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Old 01-09-2013, 07:19 PM   #1
pxige
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Question do you think I could learn to play bass without lessons?

right, so I've been learning piano (with lessons) for about a year as well as tuba since last year for school, so I have pretty good knowledge of music theory, and I've just learned how to figure out basic things by myself/looking on the internet. so today, I had my first bass guitar lesson. honestly, I hated it... I'm not sure if it was just my teacher or if that's the way all teachers are, but it was hard, he didn't even tell me exactly what to do, he just showed me and expected me to know what I'm doing, and I don't lol, and he was using all these terms like hammer-on and pull-off (which I know the meanings of now) but during the lesson I was just like "what." so when I did try and copy what he was doing, it was really hard for me to remember, like... it's just hard to remember how to play a riff after practicing it once without having it written down or anything. so do you guys think I'd be able to learn how to play bass by myself? he did tell me how to position my hand while playing so I think I could remember that, but do any of you know of any downfalls of learning bass without having actual lessons? I already learned 7 or 8 songs on my own since the 30th or something. I really don't want to have to end up dreading going to lessons every week. :/ thanks to anyone who answers.

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Old 01-09-2013, 07:30 PM   #2
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I learnt guitar without any lessons & I didn't have any other musical training like you've had.

People here will be able to help provide advice for anything you aren't understanding.
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Old 01-09-2013, 07:43 PM   #3
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I didn't have any kind of tutor for the first six years and I'm not afraid to say I'm a damn good player.

However, I never had the drive to learn sheet music and theory that I get with tutors.
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Old 01-09-2013, 07:49 PM   #4
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great, okay, i think i'll just try and do it myself then. it kind of seems like a waste of money. thanks! i'll go back to piano lessons though just so i can continue learning theory and obviously getting better at playing.
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Old 01-09-2013, 07:53 PM   #5
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You might be surprised at how common it is for bassists/guitarists to be self taught.

I am self taught, all my friends who play are self taught, hell, some of the best bassists/guitarists in the world are self taught.
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:56 PM   #6
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I was tutored in the first three years of my musical life then switched to self teaching since the tutoring was a bit boring.

Most of the tutors just taught the basic theory and proper playing posture.
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:32 PM   #7
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Sure! Sid Viciouis did.
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:00 PM   #8
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Sure, you can learn without lessons, but you'll need some form of guidance, whether it is books or DVDs or whatever. And it will depend almost entirely on how disciplined you are. Doing it yourself is usually the hardest way, and requires a lot of dedication and effort on your part. A teacher will not structure a lesson plan for you; you will have to discover what you need to learn and in what order. But people do it, and some of them have become remarkable players. You could be the next one.

Good luck! And stick with it!
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:12 PM   #9
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Nothing wrong with being self-taught, especially with all the resources the internet can provide you with these days.

I will say that there's something to be said for learning from a good teacher. A truly good instructor is invaluable in providing guidance and will push and challenge you more than you can on your own. You're more likely to learn more comprehensively and you have a second set of eyes and ears to help you.

The key word with that though is "good." A bad instructor will just frustrate and confuse you (and it sounds like you might have already experienced that).
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Old 01-10-2013, 12:02 AM   #10
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I'm entirely self-taught on guitar and bass and I'm happy with my abilities. I think you'll do fine on your own, especially with knowledge of other instruments and theory, and I worry that if you continue with your current instructor that you may lose-interest fast. You should enjoy learning your instrument. It can be hard at times, but overall it should be a rewarding, enjoyable experience.

If you ever need help with anything just ask anyone here or search on Google, YouTube, etc. There are plenty of people offering free lessons, advice, etc.
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Old 01-10-2013, 09:41 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Tostitos
I will say that there's something to be said for learning from a good teacher. A truly good instructor is invaluable in providing guidance and will push and challenge you more than you can on your own. You're more likely to learn more comprehensively and you have a second set of eyes and ears to help you.

The key word with that though is "good." A bad instructor will just frustrate and confuse you (and it sounds like you might have already experienced that).

I agree with Tostitos there.

