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Questions - Help!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by FenderKid2001, Aug 11, 2000.

  1. FenderKid2001


    Aug 11, 2000
    I have some Questions about buying, lessons etc.

    I was thinking about going out and buying a bass, I got really jazzed about Bass playing and everthing, but it accured to me if I should take lessons first. I need your opinion, should I take Bass Guitar lessons? What does the teacher teach you about playing a Bass?
    Even if I take Bass lessons first or not, I will eventually buy a bass guitar. What kind of setup the best for begginers like me?

    Thank You,
  2. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Welcome to TalkBass, FenderKid. Those are very good questions.

    Before you even spend money on a bass, you might want to talk to a few people who already play and who'll give you a chance to feel what the instrument is like. TalkBass can help you with the first part. You might have to rely on your friends or your (hopefully) friendly local music store for the latter.

    If you're convinced that playing bass is more than just a passing fancy (like judo and stamp collecting were for me), then by all means, go out and get yourself a bass. Look into used instruments. They usually offer the best bang for the buck. If you can, have a more experienced friend go with you. Make sure to check the store's return policy and hold on to that receipt.

    The question of what would be the best instrument for you is a little more complicated. We always tell people that the instrument that feels good in their hands and sounds right to their ears is the right instrument for them. You, however, haven't had a chance to discover what's right for you, as you're just a beginner, which means that if you go by price alone, the instrument you get might not be the best choice for you. The best advice I can give is that you should try as many instruments as you can in the store, not only sitting down, but also standing up, with a strap. Remember: If you join a band it is unlikely you'll be sitting down during your performance and you won't enjoy playing if you're not comfortable.

    If you decide that you want to be a bassist and you get an instrument that works for you, It would be very helpful to you to get a few lessons, just so you can find your way around the instrument a little better. In the past, most people had to rely on teachers and magazine articles exclusively for sources of information on how to play bass. Nowadays, there are enough instructional videos on the market to cover you head to toe with info.

    If you'd like to get some instruction but are restricted by a budget you might look into a combination of the two. No video can replace the individual attention you get from an instructor. A video, on the other hand, can help you demistify the more mundane aspects of bass playing, such as tuning, note names on the fretboard, etc. A video, on the other hand, is a one-way street. It will not slow down or answer a question if one happens to come across your mind while you're watching it. Generally, when taking private instruction, It is up to the student (i.e. you) to work with the instructor to decide what kind of lessons should be tailored for your needs. Do you want to play Jazz? Blues? Do you want to play like Flea or Paul McCartney? Or someone else? Those are all decisions you should make and it's up to you to communicate your goals to your instructor so you can get the most out of your lessons.

    Finally, if you choose not to take lessons, you might also become quite proficient on bass, although you might pick up playing habits that might hamper your progress in the future. I would recommend a couple of lessons with an instructor in the first few months of playing just to make sure you start on the right foot. Good luck.

    Will C.:cool:

    [Edited by Big Wheel on 08-11-2000 at 09:19 PM]
  3. the Qintar

    the Qintar

    Jul 24, 2000
    lessons can be very helpful, as far as proper technique etc. they can also be helpful in learning how to read music
  4. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    Well you said a beginner set up so i'll tell you mine I've had it for about 3 & 1/2 years now.

    Fender MIM Jazz or Precision [which ever you prefer]

    Fender 15 watt amp mines a BXR15 or a Peavy bass amp i haven't used one but i've heard good things about them.

    a comfy [sp?] strap is always nice since if you play a long time standing up you'll be glad you've got it compared to a regular strap.

    well all mentioned above should cost just over $500 to alittle over $600. oh yeah & take lessons if you can since you'll be glad you know how to read music for bass if you do any work for schools on it.
  5. FenderKid2001


    Aug 11, 2000
    Thank You Everyone! It realing helped me. I am going to take lessons to get me out on the right foot. I am also thinking about renting a bass, save my money and buy 1 for keeps :). Thank you again everyone, You are the BEST! :D
  6. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    :cool:Of course we are... of course we are...:cool:

    Will C.:cool:
  7. DaveB


    Mar 29, 2000
    Toronto Ontario
    Fenderkid - Good decision on the lessons.If you find a good teacher the worst case scenario is you'll take a few months of lessons and get off to a good start before you go off on your own.
    The best case scenario is you take lessons for years and become a bitchin' sight reader and become a first call studio guy BECAUSE of your reading ability.Most of us wish we read better..or at all. Take a poll. And the ones who say they don't want to read better either haven't got a clue or are not being truthful.
  8. FenderKid2001


    Aug 11, 2000
    I also play piano, will that help me in any way?

    - Jason
  9. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    It'll help you a ton. It means you already know some fundamentals of music, which many bass players (even some "pros") never learn. Since you already are playing bass lines of some sort in your piano compositions, you have a feel for the line. I don't play piano, but I've played instruments (trumpet, tuba) for most of my life. I've always been drawn to the bass line, which makes it very easy to either copy or make up a line for a song. Capitalize on what you already know. Good luck! You're gonna like playing bass.
  10. FenderKid2001


    Aug 11, 2000
    :) :D :) :D :) :D

    Yay! I'm happy now! I've been playing Piano for 6 or so years. I'm glad to hear it will help...

    - Jason
  11. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Welcome to TB! I have to say ONE thing...THE TEACHERS WILL LOVE YOU! Its makes a teachers life much easier to learn that a student CAN read! Anyway, most teachers will start you off with some exercises, and encourage you to bring some songs in to learn. Once youve got a handle on your technique, youll learn the buttload of theory that is necessary. SURE, you COULD learn all this on your own, but thats no fun. Welcome to the world of bass playing! It rules. Good luck with lessons!

  12. gmstudio99


    Mar 11, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    Lots of excellent advice so far.

    I'll only add three little things:

    1) Keep reading music, don't fall into the lazy confines of Tab. Notation is the language of musicians. Tab is the street talk of hacks. (There's an excellent thread in Off-Topic about this. Surprisingly, most people that don't know how to read wish they could.) Continue to develop that skill. You already know treble and bass clef. Learn where those bass clef (and treble!) notes are on your instrument. Insist that your teacher help you with this. Do not take lessons from a teacher that doesn't know the language him/herself.

    2) Play. Play all the time. Play when you wake up in the morning and before you go to bed at night. Just do it. Don't set aside "30 minutes of practice time" and set a timer or whatever...do it for the love of it. You'll become obsessed with playing and think about playing when your not playing. That's good. That's the beginning of the path to greatness. Don't get caught up in "gear" and modifications etc. Get a decent instrument and play.

    3) While you may spend some of your early time playing other people's music, out of books or by listening to CDs, make sure you frequently try to play your OWN music. No matter how simple or terrible you think it might be right now, put some (a lot!) of yourself into your instrument. It's YOURS, after all. There's a lot to learn by playing Jaco transcriptions, but, IMO, there's infinitely more to learn by playing "FenderKid2001" songs...the more you do it the better you'll get at it. Do that as much as you can.

  13. FenderKid2001


    Aug 11, 2000
    I'm all excited now... :) Bass playing is going to be so much fun. :D


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