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Intermediate Lessons: Play Along with Recorded Music

Once you have mastered the notes and a few chords, you can try to play along with recorded music. Pick a song that you like with a strong bass line. Listen to it a few times and only pay attention to the notes that the bass guitarist is playing.

I would recommend choosing a song with a relatively slow tempo. Several songs by the Beach Boys will work well for this exercise if you do not know what to choose. Listen carefully as the song is playing, and try to focus only on the bass guitar.

Now, as the song is playing, play along on your bass guitar. Only play one note at a time. Try to match the rhythm of the song. Don't worry too much about playing the same notes as the bass guitarist in the song. The most important thing to learn here is how to play along with a band.

After you have played along with the recorded song a few times by only playing the root note, try playing other notes. These notes do not have to be part of the chord or even in the same scale as the root note in the song. Listen to how the notes that you play blend with the recorded song, and imagine what the song would sound like if the bass guitarist was playing the notes that you were.

Next, if you do not have recording software on your computer, download a program such as Audacity. As the song is playing, record your bass guitar playing along with it. Then listen to what it sounds like when you play the bass guitar along with the song. If you are having trouble making an honest judgment about how you sound, then have a friend listen to the recording. This should help you determine what you are doing well and areas in which you may need more practice. For example, if the notes that you played do not match the tempo of the song, then work on your rhythm.

The key points of this lesson are:

  • Play along with a recorded song while paying close attention to the rhythm and the notes that the bass guitarist is playing.
  • Record your playing along with the song, and use the recording to determine areas in which you need more practice.
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Further Reading

Where to Find Bass Guitars for Sale Online - Discusses the best online musical instrument stores for bass guitars and other gear.

Beginner and Cheap Bass Guitars - Find out what you need to know before buying an inexpensive bass guitar.

Bass Guitar Resource Guide - Learn more and improve your bass guitar playing ability with online lessons, books, DVDs, CDs, and private lessons.

Beginner Online Bass Guitar Lessons - No Bass Guitar Required - Start learning the bass guitar right now, without an actual bass guitar, by studying music and notes. If you have a bass guitar, you can use these lessons to begin practicing as well.

Guide to Amplifiers - Learn how amplifiers and other sound equipment make the bass guitar sound louder and better!

Hal Leonard Bass Method - The Complete Edition

Learn to play the bass guitar with the help of this book. This is one of the best books that I have found for learning to play the bass guitar.

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