Bass guitar parts for a young learner

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I bought my youngest a bass just over a year ago along with 20 lessons and he has really taken to it.

The current situation has veered him onto learning the old fashioned way i.e. put the 'record' on and keep going until your guitar sounds like the one on the record. He is set to resume his formal lessons once things get back to normal but I would sill very much like to encourage him to plug away with what he's doing now until then and beyond. He's looking for song suggestions, classic bass guitar parts to work on and despite being a six string play with a fair few years under my belt I (somewhat embarrassing) am not sure what to recommend.

I'm also trying to get him into the habit of learning and playing the whole song and getting familiar with the verse/chorus/bridge structure rather than just learning 'the 20 best rock riffs' off of youtube. He does have a few down in this way already - Come Together, Billie Jean etc

He's a fifteen year old and generally agnostic when it comes to genres.

I would be interested to hear any suggestions.



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  • MusicwolfMusicwolf Frets: 976
    Have a go at ‘Start’ by The Jam.
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  • sixwheeltyrrelsixwheeltyrrel Frets: 171
    Musicwolf said:
    Have a go at ‘Start’ by The Jam.
    Thanks. Excellent suggestion!

    The Guns of Brixton (Clash) is a one from the same era that I have on my list.
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  • prowlaprowla Frets: 2757
    I used to play along with things on TV.
    I'm trying to think but nothing's happening!
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  • DulcetJonesDulcetJones Frets: 481
    "Sunshine of Your Love"(Cream).   An oldie I learned by ear back in my early days.  Simple verse/chorus structure.

    Turns out “you’re so beautiful when you’re sleeping” is only considered a compliment if she knows who you are.



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  • RockerRocker Frets: 3763
    Interesting bass on Wonderful tonight by Eric Clapton.  Also Stand by me by Ben E King
    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Albert Einstein]

    Nil Satis Nisi Optimum

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  • fretmeisterfretmeister Frets: 12619
    If he's having lessons, does he read?
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  • slackerslacker Frets: 1163
    Another on bites the dust
    Money
    We are family
    Lovely day
    Psycho killer
    Le freak
    Disco inferno
    Papa was a rolling stone
    Get ready here I come
    Heard it through the grape vine
    Exodus

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  • pintspillerpintspiller Frets: 844
    edited May 21
    Stuck in the Middle with Hugh
    Valerie
    9 to 5

    Standard cover fare
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  • If he's at all into his old-school Soul/R&B, then you can fill yer boots with some James Jamerson stuff. He played on loads of classics, personal favourite being What's Going On?

    Someone mentioned The Jam earlier - Town Called Malice is a great one too, but pretty quick so maybe in the 'intermediate' pile as opposed to beginner. 

    Are You Gonna Be My Girl by Jet is a fun and super catchy bass line.

    For something more rock oriented, try Sweet Child O Mine. Everyone always remembers the guitar lick, but that opening bass lick in the intro is a great one too.

    Californication is one of Flea's easier bass lines, and it's good for a young player's ego to be able to tell his mates he can play like Flea!  =)
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  • ColsCols Frets: 1405
    Lots of Queen stuff.  John Deacon wasn’t a flashy player very often, but he was an absolute master at always playing what was right for the song.  Another One Bites The Dust is a great recognisable one.

    Free is also a good band for consistently excellent bass.  It’s not just All Right Now.

    And if he wants to develop his slap technique, there’s always Red Hot Chilli Peppers.  Mothers Milk through Blood Sugar Sex Magick to One Hot Minute is the finest and funkiest era.
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  • sixwheeltyrrelsixwheeltyrrel Frets: 171
    edited May 21
    If he's having lessons, does he read?
    @fretmeister ;;

    He is having lessons although they are currently suspended and he would rather wait for them to resume normally than take the Zoom/Skype approach.

    He spent around nine months learning saxophone (formal notation based lessons) before moving onto bass . He can't sight read but he does seem to have grasped and retained enough of it to decipher rhythm. There hasn't been any attempt to continue with or involve notation in his bass lessons. That seems to be normal for electric guitar lessons I think?

    I expect I'll look to move him onto another tutor for the next batch of lessons. His current one is good (and likeable) but perhaps more a guitar player who also plays a bit of bass on the side. 
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  • sixwheeltyrrelsixwheeltyrrel Frets: 171
    Thanks for the suggestions  @slacker , @pintspiller ;
    Those are great songs and absolutely the kind of thing I was trying to come up with myself. 

    When he does play with others it's usually keyboards and a drummer and so songs with a guitar riff at front and centre are less on his radar I suppose. 
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  • fretmeisterfretmeister Frets: 12619
    If he's having lessons, does he read?
    @fretmeister ;;

    He is having lessons although they are currently suspended and he would rather wait for them to resume normally than take the Zoom/Skype approach.

