I need your help

Discussion in 'Ask Michael Dimin' started by Mike Dimin, Mar 21, 2002.

  1. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    Since December of 1999, I have been as Ask The Pro here at talkbass. I have offered my professionalism, expertise and advise to well over 1,000 questions posed to me and yet I find that only a handful of talkbass members have gone the extra mile to purchase one of my books and/or CDs. Therefore, this is my questions, why have the members of talkbass been as equally supportive of me as I have of them. A couple of ideas come to mind.

    1. bass players are cheap - A book publisher once told me that bass players RARELY buy method books.

    2. People believe that the internet should be free. more than 1,100 downloads of my music have happened at my MP3 site, yet internet sales of the CD still lag. I know of bass players a bit more known than I whose internet sales still do not do the business it should.

    3. Who and where are the people who value these resources enough to pay for it? I wonder what percentage of members here are supporting members.

    Please don't take these questions as criticism, I truly want to know this info.

  2. Michael,

    There's another potential reason here....we're clueless! Okay...I'm clueless, at least! :D It never actually occurred to me to go check your stuff out, but I've just rectified the omission on my part, and hit your site for the new CD and book.

    I do have to say, that I usually don't "get" method books, but I do buy them on occasion in the vien hope that the light will dawn, so hopefully, I will be able to grasp yours. :D

    Now...I know this wasn't a sales pitch, but those of us who have a bit of spare cash in our pockets from our day jobs should be showing support for all the pros here. You guys do take a lot of time out of your day to help out....all for free. Thanks for being here, and thanks for the wake up call!!

  3. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    These are some very interesting points, Mike. I, for one, feel that we bassists NEED to lend our support to each other. It is important for us to impart a sense of community amongst all the "bottom-dwellers". Support each others careers...as , as they they, what goeas around comes around....
    I buy many method books...usually as teaching resources...but in each I find a least one pearl, one technique, comment, trick or lick which opens my mind to new possibilities.
    Like wise for recordings. I listen to a wide variety of stuff, from Mahler to Bad Brains to Phillip Glass to Bob Marley to Papa Roach....etc. etc.
    If I hear of a bassist releasing something, I am sure to buy it, if just for a show of moral support to the bass playing community. And with each release I have purchased there have been pleasant surprises.
    But for Mike's CD...let me say this...
    Buy it! Buy two and turn someone on to it! It is an outstanding album, which will certainly open your mind to some musical options you may not have yet considered.....it also simply sounds beautiful!
    As for "A Chordal Approach"....believe me, even if you never, ever entertain the thought of playing more than a single not at a time on this bass, Mike's very informative writing on the subject of harmony will enrich your choices for what notes you will play. A deep and thorough understanding of harmony is a neccessity for a bassist, Mike's book certainly can provide you with information needed to gain that understanding.
    so....now mouse click your way over to www.michaeldimin.com

    just my $.02......
  4. hujo


    Apr 18, 2001
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Hey Michael, how much would it cost to ship a cd and a book to Sweden? And when's the second book coming out?

    Keep up the good work!
  5. hey mike
    let me just say, that i think your book is great, it has helped me immensly with my theory, the construction of harmony etc, this is the only method book i'v ever brought, simply because it is unique!
    however with regards to your CD, i have to admit i havn't brought it, and i probly won't, this is my no means a critiscm, and i think what u do is great, i simply am not keen on the songs u have written. I'm sure your as aware as anyone else that music is completly subjective, and that just because it is a community of bass players, not everyone will like (or appreciate) what you do.

    i would like to thank you on making your forum possible, for you'v answered a lot of my questions and helped a lot of people
    thanks also for the great book, i'm definatly waiting for the second one!

  6. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    Thanks so much for your replies.

    Lisa, thanks for your insight. I believe that I was clueless to the fact that others might be clueless. I tend to look at the profiles of people who post on my forum. It usually helps me answer their questions if I know their age, taste, experience, gear, etc. Additionally they might have a cool website (the dragon beads are very cool!).

    I appreciate your sentiment that we need to try to support the moderators. I think that very few people understand that, even as pros, our ability to eke out a living might be tenuous, at best. Especially for those of us who cannot or are unwilling to tour extensively (I have 2 small kids) or for those of us, like Max and myself who are going in a different direction (solo bassist). When you say this is not a sales pitch, you are correct. Actually, it is my entire commitment here that is a sales pitch. Granted, I love to teach and share info and experiences, but I would be stupid if I did not "use" talkbass to try to advance my career (AKA "make a living"). I do not feel guilty about it, because, in all honesty, I have devoted much more time than I'll ever get back and more importantly, I have developed new friends and relationships that might never have happened. Two of those people commented here - Max and Simon.

