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A teacher of bassology, or something more.

Discussion in 'Ask Anthony Wellington [archive]' started by Zoomie, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. Zoomie


    Jan 26, 2012
    East Tennessee
    Anthony, I spent the last week or so e-stalking you. I've pretty much read or watched everything I could find. No need to call the police. You won't catch me digging through your trash or anything. :D

    Not even sure why I started digging. I have run in to your name a few times over the last couple of years. For whatever reason, I looked you up and just kept reading and reading.

    It got a bit strange for me because I felt as if you were speaking directly to me. If you'll humor me for a second, I'll explain.

    I have played bass off and on for 30 years, although "played" is a poor choice of words. Lots of local bands, some recording, a couple of opportunities to tour a bit with some up and comers which I walked away from, all in the name of a good job. So yes, just another wannabe hack with a bass.

    Here's where it gets interesting. I have never felt that I was worthy of calling myself a bass player. Not from the perspective of my definition of a true bass player. I felt like I have faked it all this time, disrespecting our bottom dwelling brethren that are indeed worthy of being called a bass player.

    To use your words if I may, I have lived for years in the second level of (bass) awareness, painfully aware of how much how I didn't know. And again in support of your thoughts, it is a horrible place to be.

    It's like a curse. It is akin to being trapped in this tumultuous love affair with a tempestous, crazy woman that speaks some dead language. I love her so much but can't communicate. I try to express my feelings. But I mangle the language yet again. In response, she grunts and hisses, voicing disgust and distain for my perceived actions.

    Oh I have tried to learn. I have spent years wandering inhospitable land, never ever finding the path. The path of building blocks which will allow me to head towards being able to speak elementary bass. Books and tapes, and theory, and poor teachers. No one could ever help me to understand what building blocks I needed. The last round of playing I got so disgusted that I sold off everything six or so years ago. Left my corporate job and opened a small company. I swore in the name of all that is Low B, that I would never, ever attempt to date the crazy woman again.

    Sadly, I am still mired in misery. The problem is that music speaks to my soul. Because of this, I avoid it like the plague. Why? Here's why.

    The other day, I am driving to work and flip on the radio. I here Verdine White laying it down funky on Serpentine Fire. Before I know it, I have the sub in my truck cryin' for its momma because you can't help but turn it up to 11. My butt has a mind of its own and starts wagging in the seat, forcing me to swerve little. The drivers around me think that I am having a seizure as I am madly thumping on the steering wheel sporting a vicious case of bass face.

    Before I know it, the song is over and a profound sense of sadness washes over me as I have never felt I learned enough to accurately express myself on bass.

    While this story is corny and embarassing to post, it was written from the heart. I bounced back and forth just sending you a PM. I finally elected to post publically out of respect to your passion, commitment, and work ethic in trying to help bass players big and small speak from the heart when playing. Most importantly, to teach us things that will help us be better bass players.

    Thank you for all that you do ! You have inspired me to correct this wrong in my life. And this is a LIFE thing, not a bass thing.

    Thanks to your inspiration, I just purchased a bass and am waiting for an amp and few other tidbits. No, I am not going out and jumping in to a band. This is between me and her. I am going to fling myself at the learning process one more time, in the privacy of my own home.

    With your help, I am going to pull her hair one more time and see if I can't get communicate my undying love for her. If I'm lucky, I can finally get her to giggle and growl.

    On those days when you're beat up and exausted due to your insane schedule, remember this. Don't ever dismiss or underestimate the value of your contribution to those around you, both near and far. You teach life lessons, sir. Life lessons.

    Warmest regards,

    John S.
  2. waleross


    Nov 27, 2009
    South Florida
    Welcome to the Forum :)
  3. Zoomie


    Jan 26, 2012
    East Tennessee
    Thank you ! There are some fantasic people here.
  4. Ant Wellington

    Ant Wellington

    Jan 4, 2011
    Hey Zoomie,

    Thanks for you very kind and sincere words. They really touched me.

    Let me know if there is anything I can do to assist you.

    Oh yea, it'll be easier to stalk me with my phone number.


    Call or text anytime.

