Practise Suggestions

So it’s my first time running through the course - also first instrument, first time posting to the forums etc etc… lots of firsts :slightly_smiling_face: -

I’ve just made it up to Module 7 for the all important scales and and keys lessons. By this point I feel like my ability with the theory is now getting ahead of the physical practise, so I want to get a bit more comfortable with what I do know before powering on ahead.
I’d done some light research on scales just before this section so I’ve been plugging my phone into my amp with a drump loop app to have fun with the couple scales that I remember.

Just wondering what other types of practises people around my beginner level do / have done; especially to improve things like fretting speed and accuracy?

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Welcome to the forum @renouf!
The best way I’ve found to improve speed and accuracy with my exercises or students (I teach private bass lessons) is to have them play anything they can play very slowly.
Have a drum machine or metronome and set it at 60 or 70.
Play sloooowwwwwwwww.

Then move it up in increments. Once you get up to 120 or 140, move it back to 60 or 70, but instead of playing quarter notes (one per pulse) play eighth notes (two even notes per pulse).
Do the same thing again, and then go to triplets.
Then sixteenths.

It takes a long time and takes patience, but it keeps everything focused on something you know so you can pay attention to “what goes wrong when I go too fast”. It’s a great way to discover what’s rough with your technique.

There are plenty of great warm-up and scale exercises as well.
I don’t have any ready to deploy here, but the above concept is nice because it works with any piece of scale/warmup bass work that you already know.

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Thanks for the quick and detailed reply! I admit I see things about playing slowly a fair bit, but some times it takes being told things directly so you know it applies to you too… :roll_eyes:
I think it’ll be good for me though, I have a hard time slowing things down some times as I get restless and my brain flies at 100mph. Aiming to learn patience as well as bass :laughing:

One thing I’ve previously picked out to work on, when I’m playing along with some course workouts, is if I miss a note or just don’t quite hit a fret right I find it so hard to keep going with a rhythm and most of the time will instead just lock up - hands and brain. So I imagine taking it super slow will help there.
But some times when I play some of the slow workouts, in the extra time I’ll overthink or just forget what comes next, but then I’ll nail the medium workout of the same thing more from muscle memory than actively thinking what to do next. Feels like a fine balance haha :slight_smile:

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Definitely!!

It’s like in the Karate Kid (the original, of course). You do the wax on wax off motion to the point where you are sick of it… but it has seeped into your body and muscles.
Then when you need it at faster tempos, it’s ready.

I try and use this analogy on all of my students… but so few of them have seen the movies I reference now… Alas.

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Awesome, cheers. Sometimes even just getting some confirmation to say “that’s fine” makes all the difference.
I love references like that. It’s how to keep the classics alive! Maybe you could sneak some of these movies into your lessons and claim it’s ‘compulsory curriculum’ :smiley:

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Does anything change in the plucking technique as you increase the tempo? Or is it exactly the same movement just faster? (Asking because that’s not the case in drumming for example. Or in walking vs running, etc.)

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Things change, but it will happen in your hand.
I don’t think it would be beneficial to add any specifics to focus on.

This is a diagnostic tool. If you’re doing this and you plateau at a certain tempo, then it’s time to analyze what’s happening and, possibly, offer some pointers.
It will develop naturally.

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Practice, of course, is individual to a degree and my practice routine does not have to fit to your style. And I did not read it very carefully this time but from experience I’d say everything Gio said is true :wink:
Especially the part about beginning slow. It is so essential to play in a tempo one is comfortable with in order to increase the speed of your learning that I mention it every single time someone asks about practice. You have to take the time you need to learn in your pace otherwise you aren’t learning (in an effective manner - sometimes even at all).

A very good accompaniment to the course itself for practice is the BassBuzz YouTube Video Guide
It connects the B2B course to the Bassbuzz youtube videos. So when you learn something in the course you can go to youtube for additonal training resources for a lot of lessons.

My personal practice routine is lacking since I do not have as much free time as with 50% work time but when I manage to pick up my bass it’s the same.

