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Has arrogance held you back?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by CJK84, May 4, 2004.

  1. CJK84


    Jan 22, 2004
    Maria Stein, OH
    Odd title for a thread, perhaps, but it's apropo, for my development on the bass and other instruments was hampered by my ignorant arrogance.

    I have had a good ear since my youth. When I delved into popular music in my teens, I really worked on learning instrumental and vocal parts from recordings and became highly proficient at it.

    Unfortunately, I thought that this alone made me a complete musician. I blew off suggestions from bandmates - and blew off the idea of taking lessons because I reasoned that a teacher couldn't help me.

    Regarding my bass playing, my technique and execution were relatively weak for years.

    I'm now 38 and it's only recently that I've been able to honestly assess my skills and have realized my shortcomings (e.g., poor technique), allowing me to address them systematically.

    And I'm kind of kicking myself for arrogantly refusing to focus on all-around development for so many years.

    Anyone else have a similar experience?
  2. Bass of Galt

    Bass of Galt Guest

    Mar 25, 2004
    Scrotillia Falls
    Yes. Almost identical. But I don't kick myself. Because there is only right now. No other time exists - the past is gone - the future is yet to be. There is only now. So the only appropriate question I can ask myself is not "what would have happened had I done X ...years ago" - rather - "what can I do right now".

    I can't change the decisions I made or failed to make years ago. I can't predict what will be in the future.

    I can only move forward in the now. So I do.

    It's never too late to learn something new. I'm just glad I finally woke up to that! ;)
  3. I don't think you were arrogant at all. Stubborn, maybe, but not arrogant.
  4. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Well, here's a twist. (Follow my logic here, such as it is).

    Arrogance has helped me "a lot" with my bass playing.

    In fact, people have told me that I didn't start being a "good" bass player till I put some arrogance into it.

    And, right off the bat, I'd qualify that by saying "tasteful" arrogance. But here's the deal.

    There's nothing worse than a wishy-washy bass player. Someone who isn't sure of himself on stage isn't going to cut it in the heat of a gig. You can't be worrying about music theory when you're out there thumpin' and jumpin' around. At least not for live rock 'n' roll.

    Part of what people love to see is a bass player putting a lot of energy into a performance. That doesn't mean the bass player has to be clueless, and it also doesn't mean he/she has to play too many notes or be "excessive" in the presentation.

    But, some level of arrogance might be helpful. If we're talking the kind of arrogance that exudes extreme confidence, and maybe even a little playful showmanship.
  5. CJK84


    Jan 22, 2004
    Maria Stein, OH


    I agree with your statement. A confident, somewhat arrogant person makes for a better performer.

    However, I feel that my arrogance blinded me to areas of my playing that were undeveloped for decades.
  6. I don't know. I think there's a big difference between being confident in yourself as a bass player, and being arrogant. Confidence is good. Arrogance is bad.
  7. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    At least you are strong enough to admit it, acknowlegde it, and move on. It's hard surpressing the ego. I am having the same problem with a bandmate (singer) always flat with the vocals and very close minded to everything, his way or the highway mantality. The guys had 2 vocal lessons and thinks he's Axle Rose. Anyway....One can't truely grow in anything unless you constantly humble yourself and understand there's always room for improvement. Imagine if you realized this 15-20 years ago? I'm trying to avoid the same thing in my band, and years down the road I do not want to find myself saying " I should have done this" or "made my bandmate realize that" whens it's too late to really do anything about it when maybe just maybe if we played our cards right my band could have really done something special and made some good music.
  8. Same here. I've always said I'm good at what I do. And I did exude a certain amount of confidence with what I did. The best part is when you start feeling like you're the cat's pajamas, something will happen to make sure you know your real place in the grand scheme of things.

    I'm a hack. But I do what I do well, but judged on real standards I suck.
  9. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Well said, Golden Boy. I get that same experience (a lot). Just when I think I'm the master of the universe, something will happen to remind me that I'm just a child of God. And sometimes a pretty clueless one at that. :)

    On the other hand, manipulating things is what people are really good at. If I'm hearing the question in the original post, for me it has a lot to do with reminding myself not to get stuck on something. Here's a f'r instance.

    When I was learning to play bass, I used to play along with the radio a lot. That was all I did for almost a year, just kept listening to rock stations and tried to play whatever came up. So after a while, I got to know a lot of classic rock tunes. Then, I auditioned for my first band, and they said, "do you know any classic rock covers", and I said, "Yeah, I know just about all of 'em". That was probably some kind of clueless arrogance, 'cause I quickly discovered that playing live with other people is very different from playing along with the radio.

