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Beating out competition!

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by barbarian, Oct 3, 2002.

  1. barbarian


    Sep 15, 2002
    Dublin, Ireland
    Gents. I'm in a slight bit of bother. I've been playing the bass for 2 and 1/2 years now, but a friend of mine has taken up the bass roughly a year ago. The difference between us is that I got few lessons, and he's been getting them steadilly for the past year. He also got an ESP - 204, which I feel is unnecessary for someone with his skill. I'm getting a 5-string in about 6 months or less, but I'm worried. What can I do to show that I'm better than him? Every time I'm at his house and we're messing around, I'm too damned nervous to play my ****ty portfolio of tunes. He does some crappy slap tune that no-one ever hears... How should I go about improving my technique? I hope to get lessons soon.... But do you guys know of any impressive tabs an.. intermediate bass player could use?

  2. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    You may not want to hear this, but everything about this is wrong to me. 1st, music is NOT a competition. If you're motivated to become better than everyone else (or anyone else for that matter) you'll inevitably be disappointed. Set your goals to be the best you can be, no more than that.

    His equipment is of little concern here, as well. Play your axe. If you play it well, it will show.

    The other consideration is, since he's been taking lessons steadily (always the best course), and you've taken a few sporadically, maybe he is better than you, or at least more advanced.

    My advice: reconsider why you want to play. If you want to play because of the love of our instrument, embark on the lifelong pat of self-improvement, and don't take a second look at "the competition".
  3. jaybo

    jaybo Guest

    Sep 5, 2001
    Richmond, KY
    Wow... only thing I have to add to that is don't forget that not everyone progresses at the same speed. Person A may be able to practice 40 minutes and come way having much more accomplished than person B who practiced 2 hours. I think *healthy* competition between friends can be a good thing if it motivates you to practice and helps you improve but I don't think your way of thinking is very healthy. Playing should make you happy and if you have to be better than someone to feel that way then you're never going to be happy for very long.
  4. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    I agree - music is not a competition. Think about practicing for the love of playing your instrument and developing as a musician, not for fear of being shown up by the 'competition'. Perhaps you should think of playing less complex lines well, rather than being flashy - anyone can show off how fast they can play, but what good is a bass player who can play lightning fast licks on his own but can't play in time with a band? To play fast you have to be able to play slow - which isn't as easy as it sounds.

    Good luck ;)
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well I see good and bad in this post - I am encouraged that somebody wants to improve their technique and take more lessons - great !

    But as has been pointed out - if the only reason to do this is to show that you are somehow "better" than your friend - then of course this is really not a good course to start out on and if you aren't doing it because you love music and bass playing then you probably won't last long and so will probably be wasting your time.

    Also - the idea that what gear you have makes you somehow better or worse is also pretty silly if you think about it.

    My view would be that it would be positive if you shared what people have said with your friend and explained that music is not a competitive sport and that it's all about what you contribute to making music - so the thing to do is learn more about music - forget Tabs and learn scales/chords etc and explain to your friend how this is far more important than "showing off"!! ;)
  6. sleazylenny


    Jun 20, 2002
    Mpls, MN
    1. Worry about you, not him.
    2. This may be harsh, but get over your insecurity issues. Compete only with yourself. Use no one as a measuring stick for YOUR progress.
    3. He's your friend, right? Stop being envious of the things he does that impresses you and ask him to TEACH them to you. You'll learn something new and I'll bet your buddy will be pleased that you asked.
    4. Teach him a thing or two. I find the best way to really ingrain something in myself is to teach it to someone else.
    5. Don't sweat it. It's ONLY MUSIC!!! If it stops being fun, you may as well hang it up and become an accountant or something.;)
  7. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Give up bass and take up sport
  8. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    Beat him stupid with his ESP-204. Concentrating mostly on his fingers and wrists.

    Just kidding, Beat him about the head and neck.

