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Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Dr. Cheese, Jan 10, 2019.
Hmm. I took formal lessons in college for years and was always taught TO rake. Weird.
I rehearse once a week with the church choir. Sometimes, there multiple choir practices in a week or all on Saturday.
I am taking lessons,helped my playing a lot but GAS is strong as ever
Personally I think there's no excuse for "Whiplash"-like abuse. But at the same time, I want to be challenged, and that's probably going to mean feeling some frustration.
I've had kind, supportive, inspiring teachers, who have still occasionally left me feeling the way Dr. Cheese describes.
I practice my butt off to learn a passage a certain way, and then they listen and say, try this other fingering here, and watch your dynamics there, and make sure those 16th notes are even, OK, now try again.... And I kinda want to scream "I can't pay attention to all those things at once!" But I give it my best shot and go give myself a rest after the lesson. Then the next day start breaking that advice down and practicing each little part, and eventually it all comes together.
Learning new stuff is hard sometimes. It's still the best.
Bearing in mind that there are no absolutes, I pretty much totally disagree with the Newley video; though I give him credit for thinking about things.
Ergonomics ARE important.
Most left wrist related issues stem from having the bass at the wrong playing position. Too low, which may “look” cool causes the left wrist to be severely bent, and may cause strain. There is a correct height for the bass with the instrument pickups just above the belt buckle where the left wrist can be in a classic fingering position while straight. In particular, the RIGHT arm needs to be free of the lower bout on the bass; such that it can maintain a straight line through the right wrist. This is where I disagree with Neeley’s conclusion.
Right wrist strain is also common and usually comes from having the bass strapped on too high or clamping the bass with the right forearm. Both wrists need to be straight. A little bit of study of Jaco’s early performance positioning will show you the correct positioning for both arms/wrists. The right elbow needs to be extended away from the bass, such that the right forearm is straight through the wrist with the right thumb anchored or floating the strings near the pickup producing the dominant tone. Check out Jaco’s positioning with both arms at about 30:10 in Dry Cleaner:
Or this one, where you can actually see positioning for River People at 42:05.
That said, you also have cats like Chuck Rainey, who play killer lines with a baseball bat left hand grip. But, Chuck’s wrists are also mainly straight. So, ergonomics always matter; but, techniques can vary.
To the OP: DC, you are doing great. River People is an example of a particular technique. Cool tune; but, most of us will never gig it. Though it makes a great etude for the 1/16th note octave staccato technique. At 60 BPM, it is harder to get a sense of the groove, but easier to execute the right hand. At tempo, you pretty much have to have the right forearm free to move the hand up and down, as in the Jaco video. Mechanics and time. This technique does require substantial shedding. Don’t get discouraged.
You gotta do what's right for you, but you have to know that it takes a lot of patient to fix old habits. That's why it's so important for the newbs following this to not be lazy about learning how to do things properly from the start. It's so easy to just start figuring out ways of getting things done, which work great for beginner and some intermediate level stuff. But when you hit that plateau for the next level, it's gets very hard to go back and fix something.
Even after only a couple of years of self taught habits, I find it really hard to fix issues - especially when trying to maintain readiness for a band. For me, the biggie was not getting two plucking fingers working correctly - played primarily with just my index finger from day one, and am now paying for that bit of impatience while trying to integrate the middle finger. Its coming slowly, but has been a very hard transition for me. Probably would have taken about 2 weeks to learn it right at the beginning, but it will now probably be a lifelong battle. You really have to go back to the most basic stuff and can't worry about lines while you're changing old habits.
"Gotta break some eggs to make an omelet" and "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" come to mind in this regard. Very similar to fixing poor technique in sports. When I was playing golf, it was well known that your game gets worse when you start fixing something and only lots of work will you get back to where you were and hopefully a little more advanced.
Thanks, this is exactly what I am going through.
A word on teaching. As a teacher I am noticing / watching key areas of my students playing. By this I mean if I have a student that is having trouble positioning their left hand properly I will stop the lesson and we will revisit how their left hand should be positioned. If this continues we will begin each lesson with how to position the left hand on the neck. This goes for any issue. The student should work on any specific problem areas on their own and be able to demonstrate that progress has been made during the lesson. Part of the lesson is learning new things but another part of the lesson is the student demonstrating to the teacher that the previous lessons have been learned and are being put into practice.
