New guy here. Hi! First time bassist

Hey fellas, my name is Matt Willard, I am 40 years old, and I live in Buffalo NY. I just bought my first bass guitar. My brother is a guitar prodigy and has been playing guitar since he was 6 years old. He’s the only true professional musician I know. He plays in multiple bands, and teaches lessons, and a couple of his songs have had some mild commercial success. He does not have another job. My dad also plays guitar, and has for 50 years, but he’s nowhere near as good as my brother. My mom died recently, and it got me thinking, I’m not close enough with my family, so I thought learning the bass could be a cool fun experience to share with them.

I do not, and have not ever played an instrument. I played alto sax in 5th and 6th grade, but I wasn’t much good, and it never stuck. I didn’t know what bass to buy, and I didnt want to spend a lot, because this hobby may not stick, and if it ended up in the closet after 2 weeks
I didnt want to have a huge investment in it. So, I asked my good buddy Tom who has been a bass player for 40 years what to buy. I wanted new, not used. We looked on ebay and amazon, mostly at Squire basses, but they were still kind of pricey. We found a knockoff brand that looked pretty similar. Its called Sawtooth. There’s a sticker on the back that says made in China, engineered in the USA…lol. Anyways, this is it.

I wanted to post the amazon link, but wasnt sure if it was against the rules. Anyways, I got it for $142 shipped to my door. It had like 200 reviews with 4.4 out of 5 stars. I showed it to my dad, and my bass player buddy, and both proclaimed it to be a pretty decent playable bass for a beginner for the price. 2 of the frets sit a LITTLE high, but not bad. I plan on filing them down. My dad also convinced me to get a clip on tuner for it, so I did. It works, but not great. He also gave me a real little 10 watt guitar amp he garbage picked that works fine. It has a tiny speaker in it though that over drives easily at more than half volume…but it makes noise and works good enough for me to practice with. I am going over there tomorrow to pick up a couple bigger amps that are busted. I am good at fixing electronics.

I had a couple introductory lessons from my buddy, and he introduced me to the G-major scale, which I’ve been practicing forward and backwards. I feel like I have lead fingers. I also have trouble remembering and understanding the notes, so I downloaded these fret labels.

Hopefully it makes it easier.

I learned how to play the most basic beginner song I could find by looking at tabs and watching videos, albeit slow and clunky like. 7 Nation Army by The White Stripes…lol Can anyone recommend some other really easy songs with a cool bass line for a total noob with lead fingers?
I’m leaning toward learning Pink Floyds Money, or Queens Another One Bites the Dust, next.

Any advice, or good learning tools I need to be aware of? Hopefully this thread is in the correct category.

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Hi Matt! My condolences to you and your family.

Glad you’re here, seven nation army is a great first song to choose. It was mine and I am sure many others. My piece of advice is to make sure you use your pinky to fret as much as possible (where it is appropriate to do so of course), it is hard at first but you will thank yourself later. Also a good setup can make even the cheapest instruments sound good.

There are so many learning tools available today, glad you had a friend show you the reigns. Obviously a lot of us here are partial to the B2B course, but you (understandably) may not want to purchase lessons yet. I spent about a year just self learning and made pretty decent progress but I needed some structure eventually. That being said Josh’s free bass buzz videos are an excellent place to start and my favorite of the ones on youtube, talkingbass is also solid.

If you’re looking for good tab there are several recommendations on this thread: Good source for bass tabs? If you do not have a metronome I really like the “Pulse” app. Also if you do not have a tuner the fender tuner app is solid.

That would be my advice/favorite learning tools, welcome to the forum!

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Thanks! Pinky huh? Eh…I have extremely small hands (and feet) for a man. I am 5’10" and wear a size 9 mens shoe. My longest (middle) finger measures 3.5" from tip to the center of my punching knuckle. My index finger is 3" and my pinky is 2.5" tip to knuckle. I just measured. I’ve been having trouble. Its impossible for me to find gloves that fit. Makes my little finger damn near useless, but I will try! Trying to not use that as an excuse, hah. You might actually need a tape measure to see how small that really is though, my 4’10" wife has fingers the same length as me.

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You’ll be fine.

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Hi Matt

Welcome to the forum. I reckon this is one of the best learning resources I’ve come across, really friendly, educational and most importantly to me motivational.

I also have a younger brother guitar wizard who I’m learning a lot from. I realised an ambition by joining him for the first time on stage last year. We are just waiting for the lockdown to lift so we can get out planned blues band up and running

I learnt 7 Nation Army, and love playing it, some other songs I enjoyed that I kinda figured out for myself were Teenage Kicks by the Undertones and Cocaine by Eric Clapton…I had already leant them in guitar first though.

