilities. I always take my acoustic guitar, ukulele and sometimes banjo so I have no power issues.

Don’t worry about an audience, once people hear the music they will congregate around the group and the next thing you know they are singing along and sometimes dancing.
Always good times :+1: :+1: :+1:
Very satisfying.

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