How many mistakes do you make on average per set, song ?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Huw Phillips, Oct 15, 2021.

  1. Huw Phillips

    Huw Phillips Life is like TV if the channel sucks change it Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2019
    I am practicing a lot and seem to hit a wrong note about 2 or 3 times in a song is this normal or should I strive for perfection
  2. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    It’s normal when first starting out or learning something new. But don’t fall into the trap of being too easy on yourself either. Strive to be the best you can be.
  3. I make a couple mistakes every song, and a couple more for every song I've let slip a little bit. The real trick is to lower your threshold for 'mistake' so that what you consider a mistake isn't detectable to anyone but you.

    It's real easy for me to let my mind wander a little bit and when that happens all bets are off for a flawless tune, but songs I know real well are muscle memoried in so it's hard for people to notice the small stuff.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2021
  4. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    The goal is to reach a point where you know the material so well, both note for note, and in terms of the underlying theory and style, that your mistakes are swallowed up by The depths of your mastery.

    that requires
    • Playing the tune a lot
    • Learning many similar tunes
    • Practicing the basics
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2021
    leftybass54, Eric66, SalM and 14 others like this.
  5. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    In a performance setting, one or two minor flubs in a set might be OK, but 2 of 3 wrong notes in every tune would probably trigger an existential crisis.
    In a practice setting, that is where any number of mistakes is OK provided the number is commensurate with the work already done - i.e. you are improving - and you then go back and work them through. The only thing tolerance will do is allow mistakes to pass from practice to performance.

    Dalmasn, ghorvers, Infidelity and 9 others like this.
  6. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    There are no mistakes, only happy little accidents.

    Don't worry! As you get better and better, your threshold for what you call a mistake lowers - as a beginner you would call it a mistake if you played the wrong note at the wrong time. When you've progressed some, you call it a mistake when you play the right note at the right time, but with the wrong attack - so you'll never play a perfect set :)
  7. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    Flubs vs. Eff-ups!
    Blackjac97 likes this.
  8. theduke1

    theduke1 Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2010
    Sussex WI
    I never count, and neither do my band mates
    Just keep playing and never let the audience notice
  9. EdwardofHuncote

    EdwardofHuncote I Still Dream of Jeannie Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    Southwest Virginia
    I may have played two or three perfect sets in 30 years. An average night with my newgrass/jamband gig, I'll play at least a couple clams each set. But that stuff is seat-of-the-pants anyway. Probably I'm the only one who knows. I strive to play the best I can every single time though, that's the goal. I still take chances, because playing on the edge is where the fun happens.

    *Studio experiences are a lot different. I'm nuts over little things in there.
  10. GeorgesEric


    Mar 24, 2021
    if you make a real faux pas, do it again a few times. People will think it is part of the song. That’s what Eddie used to say.

    Back in grade 11 or 12, I was playing tuba in high school classical band. We went to provincial competition. Other tuba player was a virtuoso. Before the recital, the teacher/conductor took me a side and gave me recommandation: “if you are not sure about the notes, just move your fingers but don’t blow in the instrument”. I followed his advice. We won first price. Everyone was hugging after the performance. Back in the bus we went, gloriously riding on our high. We even stopped to get a poutine and a coke. The teacher was that happy!

    Playing bass with my buddies in a power trio of incompetent and happy youngsters making tons of mistakes was a lot more fun.
  11. Paul Leech

    Paul Leech

    Sep 26, 2017
    NE IL
    A good friend of mine always used to say – in Jazz – it's called "playing outside!".
    barrenelly, Bemo, HolmeBass and 5 others like this.
  12. sedan_dad


    Feb 5, 2006
    Sink or Swim. Trial by fire. Mistakes are opportunities . Don't make a big deal out of something nobody else notices or cares much about.
  13. After all these years I’m still trying to play a song without making a flub :)
    ratdoc, leftybass54, Dalmasn and 2 others like this.
  14. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    You strive for perfection, you never will get there.

    Remember, the more you care, the more you will hear mistakes no one else will, in anything you do. A number of years ago, I built a large built in bookcase in our house. I've received many compliments on how wonderful it looks. When I look at it, I see all the imperfections.
  15. Frequently! I still strive for perfection, If you stuff up, and you will, keep playing, chances are no one will notice, and, of those that matter, they are probably too busy with their own stuff ups to notice, too. Never let a mistake get in the way of the rest of your performance.
    barrenelly, JRT64 and BOOG like this.
  16. SemiDriven

    SemiDriven Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2012
    Milwaukee, WI
    How many mistakes do I make on average per set / per song?

    Enough. :D
    HolmeBass, BOOG, mb94952 and 2 others like this.
  17. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    Oh, three... or four.

    westrock, whbjr, maxschrek and 4 others like this.
  18. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    in practice, it depends on what you are practicing...
    are you practicing a new, unfamiliar technique? Perfection takes time and many, many -correct- repetitions.
    if you are practicing repertoire, you should strive for zero. if zero is unattainable, you may be going too fast.

    'An amateur practices a song until he can play it correctly; a pro practices until he cannot play it wrong.'
  19. jimmydean


    Mar 14, 2009
    How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop ?..........two !
    barrenelly, Zbudah and Killing Floor like this.
  20. slareman


    Nov 7, 2007
    I was thinking of that exact quote. It's often attributed to Chick Corea.
    Thumb n Fingers likes this.
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