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Kinda know lots but know nothing?!!

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by cdactivist, Jan 27, 2014.

  1. cdactivist


    Feb 1, 2013
    Hey guys
    Forty something returning to the bottom end after a long leave of absence
    I have studied lots - offsites in bands in the 80s (I was just shown what to play)
    I have a reasonable understanding of scales intervals chords and a lot of other stuff but I'm not getting the eureka moment

    I'm quite an analytical student - that is how I work so is there any teachers or those of experience that could give me a lesson type synopsis
    ie this week study this, next week move on to that...
    I am conscious I am drifting around books and the same subjects etc but I need direction
    I need to make the time count and see tangible progress
    I know that sounds cold (my playing isn't on better days!)
    I can't afford lessons and my work schedule changes at short notice but I think with some shoving in not that far away from having that confidence
    Thx guys
    Great forum btw - very solid community
  2. cdactivist


    Feb 1, 2013
    Just to add, predictive txt caught me out as i have no idea on the "offsites" comment (?!)
    I played in a really bad covers band in the 80s and had to be shown what to play

    Anyway, two things occur to me repeatedly with learning..

    First is vast majority of tuition (and this may just be me) doesn't feel musical

    And second, most practice tips I see are isolated - I guess I'm looking for a lesson plan to put all this good stuff into the bigger picture?

    I've gone through studybass Scott's bass lessons dummies guide etc

    Studybass seems okay but I got to the end and yes I learnt a lot but what is the magic ingredient to pull this ask together into a system I can adapt?

    Scott is great but a little towards the deeper end and books like dummies seem to be frequently convoluting even basics

    So that's it - going back to paragraph before Iast... What's the system that will pull all this together?

    Perhaps I should have started with this list bit?!!!
    Thanks for listening
  3. cdactivist


    Feb 1, 2013
    I give up on predictive txt btw !???!!!!
  4. Have you translated your musical knowledge into songs? Try transcribing (or if you cannot as of the moment - use tabs) to see how the theory was applied; Download backing tracks via youtube and jam on them; Also, try jamming with other people to see if you can now be able to use your knowledge;
  5. SunnBass

    SunnBass All these blankets saved my life.

    Aug 31, 2010
    Columbia, Mo
    I don't really have an answer, but I just wanted to share my personal feelings towards becoming a better musician. That "eureka moment" you mentioned. I don't think it really exists, or at least, I hope it doesn't. What I'm trying to say is...I've always played instruments under the assumption that the day I "get it", is the day I am the furthest I've ever been from actually "getting it".
    Get it?
    It's a bigger picture concept.
  6. spz8


    Jan 19, 2009
    Glen Cove, NY
    Check out Mark J Smith on http://www.talkingbass.net. I really like studybass, Scott Devine, MarloweDK, etc., but Mark's theory video lessons are my absolute favorite discovery. Most of his lessons follow a logical order, so just go back and view the oldest videos first, and progress up to the latest entry. Incredibly detailed and professional, Mark has given an amazing gift to the bass playing community. :D
    Bradd Szonye likes this.
  7. Theory books are usually carefully planned.
    You could go through a theory book like this one: Harmony and Theory - Keith Wyatt, Carl Schroeder, and ask google for bass lessons on the subjects you care about.
  8. whoislervis


    Dec 11, 2013
    I believe I had the same problem you’re facing right. Went to a number of teacher and they all taught me the same thing. Believe it or not, all the small concentrated exercise would add-on to the bigger picture. There’s no 1 rule to follow on seeing the bigger picture. There’s only so much a teacher / book / videos can teach.

    The trick about playing well is not to think of ‘what to play’ but instead let it flow naturally. Therefore in order for this to happen, your practice session has to be concentrated and drilled internally so it will come out naturally. I don’t think it’s something you can see tangibly.
    Kinda like growing your hair, you can’t see the daily growth process but you will wake up one day and realize you need a haircut. (quote from studybassdotcom) 

    For me, since I’m unable to see it’s growth, I record what I practiced (technique, theory, reading, band practice, etc etc) in a small note book on a daily basis. This will give you a sense of what you have worked on or what you have yet to do. This way, you will slowly connect the dots.
    Try this, Record yourself playing an arrangement/solo/improv /cover or anything you like to play now. Practice for a few months and pen it down in a note book. After the few months, record yourself again and compare the differences, this way you can see how well you did over the months.
    Well, at least that’s what I did.
    Hope it helps.
  9. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom

    Feb 17, 2013
    Queens, NY
    I know what you mean and have/had the same issue(s).

    I'm 45 now, been playing bass since I was 17. I learned lots of things by being shown, or by ear. I then took 1 year of lessons, followed by 2 years of music in college. BUT, I cut out of class a lot in college.
    Since then, it's been a lot of hunting and pecking, finding lots of info in books and online, learning lots of different things but, ultimately, not sure how it all fits together.

    I often describe it as having most of the puzzle pieces but missing some crucial ones as well as missing the image of what it's supposed to look like when the puzzle is all put together.

    And, ultimately, searching for that "eureka" moment.

    The advice I can offer:

    Over the last 2 years, I've been back on the path of learning and filling in the gaps of knowledge.

    The first and, I found, most important lesson I learned was to finally sit down and memorize all of the notes on the fretboard by sight.

