That blasted Billie Jean!

That darn song is my first hiccup in the course. I know I am not supposed to let it phase me and I should move on…but I just can’t seem to pass on it.

One thing I discovered is that no matter how far I stretch, my stubby little fingers are NOT going to go as far as I need them to. Its physically impossible. But fretting my way back and forth is the way to do it. In the meantime, my plucking fingers get out of sync. Is that going to be a further problem? I hope not, I have been doing very good up to this point!

I made it halfway through the slow workout. I get lost. I am not really complaining as I am going to practice till I get it right! I just wanted to let others know the trouble I was having. Anyone else feel the same?


If it is any consolation this is all super common, don’t give up :slight_smile:

It is fine to continue on and come back to this one later. No shame in that, lots of people do.


You are not alone:


Billie Jean totally derailed my 30 day goal when I took the course. After spending what seemed like an eternity trying to get past that lesson, I finally gave in and skipped over her. When I finished the course, I went back to BJ and nailed it.
Today, it comes so easy for me that it’s part of my daily warmup routine.
You will hear similar advice from others, and I suggest you heed it.


I did the fast one a year after completing the course.
Be ok with it and move on, you can come back whenever you like and are ready


Hi @Pammie_Jo . Yes. Billie Jean is the first of a number of walls you run into in B2B, but it’s the one that EVERYONE runs into. All the others seem to be more individual.

That said, I’m about 80% through the course (had to slow down because reasons), I can now play this riff consistently at the medium tempo with the lower octave on the F# (apparently the way you’re supposed to, although this is intensely debated) and the fast tempo without.

It comes with time, and when you do the slow tempo Billie Jean and move on, the stuff you learn the more advanced lessons will help you go back and succeed at the faster speeds.


So what I’m gathering from the replies to this thread is that one shouldn’t get hung up on getting things 100%. Do your best, move on and come back later. Correct? I’m still stuck on M1L2 trying to get it perfect.


YES!!! If it’s not fun, you’ll get frustrated, angry and quit. It’s that simple.


Absolutely! Josh mentions this several times in the videos: if you can do the slow workout for any lesson, proceed to the next one. You can (and should) always return to it later!


That is exactly correct! What I did was make marks in the squares in the little booklet for each lesson. An “X” meant I completed it successfully, a “0” meant I completed it, but need improvement, and a circle around the square with no mark inside it, meant I skipped it completely and need to revisited it before I can say I completed the course (Billie Jean).
I started out with a goal of 30 days, and ended up completing it (to my satisfaction) in 96 days.


Wow, yeah, it’s a definite jump-up from the previous lessons.


There are a couple of sayings: “play slow to play fast” and “playing fast is just like playing slow, only faster”.

You will come across more songs like that where you struggle and the answer is usually to play it slow. If you can’t play it clean slowly, play even slower. Playing slowly requires more accurate muscle control which can sometimes make it more difficult at first. Playing quickly sometimes allows you to just fly over things masking poor technique. Use a metronome if you need to or a backing track. Once you can play something accurately at a slow tempo, slowly increase the tempo until you’re up to the desired speed. Many people keep practicing at a speed that’s too fast for them and all they’re doing is practicing their mistakes which makes it even more difficult to play cleanly. If you have a particular bar or section that give you difficulty, practice that over and over. Look at your finger movement between strings and be as economical as possible with your motions. Look at your plucking hand, you should always be using the same fingers to pluck the same notes every time you play through eg. if you play through a bar using fingers I,M,M,I, don’t play through it M,I,I,M the next time.

I didnt do that with this song, i couldnt play it cleanly on the fast speed and i didnt care so i just skipped it. I came back a few months later, tried it and could play it fine :slight_smile:

There’s a song on Scott’s Bass Lessons that i worked on almost every day for about 6 weeks before I could play through it with no mistakes.


Josh didn’t go and throw Billie Jean in there by accident any more than he did because he thought anyone who’d been through his course to that point would nail it, first thing. This is a technique that works well when teaching anything that will take consistent practice – it’s showing you something you are working towards. It’s giving you a goal. And it’s teaching you how to approach something he knows you cannot do.

Put another way – He’s showing you how you learn!

Just give it some time, go slow, and in a few months of bass playing, you’ll find yourself not getting mad at your fingers as much. Instead you’ll be getting mad at your brain trying to work its way around music theory and sight reading and how to compose a really killer solo because you love playing and you want to learn more about things like that!


you’re my hero Pam!

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Thank you everyone for your input! I am going to move on, despite my OCD (lol) and come back to it. That Ska tune in the next module I will be doing in my sleep…but I did move on! You all are awesome!!!


@Pammie_Jo , from one Pam to another… ROCK IT!


Great quote. I love it. :slight_smile:


Somehow this thing got me. But after a while, I did nail it. It was not hard, in terms of technical things, but I had to focus on not letting my mind wander around, and missing on string chances. Repeating a one thing over and over… it’s something that I am not able to do, without losing concentration. Weird.


Congratulations @P.Peura on conquering BJ. We’ll add your name to the statue of Billie Jean in the park behind the BassBuzz student lounge. :smiley_cat:

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