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DB lessons (how often, how long?)

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Matthew_84, Jan 23, 2012.

  1. Hello all,

    Been playing BG for 4.5 years now and am fairly decent. I have a good sense of rhythm and a decent knowledge of theory. But I've been craving a DB for a while now and I'm just getting out of my jam group, and feel like it's a good time to pick up a DB.

    I would naturally get lessons, but I'm mostly interested in them for technique sake (for both plucking and bowing). After that, I'd think I'd be okay. I'm not intending on going to school for this, more of a hobby with some jazz jams in the distant future.

    But I'm kind of stuck financially right now, so I'm looking to get some sort of an idea of the costs of lessons.

    How often should I be attending lessons. I'd like to do it every other week, for financial reasons. Is this good enough? I will be dedicated to it and won't need much motivating. Also, and I know this next question would have a different answer for everyone, but about how many lessons *may* be adequate? Like 4-7, 7-10, 10-15, etc.

    Much appreciated,

  2. Herbie 80's

    Herbie 80's

    Dec 15, 2008
    You won't be able to know until you start. I would really suggest doing lessons with a classical player so you get your technique good and straight. People who have been playing for o er 40 years still take lessons, so take that into consideration.
  3. I've been playing DB for >10yr and just starting taking formal lessons about a year ago. I take lessons every other week.

    It never hurts to call up (or email) the prospective teacher and talk about what you're looking to get out of lessons, etc . . . if its a match then you're good, if not call someone else until you find a situation that works for you.

    As to 'how many lessons do you need' . . . many, many years?!?! lol The question is so broad and ambiguous that it can't really be taken seriously.

    What do you want to get out of your lessons, where do you want to take your playing? Do you want to learn bowing, are you wanting to learn proper hand positions, do you want to play up in thumb position . . . you need to consider these types of questions; and with a more specific question you may get more concrete responses on a reasonable time frame to achieve your goals. :bassist:
  4. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    When I moved to NYC in 1987, I had been playing upright for about 5 or 6 years, I'd been playing bass guitar since 1974. I spent a year at Berklee and then studied with a couple of legit players at a local university in East Bumf**k GA, then moved here. Until about 1994 I was playing in a few different situations, copped a lesson with Michael Moore, a few with Mike Formanek, but sometime around '94 or '95 somebody handed me the article (search this site for) DOING IT THE SLOW WAY and I started studying with Joe Solomon. Once a week for 16 years. And I've made more progress as a musician in those 16 years than in the 20 prior to that.
    So I don't know what to tell you. You say "more of a hobby", I don't know what that means. All I can talk about is serious or not serious. If you're serious about it, find a good teacher. If not, why waste your money? Paying for lessons is an investment in yourself. If the only reason you're investing is to get a financial return, go into banking.
  5. LOL, yeah, I was expecting similar responses.

    I am serious about playing, and would want to become as good as I can, but I'm also not looking to make a career out of it. I just know that I'd love it and would love to jam with others as soon as I'm ready.

    As for what I want to learn, I want to learn it all: bowing, plucking, hand positions, proper and safe technique, playing in the thumb position, etc.

    You guys are right though, it's way too ambiguous of a question to be answered. I guess it's safe to assume that I would need lessons for a couple of years depending on how good I want to get and how I evolve as a player. I do have a teacher in mind, so I will e-mail him and see what he thinks.

    I appreciate all of your input.

  6. powerbass

    powerbass Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2006
    western MA
    I started playing the DB a little over a year ago, my motivation to take up the DB was my love of jazz. I started right off taking lessons once a week working through the Simandl method book. The lessons primarily focus on hand technique, proper intonation and bowing skills. I also work on walking transcriptions. IMHO you will improve quicker with more frequent lessons and diligent practice. There is a steep initial learning curve that takes time. (I just started on thumb position after 16 months of study). If you can only afford every other week that is OK. If you practice every day and follow the teachers program you will learn and do well.
  7. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides Supporting Member

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    Every two weeks if fine for some and that is what I do currently. The hard part is making sure you put the time in between lessons (1-3 hours a day). Find a teacher that you connect with. Getting a good handle on the instrument will take sometime.

    Get ready for the STICK O PAIN!
  8. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    I used to do 2hr lessons once a month. I'd get loaded up with homework and didn't go back til I finished my assignments. It all depends on how much discipline you have and how much you're willing to practice.
  9. jazzbill


    Jun 4, 2010
    Richardson, TX
    I took up double bass 17 months ago after 40 years of EB and 15 years of playing jazz. I have a full time professional day job and play with three bands. I take one or two lessons a month depending on my schedule and my teachers schedule and that works well for me. My teacher, John Adams, has a busy playing and recording schedule. He sends out an email to his several students at the first of he month with his available teaching times and I reserve one or two. Lessons are an hour and I spend about half that time working with the bow and half working on jazz.
  10. I also take 1hr lessons (every other week) and the time is split roughly half classical (bowing through Simandl) and half jazz (Real Book standards & theory).

    Learning to bow will do wonders for your intonation.

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