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Guitar teachers giving bass lessons and other questions about finding a teacher

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Melierax, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. Melierax


    Nov 8, 2012
    I'm looking for a good bass teacher now. I see many teachers that are primarily guitar teachers that are also giving bass lessons. Is it worth trying or it's better to find a 100% bass teacher?
    Has anyone had any significant experience with bass vs. guitar/bass teachers?

    How important is the preferred music style of the teacher? For example, if I'm going to play mostly blues/rock and there is a good teacher that mostly plays jazz. Is it worth trying to find a teacher who is oriented on the kind of music I'm more interested in (but may be not as good teacher as the other one)?
  2. It really depends on the teacher's own experience (plays bass also? Previously played bass?) and your own objectives (mostly theory? mostly technique?)

    Talk with prospects about what you want to learn and get a feel for them and go with who fits and feels best.

    A jazz oriented teacher will give you very good instruction for blues/rock, IMO
  3. Bass Mentor

    Bass Mentor

    Apr 30, 2012
    Nashville Tennessee
    endorsing artist: Lava Cable, E&O Mari, Rupert Neve Designs
    The Electric Bass is a different animal than guitar...different fingering and technique..I would recommend a bass teacher with a proven history of teaching pro or semi-pro players..and be sure they teach good music content and not just licks....if you learn music principles you will be well equipped to play in any style..
  4. colcifer

    colcifer Esteemed Nitpicker Supporting Member

    Feb 10, 2010
    A Galaxy Far, Far Away
    A jazz teacher will do you heaps of good for whatever you want to play (except classical music). It's okay if they primarily play upright so long as they also play BG professionally. Though if you've already got technique down, that really doesn't matter at all. Where are you?
  5. +1

    I am a guitar/bass teacher (I also teach mandolin, ukulele, and banjo). I feel I have a solid acumen in each, certainly more than enough for the beginner to intermediate, and lots to offer many advanced students as well. I read music and understand the technical principles of formal music education, things I insist on teaching all my students age 16 and younger (older students get a little wiggle room because many of my adults do NOT want to learn to read).

    But what makes me a good bass teacher is my many years of practical experience as a performing and recording bassist. This separates me from teachers who are primarily guitarists, but can read the bass clef and walk the dog, so what the heck, may as well take on bass students too.

    I think a practicing, experienced bassist can give you more pointers about things like technique and help you develop good habits (and avoid bad ones), and will have more good advice on things like gear selection and maintenance.

    As far as what material you learn, go in with an open mind, and try a wide variety of styles, not just your favorites. In learning other styles, we often find a few gems that we can incorporate into our unique tastes, and we become more well-rounded musicians.
  6. How long have you been playing and a what would you say you need the most help with?

    Personally, the best musical advice and lessons I ever received were from a guitar player. I had been playing for about 10 years and had my right hand and left hand technique pretty solid. So we didnt cover the technical/physical aspects of playing. But what we did cover was MUSIC.

    Good guitar players have a strong knowledge of harmony and theory. They can help you understand chord progressions, playing over the changes (they do solo a lot), and different ways to approach soloing. Which ultimately translates into a deeper knowledge of walking lines (arpeggios and advanced chord tones). Plus, when working on walking and soloing and developing regular old bass lines, you always have an instrument to accompany you and practice with.

    The guitar player I took lessons from is a very high level player. 28 years in an active duty Air Force band, for which he was the musical director, and he just happened to be the guitar player in the 70s southern rock group Still Water. Playing in the AF band for so long made him play just about every style of music you can imagine. So he had a lot of knowledge on just about every subject we tackled. But he was primarily a jazz player. And that's what he focused on. His ability to break down changes and explain in detail "advanced" chords and changes helped out IMMENSELY.

    So it really all depends on what you're looking for. Take a little lesson from Oteil Burbridge. While he no doubt has some highly advanced technique, he'll be the first to tell you that everything he learned about harmony came from his brother Kofi. A key player. Don't hold yourself back. Everyone you meet knows something you don't. A guitar player can be a great teacher.