Flea’s Most Precious Advice For All The Bass Players Out There

32 thoughts on “Flea’s Most Precious Advice For All The Bass Players Out There

  • The best way to learn bass is to listen to other people. If you can’t get it down after a few months then you never will, you don’t have the internal rhythm nor the ability to hear music in your head to succeed. I’ve play in sooooo many bands with sooo many people who just do not have that ability to objectify music or hear music in their heads and it is an absolute freakin’ nightmare everytime. I’ve had guys who couldn’t even tune a bass because they had no concept on tones, yes, tone deafness is a real thing. They couldn’t tell the difference between a high note or low note. My philosophy now is if you have been playing longer than a year and you cannot figure out basic bass riffs or drum beats, then you shouldn’t be playing in a band. Accept it, it’s no different from realizing you can’t do backflips, Do something else because all you are doing is putting people who can in a tight spot. Like these people who would appear on American Idol thinking they can sing and Simon Cowell would tell them they cant and they would get all pissed off. Yes Cowell made a shit load of money, but put yourself in his shoes: YOU are putting him in that spot where he had to be a hardass. Same with a musican who can play, the last thing they want to do is go hardcore because you are retarded enough to think you can understand music when you cant

  • Saw them at the Sanger Theater in NO years ago. The venue stopped the show because people kept climbing on the pipe organ, so the crowd went nuts and trashed the place. I think the police were a little quick to shut it down though, because Anthony Keidas called one of them fat and hairy on the mic. Fun times.

  • Great advice,Flea! He seems like a really cool guy. I’ve really liked all those bands where the bass is doing a lot. ( Chile’s, Rush, The Police, Primus,ect. Flea has been very influencial to just about every bass guitarist I’ve ever met!

  • Very well said Flea, you’re closing remarks on individuality is most crucial.  Above all else -support the band, song, etc…. it’s ironic, but when I miss a note or play a wrong note on the bass, everyone in the band notices, but can’t place where it’s coming from or who did what.  -nuff said.

  • My three tips for beginner bassists as an old dude:
    1) Get a drum machine and practice against it non stop. Timing is everything when you are in the rhythm section.
    2) Learn chords and understand how they fit into scales. Yes you won’t use them directly, but a chord is just an arpegio played all at once. These are the basic notes you’ll be writing your baselines from. So if the songs in A minor. The chords will be triads that fit that scale. Theres your notes, now use them to make the drummers beat pop.
    3) Keep it simple, and follow. By supporting the beat, and supporting (not defining! Unless thats what the song is, of course) the chords and melody, you make the whole band sound great, and hopefully they’ll pass it back and give you a chance to pop your own spotlight.

    and finally, when your competent and conoent, go learn jazz. Seriously, those cats have some fucking great theory going on, and even if its not your first choice of music , it WILL make you a better musician. Oh and in Jazz, the bassist gets to solo….every…..damn…..song. Mingus, Pastorious, Wooten, all those guys are/where fucken amazin

  • I SO agree with what he says at 2:20. Listen to “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac if you want to hear both a perfectly locked rhythm section AND super simple bass playing that totally carries the song, courtesy of John McVie and Mick Fleetwood. They provide a rock-solid foundation for the guitar and all of the vocals to soar and do their thing.

  • I started playing bass because I couldn’t find any good bass players to play with, just failed guitarists who couldn’t hold chords. When I started learning bass, I looked at it as inferior to guitar. After 6 months of lessons and practicing, my guitar had dust on it and I only wanted to play bass. I no longer saw it as an inferior instrument or even compared it to guitar because I realized that comparing it to guitar would be like comparing a harp or violin to a guitar. It’s a completely different instrument and should be played that way. Bass should be felt more than heard, it’s what moves people and bridges melody with percussion. I completely agree that it’s a supportive instrument and is reactive. After mastering modes and developing my technique I could play without thinking. I would feel the music and my playing became a reflex to what my bandmates would play. I love the bass, it was the instrument I was meant to play and wouldn’t be happy playing anything else.

  • thats really inspiring. When I saw RHCP last summer, they sucked complete balls but the rythm section tried everything to save the performance, especially Flea

  • Bass has just always felt right for me 🙂 I’ve always been the “supportive” guy in all my social circles, and I like to think I’m a giver, so in the name of Flea, and in my own name too, I’ll strive to make whoever I play with sound legendary 😀 Only been playing for 8 months, but I’ll take my time getting up there in skill

  • I remember jamming with my friends in the studio. The funny part being I’d be playing my bass according to how my friend sounded on drums, & he’d play his drums as to how my bass playing sounded.

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