Lesson 1 – Teach Me Bass Guitar

Okay, here we go.  Sitting in front of the computer, bass in hand ready for my first lesson.  Our lovely narrator, Ashley, is back to give us a quick overview of the lesson before turning it over to Roy.  Roy starts out with a quick overview of how the lessons are going to work then talks about the bass guitar.  Realize now that this is for the complete beginner, the kid who just got his first bass and knows nothing.  Roy describes the parts of the bass and essentially how it works.  It is brief, yet very informative.  I can see how the information provided would be useful to a new player and it is brief enough that it does not annoy an old dog like myself.

Once the bass basics are known, Roy starts to talk a little about technique.  First he describes the three ways you can play the bass with your picking hand;  Finger style, Slap, and using a pick.  He then focuses in on Finger Style to start things off.  For the record I started out playing with a pick and then quickly moved to playing finger style. At this point I have played finger style so long that it is uncomfortable for me to use a pick.  I am hoping that in a later lesson I will learn some picking & slapping techniques.

Next we move on to left hand technique and discuss both a 4 finger and a 3 finger technique, focusing on the 4 finger technique to start things off.  This section was of some interest to me as that I know that I have very poor left hand technique. Essentially no one ever told me the proper way to hold my left hand so I just went with whatever felt right.  Generally I play with my thumb pointing up towards the headstock, which Roy points out is a big no, no.  Alright, I’m really learning here and already have something to work on.

The rest of the first lesson focuses on playing some basic patterns to get used to fretting the bass as well as to help you learn the notes on the neck.  Roy really emphasizes the need to know where every note is on the neck without thinking about it. I know where every note is, or at least how to find it, but I do need to work on the “know where every note is without thinking about” it portion.  Some simple exercises are then laid out while playing along to a metronome, something else I have not done much of, although I do own one.

Finally he finishes things off with a stretching exercise and encourages you to work on the topics covered until you are comfortable with them and then move on to the next lesson.  My plan is to first look over the book portion, then watch and follow along with the lesson video.  I will then look over the written material again and work on the exercises presented.  After a week or so I will re-read the material and re-watch the lesson.  Once I feel I have it down, I will move on to the next lesson.   This is the real beauty of the course, you get to work at your own pace with your own agenda.  No need to worry about shelling out your hard earned money for lessons every week, this is a one-time payment deal.

So, lesson 1 under my belt and my mind is awash with bass technique and theory.  My motivation is still very high and, even though I have been playing for years, I really feel that I have learned a few things from this first lesson.  The exercises don’t seem to basic for me to bother with, they feel more like I am laying down a foundation, or perhaps in my case, shoring up the foundation.  I think I will work on the lesson 1 concepts a little bit more and move on to lesson 2 in another day or so.

To read this series from the beginning start here:  http://wp.me/pRvjK-h

2 Replies to “Lesson 1 – Teach Me Bass Guitar”

  1. Hi, I’m thinking of buying the course – so I came here to look at your experience to help me decide. I noticed in this review of first lesson you said:
    “Generally I play with my thumb pointing up towards the headstock, which Roy points out is a big no, no.”
    I’ve been told by a number of teachers specifically that I should point my thumb up towards the headstock or at least that the thumb must be to the left of the index finger – Can you please share what Roy says is the position for fretting hand?

  2. Hello Andy, I just watched lesson 1 again and Roy”s advice is to “position your thumb in the middle of the neck, pointing towards the ceiling. You don’t want it pointing towards the headstock or the body”. You also need to make sure that your wrist is not at some weird or extreme angle.
    I find that my thumb mostly ends up opposite of my index finger, slightly pointing towards the headstock. I will actually be seeing Roy in 2 weeks time when I go to his Bass Camp in Nashville, I will be sure to explore this further with him and report back what he says.

    Thanks for the comment!


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