Teach Me Bass Guitar Review – From a Player and Teacher
I was inspired to put up this review because I am very impressed with this course – course being a key word, not just “instructional DVD”
I have a degree in electric bass from Berklee College of Music, teach privately and at accredited schools. I know how expensive and hard it can be to get regular lessons, and to keep motivated.
I like that besides being a bass *and* musicianship course, it is also a visual / audio practice tool, set of play-along recordings and more. Typically, you buy a course and it suggests these tools to purchase separately, but TMBG has everything self contained in one very well presented package.
Not a Typical Bass DVD
Obviously this is more expensive than a typical bass instructional DVD. However if you are serious (or want to get serious and really play), the fact that it is 16 hours worth of actual quality teaching, plus a real practice tool, make it a very good value comparatively.
One thing to consider when looking at the price point, is that the 16 hour set runs for less than what you are likely to pay for less than 2 hours worth lessons with a teacher of Roy Vogt’s caliber – if you even have access to such a teacher where you live. Sales pages often really exaggerate stats like that (“a 6 thousand dollar value, yours for only 20 bucks!”), but if you call some well known players and ask their lesson rate, you will find this to actually be accurate.
* You’ll Like This Course If: *
- You are looking for a complete, total beginner to quite advanced, A-Z bass guitar course
- You are interested in music theory, reading music, and other skills
- You are self motivated and can work on your own – however, you can take as long as you need thanks to it being DVD.
- If you are a little more advanced and are worried this course may be too basic, I recommend checking out these videos from later lessons to see the level it deals on.
I do NOT recommend this course if:
- You are mostly interested in slap bass / double thump / popping techniques (not that there is no slapping, but that isn’t what this one is “all about.”)
- You do not want to learn any music theory / harmony, only the physical aspects of bass playing.
The course spans 20 lessons contained in 10 DVDs. At a total of more than 16 hours viewing time, this is hands-down the most comprehensive bass instructional course I have come across to teach yourself bass guitar.
If you are a total newbie, I feel you will get a more thorough and valuable foundation than you will from many private teachers out there, because the reality of the situation is that not everyone has a local, affordable teacher on the level of Roy Vogt.
Also the luxury of watching the material over and over again is huge.
If you have some experience on the bass, do not worry about the course being too basic- it is very thorough and goes into some serious musical and technical territory. It is also quite likely to “fill in some gaps” or details that may have been overlooked.
Each DVD is well managed time wise and filled with actual valuable content. No BS, no filler material, no obvious attempts to make this seem like a big course to charge you more money for it. The video is shot in widescreen HD, and both the audio and video are top-notch. Check out this sample video clip to give you an idea (this is quite early in the course):
Working Through Teach Me Bass Guitar
Each lesson starts off with an introduction by Ashley Lollis, who also finishes with a few encouraging bits of advice after each lesson, as well as a review of what you will need to have learned before proceeding.
As you have noticed if you previewed the video above, there are some very cool and useful elements of the presentation. Besides the aesthetics and laid back “coffee shop” vibe, there are some digital on screen elements. The moon faced character on the bottom right is “Ralph” – who chimes in via text pop ups with commentary on what is happening. Often straight up comic relief, it’s a nice touch. On a more serious note though is the real time fingerboard you see at the bottom of the screen, demonstrating where your fingers should be placed on the instrument. Metronome markings and other useful musical information also pops up on the screen when needed.
Vogt starts off each lesson with a warm up exercise, and ends with a cool-down exercise afterwards. The lessons themselves cover anything and everything from the basics to the most advanced techniques used by some of the most accomplished players in the business. On the basic end of the spectrum, you will learn the workings of the bass, the notes on the fretboard, the proper way to move around the neck, different picking styles, sight reading music, time signatures and more. Lesson 1 also gets you started on playing an actual song.
Things proceed along at a fairly manageable pace over the next few lessons, which take you through playing scales and chords, rhythm playing, the different modes, and even more advanced techniques such as tapping, slap bass, and a lot more impressive bass techniques. Keep in mind though, that at no time does TMBG devolve into a collection of flashy tricks and pyrotechnic displays of playing ability. Instead, a firm focus is maintained on solid musical concepts and theory all throughout. Flash is really fun to watch, but Vogt is really all about getting YOU to be able to do what you want on the instrument in actual live playing situations.
