Online learning resources, be it courses, videos, written content, one-on-one coaching, apps, et cetera, provide fantastic opportunities to learn (and teach) double/upright/standing bass and understand music more generally. Though nothing truly beats dedicated in-person bass lessons, there are plenty of excellent alternatives online.
Note that by “resources,” I'm not only referring to video tutoring and full-length courses (though these are arguably the best options). I'm also considering masterclasses, applications, videos and articles, and other online resources for learning how to play the upright bass.
Though obviously subjective and prone to biases, I've done my best to list out these resources based on the following metrics (in no particular order):
- Reputation of the double bass learning resource
- Quality of education in technique, theory, and learning real songs
- Organization and depth of learning
- Adaptability of teaching to individual students (one-on-one lessons are best here)
- The resource must be currently available
With all that being said, let's list out the learning resources.
The top 11 best online resources to learn how to play double bass are:
- iMusic School
- Peghead Nation
- Discover Double Bass
- Zoltan's Bass Lounge
- Bradley Laird
- String Bass Online
In this article, we'll go through each of the above-mentioned resources to get a stronger idea of what makes them great for learning upright bass. Whether you're a complete beginner or a successful professional, there is always something to learn! I'll include links to check out each option for yourself to learn more about the standing bass. We'll also consider a few “honourable mentions” worth considering.
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David and Patricia Butler founded ArtistWorks in 2008. Currently, the headquarters are in Napa, California.
ArtistWorks' competitive advantage can be described in one word: video. The company's platform includes a patented learning method that involves recorded material in video format that you can watch and learn and video exchange with your teacher. Indeed, students film themselves playing and send that video to their teacher to get another video as a response.
Furthermore, that pair of videos with a student playing and the teacher responding is then made available for all the other students in the class to evacuate similar doubts if they have them.
Yet, that is not the only way to learn to play the double or upright bass on this platform. The alternative ways are through master class videos made by no other than legendary player John Patitucci. He's played with names like Vinnie Colaiuta, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and Roy Haynes, among many others. Finally, he was a Professor of Jazz Studies for the City College of New York and was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2005.
If you put in your side of the work, ArtistWorks can be a great resource to master the instrument without leaving the house.
iMusic School was founded by Roland Pepe in 2007. Currently, the headquarters are in Corse, France.
The revolutionary approach by this company comes in the form of democratization of the content. They offer content for every instrument from well-known world-class musicians but also accept contributions from students. This fact creates a network of willing musicians that share best practices to elevate the level of the entire school. Thus, this virtuous circle of information and performance tips nourishes the combined experience of thousands of players.
The man in charge of the double-bass or upright bass teaching is no other than Lew Mele, a multi-instrumentalist that has been educated formally in music theory, piano, bass, Latin percussion, and guitar. This vast knowledge of music allows him to become a holistic teacher that can teach students to find their place as double-bass players in modern music.
Finally, besides the lessons on your instrument, you also get online tools (chord charts, instrument tuner, and metronome), an online forum to share with fellow musicians, and lessons on rhythm and music theory.
If this learning method sounds good to you, trying iMusic School is a must.
Peghead Nation was founded by Dan Gabel, Scott Nygaard, and Teja Gerken in 2014. Nowadays, headquarters are in Fairfax, California.
Peghead Nation is the perfect online resource for those looking to build their chops in American Roots music. They not only provide lessons on how to master traditional instruments from legends in the Americana music scene but also help promote such a scene by being involved and helping new artists to break through.
The founders are President, Editor, and Producer for Peghead Nation but are also well-versed bluegrass musicians with a deep knowledge of acoustic instruments, Americana music, journalism, and business. Thus, as a result of these combined passions and talents, the Peghead Nation can help you build your chops with your double bass or upright bass and navigate the music industry at the same time.
Speaking of which, to help you get better at your instrument, your instructor Zoe Guigueno is an easygoing, smiley teacher that has played her double bass on stage in over 20 countries, toured relentlessly, and was named by the Rolling Stone Magazine one of the “Ten New Artists You Need to Know”.
Peghead Nation is perfect for those trying to learn about roots music from experts.
Discover Double Bass
Geoff Chalmers founded Discover Double Bass in 2013. Currently, the headquarters are in Leeds, UK.
Discover Double Bass is currently the largest double bass online school. It is the outcome of a lifetime dedicated to playing double bass and learning in some of the best schools in the world. Geoff holds a degree in Jazz Bass given by the Leeds Conservatoire and a Post-graduate diploma from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester in classical music.
But that's only half the story because Geoff's performing career is just as impressive as his academic curriculum. Moreover, his practical experience on stage propelled him to the idea of founding his academy to pour all he had learned during years of playing and teaching into an infallible course to help more players learn and play double bass.
Furthermore, the idea of the online academy is to reach more people virtually than he could ever do personally. Thus, what you can expect is expert teaching of the double bass by one of the most experienced teachers and players in the world.
Zoltan's Bass Lounge
Zoltan Dekany founded Zoltan's Bass Lounge after being the main lecturer in the Leeds Conservatory since 2001.
Zoltan Dekany studied with some of the biggest names in the jazz world. During that time, he learned the secrets of masters such as Charlie Haden, Darek Oleskiewicz, Thomas Martin, Jeff Berlin, and many others.
Furthermore, as a performer, he played with The Royal Philarmonic Orchestra, The Lion King, Shrek, Legally Blonde, and many others. So he's got first-hand knowledge of what it feels like to play in some of the biggest stages in the world under massive pressure.
