Yesterday I got an email from a subscriber to my free monthly ezine who’d decided to unsubscribe.
I wanted to share my thoughts on his feedback….firstly, here’s what he wrote in full.
Playing the bass is suppose to be about the groove, the more I am reading your ‘special offers’ I am finding you are all about the money. The Internet costs us a lot of money, and is used by my family as a learning tool. I am not prepared to pay you to learn information that I can learn for free elsewhere, I am also going to unfollow you on youtube, as I find your big long speech before each lesson annoying. I am a kiwi bloke married to a Pom, and even she finds you pre lesson speech annoying!”
So let’s go through this feedback on a line by line/point by point basis.
1. “Playing the bass is suppose to be about the groove, the more I am reading your ‘special offers’ I am finding you are all about the money.”
Firstly, the word you’re looking for is ‘supposed.’? Secondly bass playing is about different things to different people.
Thirdly, the money thang.
When people sign up to the ***free*** monthly ezine, it quite clearly says this:
“I SELL STUFF.”
And yep, it’s written in bold on the Sign Up page too.? Plus it also says this:
I sell stuff, and I email about it. If you don’t want to receive messages of this nature, don’t subscribe!
There’s also an ‘unsubscribe’ button in each email…so if people decide that I’m sending too many sales messages, or that the content is no longer what they are looking for, or they stop playing the bass – well, then they can unsubscribe from the Mailing List with one click of a link.
2. The Internet costs us a lot of money, and is used by my family as a learning tool.
Being pedantic, the Internet isn’t a learning tool.? It’s merely a delivery mechanism for content…that content can be educational, informational, trashy, whatever.
As for costing a lot of money….cost is relative and you shouldn’t be paying more than about ?20($25) for a good monthly connection.? And if you shop around you can probably find it for far less.? To me if my internet connection was ?50 a month I wouldn’t consider it expensive…
3. I am not prepared to pay you to learn information that I can learn for free elsewhere…
Several things about this line.
First – am I some kind of extortion machine?? Do bad guys come to your house if you don’t buy any of the products I sell?? What do you do in a shop if you don’t want to buy something…do you whine and moan to the manager that you ‘are not prepared to pay’ and then go somewhere else.? Or do you simply just…go somewhere else.
Second…learning for free elsewhere.? This is a big can of worms.? But this unsubscribe relates to the revamp of my course Cracking The Detroit Code.? Good luck with finding the information for ‘free’ elsewhere.
So we’re all clear, here’s what I did to prepare the information that you can find for ‘free’ elsewhere:
- 1.? Analyzed nearly all of the bass lines in Standing In The Shadows Of Motown.
- 2. Analyzed the other published Jamerson bass lines in other Hal Leonard books.
- 3 Transcribed a bunch more bass lines and analyzed those….plus paid someone else to transcribe some tunes when I was running out of time.
- 4? I codified a list of stylistic playingdevices that Jamerson used in his playing.
- 5 I cross reference that codified list with a Jamerson discography, looking to place those codified elements into a time line.
- 6 Finally, six months later, I then created a teaching structure to teach those codified elements in a manner that was consistent with the timeline of how Jamerson introduced them AND went from simple to complex in a way that allowed students to learn each device thoroughly and then layer new devices on top.
If anyone knows of a free website that replicates this information, please let me know.? (And between us, that work took around 9 months of hard slog).
And for the record – the only other course that remotely teaches anything like this that I’ve found is Berklee School Of Music’s R&B Course.? You can go check out their syllabus and compare it to mine – but you should also check out the cost and compare it to mine.? They charge $1200 – $1400.? (And check out the testimonial on the Cracking The Detroit Code page too….from a guy who went to Berklee when it really was the Premier music school in the world.)
Oh, and lastly you’re quite happy to pay for the educational tool that is the Internet, but don’t think you should pay for other educational content?? Seems there’s a contradiction somewhere in your thinking….
