Bass For Teaching

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by therealting, Oct 24, 2004.

  1. I am looking to start teaching bass. However, my basses are:

    • an 8-string converted Conklin
    • a 6-string Yamaha TRB
    • a 5-string fretless MTD
    • a 4-string short-scale Samick

    Do you think it's worth buying a (cheap) fretted 4-string to use for teaching? I am thinking it would be less confusing to a student than any of the first three... and the fourth one might not be the most credible teaching tool!

  2. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    Personally, I think using a big expensive bass would be great for teaching. I'm not promoting this mentality, but most newer players judge a bass by the price tag, looks, and overall coolness. So, in some way, you'd get more respect from your student if you came in with a high-end bass. Also, teaching someone with a cheapo four string might say something negative about how you feel about your students, though you obviously don't feel that way and wouldn't want to present an image as such.

    Edit: I agree that a 6-8 string wouldn't be the most simplistic and effective teaching tool, and it would be confusing. If you don't want to buy a somewhat high-end bass, you could always borrow from a buddy.
  3. is the 8-string doubled, or non-doubled? I'd actually be interested in finding a bass teacher who could teach me how to fully utilize the extended range basses and two-hand tapping techniques and whatnot.

    anyways, since most people looking to go get bass lessons are generally new to the instrument, I think a standard Fender Jazz would be perfect for teaching bass, because its almost the standard by which all other basses are judged (with the Precision being the standard probably), and they sound good, comfortable to play, and for under $400 (i think) they're pretty affordable.
  4. Ain't nobody who can diss on the Jazz bass.
  5. kearney


    Jul 5, 2004
    i taught a spider a lesson with my fender jazz bass today, chased it under a chair, then i moved the chair and stomped it. very much like the who's "boris the spider"
  6. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    You have a good point there.

    Oh, and the 8 string is not doubled.
  7. karrot-x

    karrot-x Banned

    Feb 21, 2004
    Omicron Persei 8
    My teacher had a modded Warwick Fortress "retro." I loved the tone of that thing, it had lipstick p/u's and tape wound strings. Everytime I'd go to lessons I would always want to try it out and hear what a nice F and Bb sounds like. I suggest you get something where you can really enjoy the tone when you're playing.
  8. Thanks for the posts so far.

    I've basically left my professional career in finance to pursue study in the performing arts, so unfortunately an expensive bass is not a wise option. I also don't want to spend a lot of money on a four, as that is not my main instrument. I will probably look at a Jazz or similar, which sounds good, plays well and has dot inlays which are easy to see.

    Tapping etc is not really my thing, and I'd probably be focusing more on beginners, and also intermediates who want to get a more solid groove and more interesting lines, or correct fundamental technique problems.

    As for the impressive bass thing, it's not a problem to throw in that I keep the serious stuff at home and use them for recording and gigs. :) But at the end of the day, my intention as the teacher is to serve the student, not my ego.
  9. I aint going to make much difference whihc bass you use, since your student will be looking at his music book and his bass and your mouth. You really don't even need a bass to teach bass. Just pick up his and do your showing off and stuff on his bass.

  10. Yeah that remains the only warwick that ever did it for me tone wise. It was the only embodiment of the "sound of wood" that I ever heard in a warwick. But they looks soo cool.
    They were called Fortress Flashbacks. You could get them in a 5, but not fretless. I am always looking for a used one.
  11. Dr. PhunkyPants

    Dr. PhunkyPants Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    From my early years as a player, yes I remember when teachers had expensive basses. But the teachers that had taught me the most were the ones with the basses that had been played to hell and back.

    So, if you want to increase credibility in the eyes of your kids, get a bass with beaucoup player wear (i.e. I vote for an old jazz bass.)

    God that's shallow.
  12. 5stringDNA


    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    I don't think it matters what you play, so long as it has at least a decent sound, and good enough action as to not hinder playing. The thing that most impressed me when I started taking lessons was when my teacher picked up my cheap $300 bass and made it sound like a million bucks. The expression in your hands goes a very logn way to a student. It is also good to pick up a student's bass every now and then just to show them what they can do with the bass that they don't need a $5,000,000 with a hundred knobs and magic uber-wood top veneer to sound good.
  13. I have to say, because nobody has yet.

    That takes some b*lls! You have to admire someone that takes the chance. Hats off.
  14. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Ok, I can speak from experience on this one. My teaching career is finally taking off. I just got a regular gig teaching at a small music school and my students at home are adding up. It's a slow process but hang in there my friend. I promise that you'll get as much if not more than what your students will get.

    Ok, to the point. I also thought about this same issue. I play one bass only and it's a six. I was concerned about the students getting confused. I can't afford a four right off. So, that was out. I have students from the ages of 10 to 17 right now. Speaking from experience, have faith in the kids. They are so smart and they adjust within two lessons to your instrument. It won't be a problem.

    Also, your students won't care if you have a $300 instrument or a $3000 instrument as long as you can play it well and, more importantly, you can teach them things that challenge them. Always challenge your students. Make them walk away from each lesson feeling like they accomplished something. Also be aware of their limits. If you push them too hard than the'll give up and feel defeated.

    Well, I could go on for sure. Most importantly though, do it because you love it. Don't do it just to make money. Students will see right through that. Good luck man!

    Andy Dow.
  15. Timbo


    Jun 14, 2004
    Best advice yet.
  16. bubingaboy


    Oct 18, 2004
    Rhode Island
    I started teaching this past summer. I have one student. I felt that I should buy a four string for that very same purpose. I'm glad I did.

    My student watches my fingers and placement when we talk about positioning, etc. I was using my five string and he was confused right off. On several occasions this happened.

    I ended up picking up an ESP LTD C-304 for $320 (shipped!!!). It was well cared for (flawless) and has a nice quilt top. Thus, a not "looking" cheap bass for a "cheap bass" price. The tone is great for what I'm using the bass for. It has the "dots" on the fretboard so my student can see from his chair where he needs to be on his bass. I think it was a great investment and has been a great teaching tool.
  17. Thanks for the further input guys.

    To be honest my worry is not so much the kids, it's the older adults I'm really worried about (no offence to older players here). I have taught guitar before and found that the younger students picked things up much faster.

    What about the short-scale bass? Do you think it would be weird to teach on that?
  18. 5stringDNA


    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    I don't think short scales are weird at all- it doesn't really alter the visuals, it's just a little smaller. The nice thing abou t the short scale is that you coudl even let younger kids play it to see if they are more comfortable with it than full size bass, particularly if they are having trouble dealing with the huge neck. I would never wish a wide-spaced 35" 5-string on any 10 year old. :D Most short scale basses are relatively inexpensive as well, so no worries about it getting beat up.
  19. My ex-teacher always used a fretted 5-string for lessons even when I was using a 4-string. I wasn't a beginner, though, so I'm not sure how confusing it would be for beginners.

    What scale is the Samick?
  20. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    No, why?

    When I first took upright bass lessons, my teacher played piano! When he needed to show me something on the bass, he just played mine.