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Advice for a player coming off a long break

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by npbassman, Jan 2, 2014.

  1. npbassman

    npbassman

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    So I have decided to get back into playing after a long, 7 year layoff during which most of that time I did not touch my bass at all. What can I say, life happened but I always knew I'd get the itch to play again so here I am.

    Prior to the break, I was never a superstar but I was a solid player with chops, groove, feel and I was gigging pretty regularly. Fast forward to today, for about the past 5 weeks I have dedicated at least an hour a night on weeknights and whenever time I can find on weekends for practice. I remember all of my old exercises so the chops and muscle memory have actually come back faster than I anticipated. I have also spend a lot of time with my metronome but the problem is my old groove and feel still elude me. I know it's only been 5 weeks but I play like a robot with bad meter and I know it. Does anyone have suggestions for shaking off the rust after such a long layoff?

    thx - Mike
  2. grinx

    grinx

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    informal jam with humans
  3. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration Supporting Member

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    +1... Or at least hooking up with a good drummer for some impromptu jamming.
  4. Mockyngbyrd

    Mockyngbyrd

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    Keep the faith Mike. I started about a year ago after a 25 year stretch of not playing. It does come back after a while and at different times. Don't give up.
  5. ghostfather

    ghostfather

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    I am in a similar boat.
    Stopped playing with bands ten years ago.
    Sold my bass two years ago.
    Learned guitar in the interim.

    Got a bass again two months ago.
    Had a try-out a couple weeks later (on a really poorly set-up bass!) and have been playing once a week with the band since then. Been woodshedding just about every day on my own to catch up.

    I am better now than ever.

    The resources available to musicians is vastly different now than ten years ago. All the sites, youtube tutorials, the forums, the practice gear - so much has changed. It is so much easier now to learn how to play.

    My advice is to get back in a band situation. That will really push you to keep up with the other guys (and gals, if that applies).
  6. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton Gold Supporting Member

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    Just take your time and ease in. First off start playing and jamming with others, give your playing some reason for you to use it and as such practice.
    You have an advantage because you had a long lay off, you have in -fact been resting your hands, so they will be fresh to learn....try not to re-learn or you will increase your chances of returning to old habits... good and bad. There is a lot of info out there about health and fitness so check it out, as there is about playing. Your experience has moved tou own so you will approach and develop in a different way thean you will expect.

    In all see it as a chance to improve on where you were when you stopped, you will find that the notes fall under the fingers quick, but your sense of feel will take a while to catch up because it needs technique and strength of technque behind it. Try not to get to caught up in technical things, this is why playing with others is important...as i said it gives you the reason to practice songs and in those songs you will find the feeling you seek. :)
  7. RTDglobetrotter

    RTDglobetrotter

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    I know where you're coming from. Two years ago, I was on a break between bands due to moving country with work. When the dust settled and I wanted to re-engage I was struggling to find my groove and mojo. Jamming with people helped, and also jamming tracks on youtube. There's lots of groove/jazz/funk and karaoke style tracks online for jamming to. Another technique that helped was, coming home drunk and playing along to an itunes/youtube/groove shark play list. This helped to push my playing and perspective into areas I wouldn't normally contemplate when playing to a metronome and sober. It's also good fun!!
  8. two fingers

    two fingers Loud Mouth Know It All Blowhard Gold Supporting Member

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    This is a perfect answer.

    I love it when a fellow NC guy proves that we're not all dumb backwoods hicks!

    You need human people persons (preferably alive) to jam with. That'll knock the dust off fast. And it will probably be fun as well.

    Welcome back! (We knew you would be back. Nobody leaves for good..... or else......:bag:)
  9. DrayMiles

    DrayMiles

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    Try not to jam with really bad musicians.. I don't think that helps. Better no drummer et. al. than a bad one. IMO..
  10. porterbass

    porterbass Supporting Member

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    See the ball... be the ball...
  11. npbassman

    npbassman

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    Thanks everyone for the replies and encouragement. Yep, I get it - I need to find a group to play with! :D I have a couple of prospects lined up and I'm hoping to hook up with them soon. In the meantime I just continue to practice whenever I can.

    A few thoughts regarding some of the replies. Yes, so much has changed and so many resources are available since I last played. It's absolutely great. Also, I am taking the opportunity to correct some technique issues that I had so this is a great opportunity to hopefully exceed the level I was once at. I'm also thinking of taking a few lessons locally to help jump start me back into it.

    Finally, one thing that I have noticed is that I seem to be catching gear acquisition syndrome again as catch myself browsing for goodies (LOL). It also looks like my prized early 90's Modulus Q5 has tripled in value although I will never sell it. It's my bass soul mate.

    I'm looking forward to getting out there again!
  12. pfox14

    pfox14

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    I'm also a guy who started playing bass at a young age and then gave it up for a few years. Then I got the itch to start playing again. I will be actively seeking a band situation, as I believe there's only so much I can do to improve playing by myself. Unfortunately, I just had foot surgery, so I will have to wait until I'm back on my feet to go on auditions. Maybe in late February or so. I wish all of you good luck in getting back to playing. Music is good for the soul.
  13. bonzo4880

    bonzo4880

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    agreed, find a good drummer and the rest will fall into place.
  14. Doublesixes

    Doublesixes

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    At one point in my life, many years ago, I had a chance to talk to Tommy Bolin, a superb guitar player with Deep Purple. I asked him about how he developed his phenomenal chops and his simple answer (this was back in the mid 70s): "I play to anything that comes on on the radio".

    Of course, today you can refine what you can play to. So my humble advice would be to do all what our fellow TBers have suggested plus improv to whatever musically appealing material you find on TV, radio, online, etc. If I may add, make your music selection totally random, even chaotic and you will end up a more versatile player.
    Thanks for reading.
    66
  15. t77mackie

    t77mackie

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    I took a similar break in my life. Don't get discouraged. You are older now and are a different person than you were. Maybe you don't have certain things you used to but with age comes experience and you'll have different strengths now. Don't get discouraged and do what you enjoy and makes you happy and you can't go wrong with that.

    Good luck!!
  16. npbassman

    npbassman

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    Everyone thanks for keeping the thread alive and replying with the advice and encouragement!

    Here is an update since my last post. I haven't played with anyone yet but I have since found a local classic rock jam group and I'm scheduled to play with them next week. I'm super pumped!

    In the meantime, I've been practicing at least an hour or two every night copping tunes, jamming to the drum machine, etc and on most mornings I do 20 mins of just exercises like spider crawls, repetitive runs and basic left/right hand stuff all at super slow speed to ensure each note sounds the same.

    One thing that has really helped me is I picked up a copy of Bass Aerobics by Jon Leibman and have started doing the lessons. Not only have the exercises helped my chops (I figured out really quick I had some work to do LOL) but I listen to the tracks on my commute to/from work and I think it's helping me get that groove mentality back into my brain.

    With all that said, it's great playing again. There was a point in time last week where I got better everyday which was awesome. There are moments where I have a groove breakthrough and say "there is is!" only to lose it a few bars later but I do see some progress there. From an endurance standpoint I'm at the point where my hands and forearms beg for mercy but overall, I'm having a blast playing again!

    I shall continue on...!
  17. Biggbass

    Biggbass

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    "He went out for a pack of cigarettes and never came back"

    like said previously, find a jam, start a jam, jam with your iTunes,
    just play. Eventually others will join in.

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