Teach Me Bass Guitar Review
What it is:
A very thorough video educational course designed to teach bass guitar and music theory from the level of complete beginner, to working professional.
What You Get:
16 hours of bass and musicianship lessons from total beginner to advanced level, structured like a curriculum, taught by a professional bassist and educator. Video with a variety of angles and animated fretboard let you see and hear everything taught.
Over 100 tracks you can play along with in a variety of styles, from loops to tracks with a live studio band.
Who It’s For:
Aspiring players (including total beginners) who want a complete training course on bass guitar and musicianship
Bassists who want to expand on their music theory, broaden their knowledge of styles and more.
Anyone who wants a large library of play-along tracks with and without bass, exercises for technique and musical concepts they can use to practice with.
$79.95 for all 16 hours via digital format
$5.95 for individual digital lessons
Different pricing for physical DVDs, in the rare cases they are needed
As a professional bassist of many years that has been involved in various forms of education, I’d like to talk a bit about the “Teach Me Bass Guitar” instructional course.
TMBG is a bit of a classic at this point, as it predates the online programs you can find through some universities, and was the first of its kind in its original DVD form.
I wrote an original review for them that praised the in-depth nature of the course, variety and quality of material, as well as the useful practice tools and play-along tracks included.
In the age of endless YouTube content and ease of accessing so much information online, even though the quality holds up in the course, 10 DVDs and their respective price point had become less relevant to students than it once was.
However, the course is now available in a modernized, completely online format and a much, much lower cost. With these updates, considering everything you get, it may be worth seriously considering depending on your needs.
Note that with the new online format, you can now also purchase individual lessons out of the course, should only parts of it interest you.
What The Course Is
I would describe Teach Me Bass Guitar as a thorough program more akin to a school or university curriculum, where you would be attending with your instrument and playing as you learn.
It is designed to take someone as a complete beginner on the instrument and give them a solid foundation, on everything from posture, hand position, technique and gear. Throughout the course it progresses all the way to professional level skills in a variety of styles.
Rather than purely a bass playing course, where the focus is entirely on navigating the instrument or specific techniques, it is much more of a complete musicianship program.
Right from the beginning, you are going to be dealing with musical elements like the names of the notes and how they function, and the course will continue to expand upon music theory, playing by ear, soloing, reading music, and a lot more.
The video format is used very well to show things like the bass fingerboard, chord symbols and much more.
Lessons are structured in such a way that they build upon each other with a big picture goal, and are based heavily on learning by doing — something I feel is extremely important.
On that note, one of the strongest elements of the course is that everything is taught in a way that directly relates to actual bass-playing with other musicians. This may sound obvious, but music education can pretty easily get into an academic headspace that is disconnected from playing in a group.
Even in the first lesson, even with the simplest of concepts, you will get to execute them into the context of music – playing simple songs, with a backing band track, getting to see and feel how what you are learning is not just intellectual.
Of course, this also makes it much more enjoyable.
There are 16 hours of instruction in the program
Here is a short list showing the range of some of what is covered:
- Proper technique, stretching, posture and other physical aspects of playing the instrument.
- Fingerstyle playing, slapping / popping, using the pick and more
- The notes on the fingerboard
- Chords and how they are built
- Creating and playing bass lines in a wide range of styles from rock, jazz, country, and more
Examples of specific grooves and lines in the style of great players as they apply, including Jaco, Stanley Clarke and many more.
- Setting up the instrument
- Gear: strings, amps, effects, 5 -6 string basses and more
- Reading notes, chord symbols, number systems
- Rhythm, groove, playing with a drummer
- Playing with a band (with play along tracks to practice with)
- Two handed tapping, chords, and other extended techniques
Who It’s For
If you are a beginner to the instrument and want a program that goes from the fundamentals all the way to more advanced playing and includes musicianship training, this is the most complete way to do it in a home-study format I am aware of at this price range.
