by Dave D.
I've been playing bass for nearly 20 years and have found the following
practice methods helpful:
[Practice Methods/Tips] [BassWork Index]
- Use a practice book that teaches basic scales in varying note and time
patterns (this assumes you read music, obviously).
[The book I've used most often is an old one (probably out of print by now)
called "Bass Guitar Scales & Melodic Patterns" by Jay Friedman. It's
published by Dale Zdenek Publications, 1978.] This will teach the scales
themselves and also the playing of more and more rhythmic patterns.
Initially, the only thing to focus on is playing the right notes. As you
become comfortable, I suggest using a metronome to help develop a sense of
- If you can get a subscription to (or even a newsstand copy of) Bass Player
magazine (Miller Freeman Publishing), the issues have excellent practice
examples at the back in a serial format. I'm not sure where you're located;
if you need info on subscribing, they have a web page at bassplayer.com.
- Play along to the tunes on your favorite radio station-- I've often found
it helpful just to jam along with whatever happens to be on. This helps to
develop your listening chops and well as providing a forum for improvising.
Kind of like sight reading for the ears.