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Feels like I'm stuck in a rut.

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by i like tictacs, Jun 6, 2005.

  1. i like tictacs

    i like tictacs

    Feb 2, 2004
    I've been playing somewhere in between 2 and 3 years. I can read music decently, and I can sight read my way through simpler stuff that isn't too dotted-and-sixteenth-note laden. I can get myself through the first minute of classical thump decently, I can tap some pretty decent lines that I've written which I think are pretty cool, but they do get boring after playing them for months. My ears suck. I mean, I can sit there for a half hour and maybe pick up a few parts of a song on my own, but I think I should be able to get through a few measures in less then ten minutes, no?

    I guess what I'm trying to say is I have some decent chops, but there is no meat there. I haven't been able to write anything groovy (ever). When I'm in a band situation my additions to a song are in the realm of root, fifth, seventh, octave or outlining a chord. I want to be able to add more, such as modes, etc. But that's a whole other post. I got myself a beautiful instrument which I love to death and wouldn't trade for anything, but sometimes I look at what I'm playing and I'm just like...blah, I should be able to do more for owning this. Alright, bottomline is I think I can't write any bass parts worth a damn. I can't write anything groovy as a slap/double thump line without it sounding like I totally copped flea or vic. Help me with some creative spark, please. Any suggestions on what to learn, as far as writing new material would be greatly appreciated. I'll try to get some clips of myself up here tomorrow so you can further judge where I'm at. I do'nt think I'm a bad player per se, but I think I should be doing more. :rollno:
  2. There are a few things you can do. Know you didn't say what style, well okay Flea and Vic, I'm assumming Mr. Wooten...awesome stuff.

    There is a series of music books called music minus one...pretty cool, jazz blues and rock missing the instrument of choice.

    Try listening to some Jazz...

    Turn on a metranome and shut off the lights and play what ever comes to you..

    If you have any electronic pianos, keyboards whatever...use the computer and listen to different rythms and try to play things differently.

    Hope these help
    AJay :bag:
  3. i like tictacs

    i like tictacs

    Feb 2, 2004
    I knew I should have mentioned some of my infuences. Stefan Lessard, (DMB), Vic, Mike Gordon (Phish), Marcus Miller, Some stuff of Jaco's I think is incredible, like Birdland and The Chicken, while alot of it I cannot stand, Peter Gabriel's work is awesome, Rob Derhak of moe, I like alot of Cream's stuff as well. I don't really listen to the Chili Peppers, but I love Flea's playing.
  4. I'm in the same boat as you right now. I have been playing for four years, and while I haven't tried classical thump, I'm pretty sure I could do it at least slowly. There have been times that I've been in a rut and gotten out but now I'm back in; as you said, the innability to get a groove going, etc.

    Here is what has really helped me in the past:

    -Starting up lessons again, or quitting lessons, or temporarily changing teachers, or changing direction in lessons
    -Working on a different aspect of the bass, a different technique or approach
    -Playing an unfamiliar genre
    -Trying to experiment (though is hard for me as of late because even though I'm in jazz band, my alt rock band, and church band, I can't experiment because of recent unsteady, apathetic musicianship in these groups--probably because they are stuck in a rut.)

    Basically what I am saying is just change something. Do something different. Yea, its boring to just practice, and I resent those who practice through boredom because they are only practicing being stuck in a rut. And the mind doesn't work/learn that way. It learns by being interested, entertained, intrigued (sp?).
  5. TheMinotaur


    Jun 5, 2005
    Some tips

    Pick one of your favorite bassist and play there music Make sure you listen and understand what each note or series of notes means that he plays even if you have to sit down and write it on paper.

    There is nothing wrong with being a root bassist I still love just playing the root sometimes because too much is sometimes not good.

    Pick up some classical music and play I did some Bach Pieces he written for Bass I forgot the series name though sorry.

    And Improvise in the dark on your own do 4-5 measures start simple then after you get comfortable with it start to add more color to it even if you start with just a walking bass line.
  6. eldave777


    May 24, 2005
    Try this, it will help you develop your ear. I can't read music at all but I get by because I have a really good ear. Pick a CD you love and listen and learn the bass lines. When you have that down learn the guitar part on bass. When you have that down learn the keyboard part, then the horn part, then all the other parts you can learn. Do the whole record. Then what you are left with is a lot of cool licks you can incoorporate into your playing. You will be able to play bass parts and melody lines. That's the kind of thing Jaco did. Of course it takes time and practice but it can be fun and I have found when I get in a rut and slew of new riffs inspires me.
  7. I had been in some twenty odd bands and played with at least a hundred different people, one thing I found is a guitar player that I knew for twenty years, he and I always said hey we got to get together...but alas we never did...till last year, he is a great Jazz player and he pushed my limits and made me play better than anyone...
    My point, try just jamming with different people...do things like dueling banjoes...one plays a lick and the other copies but changes it a little bit...you'll be surprised how quickly you'll get better
  8. i like tictacs

    i like tictacs

    Feb 2, 2004
    Jesus, i swear i'm about to quit. I thought I sounded good until I started recording myself. Bleh.
  9. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    If you really feel that you are in a rut, one of the most productive ideas you might attempt is to choose a drastically different style of music to study. For example, the music of South, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean Islands. There are so many different kinds of music from that region. Salsa, alone will keep you very occupied years and break you out of your rut. Reggae is another and all its variations. Or try Latin jazz.

