In my class, I use a 3-string bass – the E string and the A string. In a classical quartet (the most common way of playing at Berklee College of Music), we play all three octaves (1, 4, 8) and every other string. So we’re only starting on an eighth of an octave, and at some points, you’ll have to think about changing the scale because that’s where you’re starting. In a quartet with an 8-string bass, you get all that by not taking any advice from me.
And what about all the good, old-fashioned guitar lessons?
To learn good guitar fundamentals I use one-on-one lessons with the great instructors at Berklee College of Music. This is one part of a lot of music education: I want to help you build those habits of technique and listening. There are great soloing songs about scales, rhythm and soloing that are great to learn, but it’s the other things in that repertoire — about playing solos better — that are going to take you to the next level. If you play scales in a solo with only one chord changes, or a really long and complicated guitar solo, your technique and listening will stagnate, and all you’ll have is a lot of sloppy guitar. I teach guitar how-to’s, and it’s really important to have good ideas about how you’re supposed to play a tune, and a certain level of awareness about what you’re listening to in the music.
How else can you help yourself?
Find that sense of pride (and courage) in your writing and in the way you write that leads you to your first song, or to a certain sound you’re going for. You have to develop that through your music, and that will take you through the first step. After that, it’s about taking the next steps.
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