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I’m thinking about giving up bass.

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by tb-player, Apr 14, 2021.

  1. tb-player

    tb-player Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2019
    Over the last few months, I’ve started playing out again. It’s always been one of my favorite things to do.

    Just this past Friday, I played with a good bunch of musicians and we rocked the house. We had a great crowd. And the band was really tight. But even though the music was good, I felt out of place... almost like I was outside of myself watching the whole thing. Putting it plainly, I wasn’t having fun.

    That’s how it’s consistently been the last few months of playing/practicing. I didn’t notice it at first. But now I’m seeing the trend.

    My wife even noted that after every time I’ve played recently, when she asked me how it went, I unenthusiastically said something like “It was alright. Music was good. I’m glad to be home.”

    It’s weird. This has never happened to me. I’m always amped to play whatever and whenever. Even through the pandemic, I played every week at my church, and had fun doing it. In my estimation, I'm playing the best I ever have. If I hear it in my head, I can usually make it come out of my fingers. That's a great place to be. And that's what makes it all-the-more frustrating. I’m just not enjoying it anymore.

    Granted, I’m not looking to quit altogether. But I think I need a serious break from music.

    Anyone else ever experience this?
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2021
    rickwebb, 3Liter, Florinda4 and 15 others like this.
  2. el jeffe bass

    el jeffe bass

    Nov 22, 2013
    New Mexico
    Sometimes a break from making music or gigs is needed. Step back, take a deep breath and give it some time. Probably not a good idea to sell a bunch of equipment right away unless you need the cash.
  3. AceOfBassFace


    Jun 23, 2019
    I've had ups and downs with playing music. I'd been in bands since my early teens, but after some really disappointing/traumatizing experiences in the early 2000's I quit playing bass & guitar almost entirely and focused on recording electronic music. I guess I had a bit of PTSD to be truthful. Took me about 5 years until I got back to playing bass, and playing live. It was actually some music buddies who pulled me back into it. I didn't realize how much I missed it until I got back on stage.

    Our collective mental health has really suffered this past year, so not surprising that people are re-assessing things. Just do what feels right to you. Focus on something else for a while – learn another instrument, learn how to use a DAW, or do something totally unrelated. As long as music isn't your main bread & butter, nobody will get hurt if you take some time off.
  4. MynameisMe

    MynameisMe These aren't the effects you're looking for... Supporting Member

    Dec 31, 2018
    Don't do anything rash.
    Just take s break and enjoy somthing else for a while.
    The bass will be there when you're ready.
  5. tb-player

    tb-player Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2019
    Nah, I won't sell anything. It's taken me years to find the basses & rig I'm happy with. Plus, I have a few upcoming gig commitments. It would be a douche-move to back out of them. Right now I'm just coming to the realization that, like you said, I may need to take a few steps back and breathe a bit. :thumbsup:
  6. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    Oh yeah. I've just switched to concentrating on guitar several times, sometimes for up to a few years. I've actually been thinking that this might be a good time to do so, since I have minimal interest in gigging anytime soon and writing comes much easier for me on guitar.
  7. I get this way from time to time. It's usually a signal that depression is settling in. Inability to find joy in something you usually love to do is a huge warning sign.

    Of course, it could also be that you just don't enjoy the things you used to enjoy anymore. If this lack of enjoyment extends to other hobbies and things you usually like, you might want to think about whether there's more to it than this. Otherwise it might just be time for a break.
  8. kevindahl


    Aug 21, 2006
    Vancouver, BC
    Is it a break from playing music or a break from playing with others? I find the latter more often creeps into my thoughts. Gigging sometimes is a drag. Late nights, unresponsive crowd and low pay.

    I have a family, house and a M to F job. As I get older the energy to practice is tougher. This pandemic has been horrible. I have not played with my band since late August.
  9. Jek Porkins

    Jek Porkins

    Jun 9, 2020
    Lacey WA
    Iv'e had to take breaks. In fact I have hardly played at all during this pandemic. I only practice when I am gigging. On the flip side whenever I take a break from playing, I end up buying a lot of gear. Those who know me understand I do a lot of things that don't make sense!:D
  10. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    If you're not having fun, no shame in doing something else that gives you enjoyment. You already said you weren't going to sell off everything and do something rash. Sometimes a break gives you a fresh look at things. Or new gear. Always new gear. Heh. I'm sure you'll do what's right for you.
  11. DrThumpenstein

    DrThumpenstein Living for the groove Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2015
    St Louis, MO
    +1 to this. The pandemic has been really rough from a psychologic standpoint, and there has been a real uptick in people seeking help for mood disorders. A loss of pleasure in doing things that are usually enjoyable can be a symptom of depression. It's worth discussing this with your wife or with your doctor. Not trying to diagnose on the internet or anything, but it's worth considering. Depression is treatable if that's what it is.