Nowadays, though, after founding his school, Zoltan is dedicated 100% to making the kind of content double bass players need to be proficient on the instrument. This knowledge goes from an extensive library of resources to one-on-one plans in which Zoltan himself guides your progress.
You can choose between the different plans and go at your own pace or pick the “bass booster” program to accelerate the skill-learning process, or even go one-on-one with Zoltan for tailor-made learning plans.
The Microsoft Corporation established TakeLessons in 2006 as a resource to link the best teachers with the most eager students. Moreover, TakeLessons is a resource that helps students and teachers find each other. In other words, it is a virtual, cloud-based marketplace where aspiring musicians, professionals, and hobbyists can find their perfect tutor in various disciplines and instruments.
One of the main aspects to remember about this platform is that it is not a resource with recorded material and a set path for you to become a proficient player but rather a virtual bridge bringing educators and students together.
The platform allows students to narrow their search and find the perfect teacher for what they want to achieve. On the other hand, it allows teachers to find more students and gives them tools to be organized and teach the lessons in a simple, organized manner.
So, as a student, you can expect a plethora of options to choose from along with the backing of one of the biggest companies in the world.
Lessonface was founded by Claire Cunningham and Ashford Tucker in 2013. Currently, headquarters are in Aiken, South Carolina.
Lessonface is not just another online learning platform; it is a Public Benefit Company looking to connect teachers and students through a trouble-free platform with low fees and many available resources. Moreover, one of the reasons for founding it and one of the company's main pillars is to treat teachers equitably and grant them the tools needed to teach students around the world effortlessly.
Furthermore, one of the company's core beliefs is that only through outstanding teachers can students reach their goals. Therefore, the company strives to find the best in every discipline to recruit for their team; Lessonface's standards of excellence are as high as it gets.
On the other hand, they offer teachers in many disciplines the ability to find steady work and the tools to excel at what they teach. Therefore, students can hope to find only the best in each discipline and an organized exchange that is fruitful for all involved.
When choosing upright bass in the platform, you can choose from over 25 teachers around the world that can help you develop the skills you need in whatever music style you choose.
Brad Wendkos founded TrueFire in 1991. Currently, headquarters are in St. Petersburg, Florida.
TrueFire is one of the few online platforms that can be proud to have 4 Grammy Award Winners in the teacher roster. Names like Joe Bonamassa, Tommy Emmanuel, Steve Vai, Robben Ford, Greg Koch, Larry Carlton, and Pat Martino, among 300 other artists, have recorded lessons for this prestigious channel that Guitar Player called “the world's most comprehensive library of online guitar lessons.”
The upright bass lesson is taught by the legendary player and professor John Goldsby, a member of the WDR Big Band.
The TrueFire platform offers HD, multi-cam material that can be streamed on any device at any time once you are part of the community. Moreover, the synced tab and notation, loop, slow motion, and practice jam tracks are always available for every lesson making it easier to understand and follow the material.
TrueFire is a platform with over 50,000 HD, multi-cam educational videos that will help you be proficient with your instrument. Plus, they offer an all-access 14-day free trial, so you can taste what the platform offers before making a decision.
SuperProf was founded in 2013 by Wilfred Granier and Yann Leguillon. Currently, headquarters are in Paris, France.
SuperProf is an online teaching resource that brings together over 19 million tutors that can help students in every discipline to perform better at it. In SuperProf, you can study anything from becoming a web designer or Linux expert to a proficient upright bass, violin, guitar, piano, or oboe player, among thousands of other categories.
Speaking about double bass or upright bass specifically, the number of tutors ascends to over 350 worldwide. Furthermore, since students are the ones rating tutors for their performance, you can choose to have your lessons with five-star tutors only, go for an adventure with a new member, or even find a profile that exactly fits your needs. Also, price-wise, you'll have a plethora of options to choose from, depending on your budget.
Finally, SuperProf is a great platform for those who like variety and many options. That being said, the number of teachers to choose from might be overwhelming for some.
Bradley Laird founded his school in 1982. Currently, headquarters are in Joplin, Missouri.
Bradley Laird started playing professionally with his band in 1979 and has played with virtually every major name in the bluegrass/country community in the past 40 years. Moreover, he is a member of the Atlanta Mandolin Society Orchestra, has written over 15 bluegrass instruction books, starred in more than 70 instructional DVDs, and written over 50 bluegrass songs.
With such a hefty curriculum, it is safe to say that Bradley Laird has seen more stages, studios, and lessons than most musicians in the world. Furthermore, adding to his performing skills, he has been a teacher for the past 40 years; he knows how to share his knowledge conveying it in a simple, easy-to-digest way.
Bradley Laird's platform is a must-check if you want to learn from a legend who's been in the business for almost half a century.
String Bass Online
Dr. Robin Kay Deverich founded String Bass Online.
Dr. Robin Kay Deverich holds a doctorate degree in Musical Arts granted by the University of Southern California and a master's degree in Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles. Also, he has studied with notable players and developed a method called Distance Education Strategies for Strings, in which he goes deep into the mechanics of distance learning and proposes ways to overcome common pitfalls.
Thus, what you can expect from this online resource to learn upright bass is expertly-made material perfectly curated to take your playing skills to the next level.
Finally, you can find a plethora of free instructional resources on the website that can give you an idea of the kind of material String Bass Online offers.