Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Bass Fretboard

Ok we need to know the fretboard well so that we are able to press on the desire notes.
You can't play the the C Major scale without knowing the notes on the fretboard.

For the Bass Guitar, the open strings are tuned as E A D G
( same as acoustic/electric guitar)
When you pressed on the 12th fret the tuning will also be E A D G ( 12notes = 1 cycle), you will get different pitch. The further the frets the higher the notes.

On a 4 string bass, the lowest and thickest string is the open E string. 1st fret will be F, 2nd fret will be F# (or Gb), 3rd fret G, 4th fret G# (or Ab), 5th is A, 6th fret A# (or Bb) 7th fret is B,
8th fret is C and so on.

Just remember that in between E and F there is no sharp or flat and in between B and C there is also no sharp and flat.

For a clearer picture and also the notes on the staff and bass tab, please go to:

Have fun!!


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Lesson 2 : Thumb Technique

Lesson 1 we covered the most common technique called 2 fingers plucking.

We will move on and talk about the thumb technique.

Don't be mistaken, we are not talking about slapping the bass guitar.

The thumb technique is simply to stroke the strings downwards and get a clear distinct tone.

Very simple right? All acoustic guitar should be able to do this technique.

We will bring this technique to another level.

Instead of just stroking downwards, we will do the down and up motion as if using a pick.

This technique is similar as Victor Wooten's thumb technique but without the Plucking.

You will be able to play fast and not get tired too soon.

Try using this technique and play the C major scale, C D E F G A B C.

You can do down up on one note or down on one note and up on the next note. i.e. down up the C note and move down the scale or down C up D and so on.

Whichever way you like it. Just Enjoy!

Hope this simple lesson is useful to you.



Saturday, May 20, 2006

How to Order a Musicman Bass Guitar

With permission from Sinamex Electronics Pte Ltd, here is a short write up of their company and how you can order the famous MusicMan Bass Guitar.

Sinamex is known by musicians and audio professionals across South-East Asia and the Indian sub-continent for offering the latest products and expertise in music technology, equipment and instruments at the best prices. We are the leading specialists in this business and are the exclusive distributors for the industry's top manufacturers. If you're looking for knowledgeable sales staff, affordable prices and dependable aftersales service, you have come to the right place.

According to Sinamex ,
Musicman prices are too far and wide because there are many options available. Customers can go to: to build their guitar and we will be able to offer the exact price.
An order will take about 3-4 months.
We will have different models in stock from time to time and they change very quickly as they get sold out fast.

At you can choose the different type of neck, bass body, pickguard and etc, preview it and give the details to Sinamex. (
They are located at 35 Selegie Road #B1-34 Parklane Shopping Mall.

If you need any help can call them at (65) 6338 8657

Do share it with your friends.



Thursday, May 18, 2006

Lesson 1 : 2 Fingers Plucking Style

The 2 fingers plucking technique is the most common technique that most bass player use.

Usually we alternate our index finger with the middle finger when plucking the bass string.

Like people always said, let your fingers do the walking.

You can either anchor your thumb on the pickup or on the E string (if you are using a 4 string bass).

Start slow and once you are comfortable with the technique you can slowly increase the speed.

Now you can practice doing the C Major scale.

The notes are C D E F G A B C.

If you start with your Index finger on the first note C followed by middle finger on D and move down the scale, you should end with your middle finger on the octave C (last note).

You can practice this technique along with a drum machine or metronome to keep time.

After you walk down the scale, you can walk up again.

To strengthen your fingers you can play near the bridge pickup.

After some practice you will realize that your plucking speed increases.

In order to play fast, you need to exercise your left hand (fret hand) too.

You can practice this technique with any songs or scaling.

You can add ghost notes (mute) to create a more percussive feel.

Try "Every Breathe You Take" The starting chords are G Em C D Em.

Try to feel the song (knock your head), play with emotion and sing along if you want.

