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how?

Discussion in 'Ask Michael Dimin' started by abassthing, Apr 14, 2003.


  1. Hi-
    My question is I just joined today because I heard about this site from some other bass players. After checking out some of the players and all the audio, I can't figure out how to get from where I am as a player to a new level. How do you , or Michael Manring ,or Steve Lawson , get to the level where you are at ? I practice , read bass books/methods , take lessons, but it always sounds like the same stuff. How do you "shift gears" ?
    Roy
     
  2. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    ABT

    That might be the best question I've ever had here. Learning is a series of spurts and plateaus. The plateaus can be very frustrating and difficult to deal with from a personal as well as musical standpoint.

    I think as bass players, we have a more difficult time than other musicians because our role, through the years, has been so closely defined by others. Further more, we have lived up to the definition. We have taken upon ourselves the role of supporter not innovator.

    How do we break out of the paradigm! We need something to kick our asses a bit. There are many times in my life when an event either big or small has changed my perception of what I do. I can give you some examples from my personal life:

    1. I was fortunate to hear Stanley Clarke and study a bit of his work as I was beginning to find my "voice". I was at a very impressionable stage when Jaco hit the scene. I went to Berklee when Jaco was at the forefront and there was a lot of investigation of the possibilities of the bass.

    2. I was feeling really stale in my playing. I brought it to my teacher (at Berklee) and he said I was really emulating Ray Brown in my lines. I did not know I was doing this but I felt something. That realization made me do 2 things. One I realized that emulating Ray Brown is not such a bad thing and 2 made me look at my bass lines in a more global sense.

    3. When at Berklee, I had heard a rumor of a bass player from Buffalo who could play a solo chord melody arrangement of "Misty". I took it upon my self to try as well. This opened huge doors for me. It made me realize that I needed to know more about melody, harmony and voice leading.

    4. The death of Jaco made me realize that life is all too precious and all too short. I felt that I needed to share the chord melody stuff I had been working on since I started it back at Berklee

    5. Loopers. First it was the Lexicon JamMan and now a Boomerang. These instruments opened more doors to me. They allowed me freedom to really develop harmonically and melodically, especially in terms of soloing.

    6. Bass Frontiers Magazine. I got a gig as a lesson columnist for Bass Frontiers Magazine. I had already published my book, The Chordal Approach, but getting it out there to the masses in a semi-monthly column made me really think more about what I was doing and how I was going about doing it. That gig turned into a position as an interviewer and finally to Associate Editor. As an interviewer I had the opportunity to meet and hang with many legendary bassists. I learned from each of them. Not so much from a playing standpoint but from an attitude, a sense of professionalism, a way to approach the music and gigs, etc.

    7. Reading "Effortless Mastery" by Kenny Werner. A life altering book about the way to approach music.

    Theses are just the ones that I can think of off the top of my head. What are yours? They might be there, you might not have yet recognized them. What are your going to be? are you actively looking for them? Do you have that preconception of what the bass should be?

    Unfortunatley, most of the method books out there by the big publishers just rehash the same old stuff over and over, using different words. There are a very few "gems" out there. The Gary Willis book is one. I think mine is another. I hope this has helped a bit

    Mike
     
  3. Wow!-that is the kind of reponse I could hope for ,but never get,and here it is!
    Thank you! I guess linking the music with your sense of spirituallity and approaching the whole thing on a deep level is part of it. I can see how you have integrated many aspects of your life with your music and playing.That is serious food for thought.
    I got my butt kicked by watching a number of bassist ,but sometimes the end result seemed so far away. I am going to think on these things you've written!.I heard about this site because a bass player I saw a number of years ago had a post on here over on the unique technique thread.I can't really grasp what he is doing ,but for that matter ,I still can't grasp everything that Jaco did. I just like how good it sounds.
    I am going to check out your book .I think you have given me some insight and inspiration ! Thanks Mike for such a great answer!
     
  4. Mike ,
    I don't always get to play with really good musicians and probably never with really excellent players . Do you know of a music minus one CD like Jamey Abersold used to have on L.P. where you can play along with a great rhythm section ? I think just practicing by myself also holds me back.

    thanks ,
    Roy
     
  5. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Everyone should read this book.
     
  6. ConU

    ConU

    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    Really open's your eyes to the truth behind the gap between good and great players eh?I'll be working on that the rest of my life I think.
     
