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How many hours a week do you play your bass?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Joe Nerve, Feb 24, 2005.

  1. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I keep hearing of, and meeting people who dedicate 4 to sometimes 8 hours a day to their instruments - and it shows. It inspired me also. Presently, with gigs counting I only spend about 6 to 12 hours a week with my bass actually in my hands. This week I had off from work and more than doubled that. I can't tell you how much in that little time I feel I've grown. I'm playing certain jaco like lines from other artists that a few months ago were virtually impossible. I learned a whole bunch of new songs. My bass feels almost non existent in my hands, meaning it feels like its a part of me and does exactly what I want it to.

    I struggle with wasting time on the internet - I really want to prioritize my bass playing time. Like, I could be playing this very minute as opposed to writing about it and starting rabble rousing religious threads over in the lobby.
  2. I play between 14 and 20 hours a week most likely... More when I have days off. I tend to waste a lot of it though.
  3. for me, its got to the point where i hardly even think about wether i should practice or do something else, i just tend to wander towards the music room without thinking. i actually start feeling quite bad when i havnt practiced for a day or so.
    anyway, to answer your question, i try and get around 3 hours a day in.

  4. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Yep, about three hours a day, whenever possible. If I have a gig, that'll cover me for that day. Gotta keep those callouses up. :) Got an upright recently, that helps a lot too. :D
  5. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    You guys are inspiring me. I comitted to at least an hour a day about a month ago and using days such as today as money in the bank I believe I've surpassed that.

    What exactly do you do for 3 hours?

    I've been working on new material, jamming along with my metronome, learning songs I ordinarily wouldn't (eleanor rigby and penny lane), and going over older songs to brush up and keep fresh. Every once in a while I jump into a theory or reading book but I get bored and frustrated real quickly. I sometimes also do bass calistenics to get more comfortable dancing and jumping with my bass. Havan't done that in a while though. It actually helped me a whole bunch... even when I don't jump or dance at a show. Makes me more one with the instrument. I was always inspired by hendrix's oneness with his guitar and strive for that with my bass.
    Wut yu do??????
  6. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    I used to practice for 2-5 hours daily. At least, that's before I knew what real practicing was. Sure, It enabled me to get a very solid grasp of the instrument from a physical standpoint, improved my endurance and dexterity, but in terms of being a bass player, and a musician, it didn't do much.

    In truth, some of the best improvements I've made have been away from my bass. thinking about things, and/or doing other things. Such as away from instrument metronome training, that I later go back and apply to the bass. Doing it away first makes it much easier to translate to bass later. For me at least.

    There are many things you can do, many different schools of thought surrounding how best to spend your time. But, know that it's not really about quantity. Even if you manage to keep your attention focused on a handful of things for 3 hours, and really focused, no meat and potatoes goofing around. You still won't necessarily gain anything more than the guy who is really focused for 30 minutes to an hour a day.

    The real key is consistency, as long as you have a routine, and you stick to it, you'll be fine.

    One good way to discipline yourself to practice better is to record everything you practice. Set up the recording device, could be video(major plus) could just be audio, set it up and forget about it, then do everything just like you normally do. Chances are after a little while you'll find yourself doing the 'meat and potatoes'; all your favorite licks, and tricks that, while lots of fun, aren't really doing anything for your progression as a musician and player.

    So, you listen back(or ideally watch) this practice tape at a later date, I promise you, that you'll immediately start picking out all the places where you deviate from actual practice, and that in subsequent practice sessions you will start deviating less and less.

    As of now, I only practice bass maybe 30 minutes a day to an hour. And I'm fine with that. I think about music a lot more than that, and I do my metronome and rhythm work separately. But just bass doesn't even get all that much time. But it's okay because I'm starting to learn how to use my time well.

    edit: sorry, I kinda got caught rambling, a much better ramble on this topic is jazzbo's thread "practice practice practice"
  7. zac2944


    Dec 28, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    To answer the original question, 10-30 hours a week.

    I've been playing for about 15 years and never had a regular practice routine. I play almost every day for 1 to 3 hours, spending the first half of my time jamming and having fun and the last half getting something specific accomplished.

    For fun I'll play along with a CD or drum machine. Sometimes I set up loops on a LoopStation and play along to those.

    For what I consider to be "practice" I usually spend a lot of time learning a playing style, technique, or song by whatever musician I'm obsessing over at that given period of time. I go through phases where I obsess over a certain style of music and certain players, and will try to learn everything about it. I'll learn tunes by ear, then try to understand the theory behind the music. I then take what I have learned and try to incorporate it into my jams and writhing, really making it my own.

    I never do drills and exercises just to do them. For me it's always about playing a song tighter, smoother, faster, etc. To get it right I'll do drills and exercises that help me accomplish this.

    When I'm jamming around for fun I always stand and move to the beat. Sometimes I'll work on showmanship/stage antics. I once gave myself a black eye trying some moves I saw Victor Wooten doing.
  8. noodling around - a lot ( well too much )

    focused practice - not enough

    I'm working on changing my practice habits :meh:
  9. i probably play for about 4-6 hours a day since i've been done school. In that time probably 3 hours is playing songs i'm trying to finish/master. and then 2 hours to going over lessons from the previous week the studies from my Mel Bay book.

