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  • Writer's pictureSteve Bryant

The subject of what to practice on bass is overwhelming in the number of posts and videos available on the internet. At times the content offers so little! On occasion I have ” deprogrammed” new students who had accepted ( because they didn’t know better) unworkable methods that were not grounded in music content.

The electric bass enjoys a unique position as it determines the '' shape'' of the song harmonically as well as directing the energy of the music.

Learning music informs your art of playing at minimum and enables you to be competitive to ” earn in the real world”. Why do we accept that a lawyer would get applied knowledge in order to earn his fee, but not have the same standard for a young or perhaps not so young bassist wanting to learn his craft to satisfy the requirements of the music? Learning to read, studying functional harmony, chordal theory are the benchmarks of our craft and prepares the bassist for the demands of the professional and semi-professional world. In my years of teaching , I've never seen a student that is serious about the instrument not improve by learning to read. It is not hard to learn if done correctly and have taught hundreds this basic skill in my private and online teaching. I've been teaching for many years on Skype and Worldwide. my skype address is: stevenontheone

Practicing musical information is not supposed to be emotional! You are regarding facts that you need to know, play and hear in order to express your ideas and the ideas of others in a method of communication that has been in use for many, many years regardless of the style being played.

The web has brought a wealth of information, both correct and incorrect, to our homes. As I am fond of telling my students in regards to practicing: ” The only bad mistake is the one you didn’t realize that you made”….studying music gives us how and why of practice and how to correct mistakes.

I’ve had the great pleasure of ” pouring in” to students who earn that title and some of gone on to be wonderful and successful bass musicians in their own right. All of them learn craft and music content and can fit the requirement of the gig…and they all play their own way of expressing their art. However, they function well in whatever musical environment they are in. contact me at: My Skype address is: stevenontheone

Craft is HOW we do something, Art is WHY we do something. Expression is the very art of music and there are no rules. When we learn the craft and facts of music, We grow not only as bass artists, but also the knowledge to play in any style we prefer. This is what music fact based practicing does.

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As a bass teacher in Nashville, I've observed that bass playing is a ''Contact Sport'' when it comes to learning well. I'm not a very knowledgeable guy regarding sports. My friends will testify to that, as they have to remind me who the football, basketball , Hockey teams are, as well as their star players and coaches:-)

With that limitation firmly in hand, (along with a bit of tongue in cheek-) I want to lay out what bass playing and sports have in common: A consistent reviewing of the facts and fundamentals. I seriously love the stories behind major sports figures. and that includes what they do on a regular schedule to attain a great skill level They simply review the fundamentals and never lose sight of that.

In teaching many hundreds of students over the years, I've encountered great raw talent that would have remained ''Permanent Potential'' without the discipline of daily practice on music facts that produces results.

Love these quotes:

“Most people get excited about games, but I’ve got to be excited about practice, because that’s my classroom.”

– Pat Summitt, Basketball

“First master the fundamentals.”

– Larry Bird, Basketball

The minute you get away from fundamentals – whether its proper technique, work ethic or mental preparation – the bottom can fall out of your game, your schoolwork, your job, whatever you’re doing.”

Michael Jordan

These quotes are so universal! Think of great bass players and what it took to gain the ability and the edge to perform at a professional level. Each player has the unique and personal style that carries the stamp of their art and personal expression and approach on the bass guitar.. We learn by emulating our favorites. Know that this self taught period can be both positive and expressive in our first encounters with playing bass.. for the joy of it! Then comes the thrill of playing with friends/family/casual jam sessions that can really '' seal the deal'' with playing bass.. So many have begun this way.

I've taught everyone from beginners to some of the current crop of top Nashville session and touring bassists.. and also pro students/intermediate/beginners in Europe, Asia, South America and Africa via Skype and Face time.

I did a video series on Fundamentals and the how and why of the nuts and bolts of good playing and the road to solid musicianship.. and a little bit about my personal history as well:-) This was for Bass Frontiers Magazine in 2011.. Please see the link below for the first of four videos. We had fun doing them and it was very informal.. but, I managed to pack in a lot of practical info!!

Contact me to begin your own personal journey to improvement.. I love to teach and have been doing it privately since 1979 even while touring and session work ( see my credits on this site with some clips/audio samples of hits I've played on, etc.. by clicking on the '' About'' tab on the top of the page... also click on the testimonials tab for stories and personal experiences of some of my students.


"The first year I lived here in Nashville, I pursued Steve Bryant and seized every opportunity to learn from and be mentored by him. I'm eternally grateful that I did, as he equipped me with the tools and knowledge I needed to succeed as a professional musician, here in what I believe to be the biggest music producing city in the world. I can't begin to count the number of times I drew upon the wisdom and knowledge he imparted, in order for me to succeed in this line of work. If I weren't so busy these days, thanks to him, I'd still be bugging him every week for another lesson! Haha! I still intend to...

Whether it be technical, mental, or relational skills, I felt like Mr. Bryant always ensured that I was well-equipped with what I needed to address any issue in the music industry. In my opinion, his teaching and mentoring abilities are unparalleled. Steve Bryant is not only an excellent teacher and mentor, but he also employs a vast wealth of knowledge and experience that any student (at any level) can benefit from! I'm so grateful to have found such a great example of excellence, discipline, kindness and professionalism.

Steve Bryant is my hero..."

Jake Barr, Nashville Bassist for Jeremy McComb, Bone Feather, and Tiffany


Wishing you solid improvement in your bass playing and the personal satisfaction of good musicianship.

Here is that link that takes you to my youtube channel:

you'll find some other vids as well covering some uber practical stuff:- )



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What is groove if not the ability to play that note at that time! In the video I present here, I'm covering a very productive way of the basics of using the metronome.. remember, you want to use the metronome as a '' snare drum'' of 2 and 4.

I am presenting info that can really assist a beginning bassist or those revisiting the bass. Even some experienced bassists miss this. I do want to point out the importance of '' notes first'' before attempting to groove or play in time. This is a fundamental I teach my beginning students of separately finding the notes.. then get the rhythm patten together, finding the downbeats in each bar.. exploring this music fact from the get go will form good habits that builds solid musicianship.. note that this should be addressed before using a metronome on two and four.

contact me for bass lessons, as I work with students online worldwide.. from serious beginners to seasoned pro players..

Here is the link:

Have Fun! .. now, That IS important!

Wishing you productive practicing and constant improvement !


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