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Going to teach a kid to play bass and I need help!

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Siggy_Bass, Nov 11, 2006.

  1. Just got a message from one of my music teachers that he wants me to teach his son to play bass. He said he played a bit but wanted some tutoring on how to play properly/advance.

    I seriously need some pointers since I have never teached anybody I didnt know.

    I feel that I should teach him the basics on producing a good sound and plucking the strings correctly, pretty much the basics of playing theory. But I can imagine that beeing a bit booring for a 16 year old ( I am only 19 :/)

    How would you set up this class? (I think its either 30 minutes or 1 hour, not really sure)

    I really want to do a good job and prepare myself properly since I will get payed, and I respect this teacher alot.

    Thanks for all input,

  2. fenderx55


    Jan 15, 2005
    I find the the best thing to do is find music they're into, and teach him how to play it CORRECTLY. this way it will keep him interested, and you'll get all the stuff across you're trying to get across.
  3. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Just be sure you listen to his interests. If he wants to know something, teach him. If you don't know it, tell him you'll check it out and teach him at a later date.

    Just get the basics down, string and note names, technique, etc. I don't recall beginner bass lessons as I taught myself. But I do recall beginning sax lessons, where we spent hours on one or two different notes. Takes a while, but worth it.
  4. Minger


    Mar 15, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    You're gonna spend a while just teaching how to pluck and alternate fingers...that part is probably what will take the longest :)
  5. duo8675309


    Jun 5, 2005
    My teacher makes me bring my ipod everytime, and he always asks me what songs i have problems on. Then he teaches me a good way to play them. He taught me to use my ring finger on Californication when doing that quick hammer-on/off and that helped a lot. Also being a guitar teacher helps out a little bit. Keeps me open to new ideas, and every now and again i get to play along with him, which is really cool to me since i never get to do that. I'd ask a question but i don't want to thread jack. :p
  6. Neb Maro

    Neb Maro I don't think, but I still am.

    Oct 20, 2006
    So. Cali
    I am starting out on bass myself, so coming from that perspective, I would suggest you pound the basics into him.
    Teach him the 2-4-1-2-4-1-3-4 pattern for major scales if he doesn't know yet. Teach him the scales. Teach him the different modes. Teach him the twelve bar blue patterns.
    Teach him correct timing. These are all the things I'm learning. It may be monotonous, but if I become skilled with the basics, I am sure that I'll be a heckuva lot more solid once I start learning songs or playing with people. If he's really serious about bass, don't be afraid to pound the boring stuff into him and make sure he gets it right. Maybe at the end of every lesson, work with him on the song of his choice and have him choose another after he's learned the first. Then it will be mostly basics, but lightened up with a bit of fun. Just suggestions though taken from my ongoing experience as a beginner becoming intermediate bassist.

  7. Just finished the lesson.

    He seemed very willing to learn, although hhis technique need a lot of work. I used basically the entire lesson teaching him how to hold his hands and how to pluck properly. I think it will take atleast some weeks before starts to change the way of training technique.

    I also teached him a very basic rock progression he could practice the left thumb positioning with.

    But, anyone know some really simple but not childish metal songs that would suit perfect for him? I want something with a real groove to it so that he can start think about that also.
  8. Bombtrack - Rage Against The Machine?
  9. thumbman

    thumbman Love that low end

    Nov 2, 2005
    Melbourne, Australia
    When i started playing bass i was just getting into tool in a new way (always liked em, then i sorta fell in love with em) and i was facinated by schism...it just sounded...not like bass. So i sat down, one riff at a time i taught my self schism...it took a few weeks...but i had schism NAILED within like 3 months of starting bass...its funny coz i probably cant play it that well anymore now...but heres my point...i think that if he is dedicated, pick the hardest song he likes...i say that because im guessing he doesnt listen to much vic wooten and jaco pastorious....hahaha...

