Picking up the Bass

Back in late June of this year Kev moved a bunch of stuff over to my place in preparation for doing some songwriting and generally re-starting the KWB machine – a welcome return that’s been indeed.

In amongst it all was a GT (Guitar Technology) four string bass – a copy of a Fender Precision Bass – that Kev had picked up somewhere along the line.  I’d always been interested in learning Bass to the point of toying with the idea of picking up a cheap one to have in the music room but hadn’t progressed the idea – quite apart from anything else I’m trying to be a bit disciplined in not acquiring more “stuff”.

Had a bit of a plunk for a few weeks and through that started getting into a bit of a practice routine, aided in part by the quite good computer tutorials that Yousician provide.  Along the way I had my friends at DW Music put some fresh strings on the bass and generally give everything a once over and got a case too.  I kinda figured that a combination of practice and self tuition along with some sessions with local bass teachers would do the trick to begin with.

About two months in now it’s been a really interesting journey;

At about the one month mark I had a great lesson with one of my Rock of Ages band mates, Jack Schwenke – super nice guy and very talented bassist.  Towards the end of our one hour session he kindly opined that I “…could probably join a rock band now…” – this coming from such a capable player and, as an aside, a member of a younger generation than I, I took to be high praise indeed :)

More seriously though, Jack helped me with some more efficient ways to play scales as well as overall ergonomics – this being something I saw as important both to avoid overuse injuries and to ensure I didn’t pick up bad habits too early in the piece.

As I write I’m about three weeks into a five week visit to the US in Raleigh, NC.  I elected to bring the bass along since I had the baggage allowance and I figured it would be a good thing to pass the time with while away from home and it’s actually worked out really well.  When I take a typing break (something I try to be diligent about) I often pick up the bass and run through some exercises.

Closest I’ve had to a “concern” in this otherwise very enjoyable journey has been avoiding bad habits from the word go.  With that in mind aided by Google I found a local teacher J Michael Pope and had a thought provoking and worthwhile lesson with a couple of weeks back.  Michael gave me some great exercises for my left hand to build finger independence and some useful pointers on scale patterns for my right.  As with Jack, time well spent.

There’s been any number of little things I’ve noticed as someone who can already play an instrument reasonably well switching to another one, but I’ll save that for the next post.