    Max really came through for me in the interview here at talkbass, hopefully I repaid the favor with a chance to write for Bassics Magazine and a chance to further promote his CD, "A Caravan of Dreams". It is like a mutual admiration society. BTW, his recording of "djam karet" on the CD is masterful. (Max, how did you create that rhythmic loop?)

    Like Max, I too buy many method books, sometimes for students, sometimes for myself and always to try and support other bassists. I just bought Ray Ramirez' "The Swing of Latin Bass". A book like this, produced independently is close to my heart, and I felt a responsibility, on my part, to buy it.

    Simon (si-bob) does not have to buy my CD. I understand where he is coming from. Simon is a perfect example of how it should work, though. He has been here at my forum often, asked questions and developed discussions. He has emailed me privately and we have developed a relationship. Although he did not buy the CD he did buy the book and did his part in supporting talkbass and me. Everyone should be more like Simon.

    hujo, The book/CD together are US $25.00 + 8.50 for shipping. Total is $33.50 US. It bothers me that shipping is so much. I try to be as fair as possible, but I have no control over that. I bought a few import CD where I think the shipping cost as much a the CD. BTW, one of them was Colin Hodgkinson's, "The Bottom Line" - what a great CD.

  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well - I always try to support the musicians who have helped me and so I will always go along to the Jazz gigs where people who have given me help (lessons, classes, tutorials etc.) are playing and buy them a drink - encourage others to go

    I did buy your book and I have incorporated some of the ideas into my playing - I have just about every bass-related method book you can buy and more about Jazz etc. I am constantly buying stuff off the internet to do with music!

    But I know from talking to the Jazz players, how hard it is to make a living for all of them - in terms of education, playing gigs etc.

    I think there is another issue bound up in your post, which is to do with the "Dot.com" or internet bubble bursting. People were initially hugely attracted to the net as a source of free stuff. Analysts predicted that people would eventually pay for "content" and that as long as sites got enough "hits" they would eventually make money.

    But I think we now know that people are far more resistent and so a lot of dot.coms have gone bust and business plans have to be more robust - it is very difficult to make money on the net - despite the stories that people will tell you!

    Also, I think from a cursory reading of things like TB and other discussion forums, anybody would soon realise that the net is overrun by "kids". ;) So there is a vast amount of traffic generated by the under-18s who are on the net at school/college or at home because their parents thought it would be "educational" for them and give them a head start in life!

    So - all of these are too young to have a credit card and pay for anything - their parents have already "shelled out " for loads of stuff and are defintely not going to trust them to buy "online" for fear that they will buy a Porsche or something like that! :D

    So you have what appears to be huge amounts of traffic on sites like this - but the actual numbers who are ever likely to actually even be able to buy anything are quite small in pecentage terms.

    I work in Database Marketing and have seen all this come and go - that is, people thinking there was huge amounts of money to be made via the web and some did - but I'm afraid that "opportunity" has been and gone now! :(

    So advertisers are far less likely to put anything in now and have dicovered that the "return" on investment is tiny - we had a time where there was huge optimism which artificially bouyed the market, but I think we are back to harsh reality now!
  8. lump


    Jan 17, 2000
    St. Neots, UK
    Or it could be...we're not interested.

    I don't mean that as a criticism of your playing in any way. I've listened to some of your clips, and you are obviously very talented. And you have a great deal to offer as an educator, although I find method studies have limited application. Personally, virtuoso solo instrumental stuff is not my cup of tea, regardless of instrument. Just because I play bass doesn't make me want to listen to a bass soloist. I admire chops players in certain settings, but for me the SONG is the most important part. I'd rather listen to music that MOVES me, even it is performed by inferior players. Apparently I'm not alone - that's why Fieldy is riding around in a limo with a hot tub, and you're shagging "WHAT COLOR BASS SHUD I GET?" questions on TalkBass.

    Again, I don't mean this to sound harsh - I don't mean it that way at all. But if you choose an artistic path that appeals to only a small percentage of people, you're gonna pay a price. You're not the only starving artist out there.

