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I Stink, I Just Do

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Illbay, Mar 14, 2008.

  1. Illbay


    Jan 15, 2008
    Houston, Texas
    Sorry to blast this out onto the 'net like this with no provocation, but I'm so frustrated it's just brimming over.

    I have been playing off and on for 35 years, and I just stink. It's not that I'm not "musical," or have no ear, or whatever. I just seem to have a physical limitation. I'm not fast, or smooth, whatever. I make mistake after mistake.

    Learning to slap? I forever SOUND like a guy learning to slap.

    Playing fast riffs? "Sweeping"? My MOTHER sweeps better than me.

    At this point I just feel like flinging every single axe out onto the street and letting the garbage pickup collect 'em tomorrow morning (can you imagine driving by and seeing an Alembic neck sticking out of the garbage can?)

    Part of the problem is finding anyone who wants to play, and has the same level of interest I do. If I were a bad golfer, at least I'd find SOMEONE to play golf with (in fact, I'd probably be popular).

    But who the **** wants to fool with an over-the-hill spastic bass-player?

    I give up, I really do.
  2. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    I gave up bass guitar for about 5 year. But bass guitar playing came back even more satisfying the second time around. during this time I was playing another stringed instrument however.
  3. p-nut95


    May 27, 2007
    Come on dude......I'm sure part of this dillema is negative attitude.......Maybe you watch a bit too much youtube. I sometimes do, theres a lot of dudes on there that a crazy. It's kind of discouraging. But keep ur head up keep trying. If you quit u'll look back and regret doing it I garran-t. :smug:(DONT THROW AWAY THE ALEMBIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!give it to me:hyper::hyper::hyper::hyper:)
  4. Dude, lighten up on yourself. You're probably not as bad as you think. Having self-doubt is part of humility and can push you on to becoming better. And as far as 'who wants to play with an over-the-hill spastic bass player' -- there are people.
  5. Jonny B

    Jonny B

    Nov 5, 2006
    Maybe take a shower? Or a bath maybe.

    Wait, I got it, use some of that Axe body spray, then the chicks will be all over you.

    Seriously dude, self pity never got anyone anywhere. Try hooking up with a good teacher in your area, maybe your practice regimen needs some work, maybe you need to practice more, maybe you need to accept you aren't going to be the greatest bassist to have ever lived. I would suggest doing anything accept feeling sorry for yourself.
  6. The fact that you can say this here on TB takes a lot of guts. Instead of pretending to be a musician that you're not, you have admitted that you could be better. This is a big positive and I'm not patronizing you by saying that. With this aside, take a good look at what you think you should be. Is it realistic? Remember the old saying about it being lonely at the top. In comparison to how many people play music, there really are only a handful that are at the top as the truely talented ones. Then there's the huge rest of us that have varying levels of being decent players. It could be that you're comparing yourself to the top players. Maybe this is wrong, but certainly don't give up because your expectations are set too high. Are you focused on a certain type of music/playing? What's your practice schedule like?

    Let us TB'ers help you with this. We would hate to lose a fellow bassist!
  7. I'm not the best player in the world, but I know I can do some things halfway decent, and some things pretty well. But there have been times where I felt like I couldn't get a single decent sound out of my instrument. Sometimes, not playing at all for a few weeks helped. I don't know how, but it did. Another thing that causes this is if my instrument and/or amplification isn't right for me. Even something as minor as when my Vox guitar amp had a grounding problem and was humming like mad and sounding weak, I could hardly coax a decent sound out of my guitar. But once I got it fixed, I found I was able to play better because the sound I was hearing was better. Sometimes it was just a matter of getting new strings, or a set-up. But I find I play much better when my gear is working right, my gear is able to get the specific tones I love, and my instrument is physically comfortable for me to handle. Things sometimes go out of whack over time, gradually, so you don't notice it, until you actually fix it and then suddenly it seems like something is brand new again.

    It's kinda like how people who's hearing become impaired, their speech tends to become affected by it, they are less able to vocally articulate themselves clearly and precisely. How you speak, how you sing, and how you play depends largely on how you hear yourself. I know I definitely play better on a bass and amplifier with a clearer, more articulate and responsive sound, and optional effects that get some of my fave tones. Give me a crappy bass and a crappy amp and I can hardly play 3 notes and it feels like I totally suck at it. I'm not saying this is what you are dealing with, but it's worth looking into if you haven't ruled it out already. Maybe you just need your stuff made better or some new stuff to play with altogether.
  8. IllB, woodshedding by onesself SUCKS. At our age anyway. :)

    Its not self pity JohnnyB, I'd smack Illb's arse around the room a bit for that. :) Really, I'm fortunate to have folks my age, and skill level ( or better) to Talk To, i.e., play with.

    It has to be frustrating. Its like training for boxing Golden Gloves -style, and never even sparring. Or more appropriately, knowing a foreign language, but never being able to speak it. And you wont shake your " skill ills", assuming they are real and not imaginary courtesy of frustration ( naturally) , until you set down and start talking with some cats you can relate to. i.e., jamming. Or dilligent "woodshedding" with a coach. Or simply put the basses away for a spell.