If you have no access to a local teacher, or it’s not budget friendly to study regularly with someone. The complete digital version covering 16 hours is going to cost less than two private or skype lessons with just about any professional bassist.
Now that you can pick and choose individual lessons to order, there are parts of this course that may be of interest to a variety of levels.
Maybe you are already proficient on the instrument but want to fill in gaps, learn more music theory and be able to do this at your own pace.
If you are self-motivated and feel like you would be able to keep going through the material, and want more structure and depth than you will get from watching other videos.
Who It is Not For
If you are not interested in the theory or other musicianship skills, and are more interested in purely technical aspects of bass playing, there are other routes you can go that are less comprehensive.
There is also not a lot of slap / pop emphasis, so if you are looking to deep dive into that style of playing there are better choices.
Roy Vogt: The Instructor
Roy Vogt is an excellent choice for a course of this nature.
He has major touring, recording and performing credits in a very diverse range of styles. This is the hallmark of a true “working sideman,” which means he knows what really matters in terms of being the type of bassist that people want to play with and hire.
To work in this way requires not only a good sound, feel, knowledge of styles and different techniques, but the elements of music-theory and musicianship skills that are actually relevant.
I say relevant because it’s possible to get very in-the-weeds with theory, gear, and other things about the music that are easy to geek-out on but are not particularly relevant to playing bass functionally in a band and sounding good.
These are all particular skill sets that you want in someone teaching an overall bass and musicianship course like this. You may have a favorite bassist who sounds great in a particular group, but may not really be hireable outside of that context, or be able to articulate what they are doing.
There are plenty of ways to check out playing styles and details about your favorite players on YouTube, but to really learn the instrument in a complete way, someone like Roy is ideal.
Vogt also really enjoys teaching, has an established career as an educator, and describes it as one of his favorite things to do. This is, absolutely, NOT a trait that all great players share.
Teaching is its own art-form, and even in a digital format, you want to be working with someone who takes it seriously. In my younger days, “instructional videos” from some great players were the stuff of comedy legend for how bad they could actually be. That is far from the case here, obviously.
Presentation and Structure of Lessons
While the overall course has a clear structure, the lessons themselves have some consistencies that work very well for learning and absorbing the material.
Warmup and Cooldown – a very important physical aspect of bass playing that is often overlooked, lessons often begin and end with warm up and cool down exercises, either on or off of the bass, to take care of your hands and develop them physically.
Roy plays along with you, at various speeds, when demonstrating whatever you will be learning in the lesson.
The use of different camera angles showing Roy’s hands from in front of, above the bass and more really add to the effectiveness.
An animated fretboard, showing you where the notes are on your bass and when to play them gives a very useful visual component to help map the fingerboard into your brain. Especially for visual learners this can really increase progress.
A moon faced character ‘Ralph’ appears during the lessons to give various comments and amendments, including musical details like tempo markings and more to give some additional musical knowledge without interrupting the flow of the lessons.
You will get to use what you have learned in the context of music via “live” tracks with a top Nashville band. First is with Roy and then without him, giving you the benefit of matching his style and then having a true play-along bass-less track.
The best way to see many of these features is in the sample lesson excerpt below:
Production and Overall Quality
Teach Me Bass Guitar is a serious production with high quality wide-screen recording from a variety of angles. In addition to helping you see details of hand position, the fretboard and more, it helps the overall enjoyment of the course.
There are also extra details like introduction to the lessons by Ashley Lollis, sets and on-screen additions that show an effort to make the whole process more engaging than a rigid-feeling academic course.
ConCLUSION for TMBG
Now that this course is available online, with all 16 hours, loop library and play-along tracks easy to access for less than the price of 2 lessons with a professional, it is easy to recommend Teach Me Bass Guitar if you feel it is a match for you.
I can also vouch for the quality of the organization, customer service and people involved with the course based on my interactions with them. On that note, please be aware I have established a relationship with them where I do receive a commission if you order by clicking any of the links on this page.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer whatever I can. Thanks.