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HELP! Someone asked me for lessons. I'm not a teacher.

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by sgtpepper, Jun 2, 2016.


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  1. sgtpepper

    sgtpepper

    Jan 22, 2010
    Mexico City
    Hello guys,

    So this (female) friend asked me for lessons. She got a cheap Ibanez bass for her birthday and I am the only bassist she knows. You may ask why she didn't find a proper teacher or a music school... She has a tight budget and can't afford that. Before you start speculating, she is not attracted to me, I'm not attracted to her. I'm in a relationship and so is too. Please don't focus on that.

    I am really excited about this. I've never taught bass before (as I'm not the best bassist in the world) but I don't know how or where to start. The last time I took bass lessons was like 10 years ago.

    Please help!

    Any advice, videos, material, experience are very welcome.

    Thanks!
     
  2. sgtpepper

    sgtpepper

    Jan 22, 2010
    Mexico City
    Come on guys... I really need you now.
     
  3. sgtpepper

    sgtpepper

    Jan 22, 2010
    Mexico City
    Come on guys... I really need you now.
     
  4. The basics? Like...

    How to tune it, what bits are called & what the controls do.
    How to adjust the strap so that the wrists are in the Neutral Position ('cause no-one wants CTS).
    Simple adjustments - action & intonation.

    Without touching the bass, count through some straight-ahead songs - a slow one (e.g. Heartbreak Hotel), something medium-paced, & a fast one (Woodchoppers' Ball - Ten Years After)

    Holding down a simple groove - e.g. Green Onions, Some Kind Of Wonderful, Caroline (Status Quo) etc.
    12 Bar Blues in any key.
    Run through some simple tunes - Highway To Hell, Whole Lotta Love, Fortunate Son, Let's Work Together, Nadine, Another Saturday Night (Sam Cooke) etc. etc.

    Scales - Major, Minor & Pentatonic.

    Common rhythm variations - Rhumba (Crosscut Saw), Clave (Bo Diddley), 3/4 (Blue Waltz - Ray Charles)

    The Amp - How you can **cut** as well as boost.
     
    sgtpepper and Clark Dark like this.
  5. Have her get a copy of Bass Guitar For Dummies and the two of you start on page one. When she understands page one move on...

    Use dummies for your lesson plans.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2016
  6. sgtpepper

    sgtpepper

    Jan 22, 2010
    Mexico City
    Thank you both, guys. I will take the advices you give me. I really want to do it because I'm sure I will learn at the same time.
     
  7. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    This is what I did when I had as many as 32 beginning bass students at once. I would tell them the following.

    "I need a list of your 5 favorite songs ever. Now, I am going to bore you to death with some during scales and finger exercises designed to get your hands working in a brand new way. But if you do those boring scales and exercises for 6 weeks, I promise to teach you at least part of one of your favorite songs ever."

    Then make good on the promise. Show her some boring scales and finger exercises that will familiarize her with the fretboard and get her fingers doing what they need to do ton play bass. You can't just start off learning songs. You have to learn the basics......the fundamentals....... just as in baseball, skiing, or cooking.
     
    MalcolmAmos and sgtpepper like this.
  8. Metalbasspro

    Metalbasspro

    Feb 9, 2009
    WA state
    Teach her what you know. I don't blame her for avoiding a real bass teacher. I took formal lessons but that was in 1983 and now days you can self teach more or less with the internet. It's a good idea for someone to take a few lessons to get stated yes. I am teaching my drummer who just took up bass. I made him a video I will send it to you.
     
  9. tfer

    tfer

    Jan 1, 2014
    The most important thing you can teach, if you already possess it, is good technique. Left hand thumb in the middle of the neck, stress free fingerings (if her hands are small, and can't cover 4 frets, teach Simandl), stop any flying fingers, etc.

    Stress economy of motion with both hands.

    Good posture, whether seated or standing. Strap length set so that the bass is in exactly the same position no matter how you practice.

    Good technique is never mastered, and is used whenever she plays.

    I still record a few minutes here or there of every practice session, and examine my own hands, to get a different perspective.

    With good technique, you aren't limiting your abilities.
     
    sgtpepper likes this.
  10. RustyAxe

    RustyAxe

    Jul 8, 2008
    Connecticut
    If someone approached me and asked me to remove their appendix I'd probably tell them I'm NOT a doctor, and refer them to someone who is.
     
