View Full Version : Giving my Friend Lessons

02-01-2006, 03:21 AM
Hey guys, Im giving my friend lessons on bass. Right now I'm just having him learn the natural notes on all strings and having him make his own basslines. What should I teach him after he's learned all the notes?

02-01-2006, 04:01 AM
i would show him the major scale and arpeggios. i would also teach him a basic blues. if he gets bored with that you can start showing him songs that he will recognize. oh, also i would get him reading as fast as possible

02-02-2006, 06:35 PM
Yeah I was thinkin of showin him the major scales and arpeggios that are derived from them, but how would I go about explaining this to someone who knows nothing about music theory?

02-02-2006, 10:22 PM
he's a bass player, just show him how to play root notes.

music theory will be far too complicated for him :D

In all seriousness though I think the better approach would be to find out what kinda music he likes and tailor the teaching to that, if he likes stuff like RHCP maybe teach him to slap a little or funk things up, nobody likes learning mary had a little lamb, even if it is important. Try and keep it fun. If he doesn't have any intention of being a les claypool should he really bother learning to read music and exotic scales?

02-02-2006, 11:37 PM
i think that everyone should be a fluent site-reader no matter what. mary had a little lamb can be very fun to play case and point buddy guy and SRV(definitely worth a listen if you haven't heard these versions larryj). i think that slap would be kinda a jump for him if he just started, he should first master two finger walking. but if he gets bored you can show him something to peak his interest. you don't neccisarily have to explain to him how the major scale is created and how arpeggios are derived. you can just show him to get him to know how they sound. if you do want to explain them to him you can write it out in standard notation it would be much more clear to him how chord formula's work. i would keep scales in the key of C for a while so he doesn't get confused with all the accidentals, then when he has a firm grasp on it you can show him the circle of fifths and changing keys. and it would be great to get him doing basic ear-training excercises. one that me and my friends do is playing a simple series of notes (or one note) facing away from eachother, then try to match it as fast as possible.

02-03-2006, 03:48 AM
Hey guys, Im giving my friend lessons on bass. Right now I'm just having him learn the natural notes on all strings and having him make his own basslines. What should I teach him after he's learned all the notes?Next I'd say teach him how to attack the strings. Show him how to be percusive and not sound like a lead guitar player.

02-03-2006, 09:02 AM
Since the bass is a component of the rhythm section, I think teaching, or helping him find how to play solid rhythm is a must. Using a metronome first with everything, then have him explore the push-pull feel of modern bass players to get him grooving. Examples of players to listen to: Les Claypool of Primus, the late Cliff Burton of Metallica, the late Jaco Pastorious, Stanley Clarke, Geddy Lee of RUSH, Flea of The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Duff McKagen of Guns 'n Roses, Billy Sheehan...

02-03-2006, 09:14 AM
Jonas Hellborg, Mark King.

02-03-2006, 11:00 AM
Jonas Hellborg, Mark King.
Just did a little research...sounds like two players I need to check out! Thanks Russ.

02-14-2006, 04:47 PM
From my experience I think the way you should help someone learn the bass without overloading them with Flea and Primus and even groove, is to show them how the notes are layed on the fretboard, especially moving along each string, and doing a basic pentatonic/blues scale, but in any position on the neck, ie Open E, 12th fret E, A string 7th Fret and so on. I found this creates a good undstanding of movement and also tonal range, if your playing slap you will know where the notes are without even thinking. Every person learns differently and will be shown a way that we all might find either unusal or "not the way" I learnt, but to become a complete bassplayer, rythm and groove specialist! I cant read music (Id love to learn) and I have found that I can easily play as good as the cats who know the notes! Once the student has got a smile on their face, show them some riffs or simple tunes and jam, there is no better way to learn than jamming with a guitarist, timing will come and rythm and groove will grow with confidence. Signing out....Low End :0)

02-17-2006, 01:20 PM
You don't need to teach him how to sight read and learn advanced theory, Billy Sheehan doesn't know a thing about music theory, just the basics, like the difference between major and minor, and look at him, I remember him saying something like Get a bass, play your *** off, and learn a million records. That's it, and that's all he did. There's lots of guys that are great players without knowing the ins and outs of theory, Jimi Hendrix couldn't even sight read. Only teach him theory if HE wants to learn it, instead, just teach him fun and cool stuff to play, but don't ever think that learning the theory is necessary, there's enough people around to prove that it isn't necessary in order to become a good player and musician.