  7. All of you have some great ideas for me to think about .I am just getting back into playing again after a two year break . I know I have a long way to go as a bass player . I want to make the jump to five string , but I don't feel good about how I play . I get inspired when I hear good players , and want to hear myself play that way . I thought playing to some recorded music would help me get used to playing Jazz before I try sitting in with some bands . I haven't been in a band for years . I know my theory and have taken ear training , and I read music . I suppose I am to anxious and will just have to take one day at a time .

    Roy
     
  8. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    I will venture the opinion here, that there is nothing wrong with listening to other guys play, and feeling envious - in fact, I think this is a good thing.

    Envy, of course, being a different thing to jealousy.

    Envy is me going to see Herbie Hancock live, and being inspired by his mastery of the piano, to take my playing to new levels. Envy is a positive reaction to someone else's great playing that inspires and uplifts you.

    Whereas jealousy is a negative emotion based in fear, whereby you feel threatened by someone who you perceive to be better than you.
     
  9. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    Ed,
    Thanks for the input. The article by your teacher is a must read.

    Mike
     
  10. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Well then the only difference here is in our respective definitions of 'envy'. You said "Believe me, I can feel inspiration from hearing somebody else play without feeling envious of their ability to play what they did."

    To me, feeling the inspiration from hearing someone else play is exactly what envy is - and thusly, it is really a positive thing, unlike jealousy.

    So it's all good :cool:
     
  11. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Moley did you know that envy is one of the seven deadly sins, second after pride? :D

    Envy, the green eyed monster, is now a positive thing. :D
     
  12. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Then again, envy is one of the five natural emotions - that which makes you strive to better yourself, and is indeed a positive thing.
     
  13. I am realitivly new here .So ,is this how it works ? I ask a pro a question ,and then everybody posts opposing views that have nothing to do with the original thread ? Should I not post here anymore ? I am sincere in my questions ,and not trying to be a wise guy . It looks like everybody justs likes to debate or argue .

    I think maybe there should be a debate forum ,and when a person wants to learn ,or only ask a pro ,they post here . It takes so long to sort all of this out , and I am not able to spend very much time here .

    Roy
     
  14. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    lol, sorry - sometimes threads get sidetracked.

    Anyway, hijack over - don't worry.

    The vast majority of the verbiage on this thread, however is directly related to your question.
     
  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    This thread did work out as it was intended - so you asked your question - everybody waited and allowed Mike to make a very comprehensive reply, which obviously inspired other people to chip in.

    This is exactly how these forums were proposed to be, as far as I remember.

    I don't think you can ask for or expect, exclusive access to a pro - this is what you pay for, in one to one lessons!

    The beauty of these forums is that a lot of people can benefit at the same time and it is not meant to be just one person talking to another, but rather, like a workshop or clinic, where anybody can ask questions or make comments.

    So - obviously Mike is the focal point of this part of the forum - like at a clinic where he might be sitting up front or on stage and then there are lots of other people sitting around in the audience, chipping in with question and comments.
     
  16. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    abassthing,

    You have two other options. You can request that the moderator of this forum close the thread so no other posts can be made to it, or you can delete your initial post which will obliterate the thread.

    As Bruce has pointed out, your question was answered by Mike and some additional information was provided by others which included a link to a good article.
     
  17. I see . I guess when the contents of this thread seem to get off of becoming a better musician , I get confused . I liked everybody's input .
    I think opposing views do make the world great . I think you can agree to disgree or you can try to push your views on someone in an unrefined way .
    I am glad we can discuss this here . I want to get back to the good stuff about bass playing .


    Roy
     
  18. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    ABT,

    This is my forum and I have the power to delete and edit posts here. I usually try not to. I like the free flow of info and I hope that the person reading the posts can filter out the garbage ffrom the info. There have been a few times where the post was really misinformed or derogatory that I have deleted them.

    You, my friend, unfortantely stumbeled into a thread that was visited by three of the most vociferous members of talkbass, Moley, Bruce Lindfield and of course Ed Fuqua.

    Through the years, I've gotten to "know" these guys and usually respect what they have to oley starts correcting my grammer in other threads - didn't think I knew about that, did you Moley:p )

    Please don't let thses guys turn you off to talkbass. There is a wealth of info (even if you have to wade through some manure on way there)

    Mike
     
  19. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    lol, rumbled!

    I thought I'd managed to slip that one past you :D

    Anyway, Mike, your sage advice far more than makes up for the occasional spelling/grammar error :) (Not joking this time).
     

  20. Hey Mike , I respect your thoughts . I am not turned off by TalkBass . I don't think that grammer is an issue on the internet . I get your point . I don 't have a whole lot of time to spend on line . I want to be inspired , and when I read some of that manure I feel frustrated .

    Roy