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Old 06-28-2013, 12:24 PM   #1
aguzzi17
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Would I benefit from taking lessons?

Hello. I've been considering taking bass lessons, but I'm not sure if they would do much for me.

A little background. I started playing guitar about 6 or 7 years ago. I took lessons for a year or two. I quit the lessons because I had gotten to a point where I was okay at playing guitar, but felt that I wasn't progressing from the lessons. I continued playing guitar consistently for another year or two before kind of giving up and only playing off and on. A year ago I decided I wanted to take up bass guitar, so I bought one along with an amp. With the purchase of the bass guitar I also got a free lesson (which was with the same guy I took guitar lessons from). I learned some of the basics and some exercises from that lesson that made the transition to bass much easier. Since then, I've only been playing casually, not really trying much to become what I would consider a good and consistent bassist, but I have become as comfortable playing bass as I am guitar.

I'd now like to improve my skills and try get to that next level, and I've been thinking about taking lessons. However, I'm not sure how much they would help me since I pretty much have all the basic knowledge and skills from the time I've spent playing and my past guitar experience. Do you think I would learn more, learn faster, and see more progression through lessons, or should I just try to learn on my own and maybe watching some YouTube videos when needed? Advice from people who have experience with both would be much appreciated. And feel free to ask questions if you want more info.
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Old 06-29-2013, 08:17 AM   #2
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Everyone can benefit from taking lessons. Janek Gwizdala recently posted on his blog that he's just had some lessons and come out of it feeling more inspired than he has in a long time.

A proper bass teacher will smooth out any inconsistencies in your technique, prevent any new bad habits from forming and get you set on the road to better bass playing.
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Old 06-29-2013, 11:00 AM   #3
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On both the bass and piano i have been both self taught and had teachers. There is definitely no substitute for a GOOD teacher. There are way too many bad music teachers out there. Just because someone is good on an instrument doesn't necessarily translate into being a good teacher.

A good teacher will pick up on bad habits and inefficiencies in your playing and gaps in your knowledge.

For example, you may be able to play some really fast song...but can you construct a walking bassline ? When you are self taught there are usually big gaps in your knowledge in my opinion.

Many will give you a free half hour. It's also very important you actually get on with them as they will often be asking you to do things you don't always want to do. So it's easier a lot easier to force yourself if you like them.

Good luck whatever choose - the most important thing is that you're playing.
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Old 06-29-2013, 02:19 PM   #4
aguzzi17
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Thanks for the advice guys. I think I'll try to find a teacher and take some lessons and see how it goes.
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Old 06-29-2013, 03:41 PM   #5
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I think more important than having a teacher is putting a lot of time into practice. No pain, no gain!
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Old 06-29-2013, 03:52 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Emperor's Child
I think more important than having a teacher is putting a lot of time into practice. No pain, no gain!


Quality of practice is more important than quantity. A good teacher can point you in the right direction of how to practice.
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Old 06-29-2013, 08:11 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Deliriumbassist
Quality of practice is more important than quantity. A good teacher can point you in the right direction of how to practice.

Exactly! Hours of bad practice with bad technique can be detrimental to progress. Focused and proper practice will be much more beneficial to progress. A teacher will help guide you towards your goals more effectively and teach proper practice.

The bass teacher I had in college said himself on electric bass I was much more proficient than him who was primarily a double bass player but the amount of knowledge in regards to proper technique and practice has elevated my playing to a whole different level.
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Old 06-29-2013, 10:42 PM   #8
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I'll agree with the concept of bad practice, but the internet is abundant with lessons on stuff like that anyway.
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Old 06-30-2013, 04:27 AM   #9
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An internet video can't look at your picking hand angle. Having a teacher almost forces you to improve, whilst watching videos can breed a culture of 'meh, that's good enough.'
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Old 06-30-2013, 06:31 AM   #10
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Exactly. Being self taught you have no one to hold you to account.

I remember the first piano lesson i had after being self taught for a few years. I sat down and she immediately said "ok, lets get you sat correctly for starters". My playing instantly got better because i was approaching the instrument correctly.

If you can afford it and can find a good teacher, do it.
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Old 06-30-2013, 01:27 PM   #11
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Here's my take.

You can climb a mountain by yourself and get there, but having a guide who can show you the way will get you there much faster, making you a better climber in the process.

My bass teacher is great and honestly, worth every damn dollar I give him. He's absolutely vital for my upright playing and for electric he notices things I never gave a second though to, which were really restricting my playing.
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Don't you mean "Why do we alcoholics keep taking about bass?"?
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Old 07-17-2013, 03:11 PM   #12
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Yeah, a good teacher is worth every penny. While I have had formal schooling for all of the instruments I've played, including bass, my most memorable teacher was my classical guitar teacher in college. I will say this - it has been my experience that you usually dislike a good teacher while learning with him/her, and end up looking back fondly on the experience. For example, I took two guitar classes as electives in college. I play a fender acoustic steel string, without a pickup. I like folk music and blues, and until that point ONLY played with a pick. My guitar teacher played some custom gut-string classical hand made by a Mexican villager only known in very niche music circles for about 10 grand. He didn't use a pick, and would not let any of us use a pick. He only played by reading formal music notation, and insisted we did the same. He was a badass, but only played classical, which at the time I thought was super boring. I hated that class while going to it, because I was forced to learn two things that set me back to beginner mode - fingerpicking and reading chorded music. This brings up a good point - when you go into lessons, try not to let ego get in the way, even if you know you're good. You paid to learn, so shut the **** up, and assume that your teacher knows better than you do, otherwise why are you even paying? I digress....a semester later, I could finger pick like a madman, and my music reading skills were on par to my days back in high school marching band as a saxophonist. While I NEVER played a classical guitar piece again, the fingerpicking has helped set me apart as I further explored folk, blues, and bluegrass; and it wouldn't take long to brush up on reading music if I ever found a use for it again.

Moral of the story - a good teacher will push your boundaries of comfort for the better. That is what you are paying for - a perspective that you cannot acquire on your own. Whether you are learning from a video series or a live teacher is your choice. A live teacher comes with the added benefit of shaming you when you show up unpracticed, but a good video series works well too if you have the discipline to practice. Again, either way, you better be practicing what you are learning, otherwise you are throwing your money away.

Last edited by matthewzarder : 07-17-2013 at 03:12 PM.
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