  5. Zoomie


    Jan 26, 2012
    East Tennessee
    Thanks for all that you do and for taking the time.

    Once I rememebr where all these cords go, I'll run you down to see if you can't put me on the path, recommendations on starting back at the beginning, Music Dojo, etc.

    Have a great day !
  6. rodsnhawgs

    rodsnhawgs Custom builder. G-ratio basses Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2010
    U.S., WV
    Hey Zoomie, I can relate to your story. Here's the cool part....about a year ago I made the choice to get serious with that same gal you speak of... Although the past year has been full of distractions and other time commitments, I have worked on it (at least some) every day. The even cooler part is I found two, check it out...two, really great musicians to help with my plan. The first is a local (world class) jazz pianist that has helped in areas of musicality and theory. The second is none other than Anthony via Skype.

    Your finding/stalking Ant will be one of the best things that ever happened to you as a bassist. Jump on this opportunity with both feet and do exactly what he tells you... trust me, it's a life-changing experience between you and that "girl"...

    I'm thinking 2012 is gonna put me into the forth level of awareness...how cool is that!?
  7. sonofabass


    Feb 10, 2006
    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar Amplification, Mike Lull,MXR,Gruv Gear, Mono
    What an awesome post. Dude - you'll love working with Ant.
    Also - I am really not a 'forum' person. I've been on TB for years, don't post much, don't look much but installed the TB app on my iphone JUST for this corner of TB. You'll like it here so Welcome aboard!

    Happy thumping!
  8. Zoomie


    Jan 26, 2012
    East Tennessee

    Thanks for sharing your story and a huge congrats to you!

    This has been horribly frustrating over the years. Anthony was quoted in an interview saying that the bass player is either the smartest person in the band or the dumbest. Well mark me down for the dumbest.

    I played for so many years. Pop covers are easy to listen to and work out so I slid by. In effect, I felt like I copied and faked through playing.

    On orginal projects, I usually came up with something acceptable/tolerable that found acceptance with the band, but really, no one in so many bands really gives a crap about the bass line.

    I always felt that I came up short because I couldn't speak the language. As an example, I can hear something and instantly recognize subtle jazz within the framework that is being played. I have no idea what makes it so melodically, or, how to add that to something other than painstaking trial and error.

    I need to know why. And why comes from understanding the foundation stuff like theory, Modes, scales, timing (tumbao anyone?), phrasing, etc. While I have tried to learn some of this, it never ever clicked.

    As I watched or read Anthony's stuff, things started clicking left and right. Oh they were small things musically, but huge to me because everything that Anthony was saying was making sense. Heck I didnt have a bass at the time. Yes, Anthony speaks idiot !

    I'll never be a great bass player and I am OK with that. But I do believe that Anthony can help me become the best player that I can be. Guide me towards learning the things I need to learn to express myself by learning the language of bass. This is a pretty profound statement. I really need to start literally just past the point of " this is an E string."

    I bought some very humble but satisfactory gear. I have tried flinging 3000.00 basses at my problem. It didn't help. Imagine that. I will focus on learning and developing my own tone versus asking my gear to do it for me.

    I assure you that I will do exactly what he tells me. I will clearly be one of his biggest challenges, but I will work my butt off to to develop this incoherent inner voice. I will excercise this demon once and for all !

    Peace my friend. Can't wait to see what 2012 brings for you !
  9. Aljazz


    Apr 13, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Hey Zoomie

    You have a good way with words. Great story. I share a similar story to yours as, I'll bet, do many others. I too broke up with my lady, uh, bass for many years to have a regular day job. When I first saw Vic play, I started my love affair again, and bought a new bass. After fumbling around for a few years, I started some piano lessons because I could not find a bass teacher where I live. After some serious work, and rediscovering my passion for bass, within a few years I became a bass instructor, and currently have about 35 bass students per week. Pretty decent turnout for the size of area I live in.

    So at the age of 40, I found myself quiting my day job to be a musician and earn my living just doing what I love to do, With the support of a wonderful wife, I am a much happier person and although I am not financially rich, I feel I am the richest person in the world.

