Teachers or Self Taught?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Cambass, Feb 6, 2001.

  1. Hi again

    I have been playing for over a year and a half. However I have gotten in to this mindset that I'm not that good, well not on the theory part anyway. I've developed my dexterity and all that.

    My question is, would you advise a teacher to learning bass players? I've never had a lesson from a another person, just a couple of books and internet resources but yet I feel I'm nowhere near as good as I should be. The major problem is that I don't think I'm disciplined enough to practise effectively each day. Would a teacher help?

    What should I do?

  2. cschenk78


    Mar 12, 2000
    Watertown, NY
    Find out who is the best teacher in town, pay him/her some money and get yourself some lessons...
  3. Dragonlord

    Dragonlord Rocks Around The Glocks

    Aug 30, 2000
    Greece, Europe
    You'll never know until you try!
    Actually,that's the case with me,too.I play bass for a couple of years now,and I have tried two teachers...it didn't work.I wasn't disciplined,didn't do my homework,and while I was taking lessons,I had no passion for bass whatsoever!Once I stopped lessons,my passion for the 4 strings was there again-voila!Maybe I just didn't find the right teacher for me,or maybe I am just too lazy.I don't think I'll ever be as good as I could if I took lessons,but what the hell...it's supposed to be fun,isn't it?I said,this thing is gonna make me hate bass,I may never be a virtuoso but I will enjoy it more!
    Of course,this doesn't mean that it won't work for you either.I say give it a try,and see how it goes.If it works,it will surely be better for your playing-just be careful of one thing:NEVER stick only to what your teacher teaches you;continue to explore bassplaying on your own,and this combination will take you to a new level.Best of luck!
  4. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    If you're drive is strong enough, you'll probably learn anyway......after spending years of making mistakes, following a winding path with no clear goals in sight, and no one taking an interest in your progress except you. Self-teaching was a fairly valid option years ago because there weren't all that many resources for bassists, (e.g., no "Bass Player," no tabs, no internet lessons, et al). Nowadays, with such resources as even The B.I.T. around, there's no good excuse not to get a teacher, unless you can't afford it or you are a child prodigy.

    I took lessons at the holy Mel Bay Music in Kirkwood, MO, USA, for several years and quit. Looking back, I would have been as "good" as I was at 35 by the time I was 25 if I stayed with the lessons. I just wasn't smart enough to demand a different teacher than the drip I had.
  5. NJXT


    Jan 9, 2001
    Lyon, FRANCE
    I've been playing for almost 13 years.
    98% self taught, 1% friends, 1% teacher.
    It was a BIG mistake.
    Did'nt have time, geographical opportunities or money for lessons but I really regret it now.
    I'll say (and others do too ;) that I'm an average+ bass player in some compartiments, a pretty good one in others, and a TOTAL lamer in importants ones such as musical theory and worst of all for a bass player : rythm !!!!
    Plus, it took me a looooooooooooong time to learn/discover/understand some things, in technique (like slap) or theory (scales !), that a teacher could have told me in a couple of lessons.
    I'm sure if I had taken one or two years of lessons when I started I would have achieve a better playing sooner.
    Even if you've got access to Internet lessons, videos, books and so on ... I believe that when there's someone to answer the right question at the right moment, it can change everything.
    That's like school. You can learn everything in books, but a good teacher can sum it up, sort the important things, share his/her experience, answer your question, show examples, insist on some points that can be shown as obvious in books etc ...

  6. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Why do even top athletes like Tiger Woods and Venus Williams have coaches? Because there is nothing like someone looking at what you do and seeing what you can't see and hearing what you can't hear.

    If you find a teacher you like, that teacher can watch you play and listen to you play , then spot inefficiencies in technique or deficiencies in timing or tone or whatever. You, yourself might never be able to detect these things, because it is hard to judge yourself with absolute objectivity.

    One caveat however: If you don't like your teacher, move on and get another. Some can be too tough. Some can be too easy and not stretch you enough. And some can be downright incompetent. If you can, find a real bass player and not a guitar player or key board player who thinks he knows a little about bass. A real bass player has a true love of the instrument and can pass his enthusiasm on to you.

    jason oldsted
  7. Paul A

    Paul A

    Dec 13, 1999
    Hertfordshire U.K!
    I had a really bad experience with a so called bass teacher.
    Basically the guy took the piss because of my age (Early 40's).
    Also out of my bass (He couldn't understand why anyone would want to use a US standard Fender P!)
    Sooooo.....I told him what I thought of him,refused to pay him,and taught myself.
    That was 18 months or so back.
    I now feel that I could really use some tuition,I'm prretty competant but just need that little extra.
    So if any of the U.K. guys on here know of any good teachers
    in the Hertfordshire/Bedfordshire/London area - Let me know!
  8. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Paul I am in the Luton area if you want to meet up to swap information and technique then e-mail me. PS I am not a teacher, not gay and not a serial killer.
  9. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Paul, it is too bad you had such a bad experience with a guy who is obviuosly a jerk with a HUGH chip on his shoulder. I never even picked up a bass until I was 48 years old. Luckily my first bass teacher was very supportive. He had a student who was a woman in her mid- seventies!!! He never criticized my bass either. Some teachers forget they need to politic with their students because they are essentially employed by the student and therefore hasd better check their attitude at the door when the student walks in.