    Nothing wrong with taking a break if that's what you feel you need, but music can be so good for the soul that I always hesitate to suggest giving it up.

    Good luck in sorting this out.
  12. mrcbass


    Jan 14, 2016
    Sacramento, CA
    You may just need a change of scenery. I didn't have the "really tight band" you reference, but I recently was feeling this way with the band I was in. I played a sub "parting gig" with them a few weeks ago and because I was in a different mindset (sub vs member) I was able to see all the things that were bugging me. It was really quite an interesting reveal.

    Take a break - see if your band will sub for you for a month or so. Then try it again and see if things feel better. While on your break, do some stuff on bass that is just for fun. I'll fire up Pandora and just jam to one of my stations when I want to do this.

    Maybe see about adding some new tunes? The drudgery of playing the same old set lists every gig can wear me down.

    Maybe look for a second project that will excite you again - I know for me, I always get a jolt when prepping for a new band.

    Could be that you just legitimately don't enjoy doing the gig thing anymore and that's OK too. Once the novelty of gigging wore off, I really notice the effort of load in/out a lot more.

    Just don't make any rash decisions right now. It would really suck if you moved all your gear and then changed your mood in three months (or even three years).

    Best of luck!
  13. Seanto


    Dec 29, 2005
    I had gotten this way in the past when gigging too much. I have a full time day job, so having 2 or 3 gigs a week can turn into work really fast. This has also happened when i was with projects where i wasn't thrilled with the musical material. Cool at first to just be playing with a good group of people, but it gets old and ceases to be rewarding at some point.

    I think getting back to why you started playing in the first place is something fun to do every once in awhile. Kind of going back to the bedroom player stage. That is what i have done during the pandemic. Jamming along with recordings, learning new techniques/styles, exploring new music. Discovery of new things can be really exciting and motivating.
  14. BobDeRosa

    BobDeRosa Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 16, 2012
    Finger Lakes area of New York State
    Owner, Tritone Jazz Fantasy Camps
    #DrThumpenstein and others nailed it! Take your own psychological pulse, then ask your doc to do the same. Covid has crumpled all of us to a greater or lesser extent.
  15. dalkowski

    dalkowski Supporting Member

    May 20, 2009
    Massachusetts USofA
    I almost started an "I'm quitting for good" thread on Monday morning.
  16. Blenin

    Blenin Supporting Member

    Jun 24, 2009
    Been there.
    Played for a number of years with a great group of guys, my brothers, my friends. The band as a whole was the best it had ever been. Even so, I felt just like you said, like I was outside of myself watching. I was no longer having fun playing the music that I had once loved playing.
    What once brought me great joy and fulfillment, whether it was practicing, learning new music or performing, just wasn't doing it any longer.
    I stepped away, took a break from music and eventually began to miss to it terribly. When I started playing again, it was as if all of the "bad" had gone away and I was having a blast again.
    You will know when it's time.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2021
  17. TNCreature

    TNCreature Jinkies! Supporting Member

    Jan 25, 2010
    Philadelphia Burbs
    Lethargy has set in for me over the past Covid year. For band #1 I don't really look forward to going back to the work that it entails. For band #2, we recorded and just released an album, so there is a little more excitement there. Going to our first rehearsal in a while this week.
  18. Zoffy


    Jun 7, 2020
    Sacramento CA
    Yup. I'm an ER nurse and had major burnout at the end of last year that led to me making some big changes in my work/life balance (in other words, less work). Talked thing over with my wife and we agreed that even tough it means a little belt-tightening, overall it was best in the long run. Anhedonia, or the inability to feel pleasure for the things that used to make us happy, is a real thing. It's okay to put something down for a while without giving it up completely. The great Japanese swordsman Miyamoto Musashi put down his sword for years and became a farmer; he saw the way of the sword and the way of the farmer as both coming from the same inner path. Point is, if bass playing is not working for you now, rechannel your energy into something else like painting, woodworking, cooking or something that gives you satisfaction and a feeling of personal growth. If/when you come back to the bass later on, that personal growth will follow with you. :thumbsup:
    tvbop, JettBlaq, equill and 9 others like this.
  19. 4bluestrings

    4bluestrings Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2019
    Hartford Area, CT
    Been there... I quit playing altogether for probably about 15 years... but I kept 1 bass. As my son got older we began to play. I felt like I had to relearn to play. Keep your gear, take some time off, but don't stop playing like I did.
  20. tvbop


    Mar 11, 2021
    Stuff affects all of us differently.

    Loved bass, played it for 40 years...then broke up with long term partner....couldn't even bare to look at the darn thing...packed it away in the closet....couldnt even walk past without feeling sick and weird.

    I now have a new supporting woman in my life with similiar interests and I cannot put the darn thing down...thanks to her I've even grown as a musician playing stuff I could only dream of years ago.

    You def need a break for whatever reason.
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