Bit of frustration

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Bassmantalk, Jan 3, 2015.

  1. Bassmantalk


    Jan 3, 2015

    First to clarify everything then i'll get to the problem.

    I've been playing bass semi professionally now for a couple of years. I can also play guitar and drums.
    I have my scales, arpeggios, inversion and the rest of the theory down. I can read and write music.
    I write songs, ranging from pop to blues, to rock, reggae and metal.

    Although I can play complex riffs, slap, tap and whatnot, i do struggle with musicality of things. Everything I play seems to sound very rhythmic and "robotic". And while i can play 8th note riffs at 200 bpm normally, I can't play any fast passages or anything fast on any of these instruments. I am also still training in singing, and back when i started i wasn't very musical, which i worked my behind off to achieve every little bit.

    When I do want to learn fast things to play, I get to a certain speed, then I hit a wall and I quit. Even a week of not so complicated fast passage and I still wont be able to play it up to speed with precision.

    Any help on any of these issues would be very much appreciated.
  2. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    The thing that I notice about your post is your very clinical approach to music. It is supposed to be about conveying feeling and emotion. Playing complex riffs (while not a bad thing in itself), slap, tap, at 200 bpm's is not what music is about.

    My advice would be to slow down and try to make every note sound like you mean it.

    The late great Miles Davis was generally known for his sparse playing, but he could play just one note and send shivers down your spine. ;)

    So, relax, listen closely to what you are playing and try to put some meaning and feeling into it. Granted, this sounds easier than it actually is, but is worth while persevering with.
    5below and BassChuck like this.
  3. Bassmantalk


    Jan 3, 2015
    Firstly, thank you very much for the answer. This exactly what i was going for, but how do i approach this, how to change mentality of theory and rhythm to nothing, to simply start listening? I've been wrecking my head over that for sometime now. because when i start playing all i see and hear are scales and arpeggios.
  4. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Play a simple song. Not the bass part, the melody. Now play it differently. Do that again. How many different ways can you play the same song? Use everything you know about, tempo, length of notes, range, style, mood... whatever you can thing of.

    Think of a mood. Create a riff that sets that mood. Play your riff a different way. Take out a note, but keep the mood. Take out another note. How simple can you make the riff and still keep the mood?

    Music is more what your doing rather than how you're doing it.
  5. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Try to spend a little more time just listening to music....without the bass. Be aware of what a song or piece of music is conveying to you. Does it make you feel happy or sad ? Playing with feel is something that can not be taught. It has to come from within. Blues music may not be to your taste, but IMO spending a little time listening to the likes of guitarists such as Buddy Guy, Albert and Freddy King and Peter Greene should convey to you what "playing with feel" is all about. A slow blues is one of the hardest things to play with feel.

    When we are speaking to someone, we are not thinking in terms of the dictionary or nouns/verbs/adverbs etc., but are trying to communicate with others. Try to treat music in the same way. How did we learn to speak when we were very young children ? listening closely and imitating. Later when we knew the basics of speech we were able to come up with our own words and sentences. Scales and arpeggios etc are simply building blocks. How we use them is entirely up to ourselves.
  6. Bassmantalk


    Jan 3, 2015
    I can create moods, or question/answer kinda thing, etc etc... if it's a one chord vamp... As soon as theres more than one chord i blank out.. and that bums me out so hard.

    Thanks for your reply, will listen to more music. :D