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Self-Teach vs. Lessons

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by AxeAndSax, Oct 9, 2013.

  1. AxeAndSax


    Sep 8, 2013
    Hi, so I really want to learn bass guitar and don't know if I should self-teach myself with instructional books/DVD's or get lessons.

    Considering an instructional book and a 30-minute lesson from an actual instructor is the same cost, which would be more cost efficient?

    I think that if I self-teach myself I could get some good practice, but a teacher would set my good habits right from the start.

    Also which method would keep my motivation to play stronger?

    If anyone would like to share how they started I'd love to hear. :bassist:
  2. SidMau


    Sep 3, 2012
    I'd recommend a teacher unless you have immense self-discipline, plus they are a lot more personal than reading a book or watching a DVD
  3. BrianToska


    Jan 14, 2013
    Houston, TX
    I'm self taught but I already had a back ground in music which I think really helped a lot. I would recommend getting lessons though, at least until you get the basics down.
  4. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    Columbia, Md
    I Endorse Alien Audio Basses
    With YouTube and everything out there, it's not impossible to be self-taught but you'll make the biggest gains under the wing of a good teacher.
  5. fisticuffs

    fisticuffs Commercial User

    May 3, 2011
    Madison, WI
    Lessons. They just aren't always practical for your time/money budgets. I have never taken one for bass but I did take music from 4th grade through high School.

    Lessons aren't necessary to be a successful player but they never hurt.
  6. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    You'd likely get more and better replies if you'd started this thread in the proper forum, i.e. "General Instruction".

  7. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    I've never heard of anyone compare the cost (and efficacy) of an instructional book vs. the cost (and efficacy) of a single lesson from a qualified teacher. Unless I'm missing something here, why would you even consider taking just one lesson, and calling it good? :confused:

  8. I self taught for a year and then got a Bass instructor. he made me buy the book he uses to instruct his beginners. half way thru my second lesson he said "i'm sorry i made you buy that book" closed it and on we went.

    i'm not sorry he made me tho, i still do the exercises in it from time to time and I will use it to teach my 2 boys.
  9. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I think a teacher is always good. Teaching yourself can lead to too many dead ends. If you already read well and know theory, you will only need a teacher for a little while.
  10. Jon Moody

    Jon Moody Commercial User

    Sep 9, 2007
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Manager of Digital Brand Development and Product Development at GHS Strings
    What kind of person are you?

    Meaning, are you the kind that can take the initiative and get the full value out of grabbing a bass book, absorbing it and diving in deep to grasp it? Or are you the kind that can do that okay, but needs a third person perspective to help guide and direct you?

    There's no wrong answer with that, but knowing that will let you know how well you think you'd do either way. Personally, I find a lot of value in having a teacher even if it's just in the form of a consultant/guide. Someone like that can usually point out things that you may have overlooked, or missed.
  11. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Teacher if you can afford it.
  12. Gaolee

    Gaolee Official leathers tester and crash dummy

    If you get lessons from a good teacher you run the risk of knowing what you are doing. Avoid that.
  13. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    I was self taught for 7 years and then went to Music School for bass, so I taught myself enough to get into music school (how to read, ear training, etc.). Looking back, I realize now that I could only get so far without a teacher. A good teacher can explain a concept in several different ways, and a book doesn't do that.
  14. Pretty much the same for me too (except self taught for 4 years). My first lesson with my instructor he had me play something for him. After I finished he sat there for a second with his hand on his chin, then said, "It sounded great, but we're going to have to completely re-work your technique."

    I learned more in that year than the first four years combined of lessons books and ear-training. I definitely could pick things up easier, get faster and tighter with the groove, and get better tone after taking lessons because you have that seasoned pro to help.
  15. dave64o

    dave64o Talkbass Top 10 all time lowest talent/gear ratio! Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2000
    Southern NJ
    Like most have already said, if you find a good teacher, you'll likely get a lot farther a lot faster with the teacher than you would on your own.

