I was asked a few months ago by the Los Angeles Music Academy‘s (LAMA) bass department director, Jerry Watts, to come in and do a clinic at their school. I was excited that they wanted me and was even more thrilled to get my teaching chops back up. Back in the day, I used to teach at my alma matter, Musicians Institute, and it’s been awhile since those days.
Teaching is a challenge for me because I don’t sight read very well, so I have to rely on my music theory and technique. The cool thing is, LAMA is very progressive and see the value in non-traditional classes as well as the standard ones. So what was my class on? You guessed it…pedals!
For my very first class at LAMA, I brought what I call my ‘modulation station.’ I basically played with a few pedals, got a few crazy sounds, then spent the rest of the time answering questions. It was really fun, and the best part was that they asked me to come back and teach again. The second time, I thought I should do something a little more informative so I brought a set of overdrives, distortions and fuzzes to show the differences between all these noise makers. I then broke it down into the various overdrives and how they sound, the did the same with the distortions and fuzzes that I’d brought.
After a bit of experimenting, the class came to a general consensus on which pedals work well on bass and which ones didn’t fare as well. Here are pics of the pedals I brought:
I really enjoyed having students play through my pedals and watch them realize how pedals affect their sound. You could see them get inspired when a setting would be just right or they came up with sounds they’d never created before.
Thanks to LAMA for having me and to the students who are attending my classes. I look forward to teaching more and love nothing more than passing on all of the tricks I’ve learned over the years.