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Opinions on Alex Sampson's (Bass Guitar Secrets.com) Fretboard Formula

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by bcolins, Sep 26, 2008.

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  1. bcolins


    Nov 16, 2007
    San Antonio, TX
    I signed up for update emails from Alex Sampson's www.BassGuitartips.com

    Today I got an announcement regarding his new educational DVD/CD/Text based set called "Fretboard Formula". The intro video is 30 minutes.....surfing around his sight,...I found several other interesting videos describing various programs or segments of programs........and some free lessons. Interesting stuff.

    I've been away from playing for 35 years,...just getting back to it and need a bit of an update and wondering if any of you guys here feel a series like this can be of benefit to give insight and a bit of guidance in what to think about and focus on in my practicing.

    Here is a link to his blog page with an interesting video:


    I would be curious to see what you more experienced players think about this guys approach.

    I like the fact that it is DVD based but also has a text for reference. Dont know how much it is yet,...but know his prior System "Bass Guitar Secrets" was $49 for an online download version or $97 for the paper back and CD version.

    Obviously this guy is in the business of producing and selling his products, but he is a bass player who is articulate and appears to be very thorough in his video presentations and free lessons,...which leads me to think that his educational material is probalbly well thought out as well.

    He offered a one year money back guarantee on his PREVIOUS "Bass guitar Secrets" program ($97 in the hands-on version), and seems to be a very genuine and knowledgable guy.

    Let me know your thoughts.

    Brian in Austin
  2. He's a tireless giver!

    The opinions expressed by him will be really negative, that i predict, lol!
  3. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    As a habit I avoid even looking at anything that purports to be instructional, but includes the word "secrets" in its title, description, or marketing hype.

    There are simply NO SECRETS about playing bass. And is the OP the same dufus who posts something about this "bass secrets" site every week?

  4. EchoEcho


    Oct 14, 2007
    Certainly looks like spam to me. "Hey guys, i was just wondering if you would recommend this site", "Do you think this site is trustworthy", etc etc.
  5. bcolins


    Nov 16, 2007
    San Antonio, TX
    My question is this.........would some of you more experienced guys go look at the link I included and see what you think please. Forget your preconceptions on what you think about stuff with the word "secret" attached to it........that is his old package......his new one is called "Fretboard Formula": maybe he got hip to some older players being suspicious of anything with the word secret attached :meh:

    Anyway,....I just need some opinions on his material and teaching style....go have a look at the link I attached in my initial post. He seems straight up and his approach seems very imformative.

  6. bcolins


    Nov 16, 2007
    San Antonio, TX
    Dont know what this means.....translation?
  7. bcolins


    Nov 16, 2007
    San Antonio, TX
    I cant figure out if you are suggesting my initial post is spam or if you think the guys web page is spam.

    Mine is not,.....asking your opinion about this guys program,....a simple question to more experienced players....dont know why you would think my question would be spam

    we live in suspicious times dont we.

    Brian in Austin
  8. You asked for feedback of Alex Sampson's materials, and here on talkbass, he hasn't gone over to well, as a search bearing his name would indicate.

    You pose the same question on another website (learngospelmusicdotcom) about Mr. Sampson, and the feedback isn't going to be negative, condescending, or critical but favorable.

    Why the difference?

  9. You're way too cynical. Can't you see that Sampson has "cracked the code".

    He's clearly teaching things, "they don't want you to know".
  10. bcolins


    Nov 16, 2007
    San Antonio, TX
    Fountain boy,.....perhaps in your first response to me you meant to say....."the opinions expressed ABOUT him are negative"...........that would have made sense to me.

    but your post said "the opinions BY him are negative".....so you really lost me on your remark......I wondered "what opinions??" and "why would a guy trying to sell his course post negative opinions about his own programs??".....If that was a typo................I understand now. (I think)

  11. bcolins


    Nov 16, 2007
    San Antonio, TX
    Still waiting for someone experienced to go look at the link I included in my first post and render their opinion on his stuff as a teaching aid............no more speculation based on the title or past experiences please,......someone in the know,....would you take a look please.
  12. bcolins


    Nov 16, 2007
    San Antonio, TX
    I followed your lead and did a TalkBass "search" on the guy's name. Seems like all the really negative comments came from people who had never seen the material or the website.....they were just negative because the guy uses the word "secret" in the name of his first Program.