4.? I am also going to unfollow you on youtube, as I find your big long speech before each lesson annoying.
But so you know, if you look at ANY video on YouTube, you’ll find there’s a ‘Time Slider.’? I’ve highlighted it in red for you in case you miss it:
All you need to do is slide that to the right and you’ll cut through the ‘big,long speech that you find annoying.’ (But that often contains information about the upcoming song lesson and ideas on how to practice it, or what lessons to take away).
5. I am a kiwi bloke married to a Pom, and even she finds you pre lesson speech annoying!
Is she a bass player?? If not, her view is irrelevant to me.? Because my videos are targetted at people who want to learn to play some bass lines.? I actually prefer NON bass players not to watch the videos.
The bottom line here at How To Play Bass Dot Com is this:
1. I produce a ton of content that’s freely accessible.? There are 204 videos on my YouTube channel for example.
2.? I DO create products and I DO email about those products and promote them.? There’s NEVER an obligation to buy, NEVER a threat to withdraw the ‘free’ stuff if you don’t buy.? If you want to trash the emails that talk about these courses and just focus on the free lessons I put out there, that’s 100% TOTALLY COOL with me. Do I need to say that any clearer?
3.? If you find my emails are clogging up your inbox, there’s an unsubscribe link in every email.? Just unsubscribe and you’ll never hear from me again. It’s that simple.
Dean Tomasula says
Paul, some people just don’t get it. Like you said, it’s free, if you don’t like it move on. There is a ton of free info on bass playing on the Internet, but not all of it is quality stuff like yours. A lot of it isn’t even correct! You’re a musician who’s played in bands and knows his stuff. I find advice from someone like that more valuable than from some kid in his bedroom who thinks he can learn a song by ear (and can’t) and makes a video that’s wrong. As for your “commercials” before your lessons, I’m not a fan of commercials in YouTube videos, but at least you can scroll past yours if you don’t want to hear the pitch. On some videos you actually have to watch for a few seconds before you can dismiss them. Basically, don’t sweat the Trolls. They like to complain. Just ignore them on concentrate on the people who actually appreciate what you do for us.
Paul Wolfe says
Thanks for the email. Appreciate it. Truly.
Normally I do just ignore the trolls – but something about the guy’s email pissed me off. Maybe it was the “chip on the shoulder/sense of entitlement” that screams out of the subtext of every line. As if…how dare I create courses that…gasp…people should pay for to learn from. No thank you for any of the stuff he’s had for free that might have helped him. Nothing.
Plus the major thing he’s missing, if he’s looking for ‘free’ stuff all the time, I can almost guarantee you he won’t get very far.
Bruce Linton says
Hey Paul, to use a little bit of cheeky latin….nils illegitimus carborundum. As to the “long winded intros”, I enjoy them, as, being an analytical person, I can glean as much information from them, as I can from the tutorials themselves. The bonuses I’ve received since subscribing, balanced against the outlay, make it really worthwhile, not to mention getting accurate transcriptions you can actually play through without stipping midway, saying “This isn’t right”. Many thanks and keep up the good work 🙂
Paul Wolfe says
Thanks for stopping by…as Dean pointed out, if you don’t want to hear the intros you don’t have to. And if the ‘free’ stuff that I give away isn’t good enough for someone…or doesn’t meet their needs or their level, then it’s a One Click unsubscribe. No deal, no drama.
Rafy Riquelme says
It’s embarrassing how many people believe they are entitled to someone else’s hard work for free because of the piracy mentality that prevails over the internet. Would you go to a music shop and demand that they give you a bass for free just because you are a bass player? Then why on Earth would you demand to get for free information that was compiled with very hard work on what to play on that very same bass? It would be interesting to see both the current level of this freeloader and what his level will be in a year with all the fantastic things he can find for “free”. Keep up the good work, Paul! (By the way, I’m working on deliberate practice everyday and looking deeper into K. Anders Ericsson’s work. Thanks for that!)
