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Should I take lessons?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Cornbread, Jul 30, 2000.


  1. Cornbread

    Cornbread

    Jun 20, 2000
    Lawrence, Ma
    This is my first post, but I've been lurking here for a while. Anyway, I've been playing bass since April, but I've really progressed as far as technique goes. Last week I had a lesson that a teacher from school offered. He's a guitar player, so bass isn't his primary instrument. But, he went to Berklee and knows music theory. The problem I had was that he seemed to think that the toughest part about learning bass is holding the rhythm, while knowing the notes and scales is the easiest part. For me, the easiest part is keeping the rhythm, but knowing which notes are appropriate and how everything fits together is the difficult part. Also, the things he taught me in the lesson were just basic (the pentatonic and the blues scales), and I think I could have learned them straight from a book.

    I know many people here have recommended taking lessons, but I can't really afford them, and I want to get the most out of them that I can. Should I continue with my teacher from school, or should I find a bass teacher, or what?
    Thanks.
     
  2. JimK

    JimK

    Dec 12, 1999
    Cornbread(Earl & Me)-
    Count me as one that thinks RHYTHM is the "hard" part; after all, there's only 12 tones(unless you're into micro-tones)while there are INFINITE rhythmic possibilities.
    You've only been playing a few months? Like anything else, IN THE BEGINNING, you will see great strides in developement. You may benefit in the long run(avoid breaking bad habits further down the road)if you stick with the teacher from school...learn as much about MUSIC from this guy as possible. Remember, the goal is to become a musician(not merely a bass player) [​IMG]

    Bird's words-
    "There are no incorrect intervals, only incorrect rhythms".
    ...or something like that! [​IMG]
     
  3. Chris A

    Chris A Chemo sucks!

    Feb 25, 2000
    Manchester NH
    I agree with Jim K. I also have a biased opinion since I currently have about 10-12 students in any given week. The thing that a good teacher will give you that a book read on your own won't is experience. A teacher that can see some flaw in your technique, has a quick story that is related to the lesson, can use songs/bands/exercises that you personally can relate to, is much more valuable that saving money by teaching yourself from a book. I try to use my students favorite artists' music whenever possible to illustrate a given lesson, so that at least part of the new concept is familiar to the student. Reading about rhythms, chord structure, song forms, etc. can be confusing if there's no one there to explain it in terms that YOU can understand. The author of the book probably meant for the teacher to go into detail about a topic that is only touched upon in his book.

    Chris A. [​IMG]

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    "I have all my own teeth!"--Jenn Scott Poulin

     
  4. Cornbread

    Cornbread

    Jun 20, 2000
    Lawrence, Ma
    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Chris A:
    A teacher that can see some flaw in your technique, has a quick story that is related to the lesson, can use songs/bands/exercises that you personally can relate to, is much more valuable that saving money by teaching yourself from a book.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I agree, but like I said, bass isn't his instrument. He admits that he can't teach me much about technique, and I'm actually better at traversing the strings (like in a scale). So, I'm sure he can teach me about music, but I'd like to know if I'd be better off finding a bass teacher. Also, I disagreed with the way that he plays (even though I'm not an expert). He plays the bass more like a guitar and seems to like soloing more than sticking to a bassline. Thanks for the advice.

    Dave
     
  5. JimK

    JimK

    Dec 12, 1999
    Dave-
    I suggested the Berklee/guitarist/school teacher guy 'cause(I'm assuming)he's free & probably knowledgable. Believe me, I'm not a fan about how most guitarists approach teaching bass(usually licks).
    The problem is you can find a bass teacher & get the same thing(licks, riffs, etc)& little else. I don't envy ya, brah!
    Nowadays, there's some pretty happenin' books & videos for beginners; I happen to think Alexis Sklarevski's BASS PLAYING TECHNIQUES: THE COMPLETE GUIDE(from Hal Leonard)is good for beginners thru intermediate levels. The first couple chapters cover the "physicality" of playing electric bass...pretty good exercises for both the plucking(he's an advocate of the "floating thumb" technique)& fretting hands. The book has TAB, though you should consider learning/reading standard notation(eventually).
     
  6. IMO, if you can find a good bass teacher that you can afford that would be the best way to go. In the mean time, learn as much about music theory as you can from the Berklee guitar guy, assuming its free. Then when you find the right teacher you'll have that much less to work on.

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    Ciao
    Mike

     
  7. Cornbread

    Cornbread

    Jun 20, 2000
    Lawrence, Ma
    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by MM:
    IMO, if you can find a good bass teacher that you can afford that would be the best way to go. In the mean time, learn as much about music theory as you can from the Berklee guitar guy, assuming its free.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I wouldn't have a problem at all if the lessons were free, but he's charging me $20 per lesson. That's why I was unsure if it would be worth taking the lessons if I can't afford it right now. But I'd definitely take free lessons even if he didn't know a thing about bass but knew about music.

    Dave
     
  8. BassoOstinato

    BassoOstinato

    Jul 31, 2000
    Well, I've had several different teachers over the years and they have all taught me someting, but my experience has been the least satisfactory bass teacher is one who is actually a guitarist who "seconds" on the bass. If you can, find a teacher who is primarily, first, last and foremost a bass player. You will get more bang from your buck, believe me.

    Why do I endorse the idea of having a bass teacher at all instead of being self taught? The bass teacher can spot things you are doing in technique that you can't see or feel yourself. They can hear things you are doing in technique you can't hear yourself do.

    Some very successful bassists are self taught, but for the average person with no musical background, self teaching can be frustrating and can take a lot longer to grow because there is nothing like a coach. Even super stars like Tiger Woods and Serena Williams get coaches, the best they can afford. You just improve so much faster.

    But if you get a teacher who is not compatible, who wants it his way or no way, who is not interested in your concerns or who is hypercritical...lose him FAST. There are plenty of decent teachers available. If you don't like the one you have, move on.

    OSTINATO
     
  9. If you are already paying for lessons I would get a bass player as a teacher.
    Check your local music stores and ask other bass players in your area for advice on a good teacher.
     
  10. msaygilar

    msaygilar Guest

    Apr 18, 2000
    Istanbul
    You should take lessons on rhytm and techniques and reading if you don't know how to read.
    These are most important subjects. And If you're sure that you can learn everything yourself then go ahead, you can always start taking lessons when there are something that you can't learn yourself. There are lots of resources about bass on the Internet. Try to do it yourself and talkbass is here to help people [​IMG]

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    The Only Mask I Wear is the One I was Born With..