The electric bass guitar, popularised by leo fender in the 1950s, has revolutionised 20th centure music.
As the agile cousin of the hulking double (or “string”) bass, the electric bass guitar can play in a wide ranger of styles from jazz to pop.
Depending on your personal preference and the style of music you play, you have a wide range of right hand techniques at your disposal: pick style, fingerstyle, slap and pop and even tapping. The bass allows a modern play to stamp their own unique personality on their playing whilst still playing an essential supporting role.
And that’s another attractive aspect about learning the bass – you’ll never be short of a gig! For while everyone and their brother (or sister!) can play guitar, bassists are rarer the hen’s teeth and a lot more musical!
The electric bass is a lot of fun! I teach a lot of adult beginners! It is never too late to start. You just need the determination to succeed. My guitar lessons will guide you through the early stages of your playing.
The electric bass is physically much easier than acoustic (double) bass. It has a much lighter strings and action, requiring less strength in the fretting hand. Also the distances between the frets are much less, requiring less of a prodigious stretch. Finally, the instrument has frets, which greatly increases the ease with which a bassist can play the correct notes in tune (hence leo fender marketing his first mass-produced bass as “The Precision Bass” (The electric bass guitar does exist in fretless form but it’s worth mentioning that this is a fair bit harder to keep in tune than the fretted bass.)
The first task is to establish the fundamentals technique: fretting notes with the four fingers of the fretting hand and plucking strings with the other hand, either using fingers or a pick.
I teach the student to read tablature (the most common form of writing guitar music) and make sure they now WHAT and HOW to practice in order to progress as swiftly as possible. Should you want to learn to read full music notation, you can take heart that with only four strings to worry about, sightreading is a lot easier for the aspiring bassist than guitarist!
We will quickly move on to scales, arpeggios and some simple pieces, before starting to learn the repertoire. There are many directions which we can go in after this, and we will discuss these options as the become available to you. We will cover more advanced techniques and music theory as they become relevant to the music that we are playing.
Play already? Stuck in a rut? Want to learn a more challenging style like bebop jazz or metal? I can help you break new ground and expose you to exciting new material that you might not be familiar with
Perhaps you play well but don’t understand what you are playing? We can take a look at music theory so that you have a language to describe what you’re doing and a way to relate ideas conceptually.
Maybe you want to develop your ability to play bass solos. I can teach you all about chords, scales and arpeggios and how to use them in a musical way. We can dig deep into advanced techniques and start learning solos note for note. If you really want to challenge your aural skills, we can look at transcription
We can explore the more advanced rhythmic techniques of funk, including slap, tap, and pop (and no, that’s not a new breakfast cereal!). There’s the walking bass techniques of jazz, which strive to improvise continuously while moving in regular quarter notes – a potential lifetime of creativity which can be utilised to accompany songs with the simplest harmonic structure to the most complex. Or you might be interested in the sophisticated rhythm section interaction of latin-american music. Whever you are, there’s always going to somewhere new and interesting to explore!
See my Resources Page for further advice.
*common models vary in the number of strings (from 4-6) and whether they’re fretted or fretless.
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