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What's the best way to teach a 9-year old bass guitar?


Mike Gug

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I'm a guitar player. I just want to make sure I'm not missing something in teaching my son the bass...

 

I got a Squire Bronco. Nice sound and darn good axe!! Anyway, I plan on teaching him bass, but not EXACTLTY certain how to do it.

 

Mel Bay? I'd bet Mel starts way down on the neck in the first three frets for the first one or two books. When I step in (very poorly) on bass, I'm never down there. I play up where I'd be playing bar chords on the six-string guitar and "bass-out" the notes like that.

 

My teaching goal is to get my son to a point where he could play a few simple songs with the church band. Mainly rock and genere like that. And of course, I'd like him to continue on after that...

Mikegug

 

www.facebook.com/theresistancemusic

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Mike, find the kid a good bass guitar teacher.

 

You have 2 problems. The first is that you are his dad. Kids rarely learn well from family. It's just a bad dynamic. Teaching and parenting are different and when they mingle the kid generally hates it.

 

The other problem is that bass isn't your primary instrument. Learning the subtleties of bass guitar will save the kid years of unlearning bad habits if he decides he wants to learn it.

 

Good luck. :thu:

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Man, I figured I'd be teaching my 2 yr old daughter :freak:

 

I think you made a good point about getting a teacher. However, I do think it depends on the teacher and the student as to whether a parent teaching the child will work or not. If it works, go for it. Or maybe, get a teacher, but still jam with your son! That'll be the fun part!

 

Dave

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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I personally started out on Mel Bay books 1 and 2. I thought they were very good. Try em.

 

Maybe go to the local music store and have him take a look at some books and have him pick out one he likes.

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Get him lessons with a good teacher and jam with him to get him started having fun as well.

 

Playing down by the nut is a perfectly acceptable and necessary part of playing. Your son should learn the whole fingerboard, not just the part you think he should learn.

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I'd prefer the Dan Dean method over the Mel Bay.

 

But what you need is an experienced professional teacher. Someone who is good with children. Someone who knows how to teach Simandl and Carol Kaye fingerings to someone with small hands. Someone who is very patient. Someone who can teach how to play from chord names.

 

Someone like me. ;)

 

Nine is a little young. Eleven is the youngest kid I have seen. It is important that this is coming from the the kid, not from the adult. At age nine, not too many kids are aware of the bass. But if yours is, than it is worth a shot.

 

There's nothing wrong with starting on the first three frets. Why would there be?

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My daughter started playing guitar last year at age 7. The beauty of it is that they make 1/4-size and 1/2-size acoustic guitars. She has a 1/2-size acoustic that works really well for her smaller hands.

 

I would love for her to play bass, but I felt like she would have more fun at her age starting on guitar. I also thought that it was a better match for her physically (even with the availability of smaller basses like the Fender P Jr.).

 

She has had two different teachers, and both started her in first position (first 4 frets). Her current teacher is terrific, and I think she's improved an astonishing amount since we moved and she started taking lessons from him a couple of months ago.

 

I often practice with her, but it's a really good thing that she has a teacher. We get along great, but she takes it a bit more seriously with her teacher. There's a different kind of patience and concentration that she exhibits with him than with me.

 

Peace.

--SW

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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Mike,

 

I was in the opposite position. I play bass (and read music) in my church and fill in with several different groups in town. My guitar knowledge stops at recognizing a few chord fingerings when I see a guitarist playing them.

 

My daughter is now 11 and has been taking lessons for a year. She asked for a guitar last Christmas so I got her a guitar and a teacher that teaches children (very important). We drive a 90 mile round trip once a week for her to get her lesson. My wife plays piano and sings. We both help her when she needs help with counting and such. But, she gets very tense if we get too involved.

