The surefire way to develop your own voice on your instrument.
It seems to me like this is one area that musicians obsess over. "How do I find my voice on the instrument?"
I've read the following two pieces of advice and they seem to make perfect sense in an almost Zen kind of way.
I read an interview with Stanley Clarke where when he was asked that question he said, "Learn to play your instrument and don't worry about it."
Makes perfect sense to me. Once we learn our instrument to the point where we don't have to think about technique and what we are playing our "Voice" will come out.
The other thing is embrace your quirks. I've heard Victor Wooten say it, I've heard Steve Vai say it, I've heard Jimmy Herring say it. I've found it to be true. When I look at all of my favorite players in any genre on any instrument I've noticed that they all have their quirks that they readily accept as a part of who they are and how they play.
If I were to expand on these 2 things I'd say keep learning and growing. Let's look at Marcus Miller for a moment. Marcus has a very identifiable sound and approach. But I've also noticed that rather then just fall back on his standard vocabulary that he is adapting techniques like Palm Muting a`la Anthony Jackson, double thumping a`la Victor Wooten, and thumb and index finger plucking a`la Dominique Di Piazza and incorporating them into his style too.
I honestly think if you follow these three concepts you will be well on your way to developing your own voice on your instrument.
I would add to that don't allow yourself to be influenced by negative people. If you hear "you can't do that" decide for yourself. Not to be confused with not listening to advice. Just because you listen doesn't mean you have to take it. Imagine what people said to Larry Graham the first time he slapped a string. Now imagine if he had let someone else decide for him what sounded good.
Listen to as much music as you can, listen to as many different kinds of music as you can. Don't be afraid to copy the things you like. No one will copy or be attracted to the same things you are.
I hear so many opinions as a musician/player, all good. The best is from Flea: "I worked at becoming the best me." That "me" may be an amalgam. That's a good thing. My awesome bass mentor said that you aren't a real bass player if you don't double. I tried it for six months or so. Not for me, but I now own an unlined fretless. Moreover, I don't look at the fretboard as much, and my ear is much more devoloped. In conclusion, it's all good...advice, even if you don't agree.
How to find ones own 'voice';
Stop trying to find it, and play the music.
That's the only thing worth 'worrying' about.
At one point someone may just come up to you and tell you they found your playing quite unique or original...
I would say it has to do a lot with confidence.. I know some great players that seem to consciously or not restrain themselves.. while others that just go for what sounds good to them regardless of what it is.
You have to know who you are and have the confidence to say, "this is what I'm feeling here".
confidence is right, and also a set of b****.
Also put yourself in a musical situation where "your voice" is a part of the presentation and needed.
For me it is ( and still is ), learn music theory, learn how to play and all but don't bother with the instrument. Just take one bass and stick with it. Play every music style with that one bass.
One day, you will have your own cliché, or favorite phrasing. I don't think the tone of the bass matter that much, nor do I think most of the heros have such a unique tone, but all of them have some cliché or favorite lick that you can hear every now and then and I think this is what is really recognizable.
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