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Can I have some constructive criticism?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by jagajarvis, Oct 10, 2013.

  1. jagajarvis


    May 1, 2013
    Hey everyone.
    I just posted a "cover" (not sure if you can even call it that) of Jaco's Portrait of Tracy.
    Let me just be straight with you: it sucks.
    I learnt most of it by ear and have been playing it for a week or so now. I still need to figure out the second part (been too busy working on the first to get onto it, to be honest). I've been playing bass exactly for one year this month.
    I usually don't upload videos to YouTube but I decided that I should start, partly so I can track my progress and to receive criticism from others, and hopefully improve overall as a bassist.
    The video is quite sketchy looking because I was playing with the lights off since my roommates are sleeping (this isn't unusual :meh:).
    Thanks in advance.
  2. BobaFret


    Jan 22, 2008
    For the time you've been playing I think it's pretty good. You didn't exactly pick an easy song to learn. So for somebody only playing a year I'd say 'well done'.
  3. X8X


    Aug 30, 2011
    Pretty nice! It's by no means an easy song to play :)

    Recording yourself is very useful, but I would avoid posting videos around until you get at least a complete take without stopping and retrying (it really kills the mood and isn't pleasant to hear, that's the thing that stood out the most).

    The area that I'd recommend working on most is leaving less space between each note, give them a nice legato feel :)

    Keep up the good work!
  4. Paul Veltman

    Paul Veltman

    Oct 11, 2013
    Hi jagajarvis,
    It sounds great to me. I'm not sure what sort of feedback you are looking for, so will ask what it is about this tune that attracted you to it, what you have learnt from the process, where you think you might go next, and what sort of thing you feel is still a bit beyond your grasp. I feel that if you can play this, and learn it by ear (!), you clearly have a good grasp of your instrument. What tunes does Portrait of Tracy remind you of? On what instrument are their melodies played on? What might 'Portrait of Jagajarvis' sound like? (I take it you can play a scale using harmonics by now, so you've got the basic building blocks). Good luck, and keep developing your music.
  5. jagajarvis


    May 1, 2013
    BobaFret: Thanks, I appreciate the quick response. I know that I still have a very long way to go, but I wanted to get it up there (on YouTube) so I could look back and see how I'd done.

    X8X: Ah, I know. Looking at the video again I was pretty bothered by all the little pauses and inconsistencies. I'm not posting any "covers" until I get better/I really have the song I'm playing down. I just really wanted to get some feedback on what I was doing, so thanks for responding to my post!

    Paul Veltman: Wow, that is great advice. I'd never thought of the tune in context like that. It'd always appealed to me as something so moody and highly saturated in emotion; I'll keep thinking about what you've said. Thanks a lot.
  6. Paul Veltman

    Paul Veltman

    Oct 11, 2013
    Thanks jagajarvis,
    Like most of Jaco's signature tunes, Portrait for Tracy is fascinating for many reasons.

    I'm still trying to work out if it's a coherent single tune, or a technical 'etude', like JS Bach used to write.

    (Jaco took a lot of inspiration from Bach. Have a listen to Wanda Landowska's ). Someone should do this in harmonics some time!

    So, while there's a lot of harmonic freedom in it which allows the 'ringing chords' to hang in the air, and, as you say, give the tune it's emotional depth, there's probably a classical structure to it too.

    In terms of interpretation, can I suggest that next time you sit down to play it, you try just holding your bass, and singing/humming (out loud) it instead of playing it with your fingers. Let the tune and the rhythms get inside your arms and elbows before you play it. See if you notice a difference in how you them play it.

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