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5 Tips on how to SOUND better on Bass Guitar

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Hi everyone, this is Yonit from Lessonface
and I’m here today to help you sound better on bass! Tip number one is
clean sound. So I get a lot of students to come to me and they’re already you
know shredding and they play with bands but the most common mistake I see is a
kind of a technique mistake and that’s when they play strings sometimes if you
don’t if you don’t play well you have kind of like you know a different strain
kind of I mistake being tapped there and making some noise since we’re a melodic
instrument we want to be very precise with our sound and clean sound is their
number one thing that’s gonna make your playing sound better. Okay
so I’m gonna show you how I use it how I use my really right hand technique to
make it sound nice and clean and perhaps you see something that you overlooked
before okay so I’m actually gonna show you how to use properly the strings by
using your right hand okay so first of all the easiest I guess because you
don’t really find your fingers in this area when you play the E string there’s
not much you need to do maybe you can you know mute the other strings with
with your left hand over here but there’s really not much of energy it
needs to be consumed when you do it but definitely you know if you can just tap
slightly with your left hand then this is already gonna make it cleaner rather
than you can hear the harmonics when I don’t mute it right so just put your
left hand and it’s gonna disappear okay this is for the E string now when I’m
going to the a string the number one thing I wanna be careful of is to bring
that east ring okay so for example if you put your your thumb here you’re kind
of creating a hazard for you to accidentally bump into the E string you
see just like that so what I recommend to do is put your thumb the thumb is
very important even though you don’t seem to really use it when you play bass
put your thumb on the E string okay and then when you play the a string you’re
not gonna hit it you can still kind of meet the other strings
but you see that the the e-string is really not going to move because you’re
muting it with your thumb okay now I know a lot of you probably are used to
just keeping your thumb on the pickup but really this is the best way to meet
the string without causing a lot of tension on your right now you don’t want
to cause a lot of tension and your right hand when you’re trying to mute because
that’s just energy going to waste okay so basically this is what you do when
you want to clean the a string but you want to mute the E string okay now if
you want to go higher up for example you want to play the D string I would just
put my thumb on the a string okay that creates the most comfortable environment
for me to play an environment for me to play on without causing a lot of stress
on my right hand okay so again if I’m playing the D string I put my thumb on
the a string and it’s kind of also resting on the e string kind of easy very clean very nice and
the last one if you’re playing the g string once you’re you can’t really put
your thumb on the D string because then you’re leaving the E string kind of like
in a weird situation over there so you actually keep your thumb on the a string
but you can see that I’m using my pinky and the third finger over here to mute
the other the D string now I’m not really doing a I realize that I’m not
really doing it consciously it’s just kind of like hanging in there again it’s
kind of like the whole trying to not waste energy in my right hand it just
goes in there and you see that when I go to different
strings my hand just like my head jumps around alright so you fall play the g
string you’ll see that I have a third finger over here watching the D string
and then I’m going to the D string and then again you can leave it on the
back okay so you can see that this would already
create the clean sound and again my left hand is kind of just roaming around here
making sure nobody’s making any other additional noise so because I have the
security coming from both hands there really is no way okay so that’s my
number one set I know that this could be a little bit overwhelming especially if
you’re used to playing in a different way
the way that I suggest to it to practice it is well first of all you’re gonna see
I have a bass line that I’m gonna be practicing with if you want you can be
practicing with the – I have the play along that I’m gonna be using and the
bass lines that I wrote you can find it in the link right here in the info of
this video and you can practice after I show you how to do this but you can also
take every bass line that you’ve been playing with and just slow it down and
try to really focus on your right hand and see what your right hand is doing
the more simple the bass line the better because you want to have all your
attention to the right hand so the second tip that I have for you is
control the length of your notes now why does it go hand-in-hand with the first
tip of how of basically playing clean because it really has to do with the
same technique okay so again I’m going to the right hand so if you want to