Anyway, welcome again, the B2B course is brilliant, I’d tried a couple of other sites, books and YouTube stuff which helped get started bit B2B really consolidates everything. Once I’ve completed it I’m planning on doing some face 2 face lessons.

Welcome again
Cheers
Matthew

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I just measured my hands and they are smaller than yours. I have to rely on what’s called micro-shifts, more than someone with large hands as my fingers can only get so far apart, but I manage alright. I’ve never been unable to play a song because of the size of my hands. Don’t worry about your hands, you’ll be fine!

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Welcome Matt and good luck on your journey. I would say get signed up for B2B as soon as possible. It will give structure to how you develop, you will be playing songs suitable to your skills, Josh is a great bass teacher (big difference to learning from a player. No offence to your friend but you may be learning his bad habits from him) It’s fun and you get access to 50 songs to play along to including Cloud and Queen.

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@IIIQuaZIII check out this thread:

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Nice to see that skill at that size, even if he’s using a un-ergonomic position. His wrist shouldn’t be bent like that, but for his size and on a 5-string, it’s expected. What’s also shocking is that he’s using a Sadowsky bass. Even if my kids were crazy good, I wouldn’t be buying them a Sadowsky. :slight_smile:

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Hi Matt!
You are in the right place for all things bass.
Like others above I’d say give the B2B course a bash ,it is great at keeping you motivated and you’ll be surprised how much you can progress.

There’s a sub forum on here- 50 songs challenge- the songs are varied in genre and skills-wise,but build nicely from simple to more challenging .
Have a look and maybe join us there too? We can work on songs together!

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It’s worth it, as JT said micro-shifts will be your friend and down the road you could look at getting a short-scale bass.

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Yeah, that boy can Whale that Bass. What gets me is he never thumb rests higher than the E string. Wow!

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I wouldn’t let your hand size get into your head. One thing I have picked up from being a fan of Japanese rock is size isn’t a factor.

Welcome from another small handed guy

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Feel Good Inc by Gorillaz
Low Rider by War
Let’s Dance by David Bowie
Stand By Me by Ben E King
Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash

Here are some common songs for starting out. I think 7 Nation Army and Stand By Me were my first two.

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Just to add a few more that I started with –

The Pixies - Where Is My Mind
Booker T & MGs - Green Onions
Blues Brothers - Peter Gunn Theme
Gorillaz - On Melancholy Hill
Outkast - So Fresh, So Clean

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Mike_NL, That is pretty darned impressive for sure. That kid is awesome! His fingers actually look about the same size as mine though…lol

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JT Regular, really? That’s pretty small! How tall are you? Are you a small guy, or perhaps a young guy still growing? I’m just weird because I’m a fairly decent sized dude at 5’10", and I also go 275 lbs. Therefor my fingers are super thick (fat) too. I wear like a size 15 ring on my ring finger, but my digits are super short.

Do you care to explain what you mean by micro shifts? I’d be interesting in hearing advice from someone with small hands!

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I’m not short. I’m also 5’10".

All micro-shifting is is sliding your hand a bit up and down the neck when you can’t reach the notes just by stretching your hand without moving it on the neck.

Say for example we are trying to play the 1st fret and 5th fret on the A string, back and forth. People with very large hands might be able to do that just by using their index finger and pinky, without moving their hand position. For me, I have to be slightly moving my hand back and forth while I play the notes, because my hand won’t stretch that far apart.

Hope that makes sense. If not, I can dig out a YouTube video or something that explains it.

As I said though, the most important thing is that I’ve been able to play every single riff or song that I’ve tried to play. So, small hands are not a blocker to playing the bass. In fact, small hands can be a blessing when your are doing more nimble exercises. Forget the bass a second and think of something like an obstacle course. Someone that is short and nimble, may be able to deal with agility obstacles better than someone that is tall. The same concept can apply to the bass. People with large hands probably struggle more when the frets get close together (bridge end of the bass) than people with smaller hands. So there are pros and cons to small hands versus large hands.

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Well spoken, @JT . . . agree with everything you said.

(I’m also 5’10" btw . . . :grin: )

Seriously though, I micro-shift all the time and I don’t see that as a problem.

Cheers
Joe

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Hey. Congrats. Stick with it! I started guitar at 40 and switched to bass this past year. It’s rewarding! You will learn a lot fast and then you may feel you level off. Stick with it! The bass buzz course is great! I would also recommend spending some money on one on one lessons as well, it holds you accountable and pushes you! Also don’t get in the trap of thinking more and more gear will make you better - spend the money on a good teacher.

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