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Becoming Burnt Out/Bored; suggestions/tips requested

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by aarono, Apr 3, 2006.

  1. aarono


    Feb 14, 2006
    I believe I'm becoming a bit burnt out with playing bass. I do want to become a great player and try to play as often as I feel up to it.

    Let me tell you a bit about my practice schedule:

    Most days I spent a good 40 minutes to 1 1/2 hours practicing, mainly practicing my speed to no material. I'll simply set up somewhat complex noting that requires me have my fingers skip strings, use all my fingers, extend reach, try to use more notes, etc.

    One thing that somewhat gets me down is the fact I have trouble making up my own lines, perhaps because I lack deep musical knowledge/scale knowledge. But when I try to do something creative it always ends up sounding the same as the last one I just made.

    Another is I'm not in a band, because in my town it's hard to find musicians. I know bass is a social instrument, increasing it's fun level ten fold when you're playing with other awesome people. I'm beginning to think this is playing a huge part.

    I was pondering about playing drums, you know as a third instrument (guitar is currently being borrowed so you could consider it my second instrument) to put my mind on something else and help develop other skills.

    But let me know, what got you off plateaus and kept you out of boredom.
  2. MichaelScott


    Jul 27, 2004
    Moorpark CA
    Get a teacher.
  3. Smallmouth_Bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    There are several things you could do:
    1) Take a break. Take a week or two off and see if things fall back into place after you come back.
    2) Rather than playing exercises, try learning some songs. That will help you get some real ideas under your fingers even though they might not be your own.
    3) Like you mentioned, find a band or other musicians to play with.
    4) Try recording some ideas. If you've got a computer, you can record stuff relatively easily. For example, GarageBand for Mac has several built in patterns and different parts that you build songs with and play around. It's not a band, but probably the closest thing you'll get to it without actually being in a band.
    5) Listen to music. Often listening to others can help stimulate yourself.
  4. aarono


    Feb 14, 2006
    There's one well known teacher in my town, and perhaps there's a few more lesser known teachers. The one mentioned former is primarily guitar and vocals, leading me to believe he would not be the best choice for bass guitar.

    I've had him in the past for a guitar teacher, and it seemed like we never got that deep. I wanted more music theory and how things worked (I wanted to know why the D chord was built that way, not just how to do it), but all he could offer it seemed was "She'll be coming around the mountain" with use of the G Chord and alternate strumming!

    As for songs, any suggestions? I'd prefer if it were not RHCP, Victor Wooten or alike (Jaco, etc.).
  5. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Join a band. I was getting nowhere until I joined a band. Play music outside your style. Play at open jams. Anything to get up with real people.
  6. definitely join a band or start one!!! I completely suck as a bassist playing without accompaniment. but when I feed off someone else, I become a completely different player (ok, it might still suck, ...but it's different).

    I heard a quote once that went something like this "it takes at least 10 years to really learn to play an instrument. then another 10 years to learn how to not play it."

    try this; get a drum machine and program a simple pattern. turn out the lights or close your eyes. clear you mind - don't think about what you know - or what you're playing. let go and think about what you're hearing. just listen and "play with your ears". it doesn't matter if it is one, two, three or eighty-seven notes.

    try it with different beats, time signatures, tempos etc. but always give it plenty of time.

    you'll be surprised how much uncharted territory exists.
  7. aarono


    Feb 14, 2006
    I'll try to get a band going, definatly going to be difficult though.

    I found one guitarist who has nice equipment and isn't into emo by complete chance! At the least I could hope for a drummer, I'd prefer a four peice.
  8. ddnidd1

    ddnidd1 Supporting Member

    Speed doesn't mean anything, especially if you're not playing notes appropriate for the song. Playing bass notes doesn't mean you're playing a bass part or line. As mentioned, learn songs. Pick out the exact bass parts. Start SIMPLE.

    Playing only by yourself won't help much in learning songs and fitting into a band. As you learn to play real bass parts, your enthusiasm will pick up.

    To me one of the best things a bassplayer can do to begin understanding 'some' music theory is to understand the structure of basic chords. Maybe 90% of what bass players play are chord tones. For rock, blues and metal, if you learn the structure of a major, a 7th, a minor, and a minor seventh chord you'll have a great start toward constructing your own bass parts. Understanding these four chord types is absolutely critical. It's a heck of a lot easier than you probably think it is. There are plenty of sites that can provide this information.
  9. ^^^ Boy, what they all said and then some!

