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Self taught vs instruction...

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by rutrho, Oct 16, 2019.

  1. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    A good teacher should do both.
    Spin Doctor and rutrho like this.
  2. rutrho


    Mar 29, 2014
    San Jose, CA
    Yeah... I can get the pitch there, just the resulting sound is awful. :p

    I suppose? At least with the context of the role of a bass guitar in music vs the mechanics of playing? I think that made sense.
    I'm pretty good at playing the instrument just the squishy stuff that keeps my head from caving in is the problematic bit.

    As you can tell, I take myself super seriously...
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2019
  3. OptimalOptimus


    Jan 4, 2019
    Then you can reproduce with your voice what you hear even if it isn't elegant at least it is the right pitch.

    And a teacher who teach music is much more valuable than a bass or guitar teacher. I mean technic aren't the most complex thing in the world for bass and you can work on it on your own easily. But understanding music theory is much easier with a teacher that bring stuff in a logic way.
    Groove Doctor and rutrho like this.
  4. rutrho


    Mar 29, 2014
    San Jose, CA
    Yeah, it's mostly theory and composition (plus intervals) Im thinking I need. Finding an instructor is sort of on the back burner atm as I have an audition next week I'm cramming for at the moment...
    The band sent me some super well done charts which have been amazinginly helpful so far.
    OptimalOptimus and JimmyM like this.
  5. Samatza


    Apr 15, 2019
    You can already play so you need a good teacher to fill in the gaps.
    I recommend face to face because a good teacher will give you specific homework to complete and they will correct you if you get something wrong. Books can’t do that.
    Lessons are designed to help you make the notes and what you’re hearing and eventually the brain locks on to it.
    I was fortunate to start on piano with a great teacher who taught harmony and arrangement, he used to write a melody and ask me to harmonise it several different ways.
    Of course with each version the bass line changed and it helped me on bass because I could “hear” several different lines in my head. You should have seen my face the first time he asked me to do that, I had that lost puppy look, I was like 10 years old.
    rutrho likes this.
  6. I haven't found much to worry about with bass playing mechanics. The electric bass is the absolutely easiest instrument to play. Place one finger on a fret and then pluck with a pick or one of two fingers. It can't possibly get any simpler. Mechanics get a little tricky in the subtle part of actually controlling/playing the instrument, instead of the instrument playing you. i.e. knowing how to touch the strings, how you move your plucking hand around to get different textures, etc. I'd say mechanics are way more important in double bass.

    Anyway, to me, what's really important to learn from a teacher is how music is constructed, how it works, how to hear it. Knowing that stuff without having to think about it much is the advantage of having good instruction. Being able to learn and play a song within about 15 minutes of hearing it, is a huge advantage. I'm in a new band and the keyboardist made the comment that I had a great memory. It's really not that. I can just hear the songs. I don't have to write anything down. I can read charts, but I don't need them. I can just play stuff like breathing. That's because I had one of the best teachers on the planet and I simply did whatever he told me to do without question. And I practice compulsively. I love doing it. I guess that helps, lol.

    But the really great thing learning from a teacher does is that once you really understand music, you can teach yourself anything you want to know, because you understand the fundamentals.
    rutrho likes this.
  7. rutrho


    Mar 29, 2014
    San Jose, CA
    The whole learning a bunch of stuff fairly quickly is a whole other challenge, wow. I think getting the whole picture of how the music is built and how its constructed and being able to pick it up and take it apart like that is a bit of a talent by itself. Much less play it and know where its going... I have a long way to go.

    I agree with you on practicing and playing all the time. I love playing bass, I pick it up daily and if I can't get a solid practice in, I'll at least play around with stuff and try to at least make it musical.

    That said, I managed to get 6 songs down in a week for an indie rock project.. well, got em down well enough to play, I don't have them down as well as I'd like but they're there. Just need to get better at the whole groove thing...
  8. BASSIST73533


    Feb 1, 2012
    When I was a little boy pop would do this trick where faced away from the piano keys and strike a key, close the lid then ask me to "find that note" he told me I had "the ear" he taught me the basics on th bass. At twelve I began playing in th family band working honkytonks, some needed chicken wire lol. I'm by no where near Stanley Clark status but at sixty one I'm still giging. Rock, c&w blues, metal and gospel. Dont do charts, tabs or number systems. I "zero in and track" lol.
  9. glocke1

    glocke1 Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2002
    I am a huge advocate of Private instruction as there is always someone out there that has a deeper level of understanding on their instrument than I do.

    it does however have to be the right teacher. There are lots of self taught instructors out there that have no business teaching anyone.