    This is my own personal opinion, but here are some things that I think make a teacher a good teacher. I wouldn't say this is a complete, definitive list, nor would I say these things are in any particular order. It is more or less a stream of consciousness, "what are some of the things I like about my teacher" list:

    - Able to balance on that fine line between what you personally want to accomplish and what will be most useful to you as a bass player and a musician
    - Focuses on helping you become a better musician, not just a better bass player
    - Has broad experience to draw from
    - Able to effectively draw from that experience and to communicate his ideas
    - Develops, with your input, a plan to get you where you want to go
    - Able to balance on that fine line between making sure you know things you need to know (theory can be dry, but learning it can only help you) and making sure you have some fun.
    - Is flexible and can adjust your plan as you progress rather than sticking to a one-size-fits-all, this-is-how-*I*-teach plan.
    - Has an interactive style. It's no fun if someone just shoves stuff down your musical throat. In my own personal experience, some of my best lessons are the ones where we hit on some interesting idea and follow that tangent for a while before getting back to the plan, whether it's later in that session or after exploring that tangent for a few weeks.

    But I'd say probably the most important thing to look for in a teacher is that the teacher has a student who's willing to learn, willing to put in the time required, and is open to new ideas. That means YOU! ;) :D
  16. Emprov


    Mar 19, 2003
    It really depends. For the most part, I'm self taught but I have taken lessons. And, when I was taking lessons, I quickly realized that all paying for lessons was doing was forcing me to do the stuff that I knew that I had to do anyway. Like GHS said, a lot depends on what kind of person you are, whether you need to be pushed and corrected or if you're self driven to do what you need to do. From time to time, instructors can get you over hurdles and expand your brain but there are also a ton of resources on the web. Check out scottsbasslessons.com for one. Scott's a great player, a bit too talkative sometimes but very informative.
  17. jacobcurry1


    Dec 11, 2010
    I was self taught for my first four years and then I took lessons. My teacher was a local guy who examined my playing and really broke everything down and tweaked my technique and gave me the perspective of much better musician/bassist. Most of the suggestions were simple things but seeking lessons is by far the best thing I did for my playing. Go with lessons
  18. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    And if you decide to go this route, therein lies the toughest part…finding a good teacher. After a year of noodling around, watching some instructional vids (DVD's and YouTube) I finally dropped a chunk o' change on a small, but conveniently located, music store's lessons. They assured me he was "our go-to guy" for beginners bass lessons.

    I won't say "I want my money back!", but getting half back would certainly be appropriate. His teaching method was all over the radar. He was rather manic and hard to follow. I could barely retain half of what he was trying to teach me, despite (or maybe because of) the hastily scribbled notes in my notation book. I even told him on our second or third lesson, "Dude…slow down. I can't keep all this in my head with this breakneck speed. I'd rather retain a small amount of information each lesson rather than trying to cram in a ton of stuff and barely remember half of it." And for the rest of that half-hour lesson, it worked…

    …until the next lesson, and it was back to mad scramble of herky-jerky-style tuition. So I went to the rest of my lessons and didn't sign up for them again. :rollno:

    Unless they cost you a fair amount of money for little return, that is. My wallet may not have been crippled, but lessons aren't cheap, especially with stores adding on a one-time "Registration Fee".

    But ultimately, that's the trick…finding a good teacher. There's no guarantee that the first will be "the one" or "the best ever". Now, I absolutely will not pooh-pooh taking lessons. I've been considering taking more later this year, only at a different place. I know I may be setting myself up for another waste of time, effort and money, but if I don't try, I could be missing out on a great opportunity to advance beyond and polish what I've already learned "by ear".

    Another bit o' perspective; learning "by ear" may have served me well enough when I was learning to play drums, but I know there are big gaps in my knowledge. Also, I probably would've learned all I know much faster with proper tuition. So that's why I took, and eventually will continue to take lessons.

    So, if you do decide to take lessons, I hope you find a teacher you really click with. If not on your first try, don't be discouraged. Just try to figure out what didn't click with them and bring that knowledge, along with whatever you managed to learn from them, to another instructor.

    Good luck with the path you choose! :bassist:
  19. rapidfirerob

    rapidfirerob Fusion rules!

    Great answer!

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