Decades of playing the bass have, for me, been much like decades of playing chess. I’m pretty good, but somewhere along the line I stopped improving. I never took lessons in either and, instead, relied on a combination of dropping myself in the deep end and having half-arsed attempts at self-educating.
My bass playing experiences won out over chess because I’ve almost always played with people who are better than I am. I play in a band where the guitarist, my great pal, is 100 times better on the bass than I’ll ever be. He was a pro and has more musicality than almost anyone I’ve ever met. With me, the love of the music has been there but I have always felt that, to get better or to learn a new technique I had to work seriously hard. Consequently, there are many areas on the instrument where I could be better.
So, thanks to a friend, and fellow bassist, I have been trying out Scott’s Bass Lessons. Scott is a chatty bloke from Leeds with an interesting back story and a really good way with education. He can be informal to the point of hilarity but, crucially, he has the ability to back up the use of his natural style of presentation with some rock-solid theory and practice. I tried the site’s 14 day trial and found I had access to enough courses to keep me interested for a lifetime. Well, a few years at least.
What has worked for me is to avoid the advanced lessons, swallow my pride and concentrate on the basics. By doing this I’ve discovered that in many areas by Frankenstein technique is not as bad as it could have been. In some places though, I’ve found gaping holes in my knowledge. What is really good, is that the lessons on Scott’s site aren’t just feeding me information but (successfully) encouraging me to go out and do some ground work myself. As a consequence, I’ve been having lots of fun working on music theory and found that by filling in the gaps of my knowledge, more things have made sense. I’m also finding practising more enjoyable.
If you play bass and want to get better there are quite a few similar sites out there. For me, this one did the trick.