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Old 10-03-2012, 03:09 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Lessons/just buy?

Righto.

I'm 23, and I've only ever played recorders/xylophones way back in school and I was complete rubbish at all aspects of it. Tried on a friends guitar a couple of years ago, but only messing around (taught me happy birthday i think, lets just say it wasn't an inspiring performance).

A few old school friends have been playing in a band and I chilled with them while they were playing. Well, I've just moved and found myself thinking about maybe playing bass.

Is it worth going for lessons first or diving in with a cheap bass? My fear with lessons is that I won't get enough feel for it anyway in that amount of time, when I could just buy one and practice, practice, practice at home and see if it clicks at all.

I just guess I'm worried I'll invest in it and be ****? Anyone on here who tried and failed/switched to another instrument/succeded off the bat. Just airing my thoughts here.
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Old 10-03-2012, 09:59 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Since you haven't felt you were able to play recorders and xylophones well when you were in school, I recommend that you find someone who knows how to play bass (a teacher or new bass player friend) and arrange to have a few lessons to get you started on the right track in order to boost your confidence.

You can then enhance or replace your lessons by checking out "how to learn bass" books from the library and watching bass videos or other players. And practice, practice, practice.

I'm thinking that either way...with a teacher or without...you will have to buy a bass and amplifier, unless you can borrow one for a while. Have you checked if teachers in your area also have a bass you can use temporarily?

The advantage of having a teacher at the start, at least, is that a teacher can help you avoid problems and steer you in the right direction.

For example, when I decided "I'm going to play the electric guitar" and went out to buy one knowing very little about them, I learned the hard way at the store while trying out the guitar that YOU DON'T UNPLUG THE ELECTRIC GUITAR FROM THE AMPLIFIER WHEN THE AMPLIFIER IS STILL ON!!!! (When you do this you get horrid, noisy feedback.) The music store employee immediately explained, as soon as I did that, why I shouldn't. I've never made that error again.

So, having some pointers from someone who knows the instrument *before* you do something wrong is definitely helpful.

I have tried an instrument once and had hoped it would be easy, but it wasn't (the trumpet), but that didn't stop me from trying other instruments (cello, recorder) and doing fine. So, I wouldn't use your past experiences with instruments as any kind of prediction for how well you can learn to play a different instrument.

Out of curiosity, how old were you when you were playing the recorder in school, and what do you think caused your playing not to go well? I ask, because there could be many reasons for your experience being bad that have nothing to do with *you*. For example, often school music teachers don't have enough time to spend on individual students to correct errors. Also, the instrument itself might have been a very cheap one, improperly formed, and that could have made the recorder nearly unplayable or simply sound bad even when played by an experienced player.
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Old 10-04-2012, 03:36 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I was....10...... I think, but this was just in music lessons with the rest of the class. I wasn't really interested, but equally It wasn't like there was some burdgeoning talent waiting to burst forth. Looking back I could probably convince myself either way really. But it probably doesn't matter. I guess I just want someone to look into the future and say "you will learn to pay bass above a basic level, you will not be wasting your time and money".

Thanks for your reply though, it's given me more to think about!

Out of interest, how old were you when you first started playing your instruments?
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Old 10-06-2012, 06:16 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Face View Post
Is it worth going for lessons first or diving in with a cheap bass? My fear with lessons is that I won't get enough feel for it anyway in that amount of time, when I could just buy one and practice, practice, practice at home and see if it clicks at all.

I just guess I'm worried I'll invest in it and be ****? Anyone on here who tried and failed/switched to another instrument/succeded off the bat. Just airing my thoughts here.
It really depends on your personality. Are you the kind of person who can stick with something through initial adversity to develop skill or do you cut and run at the first sign of challenge?

If you've got some self-discipline I'd totally recommend picking up a cheap bass and practice (internet and magazines are great resources). An introductory lesson might not hurt either just to get the basics down and to avoid bad practices (like placing your hand in a way that causes unnecessary stress to your wrist).

As for the instrument itself don't spend tons of money on a name brand piece to learn. Just get something that stays in tune and looks cool to start. It's really not that complicated of an instrument, you've got 4 strings and you generally just play 1 note at a time. Once you develop the ability to play at a level that would fit in your friend's band (and you -will- if you stick with it) then start thinking about replacing it with a decent instrument.
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Old 10-06-2012, 02:09 PM   #5 (permalink)
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If you know any decent musicians, most of them will either have an old bass they don't play anymore, or will know someone who picked it up and dropped it.

That's generally a good way to get a nice, cheap instrument.

As far as motivation goes, as has been said, it depends on personal discipline. I'm not a paragon of such, but I'm determined enough to learn skills usually, so I never needed or wanted lessons until I was already fairly accomplished.

On the converse, however, a teacher and a lesson slot can be an excellent motivator to get off your ass and play, and most people find that after a certain point they can learn on their own outside of lessons and get better at any time of their choosing through practice.
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Old 10-06-2012, 10:46 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Face View Post
I was....10...... I think, but this was just in music lessons with the rest of the class. I wasn't really interested, but equally It wasn't like there was some burdgeoning talent waiting to burst forth. Looking back I could probably convince myself either way really. But it probably doesn't matter. I guess I just want someone to look into the future and say "you will learn to pay bass above a basic level, you will not be wasting your time and money".

Thanks for your reply though, it's given me more to think about!

Out of interest, how old were you when you first started playing your instruments?
You're welcome. You know, Face, I am positive that you will learn to play bass above a basic level and you will not be wasting your time and money.



Seriously, time spent with music is never wasted, I feel. Go for it. I feel it is better to try than to live with a regret. I've read that if you practice an instrument for 15 minutes a day, you will always improve. You *can* do it.

Answering your question, I was 7 when I first saw a friend playing the violin and told my parents I wanted to learn to play, too, but then I had to wait a whole year on a waiting list before the violin teacher had room for me to start at the age of 8. I didn't always practice very much when I was little, but I still enjoyed playing and my skills and musicality increased over time.

A difference between you and me is that I wanted to play the violin, while you weren't so interested in the recorder, you said, when you were 10. I think if you are interested and enjoy playing an instrument, you can learn to play any instrument you want!
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If a chicken was smart enough to be able to speak English and run in a geometric pattern, then I think it should be smart enough to dial 911 (999) before getting the axe, and scream to the operator, "Something must be done! Something must be done!"
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Old 10-11-2012, 10:28 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks again everyone. Mods can close the thread if they feel like it now.
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