Playing Bass Guitar
Before actually playing the bass guitar it would be useful to have a basic knowledge of its parts and the role each plays in the scheme of things.
Before actually playing the bass guitar it would be useful to have a basic knowledge of its parts and the role each plays in the scheme of things. The main sections of the bass guitar comprises the body, which is the large or bulky part, the neck, which is attached to the body, the headstock, which is in turn attached to the neck, and the guitar strings. The neck of the guitar is separated from the headstock by what is known as the nut. On the headstock are tuning pegs to which one end of the guitar strings are attached. The other ends of the strings are held fast to the body of the guitar by what is known as a bridge. Also on the body are pick-ups, or metal strips, which capture the vibrations made by the strings. These vibrations are then converted into electrical signals that are then amplified. Between the tuning pegs and the bridge the guitar strings traverse the neck of the guitar on which are found what are known as frets. Frets are thin metal strips that run at right angles to the strings along the neck of the guitar. They are about two inches apart starting at the nut but gradually get closer together as they move towards the guitar body. It is the holding down of the strings behind these frets that produce musical notes when the strings are struck.
A key factor in determining how well you play the bass guitar is how it is held. Being comfortable is important and if you are seated so much the better but your feet should be flat on the ground. If you are playing standing up a guitar strap is crucial, as this will transfer the weight of the guitar to your shoulders and back leaving your hands free to actually play the guitar. Whether seated or standing it is important to maintain a straight back. Failure to do so could negatively impact your playing and cause back problems later on. If you are right-handed the guitar should be held with the under-side of the guitar body resting on the right leg and the back of the guitar body against the stomach. The guitar's headstock should point to the left with the bottom of the guitar neck and the ground parallel. The guitar's strings will be facing away from you. Your left hand will be fretting on the neck region of the guitar while your right hand will be plucking or strumming on the body.
In starting out the bass guitar player will experiment with playing various notes. Some of these notes will be open, meaning the string is plucked by the right hand while the left hand does nothing but hold the guitar. For example plucking on the first string, or the one closest to the ground without using your left hand at all will produce a "G" note. Other notes will be created with the left hand fretting, or holding down strings on different frets, while plucking with the right hand. Having become familiar with the various notes it will now be time to string them together to form scales. The scales deserving of most attention here are the Major Scale, The Chromatic Scale, and the Minor Pentatonic Scale. Next will be getting to understand chords and playing patterns.
At the end of the day to become really good at playing the bass guitar it will take a lot of practice. In addition to plenty of practice though, there are other things that will help to ensure that you become a better than average bass guitar player. One of these is playing with other musicians. Playing with other musicians helps to develop your sense of rhythm. This is particularly important as it relates to drummers because they form the other half of what is considered the rhythm section of a band. It is important too to keep in mind that playing in a band is a collaborative or team effort. If you haven't played with other people before and are not quite yet confident enough to do so you can make use of a metronome. This is an electronic device, which produces an audible sound at a set tempo or speed. The sound is usually a click and can be adjusted to go faster or slower. Incidentally there are some metronomes that can be accessed online for free so there is no excuse for not working on improving your rhythm. Another way of improving your sense of rhythm is to listen to music. Focusing on the beat and noting how it contributes to the song will give a better understanding and appreciation of the task you have at hand.
It cannot be overemphasized how important it is to practice and practice and practice, if you wish to be good at playing the bass guitar. No matter how much you have read and how much theory you know if you don't practice religiously it is hardly likely that you will get to the level where others will want to listen to, or play like you. Practicing for thirty minutes daily should be sufficient but it is important not just to play the bass guitar; you should actually practice. Practicing new things and writing down a plan of what you intend to practice will also prove beneficial.
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