Folks, I've played 6-string guitars off and on for years. I took lessons off and on for years without really getting anywhere musically. The instructors would always steer me towards theory which I soaked up but I didn't know how to use. It was all intellectual and it didn't do me any good when we jammed - I would end up doing something mechanical (scale patterns, arpeggios). At home, whenever I picked up the guitar I would always play pre-arranged jazz tunes or rock riffs. I rarely strayed from what was written - I didn't know how to improvise and I didn't trust my abilities to play what I was hearing in my head. Well, I bought a bass a year ago to experiment with and to satisfy my curiousity about the instrument (and because my gear lust has no bounds or common sense ). To my surprise, I "resonate" better with the bass: I find it easier to experiment with AND eventually I was able to play what I heard in my head JUST by sliding around. This is a defining moment for me because I discovered that I have usable ears, and by sliding around until I hear the pitch in my head I can now transcribe recorded music and improvise (just not in real time). This has changed my perspective of the instrument (bass and guitar) completely! Before this revelation, I perceived the instrument as a Rubik's cube with strings wherein the right (and absolute) combination of fret positions unlocks the sound. The frets became an obstacle to the music because I was more focused on the fret position than I was on the pitch it produced. Now, I see the instrument as a means to the music and the frets not as an obstacle but as convenience markers. So now I want to train my fingers to fret the right pitch rather than fret the wrong note then slide to the right pitch. It would seem that interval training with the instrument in hand would do the trick. Considering that for many years I focused on the wrong thing until now, what should I pay attention to when I'm doing interval training for it to be effective? This may seem obvious some people, but I wished I had made this discovery years ago - I would have gotten more out of my lessons and more joy/connection with the music I was mechanically cranking out. By writing this blurb I hope others can shave a few years from their personal development. I would love to hear your defining moments and what you got out of it. Help me shave a few years or at least see beyond the obvious when it's not.