Bass Coaching

Zachary Smith


WEEK 1 - Overview of electric bass guitar and its components. Discuss different types of basses and the sounds they produce. Certain basses are more fitting than others to achieve specific tones. Technique Intro. Holding the bass, fretting, string attack, legato vs staccato, muting, and pick vs fingers.


WEEK 2 - Bass in pop music. Let’s talk about what bass is contributing to the mix in most modern pop and worship songs. Should we always be playing? Laying out of certain sections can help contrast a song dynamically. Simplicity, Approach each song with the understanding that bass notes are foundational to the music.


WEEK 3 - Rhythm, time signature and dynamics.


WEEK 4 - Rhythm and groove. Subdivision and “feel”. Sustaining notes vs muting them.


WEEK 5 - Locking in. While there are many harmonic and melodic possibilities, bass is first and foremost a rhythm instrument. Bass is essential to the rhythm section of a band, and we’ve got to learn to “lock in” as far as it depends on us. Develop a passion for the groove, elevate your musicianship, and never be bored on bass again. 


WEEK 6 - Using a pick! Yeah, it’s ok. Give yourself permission to bring the rock… but do it well when the time comes.


WEEK 7 - Halfway point and gear talk. Review of fundamentals and techniques discussed up to this point. We want to hone our skills AND work with good tools. Get your equipment working for you not against you. Let’s talk basses, preamps, pedals, amps, tone, etc. As well as some notes on caring for and maintaining your bass.


WEEK 8 - Intro to basic music theory. Learn major, minor, pentatonic, and chromatic scales. Explain Nashville number system based off of major scale. An understanding of these few simple scales can help you hear, understand, and play music in a new way. Ear Training. We can familiarize ourselves with note relationships and intervals so that we know what they are just by hearing them.


WEEK 9 - Chords and Inversions. Discuss major and minor chords (triads) and how they affect the bass line of a song. Scale exercise: Build major and minor triad arpeggios in every key. Inversions, sometimes also referred to as chord voices, affect the sound and emotion of the music. Passing tones. Using chord tones and passing notes to create tasteful movement and give character to songs.


WEEK 10 - Personal assessment. Coaching and feedback on individual progress.


WEEK 11 - Audiation. This is a term used to describe the comprehension and internal realization of music. In this case, referring to our imagination and ability to hear what is not musically present and play something appropriate to fill the void. In other words, unlock your ears, imagination, and creativity (and play with greater confidence!)


WEEK 12 - Where do we go from here? You’ve got the knowledge and the tools to continue growing and pushing yourself musically. Let’s talk practically about how to take responsibility for your musical journey moving forward.