    As for rewarding your service here, that's a dicey one. If you're talking about people you've interacted with directly, then yeah, it would be only fair if they supported you in some way. But the reality is, they won't. Everyone wants something for nothing, and the internet is just the place to get it. But if you're talking about the general populace supporting you for your efforts, to be frank, I've learned more things that have shaped my playing/purchases from Brad, Jim K, Ed F., Chris F. and Jazzbo, to name just a few. Uh, the check's in the mail, guys. ;)

    If you need $25, just ask - I'll send you $25. But keep the CD. I figure that puts me $8.50 in the black. :)
  9. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"

    first off, the CD is not "solo instrumental stuff", but I believe Max pointed that out clearly in his article.

    And it is fine that you're not interested. I could really care less if you are interested, but then should you expect me to be interested in your inane questions about bass, such as "WHAT COLOR BASS SHUD I GET?" - oh yeah, that's right I AM INTERESTED, I am here to help (1,000s served right here at talkbass).

    BTW, I am not a starving artist and I don't need your donation (no matter how patronizing). The fact is that I live quite comfortably. I own a house (lakefront), have 2 reasonably new cars, cool gear, 2 beautiful kids, and want for very little - but that is not what support is all about. Support is a combination of appreciation, emotional uplifting and caring. I take it that you would want me to support the US Military (judging by your location) even if I don't agree with everything that it does or stand for. I am sure you want my vocal and moral support as well as my prayers. I am sure you want me to support the spending of my US tax dollars on support of your program.

    I am not paying a price for creating art that appeals to a small percentage of people. If I tried to create something that would appeal to the masses, just for that purpose, it wouldn't be art, would it? But just perhaps, if people opened their minds a bit they might see beauty in unexpected places.

    If you want to compare what I do to Fieldy, you're in the wrong place. Because when Field's 15 minutes are up, his next profession will sound something like "want fries with that burger?"

    I must agree with you when you say everybody wants something for nothing, look at all the rationalization for "file sharing". If that is the case, then don't complain when the free stuff dries up or the content becomes marginal, at best. I pay my dues. I donate regularly to our Public Radio station (even if I don't always agree/like what they do), buy CD's and books of other artists, make a commitment to help those who need it. It is the price of freedom (of expression, that is). Have you paid yours dues?

    The fact that you've learned more from Jim K, etc than you have from me is wonderful. That is the purpose of a forum like this.Then again, my forum is here to answer specific questions, which I don't think you have ever done. In fact, Jim K has been one of my biggest supporters. he bought both the book and CD within weeks of their release.

    There is a price that we all pay. The price may be fiancial but more times than not it is a cost to our conscience. Can we live with the actions that we do, the statements that we make, the injustices we commit. Can we sleep at night knowing that we take and not give. Can we rationalize our self serving, selfish, egocentric behavior.

    Lump, you and I have been here a long time. Your honesty and frankness are welcome, even if I don't agree with you. Please feel free to add to the discussion.

  10. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    I think (as always) your assesment is right on target. As I mentioned in previous posts, I think the internet is creating a culture where people expect things for free. Kids have access to more disposable income than almost any other demographic group (just watch the commercials on US television). It is a culture that the intenet has created

    Recently a kid emailed me that he liked my version of autumn leaves and wanted to play it at an audition for college. Since he could only stream the tune off the internet, he asked me to send him an mp3 for free.

    My time, my recording studio bill, my CD creation, my royalties (yes I pay ALL the royalties), my promotion - and he wants it for free.

    Don't get me wrong, I am tickled pink that he cares so much to use the song and honored that it means that much to him, but really respect and honor those that you admire, pay for the work that you want to use.

    Let everyone prosper

  11. CS


    Dec 11, 1999

    I personally think that you are doing a good job here and respect your knowledge and obvious skill. I also don't want to take part in a "flame the Pro session". However I won't be buying your CD or book in the near or distant future. The reason is that I dont want to.

    I am very happy that you make a decent living out of music. I do a soul crushing mind numbing job. It's my choice given my set of circumstances. It pays for all the things I need to and want to spend my money on. What I spend it on is my choice. I also have not seen fit to become a supporting member or a moderator. I am not even going to justify that position. I dont have to.

    The internet is about sharing info. I come here to learn stuff I dont know and give what I do. I remember being a beginner and all the people that helped me for free. I reciprocate by teaching players (currently 4 active players and 2 who gave up) for free. I have never entered into the "use the search button fool" attitude that some have here.

    I will carry on doing what I do and you can do the same. I sincerely hope that you sell vast amounts of CD's and books to those that want them. I also hope that you continue to share your knowledge here like

    John Turner
    Chris F
    Jim K
    Geoff (embellisher)
    Ed Fuqup
    Bruce Lindfield
    Brad Johnson

    and the many others I forgot who come here out of the sheer love and enthusiasm of all thinks bass.