    I never thought before this that I would be a full time musician... I just followed my heart, and continue to try to learn on a daily basis from anyone willing to teach. Which by the way I have discovered comes from all kinds of sources, not just actual teachers. In fact most of it comes from other sources if I pay enough attention.

    Anthony is an amazing teacher. I have had the pleasure of taking a few skype lessons from him, as well as Bass Camp. I hope to be as good at teaching as he is someday.

    Have fun with your bass Zoomie. Follow your heart, you can't go wrong.
  10. Zoomie


    Jan 26, 2012
    East Tennessee
    Aljazz, thank you for the kind words.

    Congrats on your journey thus far. And what a journey it's been.I am ecstatic any time I chat with someone that is actually enjoying what they do in life.

    I did the same thing with my business life. Left a senior management position at huge company to open a company. While it was successful for a few years, let's just say that business partners can be a difficult thing. Closed that company and opened a small company in TN with no business partners. In spite of the economy, it's doing great. My wife says that I am far more happy in life and only half the butthole that I used to be ! :D

    And speaking of great wives, mine has been supportive beyond belief. She didn't blink and eye when I told her I was grabbing some gear. I think that she has spent more time than I have in dive bars, with her best friend's husband out playing as well.

    I am excited about this but also concerned. I don't want to suck up a spot for someone far more deserving. I also don't want to waste Ant's time on trivial stuff that forces him to feel like he's watching paint dry.

    Maybe he can send me to remedial bass instruction and tell me to come back when I have a vague clue!
  11. phillybass101


    Jan 12, 2011
    Artist, Trickfish Amplification Bartolini Emerging Artist, MTD Kingston Emerging Artist. Artist, Tsunami Cables
    Hey Zoomie, you're not alone. I constantly ask Anthony questions not only about music but about life. Anthony is a very cool dude to say the least. I've only had one face to face lesson with him but we have communicated amny times about a lot of differnt things. It was though Anthony that I came in contact with Blyss. You aer surrounded by cats who love music and express it through playing bass. My situaion is very similar to yours and believe me caring about what you do is one of the ingredients. Be proud to say your are a bassist. Be proud to be able to play the instrument. Call yourself a bassist. Study your craft and stay encouraged as there are many cats out here who can give you support. Anthony is creating an Army of Bassologists all around the world. My wife thinks I'm a bad azz bass player and always encourages me. And she always reminds me that Nobody Funks Like Finn (me). Hey if you want share anything or rap, or need encouragement ior need something answered PM me.
  12. Zoomie


    Jan 26, 2012
    East Tennessee
    Thanks for the kind words, Philly!

    Interestingly, I am doing just that. Been practicing every day and loving it. Currently taking a Music Dojo class on groove. Really enjoying it.

    I am working to get settled a bit, refamiliarize myself with what I thought I knew, etc. Once I knock that out, I intend to run Ant down and see if he is willing to help me create a road map of learning, in spite of lack of knowledge, just to see where it leads me.

    In the end, the hard part for Ant (not me) is that I will likely ask him to start at the very beginning, just after (B), E, A, D and G. :p
  13. Gtripdub


    Jan 14, 2012
    hey im a 48 year old newbie..played guitar since i was a teen...a year ago the low end hit me bought a bass and started woodshedding like im 16...i to am inspired by mr wellington...and now im inspired by you zoomie...keep the funk alive brother
  14. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    lost angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    The short story - started playing guitar and piano at age 8, gigged on and off starting in my teens. After spending 4 years out of HS trying to be the next Jimi Clapton I went to college. Entered as a music major (wanting to score films), left with a degree in chemistry as I got nervous about the ability to make a living in the biz. Went to graduate school to get a phd so I could teach at the college level. Musically I switched to bass because I wanted to start playing jazz and I was too lazy to relearn guitar. Played in the school big band and small ensembles. All self taught with bits picked up along the way. Finished the phd, did a postdoc, gigging on the side in jazz groups the whole time. Got a faculty position, got married, had a kid, kept gigging on the side. Did a career change to digital media/simulation/etc in '00. Kept gigging on the side, doing some albums released in Japan and played some shows in Tokyo. Still gigged on and off, though for a few years mostly off. Was writing free verse and doing photography as creative outlets. Self-published a book of free verse in 2009. Starting doing youtube solo guitar/singing videos of twisted takes on 70's pop songs.

