I don't know what to do.

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Dbt25677, Aug 13, 2013.

  1. Dbt25677


    Jun 9, 2013
    I've been playing bass for 6 months now and I enjoy it heaps. Jamming with other people IRL is no problem and playing music I've learned is easy as well.
    But whenever I sit down to think of something to write or improvise, I'm completely lost. I just play meaningless bad-sounding notes in a row and I'm no good at making up my own stuff. I have written a few little songs that sound ok, but now, I just suck. This has only really happened today. I'm scared that this may last longer and I'd hate it to because I love playing bass. Can someone tell me if there's any way you can get ideas for playing without copying completely? Because I don't want to be in a cover band.
    I try, try, and try again to get a nice rhythm but I can't. I just can't do it. I try to hold onto something that sounds nice but then it's gone.
    Can someone provide me with some scales or something so I can get an idea for what I should be going for?
  2. Try to make songs based off of scales or other songs. Most of the basslines I've created are just simple jazz style ones that only use the 2nd through 4th frets.
  3. Volpe25


    May 5, 2012
    Start with the major and minor scales and then look at basic chord progressions for example: I-IV-V-I or I-IV-I-V-I.

    A good place to start with chord progressions is the "pop progression": I-IV-vi-IV

    Choose any scale and find a groove and settle yourself in the groove, when you have it down, start improvising, throw in an octave or a slide or a 5th, just start working your way up. Its a slow enough way to start but it will give you a better grounding
  4. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Give yourself a break ! ;) Six months is no time at all to be playing.

    Listen to lots of music. Even if you don't particularly like blues, it is a great music for learning bass lines. At the start, copy what others play. Later, when you gain a little more knowledge and experience, you can start to make up your own lines.

    Learn some basic theory. For a start, learn the major, minor, and pentatonic scales. Just as important is to learn how chords are derived from scales. Chord tones are the way to go.

    www.studybass is a great site. All you need to get started is there.

    Take your time, take the learning process in baby steps, be patient with yourself, and most importantly, make sure it is fun. :)
  5. Lot more to it than grabbing a scale. Lot of guys grab a scale or mode and play that for their melody. Good luck with that.

    Two ways to go when composing a song or a riff, or a phrase, or whatever. Write the melody first then base the harmony around that melody; or write the chord progression first and then draw melody notes from the chord progression.

    Something to guide you. Harmony happens when the melody line and the chord line share like notes. When the melody line moves on to new notes not found in the old chord you must either insert a new chord that does share some of the new melody notes - or insert one of the new notes into the old chord so it will harmonize this new part of the melody. That is where fancy chords come from. And this is the reason we have more than one chord in a song.

    Even with improvising "stuff" there has to be a tune in there somewhere. Tune - a repetitive phrase that the music comes back to. So there is more to it than just grabbing a scale or mode when composing music.

    Remember I said there are two ways, one revolves around the melody first and then the second revolves around the chord progression. I go the chord progression way and grab my melody notes from the chord. Easiest way for me is to use the chord's pentatonic notes for my melody - no not in pentatonic order - that will just sound like a scale exercise. A chord's pentatonic will have three chord tones for harmony and two safe passing notes for color and flavor. Structure, color and flavor make songs.

    Ask Google to find something on "How to harmonize a melody" That pointed me to the solution of how to write melody. Here is a paper on how to write melody. Pay attention to how our ears like to hear sound. Three close notes then a leap of at least a 3rd. Interesting part is what to do after the leap. http://books.google.com/books?id=Ht...result&ct=result&resnum=1#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Pick a chord progression. The ole I-IV-V7-I progression has written a zillion song. Over the I chord use notes from the I chord's pentatonic. Over the IV chord........
  6. wrench45us


