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A real eye opener

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by MinorPentatonic, Jul 2, 2005.

  1. Hello......me and my pal from work who have talked about getting together and jamming went down to an open-mike session down a local pub the other day.....I was really amazed that not only did the guys down there have all the gear, all the rigs, set-ups and everything, they all could play to a standard that made me feel like a kid just starting junior school. My dad plays guitar to a good standard and they were on other level to even him, and these people don't even play in a band! Now I know that practice makes perfect and all that, but how do you get as good as these guys? We've got basic practice amps, enthusiasm and our love of music. In the words of The Strokes, Is That It? Or can you give us some pointers as to get as good as these people? Most modern rock in bass as far as I can see is just pumping out the eighths....no disrespect to you guys out there doing it..........Help.
  2. The Clap

    The Clap

    Jan 5, 2004
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Like most things, you have to do it a lot to make it seem easy and natural every time. It's not an 'aha!' sort of thing, it takes steady work day in and day out to reach great levels of performing.
  3. DaftCat


    Jul 26, 2004
    Medicine Hat
    Experience... not always relevant to practice.

    Keep going to the established jams and avoid the hack ones.
    Although sometimes at the hack jams a good musician will drop in.
  4. A point to remember is that most people listen with their eyes first and their ears second, including most musicians.

    Meaning that a group that has all the "right" gear and is in the proper setting will sound "better" to many people. At least at first. Especially to musicians who have a tendancy to be insecure in the first place. So don't automatically assume these guys are "great" just because it seemed that way at the time.

    Yes there is a need to practice, however there is also a greater need in your development as a musician, and that is to play with people that are "better" than you. This will improve your skills faster than anything else. Especiallly if you can play in front of an audience. :cool:

  5. Hi - how were they better than you exactly.Identify your weaknesses and go home and work on them.Have lessons you're never too old or too good, there's always something that you can improve on.Practice and keep practising.Confidence always helps as well going along to a jam isn't the easiest thing in the world to do (I don't think) the others there have probably been going for some time and know each other.You end up using someone elses amp and possibly bass which doesn't sound and play the same as yours, the strings are old or too new or too light etc.Go for a few weeks and see what songs get played regularly and go and learn them (in the same key) of course,get to know the others who go along.Take a friend with you who plays and learn a song with him first and both get up and play at the same time.Best of luck - Kevin.
  6. leanne


    May 29, 2002
    Rochester, NY
    I agree, I think you should sit in with these guys if you can find the courage. And if it doesn't go well, you will probably find that it isn't that big of a deal, and then just try again next time!

    Good luck, I hope you do it. :)
  7. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    It helps to set your standards for instrumental proficiency higher than The Strokes. Not that I'm knocking them - but to grow as a musician, it helps to have role models that do more than pump out eighth notes. There are plenty of bass players out there now in all genres that play really well, and not just fusion-y wankers like the guys I tried to emulate :)
  8. supermonkey


    Mar 15, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    +15 to that. The value of playing with other people cannot be underestimated. It's a pretty simple notion, but really that's where ALL the magic happens. Learning how to listen to other players and respond/react to what's happening in real time -- all the practice in the world (by yoursefl) can't teach you that.

    So #1 is to try to play with other people -- preferably those who are better than you. You will learn vast amounts of the "intangibles" of musicianship by simply hanging out with other musicians (and not just bassists!), not to mention from playing with them.

    And #2, which is also astoundingly simple and methodical to achieve and doesn't involve other people, is to just learn as many songs as possible. Just become a tune sponge. All the best musicians I know are veritable walking fake books.

    Play along with all your favorite CDs until you have all the bass parts down cold. Then branch out. Start learning stuff that's foreign to you -- that's where you'll REALLY get schooled.
    Don't like classic rock? Train yourself with a Who or Led Zep record. If you're not familiar with reggae, get a Bob Marley disc and memorize it. Don't know anything about soul/R&B? Get a Stevie Wonder disc and just TRY to learn his synth bass parts.

    You might be ASTOUNDED at how just learning songs can challenge you, and how you can advance by exposing yourself to lots of different approaches to the bass.
  9. bonscottvocals


    Feb 10, 2005
    Upstate NY
    Supermonkey is very insightful, and his post is full of great information. No amount of 'woodshedding' will ever overcome the importance of playing with others, and the simple art of jamming takes you from the analytical and theoretical to the more communicative language of music. You'll learn about using the way you play (voicing and phrasing) as a way to guide and follow other members of the band. It's like having a conversation in another language, and it's very rewarding.

    As Supermonkey also stated, playing out of your comfort zone will increase your vocabulary and make you a better player. Don't get locked into thinking that the only thing that will make you a better metal player is playing metal. Jazz, blues, funk, country, disco, rock... they all increase your musical vocabulary and make you a better player. Personally, I'm as funky as a can of tuna, but I work on Motown stuff often to make me a better all around player.

    Lastly, when you get the chance to play in front of an audience, there's the 'entertainment' factor that's thrown in. If your goal is to become a gigging musician, a gig is worth several practices that only the experience of performing can bring.

    Knock 'em dead!

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