    He spent around nine months learning saxophone (formal notation based lessons) before moving onto bass . He can't sight read but he does seem to have grasped and retained enough of it to decipher rhythm. There hasn't been any attempt to continue with or involve notation in his bass lessons. That seems to be normal for electric guitar lessons I think?

    I expect I'll look to move him onto another tutor for the next batch of lessons. His current one is good (and likeable) but perhaps more a guitar player who also plays a bit of bass on the side. 

    @sixwheeltyrrel (very cool name by the way!)

    I think reading on bass is actually more important than on guitar. Partly because of the traditional side-man role but also because, depending on genre, it's quite normal to pitch up to play and be given a piano part rather than a proper bass part.

    Then there is the basic function of the bass - to be part of the rhythm section. Tab can be found everywhere and none of it shows the rhythm or can show the subtleties of a great bass part. Almost every type of music needs bass so unless the aim is composing originals and nothing else, versatility is very useful.


    If he likes some Blues Brothers or Stevie Wonder etc youtube has easier arrangements of tunes, some in original keys, some in different keys - usually to suit younger brass and wind players. They are Hal Leonard arrangements aimed at students... AND if you have a big enough telly you can read them straight off the screen and play along, and of course pause them for working it out.

    Example: "Think" (Blues Brothers Version), arranged for big Band.

    Duck Dunn was such a great bass player - can learn so much from just him, and nothing is too difficult either - it is old RnB after all.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVix0EB1w9E&list=PLU37zlMyml27l7bCVqSLN2SqeYt4Fwt5R&index=2&t=0s


    That link is on a playlist that I play with my kids. It's great fun and you'll notice there is a guitar part too so you can join in as well.


    Or if he wants to play with the original recordings then: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Soul-Fingers-Legendary-Bassist-Donald/dp/1495052923/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2NQ6O63N1EPDJ&dchild=1&keywords=soul+fingers&qid=1590088775&sprefix=soul+fingers%2Caps%2C157&sr=8-1


    Has downloadable tracks to play along with. Notation and Tabs in the book (I covered the tabs in mine with post-its to force me to read the proper stuff).


    5 mins sight reading practice per day is all that is needed to get on the right track. Much better than an hour on the weekend.


    Zoom lessons work well - my kids are woodwind players and are still having their lessons successfully.
    Anyway, hope that helps a bit.
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  • PhilW1PhilW1 Frets: 444
    Dancing in the moonlight , Boys are back - Thin Lizzy (any Lizzy)
    Going Down-Freddie King
    I’ve borrowed a bass and have been having fun trying these.
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  • sixwheeltyrrelsixwheeltyrrel Frets: 171
    edited May 22
    @fretmeister ;;

    Thanks for the hugely helpful response.

    I started as a classically trained pianist and still have a loose foothold in the discipline of formal notation. Whilst my guitar playing days 
    (spanning a few decades)  have taken a different course I'm reminded of those early days music essentials (seemingly hard to find in mainstream guitar tuition!)  and  have come to the conclusion that  reading the dots and the ties on the bass clef is what I should be steering the young man onto. Perhaps a keyboard player who also plays a bit of bass would be the sort of tutor I need.

    The online references look like great fun. It's rare to see an entire arrangement presented like that. 

    Dick Dunn is a new name for me (he seems like the bass equivalent of Steve Cropper) and one I will definitely be following up.


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  • sixwheeltyrrelsixwheeltyrrel Frets: 171
    edited May 22
    With all that said, every one of the  'work it out by ear'  suggestions are top drawer and an equally important skill.

    If I had to pick a favourite it would be the first up - "Start" by the Jam ... but I'm of that time 
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  • fretmeisterfretmeister Frets: 12619
    @fretmeister ;;

    Thanks for the hugely helpful response.

    I started as a classically trained pianist and still have a loose foothold in the discipline of formal notation. Whilst my guitar playing days (spanning a few decades)  have taken a different course I'm reminded of those early days music essentials (seemingly hard to find in mainstream guitar tuition!)  and  have come to the conclusion that  reading the dots and the ties on the bass clef is what I should be steering the young man onto. Perhaps a keyboard player who also plays a bit of bass would be the sort of tutor I need.

    The online references look like great fun. It's rare to see an entire arrangement presented like that. 

    Dick Dunn is a new name for me (he seems like the bass equivalent of Steve Cropper) and one I will definitely be following up.

    “Duck” Dunn.

    His first name was Donald and he got a nickname.

    You may not recognise the name but you will have heard him. His discography 

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_%22Duck%22_Dunn_discography


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