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Teaching my dad bass for father's day.

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by powellmacaque, May 7, 2010.

  1. So I've decided that for Father's day, I'm going to start giving my dad bass lessons (cop out present? you betchya. But I'm a poor college kid).

    My dad's in his early 50s and into classic rock. His favorite artists are pretty diverse: The Rolling Stones, Cream/Eric Clapton, Yes, Mountain, The Doors, Fleetwood Mac (all forms), and ELO.

    The guy's got a massive CD collection (which pales in comparison to his old record collection). We're talking easily 1000 albums. Funny thing is he's never played an instrument (he tried guitar as a kid, but his parents made him play "old-timer" country and 40s pop) but we all joke that he probably can learn through osmosis.

    What are some suggestions for a few lessons? I think I'm going to approach it like I would with my other students at first by teaching him scales and the 12-bar blues patterns first, but he doesn't have the time to sit and practice like I did or like my other students do. What are some good ways to get him playing songs he likes (hopefully avoiding TAB along the way) and maybe even jamming with some other people?
  2. DrVenkman


    Jan 22, 2010
    Pacific NW
    I'm no expert so take this with a grain of salt, but I'd really focus on finding some simple songs he can play along with pretty quickly. For instance, "If I Fell" by the Beatles has a pretty simple bass line but still sounds good (if you like the Beatles).

    Also, what does HE want to accomplish? If he just wants to play along with classic rock I'm not convinced learning scales is all that useful. I absolutely wouldn't have him learn scales before playing along with some simple songs.

    I'm no fan of tab. However, again depending on what your dad wants to do, maybe in this case it's OK. If you just gave your dad a book with tabs for a bunch of Doors songs and taught him just enough to start working through those to play along with a CD, would he be happy with that?
  3. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Blues is a great way to get a feel for the bass. Your dad obviously likes it too. Show him some basic blues patterns. As he likes "Cream", start him off with "Sunshine of your Love" and explain to him what that riff is. Try to get him to learn where the notes are on the fretboard. Very important, make sure you show him good technique, and how to warm up and down. We dont want your dear old dad developing any physical problems through bad technique... now do we ??? ;)

    Finally dont take any "I'm too old to learn bass" excuses from him. :p
  4. Minotauros


    Nov 23, 2009
    I think that's great. I wish I had a son like you. :)

    Yeah, guys our age rock! :D
  5. Thanks!

    I hope to one day jam with my dad. I catch him going back and plucking around on my acoustic bass here and there, so I think he wants to learn.

    And guys your age do rock! I love all the bands my dad listens to (eh, maybe not so much with the Eagles) and although I listen to modern punk, rock, and metal, I still think his music is amazing.

    I was actually thinking of showing him "Sunshine of Your Love" first and maybe something like "In A Gadda da Vida" and "Break on Through" for some further lessons.
  6. No to tab. But, yes to patterns. Explain R-5, R-3-5-3, R-3-5-b7 and 8-7-6-5 and how to place them over the chord changes. Tell him what key some of his records and CD's are in and turn him loose jamming to those songs.

    Let him pick what he would like to jamm over.
  7. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    how serious is he? you can't make dad take it seriously if he doesn't want to, but there is effort involved, and if he's not going to put in the practice, it's going to be really tough to get him to the jamming stage, if not impossible. i say treat your dad like any of your students and insist he practices. and if he doesn't, throw him out!

    of course you'll have to buy him a real present if you do that ;) hey, you get your dad playing bass, that's a way better present than anything.
  8. Funkturnal


    Nov 17, 2009
    Tokyo, Japan
    When I was in high school, my dad would sometimes hang out while I practiced. Eventually I tried to teach him something, but he only got as far as playing the riff to "Satisfaction" out of time. But he still remembers it to this day!

    But anyway, if you teach him well, he may really get into it. He may even insist on upgrading to top-of-the line gear for the house! :D

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