    Or check out bluegrass, country, funk, gospel, blues, soul, and so on. If you don't want to really go in depth in a different style, try just an introduction to a different style every few weeks or a month, then switch. It will keep you fresh and give you new approaches to the bass.

    Another idea is to check out Jamey Aebersold instructional materials. I don't have the catalog handy, but his company offers such a wealth of instructional materials including play-along CDs, some especially for bass. You are sure to find materials that will open up your playing.

    Go to this web site for an idea of what he offers:

  10. i like tictacs

    i like tictacs

    Feb 2, 2004
    I get much too caught up with wankery. Today, I realized my failure to even come remotely close to playing 'you can't hold no groove' at the right speed and tempo with the right dead notes and whatnot. Last night I almost threw my bass through a window after trying for three hours to go as fast as possible using thumb thumb hammer pluck pluck. I just listen to music that I think is too far ahead for me, the wankery music that is, with lots of fast catchy grooves.

    I will definatley try out other styles, thanks for that website Bop.
  11. JoeyZ


    May 9, 2005
    make sure when you throw the bass throught the window i am standing out side to catch it...i will run away before you realize what you have done but at least the bass will be ok.....

    you'll be ok...we all get into ruts..
  12. You said that you have only been playing for 2 years. Being able to play even a tibbit of Wooten's stuff after two years is excellent. I will never advocate that just because one is ahead of the game that you have an excuse to stop, but maybe all you need is to find peace in your life. As simple as that.

    I've found that this week for me in particular has been horrible musically. I just can't let go when I'm distressed. My dog died an early, sudden death of widespread cancer last Saturday, Sunday and Monday I just moped and played a boring computer game, and today I fruitlessly wasted 3 hours looking for Dream Theatre's new album and when I found it, it was 22 dollards. I had 20 on me. I had my (double) bass in the car so I could have played on the street for the extra cash but then I had to run to a band rehersal. I don't mean to flood my problems on you, but I can definately say that there is a direct correlation between how you feel and play your music and if you feel like absolute ****.
  13. Mike Money

    Mike Money In Memoriam

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    I'm in the same boat...

    my solution:

    Play everything i know... but in 3/4... a lot of the time, it really makes me think.

    Also, I believe that I can play a 1-4-5 punk riff over and over... and each time i play it, if i add a different drum beat, it suddenly becomes a totally new song.

    so just sitting around by yourself, stuff is going to start sound old and monotonous... just mix up the time signatures and play with a good drummer.
  14. Wow that's pretty good, I've been playing for 20 years + and I won't even attempt that, I love to play, but I go on b9inges where I don't play at all,

    Try putting the bass down for a week and play a different instrument if possible then come back to it. That might help....

    I don't advocate it but in the eighties when I did certain illegall drugs, especially the WHITE one, I would do some and set the metronome to high and play as fast as I could...I was able to play most mettalica and megadeath, then rush and Led Zepplin...

    Like I said I wouldn't advocate it, but that's what I did :meh:
  15. chardin


    Sep 18, 2000

    I also recommend Effortless Mastery by Kenny Werner.
  16. I'm also stuck in a rut at the moment. Something that has helped me in the past is trying out some music you normally don't listen to. I mainly listen to metal, but right now I'm checking out some Bob Marley.

    I've been self-taught in my 10 months of playing so far, and I think finally getting a teacher would help me getting out of this rut too. I could use someone to give me a more precise practicing routine, the lack of that causes me to end up playing stuff I already know... wich I think stagnates my progress on many aspects of my playing.
  17. Dan1099

    Dan1099 Dumbing My Process Down

    Aug 7, 2004
    Go on a week long music fast. Dont play anything, and dont listen to ANYTHING. You'd be suprised how hard it is. Music is everywhere, in the car, on TV, it is almost unescapable. Avoiding it for a while really wipes your pallette, and allows you to come back and play what you WANT to play.
  18. Bassist4Life


    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
    Something that I've been doing a lot lately is learning ALL parts of a tune. I took the tune Blue Bossa and did the following:

    1. Composed a simple latin bassline and recorded it on track 1 of my 8-track. I also recorded a funky (but simple) 8 bar intro and ending to round off the piece.

    2. Filled out the harmony by playing the 3rd's and 7th's of each chord way up high on the fingerboard: track 2

    3. Recorded the melody: track 3

    4. Did a 32 bar solo in the middle of the song and a 16 bar solo over the repeated melody at the end of the tune.

    Results: A whole lot of fun and a much deeper understanding of the tune.

    Hope this suggestion helps out. Send me a private message if you're interested in hearing the end result of my recording.


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