Dud Practices

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by rickbass, Jan 17, 2001.

  1. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Yesterday afternoon, I went downstairs to "pump up"/practice for tonight's gig. I wasn't as enthused as I normally am and my fingers and brain must not have been connected because I was making mistakes all over the place. It was like my brain and fingers had been hot-glued or disconnected. With rare exception, I stay away from the PX3B headphone box during the day and practice 2-4 hrs. with a real amp, so I kept at it for a couple of hours. However, things didn't get much better, even though the material was a mix of old and new.

    Thankfully, this seldom happens and when I picked up a bass again after 1:30am, things were somewhat better. But, I'm afraid it will could get worse. You'd think after 30+ years of "bassing" I'd have solved this by now.

    Does anyone else go through a day or periods like this? :confused:

    [Edited by rickbass1 on 01-17-2001 at 02:15 PM]
  2. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars
    Rick -

    I don't have your amount of "time served" at this (only got 20 years in "da joint" ;) ), but I have been through the exact feelings you described numerous times. Most times, it lasts for a couple of days at most, then I'm right back at it, although there was one period back in the 80's when a combination of my own incompetence and a member of the opposite sex really killed my drive to be a musician. I hardly touched a string for almost a year and a half during that time.

    That said, the best cure for any little low spot for me is always playing with others, giging or just jamming. I spend the days looking forward to my band's rehearsals, they're great :D. We usually spend about 30 minutes just grooving on something, one guy (there are 7 to choose from) just starts something and everyone joins in. It usually goes interesting places, and has even evolved into songs several times. That cures any blues I may have (last nite I felt like BLEAH!! until we started playing, 60 seconds later, I was grinnin' from ear to ear :cool: ).

    If your steady gig is getting a bit stale, hit a few jam nites or find some like-minded musicians and do something different, just for fun. It'll probably relight the fires...
  3. i don't think this is a problem that solves itself after a hundred years of practice, times like this just happen. when they happen more often than not i usually just let the bass sit for a couple of days until it is begging to be played.
  4. I've only been playing for ALMOST a full year now, so almost every day is like that for me. :D :p
  5. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Thank you guys! I guess I know how the Minnesota Vikings feel - You've got the time in, you've got the ability, you've got the love for it, but some rare days it just doesn't all come together. (Sheep Man, that excludes you but my bet is you will see this time one of the most exciting, baffling, times of your musical life, if you keep at it).

    I recently found an old Will Lee column where he talks about getting away from it for a while and shows several bars of music, all filled in with rests. That isn't an option for me. Like, tomorrow night, I'm 470 miles away in St. Louis doing a gig with a band I've never played with, as a whole, in front of a critical crowd and Sunday, we lay down on tape. With stuff like that coming up, these "dud practices" scare me.

    Just knowing that you guys have these "burnouts" makes me think I'm not losing my edge with age.
  6. I never have days like that. I'm always right on.

    Yeah - that's the ticket!
  7. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Wow Rick! I am so glad to hear you tell your tale, because boy did I go through that last week. I was getting ready to play our gig, going through my normal warmup exercises and scales (for some reason my set up time is so much less than everyone else. I think it's cuz bassists rock!) Anyway, I just wasn't feeling it. Then we started the set and I never got in the groove. I think I was in the pocket once all night. It felt horrible, and it was really easy for me to get down on myself. The weird part was, that was one of our best crowd reactions from the 4 months we've been playing this bar. I thought we were horrible. Nobody else was on either. It was just one of those off nights. It is a good feeling to know that we can play like crap, but the crowd will still love us.

    It is good to hear that it happens to everybody.
  8. Doug


    Apr 5, 2000
    Buffalo, N.Y.
    Talk about timing. I just can't seem to get my head into it as of late. The past few practices were some of the worst I can remember. I've had alot on my mind lately and top that off with little sleep, bass becomes the farthest thing on my mind. I'm literally forgetting lines that I've been playing for God knows how long. Luckily it hasn't been at any gigs yet. I took this whole week off from practicing just to refresh myself. Hopefully, by Wednesday I'll be back to norm.
  9. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars
    Wow -

    I've been infected! I just had an awful rehearsal last nite :(. Never got in the groove, made dumb mistakes, just plain played poorly. It's all YOUR FAULT Rick!!!! :p ;)

    I'm sure that then next one will be cool, I've just been very distracted this week, too much extraneous junk going on. Gonna clear the cob-webs today and over the weekend, practice by myself a bit (gotta love that PX3B, eh Rick? :) ). Hope to be back in form by our rehearsal on Sunday evening...if I am, I'll forgive ya Rick, if not............ ;) :D

  10. I totally understand where you are coming from.Even though I probablly one of THE most junior members here in terms of learning and expearience(7+months).

    Some days I am really "HOT" and playing the songs I have been working on very well,sounding sweet....other days I suck even worse than normal,timing off,missing notes etc.

    Thanks for sharing!Now I feel better!! :) :D
    If you veterens have bad days then that means it`s not as earth-shattering as I thought when my playing is off.

  11. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Thanks R.B. for asking a good question. For all these years I thought it was just me.

    I know that sometimes I do sound like I just started but I've listened to practice tapes later and it really wasn't as bad as it sounded when I thought I had screwed up everything that I tried.

    I realize now that I'm not alone and that makes me feel better. :)

  12. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    In case anyone is interested - Got back home last night and all went well. I tried something that worked, at least this past weekend and maybe it will work for you who diligently practice out of fear, too. Tried something totally new, for me at least--- no practice. The basses just sat in the hotel room. No making sure every lick was down backwards and forwards. Then at the gig, just ran my fingers under hot water for several minutes as usual in the dressing room. Soundcheck and limbering up, setting levels was it. Thank you Dr. gruffpuppy!

    Did I step on some lines? You bet. I guess that's one good thing about not being in the big time- no one knows the next note except the band. Wish I could have stayed on. Eddie Money is on the same stage tonight and next week, Col. Claypool & his Pink Floyd, er, Frog Brigade are there.

    Gard- Well, did you burn your burritos or did everything come out okay?
    About that ToneWorks- Yeah, I don't know of any box that does as much unless you get into the $900+ range, BUT- the signal from my stereo deck becomes mono in the headphones
    and when you cram my bass signal into the single earphone, the sound is borderline acceptable. What would be really cool is if you could isolate and modulate the bassline and get a simultaneous display of each note on the LED. The bassist's needs were clearly determined by engineers. Where's MikeyD and Joris when you need them?

    [Edited by rickbass1 on 01-23-2001 at 03:48 PM]
  13. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars
    Rick -

    You're off the hook, 2 rehearsals, went just hunky-dory :cool:. Hope that translates into a good gig tomorrow nite with Tito Puente Jr down in Maim-i!! :eek: ;) Glad to hear your gigs went well too! :D

    As for the PX3B stuff, when I run from my tape deck or CD player, I get the signal in stereo, unless I use the loop/transpose function. Then I get a mono signal, but it's summed stereo, so it's in both sides of my 'phones. Question: do you have a stereo mini plug cable from your deck to the PX3B? And is it a good cable if you do (no shorts)? If you don't have a good stereo cable, head down to your local RattioSlack and get one, or get the stuff to build your own (pretty simple chore, makes life much nicer if you do too :D).

    Good luck sorting it out, if you got any more questions, save 'em for a couple days, I'm gonna be alpha mike foxtrot (adios m***** f*****) until Thursday afternoon/evening.
  14. I guess Will Lee was right, huh?
  15. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Marty - Well, it was more like gruffpuppy said, kind of "ingoring" it until you need it as opposed to totally taking one's mind off bass completely, which is not an option for me right now. Lee was like, leave it at home or somewhere you can't get to it, go away from it, and see if you can forget about it a while. The difference is that gruffpuppy didn't say he didn't think about the act of playing. Kind of like a romantic interest where you think a few days apart after constantly being together day after day after day...would be best for the relationship. You don't stop thinking about them but you finally see them again because you want/need to.

    Back to the bass- Now, I think if you find yourself sitting with it in your lap to practice and it's not even a conscious decision but more like taking out the trash, then do something else. At least it worked for me this time.

    As a result of this little learning lesson, others in the band said my playing had a real bounce, a real life that more than compensated for any notes I tripped over.
  16. Just happen to me on Sunday mid-afternoon and went back an hour later and still the same thing it was just one of those days where nothing goes right in the band and no one was listening to each other. I think it was because we were thinking about it so we just sat down and watched TV and forgot about it and about 2 hours later had a practice and were sounding like pro's again. Sometimes I think you have just got to be relaxed and it will just come natural. I have not being playing as long as you but that's what affects me sometimes it's just that i'm more worried about getting the next song right than the one I am currently playing or worried how I am going to sound on the day. Just my thoughts on the subject.
  17. I know this sounds kinda lame, but I'm serious:

    When my band has an off day, we've often found that if we get a case of beer, the jam turns up incredibly! Don't know if it actually <i>sounds</i> any better, but we leave enthusiastic about our talents and our next performance, which helps maintain the psychological edge we have over the competition :)