    I've never been a "solo bass" player. I'm like a fish outta water unless I can get with some cats and make a fat groove. So I can relate to your frustration. Music should never be frustrating unless its that fleeting frustration you feel when you can't run the lick in time, or open hand hammer the melody, i.e, when you're working through a new technique, or level of song. Or your finger slipped and you BURP one during a live set . :eek: Never done that./.... :(

    And after reaching a level of frustration through dilligent effort, I'll put it away and come back to it in a day or two or longer, and all that frustration paid off.

    Some slap techniques, man I dont know if I'll EVER get. And that's OK.

    Hey man, do something really radical like join some religious organization that has live music sans bass player and sit in. I mean, you'd have to REALLY be bad before those folks would throw you out on your ear, am I right!? ;)
  9. user101


    Oct 15, 2006
    I just play my roots. Screw those fancy-schmancy stuff. It's the basics that gets you places
  10. Illbay


    Jan 15, 2008
    Houston, Texas
    OT, my g'kids love those commercials, sadly. They around singing "Bow! Bow-wow-wow...!"
  11. Deacon_Blues


    Feb 11, 2007
    I feel like that sometimes too. I know I have limitations, but once I keep things rather simple I know I can groove and sound good. That encourages me enough to not give up. I know four or five professional bassists fairly well through a jazz club in town, and I know I will never be even close to their level. The have probably 10 000+ more practice hours, and 100 gigs/year more than me, and that makes the difference me thinks.

    I try not to compare myself with them, rather with good amateurs that never went for a career as professional musicians. In that sense, I'm at least average I think.
  12. notenslaved

    notenslaved I survived the 80's only to see it return.

    Feb 13, 2008
    Connecticut, USA
    Write a song.
    Stop fooling around with trying to learn tricks and all that, and just write a song. Even if it sucks, even if you steal a riff because you can't think of anything.

    Focus on creating music and stop worrying about trying to "keep up".
  13. dreadheadbass


    Dec 17, 2007
    i think the internet has a lot to answer for there's loads of clips on youtube with amazing skilled bassists on
    then there's the pro's too who make it look so easy and effortless
    not to mention the way people always talk a good bassline

    truth is though your probably not as bad as you think i always thought i sucked untill i joined a power metal band and got asked to "slow down"
    it seems very frustating that your fingers just dont wanna move that fast but truth be told there probably going plenty fast enough its just the voice in your brain keeps saying "sheehan can do it faster"

    i think your problem is probably not your bass ability but the fact your a perfectionist who wont cut himself a break just relax chill out n get your groove on it will come to you eventually
  14. Lon86


    Jan 21, 2008
    Venice, CA
    Come on dude...just give up.

    And by the way, sell me all your cool stuff for cheap on the way out!!!
  15. mothmonsterman


    Feb 8, 2006
    Sounds like bass player syndrome
    I see it and suffer from it my self.
    People say i'm really good and they are surprised hoe well and quickly i pick things up and play with my drummer.
    Though I know for a damn fact i suck balls (at bass).
    I get really depressed at my playing, it just feels i should be farther than i am.

    Low self esteem is a bass player trait i think :p
    only time i feel good about my playing is when we are screwing around completely smashed (cause when your drunk you don't give a crap) then going over the tapes and listening to all the groovy stuff i came up with.... if only i was like that all the time :p.

    you're a bass player believe or not you are rare as hell someone is looking to play with you.

    Yeah my ear is weak too, i'm half deaf (feeling bass though my feet ftw)
    And i think there are just some tones i plain can;t hear.

    we are bass players, no matter how good other people see us we still suck :D
  16. Kennethfaria

    Kennethfaria Banned

    Mar 12, 2008
    yeha i know how you feel. im sometimes like that. I just stop set the bass down. go on youtube, watch some people do somewhat bad, plug the bass in and play.


    Take a weeks break.
  17. Lon86


    Jan 21, 2008
    Venice, CA
    psssssst...over here bud...:bag:

    Don't tell anyone, but there is an inhalant type plant, cannibruiss, I think, that has been known to help get people over humps in their playing.

  18. mothmonsterman


    Feb 8, 2006
    As much as i hate to admit it...
    doesn;t help the paranoia and crawling on my belly down the stairs because i forgot i ordered pizza and the delivery guy freaked me out by knocking at the door.
  19. TrevorOfDoom

    TrevorOfDoom Supporting Member

    Jun 17, 2007
    Austin, TX
    when i feel that way... i learn a new song. sometime simple, but worth learning. i learned Lady Madonna in about 3 seconds. if i'd have known it was that easy to play i would have learned it years ago! but the sense of accomplishment i got from learning it encouraged me to keep playing my bass. plus, now i have another little nugget of awesome to impress my friends and band mates.
  20. saltymonkey

    saltymonkey Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2007
    Sag Harbor, NY
    I think you need a new 12 string.:D

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