Mistakes When First Learning Bass?

If you could go back in time and help your noob self avoid some pitfalls…

What mistakes did you make early on that slowed down your learning?
How could you have learned more effectively?

Asking for a friend…


Not setting up the bass properly. Made everything unnecessarily harder and I didn’t know better at the time.


Assuming I wouldn’t be able to figure out how to play bass slowed down my learning by 27 years. Watching your “Money Notes” video made me realize I already had a decent foundation to learn on from previous musical experience.

Assuming I already knew something from previous musical experience instead of paying closer attention to what you were showing us.


Assuming in general slows down learning, I think.


Normally, I wouldn’t link to a TB thread, but this was just started and is so apropos, and indeed contains a number of gold nuggets related to the question here (and so far surprisingly little snark), so here goes:


I wish someone told me early on it’s ok to make a little noise on the frets and be a little more “trebely” sounding than you think is ok….and it’s ok. Trying to sound super perfect moved me to flats and rolled the tone knob down all the way. My earliest recordings were a lot of mud because of it.
As I got more confident the tone rolled up and rounds (egads!) went on a few basses.

Another pitfall - I should have stood up a lot lot sooner and got used playing standing.

  1. Slow down, forget the hardcore schedule (or whatever it was called), and spend more time between lessons just practicing all the new stuff. Understanding and retaining the course material are two different things.
  2. Accept the fact that my hands are smaller than Josh’s. Don’t try to replicate everything he does. Do more microshifting, or whatever works best for me.

That it is OK to play simple
Timing is more important substance
The drum machine does not speed up on its own
More basses are not making me better
I don’t need another pedal
Change your strings
A lot can be done musically with a little
No one is impressed with your fill if you miss the downbeat at the end


I regret wasting my time and money with other methods before purchasing B2B!


I played bass with a pick for too long. before learning finger plucking. But, to be fair, there were no Joshes, B2B, or even Internet back in the day. There were (are) tons of guitarists who teach bass with a pick because that’s all they know, and that’s how I learned.

Picking worked fine for me for a while, inasmuch as I was able to play in a band. But I love jazz, and I’d gaze enviously at all the cool-ass jazzbos who so casually finger-plucked their basses.

But that was then. With all the great instruction I’ve got from my fave teachers, I’m thrilled spitless to be here now.


I got obsessed with making my pinkie do the work and neglected my other fingers and definitely would agree with @Tokyo_Rat …….become a musician and not a gear-ician.
And concentrate on your timing. Getting all the right notes to a song is great but if your timing is out it ain’t going to impress anyone


To play fast you need to practice playing slow


Learning to push the right buttons rather than learning to listen to the music.


Noodling is not practice.


Hi Noob Josh! (waves)


Left Thumb. Kind of it’s own topic all together.

Learning to keep it relaxed and use minimal pressure with fretting hand versus a year of on and off death grip is a major barrier to playing quicker and longer.

I wish former self could hear this and not just think “whatever I’m playing the notes!”


It’s too easy to become obsessed with the fretting hand when starting out.

Put as much effort into developing a good alternating technique with the plucking hand until it becomes second nature whilst ascending, descending and string crossing.

Bad habits here take so much time to try to unlearn.


I am so hosed…



I’d expand this to not learning to set up my own bass immediately. A simple, no-tools-required setup lesson feels like something that should go in Module 1. Something as simple as following Marcello’s vid is all a beginner needs and it will really put them in touch with their instrument, and make things much more enjoyable from the start. No frills, no additional tools, simple, effective, and guaranteed to improve playability for any new or used bass out of the box. And it will probably do as good a job or better than any pro setup a beginner is likely to get, especially from big chains.


Hm, yeah, I was confused as well…

But, I think Eric meant to say “it is a mistake to think noodling is not practice” :smile:

Signed, the king of noodlers :sunglasses:


Great video that gets to the point pretty fast. I was always intimidated when the video started in someone’s garage with 500 gauges. I’ve never had an instrument so out of whack I’ve been inclined to do it myself, but I feel more confident about it now :smiley: