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I feel like I have regressed.

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Trevorus, Jan 21, 2006.


  1. Trevorus

    Trevorus

    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    I have a ton of instruments in my house. But I don't spend more than a few hours a week playing them. I went to a guitar store today, and everything I played just felt clunky. What's a good way to get back into it? Maybe get some CD's and just create basslines for them and/or play the one that is there? I used to have such a good feel for time and groove, but it's been getting lost a bit. I really need to get my feel back. What can I do?
     
  2. Roundwound

    Roundwound

    May 13, 2004
    Peoria, IL
    Go out and see some live acts and see what other bass players - the good ones - are doing. After a good show that pumps me up and reminds me of why I fell in love with the instrument in the first place, plus I get all kinds of tips (timing, rhythm, etc.) from listening.

    Sometimes a little break works...Right now I'm in a middle of a cab project and haven't played my bass in weeks. When I'm done with the cab, watch out!!!
     
  3. dharma

    dharma Srubby wubbly

    Oct 14, 2005
    Monroe, Louisiana
    You are you own worst enemy, and partly because you only really know about 20% of what your mind is actually doing with itself.

    If you feel like you're losing focus, you are. Put it down. Generate some stress for yourself elsewhere, and you'd be surprised at how you'll be itching to pick it back up again.
     
  4. Trevorus

    Trevorus

    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    That's the thing, I am itching to pick it back up. I want to write music. I am wanting to get a band moving, and doing things. I am desperate to create something musically that I can call my own. I am going to go back to my roots in music, and relearn all the things that got me into music in the first place. Maybe I'll start picking up some books and really learn what's going on in the music I hear. Hopefully that'll jump start me into writing again and playing more.
     
  5. dharma

    dharma Srubby wubbly

    Oct 14, 2005
    Monroe, Louisiana
    You're stressing yourself about the level of music you're playing. It's not good enough.

    You are your own worst enemy. Just bear in mind that you're surrounding yourself with people who can play, talk, think in music.

    Take yourself out of that loop, and you'll be amazed at how much you DO know and what you CAN do, not what somebody else can do better or what you don't know as well.
     
  6. Good point...

    Sometimes when I go into the GC down the street from me, there's some really awesome bassist just wanking away in there, and I become very introverted with my playing...."Oh...I'll try that bass out next time"

    Well, just yesterday, some six-string bass player was in there playing away with much more technique than I care to talk about...My friends are like "go and play that bass you wanted"...."nah, there's some virtuoso in there", I replied back..

    The GC employee that was with us said.."well, if he's better....just go in there, make bad sounds, and keep turning up the volume.....he'll get the message, and leave!" ...I thought that was pretty cool of him to say, and it somehow gave me more confidence in myself..

    Real musicians will appreciate anyone with the heart to try and improve... also true of the employees at Bass Central {(who sometimes put up with the noises that come out of my input jack:D )..... they had to convince me that it would be okay to pluck a string in their presence!
     
  7. Kronos

    Kronos

    Dec 28, 2005
    Philadelphia, PA
    Sometimes I feel as if people who go into music stores go in to show off. I go in, play a song that's familiar and comfortable to see how the bass feels, and then I make my decision. Look at it this way, those guys who you call virtuosos are usually attention whores who want to make people feel like you do. I say f'em. Don't let them.
     
  8. rprowse

    rprowse

    Dec 17, 2005
    Wellington NZ
    Ah, practice! It has been my experience that the way out of a rut is to play (practice) because, as you practise you enter the right zone for ideas to flow.
    On those days when you look at your bass (basses) and don't really feel like getting into it... well, that's really a catch 22!
    The hardest part is starting. You sit there, staring out the window... you're mind wants to be somewhere else. I find that, at these times, if I force myself to just play things change. It's a bit like trying too hard to go to sleep.
    Also... don't be put off by how other people play. Rejoice in the great music that they play, and, remember, they can never play quite like you!
    Play and your own voice will appear.
    Richard from New Zealand
     
  9. dharma

    dharma Srubby wubbly

    Oct 14, 2005
    Monroe, Louisiana
    yeah, what ^^ he said.

    I actually feel stuck in a rut right now, too, and I feel like it's based on my sound in general, so I've invested some money in effects and a new strap and such. Minor changes can be enough to get an entirely new aesthetic for me, so maybe this will work.

    Otherwise, my GAS is going to get ahold of me.
     
  10. Trevorus

    Trevorus

    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    I am kind of stuck in a way that the paterns that I play all come out the same. All the movements I make are the same when I play. I need to get some theory going so I can put together music rather than just playing stuff until something good pops out. But it's hard for me to think mathematically when I play. I guess most of it is just internalizing the principles behind it, so that way you don't have to concentrate on it.
     
  11. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    That's all certainly true, but what comes to my mind is that I hope you're not neglecting groove and pocket and plucking technique and muting - things like that.

    I know that I need to get-around to some theory training myself - but I've been realizing lately the importance of a masterful groove-feel. I've been working more and more on this lately, and really becoming aware - like how I think of my plucking-hand as 'dancing'. I mean once I'm familiar enough with a new funky song to really be grooving pretty-well, the whole song sort-of becomes 'identified to me' by how the hand-dance feels.

