Rockschool Bass Grades

Have you ever found that your bass guitar practice could benefit from more structure? If you’re anything like me, structure is crucial to success. This is not exclusive to music, and you can find the benefits of this in most areas of professional life.

Working your way through musical grades can be a great way to provide structure to your practice, and also give you a good barometer of how you’re progressing.

I’ve been involved with Rockschool in a number of capacities since 2006; in fact I even had a co-write credit with the fantastic Joe Bennett (who is now a world-regarded forensic musicologist!) in the Rockschool Bass Grade 6 syllabus that was active between 2006-2012. Check it out if you can find a copy, as it has a great 32nd note unison section. ✌️

If you have a bass guitar lying around, chances are (at the time of writing) you aren’t gigging, so what better time to become a more rounded player, build chops, understand some music theory (by actually relating it to songs you know!) and improve as a bass guitarist?

MyBeat metronome ‘in practise’ with Terry Blyth

Playing in time is important. We know that as bass players, right?! I’ve been discussing this with a group of students recently at a college that I lecture at. Frequently, especially with new and challenging tunes, a lot of players have a habit of cranking up the metronome to full speed (or even beyond!) before beavering away. This is inefficient, don’t do this!

If you are working on new material it’s important that you understand what you’re playing before you get it in time. Don’t run before you can walk. I appreciate how there is potential to measure success by targeting a certain BPM (more about SMART targets another time!), but what you end up with is a raft of material you can play quickly without actually knowing what it is you’re playing.

Speed will come. It happens naturally when we understand what we’re playing, we’re fluid with our technique and are well practiced; that’s the point at which you should be working to a click. When you are at the stage where you want to work with a metronome, check out my YouTube review (above) of one I highly recommend.