Am I Losing It?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by *ToNeS*, Nov 17, 2001.

  1. *ToNeS*


    Jan 12, 2001
    Sydney AU
    recently i've lost faith in my bass guitar and my ability to play it. i find myself gravitating heavily towards percussion, and listening more to the drums in songs than the bass, which i used to pick out to the exclusion of all the other instruments.
    it just seems like everything i play sucks - my tone blows, my technique is messy and crap, i have more of a rep than i deserve, and it just seems to be useless. testing out an amp today in a shop, i was completely lost as to what to play. it just felt like all my chops were just pathetic and unimpessive.

    the more i listen to rock, alternative and metal the more i question the bass's purpose in these (my favourite) styles of music - no one gives a stuff about the bass except bassists! bands will take any guy who can root-five! where the hell has bass playing gone as an art form? you can't even hear the bloody thing half the time. it's easy, most guitarists can pick up a bass and groove pretty well. what the hell sets a bassist apart from everything else? there's nothing, dammit. what kind of level do i have to reach before i can say, "yeah. not just anyone can do that!"?

    i'm becoming increasingly disheartened with my muse of choice here, to the point where i'm just thinking of giving it the arse completely. i don't know what i expect to get out of this thread, i just had to pour out my utter musical despair somewhere, and this seemed like a good place to do it.

    sorry for wasting your time.

    <font size=1> Edit (BW) if you're sorry for wasting people's time why don't you observe the posting guidelines? Omitting one letter from a four letter word doesn't make it less explicit. </font>
  2. :confused:


    that was......


    Try to chill a bit, don't get so down, the bass does matter, as long as you get back to thinking that, f**k what anyone else thinks.
  3. Don't sweat it, dude.

    Times change, people change, and what you decide to do isn't set in stone.

    When I played piano oh-so-long ago, reading the bass clef was a real bitch for me, I really hated it. And then I started learning how to play guitar, and completely forgot about the bass clef and bass in music as a concept.
    I only began to realize that bass even existed when I bought Soul Asylum's Candy From A Stranger album and looked at the photo in the insert. Besides being a great album, there was a really cool photo of the band in action, and one guy was holding what looked like a guitar, but the neck was so much longer than the other 2. So, being the curious young lad that I was, I asked my brother what was so special about it, and he said, "I think it's a bass, but I'm not too sure."
    Then, a year later, some friends were putting a band together and needed a bass player. I figured, "Well, I sort of know how to play guitar, and I guess bass can't be too different or too hard..." so I went and bought my first bass, and haven't looked back since. Well...not yet, anyway. :p

    The point of that story was that you never know what's going to happen, or what you're going to choose to do. I mean...3 years ago I never would have imagined I would have started playing bass. Heck, the day before I heard my friends talking about needing a bass player, I never would have imagined I would end up playing bass. I always thought I was doomed to be a goofy little guitarist who couldn't even make the transition from an open A chord to an open D, or from anything to an open C or F. Prior to that, I never would have imagined that my parents would even let me learn how to play guitar.

    I'll admit, drums are really cool, and I like to mess around on the drum set during band practice when the drummer goes to the bathroom or something. (shut up merls, I don't wanna hear it. :p)
    Regardless of how much money I've spent on bass gear, though, at this point in time I can't ever see myself moving on to a different instrument, or out of music completely. But I'm not ruling out the possibility.

    If you really want to know, then sit down & don't touch your bass for a while. Leave it alone for anywhere from a few hours to a few months. If you don't find yourself saying "Damn it, I just want to play that thing!" then maybe you've moved on. It's nothing to be ashamed of. And who knows? One day someone might run around screaming "I NEED A BASS PLAYER FOR MY BAND!!!" And you can say to him, "Well, I used to play bass, I can sit in with your band until you find a permanent bass player." And that could inspire you to stick with the bass (again) and ask the guy "You know what? I like this gig. Mind if I keep it?" And then he might say, "Well sure, you lay one helluva mean groove anyway!"
    And then a couple months later, you guys might get signed onto a big lable and make it big.
    And if you do, make sure you give me credit for forseeing your future! :p
  4. MJB


    Mar 17, 2000
    There is life beyond rock, alternative and metal. Perhaps you need to look beyond your favorite genres of music and explore elsewhere. We all have a tendency to love the music we "grow up" with, but there is so much more out there, get off your butt and find it!

  5. MJB


    Mar 17, 2000
    Having read your profile I have this to add.

