2. Not learning the notes on the fingerboard
I can't tell you amount of times I've stopped a student in the middle of playing and asked them what note they are on, only to be met with a blank expression. For me, fingerboard knowledge is the key to opening up creative possibilities and breaking free from the box, or pattern based playing we are all so used to. When I think of a chord or tonality and I look at the fretboard, it's like all the possibilities 'light up' leaving me free to draw on my musicality and play what fits the music best, not just be limited to the handful of patterns or positions I am familiar with. The better you know the notes on your fretboard, the less and less you will have to rely on TABs or YouTube videos to figure out how to play things. As your reading and fingerboard knowledge increase you are opening yourself up to a much larger library written music that you can access in terms of transcriptions and educational material. You are able to make smarter and more efficient fingering decisions for tricky passages as you are aware of more note options.
The benfits go on and on, but let's look at some ways to improve our fingerboard knowledge.
1. Take exercises and basslines you already know and say each note as you play it out loud. You'll be surprised at how quickly you beging to put together your 'network of notes'
2. Pick a note, for example F#, set the metronome to around 90bpm and then on each crotchet play every F# that exists on the fingerboard in the first 12 frets. Repeat for all 12 keys and finally extend to the end of your fretboard.
3. Play exercises and scales in the cycle of fifths. This helps build interval awareness as well.
Next week we're going to look at a mistake very closely connected to this one, and possibly one of the most hotly disputed topics in the bass community.....;)