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Boy, do I suck!!!

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by JimmyM, Jan 6, 2012.

  1. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    My chops have totally gone to hell. I admit it. I just spent the past 90 minutes or so trying to play some of the songs I grew up playing in bands, and a lot of them were pretty hard...maybe not Jaco/Stanley hard, but they definitely took some chops. Stuff like "La Villa Strangiato" by Rush, "On The Radio" by Joe Jackson, "Strawberry Letter 23" by the Bros Johnson, "The Trooper" by Maiden...I used to be able to pull all that stuff off and then some. But I'd try to pull them off tonight and they all sounded like crap, even after I'd practice them. What broke my heart, though, was not even being able to play the solo in "My Generation" anymore. That solo was ingrained in my DNA, or so I thought.

    Man, I used to be good. I was never the kind of bassist who could hang on a Flecktones gig, but I could play. Don't get me wrong, though...I can still play, thank you. But about 15 years ago I started playing almost all oldies from the 50's, 60's and 70's, and very little of the stuff I do is hard to do. It's mostly about being solid rather than being able to dazzle people. The hardest stuff I have to play these days is Motown, which can be hard, but not in a chops wankery kind of way.

    But dang it, I miss having the wankery. And it's all because I let this oldies stuff make me lose focus on what's important...chops. I don't care what anyone tells you...yes, you need to be solid. But if you don't have the chops to go along with your solidity, what are you going to play? You won't always need them, but what happens if you do? You suck, that's what you do!!!

    It's clear I've let myself go because I could. I knew it all along, to be honest, but tonight really drove it home for me. And I'm not getting any younger, and if I don't do something about it now, I may never get it back.

    So it's clear what I have to do. I practice very little because I don't need to. Nothing I'm doing requires it. So I'm going to resolve to practice an hour a day at the very least and way more most days, and I'm going back to the jazz stuff to get myself back up to speed. Might get a couple of those trombone etude books Jeff Berlin likes. Might even start transcribing again, which I hate, but it really does help your playing to do it.

    But first I think I'll need to buy a couple new basses and 4 or 5 dirt pedals.

  2. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    I play 50s/60s/r&b stuff too and yeah I am solid but... no amazing chops here. I have two young children, a demanding career and wife. By the time my day has progressed to the point where I can have some 'me' time, I just dont have the energy.

    But alas, I am just a weekend warrior... and, all things considered, that is fine by me.
  3. drasticDUB

    drasticDUB Guest

    Mar 13, 2008
  4. cableguy


    Jun 4, 2009
    North Bend, WA
    First off I've heard some of you're playing and you don't suck. But even if you did, your getting paid to do it which is more than most of us. I've been playing a long time and am a old hack rock bass player at best. Put me in front of a DB and I would be lost. I listen to Rush and think I might be able to play stuff from their 1st album. YYZ.... I wouldn't even know where to start. So feel free to practice more but realize your damn good....And your an Ampeg endorsee...What else could be better right. Rock on Jimmy M!!!
  5. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    I've been feeling the same way, Jimmy. The other day I threw on a cd of a band I was in about 5 years ago, and it may as well have been someone else playing on that recording. Since my old band broke up in 2009 (we played fairly technical metal stuff) my "riffing" chops have fallen through the floor. These days I'm venturing more into the territory of the groove player.

    That being said, one of my current bands is kinda-sorta stumbling our way through La Villa Strangiato at the end of every practice, and the other band is talking about doing an all Iron Maiden cover set... :D
  6. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    it will make ya crazy if ya let it!

    i have to practice every chance i get or i start guilt trippin'. i just wish i still could read!!! i use to practice that. nowadays, i can fly up & down a FB with excellent touch, timing, and feel. BUT,..

    i feel like crap because i no longer can read. :bawl:
  7. waleross


    Nov 27, 2009
    South Florida
    At least you did not stop playing and give it up for 25+ years. I have been getting back into music shape for the past 2 years and it ain't easy. Nothing beats active gig playing and hearing you (Jimmy) play on a YouTube video don't worry you play real good ..... I have been taking lessons on the piano,drums and guitar just to get back and challenge myself. . In addition I went into the studio (first time) to play a few original songs with my guitar instructor. While I am not making any $$$, I can hold my own and feel much better. Funny thing , when I made a few mistakes in the studio, the engineer (drummer) laughed and just edited it out, what a world we live in. +1 to not being on the Jaco level .While you can never go back to the old neighborhood, all I want to do is just to visit one more time and not embarass myself........Great thread !!!:)
  8. Foamy


