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Are lessons worth the money?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by APerfectTool77, Jan 1, 2002.

  1. Ive been playing bass for about 10 months now, but its been mostly tab that ive learned from. Ive been thinking of taking actual lessons lately. What does an average lesson contain? How fast do you pick up on the stuff? Do they teach me at my speed or what the pace they think I should learn at? Overall, do you recommend lessons?
  2. i would say that you should take lessons. i basically taught mself most of the technique stuff and then when i took lessons i learned about scales and modes and chords, which i have found very helpful in my playing. i mainly use that stuff to improvise in key and play in key. it was also helpful in learning what notes were where on the bass. i could already read music but i didnt know where an e flat was on the bass. they pretty much go at your speed but that depends on what teacher you have. if you plan to just look up tabs and play cover songs all your life then dont take lessons, but if you want to make up cool stuff and read music i would deffinitly recommend lessons.
  3. Lessons are well worth it! But as already stated, make sure you have a good teacher.

    As I stated in other threads, you can become very good by not taking lessons BUT you will undoubtly waist a HUGE amout of time!! TAKE LESSONS!!

  4. You gotta take lessons, i'm in the same boat as you, i've been playing for just over a year mostly self taught. I took a couple of lessons, but had to stop because they were getting to expesive for me, but i now want to get back into lessons. You can teach yourself the tech part, but you need theory, you need to know and understand you bass. a good teacher can help you. even a bad teacher can, my theory on this is anyone can teach you something, take what you can get, in the end it will make you a better player! good luck!
  5. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    definitely find a good teacher - lessons are very beneficial.

    until you do, however, there are many educational resources available for free on the web for bassists. one that i send people to often is www.libster.com . go check out the lessons there.
  6. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    One thing no online lessons can do that a teacher can is listen to you and watct you as you play. For a beginner that is a BIG deal!!!

    Most lessons run $10-20 for a half hour. Even a few months worth can be a great benefit.
  7. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    Lessons are definately worth the money if you find a good teacher. I look forward to my lesson every week. The only thing I really don't like is that it goes by way too fast!! I take half-hour lessons for $15 a week. I wish I had the money to do hour ones.

    I learn a lot from my lessons. I've been taking them since summer of 2000. I'm glad that I have stuck with them through tough times. I have an absolutely wonderful teacher who takes the time to help me with things I don't understand. (I can't believe he has the patience for me and my terrible time with improvisation! Hehe.) :D
  8. I personally believe that it really depends on how long you've been playing as to whether lessons are a good idea or not.

    I think that when a person starts out there is nothing a teacher can teach them at $35 an hour that they wouldn't be able to learn from any good internet bass site, (e.g. talkbass;)) by themselves.

    I personaly believe that only once they are able to play a good range of stuff fluently that a teacher becomes useful as they are able to correct the little mistakes that the player doesn't realise he/she is makeing as apposed to those huge mistakes that deaf camels can spot when you first start the bass.

    I only know of guitarists that get lessons, not bassist so all of what I'm saying is bassed around that, but I know 5 guitarists that have been getting lessons for about 18months (from when they started really) till the present day and they're all crap. I know 2 guitarists that have only been getting lessons for the past 2 or 3 months and had been playing previously without lessons and they are both amazing.
    I think a teacher will just hinder the progress of a beginner as I firmly believe that the player will just use them as a crutch and not rely on their own learning capabilities. They will expect to get taught everything by the teacher as apposed to using the teacher as an aid for learning. They will lose their own inititave and the teacher will end up having to force/persuade them to learn everything they do learn. (this is all what i think, not fact)

    I genuinly think you should wait till you've been playing for at least a year and then get a teacher as you'd just be wasting your money. I also think you'd enjoy learning on your own more as you wouldn't have to start out with 'bah bah black sheep' and other such nonsense.
    Just check out general instrction alot and I think you'll be fine.

    ( Just as a matter of interest, I have never had a single lesson in my life other than off the internet. I am currently the by far the best bassist in my school of around 1800. I have only been playing for 18 months. I don't concider myself to be good, but when I compair myself to some suckers who have forked out hundreds of $ for lessons I really do have to laugh.)
  9. i HIGHLY recommend lessons...TRUST ME!!!
  10. i think if u still live with your dad assuming he is still alive he will probably be able to teach u everything you need to know for now.
  11. The only problem I have with my dad teaching me is that he's not very patient in teaching me this stuff. We have no similar music tastes either. For me, I think learning from a qualified teacher would be a huge help.

    Thanks Everyone!
  12. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    a good teacher has patience, the differences in musical tastes is irrelivant imo, Ive taken imformal lessons from some of my friends who play bass/guitar, even keyboards, and we all had a big difference in musical tastes, yet I still wound up learning quite a bit from them, they knew more about theory than i did, so i took what the non-bassists taught me and applied it to bass. So your dad may be able to teach you a little something. Just try to get him to be patient.
  13. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to disagree with just about everything you said. Starting to play without a teacher is a really good way to develop bad habits that will only hinder a young bassist once they decide to take lessons. For example, using only two fingers to fret will feel natural to anyone that "taught" themselves, and they may even be able to bang out a few songs. However, once they take lessons, they'll realize that they were wasting their time.