    You say regular bass amps sound too muddy to you and you play thru a Peavey guitar amp. If I had to play thru a Peavey guitar amp I probably would give up bass.


    Perhaps bass isn't for you? :(
  6. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    With more and more "exceptional" bassists, like Claypool, Ryknow, Flea, Sheehan etc. appearing in rock/metal I think I am seeing a general raising of the bar. Sure there will always be a lot of root-fivers out there, but you don't have to be one. Check out some older rock music, there was real musicianship in a lot of that stuff! (WARNING: BIG GENERALIZATION TO FOLLOW) Today's "rockers" suffer from being 100% focused on only three things, vocals, guitar, snare+kick. They tend to ignore things like harmony, rhythm, the rest of the kit, bass, and composition:D. Raise the bar for yourself, it's easier to be a standout in a crowd of slackers, but you should make sure you feel that you've earned the recognition. We all get stuck in a big ass depressing rut sometimes. Go back to the basics; for example you mentioned technique, even when your brain is jelly you can still work on that! Good luck man.
  7. *ToNeS*


    Jan 12, 2001
    Sydney AU
    thank you guys so much for your kind words concerning this potentially life-changing position i am currently finding myself in.
    Blisshead put it perfectly - "big-ass depressing rut". i've never been through one this severe before, however, where i've actually seriously thought of giving up bass entirely and going back to my drums permanently - i guess, on a deeper level, i have a lot of internal (or external, depending on how much i've had to drink) anger that the bass just doesn't allow me to exorcise. it's just not a very aggressive instrument. i see it as more of a groover's tool, a big fat sweaty beast for cats' with a laid-back exterior and a twisted interior to get their fingers around. i just haven't got that message to send right now, you know? drums on the other hand really let me kill something when i hop on the kit (i was kicking 32's at 200 bpm before).

    music is a vast form of individual expression, IMO, and i think maybe presently that it's wrong for my expression - i've learnt that one has really got to be in a different headspace to play bass effectively - and i mean play bass.
    MJB, i have dabbled in a lot of different genres of music since picking up ye olde four-stringer, but i find it really hard to learn a particular style if it doesn't tickle me. i've played so much jazz i feel my head may explode with all the theory that i've had to get stuck into - don't get me wrong here, i'm not just some kid who's picked up a bass and can play a few of Flea's licks and that's that. it's particularly saddening to note that my teacher (who is incredible, amazing. plays like Wooten and Hamm combined) wants me to sit in on his professional gigs next year when i turn eighteen. but that's probably not saying much, seeing as he mostly spots in cover bands who don't play anything overly challenging.

    sorry to crap on like this, but one last thing. i have immense trouble trying to find a bassist whom inspires me - i have my drum idols like Dave Weckl and slew of metal players, but i've never heard a bass player that's made me go "damn. i like that. i'm gonna learn that , and then i'm gonna build on

    this sucks. so hard :(

    <font size=1> Edit (BW) :mad:</font>
  8. Robert B

    Robert B Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2000
    Hampton, Va USA
    Follow your heart. I suggest though that if you decide to go to drums, hang on to your bass equipment in case it turns out that you just needed a little vacation from the bass clef. You may not feel the same six months from now. Good luck.

    By the way, it is true that we all go through slumps now and then, and that may be what you're experiencing. If so, it will pass.
  9. Errm..... evening primrose oil??

    I often feel like giving up when I've seen a really good bassist, and I almost always go blank when I'm trying new gear, but the long and short of it is, if you don't enjoy it - take a break from it.

    The bass does play a really important part in the overall sound. True, most people don't realise this, but then most people don't know much at all.

    I often think people see me up there and think I'm playing bass because that's easiest, and I'm the token female, but you know I really don't care. I know of our regular gig-goers, there are at least two men who've tried to play bass and given up.

    There'll always be someone better than you, but then there will almost always be somebody worse.

    Good luck.
  10. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001

    exactly. Play them both if you want. I just wouldn't make any hasty decisions and sell all your gear or anything.
  11. yeah i play my bass in public at least two times a week, but whenever im home, i hardly ever practice bass, i pick up my electric guitar and just crank it, distored guitar is so much nastier and meaner and its just awesome to get away from that wussy bass for a while.
  12. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    And what's wrong with I-V? ;)

    Seriously, as far as I'm concerned bass and percussion are linked at the hip. I've talked to a LOT of bassists and drummers that bounce back and forth between the disciplines, and they usually say the cross-training benefits each.