    Fountain Boy, I see you are a fan..copied the below text from the search thread.

    (fountain boy08-01-2008, 06:47 AM
    I'm a really big Alex Sampson fan. I see that he's a gifted educator, as well as a great player. The man simply gives of himself tiresly.

    His material rivals the best out there and his subsequent follow up correspondences & updates, by inbox, inspire me to practice well. (and i'm a self disciplined person)

    He's out've Philadelphia, and i'm located 2 hours south of him, and if i knew for certain that he was giving a clinic somewhere, or was going to be in a designated place where i could tell him thank you to his face for his course, i would jump at the chance!

    So, Other than those that wont look at it because of the word "secret",....it actually seems like everyone who bought it saw value in it,..................but.............most were overwhelmed with the amount of material and found it too challenging and subsequently gave up..................I have found this to be true for every kind of self taught program,.....and perhaps that is why for most....lessons with a real instructor work .....because you are in a real-time situation and have home-work assignments.

    I may have to give it a shot based on the simple fact that pretty much all the bad opinions I have seen in my forum search indicated that the complaints came from players that had never seen the actual course......

    Brian in Austin
  13. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    I peeked , no time to watch the whole video, made it half way before skimming.
    The video and the web site are indeed full of an obnoxious amount of marketing hype designed to get you to buy his stuff.

    Besides the marketing hype, He basically claims to be able to answer the question "what should I practice?" for all who buy. His basic approach is breaking it down into "What do I play, where do I play it, and how do I play it", and then shoving various aspects of musical Knowledge into one of those 3 sub categories.

    What do I play? = theory
    Where do i play it? = groove + stylistic/rhythmic understanding
    How do I play it = fretboard knowledge

    His live playing / instruction near the end is the only thing of value, and he did seem to be saying some useful things. however, there are many you tube equivalents.

    IMHO hes putting shiny chrome on top of freely available information and charging for it.

    Buy $97 worth of lessons with a live instructor.
  14. EchoEcho


    Oct 14, 2007
    My apologies. Being a moderator on another forum, i'm instantly suspicious of such posts. But i now believe i judged your intentions wrongly.

    I think i largely agree with that. I joined myself. The video does look good and is quite clear and informative. However, there was an option there to join what he calls the VIP Lounge(or something like that). I clicked on the link and noticed that above the "Next"(ie stage 1 in getting extra free stuff) button it had something like "Tell your contacts". I clicked off immediately.
    So to get some free videos which (as you, mambo4, have said) that are readily available on YouTube and other places, people have to spam their contacts. I'm not doing that. It's viral. I don't like that approach.
    Irrespective of whether Alex Simpson is good or not, he is going about it in exactly the right way to create suspicion and to lessen his true worth.
  15. DudeistMonk


    Apr 13, 2008
    Newark, NJ
    I watched the video, he is talking sense... He is talking about forming lines with arpeggios and modes...ext. So he is not a hack, he does understand bass playing and he does know how to breakdown the theory of a bass line fairly well.

    However your not getting anything out of him that you couldn't get from musicdojo (which has a good reputation around here) or whatever, like he said in the video its not really secrets, that is just how he markets the same stuff everyone else is selling. A real teacher is still the best way to go, cause he will feed you this stuff in the proper order FOR YOU and answer YOUR questions.

    If you think you are going to learn quickly from this guy you are wrong...you will learn all the theory quickly and it will take months if not years to apply it all....just like with an instructor. I know all the things he is talking about in this video, none of this was new to me but that doesn't mean I apply it all in my lines, I need to practice more in order to do that.

    Also this guys manner of speech/accent drives me crazy..."If we was to play with the drummer, or if we was to play in between the drummer."

