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Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by AnthonyAdkins, Mar 5, 2014.

  1. AnthonyAdkins


    Dec 26, 2007
    Waco, Texas
    Hey all...

    I've been playing for about 11-12 years. I am pretty fluent with music theory, and can play fairly well with whatever. I AM self taught, but I have kind of...plateaued? I'm bored with my playing lately, and I kind of am looking for some direction. Any thoughts? I'm super comfortable with most scales...I understand chord breakdowns...Just looking for something neat to start working on.

  2. Groove Master

    Groove Master

    Apr 22, 2011
    Author of Groove 101, Slap 101 and Technique 101
    I think it is time to play music, join a band and have fun with the bass :)

    Bass is the coolest instrument ever. Take advantage of it and make it GROOVE
  3. atomicdog


    Jun 18, 2011
    definitely, find a drummer and start a band
  4. Bingo

    Bingo Banned

    Mar 3, 2014
    South by Southwest
    Learn some music you would never ever listen too. You need to get out of your comfort zone. Just Google a genre you have never taken an interest in before. Immerse yourself in it for a while. You will be a better player and learn something from the experience. If you get bored with that, pick another genre. You can't possibly know how to play every kind of music on the bass even if you try my tip for the rest of your life. But you have to be bold and patient at the same time. Don't pick the kind of music that is your comfort zone's "next door neighbor". Go nuts. Get far away from your favorite music.

    If you have always been a rock guy, get into melodic jazz.

    If you are a jazz guy, try some metal.

    If you don't play funk and soul, and you are a bass player, you are truly missing out on the good stuff (and that's coming from a guy who plays mostly rock, blues, and country these days).

    You get the idea. But don't half a$$ it. Really dive in and try to learn something from it. Read articles and interviews from the foremost players in that genre. If you read music, get sheet music to some of it. (If not, that's what you need to tackle next anyway.) Find a web site that lists the Top 40 songs of all time in that genre, and learn them all. It will give you a fresh perspective on even your favorite music.
  5. hsech

    hsech Work hard. My Social Security needs a raise. Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 27, 2012
    Central Iowa
    Try to start a jazz group. that will be a challenge and you won't get bored.
  6. jojoslap


    Jan 28, 2014
    I would find an teacher and take lessons. Find one with good credentials and lots of experience who can mentor you and help bring you to the next level. I have been playing off and on for the last twenty years, and really have gotten serious again over the last three years. I'm playing in a funk / R&B group and have been doing lots of practicing on my own. I myself feel that I'm kind of hitting a plateau and am seriously thinking about finding a really talented teacher. I have found one in my area who gigs professionally and has played with some well know groups and musicians, I feel I could learn a lot from someone like this and he can help me advance as a player. Though unlike you I'm not bored, I love the bass more than ever. If you are feeling bored with the bass maybe it's time to study a new instrument, or if you are not already playing with people, hit up some open jams in your area or find a group to play with. Bass can be boring if you have nobody to jam with.
  7. FretlessMainly


    Nov 17, 2010
    I've long thought that there are a million reasons to be sad and only one reason to be happy. It's not a sound hypothesis, but it works on a number of levels. I seem to have a penchant for reinventing myself in terms of music.

    From 1977-80, I was a guitarist with local jams going on; nothing major. In 1980, I was recruited to play bass for my Senior year of HS's production of Jesus Christ Superstar. Hence, I learned bass in short order. After that, I played mostly rock (covers/originals) until 1992. You could say I was bored. I bought a double bass, put all of my rock CDs in virtual storage, and wood-shedded jazz bass for four years (no gigs except for blues jams at Johnny D's and the occasional bluegrass jam). Come '96-'97, I found myself making good money as a jazz bassist (second job, but a decent second income).

    I did that for about six years, and the gigs dried up, so I joined a local symphony orchestra (meanwhile having procured a fretless Fender bass), and wood-shedded Mahler, Beethoven, Bach, Sibelius, etc. Did that for about four years, concurrent with playing double bass in an acoustic punk trio (yes, you read that correctly). Blew out the ulnar nerve in my fingering hand in 2002. Took six months off to recuperate; then I went back to the symphony orchestra for a few years, got bored, and joined an original prog band. I did that for over six years, playing gigs in Boston, NYC and surrounding areas, got bored, and left.

