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How would you start off a new student?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by RicPlaya, Nov 21, 2003.

  1. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    The Mitten
    Opinions will vary I know. How would you start off a new bass student? What would you teach and why would you teach it in that order? We are talking theory and technique here. I started lessons with a guy about a month ago, very cool guy. He is mostly a guitar teacher with a Satriani kind of style. Cool for guitarists but I feel that he really can't fully relate to the bass. I heard some of his own material, very good but the bass lines he wrote sounded like they were written by a guitarist trying to play bass if that makes sense. So I want to find another teacher stricly bass but want kind of a general consensus about the way to approach teaching a new student when I interview potential teachers. You guys seem to enjoy subjects like this, especially arguing about it...LOL. That's great because I need to pick your brains once again...thanks:confused:
  2. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    I can relate to your frustration because I have had three bass teachers who were primarily guitarists. I'm not saying that I didn't learn valuable things from them, but I have had bass teachers who were primarily bass teachers and found that to be far better.

    One thing, they can relay a love of bass and respect for bass that a guitar specialist most likely does not have or does not have to such an extent.

    What the bass specialists taught was better technique...better fretting and plucking, better attention to tone, more emphasis on timing and groove, better note selection and bassline creation.

    Thus if you are lucky enough to find a "pure" bass teacher, s/he will probably watch you play and listen to you play, looking for bad habits in fretting and plucking, and listening for speeding up or slowing down on the beat, inequities in tone--I mean do you fret consistently or are some of your notes weak compared to others?

    Your teacher will watch to see if you are fretting notes efficiently or jumping all over the fretboard. S/he will analyse your note choices and probably catch immediately if you are not really thoroughly familiar with your fretboard.

    The bass teachers I had were sticklers for good plucking, whether it be fingerstyle or with a pick. A guitar player/teacher might not be so well versed in fingerstyle and might have only passing familiarity with slapping technique. For example,none of the guitar teachers even told me about string muting. My bass teachers knew how important it was to know how to keep strings from unwanted ringing, especially at high volume.

    Bass teachers also have a deep arsenal of bassline styles, while a guitarist may not possess such thorough knowledge of how basslines are played for various styles...blues, rock,metal, gospel, swing, jazz, pop, latin, country, reggae and so on.

    I was expecially blessed for three years to have a bass teacher who played double bass in an orchestra, plus electric bass in a Zep-style rock band. From him I gained many insights, including equipment choices not just theory and technique.

    All that said, I don't want to offend anyone. There probably are gifted guitar specialists who can play a really mean bassline and can give you excellent instruction. It's just that my personal experience has been that bass specialists generally know more about the intricacies of bass, can explain them better and are better equipped to help you develop as a bass player.
  3. Slot


    Oct 17, 2003
    Sydney - The Shire
    Your situation reminds me of mine when i was 1st learning.

    My 1st teacher was this oldish dude who played guitar. Not a jazz player by any means, just your typical coverband guitarist, a very solid one though.

    For the time that i was with him i probably picked up lots of bad habits, like playing soley with a pick etc, but i loved it, because he actually had me playing songs, and it made me feel asthough i was a musician.

    But after 6months or so, i knew it was time to move on. So i found an excellent "bass" teacher, and thats where things suddenly became more challenging and fun. But i doubt i would have progressed so fast in the 1st couple of years had i not learnt to "play" from my original teacher 1st. I reckon if you're a newbie to ANY instrument, having to sit down and learn scales and whatnot before you can even play a song would be dead boring, and interest would wain fairly fast i reckon.

    From checking out the songs you're playing in your cover band, you can obviously already play a little dude....They're similar styled songs to the ones i was playing before i got my 1st 'real' lesson. But i would definitely recommend moving on, and finding a specialist bass teacher. But dont just settle for the 1st one you find....do a little research by asking around music shops etc to find who has the best reputation in your area. You want a guy who has a good technique, and who is a compitent sight reader. I say "compitent sight reader" because these are the guys that usually have mountains of transcriptions, charts, and other bass related material for you to work on, that will help you progress. I was lucky in a way, because my teacher was a professional transcriber aswell as bassist, so he had literally thousands of charts, and every "tower of power" bassline ever played trascribed.

    So in a nutshell, i reckon you should look for a teacher who:

    *Is a strong sight reader, and has fairly strong emphasis on this point....DONT go to a guy that teachers you stuff from tAbz!!!

    *Good technique ......you want someone who can iron out your technique, and make it as 'user friendly' as possible.

    *Has a strong background in jazz, and jazz theory.

    *Make sure he's someone you can get along with ......you dont want some old geek who will cringe if you swear.;) (im worse than a sailor, so this always helps)

    *Make sure he's got plenty of material .....charts, books, transcriptions etc etc

    *Make sure the cat can play ......you want to be impressed by. If you look upto your teacher as a player, it will make you work harder on the material that he gives you.

  4. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    The Mitten
    Exactly, that is how I feel! I know I need just a bass teacher for those very reasons. I can learn any song and have never been stumped yet. My goal is to understand what I am playing and to create my own music. I am also a drummer and been so for 16 years, so I know I could write some awesome bass and drum parts! My question is how did your teachers teach you? Or if your a teacher how would you teach a new student?
  5. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    The Mitten
    Thanks again Slot!

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