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I just cant hang in there.

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Bass-Teddy, Aug 15, 2012.

  1. Bass-Teddy


    Feb 10, 2009
    Hello everyone!

    I would like to ask about practice problems, like gettin' sleepy, frustrated and unfocused.
    Since I work in 8h a day, and dont have much time to practice when I get home, is there a good way to avoid getting sleepy/unfocused while practicing?
    Since my hearing is super bad, i have tried to get some songs down after hearing them, but after I get the bass Im done...It feels impossible for me to hear the chords, although, I can play the melody after 100 tries...wich is also bad.
    Anyone got some advice?

    Have a nice day everyone!
  2. ma4rk


    Jun 28, 2012
    Sydney, Australia
    Hi Bass-Teddy - don't stress about it too much. Since my wife had a baby 10 months ago i have been in the same situation. I found it best to just do what I can each night, no point in trying to over do it as you will stop enjoying playing bass. Even try a quick 10 minute unplugged session before work. Best of luck to you!
  3. This may sound a little strange, but you have to practice practicing. The more you practice (with GOOD practice habits, I might add), the easier practicing will be for you. Avoid practicing with distractions, like having the TV on or while you're burning... Errr... "cooking" dinner so you can focus better. ;) Also, a metronome is a bassist's best friend. Starting slow and getting notes under your fingers (like 60bpm slow) will get you where you want to be much faster than practicing the wrong notes up to tempo.

    When you say your hearing is super bad, do you mean hearing loss, or you just have trouble hearing what the bass is doing in the music? If it's the second, it could be as simple as finding better equipment to listen on if your current setup isn't cutting it (maybe it's too boomy or doesn't have enough low end). Maybe try a good pair of headphones? If you've got a good listening setup, try tracking down charts or tabs of what you're trying to play. That way you'll be able to visually connect what you're hearing with the written notes. Eventually, and it will take some time, it will start to become second nature. I'm fortunate to be at the point where I can hear note intervals/patterns in my head and can figure out most bass lines before I even touch a bass.

    Be patient and don't give up... You'll get it!

  4. Bass-Teddy


    Feb 10, 2009
    Thanks for answer fivestringgecko.
    Yes, I have meant to say that I have troubles hearing the chords or the bass ect.
    Well I have a decent set of speakers and such, so I just think that im not used to hearing things ... or more like recognize what im hearing in a certain way.
    I usually practice (when I can) with zero distractions but then I get sleepy or really frustrated...
    If you have any tips for what should I try to transcribe (wich I also find hard to do) I would be grateful - I always get that I should try and learn/write down what I like... but since I love Janeks, Victor Wootens, Matt Garrisons lines, I find it hard to do so.
  5. Bass-Teddy


    Feb 10, 2009
    As I think about this more, Im cerain that hearing the chords are my main problem - every damn note I play sounds good on everything for me... okay, not every but you get my drift. I can learn the bass part mostly, but those chords..........
  6. You have to work that out yourself. I had this same problem finishing my degree when I was 48 years old. I found that I studied best in the early morning, not late at night. You may have to carve out a new practice time. I'd recommend one of those Vox headphone amps so only you hear what you are playing.
    As to hearing the chords, I assume what the chord progression will be until I can look at a chord chart. Most of the simple everyday songs we come up against have pretty much the same progression. Find out what that is and assume that will be correct. If not you will hear it and change. If playing with others the key is normally called out and if not ask one of your band mates what it is. You can also watch the rhythm guitar's fretting hand and change chords when he does.

    Playing with your CD's or backing tracks you will just have to listen and assume. The more you play the better you will get at hearing the chords.

    As to playing the melody, I've never been given a lead break, the electric 6 string or pedal steel get the lead breaks, so there is no need for me to play " the tune" Chord tones and follow the changes is my World.

    Good luck.
  7. wong99


    Jun 6, 2012
    Practice in the morning. Get up a half hour earlier than you presently do and relax with a coffee and your bass. No one will be around to distract you.
  8. Bass-Teddy


    Feb 10, 2009
    Since I dont know how to respond to every message 1 by 1, Ill just thank everyone the answers!
    Ill try out that early morning + coffee + bass combo :) sounds lovely.
    Really, thank you MalcolmAmos and wong99. Have a beautiful day!
  9. Always happy to help whenever I can!

    Think of this as learning a new language... You're not going to get it all right away. It's easy to get frustrated, and when you do, it's time to put the bass down for a bit.

    Glad to hear your actual hearing isn't the problem. Just like learning anything else, hearing the chord changes takes practice. I wouldn't worry so much about transcribing bass lines yourself, there are some good resources out there for songs that people have already worked out. Do you read tab? If so, check out www.ultimate-guitar.com. They've got a big database of tabs (more guitar charts, but a lot of bass tabs too) that people have already charted out. They're not always 100% correct, but generally they'll get you close. If you read music, check out your local library... Maybe they have some songbooks that would be good. You'll be lucky if they have actual bass books, so look for piano books. They'll have chord changes included and you can also see what the piano does in the left hand which is usually the bass line, or close to it, in pop songbooks for solo piano). Guitar books will have chords marked out which may still help, but they won't usually chart out the bass lines.

    Start simple too. You're not going to be able to work out a Victor Wooten or Matt Garrison song quite yet. Lol Off the top of my head, I'd suggest maybe starting with something like some Beatles songs... More simple basslines that are still super catchy and easier to hear. Maybe some Green Day? Quicker bass lines but usually a lot of 1/8th or 1/16th notes that stick to the root of the chords. Ooo, here's a good one... Try Sweet Home Alabama from Skynrd. It's a simple V-IV-I line through the whole song. Once you get used to connecting the dots on the simpler songs, the more complicated bass lines will get beneath your fingers much easier.

