Practice Routines

Hi guys. Brand new to the bass and really enjoying learning. I’m wondering how you all get the most out of your practice sessions. How long do you practice for? How long you spend on stretches and finger exercises. Any advice gratefully received as I really want to get my technique down from the get go and not learn in too many mistakes. Thanks all.

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Hi @AndyD and welcome to the forum
Have you done or are you doing the B2B bass course?
I am also looking for info on structured practice regimes
My idea is to do a 50/50 split of hard work and fun stuff
The hard work will be things like scales, finger exercises sight reading etc and the fun part will be playing covers and general improvising etc
I am trying to split the hard work up into short chunks and set a time on my phone
At the moment I am doing five minutes every day on building fluidity when playing major scales. Once I am happy with major scales I will do major scales on a monday and minor scales for the rest of the week. Then major monday, minor tuesday, major pentatonic rest of the week until I am doing a different scale for each day of the week.
I will just keep adding in stuff in 5 or 10 minute chunks until I have 30 minutes of work and 30 minutes of fun a day.
Anything extra will be just more fun
5 minutes on scales does not sound like much but it is 5 minutes more than I was doing and is 35 minutes a week

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I’m curious too. I like to think of practice like the gym, cardio (drills, grooving), and lifting (technical, hard stuff).

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Here are a couple of threads on the same topic…

Practice Time.
and
Do you have a practice routine?.

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I try and do a little bit every day… even if it is 10 mins it helps. I listen to a few videos about theory and try out the suggestions. Even if I can’t get the technique right it is in my head so I am making a little progress.

For me it is a journey to be enjoyed… not sure where it is taking me…

I also try and play different types of music on the bass rather than learn a song by rote… exploring stuff.

The Blues is great because there is a pattern that you can learn and then explore. I now love listening to Blues too.

Take care. All the best from the UK

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Thank you sir! I’ll read these!

Ken T.

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I’m with you brother!

Ken Thompson

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Thanks for the comments guys. Some really helpful points. I’m using Fender Play at the moment as I had it for regular guitar but I think Josh’s lessons look a bit better on the bass front so I’ll probably switch when my fender play runs out.

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So for a couple months now I’ve been spending a lot of time busy with a number of things and my nightly routine had fallen off. I sort of fell into a weekly thing with good time spent on weekends but not much during the week.

Can verify this is bad. Very bad.

Since about July I have definitely not progressed. At all. I’m on this right hand style plateau where I had been really trying to work my reliable chugging speed up to ~160BPM eighth notes or ideally faster. I don’t mean just being able to chug that fast briefly or sloppily, I mean for a whole song with good technique, timekeeping, and clear sound. It’s basically an endurance workout.

I’ve fallen off of that significantly. I cannot do 160 for more than a few bars now before it sounds like garbage. Which makes sense, as endurance kind of things like this benefit from regular shorter workouts a lot more than they do from weekly longer ones.

So word to the wise, play every day, even for “just five minutes”. I did for over a year after the course and made great progress; the last couple months I’ve been stalled because I went more weekly. Don’t make this mistake!

The GOOD news is - if you have taken a week or two off, you don’t need to worry. Your skills are still there, it’s like riding a bike. I know some people might fear they will lose their skills. You won’t. You’ll just get a bit rusty. So get back in the ring :slight_smile:

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Practice routine depends on how much time you have.
In a typical hour, I will split it up into segments with the sections I do, and length, varying somewhat from day to day. But I try to fit in left hand finger exercises, right hand technique, hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides, stings, burps, note groupings, speed bursts, intervals, dynamics, and spend A LOT of time on groove and time keeping / metronome and drum exercises because that’s been my weakness and is also what I believe is essential to being a good player. I add arpeggios, root-3rd-5th, harmony and analysis, plus speed drills with major, minor, blues, plus major and minor pentatonic scales. Almost all of this can be applied to fretboard visualization too. I spend the next half-hour to hour working on songs I’m trying to learn. And on the weekends, I play for fun with no agenda. And since I started late in life and have to be very focused in what I do, I don’t practice with a pick or slap technique because I don’t have time. I have also been keeping a written practice log for the last six months and that has really helped me to progress, plus I record myself as much as possible, especially on the weekends. The keys for me so far have been identifying what elements are needed to improve, how to split it up into short segments, what should be practiced daily if possible, what my weaknesses are, to keep a log, and to always practice with a metronome and/or drum machine. Also wanted to add that I try to spend some of my time doing nothing but listening to music, focusing on bass lines and the bass-drum relationships.
Good luck !

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As expected, after even just a couple nights back to my old routine, already improving noticeably.

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I don’t know about you all but I use a journal (since my wife is a crafty person) to practice. I have not developed one for my bass studies yet but here is a few sample pages from my jazz guitar studies.I have various tabs in there for time practiced, scales, modes, chords etc.

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As an older person with limited time who has only been playing a couple of years, I’m a big proponent of learning technique. Good technique will expand the range of what you can do and will allow you to improve dramatically. Small daily doses lead to big gains. The other big part doesn’t involve playing - sometimes it’s important to listen to music, focusing on the bass parts. Good luck !

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Asmit it. You are an engineer.

No, but I went to a science high school way back when and work with a lot of engineers. :smile:

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