You hit the right notes… but something still feels off. Here are 5 subtle nuances pro bassists use to make it sound on.
0:00 - Do You Sound “Karaoke-y”?
1:14 - Connect the Notes
4:07 - Consistent Rhythm
8:01 - Subtle Slides
10:35 - Cut For the Snare
13:01 - Downpicking
If you’re doing the Beginner to Badass course, this lesson would fit once you tackle syncopation in Module 8. And those of you taking the 50 First Songs 100 Week Challenge should find these useful on quite a few songs!
Listening for the Little Things
[Josh gets on his soapbox]
There are a couple things I want to expand on from the end of the video:
To sound more pro, start listening for the little stuff - Even in bass lines that seem simple, there are always more details to find and nail better than last time. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard students play a tune that they thought they had down… and then I gently break it to them that there are several things we need to work on.
Pro bassists don’t think any bass line is beneath them - Because of the above point, experienced players (of any instrument) know that there’s no such thing as a song that’s “too easy” or “boring,” if you pay enough attention.
We all know it takes less technical mastery and speed to be able to play On The Road Again than it does to play Classical Thump -
But that doesn’t mean it’s “easy” to play On The Road Again well enough that Willie Nelson would want to hire you. The lack of technical complexity means you’ve got more attention you can put on nailing other details - locking with the drummer, nailing note length, getting the right tone, good dynamics… the rabbit hole never ends.
This is why anytime I get a message like this:
I say the same thing every time - just start at the beginning. Even if playing the whole notes in the first playalong is “easy” for you, that just means you have more attention to focus on other details - clean note transitions, comfortable technique, locking with the drums… again, the rabbit hole goes all the way to Wonderland.
So - there’s always room for improvement, even if you’re a legendary bassist and you’re playing medium tempo roots and fifths. /endrant
Alright, the soapbox is free for whoever else wants to step on it!