It doesn't only apply to music.
The more you produce, the less you want to consume.
I would just add one other thing. No matter how far you go, there is always another higher bar. You just have to get comfortable with humility. I’m currently trying to prepare for the Mendelssohn 5th Symphony and Hebrides Overture for next Orchestra cycle. The 5th has parts that will absolutely bring you to your knees. You work them and work them at slower tempos; and still many are nearly unplayable at tempo. So, no end to the woodshedding ever.
Oh, there's an end... I just try not to think too much about it.
When I do get to the other side, I'm thinking my basses will all meet the 'less than 8 lb' goal.
The exception being pedals. Nobody’s hands can do fuzz or envelope filter. I agree as far as basses and amps go.
Pedal GAS sufferer
I would add that being inspired by really fine instrument can motivate you to practice more. I know it did for me when i was younger.
Well first off your clip sounded really good to me.
As for your teacher, maybe he’s known you long enough and understood that a little harshness might actually motivate you more? Maybe he is aware enough to never criticize a younger student, or a more sensitive student, the same way? I know I try to keep things relentlessly positive with my students, as long as it is apparent that they are playing and practicing.
Hi Dr .. i've been there also with GAS ... and also self taught on bass/gtr ( but after my first 8 yrs of piano )
having started music lessons at age 6 , now 61 ... i still look for stuff to learn ..
just went thru an online course from Herbie Hancock ... and frequently torture my hands with exercises i find from Jordan Rudess ...
i've really never thought of GAS as something that will make me a better player ..!??! sometimes it's just an addiction to Buying stuff and/or Showing off ..!?
like others , i sold both my Pedullas , Alembic , Warrior , Sadowsky , etc ... and now play my own parts builds ... the nicer basses taught me what i liked about them ... which lead me to learn more about fret work and stuff ..! which is still in the 'learning category' ...
i like to expand my technique via finding, or using my imagination, with new finger dexterity type exercises ...
then i try to expand my musical ideas by learning pieces/parts of tunes ... usually by picking out a different more melody oriented instrument's parts ...
how my hands are situated on piano after 55 years , or on my bass for 47 years ,... isn't a problem until i can't play something i wanna play ... then i'll make those adjustments myself ... versus what an individual teacher would want me to do ..!??! after all these decades , we have developed our own techniques which are truly etched into our physicality .. muscles , bones , tendons , etc ... why fight to change that now .? that kinda torture hurts my old arthritic hands ..!! my 'honey-dew' list does that enough ..! ha
I can relate to this
If I have to a saving grace in life it is that I am pretty darn good in what I do, including two trades and my music.
However, I am not a master at anything.
When people say they wish they could do that I do, I tell them the only way to get there is to work at it hard, a lot.
At the same time I realize I'm not all they think I am.
I have learned that when I am around masters of my crafts, of which I am not, I listen a whole lot more than I talk. It's how I improve, still knowing I will never be what they are.
To relate this to GAS, I was admiring a beautiful Carvin 5 in the classifieds. It included a sound clip.
Listening to it caused me to conclude it sounded wonderful.
I also concluded that the player kicked my adequate rock pop r&b butt.
Didn't hurt my ego, but I realized if I owned that bass it would sound like me not him.
Back to practice on the P bass.
It doesn't help if you have wifi so you can access TalkBass Classifieds, Reverb, etc.
Doesn't work for Geddy...
I like this, because I too suffer, like many. My gear is great for what I do and the amount I play out.
I am mostly self taught, but, as a kid played trumpet and have a good sense of music, timing, and such.
I have owned a bass for 40 years and never took it as seriously as I wish I had.
I continue to improve, even when I practice a little.
Dr. Cheese makes great points and is still taking lessons = awesome. There is a great lesson in this post.
Sometimes a good butt-kicking is in order. I agree w above posters that a teacher should be positive and inspiring — for new players and young players especially.
But you’ve been at this a long time. Sometimes to really improve, a little salt and vinegar can be motivating, from the right source.
And yes: it’s more work to undo ingrained bad habits than to learn good ones early on. I studied classical guitar in my younger days and had to relearn from the ground up several times. Not fun.
You sound great. Kudos to you for continuing to learn.