    What I do like about this guy is he doesn't dance around he gets right in and will tell you "The 1 and the 7 are great notes to play to this chord." Which eliminates a lot of guess work in the beginning. I also like his tone and he has some pretty sweet fills, he is certainly a good bass player.

    This video doesn't tell me anything about how the course actually works...is he going to give you arpeggios to practice? are you going to learn to read? He explains stuff well but does he have the charts and sheet music and lessons to back it up?
  16. I think its alot like "The Secret"

    Its valuable information wraped in a pretty pink ribbon.

    It just so happens that the ribbon is made out of some seriously annoying marketing tactics.
  17. I had his downloadable version of the first method in my old computer, which died :bawl: Just to clarify, the fact that it died has nothing to do with the aforementioned software package.
    I thought the method was good, it is very comprehensive and has a lot of valuable information put into a single package. I dig that. Besides, he also gives you some software that includes a couple of jam generating kinds of programs that you can play along with in a variety of keys and styles. I found that very helpful.
    Sure, what he teaches could be learned from other sources, but I don't think that makes it any less valuable. The marketing, however, is in my opinion really bad. You have to read through tons of testimonials to get to what you really need to read.
  18. mutedeity


    Aug 27, 2007
    I am more than skeptical about this stuff. It's all marketing really. As others have said at best you are getting nothing more than you could get elsewhere. I didn't bother watching the video, and it wouldn't change my opinion anyway.

    For me as soon as someone claims to have the "secrets"of creating great "bass grooves" I immediately dismiss anything else they have to say. Why? Because it is blantantly misleading. As others have said, there are no secrets and even if you do know these so called "secrets" there is no guarantee it will make your playing or writing any more innovative. That comes with practice and experience and there is no substitute for that. Not only that, but what a great bass groove is, is all a matter of opinion. There is intrinsically no formula for creativity.

    Learning theory and technique and concept development are no secret, and there is no substitute for hard work. This guy might be teaching some valid things but I wouldn't bother listening to anyone who implies that you can buy the secrets to unlock what only hard work and dedication can give you. It's a lie. As a teacher I would never claim to hold the secrets to great bassplaying, only that I can give a person the tools they need to have a better understanding of their playing technically and creatively. With hard work and dedication my students can use those tools to take them to whatever level they are capable of.
  19. Rols


    Oct 8, 2006
    Vancouver, BC
    This is pretty much it. Good information, annoying marketing, and the material could use some serious editing/proof-reading. His style of writing is pretty informal, so take that as you will. It would definitely be more palatable to me if he didn't do his marketing schtick, but would we be talking about his stuff if he didn't do it? Then again, you could also say that quality material should sell itself.
  20. Alex Sampson's 'bass secret' is his concept that to play the bass for groove intended purposes, the bass guitar should be viewed as a hand held drum kit.

    I'm sure you could try to find fault with this simplistic concept or conclude that, well duh, the sky is blue, or water is wet, the grass is green, etc, etc, but that simple revelation to someone who didn't come up playing in church or didn't have a father, big brother, next door neighbor as a drummer, is a Godsend! (Yes i have a father, lol. He just wasn't a drummer)

    To the bassist's out there that started out on drums (i wasn't aware that many bassist's are proficient on drums) that is common knowledge, or is a common place concept, but to me, one who has never in his life sat behind a drum kit and for the longest time, didn't understand the correlation between the interplay of the drums & the bass guitar, Alex's epiphany (that the bass should be viewed as a hand held drum kit if you are playing for groove purposes) plugged 1 of the biggest holes in my playing.

    As to the bassguitarsecrets course, it is bloated with much information, as Alex attempts to leave no stone unturned, taking the rank amateur from the 1234 finger sequence fret exercises, up until the usage of modes, for utilizing bass runs.

    Imho though, had Alex provided video (video demonstrations of his exercises) with his commentary & explanations with his course, his material would be the only source i would pull from for a awhile.

    I miss much in the translation trying to comprehend explanations just from reading, but when i see it physically demonstrated with a breakdown, i understand it.

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