02-17-2006, 02:55 PM
I Hear you, and you are right, but you still need to know the basic notes otherwise you will be limited, I mean if your jammkin or writing a tune and you say lets do this in G, then you should at least know that you can play around the neck and not just from the 3rd fret on the big string! Especially Bass players, for different tones and sounds I try and play some tunes in the low end and some past the 12th if it suits the song. Music is about feel, if you got a concert pianist and asked him to jam, he would probably be limited, not in his technical ability but the pure essence of being able to just flow would not be programmed in him/her as they learn from paper and strict style. As you know, if your meant to play you will, its got be in the blood!


02-17-2006, 02:58 PM
Meant to say, I didnt mention Theory or advanced instruction, that stuff is for people who need to read other peoples music or want to know more about music (not a bad thing), I cant read music or know much about theory, but like driving a car, you got know the rules otherwise an accident will happen!

02-17-2006, 08:01 PM
Yeah he said he wanted to learn theory and be as best as he could become, I decided to teach him intervals first, just Major and Perfect, and showed him how to find the intervals from the root note, and that if you find all major and perfect, it makes a major scale, so im having him learn to spell out major scales. Next Im giong to teach him how to form tonic chords...then minor scales and the tonic chord for those, then the diatonic chords in the major scale. He's actually doing really really well. He's only been playing since Christmas and he knows all the notes up the fretboard and major keys. He gets everything like as soon as I tell him, he's a natural which is cool. Thanks for all the help, more help is appreciated.

02-25-2006, 05:44 AM
I have 9 bass students and what I can teel you is that I almost always use some kind of book (hal leanord) in conjunction with stuff to keep it interesting and motivating.
Give him a four bar progression ( say G, Em, c, D) Write down the 1 & 2 & 3& 4 & under each bar. Just have him ride the roots in 8th notes at first. Then start ommiting notes (say the and of 1 and three) then throw in an octave. Then teach him the signifigant differences between major minor and dominant and do the same thing again using simple chord and scale based bass line, and show him classic bass rhythm (dotted quarter followed by eight repeated)

Inform, educate, but keep it interesting and fun. Give him clear goals to work on between sessions. Good luck.

04-30-2006, 04:06 PM
Get him playing along with drum tracks so he can learn to groove. Teach him to count and recognize beats. The theory of groove. Getting a good sense of groove and timing is alot more important than learning how to read sheet music IMO.
I taught myself how to read standard notation after I already had the theory down, so you don't have to read music to understand theory. People often mistakenly assume that some of the most successful musicians in history don't know theory just because they don't read sheet music.

If you want to put on the fast track to learning don't waste his limited practice time vegging out memorizing a bunch of lines and dots on a music score. He can learn that stuff later if he wants. I think in the begining he needs to concentrate on the lines and dots on the fretboard and getting the timing and physical technique down IMO.

05-17-2006, 10:18 AM
I'd say get him into the division of notes and accents,like playing a one bar line repeatedly stressing the accents consecutively on the 1 then the 2,3 &,4 this is good for getting different feels down & dynamics, start with 1/4 notes divisions and work it up to 1/16 then you can get him to start on the divisions between the beats, the " and's " then it begins to get into the wilderness (this is not an overnight thing) ,drummers do these sort of exercises ,splitting the beats,( 'ne cest pas Russ) of course a metronome is required,also maj & min Arps up & down the neck great for fills and gettin the LH Pinky into gear as well as strenghtening the LH as for the RH get him accustomed to using 3 finger pluck technique (p,i,m) also RH & LH damping is really important , oh yeah! what about the common cadenzes like 7,6,2,5,1, and relative arps' just how they lie in on the f 'board ,nice for position playing & string-hopping.This is all stuff to be integrated into daily routines and should not be overdone until LH strength is optimized.
I disagree with some of the guys saying theory is'nt important cuz if someone sometime later puts a lead sheet down in front of your man he's gonna have to know what a 13 chord is and what his possibilities are and where they lie within the scale and upon the neck .Better to feed him little tid-bits of theory now without boring the azs off him.Last thing get him into Reggae basslines ,"Survival " by Bob Marley a great Album ,killer grooves,Family Man & Carlton in the engine room ,"One Drop's" got a lovely bounce and the lines are easy to work out .
I think I'll shut up now. G'luck :cool:

05-17-2006, 05:57 PM
Thanks for the help. But with the cadence, 7 6 2 5 1. Does that refer to actual chords, or just single note scale degrees?

05-18-2006, 12:03 PM
Well ...both really playing any of the cadence progession root notes sound great on their own , perfect basslines.Learning the 76251 Arps makes it easier to build lines on the fly less fumbling around.I would recommend learning the Arps starting from the root and goin UP the fbd and from the same root goin DOWN which will help with position playing and targeting the next note in the progression.Sometimes you have to go up to get down and visa- versa.Hope this helps .