    It'll take some time, but with practice and patience, you'll get it. One thing that really helps me when I'm learning a new song is to listen to it a few times before I even pick up a bass. Get familiar with the song first so you know the groove and what's coming ("okay, here's where it goes to the chorus."). After that, I tend to pick the song apart... Example: I'll focus on the verse groove first, playing it until I've got it down and then I'll move on to the chorus and learn that. It's easier to take in bite size chunks rather than trying to learn the whole song all at once.

  10. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    Yes, you have to develop good practicing routines/ schedule.
    Too tired at night, do it first thing in the morning.
  11. Bass-Teddy


    Feb 10, 2009
    Huuuh...So much information...thank you again!
    Im amazed that people are...well...interested - is the best word i can find right now - in my problem and actually sit down to the PC and write me a mail that "you should try this and that". Im really moved... thanks...really!!
    I'll start off with those you have mentioned.
    Maybe the main problem is that I dont want to get it simple...dunno' why. And I studied music theory, reading, ect in a jazz school, but I still dont feel like I know anything.
    So, ill start with these new songs and see where will i get.
    I feel motivated finally.
  12. That's why Talkbass is so great... There's a lot of great people on this forum with a ton of information, and there's many of us that have gone through the same thing you are.

    If you've studied theory, reading and such, you've got a head start on it and you just need to get used to listening, which many people overlook as a skill.

    You'll get it! I'm subscribed to this thread, but you can PM me too... always happy to help out a fellow low-ender!

  13. dieselbass


    May 15, 2010
    Davis CA
    bass teddy- I feel your pain. I'm working 60 hour weeks. Practice is much more difficult so I focus on a couple of things and keep it simple. I'm working my way through Fretboard Harmony and Daily Groove, plus making sure I can play through Sundays stuff without embarrassing myself. I have tinnitus from my job so I have some problems hearing but from a different perspective. Stay with it and you'll notice improvement in no time. Best of luck to you.
  14. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Cali Intergalactic Mind Space - always on the edge
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    Work on getting 8 hours sleep a night. Use black out curtains on your windows to keep it pitch black in your room until it's time to get up. Replace your bed if it's more than 5 years old.

    Also, for me, taking individual vitamins (not part of a daily vitamin) B Complex and D3 really helped my focus and energy.

    Learning some keyboards is great for getting figuring out the chords to a song.

    Good luck.
  15. parmezans


    Nov 25, 2011
    You are working 8h a day and playing bass as a hobby that you enjoy, right?
    Well, then, enjoy it! :)
    Don't strain yourself about this and that, drastic improvements and such.
    Practice 'till you can nail some songs that you like and enjoy doing it.
    About the focus thing... Well... 8h of sleep is good advice, always is. Also... Have you tried actually LETTING your focus drop, without being bothered by it? I mean, why not? This is your hobby, your time, your enjoyment... so what if you're not focused while playing, maybe that feels good at the particular moment? Think about it. Enjoy playing.
  16. Kubicki440


    Feb 6, 2011
    I know what you are saying about the 40hours. For the chord changes you may need to unplug and find a good ear training program such as the one at http://www.musictheory.net.

    Apps seem to be my friend here lately as I have found a few good ones for ear interval training which I can do this on my lunch break while at work. Every minute counts and you have to work in training/practice whenever you can (assuming your lunch break is quiet or can find a quiet spot such as in your car) when you work for the man.

    As far as learning or transcribing the Wooten stuff take it little bits (bar) at a time.

    To aid in the tiredness, perhaps a shot of java or protein shake before practicing, works for me.
  17. sackvegas


    Dec 1, 2006
    Find ONE book, course, lesson etc. you want to learn and focus ONLY on that. Then do some ear training or learn your current favorite bassline. There is so much information out there it's easy to get overwhelmed. I have one book I'm focusing on then when I can't concentrate on the excercises anymore (usually after an hour or so) I'll go on to learning a song by ear or find the tab on songster. Then again I'll only focus on that one song for however long it takes me to learn it.

    I used to have 2 or 3 books on the go at a time, or only learn the intros or bits and pieces of songs, it lead to years of frustration, as soon as I narrowed my focus I actually felt I was accomplishing something and my confidence as a player grew exponentially.
  18. bassinplace


    Dec 1, 2008
    I come up against the same thing, but I just work my way through it. Get whatever time in I can every night and on the weekends I can get longer blocks of time in. If you love it, you just do it! The rewards are there!
  19. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    I find that I'm at my best after my 2nd cup of coffee in the early AM before I leave for work at 7. I try to get in around 45min between making some breakfast & getting out the door. Right after work I'm usually too stressed out (I'm in traffic most of my workday), until a few hours before bed when I can get in another hour or a little more. When I get frustrated ploinking away attempting to READ music, I'll switch to practicing songs I like by tab or driling some scales or arrpegs. Sometimes just studying some aspect of theory without even holding the bass, or even reading about something bass related here on TB or elsewhere is all I can muster. BASSically, there are different kinds of practices for different kinds of mental conditions for me, and it's been working out great - I'm advancing steadily in all areas. Hang in there!!! :bassist:
  20. Everyday after 8 to 10 hours at my very stressful job, I take a nap. I used to try and practice the second I got home and I was feeling all the things you are talking about. Then I started taking an hour or so nap first and everything improved. Dont stop man.

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