Help me through my mental wall

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by dreamer25, Dec 22, 2005.

  1. dreamer25


    Dec 22, 2005
    To whoever is reading and cares im 14 and have been with my best (bass) friend for nearly 2 years. I do other things besides play bass so its hard to focus souly on bass. When i practice or have jam sessions i think of it as talking to my bass, i put my emotions in it from whatever happened that day or week.

    Iv been getting better but i just suddenly hit a mental wall and cant get over, around it, or through it. If there are any suggestions about bands, songs, techniques, methods or anything that helped you to get better at what you love please post it.

    James Caleb
  2. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    This is normal.

    All you have to do is keep practicing, learning, and communicating with others about music. I don't have any suggestions, only to stick at and imagine yourself getting over the mental wall.
  3. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Ya, don't worry about it. You're a kid, it's normal, just seek out new music to listen to (maybe even try some jazz and/or classical), and develop as you do.
  4. I find that whatever licks come through me at a jam are highly influenced by what I've been listening to recently. coupled with how Im feeling...

    some of the best jams I've had were done when I was in a real emotional state, like pissed off or sad or happy... each day is diferent... just keep at it, try listening to diferent stuff than you are used to... appreciate the basswork in it even if you dont like the style. Im sure there will always be some cool riff that will extend your "cool riff library".

    ex.: I dont really like jazz, but some of the stuff the bassplayers do is nothing short of awesome... take that and use it.
  5. Tomass


    Nov 1, 2005
    hm, im 16 been playing for 4 years. I had the same problem, i wouldnt practice and i got really bad and the bass teacher started crack the #$^&s with me. So i stopped playing for 2 years and then i after that i really started appreciatin music and got heaps better. Practice is the key, altough i find with some nights i play so awsome whilst practicing and other nights i feel like the worst bassist in the world, any one ever get that feeling??
  6. BassChuck


    Nov 15, 2005
    In my experience 'mental walls' and other kinds of blocks come up when I start putting things on myself that has nothing to do with music. When that happens, I just really concentrate on the sound... nothing more. That helps most of the time.

    As we learn, sometimes we've made the most of what we know and, for a little while need to step back and look at what we are doing in a different way. Try doing the opposite of whatever you are doing. Like if you find that you start on a low note and build line by moving up, start high and move low. If you are doing a part that has a lot of repeated notes, move the note around and try to build a melody. Try using half the number of notes, or twice as many (don't actually count).

    There was a book that was popular amoung musicians about 20 years ago called "The Inner Game of Tennis". While it was written by a tennis pro and addressed many tennis issues, the real value of the book was in how you could learn to use your mind to be more productive and 'relaxed' mentally. This started a whole lot of books called 'The Inner Game of ......." and basically it was the same thing over and over. I found real value in the thinking process however.
  7. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    You might try to think of it this way, as a two-part process:
    1) While practicing, you methodically work on the nuts & bolts like practicing scales, playing with a metronome, reading music, etc.
    2) While jamming, you let yourself go and have fun, letting your own experiences come out of the bass (as you said).
    A little frustration and boredom are natural when practicing, but believe me, the work will pay off.
    "First, master your instrument. Then, forget all that s**t and just play."--Charlie Parker, immortal saxophone virtuoso.
    Keep at it and you'll make through the mental wall, trust me.

    Another angle:
    Sometimes you have to put down the bass for a few days. As odd as it may sound, you can improve as a musician by doing this and getting inspiration from elsewhere. For example, going to a museum and seeing a great painter's use of light and dark can get you thinking about sound and silence in your bass playing. Or, having a conversation with a friend about your favorite basketball player's tough workout routine can inspire you to practice harder on the bass.
    I know this all might sound too "arty", but it's true-- if you feel burned out, get away from the instrument for a while. Your muscles won't suffer all that much, and your mind will be fresher. And, above all, you'll have more fun again, which is the biggest source of inspiration and kind of the whole reason we play.
    Hope this helps.
  8. ryco


    Apr 24, 2005
    Keep on keepin' on!!
  9. didn't you post this same thread in another forum?
  10. Sippy


    Aug 1, 2005
    Dude there is always something you can work on... can you read music?
  11. T-Funk


    Jul 2, 2005
    Identify an area as a bassist that needs improvement (sight reading, music theory, slapping, ear training, finger dexterity, etc.), and find materials (books, DVDs, etc.) to help you improve in that area.

    This has generally helped me to make steady progress over the years.

  12. ToR-Tu-Ra


    Oct 15, 2005
    Mexico City
    Sounds to me like you need some fresh air. As another fellow bass player already posted, forget about the bass a few days, go out, have some fun. After all it's just music, nobody dies if you stop playing for a few days.

    Same thing has happende to me, not one or twice, many times. You feel trapped in your own music. You feel as if you can no longer grow inside of it. Like a snake that needs to change skin. And that's the solution, changing skin. Here's what has helped me:

    If at the moment I was listening, lets say, reggae, I would stop listening to it completely and start with something else completely "new". I kand of listen music by "stages" or episodes. I can get into some kind of music really deep until I get fed up, then I get that "mental wall" feeling, and I go listen to another kind of music. Then, after listening to a variety of music, try going back to the one that gave you the "mental wall" and you'll see things in a whole new way. Your playing in that particular style will be richer with what you learned from the others.

    Bottom line:

  13. jerm


    Jul 10, 2005
    start listening to jazz.
  14. Thegiantgnome


    May 31, 2005
    Im goin through a "mental wall" faze now as well. I've found that every once and awhile i hit a mental wall. These wall fazes are a bitch but i always come out of them with something new to apply to my playing style. I just try to think of things i've never done before such as I have a tendency to start on on a low note and make that sort of a base for which i build the rest of the line off of, but now im trying to start higher note and then just go where ever the music tells me too. Im slowly learing that you can't tell the music where to go but if you listen it tells you where to go.