Knowing what to practice

Prioritize your steps, and don’t try to learn everything at once

By Jon Liebman
Week of May 4, 2020

Learning bass doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, it should be fun.

Sure, there’s a lot to think about, especially if you’re new to the instrument. You need to play in time, you need to play in tune, you need to learn to groove in a way that feels good… And don’t forget all the technical stuff, like learning your scales and modes, and just building basic proficiency on the instrument. It can be overwhelming. 

But it doesn’t have to be.

The subject came up in my conversation with Trivium bassist Paolo Gregoletto in an interview we published this week. Paolo offered some insight into learning bass that’s sure to remove much of the angst that often comes with playing an instrument.

Essentially, he advises taking baby steps, rather than trying to take on everything all at once. 

What he’s really saying is: Don’t move on to Step 2 until you’ve mastered Step 1.

“If you start too soon to go to something technical,” Paolo says, “you’re not going to be able to play it right. You’re taking shortcuts that are going to affect you and you’re going to pick up a lot of bad habits along the way.”

The best way to learn bass is to follow an organized plan, making steady, incremental progress. Our “All Access” members at For Bass Players Only are very familiar with the kind of results that are attainable when you follow the right path.

Even if it feels like you’re moving slowly, imagine how great you’ll feel when you look back in a month, or 6 months, or a year, and find yourself marveling at what you’re able to do now that you couldn’t do before.

“That, to me, has always been the thing,” Paolo says. “You’ve got to really get the fundamental stuff down first, before you try to dive into the deep end.”

The best way to learn bass: One step at a time.

Have a thought on the subject? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think. In the meantime, see my interview with Paolo here.

Comments on Knowing what to practice

  1. zhuang says:

    I’m guilty of moving on to step 2 or even step 3 before I’ve mastered step 1. But I keep going back to step 1 till I’ve nailed it.

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