As mentioned previously, the course proceeds quite manageably over the first few lessons, but things get a bit more intense around Lessons 7 to 8. From this point on, you get a chance to try out what you have learned thus far with a few of Vogtâ€™s own students, and you even get to play with an actual (video) band. More on this in a moment. The good thing is that Vogt is just as focused on demonstrating key concepts and techniques during this part of the course as he was in the earlier sections, so you will never feel as if you are in over your head.
The “Live” Band
One of the most significant features of this course is the fact that most of the lessons give you the chance to hear what you have learned with a “live” band. First you get to hear Roy play with the group, which allows you to absorb how everything feels, sounds and translates into an actual, real life musical situation.
Then, you can play with the band with the bass track removed, so you can get the experience of applying your new skills to a track of live players. This is one of the best possible ways for a player to develop, because it is the bridge from simply playing exercises to developing the range of skills required to actually apply them to a real musical situation. Balance, timing, hearing how you “lock in” with the track or not, and more. You quickly find that the technique needs to become absorbed to where it is second nature, and this is one of the most effective and fun ways to do that. Of course, because it is on a DVD, you can do this over and over again, any time you wish.
Here is a sample of the band playing with the bass removed
Play-Along sample from Lesson 14 of Roy Vogt’s Teach Me Bass Guitar
“Play along” recordings have been popular for a long time, and a quick search on the internet will show you that it is not uncommon to pay for a batch of ten tracks or so.
We also have to mention that the songs cover a fairly wide range of styles and genres, so there should be a little something for everyone regardless of musical preferences. In addition to helping you be prepared to play in a lot of different styles (should you be interested in playing at all professionally,) there are also a lot of unique skill sets that one develops from different genres even if it is not necessarily their favorite to listen to. One of the interesting things about playing music is that you can often find it is a lot of fun to play, or try to nail down a particular song, in a style you would not think you would normally enjoy listening to.
This really is quite significant.. play-along recordings are a great tool and usually a separate investment.
The Loop Library
A very powerful part of Teach Me Bass Guitar is the “loop library.”
This is quite literally a library of the various exercises, licks, and patterns that appear in the various lessons that you will want to get under your fingers to the point of effortlessness.
The only true way to do absorb many technical aspects of the instrument like this is sheer repetition. It is best to do this consciously, with a guide to check yourself against (for example a metronome, or a recording, so you can hear that you are matching the notes, timing and feel properly).
The loop library makes this easy and enjoyable, allowing you to loop these exercises ad-infinitum and play them along with Roy. This way you are not only hearing and feeling what you are imitating, but can see it as well.
Here is a sample:
TMBG Instructional Book
There is a book that accompanies the course that is an excellent companion to everything you learn. As you might expect, it provides written out examples of the exercises and theoretical concepts, songs and drills written out in music notation, and much more. Not only can you then practice the material any time and anywhere without needing the DVD handy, but you have a nice reference that you can take with you to brush up or refresh on what you are learning.
Sample of the companion book
A physical copy of the book costs extra, but a digital solution is available 100% free of charge.
There is a PDF document in DVD #5 that contains the Teach Me Bass Guitar instructional book with notated exercises, notes, and other material to go along with or compliment the DVDs. Â If you want to purchase the printed and bound version of the guide, it will run an extra $40. I like the fact that the option is there to print this yourself without driving the cost of the course up or “requiring” the purchase of the book.
Teach Me Bass Guitar Reviews
Here is a little bit of what others online are saying about the course:
The Bottom Line
Teach Me Bass Guitar is a rare instructional material that covers the fundamentals of playing from the ground up, and takes it into advanced territory with the right foundations. This course really stands out in a sea of lackluster instructional materials put together to make a fast buck. For sheer quality, quantity, range, presentation, and actual, practical practice use, Teach Me Bass Guitar is a very good investment by my standards. It is not unusual for a great teacher to charge $70-$100 per lesson, which is a good reference point for just how much value you actually get for the comparatively low price of this course.
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