    I always recommend people to get an instructor that is well versed in jazz and have jazz studies be a large part of your curriculum. You may never end up like me, never being a strong jazz bass player BUT the principles you learn when it comes to constructing jazz bass lines, soloing, keeping better time/tempo and harmony will help you become a better player in other genres.
    rutrho, JimmyM and Spin Doctor like this.
  10. The thing that will help your groove more than anything is to learn a bunch of R&B/Hip Hop songs - Erykah Badu, Chaka Kahn, Atlantic Star, The Internet, D'Angelo, etc. The best way, is to join a band that plays whatever you want to learn.
    rutrho, glocke1 and bfields like this.
  11. Just throwing this out there: Why not take piano lessons instead? Pure theory, and it be easier to find a worthy teacher.

    Plus, learning the keyboard might open new connections on the fretboard.
  12. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    And even if you never get any good on it (as I never did), it's great to be able to use it to figure out theory and what they call "arranger's piano." Highly agreed.
  13. rutrho


    Mar 29, 2014
    San Jose, CA
    I really want to focus in on jazz for this reason, and I love the improvisational nature of it quite a bit. I tend to do a lot better in a jam sort of focused space vs getting a song down and playing that part with x number of verse/chorus/etc repetitions

    Gotta say, thats a genre I tend to not enjoy all that much, so I don't know a lot of stuff from it. At it is this project I'm learning stuff for right now is indie rock and its pretty far outside of what I normally play and listen to as it is.
    I've been having a blast learning to play their music and I like their stuff so I'm diving in headfirst to it.

    Teaching a white girl groove is a more nuanced thing tho, LOL.

    Totally. I've been considering this option as well, esp in a context of learning musical structure.
    stonetone7 and Spin Doctor like this.
  14. Tina Weymouth didn't seem to have a problem, lol... I gotta admit that when I think of indie band bass playing, groove isn't the first thing that pops into my head.
    rutrho likes this.
  15. rutrho


    Mar 29, 2014
    San Jose, CA
    haha, totally. Its more a dig at myself anyways given my tendency towards playing lots of metal and weird syncopated polyrhythmic stuff.

    These guys groove pretty hard tho, so its a fun new challenge to make people dance instead of breaking each others faces.
  16. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member


    rutrho likes this.
  17. Pfun


    Jun 12, 2019
    People ask me all the time do I teach or can I teach them how to play...i always turn them down because I was self taught...its been said that i can hear a rat piss on cotton..i play by ear and feel..so I wouldn't be a very good teacher
    Bboopbennie and rutrho like this.
  18. Joony


    Aug 18, 2019
    Everything you've said in this thread leads me to believe that you need to focus on ear training and intervals to get where you want to be.

    Interval recognition, music memory, these are all things that can be isolated and worked on. I think you're on the right track in trying to find a music teacher instead of a bass teacher. But just remember, you will not develop them over a couple months. It's something you will have to work on over years. There really is no quick way to success, just like learning language. Rote learning conversational phrases and vocabs (learning different licks and grooves) can only get you so far when learning a foreign language (music).

    Learn the sound of each intervals. One by one. You will be able to play back any melody (given a root) when you hear it once. Once you can figure out the intervals, you will hear minor and major chords (or implications of them) too and you will be able to figure out chord progression which will allow you to improvise properly without relying on ur fingers and muscle memory. Put your bass down, and see if you can use solfege to figure out melodies to easy songs.

    IMO too many bass teachers out there are cash grab teachers who are happy with just getting paid to teach songs and technique because it makes the students feel the 'progression' a lot more. In doing so, countless bass players are just bass players instead of musicians.
    rutrho likes this.
  19. glocke1

    glocke1 Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2002

    A good instructor will teach proper hand positions, the correc
    double bass instruction might be an option for this poster. I’ve been studying double bass for six months now and my electric playing has improved as a result
    rutrho likes this.
  20. rutrho


    Mar 29, 2014
    San Jose, CA
    Thats pretty much the conclusion I've been arriving at as well... at this point I've done lots of rote learning of everything and, well. Its showing.

    Totally! I've really wanted to pick the DB up for a long time, the downside is I don't have space to stick a canoe inside my apartment...

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