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Does anyone else get discouraged?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by DaveCustomMade, Nov 3, 2005.

  1. Does anyone else get real discouraged when you hear a really good bass player doing stuff you can't?

    Like Gary Willis, Victor Wooten, Oteil, etc.?
  2. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Feel discouraged only when you have put in the same amount of time an energy that they have in their playing in your own.
  3. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    Nope. The key to being a great player is being able to really listen to other players and disect what they're doing and what's going on in their head. Dropping your jaw at some great chops doesn't help, it only gets your chin dirty.
  4. JazzBassvb


    Aug 5, 2003
    +1, especially that last part. :)

    That's what I do. I listen and try and figure out what they are doing, then I try and add something like that into my own playing.

    Nobody else is JazzBassvb. I have my own unique thing going on and it's different for everyone. There can't more than 1 Marcus Millers or Wootens or Whafrodamus'.

    We each do our own thing. Somethings may sound the same, but in the end, different thoughts, emotions, techniques, etc all go into our playing.

  5. dhadleyray

    dhadleyray Guest

    Dec 7, 2004
    I would be inspired, but I'll also bet that YOU have some little quirk in your playing that they can't play as well as you do. Just build on that...

    I used to be faster than 99% of the guitarists I know, then that got boring. It wasn't proving anything, then I got into harmony more. Now it's fun to reharmonize a line on the spot for added impact. It doesn't necessarily take speed to be impressive.

    After all, music is rhythm, harmony, and melody. Find which one you acclimate to more and find your niche. :)
  6. d8g3jdh

    d8g3jdh Guest

    Aug 9, 2005
    They just make me want to practice more :D
  7. I'll admit it, I have been discouraged after listening to players like Wooten, Miller, Pastorius, and the list goes on, but you have to realize that these guys spent more time on the bass than you can imagine. Like the previous poster said, if you put as much time into it as they have and still can't do it...then get discouraged, not before. You just have to keep working on your sound and what you want to be able to play.
    Keep practicing!

    The journey of a lifetime begins with a single step...

    How do you eat a whole elephant? One bite at a time....

    Hope that helps.... :D :bassist:
  8. Kelly Coyle

    Kelly Coyle

    Nov 16, 2004
    Mankato, MN
    That isn't a super-helpful thing to say. Condemning someone for non-approved feelings? Big frowny face for you, bud: :mad:.

    As helpful as the responses are, I'd just like to validate DaveCustomMade's feelings. Jeez, I feel that way sometimes -- don't you guys? It's not a great way to feel, you certainly can't be proud of it, but I think it's natural to hear someone and think "why do I @%^#* bother." Music is a big field, and it's hard to see what any of us small-time players could contribute to it, especially if we feel like we're being evaluated on the same basis as Victor or Oteil or whomever. And, at least for me, it wasn't a small task to find a way to come to peace with it. Sooner or later, most of us have a very bad day where we realize that no amount of practice is going to get us to Victor-hood, and we either quit or find some other reason to play.

    Happily for me, I compose. It's my excuse to keep at it. Other guys I know love to entertain people. Some lucky folks can just take pleasure in playing itself (I'm not always in that space myself, but sometimes). But, you know, I'll never be great, except in (maybe) that "local hero" sense, so I have had to get over greatness as a motivation, and settle for being as great as I can be. And write my little tunes.

    So, Dave, I suggest taking a deep breath and getting back to your core reasons for playing in the first place. If they were good reasons, they'll pull you through. And then you can come to terms with seeing yourself small in the big picture. All part of growing up, I guess.
  9. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    They make me want to play.
  10. d8g3jdh

    d8g3jdh Guest

    Aug 9, 2005
    I just play because its fun...I think vic and jaco did the same. If it aint fun, dont play. if it is, play.

    Otherwise your a sellout ;)
  11. JazzBassvb


    Aug 5, 2003
    Well, that first part can be taken two different ways.

    I took it to mean this:

    These guys are pros and have practiced for whole days at points in their career. Playing music is their focus. Not many of us are in a position to give it the time these cats have. So that makes me feel less of a loser, knowing I have other things/priorities that come before playing. I would hope I would have chops like those guys if I put in the time like they have. It can happen with time. But I will add this: Most likely would only happen if they kept their joy in playing as well.

    Seeings folks do what they do helps me to appreciate that if I put my mind/time into it, pretty much anything can be done. These are regular humans, like you and I. Yes some have more natural ability, but I don't necessarily think that it means a less talented person cannot figure something out.

    I would sometimes get discouraged, but I'm now left with more of the feelings above. It helps keep me humble. :) It also helps keep playing fresh to me. If I hear new ideas/techniques that I like, it gives me something else to learn.

    I play music because I enjoy it. I personally think it's a wonder gift to be able to play/appreciate music. It's another great way to communicate.

