I want to (eventually) learn bass guitar, but have really had little ear for it…

I’ve got two on the wall. I got to playing around (after my first few guitars–I know, I know) and all of a sudden saw an Ibanez that was very affordable on the wall. Got to playing with it, asking a bunch of questions about it, and snatched it up.

It’s very dark, not particularly attractive compared to most, I’d guess. It’s that odd walnut color with rosewood neck, but I admit a weakness for guitars that look like they were just finished up in wood shop, had some strings put on and handed over to plug in and play.

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ze Ibanez. It was at least an affordable impulse buy at the time.

And then later, when I had a helluva lot more money than sense (and time), I got a jazz bass. So, there are two bass guitars on my wall, waiting for the day I get to them.

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The Squier Jazz Bass. That silver was just too cool, very different from my other choices.

I’ve spent most of the weekend trying to come up with a far more realistic practice plan for myself. In a few weeks, once I get back into the groove of practicing piano and guitar, I’m going to add bass guitar to the list.

And that spells some issues there, because I’m not terribly up on bass clef. Thanks to months of being every which place and all, I have NOT kept up on music practice, just a bit here and there. It’s gonna take some doing to get back to where I was several months ago.

The trouble is, too, that I don’t even know what the right tuning is supposed to sound like with bass strings. I haven’t had the chance to play around much with it and my tuner. And when I was thumbing through my beginner’s method books to see how long I should stretch out practicing in the books, it occurred to me that I have VERY few books with music in them.

Other than Pink Floyd and a handful of songs, there aren’t many bass parts I can pick out that I like off hand, which is gonna make selecting sheet music to practice rather tricky. I’ve got a few ideas, and am looking for more. I just find it funny that just today, I realized I really don’t have an ear for the bass line.

Granted, I’m one of those folks that never understood cranking up the bass levels on the car stereo to “teeth-rattling-around-in-your-jaw” level. Always got annoyed when I’d hear that because it was just loud thudding. I couldn’t hear a damned thing otherwise. But I suppose that’s different, anyway.

The best I’ve been able to find out and figure so far have been through Rick Beato’s video series about “what makes this song great?” (I love this one about Smells Like Teen Spirit) He takes the different pieces of the song and filters them out so you can hear vocals, drums, lead, bass… any of it he wants to focus on. The bass startles me the most, because when he isolates the bass guitar, there’s a lot more detail to it than I’d hear with the rest of the song.

That’s part of the reason I want to learn bass guitar–there’s a lot going on in the background of many of my fave songs that I’ve just been missing.

The only real songbook I have for bass so far (that’s not a method or intro book) is Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. And I can’t wait to get comfortable enough to play it. Nice. But that’s gonna be after a few other songs in a “First 50” book I found.

I’m trying to think hard of songs I’ve wanted to learn, so that I can just get some band sheet music collections in bass. At least this book has a few I want to learn, like Come as You Are, Down on the Corner, Feel Good Inc., Jeremy, Sweet Emotion, and Walk on the Wild Side to start. I was an 80s kid weaned on classic rock, so maybe some of those choices wouldn’t be all that surprising.

This is gonna be an interesting learning time in the next few months, and I’ll definitely be learning how to develop that ear for bass guitar that I’d like to have… and will probably need to succeed.

I suppose this is one of those hurdles that comes from having a musical education that’s been exclusively related to the treble clef in school. I started learning a bit with the piano, of course, but again I’m rusty.

Well, anything to make the best of my new not-at-an-office-anymore status. Writing is priority, but my inner artist demands learning and satisfaction. I just hope the road to learning bass isn’t so rocky.

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