    I am not in a slump like you describe, but I am taking steps to re-invigorate my bass playing - especially in the area of improv. What I am doing is going to the good old Fake/Real book with some friends of mine and we are all choosing a few standards to work up. My friends are not local, so what we are doing is getting a simply drum track (I program pretty well) and basic chord recording for each chart and we are individually overlaying our own parts separately. Then we are passing these recording around to each other and adding to each other's project.

    The guys I am doing this with are a guitar player and a keyboard/synth/flute player. Our goal is to get better at the traditional improv techniques by learning the melodies and really practicing the 'work the melody in then reinterpret it' thing.

    I personally can't wait to get home and get started! And I know this little exercise is going to have long-term benefits in my ability to solo/improvise.

    I am also on a waiting list for a real first-call bass teacher here in St. Louis. So I figure I will get a head start and when I have the benefit of his skill and expertise at my disposal, I will be able to put a razor fine edge on my tools!
  10. I usually take a break.
  11. whitedk57


    May 5, 2005
    Franklin, NC
    I've been in a funk myself.

    I just started playing a year ago, and it feels like I haven't progressed much lately. When I pick up my bass lately I usually start playing the same old riffs. I do some excercises and scales, but then I get bored.

    I have a bass method book with songs, but sometimes I just don't want to learn another song because it takes constant repetitive playback. When I do, by the time I learn it by heart, I'm sick of it.

    I sound pathetic.

    I play with some friends in a band. That's cool, I guess. But there is another bass player who has 20 years of experience. That's OK in that we never do any gigs. But, we generally rehearse the same 5 or 6 songs each week. If we ever get a gig, I wouldn't be playing bass - probably doing just sound. I feel like the 5th wheel most of the times. My suggestions usually get ignored.

    My main wish is to play with my church praise and worship group, but they have a pretty solid bass player. Currently, I run the sound board for them. I think I would be good enough as a fill-in, but it's like the leader is air-headed sometimes. I just bought a TalkBass t-shirt that says "Got Bass?" Maybe he'll buy a clue then. Or maybe, he's afraid he'll lose me as a sound guy if I play in the band. I don't know.

    A guy at work approached me about playing bass at his church. I got excited. But, my wife put up a major fuss because it's not our church and because it's on Sunday - we both are off on Sunday (I run sound for our church's Saturday service). I could do it anyway (and I know others that would care less if their wife disagreed), but our argument the other day left emotional scars.

    I think bass is my mid-life crisis. I'm 41, but I don't think the desire to play bass will leave me. I may be in a funk right now, but I love the bass - I'm addicted. Maybe sometime soon things will work out for me. I hope.

    Thanks for listening to my rant.
  12. whitedk57


    May 5, 2005
    Franklin, NC
    I really know how to kill a thread, huh?
  13. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    Besides what the other guys have said-the thing that often gets me out of a funk is to listen to different bass heavy music.

    What do i mean by "bass heavy music"?

    There's a few CDs that i have that can really make my playing mood get better. Here they are: The Bass Extremes CDs-Victor Wooten and Steve Bailey w/Gregg Bissonnette [Just Add Water, and the Cookbook], Super Bass CDs-Ray Brown, Christian McBride, and I think John Clayton, and then the Brian Bromberg's Jaco CD is always a good one for me. The key function of this music is that well-i enjoy it and it reminds me of some things that are attainable if i work hard.

    yeah-all of those players have chops and are more or less bass gods, but here me out. One of the things that i enjoy most about Ray Brown's tone [yeah-i double] is how it sounds like an Acoustic Bass and not an Amped Acoustic Bass. I enjoy the later-but when i think Jazz DB tone-i think Ray Brown's tone is the ideal. This is just for me and it may not make sense to people on this side of the board. So here's a BG version. The Bass Extremes CD reminds me of all the things that are possible on bass-besides just playing the bass line no matter how fancy it may be. I also really dig hearin more than one bass together when it's done well.

    Getting a teacher does help immensely. Especially if they're one that is doing what you want to do. Here, i've lucked out since i'm a music major and i'm taking additional lessons outside of school from a guy who is doing literally what i want to do for a living. Sessions & Musicals.

    I do feel your pain with the not feeling into the practicing. I've had times here where it just isn't happening/clicking very well. So when this happens i do a nearly entirely technique session where it's typically 45mins long and i do differnt rhythms over a metrone to keep the hands fresh, and then i do scales/left hand exercises. This way, when it does "click" again-i haven't lost any time on my hands. I have been playing for a while [electric for 8-9 years and DB for 4], but if you modify the times-it might just work for you.

    take it easy

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