I always do a 10-15 minutes technical warmup on my ultimate groove workout practice website: https://bass-scale-practice.web.app/scales
You can choose a drumbeat and also add silent bars.

Since you are looking up scales/remembering them or whatever I also want to mention the beautiful work of @gcancella: https://fretful.io/

After my 10-15 minute groove workout practice I play what I want or need to practice. But I always start with the purely technical exercise. The 10-15 minute rule came up after I noticed that once I start technical exercises open ended I never finish. And short practice sessions with high intervals (e.g. daily 5 mins) are more effective than practicing the same thing one hour long on one day.

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Thank you both @Gio and @juli0r I will certainly be taking these things on board and keeping them in mind! :slight_smile:
And juli0r those scale practise links you’ve mentioned have gone straight into my bookmarks for future reference as well, awesome sites!

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I’ve been trying for a couple of days now, the most I can do with 16th notes is 90 bpm currently (I’m shooting for 120). But the good news is that I can pluck 8th notes with one finger up to 130 bpm, so this suggests that my fingers are good enough, the issue is just with the coordination between the two.

Btw I remember it used to be the same situation with drums as well - I was able to comfortably play 8th notes with one hand at a certain tempo (RR RR RR RR, LL LL LL LL), but I was not able to play 16th notes at the same tempo with alternating hands (RLRL RLRL RLRL RLRL).

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90 is pretty solid for whole songs. I can only do a few measures at 90 myself.

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Yeah.
I documented my struggle in the “shall I contact this band” thread but yeah.
Chugging 16th on 90bpm is already demanding. I’m not sure I would even want to go as high as 120bpm for chugging 16th.
But I guess if you can play it fast you can play it slow.

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Yeah. For me the problem isn’t reaching the speed, it’s keeping it consistently in time for extended chugging, and also keeping good tone while doing it. It takes very little effort to play fast and sound like garbage; playing that fast consistently on-beat and with clear notes is very difficult.

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Just to clarify, I’m not going for full songs either with 16th notes at 90 bpm. It’s just a couple of bars at the end of some phrases in Testify (RATM), see below. Song is at 118 bpm. The first one will be doable once I get to that tempo, but I don’t even know what to think about the second one.

And yes, sounding good is implied. Otherwise I wouldn’t count it as a win. :slight_smile:


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Yeah, that last part would be very tough at that tempo for me as I would need to seriously shift for it.

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Hah, I wasn’t even thinking about chugging when I mentioned speed at the start of the thread.
I’ve found my current speed limit for keeping it clean from just 1 annoying bar: B2B Module 8, Higher and Higher - slow workout, just cannot manage that 2nd bar at a higher tempo, the coordination is not there yet :’)

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Yep, getting some PTSD there. Higher and Higher was one of the songs that I too was unable to play decently until the very end of the course. (The other one was My Sharona.)

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Well it’s good to know that the feeling is shared, not so much that’s it’s mentally scarred you :rofl:
How long have you played since you got to the end of the course if you don’t mind me asking?

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Started 12th of July, finished 16th of August. I intend to do it again sometime, but I’m having too much fun learning songs right now. :slight_smile:

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I’ve been able to squeeze a couple more bpm out of my plucking fingers, thought I’d share here what I’ve been doing, might work for others as well. (Really tedious stuff though… I’m only doing it because there are some good songs at the other end of the tunnel.)

So as I mentioned above, I’m able to comfortably pluck 8th notes with one finger at a certain tempo, but unable to pluck 16th notes with alternating fingers at the same tempo. This makes me believe that it’s mostly a finger coordination problem, and this is what I’ve been doing to improve it:

  1. start with plucking 8th notes with index only (1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & )
  2. if that sounds ok then add the first 16th note with middle (1e& 2 & 3 & 4 & )
  3. if that sounds ok then add one more 16th note with middle (1e&a2 & 3 & 4 & )
    etc.

So the general idea is to sneak in more and more 16th notes. And then once I can do a full bar consistently, increase the tempo a bit and start over from step 1.