    Go and drum for a while - but you'll be back!
  13. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Really? I find the guitar thinner and whiny compared to the bass. I think a super low fast slap part with growl (tone, not distortion) sounds a lot more aggressive. Oh well, are ears are all different.
  14. Bassstud1

    Bassstud1 Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2001
    LaPorte Indiana USA
    I'm a 44 yr. old bass player. I've played in some bands I had to leave cuz they where going "ON THE ROAD". I've set in with bands that where kicked off stage cuz they sucked. Note: I am a bass whore. I'll play almost any gig for the experience.
    The main band I'm in now is a great R&B/Motown band. I also play in a swing / funk band and most recently a rock band (not metal). It has come to my attention that "IMO" how well I play that particular session has a lot to do with how I prepare myself mentally for the experience. I listen to what I want to play when I get there. At this point in time, I'm much better at some styles of playing then others.

    (Meat and potatoes---->) But I find that I play the music (or instrument) the I like most best.

    Summary: As mentioned before hand, follow your heart. ( But don't marry anything ):)

    Good luck to you
  15. frankencow150

    frankencow150 Guest

    Oct 17, 2001
    i've gone through this too.ive been playing for 6 months,about 4 months after playing,i wanted to play drums too.but i guess i kinda grew out of it,and i got into bass alot more.just go start playing bass,think of the first song you learned,play some of ur hardest riffs u can play,it'll make u more confident.i reccomend bill evans,he can slap like no other.think of all the effort and money youve ever put in into bass,r u just gonaa throw that all away?im not trying to bring u down,but just think about it and to sound good u dont have to play the hardest fastest riffs.some simple bass lines impress me more that high speed slap riffs.just think about it before u make a big decision like this.hope u find what u were loooking for.bye
  16. frankencow150

    frankencow150 Guest

    Oct 17, 2001
    forgot one thing...and this is the best advice ive ever gotten in my life:
    "Thinking that you're bad,makes you bad.If you believe that you're good and you're confident, then you are good.It's all in the mind"
  17. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Woodland Hills, CA
    Hey Tones, maybe you should take a week off. Don't play any music for a week. Listen to your favorite tunes and kind of take a band vacation. It sounds like it's becoming a job to you... So take a break! Good luck.
  18. Check out as many gigs as you can of the monster players out there as well as reputable local monsters. It might not happen very often, but every once in a while, you'll be at the right gig at the right time, and you'll hear some truly inspirational s!?# that will give you goosebumps and make you feel lightheaded. It's important to keep the inspiration level high.

    As far as the desire of letting out agression through music and your instrument, I can dig it. As a youngster, I was really into thrash and speed metal. Heavy music really did it for me. But as I grew and explored other kinds of music, I found that I felt the same energy and feelings from other, less heavy kinds of music. When I hear cats like Oteil and Pat Martino pour out the flurry of melodic and rhythmic ideas they do and hear how they can build up intensity in their solos, reach a climax, and keep going, to me, that sounds "heavier" than any crunchy, palm-muted, de-tuned, distorted guitar riffs. But maybe that's just me.

    But as was mentioned, follow your heart, and nothing is set in stone. Try out other instruments if you want to. There's nothing wrong with that. Once you're really into music, it will always pull you back in!;)
  19. melvin


    Apr 28, 2001
    You know, I think whats going on with you is perfectly normal, its happened to me twice. I think the only way to really never be tired of bass sometimes, is either always being so laid back its not even right, or being like Michael Manring with the ability to express yourself through your music so well (I dare you to tell me you cant hear his emotions in his music) I was feeling the same way as you about a month ago, I never really wanted to play bass, I just did it cause jazz band or whatever, but then I started getting more into those amazing players, and I got some Manring songs, and was like "Poopy McStew! I gotta learn to play like this" so Ive been playing non stop for like a month now, because I was inspired so much by ONE song (The Enormous Room)

    So just wait a bit, get around with the music, chances are youll hear something thatll make you wanna play more and better than you used to.
  20. yawnsie


    Apr 11, 2000
    Tones, I think most people have experienced what you're going through at some point - I know I have. The most important thing, I think, is not to pressurise yourself into playing, or not playing, anything. There's no reason why you can't play the bass AND the drums - pound the brown stuff out of a kit before you play bass, and it might get you into the right frame of mind.

    In my experience, these sort of downers usually pass eventually, so whatever you decide to do make sure it's carefully considered, as I'm sure it will be. Good luck with whatever you choose to do.