The Most Common Problem In New Bass Students – Note Control

2019-02-10T16:51:31+00:00January 22nd, 2015|Categories: Bass Playing Fundamentals|Tags: , , |6 Comments

In this lesson I cover the most common problem I always find with new bass students. If I ask a student to play a scale or a bassline there’s always this problem of holding a note down for the full duration and leading smoothly from one note to another. Often the solution can be found by simply drawing attention to the problem but sometimes some more technical issues need to be addressed. Just watch the lesson for more details…

Note Control Tips

  1. Be aware of the note length and wait until it is time to play the next note before you end the previous one.
  2. Pluck at the same time that you put your finger on the fret. This has to be simultaneous otherwise you’ll end up playing a hammer-on or making the fret buzz.
  3. Practice bad technique so you know what to avoid.
  4. Don’t just practice in one area of the fretboard.
  5. Isolate a position shift if you find it tricky and repeat it over and over.

Chromatic Exercise For Practicing Note Length 



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  1. Rick Hamilton March 24, 2015 at 12:38 am - Reply

    How about a tshirt that says, “I fret the note, then I play the play the note”.

  2. PHILLIP SADDLER July 8, 2015 at 4:25 am - Reply

    Thank you very much for the lesson on Note Control (L#81).I felt you were addressing my playing.. I see the difference now.


  3. Sean April 12, 2016 at 11:44 pm - Reply

    That was a great lesson, Its is something you don’t really think about, I did notice I should work on this, and certainly be aware, awesome lesson Mark.

  4. Tony Ashby October 30, 2016 at 10:38 am - Reply

    Hadn’t even thought about it but thanks Mark your teaching is the best on the net thanks again BRILLIANT!

  5. Alexandre Almeida April 14, 2018 at 10:02 pm - Reply

    Mark in a world in where we should print less and less, what are the alternatives the musician use to view music sheets? Tablets, laptops?
    Where do you recommend to buy sheets?


  6. Lina Sibum Mulder June 9, 2018 at 4:57 pm - Reply

    Thank you for this lesson. I intend to repeat this one often as after 2 years of Bass playing this is one of the things I know I should do beter but stil can’t master. Concentration on what your doing is the key as wel as patientce.

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