What are you struggling with?

I have not looked at the hundreds of posts in this thread… perhaps my question has already been addressed???

Apologies- long post.
The subject of my my post could be me asking how well traditional guitarists translated to bass… hear me out:

This is my first “real” post on this website other than my intro a few weeks ago (and hanging out in the lounge a bit.) I self- describe myself as the “ultimate noob” with respect and attitude toward the bass guitar despite a familiarity with 6 & 12 string acoustic guitars. I am willing to admit my bass ignorance and inabilities.

Have had the bass for about a month and I am still in what I would call the “getting familiar with this thing” stage. I even went as far as following the tutorial on setting it up! I think I got it right, but am still getting used to it.

Bass: It is a bit frustrating, confusing, tedious… not sure of the right words… I am trying to describe that it is a bit disappointing for me. And I think it might be my physical positioning.

Question below but with respect to my musical ability: I used to play 6 & 12 string for my own enjoyment (or amusement?) I have not picked up those in perhaps close to 10 years. It was around the time that I bought a fixer-upper house, thus my attentions were elsewhere. I still have all my fingers despite all the sawing and nailing…LOL. Even back then, I was only an advanced beginner bordering on “intermediate-ish.”

Ago and with practice and determination, using tabs, I could play While My Guitar Gently Weeps (chords only) similar to THIS VERSION. I could also play close to this version of Dust in the Wind.. My abilities were really only the chord finger patterns and rhythms of the songs- no “lead” or single fingering note sounds. Dust was mostly chord changes only a different picking style gave it its depth and character. There were no single notes in my interpretations. BTW- if to gauge my abilities compared to those I posted above, I would consider myself, at my prime, as a 7 on a scale if those videos posted are a 10.

Fast forward to today. Any translations of any past music aptitude are not transferring well to the bass.
The biggest thing I notice is I am not doing well with playing single finger notes on the bass fretboard.

My mind can still see chords and If I were to restring my old acoustics, I feel that with some dedication I could be at or near my previous abilities in a few weeks time. I am not suggesting that I try playing bass chords today… only providing more context. Even if I wanted to do chords, I do not have the finger strength. With respect to “typical” single note playing, I do not have the dexterity yet to cleanly place the individual digits on the bass.

Concern number two: My plucking hand has that almost 90-degree wrist-angle with respect my forearm as it rests over the guitar body. It is not painful but sure feels very awkward. If I try to raise my arm to a more upright position I feel like a bird with a dislocated shoulder because it sticks up quite uncomfortably. It does not get numb but gets tired quickly. I am having an awkward time doing the index-middle finger alternating method along with arm/ hand positioning.

In order to try and “feel” a more comfortable plucking position, I have lengthening my strap using an old belt. I am trying to experiment by standing up with the longer strap to place my plucking hand almost straight down at the strings. I sorta’ recall an image meme here describing different bass playing positions (can’t find it.)

I feel as if I cannot walk and chew bass gum at the same time especially being somewhat proficient on the guitar.

I am avoiding picking up the bass. I am sorta’ intimidated by it.

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Are you going through the B2B course? If not, you ought to consider doing so. It starts at the most basic level, which is very doable for just about anyone.

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:100: - anyone having issues with bass as a beginner that has not taken the course would benefit greatly by doing it. It was the best money I have spent in music in the last 40 years.

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Agree, I’m an old guitar player myself (20 years out of practice and 30 years removed from the last bass I owned), and while the course starts off at a level that I felt was below me, sticking with it and doing everything the way Josh asks us to do it is starting to pay dividends now that I’m getting into the middle modules. He is by far the best music teacher I’ve ever had. I’m really enjoying the theory way more than I thought I would.

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+1 on doing the course if you’re not already doing it.

30+ years ago, I could bash out chords on an acoustic guitar. Granted, I was pretty rubbish, but I can still remember some of them. The course was excellent, starting at zero and building from there. It was the best money I spent last year.