  11. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    I would do the same, but I don't see how that's even remotely relevant to this situation. There are many reasons why I wouldn't attempt to remove someone's appendix, but the main one is that I don't have the foggiest idea how to do it. If you know how to play bass, though, there's not reason you shouldn't be able to teach a beginner at least some basics to help get them started.
     
    PillO likes this.
  12. INTP

    INTP

    Nov 28, 2003
    Dallas, TX
    If you looked, you could probably find TAB for appendix removal somewhere on the internet.
     
  13. RustyAxe

    RustyAxe

    Jul 8, 2008
    Connecticut
    :) Funny thing is, I do. I spent six years as an O.R. scrub nurse back in the 70's.
     
    Orangeclawhammr likes this.
  14. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    Now you're talking. You're just one multimillion-dollar lawsuit away from performing appendectomies! ;)
     
  15. Metalbasspro

    Metalbasspro

    Feb 9, 2009
    WA state
    Why that operation is so easy a Dr. could do one on themselves.
     
  16. as basically a beginner, here's my take... Teachers can be intimidating. I do not know how much I do not know. There for, I needed to be able to find an teacher/instructor that knew how to teach... basics, connecting dots, playing a tune (success for me)... there would be some sort of comfort in a trusted individual to show me enough to start the journey.
     
  17. Cuzzie

    Cuzzie Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2016
    All of the above but just get her to feel music, feel the groove, sync with the drums and just the fun of having someone to play with and learning to play in time and not to a recording.

    That is priceless and whether you can teach scales etc or not makes no difference.
    I know he is amazing but guys like Billy Sheehan learnt by playing with people and then developed along his own lines.

    It's always nice having company as well!
     
  18. Gaebrial

    Gaebrial

    Mar 8, 2016
    I am just beginning, and there are two things that I think are important:

    1. Make sure you tech them HOW to play, aka neutral hand position. There are two videos by Adam Neely (one for each hand) and another by someone that I forgot. Make sure they get that.

    2. Make sure they invest in decent set of speakers for their computer, or some headphones that can produce those lows. It doesn't need to be expensive, they just need to be sure that when they listen to songs, they can actually hear the bass. That, I think, goes a long ways.

    Bonus: if you can, make sure they have a bass in a stand next to their computer, or couch, or wherever they park themselves for extended periods of time. I think you want to make it is easy for them to pick it up and fool around with it when they are watching TV or sitting at their laptop, or whenever the slightest notion of playing a bass crosses their mind. Make sure they don't have a hard case or gig bag, which makes the bass easy to forget and put away in a closet or under a bed, or otherwise keep it out of their hands.

    The first thing makes sure they don't hurt themselves, either permanently or even temporary discomfort from practicing, and honestly it just makes sense when you start playing the bass right. The second thing is to make sure they actually hear the instrument they are playing. I never noticed basslines for years, and recently realized it is because I never heard it coming form my laptop speakers. Hopefully it will get the feel of bass down in their head and, hopefully, in their subconscious. The third thing, if you can pull it off, will make the instrument more familiar in their hands. I think that is how I got good at the harmonica within a year- I always had it with me, and in between games (back when I was a gamer) I'd practice for a minute or two.

    Teaching tips from a beginner that don't have to do with teaching.
     
  19. Basics first. Proper left and right hand techniques.
    Articulations.
    Start learning notes and notation. Open strings first, then first position notes, then work your way up to the 12th fret.
    Try to do technique, ear training, and theory a little in each lesson.
     
    tfer likes this.
  20. Yes I two have heard that any scrub nurse can do that operation, however, my Father was quick to say; "If something goes wrong, that's when the other years of experience and knowledge will be needed".

    I just took a little memory trip back to the World War II years. Interesting item from the past. Going rate for an appendectomy in the 40's, was $75. Which was normally paid with some produce or chickens left on the back porch. Small town USA was still on the barter system back then. That's why my Father, when he came back from the war, went to work for Humble Oil & Refining Company as the company doctor. Humble paid in real money. It had company housing for managers, a professional baseball team, and at the yearly "Humble day" there was free bar-b-que and a baseball game between the home town Oilers and the House of David professional baseball club. Plus free medical care for all employees. Because of all this Baytown, Texas was a great place for a 10 year old boy to grow up in...
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2016
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
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