    Aug 26, 2011
    You don't want to copy, but then you're setting very difficult goals. Every musician copies; that's how you learn to do what they did in creating something new. Nothing just pops out fully formed from the ether.
    I'd recommend 'Basses Loaded' book One to get a sense of a lot what's gone on before. And as for songwriting Rikky Rooksby has some very gentle 'theory' introductions to how to write pop songs. I think his work is underrated for setting a foundation for continued growth, but bear in mind it's a bass not a guitar or piano with chords and melody, so fundamentally the function is different.
  7. gregmon79

    gregmon79 I did it for the muff... Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL
    I have to say, we all rip each other off. Thats all people ever did from John Lennon to Josh Homme. IMO its not really "ripping off" another person. You get inspired by something someone wrote and your playing stems from there. I dont know how many times Ive heard a riff like Chicagos 25 or 6 to 4 recycled from Green Day to Metallica. Its what you do in your head and hands then in turn with a band that set it apart. And, as stated, its a little more difficult, I know it is for me, to write a song on bass. That is why I picked up a guitar and started there. I still write a lot on bass, its my baby, my main instrument and always will be, but a guitar helps a lot when your trying to build chords to make a song. Good luck to you! :bassist:
  8. I have the same problem. So I play in a cover band. Anyone can write their own songs but writing GREAT songs is not so easy. It takes talent and time. You can develop the skill over time. If that's a goal of yours then keep at it.
  9. crobasster


    Jun 16, 2009
    Listen to many good variety of music and practice,and at one time if you have it,you'll do something of your own.Don't worry about copying music,everything is already been writen,and the music only consist of 7 major tones and variation of it.
  10. Whousedtoplay


    May 18, 2013
    I think you are a THROLL.
    "In Internet slang, a troll (/ˈtroʊl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people,[1] by posting inflammatory,[2] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a forum, chat room, or blog), either accidentally[3][4] or with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[5] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.[6]"

    In this "crybaby" thread, you lament that you really suck, and want to learn "some scales or something so I can get an idea for what I should be going for?"

    In your other THROLL thread (that provoked and generated a lot of emotional responses),
    "Is music theory important?"
    you with your ONLY 6-months experience, proudly declare yourself a "big Rockstar" that does not need to know any music theory.
  11. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    Thinking you suck isn't a problem. The moment you think you're awesome is when you've got a problem. You'll stop learning at that moment, which is something no one should ever stop doing.
    I often find that new ideas come to me when I play a different bass. Sometimes a trip to the local music store allows me to play a bass that isn't mine, and I seem to instantly come up with ideas. Even picking up a mandolin (tuned in 5ths) makes me come up with ideas I never would have on a bass.
  12. ddhm


    Mar 18, 2011
    Memphis Tn USA
    Rhythm is kinda the thing. The notes are awesome but the rhythm is what get's ya. That being said...

    It sucks to be "completely lost" and to "play meaningless bad-sounding notes in a row". That just doesn't sound like fun at all. I suggest learning theory. It will help you to understand what it is that you are playing and how to communicate it to others. You'd already know what notes have a better chance of working if you were familiar with all of that.

    Once you understand the concepts of rhythm, it's easier to vary them and them apply that to playing. With theory, you'd know how to turn a 4/4/ song into a 5/4 song... or anything else. Couple that with understanding how the notes are working and you could change keys, improvise in a good way, ect.

    I hesitate to bring up another thread but asking if theory is important is pretty well a cop out. What you really seem to be asking is "can I skip learning theory and still rock?" Well, can you go to Japan and live there without learning Japanese? That is pretty well what you are asking. You can, but you'll be severely hindered in doing much of anything. Theory is the musician's language my man. Good luck with not speaking the language (if that's the way you choose to go) and I suppose it won't be until you run across a real competent musician and are embarrassed when he tried to tell you something that you realize how badly you need to know theory.

    I've played in TONS of bands over my life. From extreme metal to prog jazz to country and the only bands I didn't NEED theory in (but still used it as well as I could) was in extreme metal. They never knew music theory and didn't use it. Now, don't get it messed up, that was only 1 band in the genre. Many metal'ers are extremely versed in theory.

    As a matter of fact, I just went and played with one of the a fore mentioned metal musicians in a country/pop project. When we were on the way home after the 1st session, it occured to me that he was upset. I asked why... his answer: "Man, I felt lost while you were talking to the steel player about all that theory stuff." The only theory we were talking is what chords and key the tuners were in. He can easily play most anything given time. Yes songs, Hendrix, whatever.... given time.