Most importantly is to have fun and build up this technique.

Hope this simple lesson is useful to you.



Tuesday, May 16, 2006

18 Ways to Improve Your Bass Playing

I have listed some methods to improve our bass playing. There are more ways so don't limit yourselves.
I do wish I could excel in all the things mentioned. I not hardworking enough lah. Have fun!

1. Find a mentor or learn from better players (Private or school)

2. Buy instructional books or DVDs to practice

3. Get a drum machine or methronome and practice in time (Start slow then increase speed) [You can't hold no groove if you ain't got no pocket - Song by Victor Wooten]

4. Understand and apply music theory (i.e How chords are form,different modes, scales and etc)

5. Watch better players play and learn their technique or develop your own.

6. Watch videos to get inspirations .

7. Play in a band

8. Find materials online and give it a try

9. Stretched your fingers (One finger per fret – increase speed and flexibility)

10. Play near the bridge pickup to strengthen plucking fingers

11. Some people use bass instructional CD Rom.

12. Play along with the song (Find bass tabs if necessary or get the device to remove the bass playing so you can fill in the lines.)

13. Some website and books provide ear training exercises

14. Record what you play and send to friends for comment ( or self review)

15. Listen to all genre of music ( You tend to play what you hear)

16. Try to learn all style of music ( Jazz, rock, blues, reggae and etc)

17. Listen to other musicians ( Esp in a band)

18. Be creativity, Open minded ( Alter tuning, distortion, strumming and etc)



Saturday, May 13, 2006

Bass Amp or Modeling Signal Processor

You already got yourself a bass or planning to buy a bass?

To hear what you play, you need to plug into a bass amplifier right?

For home use, 15-20W is good enough and you can plug in your headphone if you do not want to disturb your family or neighbours. Price range $150 - 250.
I use a Peavey Microbass and usually volume 2 is quite loud already.
Different bass amps got different Frequency Bandwidth, different connectors (effect loops) and some even have XLR connector (plug into mixer).
Depend on your needs and budget, get what you are comfortable with.
Sometimes when you go over to your friend's house to jam, you can bring your amp along too. (If not too heavy) You can also choose to jam at the studio.

Can check out Swee Lee ( Ibanez, Peavey) or City Music ( Line 6 bass amp).

Ok guys you got another option which most people chose is to get a modeling signal processor.

Instead of buying Ampeg SVT or Marshall Amp or other famous amp, you can purchase the modeling signal processor which tries to produce (model after) the same characteristics of the amp tube, but at a lower cost (experiment with it).
Although it does not sound exactly like the real thing but you can have a good mix of it.
Don't be surprise if it really sound likes the expensive bass amp.
You need to plug into an effect loop jack found on some bass amps to get the pure sound of the modifier if not it will sound different.
You should be able to plug in your headphone and use it. The unit save space and very suitable for gigs.
You can check out Line 6 Bass Pod, GT6B, Korg AX 10B, AX3000B or PX4D (with drum machine) and etc
Some of these modeling signal processor also include multi-effects in it (built-in tuner too).
Price ranging from $200 and above
Visit and (under tone works) for more information and view the demo.

Check out City music at Peace centre for tone works or Luther Music to see if anyone is selling their gear. Check out the market price first so that you don't get cheated.

Tempted to get the PX4D. AX10B is cool for me cos I can control volume with the pedal. Include compressor and distortion functions too.

Have fun.



Friday, May 12, 2006

Buying a Bass


You have just decided to learn bass because your band needs one or you want to learn a new instrument, inspired by some bass guru or many other reasons.
I will share with you some basic knowledge to give you a quick start on buying a bass guitar.

Yes, it is not a myth that if you want to improve your skills, you will need to invest buying a bass guitar and practise with it.
There are bass guitars with different settings and different number of strings available in the market.

