Cliff Engel

Cliff Engel is a bass guitarist and the founder of the International Institute of Bassists. He has been playing electric bass in all styles of music since 1987 with a primary emphasis on solo bass guitar and contemporary jazz. Cliff earned a bachelor of arts degree from Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas. As an instructor of technique, theory, and improvisation, Cliff has taught his methods to thousands of bassists around the world through his online bass courses, live video lessons, private lessons, and bass lessons by correspondence program.

Cliff Engel In 1997, Cliff founded the International Institute of Bassists (IIB) at The IIB is dedicated to the advancement of contemporary bass performance and the study of the bass tradition.

Cliff has designed 6 online bass courses at the IIB including Contemporary Techniques - The Basics & Beyond For Bass Guitar (2013), Jazz Improvisation For Bass Guitar & Acoustic Bass (2012), Sight Reading For Bass Guitar & Acoustic Bass (2012), Music Theory For Bass - Essential Concepts For Bass Guitar & Acoustic Bass (2011), Soloing Techniques For Bass Guitar & Acoustic Bass (2010), and Jazz Bass Lines - Contemporary Concepts For Bass Guitar & Acoustic Bass (2009).

Cliff has been performing contemporary music for unaccompanied electric bass guitar for many years. He has been a featured performer on bass guitar and acoustic upright bass in numerous ensembles including regional jazz duos, trios, quartets, quintets, fusion bands, rock bands, funk bands, big bands, R&B bands, country bands, musicals, choirs, churches, and orchestras. In May 2002, he was profiled in Bass Player magazine.

As editor of the IIB and a freelance writer, Cliff has interviewed many of the world's leading bassists. He has also written promotional press for dozens of music manufacturers and bassists which has been featured in a variety of print and online resources including magazines, instructional books, DVDs, CDs, product brochures, and on artist/manufacturer websites.

"Purple Haze" (2001)

"Awesome performance, Cliff! You play it much better than I do! You are making great strides as a player and it's a pleasure to hear the wonderful balance of chops, groove, and sensitivity in your music. Keep up the good work!"

Michael Manring - August 2001

"Mr. Pastorius" (2001)

Bass Transcription Service

Similar to studying a new language, learning to play any instrument requires the analysis of existing vocabulary to express and develop your own ideas. For less than the cost of a private lesson, you can start building a library of customized transcriptions featuring your favorite bass lines and solos. Over the past two decades, I have transcribed hundreds of complete compositions and excerpted parts of music at every level from the basic 8th-note rock of Blink-182 to extremely technical solo bass performances recorded in altered tunings by Michael Manring.

Even though I specialize in transcribing and arranging music for bass guitar and acoustic upright bass, I have also transcribed saxophone, trumpet, piano, and guitar parts. From basic jazz chord charts and lead sheets to big band arrangements and full orchestral scores, I transcribe all styles of traditional and contemporary music including jazz, fusion, funk, rock, pop, blues, classical, motown, latin, and country.

All transcriptions are created in standard music notation (and tablature when requested) using the most recent version of Finale, the world's best-selling music notation software for creating, editing, and printing sheet music. Along with standard notation and tablature, transcriptions may contain chord symbols, articulation markings, tempo indicators, rehearsal letters, special signs, dynamics, vocal lines, terms, and extended performance notes upon request. The rate for transcribing is $25 per hour, and the price of each transcription varies depending on the complexity of the music. The turnaround time for most transcriptions is less than week, but more difficult tracks may require more time. In addition to transcribing music from audio tracks and video media, I can create publication quality sheet music from handwritten manuscript on traditional staff paper. I can also provide you with slower versions of the original audio track which you can use for practicing passages until you can play the music note-for-note up to tempo. Upon completion, all transcriptions are delivered via e-mail as a PDF file which can then be viewed and printed using the free Adobe Reader.

To receive a free price quote, send an MP3 file of the music along with a detailed description of the parts you are seeking to have transcribed to: Please be sure that any single audio file doesn't exceed 20 MB in size. New projects are accepted on a limited basis as my schedule permits.

Private Bass Guitar Lessons

If you live in close proximity to Hays, Kansas, or are willing to travel, you can study with me in private, one-on-one bass lessons. I teach 4, 5, and 6-string fretted and fretless electric bass guitar and acoustic upright bass. These lessons are structured for bassists of all levels from beginner to advanced and all styles of traditional and contemporary music including jazz, fusion, funk, rock, pop, blues, classical, motown, latin, and country.

Subjects that we may study in our private lessons include:
- Right & Left Hand Technique
- Classical & Jazz Music Theory
- Sight Reading
- Ear Training
- Bass Line Construction
- Soloing
- Jazz Improvisation
- Slapping
- Tapping
- Fingerstyle Funk
- Chordal Techniques
- Harmonics
- Altered Tunings
- Concepts For Solo Bass Playing

Students are accepted on a limited basis as my schedule permits. Lessons are available throughout the year and can be started anytime during the month. Lessons are typically scheduled on a weekly basis, but bi-weekly lessons are available upon request. Unless scheduled otherwise, each private bass lesson is 1 hour in duration and can be scheduled anytime between the hours of 10:00 AM and 10:00 PM, 7 days a week. Lessons are taught at my studio, but I am willing to teach at your residence at no additional charge if you are located within the city limits of Hays. Lessons are priced at a rate of $75 per month (4 lessons @ $18.75 per hour), and payment is due the first lesson of each month. I will gladly accept personal checks, cash, money orders, or credit cards as forms of payment. For those months containing 5 weeks, you'll receive the 5th lesson of the month for free. For example, most of the time there are 4 Mondays in a month, but some months contain 5. This may occur a few times per year depending on the day of the week your lessons are scheduled. All lesson materials including standard notation, tablature, MP3 play-alongs, audio tracks, and video clips will be provided.

To check availability, enroll, and schedule lessons, e-mail:

Testimonials from students who have studied with Cliff through his online bass courses, live video lessons, private lessons, and bass lessons by correspondence program