    Still just kidding.
    The advice above is right on the money. Play for the music and be the best you can be. If I worried about being better than everybody else I'd never play again and what fun would that be.
  9. BlacksHole


    Mar 22, 2000
    Rockville, MD
    While I certainly concur with the prevoius posts about music not being competition... I will add this caveat. When you are trying out for a band, you are competing with the other potential bassists who may also be auditioning. However, don't be surprised if the bassist with "the most chops" or who can play the fastest lines is not the one who gets the gig. As a bassist, one needs to not only fit in, but help others fit in. There are many times that this means keeping it simple and allowing the others room for their lines. What I'm getting to with this is simply that you can "beat out your competition" by learning how to compose and play good basslines that work within the framework of the music you want to play. Granted, this may require a fair amount of speed as some forms/offshoots of rock tend to have very high tempos, or it may require more of a feel, or even be heavy on theory. While many (if not all) of us would like to be able to play in all styles well, you should first get a particular style down that appeals to you and go from there.
  10. Enthalpy

    Enthalpy Guest

    I got it when reading the basses section here at the forums. As a former guitarist, I know it is nice to have the latest and greatest equipment. Knowing how to play the instrument will supercede any tonal advantage (if any) a more expensive instrument may have. A friend of mine is a professional guitarist and it wouldn't matter if he picked up a 1960 Fender Tele or a Ibanez RG270, he'd still rip.

    To use a sports analogy: It ain't the clubs that makes Tiger Woods great.
  11. barbarian


    Sep 15, 2002
    Dublin, Ireland
    Gents. Thanks a lot for your advice. I now read this 3 days + after the incident I described. I sat up in my room 2 days ago, hit on my amp, and tried my goddamned best to jam and funk about with my tabs. I accelerated to an extremely fast pace, and got a goddamned good bit of music played. I hadn't done this for 2 weeks, due to business.

    My friend who plays his "not-to-shabby-but-****-for-playing-actual-music" esp 204 is nothing but **** in comparison to my incredible skills.. Ho ho.

    Excuse the above paragraph. The point is, he was slapping and popping a little, but I couldn't actually hear what he was playing because he wasn't amped. He sucks. He really does, I flicked the switch on his amp the other day. He seems to slap and pop an octave and play some random note afterwards. It seems all his "acoustic" work was him simply bluffing. Sorry to bug you with the bull, and I know, I shouldn't be competitive, it's just hard with his attitude. HE'S competitive, and sometimes it's contagious.
  12. Dave Castelo

    Dave Castelo

    Apr 19, 2000
    jsut play sum awsum vict wootten slap soloses! :mad: :mad:
  13. bill h

    bill h

    Aug 31, 2002
    small town MN
    you will have that where someone is better than you thing in everything you do so take what you can learn from him. and then learn what ever eles you can and you will be your best that you can be at that time and that is what matters. music is about how to let yourself go or dig into something that you feel
  14. show him that your better than him by not carring how good you are. Just play what ever,play some really crappy notes that buzz like crazy. Don't worry what he thinks of you.
  15. Chip


    May 2, 2000
    music is a competition if you look at it in the correct way
    but its not with winners and losers
    try and use him getting better as a motivational tool for you to push yourself further and do better things
    when i started out just about everyone was better than me but i tried to play the music they were playing, and also getting into my own music which was harder than i could play, sure you cant play it at first but then after a while it gets easier as you play it more
  16. IronBass


    Jan 31, 2002
    Dallas, Texas
    Chip right, music been competition for a long time. I gonna go to State competition this year to compete with other bassist around US, hope I make it. As far as barbarian, just practice and practice, show him what your made of.
  17. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    People play for all sorts of reasons.

    I agree with most of what has been said here. A particularly good point was to get him to show you something he does that you currently aren't doing and vice versa.

    Competition may be the thing that drives you to new heights. The thing is, it usually brings a hollow victory at best. Be yourself. I know guys who can play "Donna Lee" exactly like Jaco already did who would probably be stumped trying to play like Bootsy.

    Try to learn what you can and try to have some fun too. Be musical.
  18. Well if I ahve learned one thing, it is that there will ALWAYS be someone better, in some way.

    There are lots of guys in town that have really good chops, and can do stuff I wish I could. But then again there are lots of guys who admire the way that I play too. I even know a couple of guys who won't play around me, which is silly.

    It ain't about competition and who's better than who, music is about saying something with your chosen instrument. That's been my approach for awhile.

    I ahve a list of things I would like to bea able to do better at, and I work on them. But in the end, if you can groove, that's all that matters.
  19. and spelling should be higher on the list
  20. A great quote - "There is little value in being superior to others. There is, however, great value in being superior to your former self."

    I try to remember this in all aspects of my life, not just music.

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