Timberfist's Progress

Day 1:

Attempted to tune my bass to the wrong E and bust a string.

Total “practice” time: Two minutes.

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Heavy Seinfeld-Elaine-type-of-shove - Get outta here!!!

How did you manage to bust an E string??? You’d think the bridge might pop off, or the tuner might give before the string breaks…

:crazy_face:

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Aw man! That is a rough learning experience. However, it’s just that, a learning experience. Every time you make a mistake, you learn from it. The trick is to not have to learn from the same mistake twice.

When I was first learning, as a teenager, I ended up doing the same thing.

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Yeah, it’s not a good start but, like you say, I’m gonna learn from it.

I’m always a bit intimidated when I start on a new hobby. In fact, this morning I found myself doing jobs around the house in order to put off picking up my bass. I’ve gone full circle: rather than procrastinate to avoid doing jobs, I’m now doing jobs to avoid procrastinating!

Anyhoo, I’m off out in a few minutes to buy myself a new set of strings. I’ll try to look like I know what I’m doing :wink:

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So I got myself a set of these:

https://www.daddario.com/products/guitar/bass-guitar/xl-nickel-bass/exl165-nickel-wound-bass-custom-light-45-105-long-scale/item/daddario-exl165-nickel-wound-bass-guitar-strings-custom-light-45-105-long-scale-912/

I’m hoping these will be a suitable replacement for the OEM strings which are listed as “ Nickel Plated Steel (.045-.105 Gauges).”

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Those should be fine.

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Time for an update.

Day 1 ended with me fitting my new set of strings and, if I do say so myself, doing a pretty good job of it. I then tuned my bass and put it back on the stand as I had commitments that evening.

Yesterday was a dead loss. I was doing chores from the moment I woke up and once I finished, six hours later, I was frazzled and didn’t think I was in the best frame of mind to pick up a new motor skill on the assumption that a bad practice would be worse than no practice at all so my bass stayed on its stand. It looked pretty though :smiley:

Fast forward to today and I’d run out of excuses. I plugged my tablet into my amp’s auxiliary input and threw on my headphones on and started watching videos. Nice gentle introduction about how the course was structured, a video about how to tune my bass that contained the oh-so-nearly-timely advice to always err on the side of caution and tune down rather than up to avoid the possibility of breaking a string (ahem) and then it was time to play:

Eeeeee twooo threeee fooour, Geeeee twooo threeee fooour, Aaaaaa twooo threeee fooour, Geeeee twooo threeee fooour…

Hey, this is fun! Next video:

Eee twoo threee foour, Gee twoo threee foour, Aaa twoo threee foour, Gee twoo threee foour…

Even funner! Next video:

E two three four, G two three four, A two three four, G two three four…

Holy cow! Note to self: I am a bass god!

So that’s where I am up to.

My thoughts so far:

Restringing a bass isn’t as hard as it looks.

The course is really fun. I’m serious here; I own many musical instruments and have owned many more. I have wanted to learn to play music for most of my life. I have never, ever actually enjoyed trying. This is different, I am officially, in my groove.

The course is paced really well (or at least the first 5/109 lessons are). I like that you get a sense of achievement right from the get go. I like the feeling that we’re only going to worry about the specific step we’re on and we’re not going to worry about step n until we get there. It makes acquiring a skill achieveable by tackling it one tiny bit at a time.

I’m very happy with my bass.

I’m happy, although still underwhelmed, by my amp. Don’t get me wrong, it sounds very nice and ticks all the boxes in a sensible kind of way but… it’s a bit dull. No doubt down the line I’ll move to something far less sensible. I’m sure I’ll be very happy.

More updates later. I’m not done for the day yet :metal:

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My Gibson does that a lot . . . :wink:

Great progress report, @Timberfist and glad you’re getting into it!

Cheers, Joe :slight_smile:

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We are all bass deities! Some may be minor deities. Some major, some flat, some sharp. In our own practice room, or in this sheltered community, we are all bass gods.

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Can I be dimished?? :rofl:

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Good progress! For whatever reason, people ask me about practice routines a lot in real life. Don’t know why, because I’ve never mastered an instrument. However, I find it’s better for me to get in 10 or 15 min here and there when I can instead of trying to have an hour or two of perfect practice. I’ve always felt that frequency matters more than duration. For example, practicing 15 min a day is better than practicing 4 hours every weekend. That’s just been my experience though. The other thing is that picking up the instrument it the hardest bit. Kind of like working out. :slight_smile:

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This is quite true, and the unplanned benefit of snatching 10mins when you can is that you are more likely to stretch it to 20, or 30 or even 60 minutes once you start. Every pro and teacher I’ve heard express an opinion on the debate has said that it’s better to get some practice than no practice: 10 minutes every other day is better than 1 hour once a week. We need to get familiar and comfortable with so many aspects of playing that if we wait until Sunday morning when everybody else is out of the house (or whatever) then we spend the first 5-10 minutes just getting comfortable with the kit.

It’s a little different with the lessons because you will probably sit down and work though from start to finish, but there’s nothing wrong with dipping in & out of a lesson, repeating it several times, or even leaving it for a few days - but it’s preferable to get some sort of practice in between.

