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Does your abilty to play well vary much from day to day?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by WashburnAB95, Mar 25, 2014.

  1. WashburnAB95


    Nov 18, 2013
    So I just picked up my bass and wanted to get some practice in. I feel numb. I had no connection to what I was playing. My timing, and my tone was off. No matter how hard I try nothing sounds or feels right.

    Yesturday I did a lot of work on acoustic guitar so maybe there is some fatigue. Sunday I was on fire and got compliments on my playing in Church. I have been playing a lot lately and I feel like I am really improving. But so far today is just a stinker!

    Do you have days like this? What do you do about it?
  2. MarshallNole


    Dec 1, 2013
    I'm new and still learning but some days I can tell I play much better than others. If I am tired I play particularly badly. Some days though when practicing I nail what I am playing.
  3. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration

    Aug 17, 2007
    I've been playing a long time.

    Some days you got it, some days you don't.
    Don't worry about it. Try again tomorrow.

    It's usually a combo of factors working against you on an "off" day.
    Tomorrow's a new day.
  4. shawshank72


    Mar 22, 2009
    Been playing a long time and it happens.
    Some days i just feel disconnected mentally or physically.
    Sometimes its an afternoon, or evening, or all day, or even days.
    Been playing long enough to know it will pass and it always does.
    Thats when a home project, read a book, play the guitar, drums, or a lazy afternoon with a cup of coffee comes in to play.
  5. willstorybass


    Jan 14, 2010
    Ive been a career player/student for about 10 yrs, and still have tons to learn and practice!

    Been averaging 200 gigs a yr for about two years now, and Ive got to say that this occurs weekly for me. I've concluded that these "unfortunate events" are brought on when your mind and body are working things out. Especially when giging a little too much, ill have a couple days where my hands just aint gonna work. Adopting various stretching techniques and the ability to forget about the instruemtn for a bit always helps
  6. WashburnAB95


    Nov 18, 2013
    My next question... do you think it is actually bad playing (an objective observer would remark that you are off) Or is it more likely my abilty to hear and appreciate the music is ddiferent today or a combination of both?

    What is it more likely to be for you?
  7. groooooove

    groooooove Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2008
    Long Island, NY
    the occasional bad day happens.

    worse than my individual playing is when you have days where your ensemble playing just sucks. weather its "your fault" or not, nothings worse than being at a gig and sounding like x amount of individuals rather than one larger ensemble.
  8. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration

    Aug 17, 2007
    May just be a case of "not being into it" today. Mentally or physically.

    Relax. Do something non-music related. Fix a nice meal. Draw. Build a birdhouse. Read a good book. Get away from instruments for a day or two.

    Try again tomorrow.
  9. car_man65


    Nov 14, 2013
    At least one day a month that happens to me. And those rare times when the whole band is off... Everyone has em. Thats what makes us human :D
  10. happens once in a while, especially after recording
  11. Plucky The Bassist

    Plucky The Bassist ZOMG! I'm back from the dead! Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2010
    Houston, TX
    One of the things that becomes soooo underrated in music or performance in general is confidence. Some of it can be chemical levels in your body or energy, but I notice the same things with my past sales jobs and also when I was a theater major in college. Doing the same thing too often can really wear on you and sometimes it can hinder your performance by getting burn out. Ever practice too hard on a technique only to start messing up worse later on? Part of it can be fatigue, but sometimes you need to get your brain out of a rut that it finds itself in.

    Taking your focus off for a bit helps. Like most people have said, do something that is as opposite of bass playing as you can. Read a book, have a cup of coffee or a smoke, take a nap (my go-to! lol) or play a few rounds of your favorite video game to blow off some steam. Exercising can sometimes help and usually gets the endorphins flowing as well. Your mood and energy can vastly affect your playing, largely because your confidence can be tied to these as well. If you are unconfident and try to get on stage and sing, you can be guaranteed you won't be on the top of your game. I'd say this is why a lot of people turn to drugs in an attempt to make sure they are on top of their game that night. I think there are far better alternatives though lol.
  12. WashburnAB95


    Nov 18, 2013
    I have these moments when I am so absorbed in the music, it is like extacy... but they just leave you longing and it seems like you find it so seldom.

    So to savage a pratice session I decided to do something I have never done. I learned some slap bass. Since it was totally new to me my mind was able to approach it differntly and I was able to work on something that I have wanted to for a long time.
  13. Lorisco


    Mar 20, 2010
    I find this happens when I play or practice too much the day before. At least for me, my ability to play by ear and connect to the music is limited; meaning I can only take soo much concentrated listening before it drops off.

    This is why I limit my playing/ear training time daily (I believe a few ear training teachers state this as well). When I limit my practice time I find that every session is productive and sometimes it is awesome.

    So I would say to keep track of your playing time and don’t go beyond a set limit, even if you want too. This should help even out your progress.
  14. davrip


    Jun 30, 2012
    I understand we all have off days, but what I wonder is how people overcome
    this if they have a public appearance that day.

    Imagine someone like Gary Tallent with the E Street band.

    40 years of 3+ hour concerts that have an awesome rep and "off" nights
    are verboten.

    Maybe it's like a drug? maybe autopilot? But surely once in a while, he feels
    like staying home with a good book:).
  15. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    It's an issue of focus vs. distraction. Practicing isn't just about technique and theory...to a very large degree it's about honing the length, depth and consistency of your attention span. It's why practicing for 5 minutes with full, relaxed attention is 100 times more beneficial than an hour of "practicing" in front of the TV. The two things that will get you called for gigs more than anything else, good time and good note choice, are more about your attention to the situation than anything else.
  16. Clef_de_fa


    Dec 25, 2011
    Depend on the situation ... when I was at the music school for my music degree practice time never felt off but sometimes the intonation wasn't there, then I switched to an instrument that I didn't have to fight intonation.

    Now that I play when I want and what I want ... sure I have many days that just doesn't work at all because life gets in the way of my artistic nature.

    I also think that without something important to learn because you have a gig or because you have an exam on the instrument or you play in the orchestra you can't afford to not practice and not play the part perfectly as written. Now if I wish to only 8th note all night to some rock/pop music no one will hear the change.

    so yeah
  17. marmadaddy


    Oct 17, 2005
    Rochester, NY
    Yeah, it happens. Could be the amount of sleep I had, what I ate, the weather, who knows? Could be anything. I just accept it and move on. Frustrating when it happens at a gig though.

    The cool thing though, is that I also have those days when I'm just ON. It's effortless, the music just flows. Those days are priceless.
  18. Clef_de_fa


    Dec 25, 2011
    the only thing you can do is play prefectcly on time with either basic notes or stay focus on the your part and play it like you always do. If you have written music it is easier to do.

    And yes one day I can be : this tone is wonderful and the next day with the same amp setting, same setting on the bass and I find it awful. So after that a chasing the purple dragon of tone I decided it wasn't important as long as it doesn't sound like a sore thumb. So now my tone change quite a bit, I use the EQ a lot because I started to play multi part music with only the bass so to make them distinc I had to change the tone so ... I don,t have "my" tone. I think it is better that way.
  19. HuntYouDown


    Jan 3, 2012
    Tampa, FL
    I play better after I recently practiced some boring scales, finger exercises, etc. from some boring theory book.
  20. jmverdugo


    Oct 11, 2012
    Katy TX
    Not much, but it varies a lot from beer to beer though ;)