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Just got to Billie Jean tonight. The number of four letter words that came out along side 4-4-2-4bzzz-23-4 should have landed me on a government watch list if our phone mics are listening to us. Just caught Gio’s vid. I’ll check it out more tomorrow. I’m angry and frustrated and not really in a productive place to keep going atm.

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Don’t worry: Everyone goes through this when making Billie Jean’s acquaintance. It is a challenge, but it will come to you. If even the slow workout is too much right now, just move on to the next lessons. There are lots of cool techniques and songs to come that will build your technique and stamina. Many Buzzers revisit BJ periodically to find it’s not as hard as it first seemed. Just relax and enjoy the lessons. They’re fun!

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I had many moments like that. In fact, for one of the tracks you had to master - I can’t remember which one now - I ended up taking a Friday off work list so that I could spend a solid 8 hours getting it down. This particular lesson had been a block for a month…

From memory, Josh periodically ramps up the difficulty, then relaxes it again. The lesson after BJ is easier! But there are still tough lessons out there…

All I can say, is try to keep moving, it is worth it!

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I’m struggling with overdoing exercises for dexterity, reach and speed, to the point that my index finger is making a weird clicking sound when bending it. I’ve been playing for 4 hours straight the last 4-5 days.

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That sounds like too much time, and might be why your finger is clicking from overworking it. If you read enough threads here, I’m sure I’ve read that one hour a day is optimum for practice, otherwise it’s overkill and may be non-productive.

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Yeah I know I’ve been overdoing it. I’m working on 3 different songs atm, that are still way out of my league, but the bass lines are just so addictive to work through. Today it will be rest, only gonna practice a bit of slap accuracy with the right hand. And spend the day dialing in new tones on the Zoom B1 4.

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It’s common for new players to overdo practicing, thinking more is always better. But it’s counter-productive.

Liken it to lifting weights at the gym: Lifting weights is good, but lifting too heavy of weights, for too long at a time, is actually damaging to one’s body. It’s far safer and better to lift lighter weights at shorter sessions, with rest in between, to allow the muscles time to repair themselves.

Playing bass is a new physical and mental set of exercises. Give your mind and body time to absorb the tasks. Sounds counterintuitive, but it actually will work better for you.

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I am in PT to resolve an issue with my left hand, arm, and wrist. I have 4 stretching exercises to do. I do each one for 15 seconds each, then proceed to the next one. After I finish one round of the 4 exercises, I start over until I have four rounds done, and I do this cycle 2-3 times a day. About 20 minutes in total. If that gives you an idea that increased time will not produce increased results.

You can overdo stretching

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Speaking of my left arm, I reinjured it and am off playing for a few weeks to hopefully heal. I have given passing thought to trying to play lefthanded because that would bypass my injury, and I’m ambidextrous. Seems silly though but I do so want to be playing.

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I’m struggling with the whole concept of raking and fills. I usually just do my best to play the notes but after seeing people rake the strings (high to low) 2 or 3 notes on the right hand, that’s a level I haven’t seen taught.

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@lower_48 Ask and ye shall receive!

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For me? Despite being well past 3/4 of the way through B2B, I still struggle with alternate plucking. I can DO it, but the rhythm isn’t consistent and my dynamics suck. The tone just doesn’t remain stable. I think I need to spend some time each day with a metronome and start practice that on an open A or something.

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You can work specifically on it, however, if you just keep playing, it will come with time. Locking in eyes, brain and fingers is very much a rote exercise. One day you will just be doing it and you won’t notice until you’ve already been good at it lol. Many things will come like this. Focus on practicing and playing vs hitting a goal and all the goals will come.

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That’s the plan. Like 5 min daily of just plucking with a metronome and slowly speeding it up over time. Build it into my warmup routine.

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When you’re ready @AdamDickson pick a simple song with straight 8th notes and use that to work on your alternate plucking.

There are only 4 notes to learn and they’re the same order all the way through the whole song. It’s nice to break up the monotony of the metronome.

Ignore the fact that he’s not alternate plucking in the video.

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