Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by sgtbass, May 26, 2005.

  1. sgtbass


    May 26, 2005
    Hi. I'm new to these forums and pretty new to the bass. I'd like to share my lesson experience with you and find out if what happened to me is a common experience among students.

    I'm in my mid-thirties--a little older than most beginners, I know. A musician friend of mine, knowing how much I love music, convinced me to buy a guitar and take lessons, which I started to do in January 2004. I started on bass last July.

    My teacher taught me both guitar and bass until last month when she decided to move back home to pursue her career. I was very disappointed because I felt we had established a good student/teacher rapport. She recommeded two teachers for me as she didn't know a single instructor of both guitar and bass.

    Well, I had my first bass lesson and one of the first things I learned is that I've been holding the bass incorrectly for proper playing. Needless to say, the wind was taken out of my sails as I'd felt pretty confident about what I'd learned and how I'd progressed.

    Now, I feel like I'm starting from scratch. I believe I'm going to learn a lot from my new teacher (plus I also think that having two teachers devoted to one instrument per lesson will give me a better concentration in both guitar and bass, rather than jumping back and forth between the two with one teacher) but I can't help but feel disappointed and wonder whether I was progressing well at all with my first teacher.

    I'd appreciate any advice, anecodotes or insights any of you may have.

  2. DaemonBass


    Mar 29, 2004
    Sacramento, CA
    That seems strange to me. I would think the way to hold a bass should be commonly known among teachers of the instrument. What exactly were you doing wrong? I can think of two possibilities. Maybe your first teacher wasn't very good and didn't spot your flawed technique. Either that or your second teacher is very picky and/or is trying to get you to play "his" way.

    Look up some pictures of bass players on the 'net. Every player doesn't hold the bass the same way but there are some important things you should not do such as holding your thumb over the top of the fretboard and ignoring the use of your pinkie finger.

    Also, I don't think you will end up losing any work you've put in on the instrument by holding and playing it in the proper position. Any time spent playing the bass when you first start is highly beneficial and I'll bet everyone (myself included) played with an "improper" technique when they first started.

    Welcome to Talkbass, btw :cool:
  3. I wouldn't worry about it too much if it works for you who cares what the text book says
  4. darkfish01


    Feb 11, 2005
    San Marcos, Tx
    That's what the bass is all about. There's no one way to play it and hold it. You'll see some bassists with their bass right under their shoulders, and others with their basses hanging down almost to their knees. Just do whatever works for you.
  5. sgtbass


    May 26, 2005
    Thank you all for taking a moment to respond--and based on your responses, perhaps I overreacted to my new teacher's comments.

    DaemonBass--I was told that I was using the wrong part of my thumb on the back of the neck--the hard part opposite the knuckle, rather than the fleshy part opposite the fingernail. He suggested that by correcting this I wouldn't have as difficult a time stretching and reaching specific frets.

    And I was taught by my first teacher to use my pinkie finger to play as well. :)

    Thanx again for your input.
  6. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    I'm actually one of those that, if I were a teacher, would take great care to make sure the student was using proper technique. Now, by proper, I mean in the way that would make sure the student wouldn't suffer discomfort, or even worse, injury later on in his practice and playing. Some like holding their basses higher or lower than others. But I think great care should be taken. Having the bass hanging down to your knees may cause back problems or wrist problems later on. Pay attention to how your body reacts when you are playing. Pay attention to your right and left hand techniques.
  7. Bassist4Life


    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
    First, I must say that I am all for proper technique. Of course there are going to be subtle differences in the way we play bass. We are all built a little differently.

    Now, you must visit this website and see this guy and his playing position. I've never seen anything like this, but it works for him. Check it out.

  8. ireidt


    Mar 6, 2005
    I'm kearnign "proper" technique from my new bass player right now. I'm not used to stretchign and using my pinky, so it feels odd, but It is good to know that you are learning something new.

    Also, welcome to talkbass.
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I would see this as very bad advice and as Stephanie says, you could cause health/injury problems sooner or later...:meh:

    I was talking to a guy who runs a London physiotherapy practice and happened to mention I played bass - he told me about a lot of professional bass guitar players who he was treating for injuries that have stopped them playing!

    He also mentioned that he comes from a family of classical musicians, so can appreciate the importance of learning correct technique and that bass guitar players, often being self-taught, are more prone to these injuries/strains than those who learn with a teacher.
  10. JohnBarr


    Mar 19, 2004
    Central NY
    Hi SGT and welcome.

    I'll chime in for learning proper technique. Not only for good phyisical condition but stamina, speed and intonation.

    You can always break the rules later.

    But I doubt you've suffered a set back, it something you can overcome quickly.

    After 2 yrs I'm still developing hand strength and dexterity and having ignored _right_ hand technique I'm now focusing on that, esp for muting. Always something to learn. Or learn again.

    Good luck.

  11. Syeknom


    Oct 17, 2004
    Leuven, Belgium
    That's mad. :eek:
    Very cool though, and it seems to work for him. =)