Can One Really Learn Online?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Keith Rawlings, Nov 10, 2019.

  1. Keith Rawlings

    Keith Rawlings Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 3, 2019
    I see that there seems to be so much instructional information available online for double bass technique - from Jazz to orchestral and beyond; but can one really learn properly from these resources? I’m limited where I live when it comes to finding a proper teacher for double bass, and I’m wondering if I can actually get as much from online instruction as compared to actually practicing with a proper instructor?

    I’m kind of stuck in a rut lately musically, having played mostly Rockabilly/psychobilly over the last 25 years, and I really, really want to learn arco technique, as well as proper scales for Jazz pizz playing. Can these resources be helpful, and can anyone of my fellow TB’ers recommend any good programs that are worth the money? Thanks.
  2. sean_on_bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    I think the answer is that yes, you can, but it may not be as direct and efficient as a really good in person instructor. Otherwise you get into the realm of more trial and error. Yes you can eventually succeed but it will take longer to get there.

    As far as programs i really just recommend Youtube largely. Discover Double Bass has some great videos, Chris Fitzgerald has some great videos, and Michael Klinghoffer has some great videos. If I were to pay money i would probably go with the premium level lessons of Discover Double Bass which seems to have developed a huge wealth of both classical and jazz material.
  3. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member

    I'm not an experienced teacher but in my opinion, it's not really possible to learn to play the DB without some private, in-person, one-on-one instruction. It might be worth your while to get a more experienced opinion and post your question on Lynn Seaton's forum. If anyone knows, Lynn's tenure as the jazz bass professor at UNT for the past 20 years is probably one of the best educated opinions available, and Lynn isn't a traditionalist on technique, I've found him very open minded about technique and pedagogy.

    I think books and YouTube and online lessons are great compliments to an experienced and knowledgeable teacher but not a substitute. I would guess that maybe 6 lessons in roughly 6 months might be enough to set you up to study more independently, but even then, I find I develop new bad habits and need an objective perspective periodically to identify and correct them. Add to that, that your background in rockabilly may have ingrained some habits that will hamper your progress with more technically challenging genres, a good teacher seems an obvious requirement, IMM.
  4. Robroy

    Robroy Guest

    Jun 21, 2006
    Live teacher is best.
    Online with videos is second best.
    Books are third.
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  5. Keith Rawlings

    Keith Rawlings Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 3, 2019
    ⬆️ This is what I want to fix; I want to learn advanced techniques and apply them to the music I’m playing now - and expand upon them and give it my own sound. As I mentioned in my post, I’m stuck in a rut musically right now and I want to expose myself to the possibility of playing different genres outside Rockabilly circles, and to do that I need proper instruction. Where is Lynn Seaton’s forum? Is it located in Talkbass or through UNT’s website? I’m wondering if he might know of a competent instructor near me in South Texas that I could study with? I had a chance in the late 90’s to study jazz theory with Chester Rupe (music professor/jazz guitarist virtuoso - co-founder of the Texas Jazz Festival in Corpus Christi), but he passed away a few weeks after agreeing to teach me jazz theory for string bass. I was in the process of obtaining the study materials he requested when I was informed of his passing. The other two gentlemen he said could instruct me in the South Texas area were also both dead.
    Chris Fitzgerald likes this.
  6. Robroy

    Robroy Guest

    Jun 21, 2006
    Believe it or not, you can get a lot of FREE stuff on youtube from good teachers. And if you are actually logged in to Youtube, it will modify your information feed to bring you similar stuff. It's how I found a lot of great stuff.
    Keith Rawlings likes this.
  7. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member

    Lynn has a forum here on TB in the DB section. He may well be able to recommend a teacher in your vicinity. Gollihur's website also has a list of teachers you might want to check out. After that, you could consider contacting the local college bass faculty, or if there are any orchestras or symphonies near you. I should think you'd be able to find someone in Corpus Christi.
  8. Skype lessons work pretty well. Live is good, yes, but, Skype is great alternative.
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  9. TideSwing

    TideSwing Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2014 (online and local)
    ISB website
    Look for websites of players and teachers from:
    Jazz programs at your local universities
    Jazz players that play locally
    Local Symphonies players

    I used the first site mentioned above and found a wonderful teacher that lives near me. The online stuff is a great resource but I believe it's best as a supplement. Also, I find it's easier to resonate with a teacher in person.
  10. Maple

    Maple Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2016
    San Francisco Bay Area
    I spent several years working through online lessons and now do private lessons.
    I learned a lot from the online services. but the quality of good private lessons is so much better -
    focused, tailored to me and constantly changing to address my shortcomings and especially as those shortcomings change.
    Especially on shortcomings - everyone is unique and a good teacher can point them out to you quickly. The stuff I'm working on now is the stuff I never identified as a problem. But it is and the teacher was able to effectively demonstrate to me why I needed to focus on those skills.
  11. s0707


    Jun 17, 2015
    Here's another alternative: look into I'm a beginner, and I signed up for a year's worth of lessons on the jazz bass course with John Patitucci. I deliberated for a long time on how to go about learning, and I do think that a live teacher is a good thing, but I'm a hobbyist, work full time, have little spare time, and I dreaded the logistics of traveling around with with such a big and fragile instrument in the ever-increasing amount of traffic here in Austin. The online course was a good fit for me. Eventually I would like to take a few lessons with a live teacher, but for now the online course is great for me.