    In 2010, at age 48, decided that I wasn't getting any younger and a day spent not playing out is a day that is gone forever. Started my own group, and did casuals. 50 gigs in 2010. That was just getting warmed up. Went to Bass/Nature camp in 2011 and it changed my life. Did 140 gigs that year (with a crushing day job and being a parent), playing in 5 different group. In 2012, at age 50, I decided that it was time to build on the BNC experience and get serious about my instrument. I pinged Ant and the skype lessons commenced. I told him at the outset, I want to start over. The previous 40+ years of playing got me to that place, but at some point you have to tear things down so you can build them back up properly and get to the next levels. I've struggled to "empty my cup" along the way, and the lessons are humbling, frustrating, and ego deflating. Which is part of what is needed.

    I have no reservations recommending lessons with Ant. Unless you're not serious about the undertaking. It's all there for the taking - you just have to do the work. Monday I had a hellish day with a major project deliverable. I was going solid from 8am until finally delivering at 11pm. Then I went to get my bass and do the work that feeds my soul. I really wanted to flake out on the couch. But when the number of days in front of you is less than the ones behind you, time - specifically *now* is all you've got. Use it wisely.
  15. David A. Davis

    David A. Davis Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2008
    Summerville, SC
    Awesome stuff, very inspiring.
  16. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Wow nostatic, who knew you were that deep? ;)

    Just kidding...I think that is absolutely wonderful. You're right...we're not getting any younger, so I admire your going for it. Really inspiring stuff, bro.
  17. Zoomie


    Jan 26, 2012
    East Tennessee
    Wow ! Inspiring story indeed!

    Recently I had a couple of temporary set backs but all is good now. Cust my finger to the bone with some copper shileding tape. Bled like a stuck pig all over the bass. It looked like a scene from a B horror movie. Thats all healed now.

    Had to help a friend with his company for a couple of months and that's all done so I am back on a normal scedule.

    I will get Skype tested next week and then call Ant to see if still has room for me.

    I am still wandering around in the dark and really need some structure and clarity to move forward. I am certain that Ant can help me with that!
  18. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    Zoomie, are you a writer?
    You should be, you have a way with words!
    If you get back into bass ,IMHO, start off with a good teacher.
    He can put you miles a head in a short time.
  19. Zoomie


    Jan 26, 2012
    East Tennessee
    No, I am not a writer. And thank you. I do try to speak from the heart. It can sound sappy at times, but most people appreciate both the candor and humor.

    Oh, I am definitely back in. Just need to get together with Anthony so he can give me some building blocks and structure to learn and grow. I am running around like an idiot now and going nowhere fast.
  20. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    lost angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    You can't see my depth in my avatar? :D

    As my father used to tell me: son, you're not useless...you can always serve as a bad example.

    Ok, he never actually said that. Truth is he passed away in Jan of this year (mom died 8 years ago) so it has been that kind of year. I ended up giving the eulogy and playing a solo bass version of Amazing Grace. That was the toughest gig I've had maybe ever.

    Going to BNC and dipping into that vibe really did change the way I look at things and more importantly - the way I hear and feel things. Without getting too flowery, the proof is in the pudding. When I came back my fiancee said I was a different person. And with work, the changes have persisted, though I have my days.

    No one gets out alive. The only thing that remains after you're dust is the art you create and the lives you touch. Make the days count. I'm sure some people would say it is silly for a 50 year old guy to sit down and struggle to play scales and put hours of effort a day into such "trivial" pursuits. After all, I've got a career, important projects (ha!), etc. I may never advance to the highest levels of music, as measured by "the industry" or others. But if I can get to a point where I can say what I feel with my instrument without limitation, then I'll be happy. I know I'll always be able to find some other musician to have a conversation with. I just want that exchange to be as good and meaningful as I can make it.

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