    So I quickly realized that I'd been stuck in a rut, and after that I started going to jam sessions and the like. Nevertheless, the radio experience was good, 'cause it allowed me the freedom to experiment with different interpretations of the same song and the same musical context. After a while, I got to be pretty good at it, and that experience has helped me a lot in later years.

    So, I guess my point is, there's usually some element of cluelessness (and thoughtlessness) involved whenever I get arrogant. My dad used to say, there's nothing wrong with boasting as long as you can back it up. He also used to say, talk is cheap.

    Recently we've been auditioning singers for my cover band, and it's interesting to see the different personalities. We've gotten some pretty arrogant vocal types, you know the kind, like the band should go off and practice on their own till they know the song well enough to support the singer, that kind of thing. It's interesting being on the flip side of arrogance. I've discovered I have a rather low tolerance for that kind of behavior. :)
  10. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    With me, laziness and lack of self confidence are holding me back.

    Laziness - I should be a semi educated musician by now (4 Years)... I can barely read sheet. I'm not making strides to start a real band, which I've been talking about doing forever now...

    Lack of Self Confidence - I want so badly to make music my life... but music IS my life, and I'm so afraid to fail at it, I'm afraid to... try. I want to start a killer band, I've got a head full of ideas... but what if I'm not good enough to get them going.
  11. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    Getting older is all about realizing how very little you actually knew when you were younger. I cringe when I think of what a cocky know-it- all I was when I was 21 (and that certainly tempers my opinion of what i think I know now). I didn't know ANYTHING[/B] when I was 21 and I had been gigging regularly for 6 years.

    To my mind, the greatest state to strive for is humility. The statement above about a good live performer needing a certain degree of fearlessness, confidence and aggresiveness is very true, but there's a big difference between on- stage and off. I'm still kind fo an opinionated ass with a big yapping mouth, but I'm working on it all the time.
  12. DaemonBass


    Mar 29, 2004
    Sacramento, CA
    I wouldn't say it's "arrogance" in my case, but I just realised what's holding me back is that I assume I can play something by giving it many goes and if it comes out right once or twice I stop practicing it. Like I thought I had the intro to Bombtrack pretty good but I tried to play along to the CD and it leaves me behind with wrong note choices and an open E string ringing, driving me bonkers. It made me realise I need to practice it with a floating thumb so I can mute the E string when needed and most importantly, practice the line PERFECTLY and if I mess up a note then back to square one. It's the only way as I see it now. So maybe it's just laziness and lack of self disipline for me, but I could see how arrogance would mean problems as well.
  13. bogart


    Dec 11, 2003
    big bear, ca
    If you are playing rock and roll, (in any of it's many styles) and you are not an arrogant, cocky son of a bitch, you're wrong. That swagger, that very attitude is what makes rock and roll live and breathe.
  14. bogart


    Dec 11, 2003
    big bear, ca

    just have to know when you're on stage, it's all you. If there is anyone alive who thinks they know everything about bass guitar, I'll slap the taste out of their mouth. You should always be learning, progressing. So keep your ears open.
  15. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA

    Thank you Jack Black. :p

    You can be a rocker without being full of yourself. You can give of an air of arrogance, but that doesn't mean you need to have an over inflated ego.
  16. Lackey


    May 10, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Does thinking you're "pretty good" when you can play all of Nirvana's Nevermind album count? hehe
  17. Mudfuzz


    Apr 3, 2004
    I think I suck, but then again I think everyone else sucks too. :p
    Arrogance for me has never been an issue, I know I'm a good bassist; but then you go and see a master like Ray Brown, Mike Watt or Bootsy, and you say to your self ****, know that's a bass player, so you learn more, practice more and grow more.;)
  18. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    Good topic,

    I can't say too much on the rock end of things (I'm not a rocker but I sometimes play one on TV! ;) ), but I'd say being arrogant is by definition a closed state of mind -you think you know it all! So it isn't easy to learn from there. I have been that kind of student, and I've taught that kind of student. Not a great situation either way. I see a lot of different attitudes around, and arrogance is the most off-putting.

    I'm 40, and I find the old "I have no regrets" sentiment no longer applies to me. It rings hollow. It seems this is a good age to look back and take stock of errors, mistakes and regrets.

    and achievements. . . :bassist:
  19. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    When I was starting out, I thought I was hot ****. I learned King Nothing by Metallica so that meant I was awesome. So I showed it to a friend and he was like, "That's cool." And I said, and I quote, "It's more impressive if you watch my right hand." He stared at me blankly and shocked and said, "Yeah... that... is... more impressive."

    If I could go back in time, I'd kick my own ass for that one.

  20. :p :p :p

    If there was a "Kick My Own Ass" Time Machine I'd be using it every 15 minutes... :p