    Point being, you can look at one genre and figure out how to make it more interesting, or you can look at many genres and figure out how to make them more interesting. But no matter what, you'll be what you are. We can't tell you how to snap out of it; only you can. Best o' luck.
  8. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    Couple of posts said to start a band. I agree with being in a band, but, starting one; who needs all the trouble. Join a band, show up on time, know the material and don't be an ass, i.e. get along and don't make waves. Now, that is fun and it will not be boring.
  9. philvanv

    philvanv Gerbil Turds, Kitsap County Turd Core

    Jul 2, 2012
    and at the bottom it says thank you, and now you can shag off
    I like and agree with the suggestions. I am really hetting into jazz. I've played fast music my entire life and even though I know my comfort zone, learning jazz is brutal. The timong slone is different that I struggle with that.
  10. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    Bingo has it.
    Bach Cello suites for bass by Joaquin Des Pres.
    That 'll keep you occupied.
    Learn an entire album like say, Rush.
    There is a good bass book on Rush tunes.
  11. AnthonyAdkins


    Dec 26, 2007
    Waco, Texas
    I guess I should have said this...I've been in a touring(regional/national) band for almost 8 years. I'm well past "Starting a band" haha
  12. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    If you're bored, work on listening.

    Boredom while playing means your attention is not focused enough on the activity of playing.
    I don't mean focusing super hard on technique or naming off every note you play,
    I mean being in a more zen state of experience with the music.

    Try playing something you are bored with, and record it.
    Then do it again, but forgetting the stuff you learned, the technique and the theory,
    point your awareness to listening and responding to what you hear.
    Less focusing on whether or not the music is intellectually interesting and engaging,
    more focusing on what you hear, how you feel about what you hear, and channeling that feeling into your playing.
    compare the two recordings.

    you know, vague woo woo stuff :)
  13. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration

    Aug 17, 2007
    Switch genres.
    Play material you normally don't.
    Challenge yourself with writing originals.
    Record your own ideas. Play all the instruments yourself.
  14. Clef_de_fa


    Dec 25, 2011
    Take music not intended for bass and play it on bass. Like say guitar or cello, or violin or even piano
  15. Chapbass


    Dec 11, 2003
    Chicago, IL
    Pick up chapman stick? :D
  16. dvh

    dvh Supporting Member

    Sep 1, 2006
    Halifax, Nova Scotia
    Get a double bass and study jazz -there's a life's work for you....
  17. BrotherMister


    Nov 4, 2013
    You said you are familiar with most scales. Focus on the ones you aren't familiar with. Can you play all your scales in 3rds, 4ths, 5ths, 6ths, 7ths? Can you do that up and down two octaves? What about starting from the lowest note available in each key to the highest and vice versa?

    Can you play a continuous scale in all keys so starting from the lowest in a key. Lets say C major. Starting on the E of C major playing every note until you reach the highest available note in the key and coming back down the scale in G or F major until you get the lowest note available in the key and take it through the circle of 4ths or 5ths. If you do it in 4ths then go back and do it in 5ths starting with a different scale at the start. The idea is to play it all in one continuous go without stopping. Once you can do that with the major scales then go and do it with the melodic minor, harmonic minor, the modes, diminished scales, whole tone scales, pentatonic scales etc etc The list is endless.

    Can you play arpeggio's of major, major 7th, minor, minor 7th, dominant 7th, minor major 7th, major 9ths, minor 9ths etc etc etc in all keys? Can you do it starting on the lowest available not on each chord? Can you do every inversion of them?

    What about your technique? Your profile pic shows a thumb creeping over the neck. That alone is something you could work on if it is a habit.

    How are your improvising chops? Can you improvise? If you can't then start learning. If you can how is your jazz improv? Learn that. Can you improvise over a standard in all 12 keys?

    How is your slap or tapping? You might never need to play them on a gig but learning how to do them opens your playing up a lot. There is no such thing as knowing too much.

    How is your ears? You can always do work on improving your ears. Can you listen to a song and identify the chord changes without an instrument on a handful of listens? Can you do it with jazz tunes? Can you do it with a symphony?

    What about your time? That can always be improved as well can you lay down a solid bass line while having the metronome click on the 2nd semiquaver of beat 2 only? How is your playing in odd times?

    Have you ever transcribed every note from a musician in an entire album from memory only? Once you get the bass player go back and do the other instruments.

    I could keep going but I'm sure you get the idea.
  18. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Get a super teacher who's versed in jazz. That'll knock you out of your complacency! I took lessons off Dave LaRue when I had that same crossroads a while back. You need someone who's way past your level.
  19. Dos Inus

    Dos Inus

    Nov 25, 2012

    This is a great syllabus for all of us