    Oh and if Bill Conklin thinks I am buying a bass just because he is on the pro list...

    I hope that you can take this disagreement in the spirit that it was offered. I respect your right to disagree with it. I also respect the right to remove or delete any post on your forum. It is your forum and I for one hope it stays here.

    Keep up the good work

    EDIT your post re the kid wanting Freebies is a whole different problem. I hope you told him where to go. I buy my music.
  12. Michael,

    I'm glad you like the dragons! They're my favorites too, although the bass has been taking up most of my spare time lately, and I haven't been on the torch in months! :D

    I mostly listen to classic rock, or alternatively, swing, but I also think it's important to my development to listen to all kinds of music, and I will say that I liked what I heard of your work on your site. I like to slap music in the CD player when I'm working from home, so I'm looking forward to getting your CD.

    My bass teacher makes his living with music, and I've bought a couple of his CDs, which are awesome, by the way, and have tried to get to a couple of his gigs to show my support, and it really should have occured to me to support you guys as well. Must be old age creeping in! :eek:

    Anyway, thanks again for being here, and sharing with us.

  13. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
    Does this site allow the "Ask The Pros" to actively advertise their products here. Maybe it would be a good idea.

    I think I can say that the reasons for purchasing or not purchasing are far too varied to try to draw an accurate root cause or remedy.

    I haven't bought a CD in a very long time. I spend most of my listening time right now listening to an unfinished CD my band has been working on for a while. If not that, I am listening to 8-track cassettes made by bands mates to to come up with bass lines, melodies, and lyrics to develop them into songs.

    I will go out and listen to other bands, both the locals (to show my support for the local scene) and big timers who pass through (like Wooten last week and maybe the Reading Jazz fest this weekend). I have traded CDs with other local artists. I have also purchased CDs from local artists. I don't play for a living. I am less than semi-pro. I have no problem playing for free and sharing my music for free as long as my costs are covered (or not in some cases). My band mates don't equally share that sentiment, so we make sure we get properly compensated for playing and merch.

    For me, art is sharing. Not about money. To me, once I'd have to do it to feed my family, I'd lose my appreciation of the artistic aspect of music.

    Creation should be it's own inspiration.

    One of the hardest things I'd ever have to do would be to take a "love to" and make it a "must do". In that sense, I have to add that I totally respect you and other professional musicians who can keep the magic flowing under the pressure of making a living.

    I know I didn't solve your dilema. I hope I just gave you my perspective. I hope it helps.
  14. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"

    I absolutely respect your right not to buy my product becauseI dont want to and I take your comments in the spirit that they were intended. I asked for those comments and will take the good with the bad. I choose to learn from them.

    I respect and admire your position. I am glad that you give back by teaching for free. I hope your students have the respect for you that you deserve. I also respect that fact that you choose not to be a supporting member at talkbass. Choice is important.

    In our house we have a statement - it is about voting. If you don't vote you lose the right to complain. My wife often says that if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.

    When the free info disappears because the people who provide can no longer afford to (either time, money or both), please be ready to step in. I WILL still here, with you.

  15. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    Thank for your perspective. It seems right on target and I really appreciate it.

  16. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Pro-Am Discussion Board I like it. Guess which one I am? :)

    Some pros got sulky and shut up shop when little people like myself disagreed with them. You don't ,so respect to Mike Dimin who is now on my Great Bloke list. NB it is an honour, it's a small list.

    See you around the boards and take care.
  17. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Well, I can throw in two cents... :)

    >1. bass players are cheap - A book publisher once told me that bass players RARELY buy method books.

    - Well, I'm not sure if it's because we're cheap. I myself only have a few method books because a lot of the ones I've seen have pretty much the same things in them. (I'm not saying this is the case with your book Mike - I've actually never seen it anywhere :( If I did I'd definitely give it a look-see, but I don't like buying on the Net...)

    >2. People believe that the internet should be free. more than 1,100 downloads of my music have happened at my MP3 site, yet internet sales of the CD still lag. I know of bass players a bit more known than I whose internet sales still do not do the business it should.

    - As I understand it, this is happening to everyone who has mp3's out there - their CD sales are hurting because of it. I guess with Napster and all, people might have gotten used to Net music being free. Most people I know will only listen to mp3's to check out an artist - much like MTV or listening to the radio. Personally I don't listen to mp3's at all because I'm only online at work, so I have no idea what the answer to this is...

    >3. Who and where are the people who value these resources enough to pay for it? I wonder what percentage of members here are supporting members.