(This advice is brought to you by somebody who knows he’ll make better progress if he applies it to himself rather than leaving the bass hanging on the wall for weeks at a time - as he is currently doing.)

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@PeteP, don’t feel too badly about that. It’s still okay to take breaks from bass playing now and then . . . sometimes life gets in the way :wink:

Remember the most important thing is to have fun!

Cheers, Joe

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If only I had a good reason.

I could so easily have completed the course in a month if I’d tried, 3 with not much effort, 6 should’ve been a doddle, but I let it slide and then got irregular, then stopped picking up the bass. I’m not too bothered as I know I have plenty of time and there’s no rush to finish. I do really enjoy seeing somebody else’s progress though - especially a complete beginner. It’s kind of heartwarming.

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Yeah, I just started and have to force myself to slow down. Just want to keep going until blood shoots out of my fingers.

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You’ve got a nice new bass to finish it with!

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Time for another update.

So I finished off on Wednesday with Module 1, Lesson 3. This, for those of you who have long forgotten, introduces half notes for the first time and moves from the E string to the A string.

This, also for the first time, showed the chinks in my bass god armour. While I was happy with the half notes, I found the fretting on the A string to be more of a challenge. I got through it but I had been brought down a peg or two.

Yesterday, I didn’t pick up my bass at all. Again, it was a day of many chores and by the evening, I just wanted to slob down in front of the TV with my family and watch a movie: Mel Gibson in Edge of Darkness. Not bad, but not great. It had mostly redeemed itself by the end but a slow start left it, largely, unsatisfying.

This morning, I got up early to get some time in on the bass before the family got moving and worked through lessons four, and five. This was a frustrating session, not because of the lessons themselves but, because several ergonomic issues I’d been ignoring came to the fore.

Issue 1: The cable on my headphones is far too short. My 'phones, the beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro, come in different impedances: 32 Ohms for mobile devices, 80 Ohms for general use, and 250 Ohms for “studio” use. I ordered the 250 Ohm version which, unlike the 32 Ohm and 80 Ohm versions, come with a coiled cable. I hate it! It’s far too short and, combined with the fact that the headphone socket on the Rumble 40 is at the back (seriously, who signed off on that?), the cable constantly gets in the way and pulls me forward (or at least encourages me to lean forward). It drives me mad.

Issue 2 (possibly caused by Issue 1): I want my guitar strap to sit at the left hand edge of my shoulder but (possibly because I’m constantly leaning forward because of my headphone cable), it keeps slipping across my shoulder and up onto my neck. This further encourages me to lean forward so by the time I’ve come to the end of a video, I’m hunched forward, uncomfortable and seriously pissed off. This is not conducive to a good learning experience.

So this morning, I’ll be buying a headphone extension cable and retry lessons four and five. Or maybe I’ll unplug from the amp (see below). We’ll see if that resolves issue 2 and, if not, I’ll start the search for a broader strap on Monday.

Lessons learned:

Ergonomics are important and bad ergonomics encourage bad technique. Fix problems as soon as they occur.

Notes to self:

All practicing has so far been performed sitting down. Mix it up a little. This is at least partially caused by the fact that your iPad is resting on top of your amp. Consider buying a music stand or small lectern to support it at a hieght that’s comfortable for you.

Be a little more selfish and practice at least some of the time without headphones. It’ll encourage you to stand up and use better posture.

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Good update! You are very right about ergonomics being important. I’ve found this important with my strap. As soon as I had a decent wide padded bass strap, it made a big difference. I still have to correct myself from hunching over though. I practice at my computer desk, but you definitely want to be looking forward and not down. That won’t be doing your neck (or back) any favors.

And yeah, putting the headphone jack on the back of the amp is silly and annoying to me too!

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Good point, @Timberfist . . . :+1:

As you progress, you will work out the little kinks along the way, whether they be simple adjustments, or getting some additional hardware such as a stand, extension cords, etc. Everyone’s situation and needs are different. Hang in there!

Cheers, Joe :slight_smile:

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Hi All,

So I’m back. It’s been almost two weeks since my last update and for the first eight days, I didn’t pick up my bass once. I’d got as far as Module 1, Lesson 6 and two things happened. Firstly, real life took a turn for the stressful and I just didn’t feel in the right frame of mind to pick up my bass, and secondly, I think I was a little bit intimidated by the Van Halen lesson.

While I was a little worries that the bass might go the way of all my other, unlearned, instruments, I was at least confident in the fact that I was enjoying myself playing the bass and so I did expect to come back. It was just a matter of when.

When turned out to be five days ago when I resolved to restart the course from the beginning so as to build back up to the Van Halen lesson but also to really hammer home what I’d learned so far.

The good news? Everything was a lot easier second time around, I was still enjoying playing, and I completed the first module and the Van Halen class was nothing to be worried about.

I’m going to repeat lesson 6 at each of the three tempos and try the string-muting technique. I did have a go at the medium tempo but I think I’d benefit from attempting it at all three speeds. Then it’s on to module 2!

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