control the length of your notes which is again a very common mistake that I
see with bass players that everything is kind of just like sounds the same and
kind of blendy I’ll show you in a second one I mean if you want to control the
length of your note it’s really just muting it right because that’s how you
make a note shorter so you muted by already having your next finger ready to
go okay so I’m gonna do it very slow I’m gonna use the D string for this example
clean e okay you can do it obviously with every string so it’s kind of like going back into the
position where you’re gonna play the next note now that’s why it’s very
important to use both fingers I know that there’s a lot of people to like to
play in the James Jamerson style and he played only one finger but the two
fingers are actually really important also because not just to you know not to
have only one finger using doing all the effort but to spread it to two fingers
but also it’s a great way of controlling the length of sound okay again this may
be something that is overlooked but this actually has to do a lot with the way
that you play a bass line a bass line can be written or can exist with you
know these notes but there really is a huge room for creativity with the way
that you played the length of the note you could play staccato you can play
tenuto which like the whole length of the note there’s so much room for
interpretation for your creativity to to really exist
in that it makes the whole baseline sound different even though you are
playing the same notes so here’s what I’m gonna do I’m gonna be playing the
same bass lines in the beginning I’m gonna play it only with very tenuto sort
of legato long notes and I want you to see how it it could sound good in some
situations but maybe not all the time right and then I’m gonna do the exact
opposite I’m gonna play very very short notes and see how that changes the bass
lines and then for to end it I’m actually gonna change it up play some
notes staccato some notes to noodle and kind of try to balance the bass line tip number three is actually not so much
about the actual play but tip number three is change your strengths pretty
simple I know that there may be people that really like the sound of very old
strings and it’s kind of very gloomy but I have to say that for me at least
there’s nothing like the sound of nice fresh crispy nice strings what I
recommend for bass players in general if you gig once twice a week of course
depending on on the strings and the brand and the kind that you’re using but
I would say that the average time to change strings will be four bass guitar
will be every six months or so I find it to be the nice kind of spot that works
for most people as I said it’s there’s something very nice about the crispness
especially if you like to play some slap there’s nothing like new strings but if
you’re changing your strings because it’s it takes a little bit of getting
used to and also kind of like for the metal e sound to wear off I would say
change it about maybe a week before you perform at a gig so that you’d be very
comfortable and that the sound will be exactly where you want it so tip number
three as I said change your strings you know kind of spoiling their guitar a
little bit they’re worth it okay so tip number four may again seem obvious to
some of you sometimes a bit overlooked perhaps but play super super super
super-super in time playing in time will make you sound better when you play
something and you didn’t practice it enough or you’re not experienced with it
enough and you’re not playing it in time with the drummer with the metronome with
a click it’s not gonna sound it it really is that simple so practice
playing in time and you know playing in time we’re just playing bass in general
we don’t have to play a lot of notes to sound good
there’s a lot of bass lines especially a lot of famous bass lines when you think
about it that are so simple and so sparse you know but they sound so good
because they fit right in with the beat so for that occasion I made you a bass
line that is really very very simple it’s actually only made from two notes
it’s made from the tonic and the flat seven and then I do some fills in
between by just to show you that even with two notes you can make a bass line
sound awesome okay so as you can see this is a very
very simple baseline and it may look very easy to play right but it’s not
very easy to play okay so if you are people who like to play an odd meters
that’s awesome but I want you to not overlook that for for even the most
simple groups are very very very hard to lay down straight you know super
accurate right at the beat it’s sure that you know when we come to the studio
now people can just like move things lightly to make it tight but there’s
nothing like really sitting that baseline right on the beat live okay now
here’s how you know what you need to work on when you’re working with time
okay so for example you can take that example and play it record yourself
whether it’s your phone whether you can hook it up to some sort of interface and
record and record yourself like that do it and then see exactly where you stand
and I can pretty much guarantee that you will encounter some surprises over there
every time that I need to perform something or record something I just
