Page name: Bass guitar for beginners [Logged in view] [RSS]
2004-09-23 14:17:59
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Hello my students *room is empty*
How are we today?
Welcome to the bass guitar for beginners class. Everyone is welcome to this site, so long as you are eager to learn or contribute.
In our year we shall cover
-History and purpose of bass guitar
-Rudimentary playing skills

1. The idea of and the importance of the bass has existed for hundreds of years. In the pieces of J. S. Bach, the bass was just as important as the alto, or the tenor, etc.
In classical music the bass line is played upright bass or a bass viola. However, certain forms of music such as New Orleans jazz and ragtime used brass instruments for the bass line. Due to breathing requirements, the brass players played a 2 beats to the bar rhythm, which is what game that type of music it's “oom-pah feel.”
However, around 1935 the compositions of people such as Duke Ellington became more complex, and required a 4 beats to the bar rhythm, so they stopped using the brass to play the bass line, and instead used an upright bass. 
However, the acoustic bass had its disadvantages. It was hard to hear over all of the other instruments, and it was very big and bulky, making transport difficult.
This is what encouraged the invention of the electric bass guitar, in 1951 by Clarence Leo Fender. The first model was called the Fender Precision Bass, by the Fender Musical
Instrument Company.  
The bass guitar is made up of a head, a neck, and a body. The head consists of the tuning pegs and the string posts. Where the head is joined to the neck is the nut. The neck, or fretboard/fingerboard consists of the frets. The neck is connected to the body. Where the neck is connected to the body is a cutaway, so players have access to the higher frets. The body has two strap buttons, where a strap can be attached. At the bottom of the body there is a bridge. The strings run from the bridge to the string posts and tuning pegs of the head. Below the strings is a pickguard, to protect the body from the pick. Near the pickguard and also below the strings is the pickup. That is where the sound is picked up, transferred to the photo jack, or input cable, which runs to the amplifier. The two knobs on the bass are for volume control and tone control. The place of the body where the bass is thinnest is known as the waist.

End of lesson one – History and purpose of the bass guitar

2. The most common way for bassist to play is by mimicking the chord that the guitarist/pianist/whatever is playing. They can either mimic the chord by playing the same chord, or by playing the corresponding note; e.g. the guitarist plays a G-chord, the bassist plays a G-note. The bass guitar typically has four strings, and they are typically tuned to (from lowest to highest/thickest to thinnest) E-A-D-G. It is crucial to remember this, so try to come up with a rhyme or something to help you not forget.
E.g. Every Ant Digs Ground (or some little stupid sing-song phrase)
In order to play a G-note, you could play the G-string (yes very funny…=P) open, or you could play a G-note on one of the other strings by pressing down hard between the frets at a certain place (technique will be taught later so do not worry about that).
In order to know where to press down, some basic knowledge of Music Theory is required. There are seven main notes, and they are A, B, C, D, E, F and G (the note following the G would be an A again, but this time an octave higher). There is a half-step between all notes, except between B and C and E and F. The half step is either a sharp or a flat. So here is what the notes would look like if we were to include half steps: A, A#(<the symbol for sharp (we won’t be using flats, but if you are curious an A# is the same as a B-flat)), B, C, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G# and so on. Each fret represents a half-step.
So back to our goal; to play a G-note. Once again, you could play the G-string open, but if you were to play it on the E-string, you would have to work out which fret would be the G-fret. Open, the string is E. So if you put down your finger on the first fret it would be an F (since there is no half-step between E and F). After that it would be an F#, and then on the third fret a G.
So to review, we could play a G by either playing the G string open, or by holding down the 3rd fret of the E string. Now for practise, find out where you could play an F on every string.

(To be continued; this lesson is not over. For “homework,” just try and figure out as many notes in as many different locations as possible. Also try to memorise some. That way, playing will be much easier for you, since you will not need to think so much each time you try to play a note.)

Feel free to contribute ideas by messaging me or posting them at the bottom of this page.
Also feel free to ask me questions.
I left this page without a password so people can make contributions (WITH MY PERMISSION). If anyone starts SPAMming or cluttering up this page, you will be reported to the town guards, and you will not be asked to return to this wiki...

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2005-02-06 [2000HRS]: ohh... true i hate slapping the higher strings... it's a pain in the ass.

2005-02-14 [cavegirl]: Hinkin bout gettin a fender 4 ma b-day. im just a beginers beginer... wots the main differece between an p bass an a jazz bass?

2005-02-14 [w00t0ttjfrkff]: i play my bass with my fingers i find it easier is this how a bass should be played

2005-02-15 [2000HRS]: bass could be played with picks (most metals are played that way) or with fingers (it could sound funky.. and is way which I prefer).

2005-02-15 [2000HRS]: "The P in P-pickups stands for Precision Bass. They are made of two single coil pickups that are offset so they each pick up vibrations from two different strings. The signal is combined before it reaches the volume and tone controls. Each single-coil is wound in opposite directions to reduce hum. Basses usually have one P-pickup". "The J in J-pickups stands for Jazz Bass. They are made in one piece that picks up vibrations from all four strings. J-pickups are single coils, and J-bases usually have two of them: one near the neck and one by the bridge."

2005-02-15 [cavegirl]: o rite... so um... which 1 is better 4 a beginner say?

2005-02-15 [2000HRS]: I'd recommand a P-bass.. but I'm not a pro player so i don't know. Jazz bass is good if you wanna.. well play shits like Jazz kick ass riffs.. but if you're undecided.. choose P-bass.

2005-02-23 [Maurer's conclusions]: What do you plan on playing?

2005-02-23 [cavegirl]: who me? Blink 182 even tho ma heart is in peices at the mo

2005-02-24 [2000HRS]: I don't think it'd much such different in playing blink 182's songs on any kind of bass. No offense, but their riffs are easy and it'd still be the same if you're using a crappy bass.

2005-02-24 [cavegirl]: I ken their riffs r easy but theyr songs r amazin so i wanna play them! its b blink an other punk rock bands id wanna play

2005-02-24 [w00t0ttjfrkff]: budgie are a gr8 band arent they if u have heard them

2005-02-24 [cavegirl]: Iv heard of Budgie the little helicopter....

2005-02-24 [2000HRS]: Oh yeah.. there's a band in UK called like Five monkey or something like... they only consist of bass and vocal.. never heard of 'em but it sounds really nice.

2005-02-26 [w00t0ttjfrkff]: yeah metalica did a cover of one of budgies songs called breadfan

2005-03-23 [cavegirl]: I got me sel a cruiser by crafter a few weeks ago just incase any1s wunderin

2005-04-23 [Holic]: You know, in our town there are millions of jokes about bass-players... ^_^ But anyhow, I know it's an important instrument! (yeah, no point in this message ^_^)

2005-04-23 [cavegirl]: lol! i hav another pointless msg.................................. this wikis called bass 4 beginers rite, an theres members in all....... if the members play bass then does that not suggest their no longer beginners???????

2005-04-24 [2000HRS]: There's a period of time for any "player" to considered as a beginner. My drummer became an intimidiate player in 2 weeks after he got his drums.. so time varies. Yes there are alot of jokes about bass players.. but they don't know that all the solos sound shitty without a bassist. And a bassist is a person who starts the song... the guitarists and everyone follows the bassist.

2005-04-29 [Jo!]: how do i join ur wiki

2005-04-30 [2000HRS]: add your name up there.

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