    Now, I'm sure that you'd want to know how to go about theory. I'd suggest www.musictheory.net and couple that with all the awesome stuff from www.Scottsbasslessons.com There are also TONS of books out there. You might also want to invest in a book called "Zen Guitar" to give you another way of looking at things.

    In closing, I'd have to ask, what would the harm be in learning theory? Could it hurt you in any way? Only if you take it as absolute. Rules are made to be broken but only if you know and understand the rules in the 1st place. Good luck in whatever you choose, friend.
  13. bassinplace


    Dec 1, 2008
    Despite what Jeff Berlin might tell you, a metronome is your friend. Use it until you can find your rhythmic footing, then you don't really need it so much. Like training wheels. Just spend some time with it until you can feel where the beat falls and you can play on, in front of or behind it.
  14. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    There's no instant path to stardom. The phrase "paying one's dues" is the thing ... we study (yep, like 'read the books'), we learn, we practice, we perform. I would never consider bass guitar as an instrument I'd use for composing music. I would never consider someone with six months of playing experience (with or without knowing music theory) to be capable of writing much worth hearing. IOW - you can't give something you don't have. And you won't have it if you don't pursue it.
  15. Dbt25677


    Jun 9, 2013
    No, that post was not a troll, and neither is this one. Here's a quote from that thread:
    Hypothetically, if I wanted to be the next big spunky rockstar, would studying music be important?
    Do you know what hypothetically means?
  16. Whousedtoplay


    May 18, 2013
    Here is my answer from your other thread:

    I think I was misunderstood; therefore, I'll start from the beginning and dissect the original posting.

    a. (of a proposition) highly conjectural; not well supported by available evidence.

    b. (of a proposition or syllogism) conditional.

    1. suppositional, theoretical, speculative.
    In simple words, just something to talk about - a goofy improvisation without any seriousness. Blah blah blah....

    Let's say, I decided to post the following question:

    "I want to be a professional bass guitar player. Should I learn to play the bass guitar?"


    My unequivocal - clear and unambiguous - answer is NO.

    Don't spend any time/money learning music!
    Just go and get a job as a big ROCKSTAR and
    1. laugh at us who are trying to learn music theory, harmony, etc..., and
    2. laugh all the way to the bank
    The sooner your get that job, the better for you.

    My answer is also, NO, it's not important.
    I heard that in the world of "big spunky rockstar" there are 17 beats a quaver.
    Just go and get a job as a big ROCKSTAR

    Does music theory have something to do with "playing something that sounds good"?
    Don't say it. Stop right there.

    I don't know, but
    should I learn to play the bass if I want to be a very good bass player
  17. kevteop


    Feb 12, 2008
    York, UK
    6 months is nothing, really. It will be a couple of years before you realise you are stuck in a rut. :D

    Definitely get some music lessons. Not bass lessons - music lessons. So go to a teacher who is a professional musician, not necessarily your local hot-shot bass player or (worse) a guitar teacher who also does bass lessons.

    The more you learn about the theory of music, the more you'll understand about what you're currently playing and the more your exploration of new stuff will make sense. The theory is a framework for understanding what you're doing. It's not a set of rules and it's not going to restrict you; quite the opposite - it will make it easier for you to acquire more knowledge and to understand your instrument.

    Also you don't need to be a sight-reading megamusician to benefit from knowing some theory. Some seem to think there's two schools of playing - either proudly knowing nothing or knowing everything. But the fact is even a little knowledge is better than no knowledge, and you don't need to learn everything at once. You don't need to learn anything at all, but it sounds like you would get a lot of satisfaction from understanding more about what you're playing.
  18. I'll go get the popcorn :bag:
  19. dave956


    May 4, 2010
    Yo man. Just write. Write, write, write. Don't worry if it sucks. Just write. Paul McCartney once said that if he were too critical of his writing he would have never written anything!

    What did you say, you've been playing for six months and started writing today? GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK, man. Just keep it up, it'll be ok!
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