Beginners can choose to start with a 4 string bass with basic settings first (price ranging $180-300) and as you progress and know more about what character of sound you like and etc, than get a better one. Common tuning for 4 string bass starting from the thickest string, E A D G. Some people want to start with a 5 string bass. No problem.
You can also start with a relatively decent one (good wood, with preamp (bass and treble and some with mid), price ranging $550 and above) and make sure you make good use of it.

5 string bass has an additional Low B right on top of the Low E string so you don't need to play too much of open E giving you more control and wider range of sound and etc.

6 String bass has an additional Low B same as 5 string but with additional High C string below of the G string. Let's not talk about 8 strings and above basses at this stage of learning.

Have you wonder why some basses cost Less than $200 and some cost more than $2000?
Some of the reasons I could think of are:

a. Branding (signature bass or famous basses cost more)
b. Type of wood (e.g Bubinga, Ovangkol, Swash ash and etc)
c. Type of Electronics (i.e. brand of pickup and preamps, e.g EMG, Bartolini, Seymour Duncan)
d. Country of manufacturing ( Some countries' labour fee is lower hence the bass is cheaper but that does not meant lower quality)
e. Import and export fee ( i.e. Shipping or air courier fee and the company that sold you the bass need to earn some "risk" money too)
f. Bass neck connection ( neck thru usually more expensive than bolt on. Also more expensive when you need to adjust the neck action)

The character of the bass sound produce depend on the type of wood used for the bass body and neck, electronic set up, your playing and the type of strings used.

To know more about bass wood please visit (custom made bass website)

Different type of pickups will give you different character of sound. Passive and Active (with battery) pickups also provide different dynamics. Some bass can switch from passive to active.
Below are some examples of bass pickup in the market.

a. Jazz pickup (Single coil)
b. Humbuck ( double coil)
c. P-bass Pickup (spilt humbuck )
d. P-J Pickup ( Single + spilt humbuck)
e. Piezo pickup ( very sensitive - check TRB 5PII for example)
f. Jazz Humbuck ( Single + Double coil)

Two common type of Bass strings.

a. Roundwound strings - Bright sound, good for slapping and tapping. ( I use gauge 40 for my G string because I like to do slap and pop. Most people use 45 - Marcus miller also)

b. Flatwound strings - more mellow sound. Some use it for Jazz and slow rock.

When you try a bass, make sure you are comfortable with the feel and sound produce. The type of bass amp and other gadgets will come into the picture next time.
Buy something you are comfortable with and match your budget. Don't just go for brand.

You can check out shops at Peninsula plaza, Yamaha and many other places. You might want to consider buying a second-hand bass. Check out Luther's Music website and
Can also email bernard from Trader's Green - ( Sandberg bass)

Don't do impulse buying. Try it first, It's free. Ask advise from forum or friends who are more experience.

Welcome to the world of Bass!



Sunday, May 07, 2006


Would like to share a bit about my bass.

I'm using a Squier Jazz bass (made in Korea) by Fender. Change the pickup to EMG and using a Korg AX10B multi-effects pedal which also act as an amp modifier.

If i'm not wrong my bass wood should be Agathis (give long substain) but I think newer version is alder wood.

Many people thinks that Fender bass is better than Squier. I could said it is a mindset and people are just blinded by the "brand" and not the sound.

Squier is a budget bass but it looked exactly like the original world famous Fender. If I were to set it up exactly the same for both Squier and Fender, played it with you blind-folded, I think you would not be able to tell the differences. Some might even find Squier bass nicer. Btw Reggi Wooten uses a Squier electric (made in Japan) Check out his slap and tapping on electric guitar.

My Jazz bass has 3 knobs. One for neck pickup, one for bridge pickup and the last for tone. Very versatile settings. Marcus miller added an onboard Pre-amp (Sadowsky)
My AX10B also has a compressor function and eq. I usually set the amp type as scoop (sound like Ampeg SVT).
For slapping purpose, can reduce the volume by a notch or two at the neck pickup.