    - I chose to support once I realized that the information here was every bit as valuable as lessons that cost $20 for half an hour. To me, it's incredible value for money. I don't know what percentage of members are supporters, but many of those who aren't say that they will be in the near future. Or, as Lisa said, it may simply not occur to them.

    Having been in bands that have tried to market themselves in a similar fashion, Mike, I understand your frustration. Additionally, people would come to our shows, spend $5 to get in and $30 on beer and then refuse to buy a CD or shirt, even though they said they really liked our stuff...

    That said, if I see your CD or book anywhere around here, I will check them out.
  18. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    hmmmm...what an interesting thread this has become.
    I do agree with you who posted that you should not be expected to purchase music which may not be your cup of tea, but then again, as musicians, it is our duty and responsibility to find, check out, learn and appreciate music of all types. I was once quite snobbish about my music....very jaded with "serious" music and had no patinece or purpose for most pop forms. This all changed when I began doing sessions and sideman gigs. I found that music is music. If I were playing a country gig, it was in my best interest to learn appreciate the nuance and style found there, even tho I might not listen to it for own enjoyment. Certainly Garth Brooks will not replace my Ornette Coleman cds, but I did discover that all music is valid. I believe it was Duke Ellington who said, in reference to an interviewers comments on free jazz, "There is no bad music, only music played badly".
    So now,I try to listen objectively to all that I can. Especially in the realm of bass players. As a teacher I need to keep on top of popular trends, as students often ask about (inject bassist of the month here), and often find new techniques, or inspirations from the most unlikely sources (even Mr. Fieldy).
    Of course, very few of us can afford to buy every new cd that comes out...or every method book...but I think it is in our own best interest to keep up with what other bassists are doing. Our support for each other insures our own prosperity, so to speak. And, there is always the matter of inspiration (something which Mike's disc provides me with a plethora of). Listening to, supporting, and studying the works of other artists, regardless of musical style, only makes one's understanding of music as whole richer and thusly more rewarding. It is so easy to become complacent in our playing. And that is the first step to eventual demise (remember the deluge of synth bass in the 80s?).
    Another famous quote..."he who is not busy being born is busy dying".
    Most of my work of late is as a solo bassist, yet, also of late, I have found myself really studying the bass work of a lot of Nashville cats, such as Michael Rhodes, who can inject such massive feel and creativity in to the simplest of lines. I have found that thru this study, my own playing is growing richer, and my appreciation deeper. Reba McIntyre will also not replace Ornette in my most played cds......but I have been learning nonetheless.
    BTW. Mike..that rhythm loop on "Djam Karet" was made by attaching alligator clips to harmonic points along the speaking length of the string. I can then play a line, and the result is the faux-steel drum sound. I use clips on all four strings set to different harmonic intervals, and sometimes multi-track (overdub in loop mode) this technique to get a rather dense polyrhythmical bed. I do this live, also, and the audience is usually rapt with amazement! The technique is, of course, borrowed from John Cage's prepared piano techniques.
  19. Dave Castelo

    Dave Castelo

    Apr 19, 2000
    hey im one of the handful!

    i was very happy with my purchase...

    what drived me to buy your book was that free lesson you did at your site...

    COULD YOU DO SOME MORE? (like "Shadow of your smile" please)

    those lessons are real customer atractive.

    and your cd is the one i use to chill out and study... and since i study a lot i get to hear it a lot too :p

  20. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    I like this thread because it challenges what I do and why I do it (or not) I wont be rushing out to buy a load of CD's anytime soon.


    Excellent points. The thing that defines me as an amateur is that I have a "dont like it, Im walking" kind of attitude. Work for me is doing things I dont want to do with people I dont want to be with. That doesn't come into my social life which includes my bass playing. I jokingly say to people that music is too important to make money from it. And that is a personal opinion not a judgement on people who make money from it. Good for you if you can, I can't (on a number of levels).

    As someone who is nearly 40 and been playing half that long I am constantly challenged by my teenagers' choice in 'music'. I also have started having lessons with an awesome player, good teacher and all round nice bloke but I probably won't buy his CD:). I think that it healthy to assess and reassess your life. I use ER20's because of Mike Dimin and although I bought them in UK, bumped his ER20 thread a few times out of gratitude.

    This is an excellent thread with arguments presented in a mature way. BTW if either of you gig in UK please spam it relentlessly and/or drop me a PM or E-mail. I might even go and buy you gentlemen (Mike and Max not the entire user list) a drink.