help with alternating bass

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help with alternating bass

Postby lason » Mon Jun 12, 2006 4:42 am

i'm currently trying to learn Someday Baby from Stefan Grossman's Bottleneck Blues Guitar video and I'm having a hard time with the alternating bass. I can play the bass part or the lead part, but not both at the same time. Any suggestions on how to accomplish this seemingly impossible feat?
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Postby allanlummox » Mon Jun 12, 2006 5:02 am

Hours and hours of practice?
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Postby stumblin » Mon Jun 12, 2006 7:11 am

What Lummo said.
Or you could try a course of instant guitar pills, although I'm not sure if they've been invented yet.
And even if they have, where's the fun in that?
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Postby allanlummox » Mon Jun 12, 2006 7:47 am

Dude - I took those once.


Never, ever again.

I grew a headstock - at least I thought I did - and kept trying to tune myself to open D.
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Postby nizer » Mon Jun 12, 2006 12:06 pm

Yeah, it's a trick to get them going separately. The key is to get your thumb moving independent of your fingers.

Try this exercise: get your alternating bass thumb going, say in C you're picking the C and G bass notes alternately. First try pinching, picking a high string with your finger at the same time that you pick the bass C note. Just practice that till you get it down.

Then try picking the same high note with your finger IN BETWEEN playing the the G and C bass notes. Try it after every second bass G note. Practice that til you get it down.

Then try alternating both, pinching one time and picking the off beat the next. Listen to Mississippi John Hurt.
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Postby Mississippi John » Mon Jun 12, 2006 12:17 pm

I would consider buying an introductory fingerstyle guitar course, preferrably with a CD or DVD included. I have an introductory FS blues method authored by Mark Calbo, I think, and it is very intuitive, and includes several great pieces by john Hurt, Elizabeth Cotton, Tommy Johnson and Robert Johnson. For $20 you'll get a bunch of exercises and will be able to approach the task methodically.

I played for many years before starting fingerstyle and it took me a long time to master the bass - but you WILL master it with preserverence. Good luck.
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Re: help with alternating bass

Postby thebluescaster » Mon Jun 12, 2006 1:05 pm

lason wrote:i'm currently trying to learn Someday Baby from Stefan Grossman's Bottleneck Blues Guitar video and I'm having a hard time with the alternating bass. I can play the bass part or the lead part, but not both at the same time. Any suggestions on how to accomplish this seemingly impossible feat?


When I'm working on something like that, I try to break it down into small segments and practice those ad nauseum, them fit them together.

Nizer's exercise is a good example, or just one tiny section of the tune you are working on.

I think the temptation is to make it through the whole song, and feel as though repeating the entire thing, mistakes and all, will 'smooth out' sooner or later...which IMHO doesn't always work as well as polishing the small basic steps first.
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Postby telemonkey » Mon Jun 12, 2006 1:31 pm

What Nizer said.
That really is the only way to learn it. I also second getting some introductory fingerstyle blues stuff like Mississipi John posted.
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Postby houndog » Mon Jun 12, 2006 6:50 pm

Do it slowly.

Same goes for playing live, do it slower than you think is humanly possible cos it always ends up at ramming speed cap'n.

adios,
Lovat
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Postby spud camp » Tue Jun 13, 2006 2:12 am

Listen to Mississippi John Hurt.

Thats enough to to suck the life outta anyone trying to learn LOL. Maybe after that you could check out some Big Bill Broonzy.....I love how easy he makes it sound, both are truly masters.
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Postby jamesfarrell » Tue Jun 13, 2006 11:56 am

Are there any tabs out there that explain this? If I saw it on paper, I know I'd have it down a lot quicker. I can't understand this alternating bass thing.


so it's like this ?

/ = slide

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

________________________/ 5_______________________________/5__

_____________________________________________________________

___3____________3________________3________________3_________

__________3______________3_________________3_____________3__
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Postby nizer » Tue Jun 13, 2006 12:26 pm

Like this:

PINCH
____________________________________________________________

___1_____________________________1__________________________

____________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________

___3____________3________________3________________3_________

__________3______________3_________________3_____________3__

ALTERNATE
____________________________________________________________

_____________________1_________________________________1____

____________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________

___3____________3________________3________________3_________

__________3______________3_________________3______________3_

TOGETHER
____________________________________________________________

___1_________________1___________1____________________1_____

____________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________

___3____________3________________3________________3_________

__________3______________3________________3_______________3_
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Postby guitarslim101 » Tue Jun 13, 2006 5:00 pm

The only way I find I can get the alt. bass thing down is by not thinking about it. Sometimes it comes out great, other times not so much.
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Postby jamesfarrell » Tue Jun 13, 2006 5:03 pm

well, I think I'd be about to do the above tab no problem, but I have no idea how to incorporate it into slide. I need to get some books I guess, are the Stephen Grossman slide books any good?
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Postby nizer » Tue Jun 13, 2006 7:42 pm

jamesfarrell wrote:well, I think I'd be about to do the above tab no problem, but I have no idea how to incorporate it into slide.


First things first there lad. "Thinking you'd be about to do the above tab" and actually doing it are two different things now, aren't they? Once you get that basic figure down you have the basis of all that blues/country fingerpicking stuff. You can add hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides, all sorts of fancy stuff. But you can't do any of that until you get the basic syncopated rhythm down. Don't get ahead of yourself. Learn Mississippi John Hurt's "My Creole Belle" and everything else will become clear - over time.
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