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How Often Do You Peek?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Deeter, Mar 1, 2001.

  1. 0%-24% of the time

    22 vote(s)
  2. 25%-49% of the time

    42 vote(s)
  3. 50%-74% of the time

    37 vote(s)
  4. 75%-100% of the time

    28 vote(s)
  1. Deeter


    Dec 5, 2000
    San Fransico, CA
    (This is my first attempt at a poll . . . bear with me.)

    C'mon now, be honest. When your practicing and/or gigging, how much of the time you're playing do you spend looking at the fretboard?

    I've only gigged once on bass, and spend the whole time on stage staring right at it, but that was many years ago. Now when I practice, I spend about 75%-90% looking at it if I'm not thinking about not looking at the fretboard and about 25%-33% looking at it. (I still have to peek when I play a two-octave Locrian scale)

    Anyway, the point is, I still have to make a conscious effort to not look at the fretboard, but I'm working on it. How 'bout you?
  2. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Even though I voted in the lowest category, I don't think there's any disgrace in doing it. If it helps you play better, that's what matters. Some people are a little shy about looking into the audience.

    Plus, if you're playing your ass off, it can be a good visual. I just don't because after several decades of playing, I'm pretty familiar with where I am on the board and all my focus is on what's coming through my ears.

    If it helps you play better, do it. You probably won't need to after a while.
  3. The bulk of my playing these days is on double bass so I'd have to say I pretty much don't bother looking at my left hand there - it won't help any, there are no frets. Nothing to see here folks!

    As for electric, as long as I keep to my main basses, whose frets seem to line up the same (my G&L's and or fender type basses) I don't really need to look very often unless I have any really long and quick shifts way up the neck. In the lower positions (where I do the bulk of my playing) I don't really look at all. I guess since 99% of gigs involve reading charts, I have better things to keep an eye on, especially when playing with a conductor.

    When I play my Gibson bass, it sits differently so I have to keep an eye out a little bit for the first 10 minutes or so while I get used to it again. Then I'm usually okay.
  4. yawnsie


    Apr 11, 2000
    Generally, I look at my fretboard when I'm moving to a new position on the neck. If the song I'm playing stays in more or less the same part of the neck, then I don't have to look at it at all.

    I don't think that looking at your fretboard when playing constitutes cheating, or makes you any less of a player. Eventually, as Rickbass says, you become so used to the bass you know exactly where each note is from experience.
  5. I play fretless 90% of the time. Peeking with my eyes wouldn't help. Peeking with my ears, on the other hand, is required.

  6. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    Most of the time I play with my eyes closed.
  7. I voted for 25-49% of the time....

    I try not to look... but I still do it sometimes...

    but usually I´m looking at a sheet, bandmates, audience or have my eyes closed... :)

    anyway, I just play the way I do...
  8. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    If you are reading a chart or, especially, sheet music, you don't have much time to "peek" at the fretboard. One good thing about learning to read standard notation is that it almost obligates you to play by "feel" much of the time, because you have to stay focused on the sheet music.

  9. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    On stage when i'm playing & try to look @ the audience & create a connection w/them so I try not to look @ the fretboard. If I'm playing @ home or @ rehearsal, I look @ the board more often. I voted 0-25%.
  10. Know whats really hard? Trying to play when you are lookin at yerself in a mirror. My mind goes all crazy.
  11. I look as often as I feel the need or desire to. That generally works out to about 50% of the time, at a a guess. I do make it a point to keep eye contact with the guys up onstage with me and also the audience as often as possible, though. It'd be kinda boring to stand there and stare at my bass all night, and not just for the audience, for me too... :D
  12. i swear if i wasnt the singer i would constantly stare at my fingers and the fretboard but we play simple music anyways
  13. the Qintar

    the Qintar

    Jul 24, 2000
    i look a whole lot
  14. Deynn

    Deynn Moderator Emeritus

    Aug 9, 2000
    I know that I do look at times.....but am honestly not aware of what percentage of the time, that I do it.
  15. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    I honestly don't know either, gonna check on the next gig..

    Funny Nomadic, I really like to check my playing (technique) with the help of a mirror.
    But then, I'm a lefty who plays right-handed...
  16. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    I look that way a lot. Now I'll be funny: I watch my *hand*! To check that it still has the fingers spread properly. When they are spread, I stay out of trouble and hit my notes well. After a while, I get lazy and fret short of the proper notes - yak! - and start waving my hand all over the place (like the queen to the crowd).
    This in mind, I'll contradict a few others: I peek more when playing fretles...

    Working on it, though - I need to read music or chords, and when it gets fast, something will go wrong...
  17. Voted for 75% to 100% of the time. The only time I don't look at the fretboard is when it's something I know that doesn't require any more than a 3 fret shift of the hand (hand, not fingers, mind you. :p).
    Actually, that reminds me of the recently passed talent show...at one point I was absolutely sure I could play without looking. I mean...we were playing Everlong, and it's dead easy...but when I looked up, I suddenly got lost somehow, and missed 2 note transitions. Fortunately for me, no one in the audience OR the band noticed, even though my amp was turned up MUCH higher than anyone else's...
  18. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    i peek when changing positions on my neck...usually my eyes are closed or im in the zone and dont think about what i have to do, it doesnt make you any less good if ya peek as stated b4
  19. Jason Olstead is on to it. If you learn to sightread, you'll forget about looking at your neck, 'cos the sheet takes your total concentration. You can develop a sort of peripheral vision, where you can just see your neck while you're reading.
  20. Hmmm...I found out just yesterday that if the audience is right up there on stage (well...it was a rehearsal for the musical being written by 2 of my teachers, to be performed by the 8th graders at school, and we were in the music room. :p) then I tend to VERY consciously STARE at the fretboard because I don't want to look at any of them directly. Then again, it might have something to do with the fact that I felt I had to play REALLY well so that the younger kids would be confident enough in me and the rest of our band for them to sing/dance along with us.
    Or maybe I'm just too darn shy, even though I'm a drama student and get on stage and make a fool of myself ALL the time... :D

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