Breaking Bad Bass Playing Habits
No matter where you are in your bass playing ,Weather you are a seasoned pro or a fresh new beginner ,Chances are you have picked up some bad bass playing habits, As these bad habits tend to formulate while we are learning to play. And whether its out of laziness or don`t know any better, These bad habits can really effect the way we progress as a bass player. In Fact some bad bass playing habits can actually injure you with out you even knowing it. Most of the bad bass playing habits can be acquired by players who are self taught.
Mostly because no body was there to instruct them and help avoid picking up bad bass playing habits to begin with.
So just what are considered bad bass playing habits?
Not in any order Because all bad bass playing habits can be detrimental to a players bass playing career.
Lets Start with posture : Most bass players stand up while playing bass, Although sitting down is considered acceptable in big bands or orchestra situations. When standing to play be sure you have equal weight on each of your feet, Stand straight as possible with your shoulders back. Your left arm or your fretting arm should be slightly bent at the elbow, and the thumb on your fretting hand should be just about centered on the back of your bass neck.
Just imagine like if you were hitch hiking how you stick your arm out with your thumb up. Using your guitar strap adjustment to accomplish this position you want your bass hanging off your body so it would be the same height if you were standing or sitting,
Remember elbow slightly bent. We never want our bass hanging below our waist even tho it looks cool its a bad habit and can lead to injury of your lower back.
Wear comfortable shoes , We do not want our feet killing us while standing sometimes 2 or 3 hours playing a gig or even practicing .
Get help lifting heavy gear : This is often over looked while setting up or taking down our gear, Be careful especially if your not in the best top physical condition,
As many of us musicians tend to let exercise take a back burner to more important things like jamming.
It is very easy to get injured trying to lift and stack these heavy cabinets. Luckily the new modern gear is coming out with much smaller COMPONENTS. Making it alot lighter in weight.
Make use of wheeled carts or hand trucks, or even installing castors or wheels on our heavier pieces.
It is much easier rolling a heavy P.A. Cabinet than trying to carry it even for two guys..
Now a couple more bad habits a bass player should avoid is not incorporating your pinky finger on your fretting hand, You should make it a point to use that pinky from the start and build up strength in that pinky finger. You will always be a better bass player for this. And do not use your thumb on your fretting hand, You will see some bass players hanging their thumb over the edge of the fret board you do not want this habit it actually greatly slows down your playing, And many bass runs were styled around moving from position to position and your thumb will only get in the way of this movement. And another bad habit in my opinion is using a pick to play your bass, Now i know this is going to get the rockers up in arms, But im sticking with it use no picks! Its a bad habit!
And here is another bad habit mostly done by unwitting guitar players trying to play bass, They rely on the snare drum to play their beats or notes and not the bass drum. The snare is more of a fill or back beat as far as timing goes you will really screw up the beat of the rest of the band when they attempt to follow you thru the snare drum beats you create. The whole band will likely follow you right off the cliff.
Lets touch on techniques again , Now its a very good idea for any bass player starting out to just get used to the 1 finger per note style this means with out too much trouble you should be able to stretch your fretting hand to cover four spaces with 4 fingers, thats four frets covered in one position or one set. Just make this a habit it will get easier as time goes on.
Another bad habit that could haunt less experienced bass players is Being too busy,
That`s right in many things including playing bass guitar, Some times less is better, I know from personal experience by just listening to my practice recordings that sometimes i get a little busy myself. This can sometimes plug up the mix and could rob other instruments of valuable lead openings, Or over run the singer, You never want to hog the show as some say it. So play your lines wisely you will have plenty of chances to play, And you will be a better bass player for doing it this way.
The more I Write i realize this could go on for ever as more and more things keep popping up and by no means is everyone reading this going to be a perfect bass player but if i help even one player get better then im good with that. Because I know as a bass player myself im not free from bad habits in my playing either I kinda feel like im preaching to the choir sometimes.But we all strive to be the best we can. Nobody wants Bad Bass Playing Habits, They just happen, Trick is to realize this and fix it.
sta low ThePlayer
For a very easy way for beginners to learn the right way to get a great start playing the bass guitar, Consider this advice from a old timer bass player,Take some simple lessons at home, You can study at your own pace you can pick and choose which lessons you want to learn and in what order you want them. The best part is at your own pace, On your time, Whatever time that is. Plus still get your important questions answered in very fast time like within minutes usually. And all at or below the cost of going out for a Pizza and a Beer. No better way to learn The Bass Guitar Period.