I got gently nudged a while ago to use my bass skills to try out ivideosongs.com. In essence it is an on-line, video-based song-learning site, now with support for us lovely bass players. Getting to grips with the service is very straight forward: head to ivideosongs, then click sign up (top right). Bash in your email address, choose a user id and password and you are off.
Music categories are listed on the left of the screen after you login. The service covers acoustic and electric guitar, drums and piano as well as bass. In theory the whole band could learn a song from the site, they even have stuff for drummers (insert inappropriate internet drummer joke here). Actually, the format use lends itself well to guitar.
If you select ‘all’ from the music categories, you’ll see that there are various levels, from beginner, through intermediate, to advanced. There are also some free tutorials – although these are mostly for guitar, no bass ones just yet – so you might want to let your thin-stringed friends know about the site – the CEO is a Grammy-nominated guitarist himself, and the guitar stuff there looks very good.
Having had a tough weekend, I opted for an intermediate song to learn – REM’s Losing my religion. Session bassist Pat Malone is the instructor behind the bass videos. Prices are in the range of $4.99 to $9.99 per video (the more expensive titles being ones instructed by the original player, so all the bass ones are at the lower end of the price range). You can hit ‘preview’ to watch a clip of the lesson before you buy it.
The videos are high resolution and show left and right hands at the same time (the right hand is in a little video inset – see the pic to the right). So, having put a pick into my hand for the first time since erm… well, since I last played something that wasn’t a bass – I dived in, then checked out. A click later and the video was downloading to my desktop. I like this model, rather than streaming, since it means you can learn off-line and without the need for a broadband connection.
The video was 1/4 of a Gig (I told you it was high quality), so it took a little while to download – time for a coffee/beer/tea to taste! Firing up the video, the song was nicely broken into sections and there was a shot of the tab/charts as well. Very clear instruction, although I can see why people call me a technical player – years of being beaten up as a classical guitarist made me very strict about left and right-hand technique. Pat’s instruction was easy to follow and I’m now all set for my next REM covers gig ;).
Based on what I’ve seen (no pun intended), I’d recommend checking the site out… Hopefully they’ll be adding more songs as time goes on, but the model of the site is great.