 

IMO if you can afford it get your son a teacher that is comfortable with children. I really believe this will lead to less trouble and quicker, happier learnig in the long run. Let the teacher teach the way they think is best. I would have liked to see her chording more, but instead he has taught her the fretboard and she is reading music. He obviously knew better than I. It needs to be fun and they will sometimes need help remembering to practice. My duaghter gets frustrated at times but has stuck with it. She doesn't know it but she is getting an electric for Christmas this year.

 

Good luck with what ever direction you choose.

Those of The Way
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With a rolled up newspaper.

 

No, but seriously. I concur with the above experts. Although, not just in having a proper teacher involved, but a bass player. No offense, but a bass player can express the mood and feel of a bass better than a guitar player who can play bass. There is a different mindset here, and why cheat your child of the experience?

 

Anyway, my humble two cents worth.

 

ATM

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I've got two boys. A 12 year old drummer, currently in lessons. He's the one to take lessons from someone else. We are too much alike and he does GREAT with someone else.

 

On the other hand, wanting to save $75 per month... :freak: My 9 year old is as smart as a whip. I coach him in soccer and we do OK in a mentor/student role. In soccer, he's a very coachable kid. I understand, sitting down with a bass on the lap and not moving anything but fingers is VERY different, but we'll give this a whirl.

 

I could have taught drums much more easily, but my older boy, I knew, would respond to a teacher much better.

 

I asked the question about where to start him out because of my experience on classical guitar as a kid. 1.5 years and all I learned was Stairway to Heaven and that I didn't want to play classical guitar... "Stairway" was the only time I used frets 4 and beyond. I love going to Guitar Center and letting "Stairway" just BLAST out of a cool Marshall full stack! ;)

 

Anyway, thanks for the input. I'll do lessons at some point, for sure, but to start, I'll mess with him here. I'll check out Hal Leonard's stuff.

 

No offense taken. You guys seem to be as cool as the Guitar Forum guys. :thu:

Mikegug

 

www.facebook.com/theresistancemusic

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Helps redefine "Inhouse Band."
Yeah. I made him ask for this bass for a few months to see if the desire would die off. He asked for the book tonight. Looks good so far.

 

Looks like it's "Smoke on the Water" time tomorrow with no book. I ordered Hal Leonard 1,2, and 3. I have a guitar book of his.

 

One more question, is fret buzz something you just live with or is it more careful picking to get the string vibrating up parallel with the fretboard?

Mikegug

 

www.facebook.com/theresistancemusic

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That's the difference between bass pitches, and strings with bigger windings and string excursion, and the guitar. Bass is different.

 

Setup can alleviate buzz, and so can technique. But an observant bass player / teacher can make a better decision about how much is not TOO much, and where the slack needs to be pulled up just by seeing the bass setup and the hand technique your son is developing.

 

EDIT: Hey, Mike -

 

If you go to get a setup at a shop and ask for medium action, and it is done correctly, then it would be technique that is then to be addressed, having dealt with the other variable.

.
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While I'm not qualified to teach, I agree about the medium setup. The thing I've noticed in my own hands is technique - not coordinating the holding of a note with the fret hand with plucking with the other hand. Also, it will take a bit of time for a student to learn how hard to play. A gentler touch is usually better, but I can't show you the difference between gentle and too gentle.

 

Sometimes a few lessons to start (with you there to listen) might help. Once the right technique is in place, you could keep an eye on it and work through the exercises.

 

I learned all by myself, and there are plenty of times I wished I'd had lessons. I also had a point in my life where I was paying $250/month for lessons for two kids (music/dance and music/karate).

 

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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I know there's no substitute for "notes, scales, chords, patterns...", but I think he'll stay interested by learning to pick out and play bass parts from his generation's music rather than ours. Even though we "know" our generation put out the finest music in the last century, there's still a lot of fun and things to learn playing No Doubt, Alien Ant Farm, Hoobestank and the rest.

 

Make sure it stays fun for him and he'll do OK.

And tell him to lay off the X-Box unless he learns how to play the soundtrack music to those games. Now that's some challenging music there!

:wave:

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