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Old 02-02-2015, 10:54 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Teaching Bass Lessons [Rock] - Suggestions & Advice

So my roommate wants to take up bass guitar. He's been a close friend of mine since high school so the lessons will be loosely structured and informal, basically just hanging out in the living room jamming with him / guiding his learning. I've been playing guitar for ~10 years and took professional lessons for the majority of that time, so I'll be drawing out a road map that loosely mimics how I was taught, and I'll be using my guitar to teach him. He has decided to learn with a pick (which I believe will make things easier for both of us). We'll be getting started later tonight when I get home from work, basically my plan is to focus on the following first:

- Reading & writing tablature
- Tuning / notes along the neck
- Basic 12-bar blues & finger exercises
- Learning and transcribing a few basic rock songs

Once I believe (and he believes) that he is comfortable with the above we can move on to more intermediate songs, learning by ear, and begin working on a basic understanding of scales and modes. He has some very basic musical background knowledge that I think will make the learning curve quite smooth for him. We'll be transcribing his lessons / tablature in a notebook. I know he has a good sense of rhythm, he did take some basic guitar classes back in highschool so his finger dexterity is already reasonably developed and his chord shapes look pretty good, I heard him messing around a bit with the bass last night and his notes are clear (minimal fret buzz), and he's quite self disciplined in other arts so I'm not worried about him feigning interest or not practicing.

Any advice from other bass / guitar players on important fundamental concepts to focus on early on and some suggestions for beginner songs to learn? So far I'm planning on starting him off with the classic firsts, Seven Nation Army, Smoke on the Water, Sunshine of Your Love etc etc.
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There's 3 reason why the Rolling Stones are better. I'm going to list them here. 1. Jimi Hendrix from Rolling Stones was a better guitarist then Jimmy Page 2. The bassist from Rolling Stones isn't dead 3. Rolling Stobes wrote Stairway to Heaven and The Ocean so we all know they are superior here.
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Old 02-11-2015, 09:53 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Yes my advice is not to bother with scales and modes and all that ****e, you'll only bore him to death.

Find some easy punk songs to play where he just has to go aaaa, cccc, dddd, fffff (I yi yi yi yi, I'm not your stepping stone)

Do a whole ****load of patterns like that and once he gets the hang of it go down to 2:4 AA CC DD FF and than eventually single notes.
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Old 02-12-2015, 08:16 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Make sure to teach as if it were a lesson in drumming. As with all instruments, the player needs to incorporate percussive instincts, but it rings much truer with bass players.

/oldwisemanvoice
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Old 02-12-2015, 10:19 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Been teaching him for a week now and he's picking it up quite well. We went in the order I described above:

- Reading & writing tablature
- Tuning / notes along the neck
- Basic 12-bar blues & finger exercises
- Learning and transcribing a few basic rock songs

As of today he can play through the following songs reasonably well:

CCR - Run Through the Jungle
CCR - Green River
CCR - Ramble Tamble
Tom Petty - Runnin' Down a Dream
Billy Idol - White Wedding
Black Sabbath - Electric Funeral


To warm up before starting a new song we usually jam through a ~5 minute 12-bar. He's interested in jumping into minor pentatonic scales already so he can start improvising leads while playing along. I'll be easing him into that slowly, transcribing the boxes for him, tabbing out a few catchy riffs in each box etc, but I think he needs to primarily focus on learning songs and playing through them confidently right now. It seems like he's only getting more interested each day so things are rolling along quite well.
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Make sure to teach as if it were a lesson in drumming. As with all instruments, the player needs to incorporate percussive instincts, but it rings much truer with bass players.

/oldwisemanvoice
Absolutely, one of the first things I explained to him was the importance of bass working in tandem with percussion. He was mentioning that it's harder to decipher bass lines out of a song than the guitar and I told him it's a lot easier if you first focus on the drums and then notice that the bass typically moves in sync, then the bass line sort of jumps out at you, works well for him.
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There's 3 reason why the Rolling Stones are better. I'm going to list them here. 1. Jimi Hendrix from Rolling Stones was a better guitarist then Jimmy Page 2. The bassist from Rolling Stones isn't dead 3. Rolling Stobes wrote Stairway to Heaven and The Ocean so we all know they are superior here.
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Old 02-12-2015, 10:43 AM   #5 (permalink)
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You definitely seem to have a handle on it. The world needs more bass players.
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