What are you struggling with?

You have hit on the answer: Go back through B2B. Additionally, don’t blow off lessons or workouts that are “too easy” or “too slow.”

Josh has a definite method to his madness: Even the very first B2B lessons are chock-full of invaluable techniques and tips that every player should learn and forever keep in mind.

Even the greatest bass players around practice fundamentals, because nothing played without them will be entirely correct.

As an example, master bassist Marcus Miller goes through slo-o-o-o-w alternate finger picking on each string as part of his warm-up routine before every show he plays. And the man can and does routinely shred the fretboard.

It pays to stay grounded, stay humble, stay practiced. Good luck.

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There may be a hidden force stopping you!

If you’re trying to learn songs by following tabs from the beginning to the end, it will be almost impossible to learn songs.

Here’s a quick and dirty reduction of how to learn songs in a way that you’ll be able to play through them, even if you don’t have every bass part dialed.

  1. Listen to the song a ton so that you know what’s going to happen before the song happens. Your ears have to lead.

  2. Make sure you can identify the unique parts and the repeating parts. I break it down like this when I’m working on a new song:

  • Intro
  • Verse 1
  • Chorus 1
  • Interlude (Intro part)
  • Verse 2
  • Chorus 2
  • Bridge
  • Guitar solo (over the chorus)
  • Chorus
  • fade out

Make the map without your bass, or without trying to figure out the bass line.

  1. Once you have the song map in your head (more important it’s in your head and ears than on paper) try and go through it with the bass line.

This way, even if a part is tricky, or you can’t play the exact bass line, if you can hack your way through each section of a song, you can play it and make it work.

The map and structure is what is most important.
That way you’re memorizing 4 or 5 different chunks.

If you’re trying to memorize or play through an entire song by following a note-for-note tab right from the beginning, it’s like you’re trying to learn every single note in sequence, and the brain won’t hold it.

Go for the large structures, and then fill in as much detail as you can.

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I didn’t even think of this when trying to learn, that’s why simple songs (like another brick in the wall) were so difficult for me.

Still gonna go round the course for good measure.

Thank you bro!!

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Learning a full song is just a matter of breaking it down into smaller pieces, learning every piece, then putting it all together.

Most songs are repetitive enough that you should only need a handful of riffs to complete them. Usually an intro/verse/chorus/bridge is all there is to a song, maybe some variations to the same structure but just like Gio said, break it down and start piecing it together. It’s easier than you think!

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Exactly.

Start with one part, then another one, listen to the song very carefully to get and learn the structure, play the missing parts, put all that together and you’re done.

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Lesson 4 of module one and whenever I’d fret on the d string it buzzes slightly. It got to the point where I was fretting so hard it made me super uncomfortable.

I had to be VERY precise with how I did and it kinda made me feel like a noob all over again. So it was surprisingly pretty challenging due to that lmao.

Could be a setup issue or IDK.

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So in one of the lessons josh mentioned that there should be space in-between the top part of the palm and the neck.

Edit: I think I’m in the clear, my natural position has space and it’s not all jammed in there as he was saying. It (the palm) occasionally bumps when I’m on the lower frets but that’s natural right??

If you’re struggling to understand what I’m saying I’ll gladly post pics.

Last reply, promise.

Another thing is my left hand.

Sorting through older videos and kinda what I’m doing rn is having that “pinch shape” like this:


I was pushing the thumb into the neck also, which created alot of discomfort.

Now I’m working towards this:


Much more comfortable and not pushing the thumb as much.

I could have easily avoided this if I got b2b from the get go, I honestly blame this on trying to “teach” myself

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As you play more, you will find that the thumb is commonly a pivot point for your fretting hand.

For example, if you need to play a line that requires you to access frets that are too far for your fretting hand to play easily in one position, you can either shift your entire hand OR you can place your thumb essentially in the central area of the line’s fret span to allow your thumb to act as a pivot point as you reach up and down the neck.

Of course, this is line-dependent and just an optional way to play. The key to playing any line is economy of motion. Try a few ways to play, not just a single way, and you might find economical fretting techniques that work for you. Good luck.

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I’m working on the song ‘Billie Jean’. In terms of speed, I don’t have any problems most of the time, but my issue is that I notice I don’t position my left-hand fingers correctly. They spend a lot of time in the air waiting to press a string. This causes delays or extra effort in situations that require more speed, like in ‘Billie Jean’ (so far). While I see Josh barely moving his fingers and everything looks very smooth, in my case, it’s a constant succession of fingers stabbing the strings, falling from a great distance. I don’t know how to smoothen this out or develop a better habit

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Guidance for taming flying fingers, directly from our Trusty Bass Teacher:

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Thanks, it rings a bell for me (sorry if it’s not the correct English). I will take a look and try to focus on avoiding flying fingers!

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Flying fingers is really common. Still happens to me when learning something new. I think part of the problem is that you’re not getting your fingers into position ahead of time. Repetition and memorization will certainly help, because once you know where your fingers are headed, it’s a lot easier to position your fretting hand. Try to keep the fingers that aren’t actively fretting resting across the strings you aren’t playing so you don’t have to attack them from a mid air position.

Hate to say it but honestly the answer to almost every question is simply more practice. Every hour you spend with the bass in your hands will make you better.

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This^^^

But the added magic to this formula is practice slow. Way slow. Stupid-slow slow.

When you attempt to apply this finger anticipation/fingers touching unplayed strings thing, the absolute best and most deliberate way to do it is in ultra-slow motion.

When you do it that way, you give yourself time to study and think: What notes are coming up; which fingers need to play them? Thereby, in time you create neural pathways that bake the concept and technique in your brain. Do this until you can train your fingers to stay down - and you are able to nail the line you’re practicing.

Then and only then, as is true with so many other things about learning bass, speed the whole process up gradually, very gradually. Take your time, and then some. It might seem slow and tedious, but it will all result in better playing ability, quicker than trying to fake it ‘til you make it.

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Thanks both of you (@MikeC ).

Maybe my problem is the speed… too much of it. When i practice slow I usually lose concentration and focus. So i tend to speed up.

I’ll try to practice extremely slow to give time to upgrade my brain-finger coordination and make them rest in a easy position when are not playing and avoid the “attackin from mid air position”.

Thanks both!

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Exactly. I do the same thing. I say to myself: “This is part 1, so there’s no crossover”, “This is the part that’s repetitive, and long, so just focus on cleanER notes”, “This is the part with the saxophone, at the end, which is your cue for the crossover and/or bridge with single string plucks that last and resound”.
Compartmentalize & before you know it, you’ve played the whole song!

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