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I'm stuck...

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by duo8675309, Nov 12, 2005.

  1. duo8675309


    Jun 5, 2005
    I've been playing bass for about a year now, and I'm stuck. I'm at a hill that I just can't climb over. I can't explain it, but I'm not getting any better. I create so much fret noise. I don't know if it is me or the bass. I can't play the simplest tunes. It seems my skill just went down. But I finally figured how to incorperate major and minor scales into grooves, which I have been wanting to do for a LONG time, so I think that has helped me some, but I'm still at an impass. I just can't really explain it. I'm just no good. Has this happened to you? Were you able to overcome it? How? I'm confused! :help:
  2. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Go get a teacher. They'll do you a world of good.
  3. duo8675309


    Jun 5, 2005
    I have a teacher. I haven't been in two weeks though... I need to get into a band. That's my problem. I just sit around and play the same old stuff. I always do good when I'm at my lessons b/c my teacher will play the guitar and I'll play bass and when we get to jammin' it's tighter than a mug! :cool:
  4. djcruse


    Jun 3, 2002
    Norwood, MA
    Ask your teacher to address your specific concerns. Perhaps for one or more lessons you guys don't jam together (sounds like you've already got jamming down) but instead focus on your technique problems.

    Good luck.
  5. NoisemakerD-Lux


    Oct 12, 2004
    If you've been playing for 1 year, then I think the most important thing for you to do at this time, besides doing technique exercises, is playing songs. Lots of songs. Full songs. It will get your timing down and just the overall good feel on the instrument. It will also be very satisfying and encouraging to you when you conquer a new song.

    Play standing up when playing the songs (practicing licks is OK while sitting down).

    A band would be nice, but if it would feature a young, inexperienced, drummer with BAD timing, then it may not be so good. I think that playing along with CDs is very important for a young player. Learn a lot of songs... starting from the easiest, just to get the groove going, and then move onto the more difficult ones.

    I don't know what you're into, but I think that Iron Maiden (especially the early albums) stuff should be your benchmark. Great stuff for learning bass and getting to the "intermediate" playing level.

    Playing songs from other people early on also opens you up to new ideas, tricks, and difficult spots that you may not have yet discovered.
  6. Indeed.
    We all hit slumps in our playing sometimes. It's important not to just give up and say "screw it, I suck". Cause you don't. I was there last month when I broke a string on one of my basses. I was limited to on my fretless for over a month. When I got new strings on my other (fretted) bass, I felt like my hands had gone retarded. I couldn't slap, I couldn't play half the crazy fast stuff that I used to. After like 3 weeks of non-stop practicing I'm back to where I was before. It just takes some time, and a lot of practice.
  7. Actually, you may think I am wierd, but whenever I hit a slump I blame it on the gear. Get a new bass, and after a year of playing you should be stepping up to a semi-pro level bass. If you dont haev the money, change the guage of the strings. It works for me every time.
  8. Maverick Blues

    Maverick Blues Being a Thumper is all about ATTITUDE!

    Apr 28, 2005
    Richmond, VA
    I think the posts so far are all over it. Good points that have been made:

    * Slumps happen, and also points where you just can't seem to make any progress. It's not just bass or even playing music... learning a foreign language, anything really, you're likely to hit a plateau where it seems like you're just not getting better. Know what? Even when you don't think you are... even if you take a break and get away from it for a while, it's "settling in" and you ARE improving. You'll notice it later. So don't let it get to you.

    * Shake things up. If you're playing against records, jam with people live. If you're taking theory lessons and doing scales, try comping against some CDs. If you've been focusing on getting in the groove, work on freeform solos instead. Try whatever you haven't been doing. Sometimes that's all it takes to nudge you off of a plateau. Even if it doesn't help with what you're stuck on (e.g. fret noise), you'll be picking up OTHER things you need or can use. Also, circumstances change things. I was so VERY aware of my string squeaks when practicing against songs by myself... but once I started jamming with people I realized that it wasn't as bad as I thought, and that noise pretty much gets lost in the mix. I'm still improving with the whole noise thing, but learning I wasn't as bad off as I thought was a nice surprise.

    One thing I both agree and disagree with. NoisemakerD-Lux said playing with a drummer with bad timing might not be good. I can see where that's coming from, and I agree in one way. But playing with a less-than-perfect drummer can also HELP you. Example: Our drummer is a darned nice guy and he's pretty good, but every once in a while he'll throw in an extra beat in a fill or drop a beat. Being used to playing against "perfect" recorded music, I was really thrown for a loop the first few times this happened at practice (and to be honest, I thought *I* had screwed up somewhere). But after a while I figured out what was going on, and I've gotten pretty good at "finding the one" and resynching with him. These days if he picks up or drops a beat, I can stay with him pretty seamlessly. Which means I'm paying much more attention to what he's doing, and I'm getting better at locking in. Those are pretty important things that I wouldn't have learned (or learned as quickly) if he was a "flawless" drummer.

    Most important guideline, I think? Have fun! :) If you're not enjoying it, maybe take a break for a while. But don't worry yourself over it. You'll improve when it's time for you to improve. Strive to be better, but also have fun with what you can do where you are NOW.

    This all from a guy who only started playing in February, so take it for what you think it's worth (e.g., either useless, or valuable because I'm kind of in the same place you are).

  9. tonynoriega

    tonynoriega Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2004
    Tampa, Florida
    Maybe you need to leave it alone for a while........when I get frustrated with any endeavor that's not working as I want it to, I find that just walking away for a while, and coming back with a fresh outlook, will almost always help. But that's how I work - maybe it's different for you?

  10. ashtray9


    Aug 1, 2002
    Tempe Arizona
    Take a break and go outside. Cool down, enjoy life. Don't dig yourself a hole. Good luck,