    Of course, the artistworks course it's not a skype-type interaction with Jonh; that would be very expensive, and I imagine he wouldn't be available!! But basically, John recorded a bunch of videos lessons that you view to learn the material, then practice on your own, etc. The one really good thing, IMO, is that at the end of a certain number of lessons you have to record a video of yourself doing the scales/material, and submit it; then John reviews it, and records another small video giving you feedback. That forces me to practice a lot before recording, and I've had to re-record again a few times after I notice something I'm doing wrong, that I need to work on...! It's a great tool.

    John is an amazing person. He makes you feel like you're basically there as a student in his studio, makes you feel comfortable; in all his feedback videos he is always extremely positive and supportive. You can watch feedback videos of other students in the course.

    For me, learning really depends not so much on the teacher, but on the time I spend alone with the instrument. The teacher is great for guiding me and correcting issues, but learning truly depends on the amount of time I spend on my own with the instrument, and the amount of interest and effort I devote to it.
  12. HateyMcAmp

    HateyMcAmp Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2006
    Queen City of the Plains
    Krivo Pickups
    I would like to preface this by saying I am NOT a professional teacher, but I think you can learn a lot online, particularly when it comes to rep, building bass lines, and music theory. I really benefited from the discover double bass videos, and also Chris Fitzgerald’s lessons. What I think is hands on lessons on posture, physical positioning, bow grip, and sound production even if you can only get a few. Good luck!
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2019
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  13. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    Keith, like you, I wanted to learn how to bow, after 40 years of being a self-taught pizz player.

    What I did was find a professor of bass at University of Missouri-St. Louis and ask her if she would give me private lessons. Very approachable, very reasonable ($), and good. She is the ONLY professor of bass in the state university system, but she was able to teach me once a week during the summer.

    When the fall term began, she could only teach on weekends, so I enrolled in a "community music" program at Webster U. here, where you get a set number of private lessons for a set amount of money.

    See if you can find a professor at A&M and ask for private lessons.

    I could not have learned so much so quickly from online instruction or books. There is no substitute for having someone look at you and tell you what you're doing wrong (or right).
    Keith Rawlings likes this.
  14. I'd say video lessons are best for advanced players. Beginners should prioritize in person or live video chat lessons only.
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  15. J_Bass

    J_Bass Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2008
    Porto, Portugal
    Absolutely you need a teacher.

    I talk from my own experience. If you are serious about the instrument, you need a teacher. I'm a year in, and I am entering on year 2 learning the DB. I play piano and electric bass. I can read in all Clefs and I know music theory. I look at the past year as a year zero. It took me a year to be comfortable with the instrument. Got a lot of help from here, from Geoff's Discover Double Bass beginner's course and youtube. But a teacher is, in my opinion, mandatory, if you are serious about the instrument. Too many nuances, too many bad technique details you get from not having someone explaining it to you face to face, with a double bass in between, watching and correcting you on the spot.

    If you asked about piano, I would have answered the same thing.

    If you just want to learn how to play a few tunes, then online might be enough. Watch a few YouTube videos and mimic them. But you won't know your instrument and probably never be proficient at it.

    But that's my experience, maybe you can do it.
    Keith Rawlings likes this.
  16. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member

    The thing is, the first few lessons, IME, will be about how to hold the DB, how to leverage your weight, how to get a good tone and good left-hand technique, along with learning to learn to use the bow. Most of those things are critical to a technique that makes it easier to play the instrument easily and in-tune with a commanding tone. You might be able to get those things over Skype, but it'll be a lot easier in person even if you have to drive a couple of hours one-way.
  17. lurk

    lurk Supporting Member

    Dec 2, 2009
    A chunk of my income comes from giving lessons. That said, yes you can learn online. The truth is, you teach yourself in your daily practice, which must be aware and thoughtful and intuitive. A teacher can help point out things and help you structure and direct your focus, but they can't really teach you how to make music.
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  18. kerrycares

    kerrycares Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2006
    Seeing is believing so if you can see it you can learn from the information especially if it’s slowed down and explained.

    I am convinced that the internet has made everything easier to learn not just music.
    From the comfort of my home I’ve learned from 100 ‘s of great upright bass players and it has cut my rehearsal prep time in half for my church gigs on electric bass because there is usually a “bass cover” for any song I need to learn.

    Seeing the “Fingerings” have been the greatest time savers for me lately.

    YouTube is your friend.
    Keith Rawlings likes this.
  19. Frampton

    Frampton Supporting Member

    Oct 9, 2010
    I don't think anyone would say it is ideal, or that private instruction isn't superior, but I think you can learn a tremendous amount by video.
    Keith Rawlings likes this.