getting out of a rut
This is something I've wrestled with, fairly often. I'd be interested in what my low-end colleagues do, and thought a thread to share tips might be good.
From time to time I get stale, get in a rut. I get bored with my pet licks, get frustrated that I'm hearing the same riffs in my head, the same chord extensions. I'm wanting to feel the joy of a new breakthrough in my playing, in terms of technique, ear training, or creativity...but I'm in a rut. I get bored with my practice routine, and start to slack.
Experience that? What do you do, to get out of the rut?
Things I've done:
Bought a different bass. Different tone, different response shocks me out of the patterns. Fun, but pricey. Hey--GAS does have a benefit, though!
Cheaper alternative: set the action different on my usual bass. Feels different, requires me to adapt.
Bought a method book. Cheaper, gets me doing something different on the bass.
Randomly picked a video lesson, and worked through it.
What tricks/tips/thoughts do you have?
I find that doing fill in gigs with varying other bands/artists is a great method to get out of the rut. I love my main band but I play some blues gigs with other bands. This allows me to explore different Licks and tones.
i always find a sense of renewal and excitement jamming with other musicians, but that isn't always practical.
learning new tunes helps sometimes.
also, i have an acoustic guitar at home, i know it's blasphemy here, but pulling that out and playing and hopping back to the low end helps as well. i guess i have to use a different part of my brain?!
Playing with the band certain things are expected and yes they do fit into the same ole things over and over. The one thing that keeps this interesting is we have 6 new songs each week. (Sunday Praise band) Those six new songs can and do require different bass lines. So I'm never bored.
But, at home I am not held to what others expect. I Love Jazz and find it rewarding and a bit challenging. The Real Book 6th edition will keep me busy for many years. With the band I'm playing chord harmony, the Real Book is melody. That alone is enough to keep me out of a rut.
We have two lives; one public life where we follow the accepted and expected and then another, at home, where we can do what we want. Well let me qualify that; as long as it is upstairs in my pout, aka, music room.
That seems to keep me out of a rut.
I get out of a rut by finding some very unfamiliar music and playing that. Basically, I play anything that I haven't played before, and the rut disappears.
Playing new tunes can help, some more than others it seems. It also helps me to play the same licks in a different position on the neck -- if it's awkward sometimes a new lick presents itself.
I write some songs on my hammond organ and use the foot pedals to play simple bass lines.
Then I record the organ parts without the pedal parts, and jam along on my bass to create new bass parts that I would never be able to do on the foot pedals, but it was the pedals that helped me write the new bass part in the first place.
basic addition and subtraction!
I'll put in some time playing (or playing with) a cigarbox guitar, banjo, or other stringed instrument that's not tuned in ascending 4ths. That or try playing around with alternate tunings on an acoustic guitar. Doing that messes up the "muscle memory" and scale patterns that can sometimes become too automatic for my own good.
If I'm in a super deep rut, I just walk away completely for a few days. That usually is eniugh to perform a brain-heimlich maneuver on me.
When I'm feeling in a rut I force myself to learn something i don't know. For 15 years I played in cover bands doing the bar scene. Had a blast and got pretty good at it but I never learned to read music and never knew what notes I was playing or what a chord progression was. Now that I'm back playing after a decade long break I'm learning to read notation, scales and chords, and I now at least know what note I'm playing at any given time. It really has opened up my playing and especially my ability to create on the fly.
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