Do you consider this cheating?

You can learn bass without a bunch of boring drills

By Jon Liebman
Week of February 22, 2021

You want to learn bass, but maybe you’re not sure where to start. 

Well, why not start by playing something you like!

I got into a great conversation about learning bass during this week’s interview with Ohio-based funk sensation Freekbass. 

As soon as we started talking about it, it became immediately apparent that Freek and I have similar views on learning bass, though we may come at it from slightly different angles. 

One thing we both agree on is that learning bass doesn’t need to involve a lot of drudgery and chore-like tasks. It should be fun!

If you know anything about my philosophy toward learning bass, you know I’m all about the groove. 

But what exactly does that mean? 

In my books, online lessons, and my new Power Grooving for Bass Players masterclass, pretty much all of my “exercises” groove. That includes the basic stuff too, like scales, arpeggios, string crossing, etc. After all, there’s no reason you can’t be grooving away while you’re building a foundation and amassing great bass technique.

I’ve always felt learning bass should be enjoyable. Freekbass agrees. “I would start just trying to learn some very simple bass riffs,” he says, “two- or three-note bass riffs.”

Once the drudgery of learning an instrument is removed, you’ll find the process so much more satisfying and rewarding. 

“Just try to learn something easy, quickly,” says Freek, “so you see instant results.”

Even my most basic lessons are groove oriented. When you start simple, with a fun bass line that’s easy, you’ll actually be making music right from the get-go. 

“That first lesson, that first time you play,” Freekbass says, “it’s super gratifying if you can leave there playing something.”

As you may have heard me say, I take the frustration out of learning bass, so you can build confidence, have fun, and thoroughly enjoy making music. My students will attest to that, big time.

“It’s not like you have to go out and buy a $3,000 bass,” Freekbass says. “Just go out and get something that’s affordable and make a list of some bass players or songs in the style of music you want to learn, whether it be the Beatles, or maybe you’re more of a Rush person, or a funk person, whatever style it is. And, we start there.”

There’s no reason you can’t feel a sense of accomplishment right from the start, without a lot of boring drills. Learning bass should be fun. And it is! 

How about you? Have a thought on the subject? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think. In the meantime, check out my interview with Freekbass here.

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