    As for learning "Bah Bah Black Sheep", yes, the teacher will start the student on the basics. But that's how it has to be done. Jaco is not prescribed on the first lesson (and if he is, you need a new teacher!). No matter how fluent one thinks their hands are, once some sheet music is placed in front of them, again, it's back to square one.

    Building a solid foundation with a teacher is the way to go, in my humble opinion. To truly waste your time would be to stumble blindly through the dark using tabs as a way to convince yourself you can play. (Take the tab comments elsewhere if you want to argue their virtues. There are plenty of threads. But you get my point.) It's truly humbling to go to a teacher and see how much you have to learn. THEN you'll realize you were wasting your time. Teaching yourself CAN be done, I suppose. I'm not sure how you can teach yourself something you don't know without any professional guidance, but that's just me.

    But hey, prove me wrong. Post some sound samples so we can hear what a person who doesn't take lessons sounds like, maybe I'm barking the wrong tree. But someone as good as you wouldn't be afraid to show up some punk on the internet, right? ;)
  14. *Puts on old dusty cowboy hat*

    Dems be fightin werds!
  15. is speaking the truth! You NEED lessons. If only for a couple of months ... And take them from someone who is NOT related to you, and NOT a good friend. You need someone that you pay to sit and teach you. Someone you PAY based on doing good work. You don't need someone looking for a playing partner, or looking for someone to impress.

    Teachers are(with some luck) experienced players with SECRETS! Secrets that they will tell you so that you don't have to search the world for them on your own, second guessing your every move. If you've ever taken lessons you know what I'm talking about. If you have never taken lessons, you don't know what you are missing.

    I have a lesson tonight after work, and I can't wait! And as a result I find myself practicing stuff more than I ever would on my own, just because I want to show up and play well. This past week I spent learning how to play every major and minor scale in every possable place on the neck. Would I have done this on my own? Eventually, but never to this extent and with the confidence that I was doing it correctly.

  16. hmm, I think ducky and I have a difference of opinions.

    I'm concidering getting lessons now but that's only because the teacher would be teaching me things that I either couldn't learn by myself or would have to spend alot more time learning if i did it on my own.

    My point about learning things when you first start is that it is all so simple that you don't really need a teacher to show you how it's done.

    I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.
  17. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin Banned

    Dec 11, 1999
    Lessons are imperative. Let me try to give you a reason why, other than I make a good part of my living teaching.

    Bass is a very physically demanding instrument. Poor technique can lead to injuries that will hamper your development for ever (Carpal Tunnel Syndrome). A good TEACHER will help you develop the proper techniques. Good technique is also a tool to develop good musical ideas. Creative exercises (not like in many books) will not only develop proper technique but will also develop your sense of musicianship.

    A good teacher will bring in other influences that you might not have recognized. If all you listen to is Fieldy than your development as a bass player will be SERIOUSLY HAMPERED! A good teacher will bring to you music in styles that you like but that also demonstrate excellent musicianship.

    A good teacher should be an inspiration to you. Any teacher can teach you to play scales, read music, learn harmony and build bass lines. Great teachers will inspire you to practice those things, develop yourself as a musician (not just a bassist), keep you motivated when things reach a plateau (which you will find happens quite frequently).

    A good teacher will teach you to be a complete musician not just some robot playing bass lines off of tab to sound exactly like your bass hero of the day.

    Having all the skills makes you a more versatile player. More versatile players work more. Perhaps 5% of my gigs involve reading, those 5% are ALWAYS the best paying, by far!


  18. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I am simply amazed at this and it comes pretty close to the worst advice I've ever seen given on an internet site - although I keep saying this every few months on TB! ;)

    So - what if your Father is a tone-deaf weasel (joke!) who hates all forms of music and wouldn't know what a Bass Guitar was if you hit him on the head with one! And what about your Mother - why is she not being considered? ;)

    I think the trouble with people who say I never took lessons and I'm really good - is how do they compare? Without the outside objective opinion of a teacher, how can they know they're any good or not making some basic mistake in technique which as Mike says, could cause something like RSI?
  19. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification

    and you can't put it any better than that. Thank you, Mike, for reminding us.
  20. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    I'm going to have to cast my vote with DAFFY TABEVIL and others on this issue, and even go so far as to agree with BLUES MINEFIELD on the idea that BIG BLADDER DROOL'S advice to beginners was absolutely backward (even if it was well-intentioned). Right at the beginning is the MOST important time to take lessons, because the beginning is the time when habits are established. Do you want to start with good habits, or bad ones?



    Right...... me too. If you start with bad habits you'll eventually have to spend time UNlearning instead of learning. What could be a bigger waste of time than that? And I'm speaking from experience here - I'm still trying to unlearn a couple of stupid things I started doing on DB before I had a teacher. If I could do it over again, I'd choose to find my own bass version of YODA and apprentice myself for awhile. Remember, a GOOD teacher is one who helps a student find their own voice as well as teaching them technique, so there's nothing to be afraid of.

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