    It's come that since ive been out of school all i do is play bass . i wake up and play then eat thn hack around the net then play. it just seems like the most productive thing i can do these days.
  10. Petary791


    Feb 20, 2005
    Michigan, USA
    14-22 usually. I have "scheduled" band practices every Saturday, however I still get together with just my lead guitarist because he's the least A.D.D. in my band and that's when we get most of the stuff done! :rolleyes:
  11. When I was first trying to learn scales and get more serious I was doing about 5 hours every other day - plus I had a nutty guitar friend who I did a bass and flamenco/jazz/classical guitar duo with and we would have some pretty intense sessions that went on all afternoon - plus two hour gigs that were just us two. For the last two and half years I've been doing about an hour or two ever morning - and sometimes two or three on the weekend - plus I rehearse and gig with my band once or twice a week - so quite a lot - I've also been playing for 20 years so that adds up to a lot of playing - I've definitely improved a st!t load in the last couple of years thoug. I'd recommend doing shorter but more focused practice than just trying to bite of more than you can chew, then tiring yourself out with hours of repetitive scales and finger exercises - like WR says - record yourself regularly - it's a great way to hear what you need to work on most; once you hear that, you'll stop doing stuff that isn't helping you progress, and start practicing stuff that does.

  12. I usually get in about 26-32 hours of playing a week, and I wish I could play more often! Music is just too, too fun.
  13. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo gone to Longstanton Spice Museum

    Feb 8, 2003
    I don't play at all unless we have a gig or a rehearsal, or if i'm recording some bass at home into Cubase... so on average, maybe about 3 hours a week

    I did my '10 hours a day' woodshedding several years ago, and reached my personal point of 'diminishing returns' a while ago... if your music comes from your head and not your fingers, I don't think you need to keep pounding away on your bass day after day after the 1st decade or so...

    I would like to PLAY a lot more but I'd rather it was at shows... I prefer to be out there doing it than practicing in preparation to do it
  14. Agreed - pounding away on the bass relentlessly shredding scales for hours is pointless - but working on your feel, timing, articulation, phrasing, grooves, solos, basslines, chords, sight reading, picking techniques, songwriting, improvising and generally keeping 'in practice' is all good stuff to work on regularly, every day is good - but then of course if you've mastered all of these things then don't worry about it ;) - I love playing gigs, which I do regularly, but I like to bring a load of stuff to the gig that will hopefully improve my performance each time - thus I think concentrated, shorter practice sessions are the way forward IMO.

  15. Man am I feeling bad reading this thread... :(

    Including Jams, I probably practice about 6-8 hours a week... and it sux because I wish I would do more, but its a mix of getting home with no patience and having the computer in the same room as the bass... so, most times I drift towards the computer...

    I need Help! where's the Geeks Anonymous at?
  16. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo gone to Longstanton Spice Museum

    Feb 8, 2003
    good job I didn't say anything like that... :)

    but i've definitely reached a point where I think any more time spent practicing bass is a waste of my time... in fact now I come to think about it, I probably wouldn't pick up the bass at all if it wasn't in the band... and i'm only in the band because we're 4 mates having a laugh

    I just realised I don't give a monkeys about being a bass player :) I'd burnt out my 'obsessive bass enthusiasm' after the 1st decade and although I enjoy playing, i'm not striving any more.... but the weird thing is this is the most enjoyable band situation i've ever been in by a long way... maybe I should have stopped trying so hard a lot sooner :)

    nothing wrong with striving at all... it's just i've reached the top of my particular mountain and i'm happily sliding down the other side :)
  17. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Usually, about an hour with the fretless, an hour with the fretted, and an hour with the upright.

    I practice technique, and reading, and speed and finger strength, and play along with CD's, all that kind of stuff.

    Currently I'm learning "arco" on the upright, that's taking me a bit of work right now. Never done that before. :)

    On the fretted, it's mostly the innovations in regard to slap and tap techniques, at the moment.

    On the fretless, well, I just really dig that sound. :)
  18. That is totally and utterly cool and sorry if I might have sounded a little hot and bothered in my post - basically as long as you're enjoying what you do and you're at a level you're happy with then just get on and play and don't worry about stuff you probably don't need to know and worn't get a chance to use - I admit am an obsessive bassist and want to play at the best of mya bilities all the time - but likewise I totally understand if that's NOT what you do or are - much respect to your own approach - the one thing that a lot of people forget is playing your own way and no one elses is also extremely important - keep it up and have fun.


  19. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo gone to Longstanton Spice Museum

    Feb 8, 2003
    I think you're right there... the band does punk rock & new wave covers... the singer and drummer have no musical training, the guitarist has GCSE music and I have a degree in music... so i'm kinda slumming it to an extent (but loving it)... I do get a bass solo for a couple of minutes in 'Love Buzz' but otherwise it's all root notes and jumping around :hyper:

    so I'm not an advocate of deliberately & proudly not practicing... (like I said, I have put the hours in in the past) and i'm definitely not into 'ignorance is bliss'... just that life's short and there's so many other things to occupy ones time :) I wish i'd spend less time playing bass and more on learning to sing
  20. SirPoonga


    Jan 18, 2005
    Same here. I just started bass. However I don't have the time right now to dedicate to learning it. I have to drive 1.5 hours one way to my temp job right now :( That takes alot of time out of the day.