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How important that your teacher plays bass guitar?!

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by spaceman, Jan 30, 2004.

  1. I've been learning bass guitar (taking lessons) for about two years. My teacher
    is pretty good in most ways - good academic qualifications, fairly successful jazz bass player
    (regular gigs and a few CDs), nice guy. However, one thing makes we wonder if I should try another
    teacher - he doesn't actually play bass guitar these days!

    He does play acoustic upright bass and also acoustic and semi-acoustic guitar. However,
    he doesn't presently own or regularly play bass guitar. Now, if he picks up my bass he can
    certainly play what he's telling me to play. I was just wondering if I took lessons from a "bass guitar
    specialist" I might learn some stuff I can't learn from this guy. Or do folks reckon I should maybe
    just stick with my current teacher who is a good musician and someone I get on with OK?

  2. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    From what you've said, seems the only thing you might not be learning is electric bass technique, but if the guy has experience with electric, there's no reason why he can't teach it.

    He may not be able to teach you how to tap or slap like Victor Wooten or Billy Sheehan, but you're learning how to play musically, are you not?

    The key to judging if you're with the right teacher is this: If you come away from a lesson and you have to ask yourself if it was worth the money, it's time to look for a new teacher.
  3. Exactly what thrash said. You can learn a lot musically from this guy, he plays upright. And he has past experience with a bass guitar, so I'm sure he can show you the ropes of tapping and slapping. But it's really just a question of whether or not you like him as a teacher.
  4. Stephen Soto

    Stephen Soto

    Oct 12, 2003
    yeah. once your starting to doubt your teacher, look for someone else man.
  5. My teacher is a guitarist...but can play bass and does have a bass in her studio. When i started with her my technique was quit addiquete...so theory skills is what im really learning.
  6. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    I've been considering taking lessons from someone who plays bass horns -- trombone, tuba, etc. so I can learn how to phrase like a horn. My technique is fine (my current teacher who's really good fixed that in a couple lessons) now. Everything else is fully transferable.
  7. My bass teacher said electric bass has more in common with classical guitar rather than an upright, technique-wise.
  8. Introvox


    May 21, 2001
    Ontario, Canada
    I am a bass/keys/RCM/voice/theory teacher myself, and to tell you the truth, if you took lessons from the guitar teacher at our music school, (although he could teach it) you'd be throwin' away your money...

    get yourself someone who progresses themself with the ever changing world of bass...

    I myself am still learning, practicing and improving.

    ps...no offence to your teacher, but I'm sure there are many students out there who will greatly benefit from his knowledge.
  9. I dont think you need a bass guitar teacher at all. Bass guitar technique is not perticuarly hard to teach yourself and is not, except in the beggining, the reason to take lessons. Although the technique is slightly different bass method is the same on both instruments, that is how the instrument fits into a band. I would actually think an upright player would be better in some ways on shifting as electric bass players tend to be less efficient in their playing than upright players, (because of nessesity not superiority), who shift only when nessesary (because extra movement may lead to intonation problems and there is aslo a lot more movement needed). Also most of the technique is transferable from upright to electric, although not the other way around. He can teach you about how to get a good sound out of both hands, which is the most important thing anyway.
  10. Dont take lessons from guitar players. My first two "bass" teachers were guitar players, and all they did was teach me how to play bass like a guitarist would want them to. Guitarists dont really have a grasp on walking and other bass stuff like that anyways. Second, this teacher sounds like hes good on both electric and upright, so it doesnt sound like you need to switch, if hes good hes good, but if you want to learn all there is about electric bass, then of course the best way to do it is to take lessons from someone whos profession is electric bass. I had a teacher last semester who was a great upright player, he taught me tons of great theory and stuff like that, but technique on a upright is quite different from that on an electric bass(not using the 3rd finger on upright), so i decided to swith to someone that could both teach theory and technique, because both are important.
  11. mjw


    Jun 12, 2001
    Spring, TX USA
    I agree. I've had a few that although talented, really didn't exactly seem to have my best interests at heart, so to speak.
    I later found a teacher who's a local Jazz musician who's proficient on guitar, bass, piano, drums and sax. I spent about a year with him before I moved, and I sincerely respect every aspect of his teaching. From the onset he leveled with me and said that if I was only interested in learning songs that he probably was *not* the teacher for me, nor was *I* likely to be the student for him. I respect that. He wanted to ensure that theory and reading were understood to be part of his expected curriculum. I feel that I learned more from him in a year than I would have if I'd spent 4 years at Berkley.

    Anyway, I guess my point is that there *really* are great teachers out there, and even if you don't find one on the first, second, third attempt etc.... don't give up!

    When you eventually find one that's right for you, you'll know it and it will open doors.....

    I wish you the best!

  12. I'm not so sure about that. It's true that classical guitarists use alternate rest strokes with their index and middle fingers like we do, but they also use the rest of their hand. I've seen a lot of people pluck more like an upright than a classical guitar. I'd say bass guitar technique is somewhere in between.
  13. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    FWIW, I took classical guitar lessons before I started playing bass and transfered a lot of the rudiments from one instrument to the other. For example, I learned to alternate between two fingers when playing pizzicato. Learning those things got me started on the right foot when I switched to bass.

    As long as your teacher can show you the mechanics, his main instrument is secondary, especially if he can teach you about playing music, which is what playing an instrument is all about.

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