record myself by myself in my studio and kind of see where I’m at and see oh you
know what I’m actually a little bit you know rushing this or I’m taking this a
little bit late and I’m working on those specific spots don’t overlook the simple
beats treat every single baseline with respect and try to really nail it on
time okay so tip number five is learn how to use different techniques in your
bass play and then use it sparsity okay so that kind of like the umbrella of
different techniques can have slapping under it or a tapping or playing with a
pig or muting or pull offs or hammer ons or anything that you can think that has
like this you know very specific unique this to it and then use it only when
appropriate okay so if you just learn slapping before you go onstage and you
start slapping around think oh is this should this really be in the song if
this is an 80s pop ballad maybe I don’t know but like really try to think of
okay I learned this now I need to be responsible and do it only in the place
where this is appropriate okay now what I want to show you that actually is like
this really cool little trick is that you don’t have to play slap only in a
song that requires slap from the beginning to end you can actually play a
cool bassline and then kind of give up a little slap to it to make it a little
bit crunchy er same thing you can do with muting of course with you know
things like playing with a pick it’s a little bit more complicated to put it
right in the middle but you never know you can be creative and if you feel like
you can change the sound within the song and actually help the song develop also
by creating some different you know styles and flavors and spice up your
your bass line then you know do so again it’s another place that you can have
very specific notes and put your creativity and your interpretation as a
baseline as a bass player to use so I’m gonna take that bass line that I was
playing before showing you the very uniqueness of minimalism and bass line
and I’m gonna show you some of my favorite techniques that I like to
incorporate in my bass playing that includes a little bit of slapping and
then includes some muting style kind of like Motown okay so that was kind of combining it a
little bit with slap again you can choose which ones you want to slap which
ones you don’t you can do it in different techniques if you want to the
second one that I’m about to demonstrate and how this really changes completely
the way that that baseline sounds is I’m gonna actually do some muting kind of
like the Motown style you could play muting style just with using your left
hand in fact if you watch some of my other videos you can see that my hands
is actually sometimes really close and not very open with positions that’s
because I’m playing playing kind of the Motown style so I’m trying to have a
very closed punchy sound actually the way the faces were built in the early
60s was in a way to kind of imitate the sound of double basses so they were
trying to make it very muted so maybe you’ve seen those big ashtrays that
Fender guitars used to have before that actually had some like rubber and foam
and stuff built into it so that you would sound very muffled and muted okay
so I mean if you’re just doing it in the middle of the gig and it’s just a
momentary thing it’s very important kind of get your hands used to that
technique as you can see you can play it with your thumb or you could just play
it with your regular you know really with your fingers in the right hand but
really using the left hand as a muting device sometimes I like to use this so
this is kind of a little trick it’s it’s not not okay to use some tricks and your
bass planes when you can of course this also includes effects and this even
includes same face depending on what the song requires right so I’m just gonna
show you a little trick with this little foam so this is actually kind of like an
AC isolator foam I just cut a little piece of that and I’m just gonna put it
right next to the pickup just underneath gonna squeeze it in there you go and
then you can see that it’s not completely changing the sound it still
has a pretty big resonance but it’s not as much as without okay
now with that I can also get a little bit more of the muting technique in my
left hand of course again you can do it with your thumb too but it really
depends on what you want scuzzy as you can see the sound is very different I’m
just gonna use my left hand muting technique and you know it’s kind of
funny looking but it’s all about the way it sounds right as our video so I’m
gonna show you how it sounds with some muting and some foam if you need any help with getting your
bass playing to the next level you can find me and my lessons at lesson face
comm and you can be sure to sign up for a lesson and we’ll work on these things
or any other things that you want to do with your bass playing you do have just
reminding you these bass lines plus the play along that I was playing with you
you have it right here on the link underneath this video in the About
section and you’re more than welcome to go ahead practice it and I hope that
this video helped you and I hope to see you very soon thank you for watching

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