Paul Wolfe says
K Anders Ericsson rocks (but is deeeeepppppp). Thanks for the comment and the support. And I agree with you about the ‘free’ thing – the other thing with ‘free’ is because it’s ‘free’ the user often gives it little value or takes little notice of it. (Because it was free right.). So not only is there no guarantee of quality from free stuff….but the incentive to use it vanishes too.
Ralph Wilson says
Paul, although I have never met you, I can say that the teaching materials you produce are of the highest quality and that to make them so must take an awful lot of hard work. You have produced a vast amount of content that helps people to learn bass and learn about learning – and some person wants you to do this for free?
It’s people like him that are killing the music business – I wonder when he last paid for a mp3 or movie download, because he’s probably ‘entitled’ to download content for free.
As others have said, just keep on doing what you’re doing, those who know the value of things recognise the value of your work by paying for it, and your right to make a living from it!
Paul Wolfe says
Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I really appreciate your thoughts and comment. Have a great week!
Keith Davies says
I don’t know what this guy does for a living but I’ll bet he does non of it for free. Some people want something for nothing all the time.
You are a professional musician and a professional music teacher. It proves your integrity as a generous human being that you bother to distribute your vast knowledge for free. You could just charge for everything. Your lessons are well worth every penny you charge.
Keep going and take no notice of these idiots.
I am a total beginner who is eternaly grateful for your free lessons.
Paul Wolfe says
Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. And yep there are people who seem to want something for nothing. Maybe I should have quoted Neil Peart’s lyrics from the song of the same name at him!
Nigel Walden says
Well You certainly took Mr Kiwi’s critique to the cleaners in some style Paul. I can see from the comments above and I hope, my own common sense, that any bass player (or wannabe) in his right mind is going to value, both your free and great value payable stuff. I often find some very useful information on how to play the bassline in your friendly preambles, so keep up the good work and ignore the loony minority, the loss is entirely theirs, and serves them right.
Paul Wolfe says
This isn’t the first comment I’ve had like this…normally I just throw them in the trash. But something about this one really irritated me…and perhaps I was juvenile in fisking the comment here to lance my irritation.
However…everything I wrote in the post remains true. And if what I produce no longer fits with people’s goals there is an unsubscribe link in every email.
I’m glad that you’re finding – and continue to find – value in the lessons and the magazines and so on. Bass players like you – and Keith and Ralph and Raphy and Dean and Bruce – are the kind of people I’m trying to find.
Thanks for stopping by.
Julie Davies says
I’m a NON bass player but am the wife of Keith, who left a comment supporting your right to charge for internet lessons. He has come on leaps and bounds since ssubscribing to your free lessons, which, incidentally, I can happily listen in to and appreciate. I found the negative comment laughable but your response was highly entertaiing. Anyway, in an attempt to annoy the offended chap further, Keith has now just subscribed to your First Bass and Beyond Course for the price of a couple of takeaways a quarter. Talking of takeaways, I’m now off to try and blag a free one from the Chinese chap slaving away behind the shop counter. No problem, surely.
Paul Wolfe says
Thanks for dropping by – I’ve just added Keith to the list so he’ll probably have lots to keep him busy and out of your hair.
Let us know how you get on with your takeaway!
Joe Farrell says
I do not know where this clown is coming from.After following your free stuff for a while and realising that you know your stuff I signed on for the ezine and that was after you had already replied to emails from me without any money changing hands.I have made more money from your lessons out gigging than I will ever have to pay you in return so its his loss,not yours.Some people really are too dumb to realise when they have something good,I guess its back to badly shot,out of key you-tube videos and “awesome” free internet tabs for this clown.
Paul Wolfe says
Loved that phrase: back to badly shot out of key youtube videos and ‘awesome’ free internet tabs.
Nearly had an ‘expulsion of coffee on the computer’ moment. Shouldn’t read emails and comments first thing in the morning!
I don’t have a problem with people not liking my stuff – but I was annoyed by the shocking sense of entitlement that infused his words.
