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My first lesson

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Rick Martin, Apr 5, 2001.

  1. I got started exactly one year ago with a MIM Jazz from Mars and some books and tapes. I learned my way around the fretboard, some general theory, some notation reading and some blues riffs. I finally found a professional teacher and had my first lesson yesterday. This guy seems to be the real deal and was recomended by the music teacher at the local high school. I was playing when the guy showed up and right off he started on my right hand technique. He said the notes were ringing together and it sounded muddy. He also said the other strings were ringing sympathetically and he showed me how to follow through on my finger pluck so the plucking finger rests on the next string up to keep it from vibrating. He also showed me about contolling the note duration with the left had through releasing the pressure on the fretted string. He talked about legato, mercado etc. Wow!
    This is proving to be a difficult change for me. I now have to think about my right hand technique where before it was on autopilot. The follow through finger stroke seems clumsy to me and slows me down. It feels like a lot of hard work and I can't tell a difference in sound yet. I'll keep at it. If it was easy, everybody would be doing it.
  2. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Guess there was something good about the old basses - they weren't so resonant to make the sympathetic sounding of unplayed strings, (also known as "crosstalk"), a problem, nor were the pickups and passive onboards so responsive.

    When basses got "hotter" I had to learn the finger damping through my "teacher" at the school of hard knocks.

    I guess you now see why we're always harping on getting a good instructor who is genuinely interested in your progress. Glad you are getting good guidance!
  3. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Rick Martin, you point out exactly the reason why I always advise new bassists to get a teacher sooner or later. We just can't monitor ourselves well enough. We also can't really hear ourselves unless we record our playing. But even then, if we hear something we don't like, it may be hard for us to know what we are doing wrong.

    A teacher can look and often see immediately what our deficiencies are in technique and in sound. And one reason why it is better to get a teacher sooner, rather than later, is to prevent building bad habits that are a bear to "unlearn."

    The right hand string damping technique you were taught will become automatic soon. Just be patient and practice often. I think it is often harder to unlearn a bad habit than it is to learn to do something right the first time. Stay with your teacher. He sounds like he will help you make a very positive difference in your playing.

  4. Absoutely! Right from the start I recognized the value in a professional teacher. It just took me a year to find one. I'm very excited about learning from this guy and becoming the best musician I can be.
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    That's right - you don't know what you don't know, so can't ask about it in a forum like this. But another person looking at your playing can see what you need to work on.
  6. I know exactly what you are goin through. I have been playing about 3 1/2 years and I took my first lesson about a month ago. I realized that I had taught myself some methods incorrectly, and that several of them were actually holding back my development. My teacher repaired some of these errors but also worked with me to tweak those that I had taught myself.

    Id definitely recommend lessons to players who taught themselves. The best bass players are the ones who have combined accepted method with their own habits and methods.
  7. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Also, keep in mind that the right hand "damping technique" is only one way to deal with the right hand. The stroke your teacher is showing you is called a "rest stroke", because the finger that just played rests on the next string. It is also possible to play with a less percussive but warmer and (depending on how you do it) more legato sound by playing "free strokes", in which case all of the damping is done in the left hand. Both techniques can be useful, depending on the specific sound desired.
  8. I'm finding this rest stroke techique a bit of a challenge. It seems to slow me down as I have to concentrate on bringing the plucking finger to rest on the next string up and not striking that string causing it to sound.
  9. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Yeah, it feels weird at first. But keep an open mind and give it a shot so you can actually make a choice about which stroke to use for any given situation. And whatever you do, try to practice it as slow as you need to make it sound/feel right (this might be ridiculously slow at first).

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