    Jun 26, 2006
    Sac Area
    I hear ya. I just had a (rather weird) audition tonight. Chops were ok, but fingers cramped. I just felt old! Ugh.
  9. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    I feel ya. I've lost a little speed lately as well, this time of year is pretty slow for me, and going from playing 5-6 nights a week to 1-2 is killing me. I try to put in the practice time, but it's hard to stay engaged for more than an hour or so. Even harder to pick a direction. Sometimes I wish I had a bass buddy to work with, it's like working out, if you have a partner you can motivate each other.
  10. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    pacojas, reading is like riding a bicycle. OK, it's nothing like riding a bicycle, never mind.... But you could get the reading chops back easily enough if you used to know how to do it. Just takes doing it regularly, just like re-developing wankery will be for me.

    cable, very nice of you to say but I know what I used to be able to do.
  11. Matthijs


    Jul 3, 2006
    Jimmy, I'm now picturing you as one of those older soccer pro's: they don't have to run as hard as they used to, because of wisdom and experience. But because they stopped running that hard they also lose the ability to go fast.

    Having to working on your chops does not always combine very well with being that reliable center defender, most people like us bassplayers to be. fwiw a friend of mine is a tenor sax player. His carreer shifted to being a band leader and arranger and in time he noticed he was losing his chops and people stopped asking him just for his sax playing. He now made the radical choice ( well in his fifties) to go back to his instrument first and start practising several hours a day again and wank out solo's whenever he can. He had to stop being a band leader to do this. Imo he now plays better way than ever before, combining wisdom with incredible technique.

    My point being: Your "chops crisis" might bring you to a whole new level of playing. You might even get to hang out with the Flectones :D.
  12. I'm glad I know I suck as that forces me to constantly review the playing, practice and learn new tricks.
  13. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    i got a confession, Jimmy... :bag:

    in order for me to actually blaze up & down that neck and sound good doing it,... i have to warm-up for a few, ummmm, hours!!!

    the basic stuff i played for years kind of stunted my growth to where i wanted to go. in the last couple of years i have focused so much on speed and technique, i sacrificed at the expense of reading. there was a time when playing meant reading concurrently.

    i think you are being hard on yourself when all that really happened is a little rust. i know my 5yr hiatus did me in for awhile.
  14. Time to hit the shed again. Give it a week of steady shedding and it'll all start coming back. I used to do that with guitar. I was a guitar shredding god in the 80's, even though I was a kid, but when the 90's hit, I started skating and messing with girls more than guitar. I picked it back up and realized I sucked. A few weeks later arpeggio sweeps were back already and I was holding my own on my old CD's again. God, I loved the 80's!
  15. GeoffT


    Aug 1, 2011
    If you haven't transcribed in a while, you can't go wrong with Pino. There's a reason he is in such demand and keeps showing up with great bass lines on some pretty big albums. He knows the precise amount of ''flair" (aka chops) that he needs on his uniform without crossing over the line into being ridiculous (wankery).

    If you go the route of Trombone Etudes, let us know what you think. I just picked up a book with the 30 Simandl Etudes and there's plenty of great stuff there to keep me busy for a while.
  16. Twospot


    Jan 1, 2012
    Toms River,NJ
    I'll trade you my suckiness for your suckiness... I don't even have a bass yet LOL
  17. Dazzare


    Dec 3, 2011
    Jimmy you've given me some Advice over the years. I've been playing bass for a while been coming here for the better part of 2 years Finally registered about a month or two ago. So thanks and you only suck if you think you suck. Playing bass is well like playing bass practice some and it'll all come back. Hell you might even surpass your younger self.
  18. ebonalley


    May 17, 2010
    Sylvester Stallone swears by human growth hormone. Increase your caffeine intake and you've got yourself the fountain of youth. :)
  19. I have heard that playing too much Sha Na Na and Leslie Gore will do that to you. ;)
  20. AMp'D.2play


    Feb 12, 2010

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