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in a rut...

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by StingrayKid21, Mar 20, 2003.

  1. StingrayKid21

    StingrayKid21 Holding down the low-end since 1996.

    Oct 7, 2001
    Portland, OR
    Hey everyone!

    I was just curious how often, if ever, do you "get in a rut" with the bass? For the past couple months I've really been in a rut and I don't know if it's a common thing or not. Playing has lost all the fun whether it be with my band or rocking out along with my favorite songs on my cd player. It seems like I can never get a sound that I like to come out of my amp no matter how I change the eq, and no bass lines I write for my band ever seem good to me. I've gone through this before and then suddenly snapped out of it, but it's lasting longer than usual this time... any advice on how to give myself a little push in getting out of the rut?

    Keep rockin! :bassist:

  2. Listen to as many different types of music possible. Learn basslines from songs you may not like. I love doing this. It forces me to learn things outside of what I'm familiar with and thereby expands my abilities. It keeps music fresh.

    For instance:

    I just learned Copacabana, Disco Inferno, and Boogie Oogie. Disco and Barry Manilow. This music makes me want to vomit when I listen to it but it is really fun to play.

    ....and yes, I still get into the ruts you are talking about. I pick up my g****r if things get really bad.
  3. 1) Give it a break (unless your band is gigging regular of course)

    2) Change something
    - Play fingerstyle? Grab a pick, learn to slap, tap, etc.
    - Play roundwounds? Put flats or 1/2 rounds on.
    - Amp doesn't sound right? Position the cabinet differently, change the tone controls, borrow an effect from a guitarist, etc.
    - Just find something to change about playing the bass

    3) Pick up a different instrument (don't spend a bunch of money, though... not necessary)
    - Djembe, bongos, congas
    - An inexpensive portable keyboard
    - Find something remotely interesting and try it

    I guess the moral of the story is change.

    *** Too many people keep doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results... in life, on bass, you name it. It doesn't work****

    Or, take a break and don't force yourself. Good luck, srk!!:)
  4. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Everyone has posted some sound advice. So I'll add my 2 cents.

    Do some activities that give you inspiration. Check out some smokin' musicians who are playing locally, take a trip and see new things, talk to people, read a good book, practice religion, etc... Things that nourish your spirit.

    Free your mind and you axe will follow.
  5. StingrayKid21's homework assignment:

    1) Learn a scale in Locrian mode
    2) Go hear a local band

    A report will be expected next week. :bassist:
  6. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Well maybe the trip is to BIT, and the book is "The Modern Bassist" by Rufus Reid :D .

    Don't get me wrong. I am a firm believer in developing sound foundations in music. But, remember that music is art, and art is an expression of emotion and ideas. Art is a way of expressing those emotions and ideas where words alone fall short. Sound technique and musical knowledge facilitates expression, but what good is all that if you have nothing to express?

    Haven't you ever been inspired by things outside of music? Does the breathtaking beauty of nature or the charm of a beautiful lady not inspire you?

    Anyways, it was Edison who said that success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. I was just speaking for the 1%.
  7. StingrayKid21

    StingrayKid21 Holding down the low-end since 1996.

    Oct 7, 2001
    Portland, OR
    Hey everyone!

    Thanks for all of the advice! I think I might take a little break from trying to get my ideal sound from my bass and just work on finger excersises and stuff like that... that way I won't get so frustrated about my sound and I can get some much needed fingerboard practice. Hopefully the rut will level out soon so that I can get back enjoying the bass. It's tough listening to all the bands I like and hearing the basslines they write and how good their tone sounds and then I play with my band and can't think of anything good to play and all I can get is a boomy muddy sound which irritates me even more. I guess it just takes some time and patience and hopefully the pieces will fall into place. (One piece in particular is a EB/MM Sabre bass so if anyone hears of one for sale let me know :D ). Anyway, thanks again for all the insight gang. It's good to know that I'm not the only person who goes through this.

  8. Ed, your advice offers valuable and interesting insight to the “I’m in a rut” question. I’d just like to add that different people have different ways of handling a problem or frustration with their carrers, addictions, relationships, and their hobbies.

    I’m going to spend some quality time in re-reading your advice, and trying to see it in a different perspective. Please understand that some might take your advice as:

    If it doesn’t work, FORCE IT!!!

    The hobby or profession of playing music is like mating. When two people are into each other, it works out. Forcing it is a guarantee for impending doom. When the musician loves the music and vice versa, it works out. Depending on the personality of the musician, forcing it (confronting a rut or frustrating milestone) may work for some, but I guarantee it doesn’t work for everyone.

    Not to confuse force for perseverance…

    Just my 2 coppers. BTW – Ed, thanks for sharing your ideas. I’m just a dude on the other side of the nation who loves to play bass, hopes to learn something new each day about music, and wants to show a frustrated bass player a little hope.

    Change, not force – that’s what keeps my **** fresh.

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