I will always suggest that you start your upright bass adventures by studying with an experienced and schooled teacher. However, I recognize that both geography and cost can get in the way of that method, as quality teachers are not so easy to find in every nook and cranny of the world.
Some folks find visual instruction easier than the written word, and due to demand for such a product, I've settled on Todd Phillips' instruction set. I can recommend this two-DVD set to help launch a new player into the world of upright bass. It's not specific to any style, so whether you're into bluegrass, jazz, rockabilly - or any other style - this is a great starting point. Below is some information about what you get in this package; I will add my own observations to the info provided by the publisher as soon as I can.
On DVD One, Todd familiarizes you with your instrument, shows you how to play with good tone and timing, and provides you with the essential techniques you'll need to eliminate unnecessary stress on your body and hands. Unique on-screen diagrams and close-up camera work will guide you in visualizing the geometric grid of notes on the fingerboard as Todd guides you through major scales and chords in both open and closed positions.
Moving to right hand techniques, you'll learn how to achieve volume, tone production, definition and the solid rhythm to lay down a musical foundation for any kind of music you want to play.
DVD Two brings you firmly into intermediate territory with the teaching of minor scales, leading tones, a variety of time signatures and more complex chord changes. You'll learn invaluable exercises to help you strengthen and stretch your fingers, develop strong rhythmic technique and accurately locate the notes on the fingerboard. Todd also provides important advice about how to function as a bassist in a group, listening, supporting and responding to other players.
"...Phillips is relaxed and warm throughout these two tapes, explaining concepts clearly and demonstrating them in a way that just about any aspiring bassist of moderate talent and motivation will be able to understand." - Bluegrass Unlimited
"Essential Techniques is highly recommended for beginners and aspiring doublers, and more advanced bassists may be inspired to re-examine technique and clean up bad habits.... The camera work is excellent, and Todd is relaxed in front of the camera and behind his bass." - Bass Player
Note: Due to copyright restrictions, opened books, CDs, DVDs, and other learning materials are not returnable (except for replacement in the case of defective items).