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bass learning programs


Elwood

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I'm brand new to playing bass guitar--I never touched one until I bought a "starter" model Saturday afternoon and, after going through the exercises in the first few pages of a Hal Leonard book, by later that night I was playing along with "Give me some loving" by Spencer Davis Group. I wasn't playing very well, I'll admit, but it did encourage me to keep at it. I plan to get started with an instructor real soon.

 

I'd like to keep studying between lessons and was wondering if anybody on this forum has had any experience with some of those programs advertised on the Internet that claim to teach playing the bass in a fraction of the time of conventional methods. They all have glowing endorsements, but I'm pretty skeptical. How about more mainstream interactive teaching CDs/DVDs, such as eMedia or others? Books are cheap and convenient, but do the interactive programs really help you learn much faster and with fewer bad habits than learning from books?

 

I'd really appreciate any suggestions from anyone who's tried them.

As an illustrator, I might hope my work could someday touch someone's heart, but a musician has the potentital to touch a person's very soul.
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Hey Elwood:

 

You've played guitar for quite a long time right? (Is this the Elwood from the guitar forum?) You should be able to become proficient enough to play bass with others without a huge amount of effort. To become really polished and very capable takes a long time and a lot of effort, but at least the initial learning curve isn't all that steep.

 

I think we can safely say that all the "learn to play bass like the pro's with no effort on your part" videos are all crap. Don't waste your money on those.

 

One of the best DVD's I've seen for a beginning bassist who's already a musician is Todd Johnson's Technique Builder's DVD. Check www.bassbooks.com. He goes through a lot of technique that I wish I had learned early on (like floating thumb technique, minimizing wasted motion, etc). He's a very dry teacher, but it's good stuff.

 

Let us know what other goals you have, and folks here can point you in the right direction.

 

Dave

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

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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Look at stuart clayton tread about his new book, and ask some help to Jeremy C, and I think he will be one of the best persons here in the forum to give you some light to your path.

 

Also if you want some exercises just run a search on the forum, something like "scales, exercises, pentatonic" and you will find loads to work with.

 

 

Nice to have you, Welcome to the fantastic world of bass.

 

www.myspace.com/davidbassportugal

 

"And then the magical unicorn will come prancing down the rainbow and we'll all join hands for a rousing chorus of Kumbaya." - by davio

 

 

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Elwood, the very best way to learn any instrument is through private instruction. As dnkritr said, your instructor should be able to recommend any material to be used at home.

 

I can't say I have any experience with any interactive media. A book, CD, or DVD isn't capable of observing you as you play and correcting faults in your technique (i.e. interaction); this is why you need a private instructor. As far as I know, the most interactive a software program can get is to tell you if you've played a piece of standard music notation ("sheet music") correctly in terms of intonation (pitch) and timing (rhythm). Again, it can't tell you if you have bad posture or things like that.

 

There are other opportunities to be in an interactive learning environment depending on your age: grade school band/orchestra, high school jazz band, community ensemble, community college ensemble, college/university bands, etc. Some colleges and universities also allow non-music majors to enroll in private lesson classes taught by faculty (i.e. professors). (I was able to benefit from that myself.) Some of these opportunities will require more or less preparation, so you may not be able to take advantage of them until after you've gotten some basics under your belt.

 

If you have a good instructor, he/she will teach you how to fish instead of giving you a fish. (Or however that metaphor goes.) You'll be able to learn a lot of things on your own, as we all have. That may include instructional DVDs and other things.

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Thanks, everybody, for the excellent advice. That pretty much confirms my suspicions. I'm now signed up with an instructor and will check out the public library.

 

No, I'm not the other Ellwood (with two l's), nor am I related to Elwood Blues. :-) I'm really, really new to this, but am enjoying it immensely. And I'm really glad this forum is so friendly to newbies like me! Thanks!

As an illustrator, I might hope my work could someday touch someone's heart, but a musician has the potentital to touch a person's very soul.
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Most online programs are Bee Ess, I think. Have fun with your instructor and do what he/she tells you, or you'll end up paying for it later, like me!

 

But seriously, just ask lots of questions and learn what you're being taught even if you think you're never going to use it (another 2 things I didn't do at the beginning) and you'll do fine! Happy bassing and foruming!

 

Oh and what kind of starter did you get?

"My two Fender Basses, I just call them "Lesbos" because of the time they spend together in the closet."-Durockrolly

 

This has been a Maisie production. (Directed in part by Spiderman)

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Thanks for the advice--I'll take it to heart.

 

I got a Washburn Oscar Schmidt, a blue OB44. It was discounted because it had an imperfection--I noticed a slightly light spot in the fretboard finish, which nobody sees unless I point it out. During the first part of the book I've been studying, I was doing all exercises with open strings, and everything seemed fine. Today I started learning more notes and found that the E string buzzes against other frets when I play G or higher. I don't know if I'm plucking the string wrong or if something needs adjusting (a manual would have been nice). I guess I'll find out when I have my first real instruction at the end of the week. I heard something rolling around inside the body, so I removed the back panel and out fell four loose balls of solder. Oh well. Things can only get better.

As an illustrator, I might hope my work could someday touch someone's heart, but a musician has the potentital to touch a person's very soul.
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Originally posted by Elwood:

I heard something rolling around inside the body, so I removed the back panel and out fell four loose balls of solder.

