Jonathan Randall (2016 October, Jon Randall, Blog)

Musician / Bass Player

BLOG Entry - 2024 April

This year Ive really been trying to work on my sight-reading (something I’ve been pretty slack with). At different times over the last 20 + years I’ve put in some time to try and become a better sight-reader, but because of a lack of motivation and other ‘pressing needs’ like learning songs for bands and gigs, I never really put the time in on a consistent basis. 

Now after spending about 5 months doing a little bit every couple of days, I’m really seeing the difference. In many ways I am preferring to read standard notation rather than TAB because it gives you a better indication of the timing (and often the quality of the transcriptions is better). But most importantly this skill is giving me a greater feeling of confidence in my playing in general.

One thing I can say for sure - The more you practise the easier it gets, but here are a few hints and tips :

1/ Pick tunes that have an appropriate complexity. For example if you are just starting out,  choose songs that only have 3-4 different notes (Save Your Tears -by the Weeknd is a good example)

2/ Pick songs that are not too fast (or if they are, slow them down)

3/ Expect to make mistakes - Don’t expect to be able to play all the way through a piece perfectly

4/ Spend time before you start playing looking at what the notes are and for any tricky parts (even write the notes on the sheet music)

5/ Avoid songs that have lots of sharps and flats

6/ Build up you skills over weeks and months, look at this as a lifelong skill that needs constant work

7/ I HIGHLY RECOMMEND: WWW.TOMREADBASS.CO.UK as a source of transcriptions for all levels.