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"I suck" moments.

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by PhilaCPJ, May 24, 2005.

  1. Does anyone else ever have moments of self-doubt, where you just hang your head in shame and feel as though you're the last person on the planet who should be playing bass? Occasions where you're spanking your plank and everything coming out of it just sounds hackneyed, tired, and mindnumbingly dull? I hit that brick wall recently and was wondering how the rest of you deal with it. What inspires you to keep playing after you've vowed to take an axe TO your axe? Any ideas for practice regimens for breaking out of a rut?
  2. 43apples

    43apples Guest

    Nov 9, 2003
    Hey mate, nice thing to hear that i'm not the only one thinking like this ;). I've had tons of times like that, including rigth now actually!

    What worked to me, was actually taking a break from the bass, guitar or whatever. Just putting it in it's case and not playing it. After a couple of weeks, i was so desperate with getting my inspiration out my fingers, that i rediscovered my passion for the instrument :D .

    Another thing that helps, is not listening to virtuosos, because that migth make you think "wow, i suck compared to these guys" ;).

    Sorry for all the spelling errors and meaningless things in this post, but i'm dead tired rigth now :D

  3. KPJ


    Oct 2, 2001
    Methuen, MA USA
    Take a break is good advice. Maybe not a couple of weeks, but get away for a bit. Read, go for a walk, get your mind off of bass.

    Then when you are ready to go back, don't do the same routine you always do, learn a new song, try some different scales, try playing something you know in a different positon. If you read music, try playing a piece from a style of music you do not usually play. Get a jazz standard book, I have one from Hal Leonard, I believe, that I use to try something different.

    Sometimes you can overload on something and no matter what you do it is not satisfying. Bass playing is no different.

    Or you could just buy some new piece of gear!:rolleyes:
  4. Desi


    Jan 11, 2005
    The whole self-doubt gig ran it's course for me a while ago, my little story may not be related to music, but it should give you an idea as to how I dealt with my moment of self-doubt.

    I draw, as a matter of fact, I LOVE to draw and have been doing it since I was 3 yrs old. The first thing I did when I picked up a pen at that age was scribble all over the wall, sure my mom got upset, but at least I didn't put it in my mouth like most toddlers would. Throughout my years in school, I would always recieve high praise from teachers and students alike for my work. Further down in my teen years I would fall into fits of self-doubt and question why I ever continued to draw when there are so many more talented people whom are more worthy of recognition and praise than I am, and could ever be. I would always fall into these tormenting thought patterns more often after my high school years, due to greater exposure to more artists. About a year and 1/2 ago I had a sort of "awakening", where I suddenly realized that I love drawing to much to let myself, or others rain on my parade. I don't know exactly how it happened, perhaps I just snapped out of it and realized how pointless it was to be feel that way, or something else I can't explain. I realized that I had been too busy comparing myself to other great artists and wishing I was like them, and also looking for the approval of others before my own was another contributor to those thoughts, I needed to feel accepted or "adequate" in order to feel good, but it wasn't enough. Looking back I see that I had wasted valuable emotion crying over my lacking abilities as opposed to not stressing over it and just "do my thing to best of my ability and be proud of what I have and can do".

    I told you my little story wouldn't be relevant to music, but I apply that principle to music as well. I don't bother comparing myself to other great artists because we're all different, what I write cannot be written by anyone else and vice versa. Don't sweat over the times you don't "feel the music", sometimes our brains have to take a break from creating, and when the time comes to create, well, you'll know what to do.
  5. Petary791


    Feb 20, 2005
    Michigan, USA
    I have those occasionally. It occured when I tried (and failed) to learn Classical Thump. I learned Lacquer Head and My Name is Mud (OH THE DEAD NOTING MADNESS!) but it took me a month or so.

    I got really down on it. Playing Lacquer Head on a 4 string is MUCH easier than playing it on a 6 string. :p
  6. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    I get it alot when I either sound bad doing something (practicing by myself), or I just can't do it. But I just leave whatever that is alone for a while and come back to it another day.
  7. invisiman


    Feb 22, 2004
    I usually feel like that whenever I try playing the intro to Peace Sells by Megadeth with my fingers. :bawl:
  8. Roundwound


    May 13, 2004
    Peoria, IL
    Sometimes I'll pull out a lesson book and learn a new technique. Learning a song in an entirely different genre helps, too. Overall going through minor "reinventions" with bass playing helps me to become reenergized, find my confidence, be creative, and get out of a rut.
  9. I go through times like that often, particularly often I think because the music I play is "original" and I can't just benefit from copying the creativity of the original artists.

