I've got 2-3 half hour lessons?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by mljonesqwe, Mar 3, 2014.

  1. Hi,

    I am 18 with a couple more months left in high school before going on to college, so I've been saving my money for a decent car and for room and board. Money has been tight for me, and I'm about to get a job, but I obviously have priorities at the moment.
    In my city, the cheapest lessons had been 20/30 minutes and 40/hour, and I had kept a lookout on craigslist for younger startups getting their foot in the door with cheaper lessons. One just showed up, and he's offering 10 for thirty minutes and 20 for an hour. I got a bass in December 2012 and tried learning from Hal Leonard solely for a while, and had a long period off, about 4 months. I've seen a growing number of high quality and informative free stuff coming out in the last year on youtube and elsewhere which I've been using as well. I still think that my form might be incorrect, and this scares me.
    So, I was thinking about paying for 2-3 half hour lessons, and want to establish what I will do with him to get the most out of it. I was thinking:

    1)Regular fretting form (tension in hands, big emphasis on laying them flat with Curl, as I don't think I've gotten a lot of curl)
    2)I know its not wise to go right into slap bass, but I've had trouble learning from a book and thought he could show me how and give me a couple quick suggestions/corrections so I'll be comfortable when I do get more into it. It might just be the quality of my bass (Washburn XB102) or string height off the frets, Idk.
    3) I told him I'd like a where to go from here outline for the last lesson, but I'm starting to believe this won't be necessary, as he's a play songs and learn type of instructor as far as I've seen. Plus I've gotten more of an idea of where I should go in the past couple of weeks with all the free lessons available, like talkingbass, musiccollegetv, etc. And I think I'll try to incorporate learning more scales and chords while doing some hal leonard lessons and learning all the parts of the neck/becoming more comfortable with it.

    are there any suggestions about how I should best use these 3 potential lessons? I really want to get the most out of them and get my form right so I can move on to my own self study again.

    I should also mention I am more comfortable with theory and stuff so far, as I've made it a point of emphasis. I do have a little problem with application and improv, but that is getting much better as I've started to see how chord progressions and everything works, so I think these lessons are more about technique, as I can't really get those from online as much from a person.
    If I've missed anything, let me know.

    Thanks :D
  2. philvanv

    philvanv Gerbil Turds, Kitsap County Turd Core

    Jul 2, 2012
    and at the bottom it says thank you, and now you can shag off
    Man seems like you have a direction. I would suggest maybe holding off and the slap.
  3. davidhilton

    davidhilton Supporting Member Commercial User

    Apr 13, 2009
    Los Angeles, CA
    I would be seriously leery of anyone charging $20/lesson. Thats like 1980 prices. It might be better to find someone more qualified and pay a little more for fewer lessons. If you have the desire to learn you will find the money u need.
  4. The only time i tried teaching lessons I charged 5 bucks per hour. The guy got what he paid for, though i have to say that despite my best efforts he wasn't really receptive. :D
  5. ancientrocker

    ancientrocker supporting member

    Mar 7, 2013
  6. noiseguy


    Apr 1, 2013
    I'd work on form too. It's one of the harder things to pick up from videos / tutorials... you really need feedback for that.

    The other topic is to show him what you learned, and ask him what else you should pick up... in other words, ask him what you should learn. For example, I learned Nashville numbers after talking with another bassist about technique... hadn't heard of the concept before that.

    The rest of the factual stuff, as you said, you can pick up elsewhere.
  7. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    I agree that some skepticism is warranted. Maybe this person has the potential to be a great teacher, and is offering cut rates just to get a business started. But it seems at least equally likely that it's someone who knows that he/she isn't worth any more than that. Anyone can hang out a shingle that says "For hire: Bass lessons," especially on CL. I would be reluctant to jump on this because of the low cost, as you might just "get what you pay for" -- and bad lessons could be worse than no lessons at all. Has this person provided any evidence, or references, etc., to persuade you that he/she knows what they're doing?
  8. The short answer to that is no, he hasn't given me much as far as credentials, but that could very well be because he's 21 year old out of college and hasn't done anything mention worthy yet.

