I understand that everyone is at a different level, but wondering if I can get some advice on beginner set up for practice? Two options to consider. One with Earphones and the other loud. through amp Do you just use the computer for music, or print it out? How do you scroll through the notation while playing? How do you play backing tracks/music. I seem to have ended up with lots of cables, computers, monitors, amps, basses, etc and still feel it is all a fiddle. I just cannot seem to find a comfortable set up. Feel like tapping into the bass hive mind might provide some answers.
There are many ways to set up your gear for practicing but here are some simple configs.
If you have an amp, you have a couple of choices: use the speaker or use headphones.
For backing track or lesson playback, run a cable from your computer’s headphone Out to the amp’s phone In. You would then hear your computer’s playback and your bass playing simultaneously through either phones or amp speaker.
If you’re referring to B2B lessons, the tab and notation will self-scroll during playback.
For reading printed tab or notation, the simplest way to do it with minimal page turning is to space out the pages on a music stand.
Hope this helps.
I prefer iPad Pro over my MacBook it’s more nimble when moving around, although the M1 model doesn’t come with headphones jack but I can connect it through Bluetooth.
The most wire-free option would be Boss waza air but that’s headphones only. Personally, I prefer to play bass through an amp and feel the wave, lol.
As for the visual, the messiest time is when you learn new song, be it notation, tab or transcribing it involves some paper spreading out. Once it’s done and you’ve committed to memory, you just need some chart to refresh your memory. Personally, I try not to get stuck reading sheets all the time.
To be honest, I use a combo of everything you listed above. I have an amp and speaker cabinet I use most often, but I also have headphones when I need to be quiet. I have studio monitor speakers connected to my computer, I usually play backing tracks through there, and rarely run them into the amp. I also have a DAI that allows me to run my bass through the computer, which is great if I want to record.
I bought Guitar Pro software, which is great for standard or tab notation if you are able to get the song you want to play in .gp format. It has a moving cursor that moves with the song, so no concern with flipping pages. You can also speed up / slow down the song, and mute the other instruments if you want to isolate the bass, or just hear the drums and bass. I also have a music stand if I am using a printout, and like @MikeC says, I can spread out at the pages. I usually work on songs in chunks, and eventually commit to memory. At that point I sometimes make chord charts, or will only take a snip of a bassline so the whole song fits on one piece of paper.
If cost is an issue, I would get a music stand, practice amp speaker combo, and headphones if you share your practice area with anyone else. You should be able to plug any audio source into your amp combo with the right cable.
Papers taped together, @JerryP s famous cardboard backers.
For PC Or iPad sheet music I use a Bluetooth page turner pedal, flip, not scroll. Scrolling seems like a good way to lose your place in a hurry.
Ambient whenever possible the Boss Waza Air.
If I’m practicing a song I follow YouTube and slow down or loop with a Vimaldi pedal - priceless, then when good enough at speed run the backing track from my DAW through monitors and start to fiddle with tone etc to get ready to record. Listening back gives you great feedback on what still needs work and what is nailed down. Looping in DAW is also your friend.
Thank you @MikeC @Al1885 @AnotherJosh @John_E . All great suggestions. I see a bit of fiddling coming on to get the right set up that works for me, but appears I am on the right track. Did not know about bluetooth page turner, so this could be on the Christmas list.
So… I have a Fender Rumble 100. I also have a Behringer UM2 plugged into my PC, with an XLR audio-in coming from the Rumble and audio outs going to my “hi-fi”.
If I’m just noodling, or practicing scales, or a specific riff, or anything just straight out of my head, I don’t even bother with the PC/“hi-fi”. It’s straight amp.
If I’m going to play along with music, generally speaking, I snap a music source (iTunes/YouTube/whatever) to the left side of the monitor, and the notation (web site/notepad/whatever) snapped to the right side of the monitor. At that point, I generally practice a screen-sized chunk at a time until they’re committed to memory… so I don’t really worry about scrolling or the like.
If I’m recording (at least, the very few songs I have recorded or am working on recording), Reaper takes up the whole screen and I’m playing from memory. At that point, I’ve run an MP3 through Spleeter, have separate tracks for the different instruments in the song loaded into Reaper, and those tracks are played through the “hi-fi” while the bass I’m recording is playing through the amp (and out the XLR to the UM2 and into Reaper).
I never practice or play into headphones, but I realize that’s the only option for many people. I just don’t have any feedback on it.
Headphones are my #1 preferred way to play. I rarely fire through my amp’s speaker.
