What’s the Fastest Way to Learn at Bass?

Once you start learning the instrument, “it’s gonna be lovely”

By Jon Liebman
Week of April 6, 2020

Think back to the first time you heard Jaco. Or Victor Wooten, Hadrien Feraud, or any of the other bass giants. What was your initial reaction to hearing these guys play, and what kind of impact did they have on you? 

There’s a good chance they inspired you to improve as a bass player. 

But what, exactly, did you do?

A good thing to do in that case would be to take stock of your bass playing, and identify what you have to do in order to bridge the gap between the bass-playing abilities you have now, compared to the ones you want to have.

In this week’s interview, with Colombian bassist Santiago Gonzalez, we got into a spirited dialogue about what is truly the fastest and most efficient way to learn bass. Santiago had some inspiring things to say.

Like many others, Santiago was initially drawn to the bass upon hearing Jaco, Victor, Gary Willis, Marcus Miller and other high-profile players. Once he discovered the bass, he was hooked. 

“It’s the best instrument,” Santiago says, “because you have everything. You can do harmonies, you can do melodies. It’s the groove. It’s everything you need.”

Obviously, Santiago was excited about learning bass and wanted to become a good player as fast as possible. Looking back, what advice does he have for anyone who wants to learn bass?

Slow down!

At first, those words may seem counterintuitive, but they’re not. Jaco and the others didn’t get there overnight, and neither will you. The fastest way to learn bass is to follow a disciplined practice regimen. Your improvement will be gradual, but it will be steady.

Think about it. 

Once you’ve been following a structured plan, you’ll be able to look back in one month, 6 months, a year from now, and take note of all the things you’re able to do that you couldn’t do before. 

Students who learn bass here at FBPO are always over the moon about what they’re able to do now that they couldn’t do before joining. A very gratifying feeling for any student. And teacher!

Naturally, when you’re new to something, there’s going to be a learning curve, but stick with it. “When you start learning the beautiful bass,” Santiago says, “it’s gonna be lovely.”

I couldn’t have said it any better. 

“All those exercises,” he continues, “do it slow and peaceful, because all good things (come) with time. You gotta be patient. It will arrive. It will come.”

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

At For Bass Players Only, I’ve taken the frustration out of learning bass, so you can build confidence, have fun, and thoroughly enjoy making music.

Comments on What’s the Fastest Way to Learn at Bass?

  1. neanderthal says:

    I,ve been taking your coarse on sight reading. admittedly I’m not hitting it everyday but I am making progress. thanks for a great way to learn. I have been playing off and on since I was a teenager.(72)still can’t put it down and want to learn more as I go along.

  2. jdashiell says:

    Im right there with you, started play Bass at 15, (now 64). got away from it at started up again 10 years ago?
    Want put it down and loving it more and more now that Ive been wit FBPO for a few of those years, Loving that too, Thanks Jon for making it more fun than ever

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