Gary had loved the sound of the bass guitar for as long as he could remember. He dreamed that one day he would be able to play like the bassists in the songs on the radio and in the bands he watched live. But, as for so many people, life just seemed to get in the way.
“I’d asked a friend of mine to teach me the bass when I was 25. For one reason or another, it just didn’t happen. You get a career, life happens, you get into the rat race and time just passes you by. It’s shocking when you think about it!”
27 years passed, but he knew that learning to play the bass was something he really wanted to do… although he didn’t have a clue where to start.
The first time in a music shop can be daunting – How do you try out an instrument you can’t play yet?
When Gary finished work, he used some of his new found free time to follow one of his favourite bands on their UK tour. After travelling to different cities, he found himself in a music shop in Brighton.
“I decided that I was finally going to learn the bass. I wandered into the shop and I said: I think I want to buy a bass. The guy looked at me and said, ok great, what type of bass would you like?”
Gary didn’t have a clue.
“I was in the shop and the guy passed me the guitar and said – try it! And I just thought to myself, I have no idea what to do with it! It was completely alien to me and it just seemed overwhelming difficult.”
Having never played the bass guitar before, let alone any instrument really, he started to feel a bit apprehensive about everything. How do you try out an instrument that you’ve never played before?
As he checked out the variety of guitars in the shop, doubts started to rush through his mind:
How on earth am I ever going to play this? Can I get my fingers to physically do this?
The first bass guitar Gary bought in a guitar shop in Brighton, approved by his dog Chip!
I tried using books and online resources like YouTube to learn… but something seemed to be missing.
Not one to be easily defeated, Gary went ahead and bought his first bass guitar along with some books to help him get started. A quick look through YouTube also brought up hundred of tutorials.
Although there was lots of information online about how to play bass, something always seemed to be missing. A lesson on this technique here. On top of that, their was all the noise of people insisting that this was the best and ONLY WAY to play, when another person seemed to suggest that they were completely wrong… but who was right?
There was so much stuff out there, little pockets of information. A little bit here and a little bit there. I’d see different videos on YouTube with different people playing the same song, and they’d be playing in different places on the guitar and I dunno, it seemed like different notes… but it still sounded right?! I just didn’t understand why. And then there were people saying you must do this, you must do that — you must, you must, you must… this is the way its done! But, it didn’t make sense to me WHY?
It can be incredibly overwhelming. Where do you start? What is actually useful? Is all of his necessary? Is ANY of it going to make me a better musician?
I never thought I could do that – I can do it now!
Gary first came for lessons very early in his bass journey. Understandably, he was nervous about playing in front of someone else. There’s always that nagging feeling that maybe you’re just not cut out to play an instrument.
I had flying finger syndrome where I just couldn’t get them to go down, but when I could think ahead and get the tune together, I thought wow, I can do this!
If I hadn’t had got a teacher, I think I would of got frustrated and it would have ended up by the way side. I thought, I’m never going to learn this just from books or just from the internet, and I was so keen and I didn’t want to let myself down.
Fortunately, he found the guitar lessons were taught at a pace and in a style that suited him.
It’s fantastic that you can go to a music teacher, and have lessons and play the wildest of rock music… it’s not a stuffy academic exercise, it is entertainment.
Learning how to play an instrument can actually be a lot of fun!
I was surprised how informal it can be. You know like, right, we are going to learn XY and Z today — and it was never like that. It was all about helping me to enjoy playing the guitar. I can understand how people can get disheartened, I would have struggled on my own as I would have got lost and bogged down, but if you stick with it, the rate of improvement gets noticeably faster. It’s surprised me actually how quickly I’ve managed to build up a repertoire of songs I can play.
We talked about how he wanted to be able to play along with his favourite songs. At the beginning, this can seem like a huge task. It can even make you wonder if you will ever manage to put all these parts together.
It used to fox me for weeks, but now my fingers are able to just move around. I feel much better about it. It’s become autopilot. I’ve got much better at thinking ahead.
He’s even learned how to jam with other musicians. Playing along with other musicians was something that seemed impossible to him at the time.
Improvising is a massive amount of fun! Just being able to have a drum beat and a chord progression going and being confident just to play along. And just knowing how to do this, it made me feel competent.
Learning to play the guitar has even helped in other aspects of life
Once you have a system to learn songs and you understand the process needed to play any song, learning guitar becomes a lot less stressful and a lot more fun. It can even help with other aspects of your life such as stress and helping to unwind after a long day.
Bass lessons are like my therapy. I come out of my bass lesson feeling so motivated because I’m thinking I’m going to learn this, I’m going to work on that. Also, since I know I’ve got another lesson next week coming up it motivates me to pick it up the bass and work on it.
bass player for over 6 years and counting!
<br>Adam has a very relaxed, patient and friendly approach to teaching music and he is able to explain things in easy to understand terms.<br>At last, I’m reading music, writing music and best of all playing music on my favourite instrument! I’m happy to highly recommend Adam’s tuition to anyone.