    I figured I'd get answers with a degree of skepticism, and I am leaning towards not taking any at all now. I think I might be able to just teach myself adjustments to form like keeping all my fingers down (esp. the pinky) and applying just enough force. I don't think there's anything new that a teacher can tell me that I haven't already read from the internet or a book. Its just a matter of correcting myself I guess.

    The fact remains that I can't yet afford to take regular priced lessons, so I guess I'll just continue to do what I did before but with more involved effort to learn from internet resources.
  9. I personally think Scott Devine has the most clear and useful set of lessons, free or not. His are free by the way. You want to take lessons from guys in the business and who can convey the information in a way that makes sense. Chris Tarry has good lessons that are now free also.

    There are definitely advantages to having a teacher over using internet lessons as long as the teacher is giving you fundamental information that can apply to music in general rather than just showing you which frets to press to play whatever song.
  10. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv

    Bad lessons are worse than no lessons.
  11. vishalicious


    Mar 31, 2011
    Yonkers, NY
    If you're not going to go with the lessons (or even if you are), Adam Neely has 3 videos that I really like that go over left hand technique, right hand technique and his thoughts on one-finger-per-fret. They cleared up a lot of questions for me.

    Here's an old blog post that I did with all 3 videos:

    Ergonomics and what to do with your hands

    There's also an interesting book that I grabbed from Guitar Center a while back that you might find useful:

    Essential Bass Technique

    Also - you should speak with your teacher to find out his background in music and see if you're comfortable with it.
  12. I've actually seen those. I know in my mind what needs to be done, and I've seen different perspectives on it, this being one of the best, I think the only benefit of an instructor is them telling you what you're doing wrong, not what you're supposed to do. I think I can do it though, I just need to put more effort into noticing all the small things.

    By the way, its cool that you responded to my thread. Your blog got me back into bass about a month ago. You have a lot of good stuff on your site, and I realized that just doing Hal Leonard wasn't ideal, but mixing it with other things and doing it sort of on the side/parallel to everything else. I stopped using the book as a course and started using it more as a reference/tool. The talkingbass channel especially has helped me out a lot. Keep doing what you do, I follow your blog pretty closely to get an idea of what's out there and how I should go about progressing my playing.
  13. Update: I for some reason never thought of this, but I always play with my laptop facing me anyway with a metronome on, and it hit me. I used the video app for windows 8 and watch my self in real time. Not only do I know what to look for and can correct myself, but watching the screen takes my eyes off of the fretboard and I can learn to "feel out" where those notes are. I'm excited about this simple fix. I don't think I really need a teacher at the moment now. I think what I will do is record myself playing now, and then maybe do it awhile from now. It can be like a before and after picture.

    Thanks for the suggestions you guys gave. I think I found a solution
  14. vishalicious


    Mar 31, 2011
    Yonkers, NY
    Thanks for the compliment, it really put a smile on my face. ;) I always hoped that what I wrote would be useful to others who are trying to learn bass by themselves, and its great to see that it is!

    I feel terrible though, because I'm so on-again-off-again with both blogging and practice because of work and having our 1st baby. One cool thing though - she's now a year and a half and loves my basses, and my wife's keyboard. She's always going to them to either play with the strings or try to eat the tuning keys. I got her a little ukulele and tuned it like a bass. She plays with it, but actually prefers mine.

    Enough baby talk though. ;)

    Instructors aren't there just to show you what you're doing wrong. Having someone to report to, who can objectively evaluate your progress, is a really good thing. I flounder a lot, and although quite a bit comes from sheer exhaustion (my work week is always more than 70 hours - I work 6 days a week and actually should be running to the office in the next few mins), a lot of it also comes from not interacting with real people who can offer constructive, informative criticism and guidance on what I'm doing.

    Talkbass helps with a lot of that - its my go-to for ideas and experiences from other people. There are members here whose responses to my posts have really opened my eyes, and there's an excellent body of information, both "formalized" and based on opinion that really keeps me thinking about bass even when I'm away from the instrument.

