Learn and Master Bass Guitar Review

Learn and Master Bass Guitar (Spotlight Series) product image

Learn and Master Bass Guitar

Important Update: This product has been discontinued by it's publisher as of 10/10/2010. Back to all bass guitar courses.

New in 2010, Learn and Master Bass Guitar is Legacy Learning’s third mini curriculum in their spotlight series of courses. If you are familiar with other titles from the same company, you should be aware that this course isn’t near as comprehensive (or expensive) a course as their main line of educational products.

To be frank, it’s not the best course Legacy has come up with, but is still a good, solid introduction to the 4-string bass and one of the better DVD bass courses currently available for the money.

Screenshots

Here are a few screenshots of Learn and Master Bass Guitar.

Screenshot 1 Screenshot 2 Screenshot 3 Screenshot 4

Features

The course comes with 4 discs – 3 DVDs and 1 Audio CD. The DVDs have a little over 3½ hours of teaching from Tony Marvelli spanning across 6 sessions. Here’s a brief summary of what’s covered.

  • Session 1 – Nuts and Bolts (47 min) – This first session introduces the bass guitar, what you should be doing with your right and left hands, how to pick the guitar, the parts of the bass, etc.
  •  Session 2 – Music theory & reading Music (47 min) - Most of this lesson is Tony talking. He does a good job explaining music theory 101, such as how to read music, identify notes, and read rhythms.
  • Session 3 – Bass Line Patterns & Chords (52 min) – Here you’ll learn a variety of popular chords, what triads, octaves, fifths, and sixths are and a couple bass line rhythms.
  • Session 4 - Scales (25 min) – Interestingly, scales are talked about after chords are. Here several important scales are taught including the major, blues, and pentatonic scales. You’ll also see how intervals relate to different scales.
  • Session 5 –Chord Progression & the Blues (30 min) – This session will show you how songs are structured and how to move through chord progressions.
  •  Session 6 – Practice Makes Perfect (12 min) - This short last session is all about the importance of practicing and how to make the most of it. You’ll also learn about how you can warm up for your practice time.

While Learn and Master Bass Guitar covers a lot of bass fundamentals like picking, fretting techniques, muting, slides, and bends, it doesn’t really stay on any one topic very long as the course seems designed to fast-track you on the bass and get you playing ASAP. Thankfully, the lesson manual adds some additional insight into the sessions with supplemental content.

Video Lessons

As you can expect from a Legacy course, the video lessons are well-produced, with great audio and good video quality, though they weren’t filmed in high-definition or in widescreen. The camera-work was good, but not exceptional, as they don’t take advantage of multiple camera views which are helpful for novices on the beginner lessons. Not surprisingly, the left hand doesn’t get much camera time. Fingering on the fretting hand was also occasionally hard to make out on our first time through the course due to the camera’s upward positioning.

When you compare bass guitar DVD courses available on the market today, Learn and Master Bass Guitar is an decent product at an decent price from one of the best music education companies in the business.

Other things that could have been improved on is when larger sections of music are shown on screen, the music isn’t scrolled through, but instead taken out entirely. Another is that tablature is usually shown with note names instead of frets which make it a little harder for beginners.  There is also no onscreen indicator of where you are in the music. Like most music courses, Learn and Master Bass Guitar isn’t without its mistakes or typos either. One onscreen graphic showed a note position as a “B” when it should have said “G”, and we noticed that Tony misnamed a fret when showing how to play a chord.

Exercises are sprinkled throughout the course, and if you want to play them, you’ll want to keep your lesson book handy, as most exercises are only demonstrated once or twice (probably to keep the length of the course as short as possible). Many of the exercises have musical accompaniment in the background while Tony is playing. This is a nice touch and breathes some life into the exercises.

Your bass instructor Tony Marvelli has played with many big names including the Mark Shultz, Andre Crouch, and the Denver Mile High Orchestra, amongst others. Tony is a friendly and very enthusiastic teacher, which is great as it can easily carry over to the students. Still, it sometimes seems like the teaching is a little stilted, the humor, such as it is, is forced, and there are more than a couple awkward pauses.

Jam Along CD

The Jam along CD is where you can have some fun putting your knowledge into practice. The single CD contains 8 (not 6 as they say on their site) high quality, full-band blues and jazz selections that are worthy of your personal music library. If you’re curious, you can hear samples of a couple songs on their website. The tracks total around 35 minutes and range from 2:26-10:41 in length.

Each song is played in only one tempo (though each song’s speed varies), and all include the bass guitar in the mix. While the music for all 8 songs is included in the back of the downloadable lesson book, the songs are not actually demonstrated or taught on the video lessons, which is a bummer.

Lesson Book (PDF)

To cut on production costs, the course does not come with a lesson book. Instead, you can download the book from their resource site. Despite being a .PDF, the lesson book is beautifully produced. It’s 80 pages long, richly illustrated with useful diagrams, chord charts, and contains all the exercises found in the course. It also has the chords for the music for the jam along tracks and a glossary of musical terms found in the course.

Like the DVDs, a lot of the exercises only show the note name on the string instead of the fret number which makes it more difficult for beginners who haven’t mastered all the names of the notes on the fretboard.

It would have been more convenient if the DVD referenced the page number of the .PDF onscreen, as it can take time to locate a particular exercise if you haven’t been following along in the book.

Support

For a while, many of the community course forums on Legacy Learning Site’s weren’t linked to properly (some of the links have since been fixed). When we last visited the Bass Guitar resource page, the forum link directed us to the general Learn and Master Guitar forum. Anyway, we eventually figured out the link to the forum but surprise, surprise, there’s not much happening there yet (the course is still very new). There is an “Ask Tony” sub forum, but Mr. Marvelli doesn’t have any posts (We also couldn’t find his profile).

Ordering Information

The checkout process is simple and you don’t have to register with the site to place your order. Shipping options range from $5.50 within the USA to $19.50 internationally (Including Canada). The latter seems a little steep to be charging for a $59 course.

Buyer's Tip: If you're within the USA and aren’t in a rush, make sure you select the economy shipping option instead of the default UPS shipping option to reduce the final price by $4.00.

As with all Legacy Learning Systems products, Learn and Master Bass comes witha 60-day "total satisfaction" guarantee.

Conclusion

If you add Learn and Master Bass Guitar’s cost plus basic shipping and divide it by its running time you’ll end up with $18/hour for the bass lessons. This obviously doesn’t include extras like the jam along tracks or the possibility of getting online support, but still doesn’t provide near the value courses like Teach Me Bass Guitar does.

When you compare bass guitar DVD courses available on the market today, Learn and Master Bass Guitar is an decent product at an decent price from one of the best music education companies in the business. However, it doesn’t make our top pick for bass lessons. Teaching is generally good, but some concepts and musical theory can easily go over a beginner’s head because of a lack of sufficient explanations or demonstrations due to the course’s shorter runtime. Legacy Learning Systems deserves some credit for fitting as much as they did into this 3½ bass course, though the bass guitar is an instrument they could have easily created a full-length course for. That’s a program I would have liked to see.

This is a new course so there aren’t many other customer reviews from others that have used this program. As a reminder, if any of you have thoughts on the course, please leave us review and you could even get yourself some cash!

Official Learn & Master Bass Website

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Lesson Ratings

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Publisher: Legacy Learning Systems

Website: www.LearnAndMaster.com/...

Price: $59.00

Suitable For: Beginners

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