    I can regain some creativity by picking up another instrument, or really changing the tonal structure of my bass/amp settings or even trying a different set-up on my bass.

    What generally happens though is I realize that the audience still likes to hear the music, and they are more impressed with your energy and enjoyment of your craft. Simplify your part and re-connect with the fun!
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I have these moments every year - at Jazz Summerschool!

    So there is nearly always a written bass line that I'm given, that I just can't play - the other thing is - when all the bass players get together and the tutors say - right let's play a walking bass line on a Blues...:meh:

    Rest of the year, I have no problem - but as soon as it comes to this - I just feel straight away that "I suck"... ;)

    I just know that I need to practice more, so that next time, I will be completely confident....yeah right! :)
  11. Wesley R

    Wesley R Gold Supporting Member

    Most stated before, but..
    1. Take a break
    2. Jam with some buds do some fun music & be happy
    3. Enjoy (in moderation) some blood pollutents
    4. Surf the net
    5. visit music store (inspirational hang outs, not mega stores)
    6. Get laid
    7. Participate in your religion of choice
    8. have a hobby on standby
    9. Listen to some of your earlier stuff. It will show you how far you have gone

    Wesley R.
  12. C-5KO


    Mar 9, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    I always find playing a different bass helps. Either somebody elses, or a new one or whatever. Something I'm not familiar with.

    I also will play back bad recordings of myself (few and far between :D ), for inspiration. If you want I can record some bad bass and email it to you.
  13. I personally found that leaving bass alone for a couple of days does the trick. The thing is I tend to get the "I suck" thing when im trying to prepare for a gig.. However when I do get back playing I tend to beat the sh*t out of my bass, which is always a nice feeling. :D

    At the mo i'm just having trouble learning songs for a band practice :scowl: This is bad...
  14. It happens to me everytime I'm through listening to Weather Report '8:30'.
  15. bassjus


    Mar 30, 2004
    great post
    When I get into the same thing I just step back, look what I am doing, listen to how far I have come, and the just keep on rocking.
  16. I have these moments all the time, whether it is in respect to playing bass, being at work or playing ball.

    I went through a rather large rut with my bass playing a while ago thinking that I would never have the proficiency I desired.
    After putting the bass down for a while I started talking music with freinds and organising jams. It was then that I remembered why I play bass. It was not to be the world's greatest player but to have fun with mates and express myself.

    Since coming to this realisation, the off days I have when I am practicing don't matter as even if I am sounding terrible I am still expressing myself and I can always learn something new.
  17. My bass playing has hit a glass ceiling at the moment, because I am so wedded to root-fifth-octave as my fall back that I am having problems working out other bass lines during practices. Trying to improvise around a 12 bar, at slow tempo, with 'Hammond organ' chords looped on my PC, is really getting me down. Twice round the loop (if I'm lucky) and I fall off.
    It was only when I went to a band practice, and found that I was actually applying some of what I had practiced, that I realised that I hadn't been wasting my time.
  18. ras1983


    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    + 1000000 :cool:

    this happens to me all the time. the reality is that situations to play like a virtuoso are so rare that they are non-existant.

    this was also a problem when i first started weightlifting. comparing yourself to pros (not that you mentioned this) is the most demotivating think on the planet. look up to them yes, but don't compare myself to them. not yet atleast ;) the best thing to do is to simply put the bass down and not think about it AT ALL. sometimes you can fatigue yourself due to all the concentration.
  19. tifa

    tifa Padawan Bassist

    Mar 8, 2005
    Blackburn, UK
    Totally - all the time in fact.

    But i am a beginner so I'm at that 'brick wall' where nothing is tying together - I play scales but they dont mean anything yet.... I just feel like a complete idiot whenever I pick up the bass.

    guess I'll just have to keep at it. Practice makes perfect, eh? :)
  20. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    I'm in a constant state of suck.

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