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Advice please for an older newbie

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by fourstringbliss, Feb 24, 2008.

  1. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    I've been playing bass for about six years - but unlike the 18 year old who started when they were 12, I'm a 38 year old who started when I was 32. I've been married for 8 years and chose not to pursue being part of a band partly because of marriage and also because of my age. I've been able to play at my church, but that's about it. In addition to this, we have started having kids later than most - I'm 38 and my first kid is less than 2. Finally, I work full time.

    I feel like I've missed my shot! I really wish that I had started when I was younger so I could be in a few bands and get in a lot of playing time before having a family – now I feel like I’ve lost my opportunity. I know there are older guys playing in bands – give me advice! What should I be doing now? What kind of opportunities for playing with others are there that don’t take a lot away from family time?

    EDIT: I should clarify something I think. I know I'm past the point where I could join a punk band and tour in a van (I know Mike Watt could, but I'm not Mike Watt). I just want to know that there are opportunities for older players to gig and get out there and play. I don't want to come off like a whiner - it's just a case of remorse over lost younger years.
  2. justBrian


    Apr 19, 2002
    Kansas City, MO
    I'm 48 and have been playing for 9 years. My kids were a bit older than yours when I started--my son graduated from high school last year and my daughter is now a sophomore. I don't think it's too late for you.
    I would recommend you hit some local open jams and get to know some other musicians. Also, scour the local classifieds--like craigslist--for bands looking for bassists. Finally, if you've got the time or inclination, find a teacher and take some lessons.
    I started out just jamming with a couple of friends, and am now playing regularly with a jazz/R&B band, a jazz trio/quartet, a 13 piece big band, and a rock outfit. And I still hit the jam sessions when I can.
    Anything else? :D
  3. bassksun


    Mar 5, 2004
    Las Vegas,NV
    I wish I had the time to hit jam sessions etc. But I'm 50 and had my kid late too. I took a break from bass playing from 1980 - 2003. So...It's never too late and there is no shot to be missed. There is no there there. Just make the most out of the time you have. Playing at church is GREAT and can help you hone your chops and stage skills. Getting a teacher is not a bad idea. It helps a lot when you don't feel as though you are progressing fast enough. Don't get too discouraged. Stay visible, keep practicing and something will give.

  4. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    Thanks, guys! I'm going to start playing for the junior high youth group at my church in April - faster and more challenging songs than in the main sanctuary. I do want to try open jam kind of things - I've got to get my chops up, though. I can learn to play pretty much anything, but coming up with my own bass lines or knowing how to play what I have in my head while I'm transitioning between root notes in a song are a real challenge for me.

    Keep the ideas coming!
  5. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    Any other ideas?
  6. txbasschik


    Nov 11, 2005
    Leander, Texas
    I'm a 45 y.o. married mom with two kids. I started bass at age 39. I think my youngest was maybe four.

    First band playing bass was an all-female group...all of us married mamas, and most of us had day jobs. We played locally once or twice a month, and practiced once a week.

    It was do-able. Something like that...starting up a band with others in similar life situations...is a great way to get started. We played just the local bars and festivals.

    Now that the kids are older, and my mom lives with us, I can play out a bit more. I have to find care for my mother when both my husband and I have gigs (he's a drummer), but I have a great care network for my daughter. A good care network is *essential*. Most of my girl's sitters are daughters of my musician colleagues.

    The band I'm currently working most in is a three-piece. We play out anywhere from once to three times a week, and I attend a regular weekly local jam. We practice twice a week, unless we're stacked up with gigs, and are recording an album, albeit slowly.

    I also have two side projects. My day job now is caring for my mom, so I can work on things with my acoustic when she's watching tv or napping or whatever.

    Keep after it! You can do this! Almost every musician I work with is over 40, man. And we all work just as much as we like.

    Cherie :bassist:
  7. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    You go Mom! I think it's cool when women choose bass over keyboards or guitar!

    Thanks! That's encouraging! I know I've got a good thing because my wife wants me to be able to play. She wants to learn piano, so maybe we can play together sometime. Do you and your husband play in the same bands?
  8. basspraiser

    basspraiser Jammin for the Lamb! Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2006
    Chicago - NW Burbs
    its tough with younfg kids.....they take alot of care and attention.

    since you are a teacher you may have some time during the summer to get together with some people and "jam"...I would start by looking for opportunities at GC or other music stores if you want to be in a band....maybe you could post there yourself....do you want to play secular or Christian music? either way, ask around at church for people who are in bands....

    for me - Praise Band is where I want to be at this stage in my life (I am older than you by a few years) since I travel for my business and cannot commit to a practice or show schedule....

    good luck in your search!!!!


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