    however i do realise not everyone would be as persistant at one song as what i was...(I HAD TO LEARN IT) so another option i take while i teach this kid, im currently...teaching...is to get the songs he likes and start at the very basic...something just just 8th notes holding down the tune sort of stuff...then move up to something where the bass might get a bit of melody or something with a killer riff (i used my own summer)

    also, remember to try and keep a close eye on their plucking hand and try to mainly listen if they're playing right...this dude wasnt getting any speed in his pluck at all until one day i examined his plucking technique and it was...messed up...and it sort of hindered his development that i didnt pick it up.

    and just get them to this for a while to a metronome



    And so on until you feel they should go...i usually tell them to go to the 12th fret but when i do it as an exercise i go until i run out of frets...it will help with time (metronome) strengthening the plucking and fretting hands....and see if you can do something to make them use they're ring and pinky fingers on the fretting hand...because those fingers are generally weaker people just dont use em when they start out and then the poiter and middle get a whole lot stronger then the weaker two and it gets harder to correct later...

    i'll shut up now

    have fun getting paid to play bass

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    Patience and Repitition is the key !
  11. duo8675309


    Jun 5, 2005
    Back in Black was the first song i learned. Well, just the intro. I know the rest now. But thats a good beginner song.
  12. Thanks for the info!

    Just keep it coming and ill check em out :D
  13. thumbman

    thumbman Love that low end

    Nov 2, 2005
    Melbourne, Australia
    Oh...i remember when i was starting out my teacher made me learn all the majors, 2 octaves. Sort of helps with shifting, learning where the notes are on the bass and learning where the SAME notes are on the bass...(ie looking at all the different ways to play a major scale in 2 octaves and then decide which is easiest for him)

    But that may wait until his technique is a little more solid.

    I rekon just get a whole bunch of exercises from somewhere, give them to him one week, and ask him to spend a little time each day on them making sure he does em properly and to a metronome.
  14. Toasted


    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    EDIT: Forget that. I'm a moron
  15. I have been messing around with the bass for about 6 months. I just recently started taking lessons. Here is how my teacher started me off.

    First he had me play him something. I played a major scale. He had me do some other things, check my coordination, fingering, hand position and timing. then he told me, he would like to get some of the basics down first. I agreed.

    Ive been taking weekly 1 hr lessons for about a month and a half. My teacher has no mercy on me and pushes the limits. He has me on the metronome all the time and has me hold the notes to their full value. He doesn't teach tabs, so he has me reading from a sheet of music. His expectations are high and I work my tail off.

    For my 1st and 2nd lesson took about a month. Within that month, I learned all the notes on the fretboard and how to read bass clef. My teacher had me learn a classical piece by Sturm. He also had me do major scales past the octave to the 9th in 2nd and 3rd intervals ascending and descending. After some serious woodshedding. I learned it. Still working on perfecting it. Getting cleaner and faster.

    3rd lesson and 4th lesson - a jazz piece called Yardbird Suite by Charlie Parker (learned the trombone melody and now working on the Solo walking lines can do them slow but want me to play it in tempo)

    5th lesson - working on a funk piece called The Chicken in Bb - Jaco Pastorius and John Scofield version. I got the basic groove and trying to sight read and play in position is getting easier.

    I think that is alot of "basic" stuff for a beginner. I cant wait for the more advanced stuff.:eek:

    I like my teachers approach. He explains everything, challenges me with new material, goes over the old material and encourages me to ask questions. He is constantly checking my technique. It gets to a point in the lesson between the reading and application where I go brain dead and I mentally cant play a thing. When that happens, Usually we do scale exercises for a few minutes.

    He told me things will get better, smoother and it will all click one day. He also said when that day comes, I will be multitasking without even thinking about it.

    I don't know if you want to be this extreme to your student, but I think that you as a teacher should expect your student to ask questions and commit to practice. Also, try working on different pieces of music and things that are not comfortable for the student will make him a better player. Encourage listening to different genre of music. Most importantly make it fun and make keep track of his progress.

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