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How to Build Speed & Accuracy on the Bass #1 (L#47)

Speed… Almost every learning bassist wants to play faster, which is understandable, but don't forget that speed is something you build day after day and it mustn't be at the expense of accuracy. Actually, trying to play too fast, i.e. play much faster overnight, can cause mental and physical blocks that will slow down your progress.

So, what can you do to build your speed? Break things down, not your tendons! Generally, string crossing is a problem when you're trying to play faster. So, if you haven't seen my lessons about right hand technique, raking & alternate plucking, string skipping (octaves) and right hand muting, please do check them out before you try to apply what I'm showing here!

In this lesson, we're going to work on a C major scale, first descending, then ascending, breaking it down into sections which size will increase by one note at a time: 3 notes, then 4 notes, 5 notes, etc. Remember it's not a problem at all if you spend one week playing just five notes! If you want to play (well) faster… take your time!

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  • Five

    Another very useful lesson!
    My bass playing has improved big time with your awesome teachings!
    Thanks a lot, Scott!

  • Michael

    Hi Scott,
    great stuff. Thx.
    Question concerning right hand training:
    Per “how 2 build up speed”: Will u ALWAYS play ALTERNATLY with your right hand fingers? Sometimes it happens (at me) that i play 1 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 and then maybe start with 2. Also you may start with 2 OR with finger 1. Is this correct?
    So, what is the brain doing? Will it remember certain trained riffs always playing in the same way? Another riff in another way/sequence of fingers?
    New riff – new set of fingers?
    There must be a point where one does not think any more. You start somehow … Dont know if my questions are understandable … Thx 4 attention, greets – Michael

    • scott

      Hey Michael, yeah after a certain amount of repetition the brain just remembers automatically… so don’t worry, it’ll happen!

      I don’t really use alternate plucking with my right hand… well I do while ascending (always!) but when descending I rake. You can find out more about it here…

      Hope that helps man. Ez, Scott.

  • magstorm

    Hello there Scott!

    That was another fine lesson, but I noticed you always start plucking with your index finger…

    Just a thought :-)

    • scott

      Lol… I better get in the shed ;)

  • bo didley

    Hi scott,
    this is my third month since I started learning bass.This is a great site.Thank you as you share your knowledge with us.Your help is really a great contribution and is appreciated very much.

  • Ryan

    Hey Scott, just wanted to mention that even as a long time player, this series of speed and accuracy exercises have really been helpful! Seen some serious improvements just allocating a little of my practice routine to doing this at accelerating tempos. Thanks!

  • Bri Sharp

    Great Lesson !!! But, what’s the deal with the Gloves ?!?!?!

    • Tom Beer

      I too would like to know this.I’ve always assumed that it is to improve contrast on the video so that it’s easier to see what he’s doing with his fingers. Either that, or it’s very cold in his studio :-)

  • brandon

    hey scott. I really dig your bass lessons. Tips are really helpful. How would u reckon getting my single straight 16th notes up to speed?

    I am stuck at around 140bpm now. Its not easy going fast w/o a pick. My goal is to hit 170. Any tips would be awesome

  • Erskine Gordon

    Great Lesson Scott, That is really helping me to get around better…

  • Stuart

    First off, great lesson. Secondly, even though i need to work on building speed with my two finger technique, do you have any advice towards the three or four finger technique? like when bassists are ripping of bop lines and such, are they doing that with just two fingers or using more?

  • Dawnelle Hauber

    Hey scott! Love your lessons you have helped me a lot! I am a girl so I’m not able to go very fast due to having small hands, my pinky is pretty much usless, and I just can’t seem to move my fingers fast enough… Was wondering if you had any tips to help me get faster? Thanks!