Need I say more?
There is a saying. If you want to learn how to play bass, don’t learn it from a guitar player. I couldn’t agree more. You don’t want to sound like a guitar player that got handed a bass guitar. You want to sound LIKE A BASSIST! Soooo, the million dollar question is (drum roll), “What’s the difference between a Guitar/Bass instructor and a true Bass instructor?” Answer – timing. A bass player has more in common with a drummer, even though the bass instrument shares more similarities with a guitar physically. The thought process to playing a bass is closer to that of a drummer.
“But Lee, aren’t you a guitarist?” Yep. However, my first instrument was percussions. It’s reflected in my guitar playing (in other word’s I have a drummer’s innate sense of time and counting ability). Trick is, I can shift my counting to reflect bass timings (see the video on the left sidebar as an example). This amounts to shifting your playing around the core timings (feel depedent), and making smooth off count chromatic shifts within the scale instead of staying diatonic. I know what your thinking, “Whatcha ma flip are you talkin’ bout?” Basically, its bass player speak for, “I sound like a bass player”. There is a lot more theory that goes with it then you would think. Some of the most music theory knowledgeable players I have met were bassists. You have to be, otherwise you sound like a guitarist that was handed a bass. YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE PLAYING WHAT THE GUITARS ARE PLAYING.
This is not meant to be a rant towards other teacher’s methods. I think music education is essential, and something that the public school systems should emphasize more. Personally, I would love a world full of instructors because music needs to be approached from many perspectives. However, I would be doing my readers an injustice by not educating them on the difference between the two schools of teaching (guitarist-bass instruction or bassist instruction). Don’t; put the cart before the horse, walk in a random direction expecting to run into a store that carries the milk your needing, take bass guitar lessons without realizing what your instructor’s specialty is. Can I teach you to play bass like a guitar player? Sure, take guitar lessons from me. However, if you take bass lessons from me, throw out your preconceptions.. you will not be taught like a guitarist.
Are you ready for bass lessons?