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i need to progress but can't

Discussion in 'Ask Michael Dimin' started by Mogo, Jan 3, 2002.

  1. Mogo


    Jan 3, 2002
    well i've been playing for about 4 yrs but can't seem to progess i just stay the same old same. I'm im a band & we only really play r own stuff but i cant put good rock riffs to them the covers we do i can pull apart and make my own but can i not do this with r own stuff:confused:
  2. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin Banned

    Dec 11, 1999

    This is all too common. All of us as players, at some time, reach a plateau. Our playing levels off, we get into a rut. Breaking out of the rut and moving to the next level feels impossible. What you need is a springboard. Something to jump start your batteries so to speak. Here are some ideas:

    1. Take a few lessons (pick the teacher well). Learn the theory behind developing a good bass line. Get a teacher willing to both work with your songs as well as introduce you to some really new stuff

    2. Start to transcribe songs. Not only bass lines but melodies too. Transcribe songs you like as well as genres that are new to you.

    3. Try to develop some new techniques, slap, chordal playing, tapping, etc

    4. Jam with other musicians

    5. Get a "looper" such as a Boomerang or Line 6 DL4. They are wonderful practice tools that let you set up a groove and play over them, endlessly. You can experiment with some new stuff.

    6. Read "Effortless Mastery" by Kenny Werner. The book has the potential to change your life. It has to do with removing the ego from the playing so we can play directly from our heart and soul.

    7. Develop new bass lines from your cover tunes. Using a well developed bass line to start with is better than starting at nothing.

    8. Learn Theory. If you don't know it, you are limited in knowing what note choices you have

    9. Expand your listening habits. Go buy some CD's that are totally different than you normally listen to. You can start by buying mine (sorry for the plug)

    10. Finally, EMBRACE your mistakes. We learn from our mistakes. Every mistake we make is a wonderful thing. Play them loud and assertive. See what you can make from these mistakes.

    Good luck and keep in touch

  3. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Thanks Mike, that's great advice.
  4. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    If I may be so bold as to add to Mike's wonderful list.... A coupla things that helped push me out of a rut:

    11. A metronome. Challenging it. Playing with the click, even if it's just the same 16th note over and over and upping the speed of the click whenever I get comfortable. When I first started doing this my playing got dramatically better. It was if I was on automatic pilot when I played with my band afterwards, I was totally, effortlessly in the groove.

    12. I also consciously play things that seem/sound absurd to me over and over when practicing. Do things I normally wouldn't do - like jump octaves all the way down the neck and play in positions that don't come as second nature to me. After I do this for a while I start coming up with some new and interesting things. I also try to come up with awkard lines that I can't play well, and do them over and over till it's second nature.

    13. Buy the book Standing in the Shadows of Motown and dive into it. Learn some of the songs. It was a big departure from my style and really opened me up. If ya can't read music, the CD gives clear enough bass lines to be able to figure out the stuff. If my memory serves me correctly, the book isn't in tab.

    14. Commit to learning anything that's unlike what you typically play. Learn other people's music. I've been diving into 70's Disco lately and falling in love with basslines.

    15. Try sliding your way around the neck. I was just doing this yesterday for fun and to break out of my own rut. I was sliding up and down to all the notes I was playing to help develop my technique. Try to make your bass sound like a farting fretless. Hey - did I just make that up?

    16. Buy something new. This always rejuvenates my playing. An acoustic bass, a fretless bass, a Warwick, an effects unit, a new amp, a practice amp, different strings (nylon are fun). This could be the start of a very bad habit, but you wouldn't be alone.
  5. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin Banned

    Dec 11, 1999
    Thanks for adding on Joe. Personally, I am not a metronome guy. For some people it works great. Each of us has different learning styles. Take Joe's suggestions, mine and any others, filter out what works for you. Keep an open mind.


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