I'd like you pick your brains please.

My son is 11 and already plays electric guitar. Private lessons, going well. We also have a bass guitar (and amp) which he occasionally mucks about with. I'm keen for him to play with other kids, but there aren't many opportunities.

This scheme came up recently:

the basic idea is the kids get group lessons for an hour in their instrument, then an hour band practice. I suggested he do bass there, rather than guitar, because guitar is going well (so don't fix it) and I think bass is a good instrument for understanding how the band works in terms of rhythm, chord progression, etc.

Just got an email from the leader saying guitar and bass students should bring acoustic guitars to the class and to practice on at home.

My question is this: how much bass can you learn on an acoustic? It seems to me the fret stretches are different and the whole RH technique is totally different.

I just emailled her to clarify, but I'm sure she will reply saying that in a group setting, they need to play acoustic, because otherwise there will be chaos.

Thanks for reading so far, and any input appreciated.
I can only agree with what you say but how about an acoustic bass then if you feel you got money to spend on it and that he will enjoy it?
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I didn't know such a thing existed. An acoustic guitar bass (not a double bass)? I have four guitars in the house already, going to pick up another today (this one, I need) and very little space or money. I'll see how it goes.

With an acoustic bass, is the technique the same as for electric bass?
one random acoustic bass from google images.

I find them awkward to play, but I like the idea of having one at some point. Most won't be heard unpluged though.
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If you find yourself in a position where he has to play an acoustic, try and get a nylon stringed classical styled one. I'm predominantly a bass player myself, but I do like to mess about on acoustics too. Sometimes before gigs etc, if I'm at my singers house I borrow his nylon stringed one, because I can play it sort of like a bass. It's (almost) viable to play the same sort of finger style on them that you would apply to bass, and they seem to feel a lot more like a bass than your average steel stringed acoustic. You can pick up a half-decent one dirt cheap usually too.
^ +1

He can get the left hand/fretboard more familiar on anything with a fretboard, and if he likes bass he'll play it and he'll know what to do. If you really want to teach him how important rhythm is get him some drums
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Thanks for all the ideas. I just heard back from the organiser saying the original email was more aimed at parents understanding that the kids *do* need *an* instrument (how on earth would they learn without one? - shakes head) and she cannot guarantee he will always be able to plug in, but there is no rush to buy an acoustic bass.

I'm happy with this. If he takes off on bass in a big way and wants an acoustic to warm up on before gigs, then he can get an acoustic out of his gig money.

ZaccB, we're one step ahead of you. He has a drum set, but doesn't use it much. The trouble is getting lessons that are affordable, and not putting him under too much pressure. He gets percussion lessons (classical) free with the council, but they move very slowly. If he had wanted to do drums at this Rock Academy, I would have been happy. But he wanted to do bass, so bass it is!