    Besides eliminating my feeling lost if I went anywhere above the 5th fret, it also helped with something else.
    When learning various fingering patterns for different scales (major, minor, pentatonic, blues, etc) or patterns for chords/arpeggios, knowing the notes on the fretboard allowed me to learn to alter the patterns as necessary if I wanted to move to a different part of the neck while playing, because I now know what note(s) I'm playing.

    It was a minor "eureka" moment in that I can now see patterns I couldn't see before, because I understand the fretboard.

    The bottom line, though, was learning the fretboard, learning the various exercises, and then practice, practice, practice. Some of it is intuitive.

    However, I, like you, want a clear and concise plan and idea of where it's all headed, so I have been actively looking for the right teacher. That, is also key. Finding a teacher, but the right one as well.

    I think, in your (and my) case, we need someone to help us put all the pieces together. My may just have to find time/money for lessons. Some teachers work odd hours over Skype. Perhaps that is an option for you?

    Best of luck!
  10. Sevvi


    Jan 28, 2014
    spz8 sorry to but in on this old thread but the link you posted is the business, that guy is ace at instruction and making things so clear Thank you and the initial poster for starting it off :D
  11. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom

    Feb 17, 2013
    Queens, NY
    I just checked out this site for the first time and started watching the lessons. VERY concise, to clear, to the point. Very nice.
    Thanks for the info.

    I clicked on the free scales download but something is wrong with the .pdf file and it won't load.
  12. BawanaRik


    Mar 6, 2012
    New Jersey
    The magic moment generally comes from just putting the time in.

    Find people to play with. Get kicked out of bands, join new ones. But learn from each one.

    If there's a cheap college near you sign up for a music course. Not only will you learn but you'll network.
  13. wrench45us


    Aug 26, 2011
    I'm expecting the magic moment to come when I hear internally what I want to play and my fingers know where to go to make that happen.

    I assume that playing a lot eventually builds that circuitry. Ear training can probably speed that process. Singing the notes as played that sort of thing.

    What's not good in that process, when you don't have a teacher or a lot of different exposure is learning a limited and fixed set of patterns. You always want to expand that.
    Theory is what ties all that together.

    I'm a recent convert to Roy Vogt's 'Teach me Bass Guitar' -- comprehensive, well thought out , work at your own pace, play-alongs, but out of a stack of books I have about half a dozen that I work out of a lot.
  14. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    From your posts I think you are having problems seeing how the "stuff" all fits together. The big picture is missing.

    IMO Gotta play songs to see the big picture. Find a band that is way better than you are at this point and beg to watch their practice sessions. If your church has a Praise band just show up Wednesday night and sit in the back row. It's church, they are not going to kick you out of church. They may need a bass.

    Pure theory, not just bass theory, will give the whole story, but it takes a year or so for it to sink in.

    Good luck.
  15. spz8


    Jan 19, 2009
    Glen Cove, NY
    You need to sign up for Mark's mailing list first to get the free scale reference. You'll then receive a link to the PDF file. Yeah, it's a little confusing, maybe Mark will make this more clear. From then on, you'll receive an email once or twice a week when a new lesson is posted. These are the emails I look forward to most! :)
  16. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom

    Feb 17, 2013
    Queens, NY

    I did sign up and received an email with the link to the .pdf file.
    I clicked on the file, it opened, started to load, and then the error message popped up. I closed and reclicked the link 10 times, but no change.
  17. spz8


    Jan 19, 2009
    Glen Cove, NY
    Hmm, maybe right click, save file as, and view locally? If not, I'd send Mark a message, maybe he can guide you better.
  18. ZenG


    Dec 13, 2013
    Near the fridge
    One thing that helps me, as opposed to just doing scales over and over again is:-

    Chord progressions......and filling in bass on these.

    Since many pop/blues (and also jazz) songs use a lot of well-known progressions.....once you know them it's far easier to get into a song than just "field-stripping" the song itself.

    You know where they are going with a song because you now know the chord progression they're using.

    Pop writers have been using "off the shelf" chord progressions for as long as they've been writing pop songs.

    As Burton Cummings once stated in one his songs:-

    "Cleverly disguise it....so it's not been heard before"

    They'll take a standard progression......noodle with it for awhile, maybe change a few things....and......voila!.....a new song.

    Learning just scales won't teach you that.
  19. cdactivist


    Feb 1, 2013
    Hi all
    Than you for all the support - I will come back in detail as there is a lot of great advice I really want to soak up

    Interesting point to add and this may sound slightly off kilter but until today I'd been playing between a cort t34 I bought last year and an old Washburn

    However I had an overwater aspiration delivered an hour ago having picked up an ex demo for just over £200 !

    It is sensational and even without a set up I'm banging out all sorts of shapes :) - my slap doesn't even sound like fieldy anymore
    Msg from this is perhaps quality of the tools helps also

    Gotta fly... Gotta work on those calluses!

    Btw watch eBay uk for overwater shelf stock being punted cheap
  20. pfox14


    Dec 22, 2013
    My recommendation to keep things new and fresh and interesting is to study the greats. Who are your favorite bass players? Learn all their songs or as many as you can. There's only so much you can get from books and CDs before it becomes tedious and boring IMO.