    The band I've been with for seven months now - a brand new Funk band - just put down the tracks for our demo a couple weeks ago (we haven't ever played-out as a band yet), and I've been going back to the studio, and mixing it (I have many years of audio technician type experience, but have only been studying The Bass for a few years now). We never recorded our practices at all, not-to-mention multi-tracking individual parts - well I was fairly blown-away to hear my entire "simple" bass track for Jungle Love (The Time) soloed! I mean it sounded all weird and kind-of 'messy' somehow; there were little hints of 'extra' notes and little noises, and little note slides that I didn't even really know about, and many places where I was pulsing a beat by tapping the muted strings with my finger tips (I use much hard compression, plus I did this tune all in fuzz-bass, except the verses, so every move is heard pretty-much as loud as a solid note in the dry track). It even sounded like I was off-time in some spots. At first I thought "Egads - I have to clean-up my playing!" But then when I started putting the rest of the tracks with it, I realized that it was intimate groove. Intimate groove!

    Being studio time and-all, I was definately - in my mind - playing 'conservatively', and pretty straight to the simple part on the record - well my fretting hand was, I guess - but it turns-out my plucking hand was just dancing. Dancing to the groove. Even with the bass mixed HOT, these sounds were essentially completely undetectable as 'bass sounds' in the whole mix, but when you mute the bass track, it sounds like at least half the band dropped out.

    So anyway: it's groove and pocket that's been keeping the thrill, and the 'sense of calling' in my bass-life. How'bout yours?

    Joe
     
  12. Trevorus

    Trevorus

    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    Yeah, I get that. The groove. I tend to find myself doing that with certain songs we play at church. Like I play a quick triplet at a certain part in a song that nobody else does. But when I don't do it, it just sounds like there is a big chunk missing. Another thing is that when I show up late for practice Sunday morning, usually someone says that they are glad I came, because it sounded empty otherwise. That always makes me feel good.

    I played my jazz today at church, and it is set up really well. It really freed my mind (because I tend to think about working on my instruments a lot) to concentrate a lot more on the music. Really made the whole experience a lot better for me.

    I want to be a technical player. Just like all gui****s want to be able to noodle for hours. But I guess the most important thing is playing what the song NEEDS rather than stuffing as many notes in as you can. I tend to be good at that, at least I think I am.
     
  13. dharma

    dharma Srubby wubbly

    Oct 14, 2005
    Monroe, Louisiana
    The most important thing is feeling good, creative, and in tune with your instrument as soon as you pick it up. Groove, confidence and technical proficiency, which I lack a lot of, I feel, come as results of that comfort.
     
  14. Trevorus

    Trevorus

    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    I need to find the perfect setup for a couple of my basses. They are really good, but could be great.
     
  15. rprowse

    rprowse

    Dec 17, 2005
    Wellington NZ
    Hey, wanna (an American word) really get to know your way around that fret board? Well, check out triads... both major and minor (and dom 7th.). There are only three major ones on the top 3 strings... G (open - G), D (2nd fret - E), A (3rd fret - C)... root position. G (5th fret - C), D (5th fret - G), A (7th. fret - E)... 1st inversion. G (9th fret - E), D (10th fret - C), A (10th fret - G)... 2nd inversion. You can play these as chords to get started. Combine them with your scales (major, in this case) and play them around the cycle of 4ths. (C,F,Bb,Eb,Ab,Db,F#,B,E,A,D,G)
    You'll never feel uninspired again! Hey, and that 'groove' stuff was excellent advice!
    Richard from New Zealand.
     
  16. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Thanks, Man. I'm becoming rather a 'preacher of groove'; especially to my band mates.

    I tried starting a thread in the 'Management and Performance' forum to spark some conversation on the subject, by reprinting a letter I sent to our band's trumpet player (which included part of another letter that I sent to one of our singers).

    See - Trumpet-Bill started-out as a bluesman. He tends to 'play blues trumpet' for funk-parts, and in my communicating my concern about it at practices, he thought I was just 'a blues-hater' - so I wrote somewhat of a 'position paper' to explain that it was a groove issue; that funk-groove and blues-groove were practically-speaking, antithetical and mutually-destructive if the grooves are 'mixed'.

    I ended-up getting some nasty responses from a couple TB'ers! I don't get it - it seems they thought that Trumpet-Bill wasn't my friend or something... Bill really liked the letter, and thanked me. I guess I better-know who are-and-aren't my friends, anyway.

    Well - maybe you'd find it interesting.

    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=223360

    I wrote a big'ol response in my defense, then deleted it before posting. Screw-it...

    Joe
     
  17. rprowse

    rprowse

    Dec 17, 2005
    Wellington NZ
    I understand what you're getting at, Joe.
    I must admit to being guilty (in the past, I hope!) of not getting inside the particular music I was playing... bringing my jazz lines to a blues band wasn't a good call either!
    Your attitude to music is noble. I'd be happy though (I must be honest) at a blues jam (or jazz jam) on a Friday night. It is definitely great to make the people feel good but, I guess I'm getting old, I like to 'indulge' these days. I practice hard and I like to go out and have fun playing the music I love. This is not to detract from what you were saying about grooves. Perhaps your trumpet player is better off to stick with blues... it is very hard to get the goods from someone who's heart is not really in it.
    Sounds like you're a guy who doesn't have any trouble with motivation!
    Cheers
    Richard from New Zealand