Heh, I had forgotten that I even made this thread. Anyway, thanks to all who helped me get on my feet, my bass playing is smoothly improving all the time.
As far as building right hand speed, do you have any tips or drills other than the typical chromatic stuff used by everyone? I am focused on building usable speed, not just being able to run up chromatic scales in 140bpm sixteenth notes or something like that. I try to play bass lines by Rush, but Geddy has some darn tough ones for a semi beginner.
The one pitfall that I implore you to avoid, if you or any other beginners are reading this, is to not fall into the lazy right hand trap. Do not rest your thumb on your low string or pickup, just don't, unless you want to handicap yourself. You can generate all the pluck you need with your wrist floating over the strings. It is ok to use your thumb for muting, but it is poor form to leave it there all the time. By "anchoring" your thumb you end up forming an arch with your wrist and limit your freedom of motion, which is bad. It is far more ideal to keep your wrist flatter instead of arched. You will avoid developing tendonitis and it will improve both your chops and your speed. Need proof? Hold your arm straight out in front of you parallel to the ground (kinda like a nazi salute but not angled up). Now try and make your wrist perpendicular to the ground while keeping your arm parallel to the ground. Feel that pinch in your wrist? That's your tendons asking you to stop being such a jerk to them.
If your wrist is forming an arch over the strings, (a common mistake, even amongst those who have played for years and feel content to give advice on how to play bass, apparently) then you can improve your technique simply by being aware of this and not doing it. Usually this requires holding your elbow up a little higher than you are probably used to. Here's why this is so important; the tendons in your wrist that connect the muscles in your forearm pass through the center of your wrist and run to your fingers. When you form an arch, you are placing a lot of unnecessary strain on these tendons, which impedes your ability to move your fingers and can even damage your tendons and lead to inflammation. If your wrist is ever sore after playing, this is probably the culprit.
I realize that this is a very old thread but it's never too late to give good advice and correct poor form. Following this one simple rule will improve your speed, comfort, and endurance by leaps and bounds. Oddly enough this can be a problem as well with the left hand, particularly on the upright, so always keep in mind how your wrists are positioned--you want to work with your body and not against it.
Now I realize that people have personal styles; I remember seeing the bassist for the Count Bassie Band, who was self taught, and I was very impressed with his playing, but I am certain that he would have been better if he had been taught a few fundamentals early on. I think that's true for anyone, even if they are a virtuoso in spite of crappy form.
This is a tough habit to break, and your right arm will feel tired since you aren't letting it rest like it's used to, but you will get over it with practice and awareness.