    I hope you have way better luck with your next teacher and get one who inspoires you and builds your confidence along with your technique.

    jason oldsted
  10. JWC

    JWC Banned

    Oct 4, 2000
    I tried a lesson one time from this guy named Fat Tony. All he would show me was walking lines that go from the root, to the 3rd, to the 5th. You know, that real hokey sounding blues walk. He wouldn't tell me anything I asked. He just insisted I keep doing that, although I had learned more than that years ago. To hell with lessons.
  11. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    JWC, I promise you not all teachers are like that. I've been lucky to have had several different teachers because my husband gets transferred frequently. Not all have been good, but I have studied with some that were absolutely priceless.

    If you can find one who is compatable with your learning style and who is there to coach you, not discourage you, you will never regret that you found that teacher. I've never seen anyone post here that they had a wonderful teacher, but regretted the experience. The ones who regret having had a teacher are the ones who were unfortunate enough to have a teacher who was not compatible. It is well worth the effort to keep trying until you find a teacher who can and does help you.

    jason oldsted
  12. JWC

    JWC Banned

    Oct 4, 2000
    Jason, consider yourself lucky to have found good teachers. In my town, they are few far and between. The only really good one I know is eternally booked, with a waiting list. The way I learned was take bits and pieces of information from other bassits and even guitarists. I learn a bit reading these forums too, reading Bass Player, and even learning some tabs sometimes.
  13. I think you have to be in the right mindset to get something out of lessons. I have taken many months of lessons, and it turned out to be a waste of money.. not because the teachers or the information they were presenting weren't good. To the contrary, they were very good. It was a waste because of my sheer laziness and lack of motivation to learn the material. If I had applied myself, there's no telling how much better I'd be. Luckily, I saved everything from all those lessons in a big spiral-bound folder, so if I decide I want to go back and study, I can.
  14. Don Fabrizio

    Don Fabrizio Guest

    Jan 27, 2001
    If you want to play punk or fast rock-songs you should teach it yourself, but if you want to play jazz you should take some lessons. I suppose, that you are member of a band. Playing bass alone is boring...
  15. Thanks for the link Ed. (and replies everyone:))

    The general opinion seems to be split. My main problem is laziness I suppose, I strap the thing on and all I want to do is play along to CD's. I have sort of joined my first band (I'm still waiting on a reply) so I'm hoping that will give me a kick up the bum and motivate me more to practise.

    Another question I wanted to ask was about books/videos/computer software. I'm on the lookout for some sort of software on the computer that I can learn from and one that gives feedback and interactivity (which is the whole point). Does anyone know of any good ones?
  16. *ToNeS*


    Jan 12, 2001
    Sydney AU
    Don .. playing bass by itself is boring? Man, you either SUCK or you just haven't been inspired and are getting beaten down by listening to too many guitar solos and not enough Jaco. You should give up the bass now, coz yer obviously not living the low-end like ya should be.
    Lessons are a must if you *know* you haven't got the natural talent for it, but you do have the passion.
    personally, i've never had a lesson in my life, and i'm "better than Flea" .. (bear in mind a guitarist said that .. what the f##k do they know? hehe) so it really depends on you being honest with yourself.
    if you sleep with your bass, you don't need lessons.
  17. I'm self taught on the electric bass, and I've been playing for about 8 years. I've been a violinist for over 32 years, although I prefer playing viola. I played a little stand-up bass. Cello was a little more difficult. But even with all the formal violin lessons and the music theory I had in high school, I feel that I need more instruction on the bass. I take whatever little tip I can get! That's why I go to bass sites like this. But I still plan on taking lessons from a Pro. I think its money well spent.:D
  18. Paul A

    Paul A

    Dec 13, 1999
    Hertfordshire U.K!
    Thanks CS!
    I'm not too far from you (Kings Walden - 3 miles or so!)
  19. CS


    Dec 11, 1999

    I have just checked on my map and I think its nearer. I dont know Kings Walden but I eat in the White Horse (cant remember the village but its near). Anyway this is getting too off topic ,I will e mail you from home.
  20. Don Fabrizio

    Don Fabrizio Guest

    Jan 27, 2001
    ToNeS, the bass is the best instrument, but I like guitar solos, too. not every guitarist is an *******! The guitarist in my band is a nice guy. Playing in a band is great! I don't play the bass alone very often and I don't think that I'll become a god like Flea (or you(?)), but I'm happy.