A very good friend of mine, inspired by guitar hero 2 (no really!) and her drummer partner, decided she wanted to take up bass about 2 months ago. She's in her 30's so not the normal time to start playing. She's a Phd so clearly intelligent and able to absorb a lot of technical info in a short space of time. She is a university lecturer. We went and found her the right bass for her to start on, turned out it was a candy apple red Ibanez sr300. It has astonishingly fine tone for such a cheap instrument, weighs next to nothing, has a wonderfully slim fast neck which really suits her tiny hands. Since she suffers from RSI a bit already we definitely wanted something very easy to play and this is certainly it, the action was lovely, if anything a tad too low, but a tweak on the truss rod and she was set. I spent a couple of hours with her going over the basics, left and right hand techique to make sure she didnt exacerbate her RSI, warming up properly, all the real basic requirements of plucking and fretting and a little bit of info about notes on the neck. To help her with gradually increasing her finger strength in a uniform fashion I lent her the Michael Manring vid, for the exceptional stuff on finger exercises on there. She bought herself a real beginners bass book, and a grade 5 music theory book. Hey she is an academic, books she can do really well, it works for her. She also got herself a metronome and a nemesis practice amp (the little 40w one, great little amp!). If there was one exceptional thing about her, really, I would say its her concentration span, when I say I spent a couple of hours with her going over stuf I mean I regurgitated at high speed a lot of info. At the end of it I was knackered, she was still ready for more. Other than that she doesnt come from a musical background at all. I saw her last night (first time in 2 months) to tweak the truss rod again as the bass is settling a bit still, no big deal. She showed me where she's at since she's concerned that its taking her a while to get any speed out of her hands. Turns out shes got all the way through her bass basics book, a large way through the theory book, been learning b-lines by ear, been doing all the exercises, and working her metronome hard, jamming with her partner twice a week (they hook up in their flat with his v-drums with a headphone amp for the whole evening). She says she does on average an hour or two a night 4 nights a week, so quite a heavy schedule, but the difference is she's really working the way she was shown, and starting slowly and getting it right before trying to go fast. She looks to me now like most students who have been playing for between 1 and 2 years, maybe more. I was astonished! Really, perfect technique in her left hand, ever so slightly overplaying with her right, part of the speed issue. But basically she hasn't had time to build up the muscles to go faster. But what absolutely knocked me out was the way she could groove. Her time was almost flawless, better than her drummer partner (to his obvious embarrasment) and she just held it together like a rock. reminded me of Tina Weymouth, not a lot of notes, but, wow, what a great feel. It was pretty inspirational actually! So my point is, why is it that so many students ignore what they're told and try and play really fast from the get go, or try far too complex stuff, and are sloppy for years. Really all you newbies, listen, take it slow at the start, get the basics right, if you concentrate on that properly you can get it pretty much down, on your own, in a couple of months. And get the gear to help you, a well set up bass that fits you, a decent practice amp, a metronome, a couple of good books, and a couple of good lessons. Then go at your own pace, but practice what you've been told, not whatever you feel like, and be critical, get it right before you move on. The results are astonishing!