Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Getting started. Again.

I've decided to learn to play bass guitar. Again.

Some history: I got a guitar at sixteen and played it somewhat sporadically until my early twenties. I never really progressed beyond chord strumming and basic riffs. That didn't stop me from buying multiple instruments and assorted crap though. At some point, I bought an electric bass (which, to be fair to my younger self, was on sale). Flash forward through half a decade of barely touching my guitars, and here I am at thirty. I still want to play, and this time I'm going to actually put the work in to make that happen.

As an older, wiser man, it's clear to me why I failed: I didn't practice. And more importantly, I didn't play. Sitting in front of a computer reading bass forums with a bass on your lap, occasionally strumming a note or two is not practice. Doing a few warmup scales a couple times a week is not playing. If I'm going to learn to play, I need to play and practice with discipline. Now that I'm old and no longer rock and roll fun, I think I can make that happen.

The first thing to do is figure out how I'm going to learn. I plan on taking lessons, but with where and with who is up in the air. I think a key component of my past failure is that I attempted to do it alone. Playing music, especially with a bass guitar, is something of a group activity. Playing with and for at least one other person is the first step towards creating a support system for my learning.

Other learning options include books and DVDs. I remember good things about Wheat's Bass Book, so I plan to use that as an occasional resource.

This blog is going to serve as my "notebook." I'll record plans, victories, and failures here. I'll review the methods I'm using and iterate. Once I have a better grasp on where I want to go, I'll do a big old goals post.

Time to begin my lower education.


  1. I find myself in a very similar situation: 29 years old and learning a new instrument after a decade of playing the guitar once a month.

    It took me a good 10 years to realize that guitar is really not my instrument and that I could use my inclination, as little as it is, in pursuing other instruments. I'm still deciding between learning the piano, the drums (electric) or the bass. So I'm currently taking a shot at each one. At least once a week for now until I decide which one(s) stimulates my interest more than the others.

    After I decide to go for one (or two) instruments I'll go full time on it and sell everything else. You are completely right about the lack of discipline. It's the only thing between you and your potential.

    We'll see if things will be different now. It seems to be that way. It's a lot easier to commit and keep an hour a day of practice now.

  2. I almost forgot on my last post: good luck! you are not alone :)