But my personal aim is to practice my playing, and the intimacy of having the sound in my head works best for me. There are no ambient sound distractions and I can hear every detail, good and bad.
I use a Waza Air-Bass system for its fidelity and non-tethered nature. I don’t use its 3D or any other built-in effects. I turn them all off and set the app to Super-Flat, which is the non-EQ’d, absolutely flattest output mode, so only the uncolored, true tone of my bass comes through.
As for amps, I realize many/most bass players like to rattle walls, and understandably so. Not me.
I used to, but now my prefs and focus are inward. I play for myself and I don’t foresee or even desire playing in a band again. That said, things change. But for now, my phones work just fine. YMMV.
Here’s how I roll: Corrugated artboard from the hobby shop and some paper clips. It all sits nicely on the music stand.
Yep, that’s how I played and practiced in music school. I hated having to stop and turn pages! Talk about losing the damn groove.
Late night Boss waza air bass. Better than your average headphone over the top surround and static amp position. It’s pretty cool way to practice and get your muscle memory ready for playing on stage.
Not so late night but not full volume then the Boss Dual Cube Bass LX still a room filling sound, plenty of bells and whistles.
Full on small stage volume is the Genzler Bass array. I usually play it with a separate audio source to feel more realistic so I usually run it on Vox Kini Super Beetle amp.
The Genzler acoustic array is pretty awesome for acoustic bass, and upright as well as acoustic guitars, it has mic input with 48v phantom power. Plus to film it it’s the zoom Q8N 4k, best video camera with focus on audio quality.
I use guitar pro on both iPad and MacBook the computer version is definitely has more capability. On the track separation app I use Moisses. Current, I’m about to jump into the world of pedals. Hoping it would be fun, lol.
Then if I feel good I’d lay down some tracks. I have Logic Pro but for the most part I found myself using GarageBand quite often, just as awesome audio quality.
Hey, what bass is that? I love the woodgrain. And the cream pickups/knobs are a great match.
Ernie Ball Music Man Joe Dart Signature bass. It is one of a select few EBMM unicorn basses.
I just plug straight into an amp and set my book down where I can see it, metronome is on my phone. I hate recording and I hate being tethered to a bunch of cables like I’m being monitored at a hospital. I do try to put my volume and gain as high as possible so I make a conscious effort on my muting
As per usual, you’ve got great gear and taste, Al.
Here’s the low down. 100 were made, I definitely consider this #101. Special ordered from the playing artist. The limiter on the pickups have been removed so they are hotter and less vintagy.
Finally something that I can answer! I’ve spent A LOT of time improving my practice routine to avoid the exact same problems that you described.
Below I’m going to described how I do it (with pictures)! Hopefully this can help more people and save them the amount of time and money that I spent setting this space up.
I wanted a practice space where I could do mainly two things well and fast:
- Pick up my bass and just play to a backing track at any time of the day;
- Sit down and have a proper practice session.
What I use for this both cases is a:
- Old Macbook Air;
- Scarlett Solo Audio Interface;
- ATH-M40x headphones;
- Amplitube 5.
P.S.: yes, I don’t have an amp!
Since I live in a teeny-tiny apartment, I have a shelf where I have the equipment listed above and my bass right beside to it:
I have a shorter cable that connects the audio interface with the Macbook. The bass cable is on the side of the shelf (see last picture of this post):
When I want to sit down for some time and really practice or record a video, what I do is I get my newer Macbook and just connect it to the audio interface and sit on the sofa next to the shelf (I have a little table where I put the Macbook so it’s right in front of me).
For this scenario, the original audio interface cable is too short! That’s why I have right besides the shelf two cables: a longer audio interface cable and a 6 meters bass cable:
So everything that I need to do is just:
- Plug the longer cable;
- Use the newer Macbook.
Everything in here is pretty much 100% ready to just plug the bass and play. I can do lessons, listen to music and play at the same time, etc.
For a casual practice session, I have everything ready in 3 minutes. For the longer section, it can take more or less 7 minutes to have everything ready.
I hope this helps! Thank you for reading!
Where did you get this wonderful cable thingy?
I haven’t owned an amp in years. Love going that route.
That looks like a headphone hanger.
Lamicall Headphone Stand, Headset Hanger - 360 Degree Rotation Earphone Adhesive Hook Holder Mount, Table Headphone Stand with Cable Organizer, Gaming Headset Clamp for HyperX, Sony, Sennheiser -Black https://a.co/d/fPzVcjE