If you like a Jaco Pastorius sound, reduce the volume at the neck pickup and play at the bridge pickup position.

For walking bass you can try turning down the bridge pickup and play near the last fret.

If you are talking about high end Fender bass like Stum Hamm's Urge bass which is very versatile and not cheap (4 pickups), no Squier bass can match with that.

So my advise is do not judge a bass by it's brand. Some of you might want to check out Tony Levin's OLP signature bass. $650SGD only. 5 string with 3 band EQ.
Looks exactly like ernie ball stingray. cool for slapping too (Louis Johnson style)

Ok people have fun.



Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Different Bass Techniques


Like to share some techniques of playing the bass guitar.

1. Finger plucking - The common plucking method is the 2 - fingers plucking style. Alternate between your index finger and middle finger. Some people use 3- 4 fingers too (John Myung).
Rock musicians will fancy this style and some metal players use a pick instead.

2. Thumb method - You can just use the thumb only to play ( Anthony Jackson), you can do thumb down and up like a pick motion (Larry Graham, Victor Wooten) or you can snap the string with your thumb (abraham laboriel). Some musicians when first learn to play bass will use alot of their thumb as if plucking acoustic guitar.

3. Slap and pop - This is a techniques that draw non bassist to learn bass as it produce a percussist sound and make the bass sound more funk. This technique was created because the inventor (larry graham) did not have a drummer and he have to double up to provide the bass and snare drum using his bass guitar when he was doing a show with his mum.
Stanley clarke brought this technique into jazz . To provide a more funky sound, apply ghost note (muted note). Some of the famous slappers are Louis Johnson, Marcus Miller, Flea, Stu Hamm and more...

4. Thump - This is a cool technique that Louis Johnson and Abraham Laboriel execute it very well.
You are suppose to strike your fingers accurately on the string and also make use of your palm to create a percussist feel. Using your left hand to mute the other strings that are not strike.

5. Strum - Most guitarist know how to strum. Guess what.. we bassist can strum too, but not our main role so we let the 6 strings boys do it. You can try to strum power chords (root + 5th) on the bottom strings and hear how it sound. Listen to Stanley Clarke's School Day.

6. Tapping - This technique can be easily executed, but yet with much speed and skill can be very complicated. Using both your fingers to tap on the fretboard. You can tap out a chord (root + 3rd + 5th) and let it ring.. Same idea as playing the piano. Very beautiful. Listen to Billy Sheehan, Victor Wooten and Stu Hamm and etc.. This technique came from the guitar.

7. Harmonics - There are natural harmonics found on the 5th 7th and 12th fret of the bass/guitar. Lightly touch the string and pluck it. You can hear the reasonance or vibration of the sound coming out. Beautiful right? Listen to Jaco pastorius (portrait of tracy), Victor wooten(norwegian woods) and etc

8. eBow - I never tried this before and this is mostly used by electric guitarist (Jars of Clay). The sound produce is quite unique though. Using magnetic field and held near the vibrating strings. Can create a wiammmm sound. Check out Michael Manring.

There are many other techniques like palm through, left hand slap, thumb down up pluck, and etc. But guess the above are the common techniques used.

Fast is not everything but play in time. :) A techniques can sound very cool but if cannot apply to make music, it is just a technique.


Where to shop for bass?

Dear all,

I would like to share a few places to find guitar/bass in Singapore

1. City music (Peace centre 2nd floor)
2. Peninsula basement is like a Sim Lim Square for guitars (Davis, Guitar 77, Guitar Connection, Luther music and etc)
3. Ranking (Bras Basah)
4. Sinamex (Parklane basement)
5. Swee lee (Bras Basha and Sim Drives)
6. Yamaha music plaza (Plaza Singapura), (Tampines mall)
7. Tradersgreen (West Coast)
8. Esden Trading (Sim lim)

I do not know how to spell some of the other shops. Haha
Hope the above information is useful.