But i'd like to say something. Am I the only one that thinks it's better to learn with a teacher? I played guitar for 7 years and i never came up as good as I am playing bass in little more than one year! And that might be related with the fact that I'm learning with a good teacher!! I think there are some things that you can't realize without someone pointing it out for you. Main example would be techinique. Yes, you can found vids explaining technique, but they won't tell you when, where, and how you're messing it up, nor how to correct it. Also, a teacher explains you how to interpret different styles. For example, slapping for funk isn't the same as slapping for Latin music... Hell, even different latin rythms have different approaches, and they're all slappable! you will have to slap smoothly for Songo, intensly with Son Montuno, and with lots of ghost notes and vibratos for Cha Cha Cha... And you probably won't notice that when you start playing! My point is that it is much better to learn with a teacher, but it is also important to find one that's worth it. I learnt guitar with a teacher for one whole year, and i made some progress, but he wasn't a very good teacher...


I'd say look for a good teacher. And regarding your actual one, I'd spend some more classes with him before discarding him. He may have been enduring a bad day, or maybe he IS a bad teacher. IF it doesn't work out, just look for another one.

For me it's so obviously better to learn with a teacher, that it quite surprises me how many Internet taught guitarist/bassist there are (self taught is a nice name, but it is false).
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Old 01-10-2013, 10:36 AM   #12
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^ Yes, a good teacher can definitely help, but it isn't necessarily vital to the learning process.

You can learn a lot on your own, especially if you have friends around who also play and can help you out when you get stuck.

Like you said though, learning on your own does come with the risk that you may develop bad technique that a teacher would spot early on and help you fix the issue.
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Old 01-10-2013, 02:15 PM   #13
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TBH, I think the internet as a whole is probably the best teacher going. It's an infinite resource of information, and if treated properly (so don't believe everything you read and use some common sense) it is the perfect resource.

Also, the internet allows you to learn at your own pace. Due to uni I don't have much time to practice/learn, but when I do have time all I have to do is google some techniques and I'm set.

I'm self taught on 3 instruments (guitar, bass, drums) and have never really had a yearning to be taught by a teacher. I'm competent at bass and drums, and eventually lost interest in the guitar (there was always more demand for a bass player )
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Old 01-10-2013, 04:16 PM   #14
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I bought my first Bass on Saturday and gigged the following Friday at Peter Stringfellows (UK Night Club Owner) first venture in 1962, 6 months later we lost the support slot on the toss of a coin to support the Beatles when they came to Sheffield.
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Old 01-10-2013, 04:35 PM   #15
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Of course you can, but having a good teacher definitely helps. I mean they did it back in the day without teachers or all the internet stuff so it's possible to do. I'd definitely suggest trying to play with other musicians as much as possible if you're not taking lessons, as you'll learn as you go.
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Old 01-10-2013, 04:52 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by John Swift
I bought my first Bass on Saturday and gigged the following Friday at Peter Stringfellows (UK Night Club Owner) first venture in 1962, 6 months later we lost the support slot on the toss of a coin to support the Beatles when they came to Sheffield.

Did you post this in the wrong thread or are you just bragging?
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Old 01-11-2013, 06:08 AM   #17
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Did you post this in the wrong thread or are you just bragging?



Just pointing out that you don't necessarily need lessons if you've got enough gorm.
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Old 01-11-2013, 06:18 AM   #18
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Unless you count being told "this is how you play a note" *shows walking fingers* "and this is how you change notes" *shows fretting* by a piano teacher, I've never had a bass teacher. I learned all the useful playing techniques I have through the internet, or by watching how others play and imitating. And the only people I know who are better than me have been playing 5+ years longer and are professional musicians. I know plenty of people who have been playing as long or longer with a teacher and aren't as good as I am. It really comes down to you and how you learn best.
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Old 01-11-2013, 06:59 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by John Swift
Just pointing out that you don't necessarily need lessons if you've got enough gorm.

Fair enough - I'm guessing you already played guitar if you started gigging as a bassist that quickly though. It just seemed (to me at least) like it was a bit off topic, but with that statement added I can see the point you were making.
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Old 01-13-2013, 02:48 AM   #20
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absolutely you can, you'll learn at a slower rate but you'll be learning all the same. If you have music theory knowledge then it'll be even easier; though it's not imperative for you to have.
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