I’ll have more to say on the problem with ‘free’ stuff soon….thanks for stopping by.
Paul, I think you have to look at this comment as you can’t please all the people all of the time. Retail is a real eye opener when it comes to trying to please customers, because this scenario usually plays out more often than retailers like. It’s really too bad this subscriber just didn’t hit the unsubscribe link and be done with it. The unfortunate part is he never saw any benefit of what you have to offer. I’m thinking he has issues and just vented. Thanks for the great job you’re doing on FB&B. Lesson 163 was truly appreciated.
Paul Wolfe says
Oh I know that.
I like to turn negatives into positives though….and I used his email to spell out exactly what went into CTDC so potential students could see for themselves.
Glad you’re continuing to get value…how long have you been with FB&B now? Two years? Three?
Paul, I first signed up with your CTDC program 2 years ago, which BTW was a turning point in my bass playing. I’ve since have taken your BL101 and Beta Sight reading courses(when is lesson 14 coming? haha) and currently in my 2nd year of FB&B….great stuff and great value!
Donna Day says
I have been intending to ‘drop you a line’ so to speak, for a while, and after following your clever, witty and extremely gentlemanly response to this particular former subscriber, now seemed perfect.
So, ‘Nuff Said’ with regards to ungrateful types, let’s get on with some thoroughly well deserved appreciation for you, mate!, and some background on me ‘n’ mine.
I am a mum of 4, who without fully realizing it until recently, had been nursing a passion for the bass from mid-teens, and although I sing, play the flute and basic piano, learning to play ANY guitar (especially acoustic) had me beat. My son plays lead guitar, is getting better every day, and even his encouragement wasn’t helping. To cut a long story short Paul, because it really is a LONG story. I bought a bass package online and good fortune and stealth led me to your site. I can sight read music notation, but also love to play ‘by ear’ simply because I enjoy it. Your concise, clear and fun style of teaching is a perfect blend of the two for me.
I really appreciate becoming familiar with the names of some of the most talented players whose ‘killer’ lines I’ve been marvelling at for years.
There is so much info in your free stuff, I have wondered where you get the time for it all! My husband and kids are well impressed with my progress and I have every intention of purchasing some of your wares in the near future.
Thanks Paul, for sharing your experience and love of the bass.
PS: Noticed a few posts for lead, by other tutors on your site. Do you know of anyone who offers something similar to your info, for lead guitar?
Again, Many Thanks,
Paul Wolfe says
Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!
I don’t know of any sites like this for lead guitar I’m afraid…although I DO Know that Paul Gilbert has a course with a company called Artist Works. (And I don’t listen to many lead guitarists – Paul Gilbert and Steve Morse are the two exceptions!). But I can’t tell you anything about the course or whether it’s worth purchasing….so please do your due diligance.
I’d love to here more of your long story and how you got here….and your previous experience with a bass package. If you want to drop me an email about it, please do! (Simply hit REPLY to any of the regular mails I send out or use the contact form).
And please note that if you purchase something from me that will be cool – but it’s equally as cool if you don’t and carry on using the free stuff to learn lines and so on. Although I do Sell Stuff (;) ) I also realize that what I have to offer doesn’t always meet the time people have available and/or their bass playing goals.
Have a great weekend.
Kev Horner says
Just to add my thanks as well to all the hard work that you put into your site and lessons. As with many things in life it is the vocal minority that tend to shout the loudest and be heard.
Felt I had to add comments to the ones you have received above to show that there are many more people out here who appreciate what you do than there are don’t.
Keep up the good work!!!!
G,day from Australia Paul.I have just recently come across your site.Have been playing bass for 45 years.With a few large breaks inbetween I add.I think you have done a great job.Have been getting a bit stale with my practicing lately,(sight reading).Joining up has put the fun back into playing again.The way you explain how to play the bass lines is very simple and straightforward.(Maybe not for a certain Kiwi).Mate,keep up the great work.Cheers Mike