  12. AGCurry


    Jun 29, 2005
    Kansas City
    Yes. My brother-in-law, who plays for a living, has more chops than I - who USED to play for a living but now does it because I love it - do.

    Last week, I had two gigs where I played guitar. First gig, my brother-in-law played bass; second gig, an old bass-playing buddy played bass. Same songs, both gigs.

    Guess what? I LIKED the old buddy's playing better than my brother-in-law's, even though my brother-in-law has better chops. It was easier to play with. I also LIKE my OWN bass playing better than his.

    I never have learned to slap or pop or play Jaco tunes. But I'm a good musician and a fine bassist in many areas. Other bassists have told me that I was an influence in their playing.

    The point is that there's room for all of us, and we shouldn't let perfection get in the way of good.
  13. ebladeboi123


    Jul 11, 2005
    Oberlin, Oh
  14. those sounds...you know...the sounds are in your head....

    ummmm...how do you think they got there?....

    by listening to GREAT PLAYERS and then throwing a bit of your own ideas into the mix...

    I think it was Mark Knopfler who said once that there are no original musicians...everyone borrows at least something of of everyone else...

    I must agree...the only "great" bass player that I have had trouble relating to (and believe me, I've tried) is Les Claypool...that dude is on a planet where I can't breathe the atmosphere...
  15. quallabone


    Aug 2, 2003
    I usually just get really angry, lock myself in my studio, grab a bass, plug into the most powerful setup I have, crank said setup, and woodshed like it's my full-time job. It usually helps with the frustration. I usually won't leave until I've learned what the player (usually Oteil) was playing.
  16. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo gone to Longstanton Spice Museum

    Feb 8, 2003
    no, I don't ever think like that...

    I enjoy playing and don't think about whether anyone's better or worse than me at it... I used to love it just as much when I could barely play a note... never felt I was in competition with anyone, just that I was up there to express where I was right at that moment, whatever that happened to be...

    occasionally i'll hear someone that reminds of what I was trying to do, and doing it better than me (Scott Thunes, Graham Maby), and I find it an inspiration and a thrill, but most virtuoso players you could mention aren't really on my path, so the idea of being jealous of them doing something I wasn't going to want to do anyway, is a bit silly
  17. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    I dont get discouraged by more technical, chopsy bass players, because I understand that it's just a matter of putting in the practice.

    I think discouraged is the wrong word for me personally. I can feel a little depressed when I meet musicians who have much stronger ear than me, or a clearer sense of melody, or a wonderful sense of rhythm. Just general musicality is the thing I feel I most lack.

    All these things come with pratice of course, but I know I would have to pratice 5 hours or so per day to achieve the level of musicianship I want to. The fact is I simply cant do that with the choices I have made I my life. I have a family to provide for and I love spending time with them. I wouldnt change a single thing about that aspect of my life, but there are only so many hours in the day. Put it this way, if I could pay off a big chunk of mortgage and spend 3 days a week studying I'd be a happier man... but as it is, life is goodso there's no use lamenting how much more advanced a player someone else is! :eyebrow:

    Basically, if you want to get to that level you have to work for it, and you have to make sacrifices for it!
  18. bassbully43


    Jul 1, 2005
    Nawwwww.I look at it this way you are what you are...you could practice all you want and you still will get the most out of what you do and how you do it. I used to compete in another time ..i used to try to get to the top like the big names and somehow never could...they were born to be what they are and you are what you are. I found out i did just fine being me and did very well for myself. Now you can be the best Bass player you can be and strive to improve but you might never play like Vic or Jaco or even come close. The thing that is cool about music is it is a personal travel and your voice thru your Bass is yours and nobody can add or take it away it is you and it comes thru your body ,mind heart and soul...so let it shine and be happy with who you are and how you play..if your not keep jammin its all good.
  19. Audiophage


    Jan 9, 2005
    I love watching virtuosic bass players playing some of their solo pieces, especially in video form because I like to learn technique from watching.
  20. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    I dont get discouraged. I mean... those guys have been playing since they were little kids. Bill the Buddha since he was like 3 years old or something! No chance for me to catch up.

    However, I play with as much heart as I can (maybe a little less technical than these guys) and that is what matters to me. My playing isnt about impressing people so much as communicating what I want to communicate through music.

    I am probably one of the more technical rock bassists in my scene (mind you this is Albuquerque where there is a huge scene for stripped-down indie type music and everything sounds about 10 years behind whatever is cutting edge) and ran into a bassist way better than me. He was the new bassist for a well-established Creed sounding band, but did all kinds of super technical tapping and some great soloing, just killer playing all around. Not to mention insane Ninja Bass moves on stage. I felt blown out of the water! But in a good way, he was a really cool guy and now I have to get serious about my tapping!