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Re: 5-strings....Pickup enhancement.....Or am I getting bored?

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Posted by Bob 'Skippy' Blechinger on February 08, 2001 at 13:47:21:

In Reply to: Re: 5-strings....Pickup enhancement.....Or am I getting bored? posted by Daniel on February 08, 2001 at 11:17:23:

: That's good advice, but the problem is that I want to play the bass, but I don't want have to take a load of baggage with me. I don't want to slap, pop or tap, and I don't really want to know the ins and outs of Blues bassline construction when I'm not going to be playing that style of music.

: The main problem is that the tutor I have for my bass is primarily a guitar player, and doesn't know too much about basses, just how they complement his playing. He teaches 3 of us at one time, two bassists and a very good guitar player(about Grade 5 of an 8-grade system), and because of his preference toward teaching new chord shapes and sharing pentatonic scales for use in riffs with the guitar player, he invariably leaves me and my fellow bassist(been playing for a bout 2 months longer than me, but doesn't own a bass) alone with a bassline to tackle.

Problem #1: Your tutor is mainly a *guitar* player.

Problem #2: Your tutor doesn't know much about bass.

This is *not* the kind of person you want to learn from. Trust me.

You want to learn from someone who *knows* bass, or at least is familiar enough with the instrument to have a clue as to the intricacies of it. Now, I know a *lot* of guitarists who can play both (I'm one of them), but it doesn't sound like this guy fits that category.

: Now, the other bassist has been playing a cello for 7 years, and still does, and because of it has amazing rhythm and finger dexterity, and knows almost instinctively where to put his fingers to reach the frets. Know, when the tutor tries to bring us all together to play a song that the guitar player has just learnt and the other bassist has assimilated almost mechanically, I'm still struggling with trying to get the first bar of that walking bassline right. As a result, the other players cannot play along with me, and we have to put off playing that piece for a week, until the next lesson.

Problem #3: You're being expected to play *way* too far above your level.

Problem #4: You're being blamed for things you have *no* control over.

These other 2 players are *much* more advanced than you are; *why* does this tutor have you playing with them? It makes absolutely *no* sense; you're frustrated because you can't keep up with them, the other players are probably frustrated because they think you're holding them back, and the tutor is a tosser for putting you together.

In this situation, *nobody* wins.

: This leaves me desperately trying to learn this bassline in a week, neglecting all my other practice(not like there are any tabs that I want anyway) and trying to get this down. He gave me 'Daytripper' by The Beatles two weeks ago, and I can't even get the first 5 notes right, let alone the complex switching up and down the fingerboard. On top of this, all the tabs I see on the internet are either too boringly easy or are too hard(anything with a slide in is immediately closed down or pasted and changed), and it seems like I'm stuck in limbo, desperately trying to learn tabs that I cannot play, written to musical notes that don't indicate rhythm, in a style that I don't listen to.

If you've only been learning for 4 months, then you should be learning the *fundamental* techniques for playing bass at this point.


You should be learning stuff like scales, basics stuff like a walking bassline, picking patterns, etc., when you're first starting. It sounds like your tutor is expecting you to be a seasoned musician.

: Worst thing is, my mum paid 40 for 20 lessons, and my 7th is on Tuesday, so I can't just stop going(my mum will kill me). So, I took the strings of my bass and said that they were losing tune too easily(a lie). So, I can get out of my lessons for two weeks, but I can't practice anything else.

Get as much of your money back as you can, and get yourself a *real* bass teacher!

: I suppose the main problem is that I thought the bass would be exciting and fun, that there would be endless tabs to learn, styles to practice, and relatively uncomplicated theory behind it all. But the truth is, it's a hell of a lot of hard work and isn't fun at all. I never wanted to play proefssionally in front of people in the first place, so all this hard work won't get me anywhere other than a crap job, as I am neglecting my schoolwork in order to learn new tabs that have been set to me.

Ok, repeat after me... "It's not *my* fault... It's not *my* fault..."

Learning an instrument *does* take hard work; I'm not going to whitewash that fact. At the same time, though, it should be something that you *enjoy* doing, and ideally, loving what you're doing should be the motivating factor.

And *don't* neglect your schoolwork! :-)

: BTW, I told all of this to my tutor, and he simply said that yes, I was the worst bassist that he taught(he's a privately-hired school tutor, and he teahces about 10 bassists), but all I had to do was work harder and I could become an average player at best. Basically, the tutor is working better with the other two guys, as they want to play whatever he gives them, and because they're better, I have to be forced to play whatever the tutor wants, as he doesn't have enough time to help me learn proper han position for an easy line while he's trying to teach a 4-second quadruple-chord change. I'm already overworked and tired. I'm starting to hate that 4-String beauty because of the kind of things I'm expected to do with it. I thiught that getting better gear would somehow make life easier so that I could do whatever was asked of me. But I'm poor, and my parents are expecting me to give up after reading my progress report, so they won't blow any more cash on a bass. It took me a while to persuade em to pay for some new strings(that I wouldn't have needed anyway). But, I won't be getting them for 2-3 weeks, so at least I don't have to learn Daytripper for a while, and hopefully in my absence the other two guys will have been able to play it and move on and my tutor'll forget about me and leave me with a simple exercise, then I can stop the lessons in about 13 weeks. Maybe then I'll develop a passion for the bass again, or maybe I'll hate the thing so much I'll have to sell it. I don't wanna, as I want to prove to my parents that I can actually be mature and stick with something, but it might be impossible with the way I'm feeling.

Get rid of that wanker! (the tutor, not the bass)

Don't worry about the bass that you've got, either. Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones used a *really* cheap no-name bass for almost *all* of the early Stones tunes; it worked fine for him.

If you *have* to deal with that tutor, tell him that you need *fundamentals*, NOT getting stuck with guys who are farther along than you are, and make sure he *knows* it in no uncertain terms!

If you can, find a *bass* tutor, a string bass tutor, or someone who's actually going to work at *teaching* you, not just telling you how much you suck. After only 4 months, nobody should expect you to play like a pro, but that's *exactly* what this dolt is asking you to do!

You might also want to talk with your parents; feel free to print this out and share it with them. Tell tham that several *professional* bassists have advised you about this, and you've been told that your tutor is simply no good. I'm not sure if any of the regulars on this message board are in England, but you can ask. If I wasn't across the pond and halfway across America (Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA), I'd probably be willing to teach you myself, but that's not practical, unfortunately.

But get yourself into a better situation as soon as you can!!! :-)

Hope that helps; good luck!


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