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About Scott Devine
Known for his superb online lessons – and a black silk glove – Scott Devine uses his masterful chops to guide bassists of all levels to achieve their musical goals and become better musicians.
The story of Scott Devine is one of adapting to every circumstance and tackle all hindrances, of overcoming the unexpected twists and turns of life, to stay close to the core of music itself.
In many ways Scott Devine was an unlikely candidate to pick up and master the bass. A childhood friend convinced him to join guitar practice with some other kids at shcool. They soon lost interest, which meant the end for the guitar class. But Devine stuck to the instrument and was instead tutored by a work friend of his father for a pack of cigarettes a lesson.
The work friend saw talent glimmering in his young pupil and advised Devine’s father to let the kid take classical guitar lessons.
The young Devine made his way to classical guitar competitions and got his first taste of reading music. He has explained in interviews how this formative experience pushed him and shaped his approach to grasping music.
As a teenager Devine hung around the wrong crowd and fell back in school, but found a way out trouble, when he saw an advertisement in the paper for an apprentice luthier in Chris May’s newly upstarted company Overwater basses in Carlisle.
Here he became fascinated by the rumbling instrument and decided to learn how to play it. As luck would have it, a bass luthier's company was the right place to discover such a passion, and he was able to borrow an instrument with him home.
It was also here opportunity presented itself, when a bass player, stricken with health issues, one day called to look for a replacement. Scott was given the chance to fill in the pit of a musical.
He ended up staying for a year, opting to leave his apprenticeship and instead learn to read bass clef and achieving a fuller understanding of music. It was the first steps on the path to an active playing career.
From here on no gig was too small for Devine, who travelled all over the world, learning the trades of a professional working musician the hard way on cruise ships, shows and musicals, and later stumbling into a position as musical director for Sony in Poland.
Along the way he soaked up boundless experience from life on the road, getting a thorough know-how of all the facets of bass playing, meeting up with great musicians, and receiving endless inspiration from band members.
For years on end Devine gigged five to six nights a week, keeping himself busy in his off-time by practicing even more. It seemed that he would never put down his bass.
But then disaster struck. Over a period of three years he started to lose control of his fingers, not only when playing bass, but also while typing on a computer. He was diagnosed with a neurological condition, Focal Dystonia, and told that he could not play anymore.
This is undoubtingly heartbreaking news for any musician, and Scott Devine didn’t touch a bass for six months. The insecurity of not being able to continue his known life left his mind in turmoil.
He briefly considered returning to being a luthier and he even enrolled in a classical guitar making course, while seeking treatment for his condition. It was a world spanning search for a cure to an ailment that had neither the clarity of an explanation or the hope of recovery.
A doctor mentioned that a famous violinist with the same issue had found that wearing latex gloves helped. It may sound preposterous, but Devine had run out of prescribed options and was willing to take a chance on anything that could help just the slightest.
This marks the point in time when Devine ordered his first black silk gloves and found that he could start playing again little by little. From being told he would never be able to play the bass again, this was a genuine breakthrough - no matter how random.
While the bass had rested on its stand, he had spent his downtime watching and scrutinizing online bass lessons - though he admits it sometimes felt like torture, when he wasn't able to pick up the bass himself - and realized that while the lessons showcased high technical ability, they weren’t useful in securing a gig as a working musician.
Inspired by this and with the desire to create lessons aimed more at improving overall playing rather than just learning licks, he started uploading his own lessons.
The immediate feedback was good, people taking notice of the unconventional glove, and prompted the demand for even more lessons, and suddenly Devine found himself learning how to manage an online business.
Scott’s Bass Lessons now boasts not only online lessons, but also an academy with courses and live seminars. His lessons are followed by bass players in the thousands across the globe. And with good reason.
As a bass player Devine exhibits a rare combination of traits. He has a great sense of rhythm, harmony and melody and he plays in the pocket.
But he also has the gift of being a great educator, understanding how to get someone to succeed in something, they might not think they would be able to do.
This journeyman now takes all the knowledge he has accumulated over an illustrious career and dispenses it with great care to the future bass players of the world.
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