If that's the only thing that fell out then it sounds like you're in good shape! :thu:

 

Sounds like a decent instrument. I'm of the belief that it doesn't matter what bass you start with as long as you start. After you've played for a while, you'll either learn that the one you've got is quite good, or you'll have a better idea of what you actually want.

 

Sorry for my confusion on your identity. ;) If you're completely new to playing music, a teacher is definitely the best way to go. On the buzzes, either you're plucking way too hard, or the action (ie. string height) needs to be adjusted a bit. Either way, the instructor should point you in the right direction. After you get a little knowledge under your belt, then you should be comfortable learning on your own or supplementing what you learn from your instructor.

 

Welcome to the forum...you've made a good choice on the instrument you chose to play!

 

Dave

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

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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It sounds as though CD/DVD-based training is best for people who can't get to an instructor or just can't afford one. I wonder if some could be useful as "refreshers" after one has completed training with an instructor. Then again, I suppose continuing education could be a whole separate thread.
As an illustrator, I might hope my work could someday touch someone's heart, but a musician has the potentital to touch a person's very soul.
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I guess a DVD is better than nothing, but working with another human being initially is by far the best way to go. There are few places where there's simply not a local bass instructor available, so that's no excuse!

 

Dave

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

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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Originally posted by Dave Sisk:

I guess a DVD is better than nothing, but working with another human being initially is by far the best way to go. There are few places where there's simply not a local bass instructor available, so that's no excuse!

 

Dave

Ditto. I am pretty much self-taught using ear and some instructional material (including video). Between the more experienced musicians in my weekly jam thing at Jay's, and me helping some beginners out, I've found that even following the videos to the letter, the video will not jump out from around the corner and admonish you for bad technique. I've seen some of the shortcomings in my own technique by watching others (death grip on the neck the most difficult to overcome).

 

... tell you what. Why not use the video/DVD/book to get your basics down, learn the fingerboard well and get you some chord theory, then spring for the lesssons. This keeps you from having to pay for "This is the neck" while at the same time getting into some intermediate stuff first off that you would find more interesting and more likely to stay on.

 

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

 

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Well, videos do have their place. Not every instructor is going to have chops like, say, Victor Wooten. And there's probably a waiting line to take lessons directly from Vic. What to do? Get Vic's video. (I assume he has one?)

 

It's probably easier to find instruction on advanced specialty techniques like Vic's on video. And I'm thinking of Mr. Clayton's slap video. I don't know him, haven't seen the video, but have heard good things about him on here. I don't think this would be a suitable starting point for an absolute beginner, but I could be wrong. (Any comments, Stuart or others?)

 

Another one that gets mentioned time and again is Ed Freidland's video. (Again, I haven't seen this myself.) Also, I hear he has some good books, but books is another topic. ;)

 

[is there a thread on instructional videos already? I'm too lazy to search.]

 

Just to be fair, the advantage of an interactive private lesson can be undone if the instructor is not competent. It can be hard to spot this, though, except in hindsight. Talk to current or former students, or get references. I don't think this is necessarily a widespread problem, though.

 

Continuing to be fair, there are plenty of cats that have learned entirely by DIY (do it yourself), without lessons, videos, books ... nada.

 

Still, I think beginners are better off getting "jump started" with private lessons before going the DIY route. Aside from other advantages, knowing you have a regular commitment that you're paying for is often a good motivator to keep learning a high priority. Once you get past the hump -- the frustrating stage where you're more apt to quit -- you can DIY and slack off as much as you want. ;)

 

 

P.S. Whatever you do, don't pay attention to the bass lessons on YouTube. There was a thread on this a while back. Not only is some of the information incorrect, it can be harmful as well.

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Hi, Elwood...Welcome!

 

Having an instructor is the best way to go, but be sure you interview them so you get one that you feel is a good match. They must challenge you! Also, please be sure to set aside practice time and that everyone around you knows that time is yours and no one else's.

 

As far as videos and software goes, they have some value, but they can't beat a live instructor!

-- Joe --

 

"If you think you're too old, then you are." --Lemmy Kilmister

"I have not seen a man who is not god already." --Austin Osman Spare

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Originally posted by RicBassGuy:

Still, I think beginners are better off getting "jump started" with private lessons before going the DIY route... Once you get past the hump -- the frustrating stage where you're more apt to quit --

This is an integral part of my strategy. I foolishly started the acoustic guitar when I didn't have the time to practice, so now that I have the time I want to do it right in learning the bass by getting over that proverbial hump before anything changes.

 

Regarding instructors, knowing the difference between what I want to know and what I need to know is going to be extremely helpful. This wouldn't have been intuitively obvious, so I really appreciate the recommendations from you guys. Thanks!

As an illustrator, I might hope my work could someday touch someone's heart, but a musician has the potentital to touch a person's very soul.
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I'm against the online instructor thing, but that's just me.

 

A good instructor will teach you theory, make sure you aren't making any mistakes with your technique and most of all, keep you interested.

 

I used to teach guitar and bass at a local music school here and I really tried to make sure my students received a healthy dose of enjoyment with their theory.

 

As others have mentioned, talk to folks who have taken lessons with the guy you are thinking of taking lessons with. Try the guy out for a week or two. If it's not working out, move on to someone else.

 

No matter who you wind up with, lessons are a great idea.

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