In this era where video is king, especially for learning and tutorials, finding good bass guitar lessons in the form of audio-backed written material is astonishing.
Yet, Studybass, one of the pioneers of online bass instruction, has managed to hold its own and remain an attractive – and mostly free – bass learning resource.
Andrew Pouska, the man behind the huge pool of Studybass lessons, is a highly experienced bass guitar teacher. His ambition is to help learners become creative musicians as opposed to mere cover bass players.
Studybass covers bass and fretboard technique, harmony and music reading, rhythm, all in a very structured and academic way. The instruction you get is closer to a music school than a typical online video course.
Each lesson is presented as a short and easy to digest web page backed by fretboard diagrams and audio examples.
There are also highly relevant exercises, quizzes, and songs for study, in the form of live bass recordings (no midi) and animated images.
See also: Talkingbass vs Scott’s Bass Lessons
Who is Studybass for?
Studybass is best suited for people who like reading and listening vs watching videos.
The lessons are free. While you can find tons of bass learning videos on the internet, these tutorials often don’t have much structure unless you invest in a paid course.
Studybass offers very in-depth, highly structured, comprehensive lessons for free. The lessons focus on music and bass fundamentals, and can to some extent (IMO) replace a teacher.
The level of detail is quite high and the lessons aim to help you acquire the right habits.
It’s a great option for those who, more than merely learning to play songs on the bass, want to eventually become serious bass musicians.
Studybass is also a good choice for existing bass players with significant hands-on band experience but who want to dig deeper, learn things the right way, and improve their musical and technical skills.
Some may find Studybass a bit dry due to the written material format, since to some, videos can feel more personal and interactive.
Also, not everyone likes learning music theory, which Studybass makes an integral part of the learning path.
As a result, Studybass generally won’t appeal to those who use Rocksmith or similar to get started on the bass.
Studybass first aims to teach bass students to build their listening skills, which may be considered a musician’s most important skills – as opposed to just learning finger movements.
The course is also structured in a way to help learners better manage their practice time, and stick to a consistent practice schedule for faster progress.
According to Studybass’ founder, the range of material covered in the course corresponds to half a year to a year and a half (depending on the student) of traditional private lessons.
Studybass stands out by the way the information is structured for the learner, based on the creator’s many years of teaching these techniques and concepts.
Learning songs, licks, and techniques, which people typically focus on when learning bass on their own or through tutorials, is only one part of the skills of a good bassist. You really need to understand music and how the bass fits in it.
What Studybass users say
Studybass is very comprehensive and helpful for learning, especially considering it’s a free online resource.
It has a lot of very well-structured content and abundant practice exercises. Most learners agree the course doesn’t leave many gaps in learning bass skills.
Learners feel the Studybass lessons help them really understand the bass as opposed to merely learning to play their favorite songs. Important bass skills such as music theory components or string muting techniques, are taught early.
Andrew Pouska, the creator, is viewed as highly knowledgeable and providing a fantastic amount of bass-related information and tips. His lessons allow students to naturally get into music theory and classic bass patterns.
Users find the written material direct and to the point, using simple terms and making the technical jargon easy to understand.
Students greatly appreciate the countless audio/media examples, exercises, and animated fretboard diagrams which allow you to instantlyapply each concept.
Studybass easy theory
Learners often find Studybass to be one of the best beginner-friendly resources for learning the fundamentals of music theory in combination with bass technique.
Students often find the scales lesson to be the best part of Studybass, and a great door-opener. The lessons make scales, notes, and interval easy to understand even for those who are less inclined to learning theory.
Theoretical topics where Studybass excels include using chord tones on the bass, bass patterns, and understanding and reading musical notation.
Quizzes and a free PDF help the learner understand bass clef and identify notes on a staff and learn their location on the fretboard.
How does Studybass makes a living?
As mentioned, most of the written material and media exercises and samples in the course are available for free.
Studybass also has an low-cost paid membership ($10/month) which gives you access to cool additional features such as timed practice sessions, practice stats, play-along tracks (hundreds), extended exercise tracks, and reduced tempo audio.
You can also acquire some of these extra features via affordable, one-time payment packs ($5, $12).
There’s also an iOS / Android app, ClefTutor, that makes the first Studybass note learning tool available on mobile.