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I'm in a bass rut. What do I do?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by popinfresh, Nov 2, 2005.


  1. popinfresh

    popinfresh

    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    I didn't really know where to put this, so though misc. should do it!

    I'm in a bass rut, but not like one where I don't necessarily feel like playing, more like what to play and where to go.
    Of course, i'd love to make some sort of career (wether big or small) with my band (or any other), failing that, i'd like to be a studio bassist or teacher or similar. I just want to be involved in the business in some way (even if it means having to have another job to support it).

    The thing is, I just don't know where to go with my playing. I sit down with my bass and just can't play anything creative at all. The last peice I worked on was roughly the first minute or so of classical thump. Challenging, sure... But in the end it did nothing for me.
    When it comes to the band and writing songs, I just can't do it. I can't think of anything in my head anymore or put anything to the 'board.
    When trying to right some sort of solo peice, wether it's wanking or something with emotion and feel (especially the latter) i'm just blank.

    What can I do? I find i'm not listening to *as* much music anymore or learning songs (either too hard for me to do by ear, or not interesting enough for me I find, the last songs I did was roughly half of Audioslaves latest album).

    Then theres theory. I've learnt and re-learnt grade theory for my high school music, but as soon as my exams and tests are over, I have no use what-so-ever for it and end up forgeting it.. I can read notes on a staff etc but not really site read or read charts and I don't KNOW where to start learning really? I need something that will get me interested.

    I don't have a teacher anymore (for the last year or so) and I feel in the last 18 months I havn't really improved (being blaying almost 3 years). All my other band members are coming up with awesome material, and I just can't get anything down, which is started to really annoy me.. Should I get a good teacher? I can get lessons with Rob Little, who's a great Aus bassist but it's pretty expensive and far away for me but i'd rather not waste time with a teacher who won't, well, teach me. I've gone through my fair share of guitarists *trying* to teach bass.

    So... what should I do? Any advice for my ramblings? I always see great bass players on TV or the Net or whatever and think 'Wow, I wish I could do that' and then I set out to learn more theory, get better with my aural skills and learning by ear, by being more creative.. Then I sit down, and this whole musical world just seems too big and I can't get my head around it/don't know where to start.

    Any advice..? :(
     
  2. popinfresh

    popinfresh

    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    Bump =/
     
  3. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Yeah, I have some advice. You're a high school student with 3 years experience and you've never experienced lessons with a really good bass teacher apparently. No wonder you feel like that!

    My advice would be either to suck it up and drive out to this guy and try some lessons with him, or look a little harder for someone in your immediate area. You're learning theory with no idea how to apply it to a real-world situation, and you're trying to write grand works of art with no foundation to support them. Instead of that, why don't you concentrate on just working on the stuff everyone else in your band is writing and try to come up with simple parts that accent what they're doing instead of trying to do Wooten-worthy stuff?

    You say the musical world is too big and you can't get your head around it? Well why don't you just try to get your head around what you do know for starters? Just try to sort out what you know already and apply it to what your band is doing. Your only problem, it seems to me, is you have "run-before-you-can-crawl-itis." You think Vic became world class after 3 years? You think ANYONE became world class after 3 years? Geez, give yourself a break!
     
  4. Don't judge yourself against others. You will always lose. ALWAYS, whether you are better or not.
     
  5. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    Learn some new stuff.

    When this happens to me, I target some new material to learn, new style to play, etc. Also it doesn't hurt to put the bass down for a few days. Sometimes I might play guitar for a few days instead.
     
  6. Every body, even the greatest players of any instrument, sport, or entertainment, started where you started 3 years ago. The successes have drive, determination, and a willingness to put in the work to get to where they wanted to be...then when they got there, they started working harder. No matter how much you think you know, it's merely a grain of sand in the desert of how much you could know. Sure it's big, but you take one thing into your mind, and guess what...it's smaller. It's still big, but now you have taken a piece of it and you'll never lose it.

    I know this sounds frilly and philosophical, but we've all been there.

    My suggestion for getting out of ruts: go see a show or watch a band that you would never, ever, go and see normally. If you're into punk, go see a roots reggae show. If you're into metal, go see a country show. Even if the bassist SUCKS, he's got an entirely different set of tools and experiences than you have and you will learn something from him...even if it's what NOT to do.
     
  7. pointbass

    pointbass Semi-Retired Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    I kinda agree with both Jimmy & Mo'Phat ....

    A good bass teacher will do wonders for your level of interest, and normally really helps your motivation. And, branching out beyond your normal range of musical interests may help you to think differently about the way you approach your playing. If you're a rocker, go see or listen to some nasty old funk guys or watch an old school big band bassist at work.

    Even though at your age three years seems like a long time to be playing, it's really just a blip on the screen. Every player finds themselves hitting a wall now and then ... it's not unusual ..... :cool:
     
  8. popinfresh

    popinfresh

    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    Hmm, thanks guys :)

    I'll look at getting started with lessons again after my exams pass next week.
    I know what your saying about the great bassists etc. I mean, i'm not looking to be the next Wooten, but someone who knows their stuff none the less, ya know?
    The main annoying thing with trying to write solo peices I find, is that I try to write say, a summer sounding peice (being that time in the year over here), and I don't know how to. I know that different scales etc will give you different sounds, but even then, I find it hard to write what i'd like, or something that shows emotion.

    I listen to all sorts of music (though the band is 'rock'), but I find that I only scratch the surface of different genres and all, because I don't know other groups or bands. Say for funk, I know your Parliament, Tower of Power, Sly and the family stone, Bootsy etc, but that's all really, because I don't know any others and I find it hard to learn more because around here, I don't know any other bassists into that sort of thing.

    I spose lessons will do me a world of good, so that'l be my first step..