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Can you practice to much???

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by witward, Mar 2, 2008.

  1. witward


    Feb 7, 2008
    Louisville, KY
    Hello fellow bass players. I'm new to talk bass and this is my first post. OK, Ive been playing bass for around eight years and feel like I'm a solid bass player and have a few tricks up my sleeves, well i came on trying times about a year ago and had to sell my 6 string Tobias. About a month ago i was able to get a fender jazz bass 24. I missed playing bass so much that i have been putting my heart and soul in to practicing everyday for 3-4hrs. I have such a desire to go to the next level in my bass playing and am doing everything in my power to get there. Ok, here is my question, Ive been practicing so much that my forearm and fingers start hurting really bad (not to mention my mind,lol), Now I'm working on my speed and doing scales and tricks as fast as i can and I'm doing them right...not improper. So Can someone practice too much??? I dont want to hurt myself so please let me know what you think and any advice you may have. Thanks.
  2. Welcome to TB!

    Of course you can practice too much. Just like you can overdo anything.

    If it hurts, you've been overdoing it, or doing it wrong.
  3. Nick Kay

    Nick Kay

    Jul 26, 2007
    Toronto, Ontario
    A little soreness after practicing for a long time is not bad. If you're just getting back into the groove of things after a long break, I find that your muscles (ball of the thumb especially, for me) really kill for the first little while, especially if you practice for more than an hour or two.

    However, discomfort or outright pain while you're playing can be a sign of improper technique. Really look at your hands while you're playing to be sure that you're not doing something wrong. Book a session with a bass teacher so he can evaluate your techniqute.
  4. witward


    Feb 7, 2008
    Louisville, KY
    My tecnique is fine im sure of it its just when i mean im playing fast im talking 20 notes in like 3-4 sec. And what im doing is trying to get up to that fast, im starting with the run slow and just gradualy increase my speed with the metrnme and after about 45 min of trying to get that 20 notes in like 3-4 sec my hand ,arm and mind is just killing me, its hard but i want be able to do it so bad.
  5. are you tensing up too much? concentration without relaxation?
  6. peterbright


    Jan 23, 2007
    On The Bayou
    Stretch before you play & take breaks. If it "really" hurts, you could be doing some "real" damage.
  7. BillMason

    BillMason Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2007
    Vary your routine! Speed like that is good to have, but should not be the only thing you practice. Try practicing with a drum machine or metronome, and focus on playing r e a l l y s l o w but try to get perfect timing down. That will take the strain off your hands, wrists and forearms, and put it on your brain where it belongs. Your brain can handle it, no problem. :) Gradually speed things up (like over two-three weeks) and when you've got it down, your speed will count for something, as you won't be just fast, you'll be fast *and* good.

    Kinda like a gunfighter focusing on accuracy, versus just the quick draw. A quick draw without accuracy will leave you dead in the street. :)

    As for perfect timing and what it is - depends on the style of playing, but above all it should be consistent - some styles have the bass hitting the beat just slightly after the drum, and some styles have the bass hitting the beat just slightly before the drum, and many styles have the bass and drum hitting the beat in perfect synch. Try all three until you master them all! Start with synching with the drums first of course.

    Also practice improvising - pick any song, download the lyrics and chords (I don't mean tabs), and without listening to the song at the same time, emphasizing the chord tones from all the scales you've memorized, try making up a bass line to those chords. Then try it with the song playing also, and focus on playing your own thing, not what the recorded bass player is playing. This will teach you how to add your own substance to a song, make it your own, and how to complement the melody and guitars (or other accomp. instruments, like piano, whatever style you listen to). I'm assuming you play metal, but maybe I'm wrong.

    You can also train your ear - take some songs that you don't know all that well, maybe even a style you're unfamiliar with, even something crazy like country or pop, and try to learn the recorded bass player's part by ear. Start with something easy (like a simple country tune) or something repetitive (like a pop song or a funk or Motown song). "I Was Made To Love Her" by Stevie Wonder is a great example of a very repetitive bass line that just friggin' grooves! Then when you've got it figured out, write down your tab or notation, and see if you can figure out what the chord changes are. Then download the chords for that tune also, and see if you're right (or maybe the ones you download are wrong!).

    These are the sorts of things that will make you a better musician and ensure you will have fun playing for the rest of your life, no matter what style you play! :) Speed is nice, but without the foundations down, it is useless and meaningless, and will only wear you out.
  8. Aharon


    Jan 23, 2008
    i find it helps to have a day of intense practice and then no to play at all the next day. doing this every now and then seems to allow what ive learned to be incorporated into muscle memory.

    just a thought
  9. witward


    Feb 7, 2008
    Louisville, KY
    Thanks for all your responses i really appreciate it...As far as my practicing goes i have quite alot i do other than speed. I'm working hard on my theory and quite a few different techniques, i also work about 20 min a day on my ear training. Its just Ive always wanted to have that victor Wooten and Marcus miller speed i have just never attempted it and now i have. I am realizing that i do need to take it all a little slower ( I'm kinda impatient).

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