    I'm still of the mind that learning bass can be done solo, but its a harder and slower path than essentially apprenticing under someone with a greater body of experience than yours.

    You're young and have already made more progress than I did at your age. I'm going to be 39 in another 2 months. Its harder to practice when other priorities compete for what's essentially a hobby for me. I have to make sure that I'm putting food on the table, and the baby doesn't know when I want or need time for anything other than talking to her, reading to her, playing with her, feeding her, changing her diapers or walking outside with her and showing her the world (she's just discovered birds). My company is also small, and we're competing with others that are literally hundreds of times our size, so we all work insane hours just to ensure that we still have a company to return to the next day.

    The moral of all of that is - you're at a fantastic age to be able to dedicate time and effort to something that you love, and its great that you're doing it. The time that you put in now gives you a 20-year head-start over people like me, so I'm sure that your strides are going to be wonderful. You should actually consider starting a blog yourself. Its kind of like keeping a music journal, and it does let you look back and see what you've learned and when. It also lets you share. I'd read it. ;)

    Regarding the Hal Leonard books, and other materials - I haven't gone through an entire method. I'm sure that once I do, I'll emerge on the other side with skills and knowledge that I didn't have going in. One of my problems is that I see a lot of stuff that I like, and I begin them without first completing something else. I don't know if you have that same problem, but Ed Friedland, in particular, is both a resource and a foil for me. He just wrote so many damned good books that I want to go through, and I have yet to complete one from start-to-finish.

    One piece of advice that I can give you, as another beginner - really work through one method to completion. Get that foundation under your belt. That's one of my goals for this year. One of my next blog posts is going to deal with something about that. I read this interesting article in a British magazine/journal called New Scientist. Its had an article about success, and some of it referenced music. Grit & determination played a big role in the article.

    Anyway. I'm off to work. Thanks for reading and best of luck in going down the same road that I am. ;)
  15. vishalicious


    Mar 31, 2011
    Yonkers, NY
    This is a great idea - I'm going to try it myself!
  16. Glad I wasn't the only person that overlooked it. I can't believe I didn't think of it before.
  17. Don't worry about it. It's like Bass, you do what you can. There's plenty to pick through already. When I found it, I spent a whole day looking through all the ideas. Seeing someone (document) doing so much kind of showed me how little I was doing and what had to be done if I wanted to gain more knowledge. At my school, you register for classes a year out. I took creative writing for my art credits, and thoroughly regretted it when I found my friends playing guitar and learning a lot in instrumental music this year. When my friend asked me stuff while in a music store, like play the minor pentatonic scale or the blues scale, I was lost/jealous. Now I know more since then, and hope to get practicing on those, but I realize doing it by myself is completely possible. I at least know what they are/kind of how they're constructed, I will get to practicing soon hopefully.

    I totally agree. I can't believe I never used this site as a resource. I knew it existed and had an account, but really just to look at pictures of people's basses that are nicer/cooler than mine:D I'm finding it very useful as I try to memorize the fretboard in order to limit myself less when playing in keys. I'm really trying to wrap my head around keys and such right now. Eventually I'll tackle the idea of harmony:bag:

    Thanks for the encouragement. I think we all need it here and there, especially without the help of a professional teacher. Hang in there with the new kid and job. I don't have those obligations specifically yet, but if there's one thing I've learned with a busier schedule this year its just fitting in something every day, or close to it. It really builds up.

  18. davidhilton

    davidhilton Supporting Member Commercial User

    Apr 13, 2009
    Los Angeles, CA
    What year was that 1965?
  19. davidhilton

    davidhilton Supporting Member Commercial User

    Apr 13, 2009
    Los Angeles, CA
    LA is full of teachers who charge next to nothing...go to their website and u will find...nothing...
  20. davidhilton

    davidhilton Supporting Member Commercial User

    Apr 13, 2009
    Los Angeles, CA
    Totally agree!