Lack of Inspiration

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Pacman, Jul 5, 2001.

  1. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    anyone suffer from this?

    Past few weeks it seems that everytime I sit down to practice, everything I play, I hate.

    I know I'm stressed about selling the house and moving for the new gig (when I'll get there - I don't know), and not gigging as much as I have been, but I feel like a creative vaccuum.

    If anyone else goes through this, how do you deal with it?
  2. Nails


    Jun 4, 2000
    Austin, Tejas
    You have to just let it pass. I went through a 2 month period of writer's block recently, it was driving me crazy until I put it in perspective. It suddenly hit me that I was "musically saturated", I had just bought a lot of albums and was trying to write constantly. There were days where I'd pick up a guitar strum a C and want to smash the guitar against a wall. I just had to much. I've now cut back on the amount of music I listen to, and I've put my bass away, which has helped me a lot since I write on guitar. I only play when I want to also, since I'm not in a band, which is probably the best blessing I have. No pressure to perform, write new stuff for shows, and I can leave my gear set up for when I feel like playing.

    So as much as you want to do something to cure your problem, all you can do is wait. Trying to do something will only make it worse.
  3. Zirc


    May 13, 2001
    Los Angeles
    I think it's just a phase, but try forgetting about bass for a little bit and just go out partyin. Then when it's quiet and you're only concentrating on your bass, you'll begin to make wonderful music :D

    I think the problem is you've got too much on your mind when you practice, concentrate only on the bass.
  4. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Yeah, I definitely get that from time to time. Quite often, I'm just not in the right place, (mentally, spiritually). The interesting part, is that often, what gets me out of it is inspiration from an unlikely source. I've taken walks and been inspired by the sounds of construction (I guess when you live in noisy city you try to take advantage of it), water in a pond, dogs barking, or a conversation overheard. For me, the best thing has always been to let it lie. It's almost like I'm telling myself not to force the issue, to walk away from the bass, and usually when my mind has idle time, (waiting at a red light, work :), meditation), then is when I start to break from a rut.

    Or you could just listen to some KoRn.
  5. My hugest influences have been from videos. Like when I bought Blink 182's "Urethrea Chronicales" video and after I watched it, it made me want to go in my room and start playing and write new material.

    Watching VH1 specials doesnt hurt either (be careful which ones you watch though!). For example, after watching top 100 rock and roll songs of all time, after seeing Who's "my generation" on there, I was like "dude! that is awesome! I wish i could write stuff as cool as that!" and immediately after I said that to myself, I ran upstairs to my room and I wrote 2 songs in about 30 minutes. I usually can't write a full song in one day!
  6. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
    Spend a few weeks off going to hear other people play instead. Put the basses up in your wall locker, and don't take 'em out.

    Go see an intense bassist nearby (like a Manring, Wooton, Patitucci, or whomever you admire).

    Go to a big summer tour concert (liek Dave Mathews or something)

    Go to a local club to see a semi-pro band doing originals.

    Go to a bar to see a cover band or some kids who are just starting out.

    You'll be jonesing to play. I took about 10 years off.

    If your situation, being in a service band (?) requires you to play, I don't know what to tell you. Go do some PT or a few static line fun-jumps.
  7. listen to a kind of music that you don't usually listen to.
  8. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    guys, thanks for the replies. I'm not bummed on playing, just when I go to the woodshed - nothin' happens. GOD it sucks!!!!

    I'm between service bands right now, and that's probably part of it. I've got nothing to work on, no challenge in front of me. But let's keep this thread up, cause it's very interesting to see what all of you do, and it might help inspire me.

    You guys rock :cool:
  9. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I use a mixture of discipline and randomness. One of my musical mentors once said, "feeling follows action", by which he meant, "if you want to start feeling differently about something you're doing, start ACTING as you would if you already felt the way you'd like to". I know, I sounds crazy, actually works. As far as discipline, just apply the above principle to your normal practice routine, only focus on some aspect of technique that you've been wanting to improve for a while (For me, it's scale patterns in cross-phrasing, but for you, find something that kicks your *ss and turn the metronome down as low as you can stand it and dig in as if you were fascinated). Tune out both ego and emotions, and practice whatever it is dispassionately and in a scientific manner.

    Find an environment that soothes you to do this - this may be difficult if you're in the middle of a move, but do the best you can. I like a pool of candlelight and a lighted music stand (if needed) surrounded by total darkness... but again, whatever floats your boat as far as atmosphere. When I get THE PRACTICE MIASMA, it's usually because I'm not allowing myself to clear my mind of other concerns while I'm trying to practice. Like so much in life, I find that practicing is most enjoyable and productive when you are truly in the moment and your concentration is focused on what you are doing - and ONLY on what you are doing, kind of like meditation.

    And as for the randomness, after I have done some disciplined work, I like to allow myself to just play whatever pops into my head. Sometimes this will be something I know, sometimes it will be something new, and sometimes it is just beating the crap out of my instrument as a visceral release. Funny enough, this is often the most creative AND productive part of the routine - almost as if I've cleared my conscience of the NEED to practice in a disciplined way. After that, ideas usually start coming out of the woodwork, and I just try to let myself have some fun.

    But the important thing, IMO, is to at the very least find some quiet time with your instrument in your hands and no distractions. If something comes of it, fine. If it doesn't, then at least it wasn't because you didn't invite it to happen.
  10. amen to that!

    right now I'm actually listening to KISS, now normally I wouldn't give them the time or the day, but hey, at least I'm expanding my musical horizons.
  11. Cornbread


    Jun 20, 2000
    Lawrence, Ma
    Hi Jon, I can empathize with your frustration. I have been working on a few different pieces which start out great but soon end up going nowhere. I just can't seem to connect anything in a way that I'm happy about. Yesterday I was fiddling with the piano, working on an odd chord progression. I could get maybe two chords to work together, but then the others just wouldn't jive. I was so frustrated (and the sus4 and maj6 chords must have been getting to me) that I was in a bad mood all day yesterday.
    I'd say the suggestions about doing something unrelated to bass are helpful.
    If you want something to do with your bass, you could always work on a solo for the project talkbass thing that was around a while ago. BTW, I started to work on that too, but your chord progression was a bit wacky with too many changes and too much going on with the other tracks. Plus, I'm not much of a yellowjackets fan. :D
  12. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    hi pacman, I can relate a little bit to everything you play lately you hate. I feel like that too. I hate the majority of the tunes, that the "leader" of this band wants us to play. And am getting very unmotivated to play it. I just keep my mouth shut and am going with the flow. And when something comes along that suits my interests a bit better im going to jump at it.
    Ive gone through stints where I didnt want to pick up my bass at all sometimes for months. Id pick it up, and as soon as i did, id put it back down 30 minutes later. More than likely its just a phase your going through, and if you not enjoying it, then maybe you should just put it all on hiatis for a while untill you are motivated to play again. That gives me a fresh aproach to it when I do that, and I enjoy playing alot more again. I also sometimes try and learn something that Im totally unfamiliar with, to create a challenge, if that dont work, i then stop playing untill i feel motivated to pick it up again....hope all this makes sense, cos it confuses me a lil bit.
  13. think of girls ones that u want
  14. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB

    Jan 28, 2001
    New York
    I think you read my mind,I feel the same way and at this point Im rapidly losing interest to play.Everything were playing lately imo is crap.I used to look forward to practice/playing out,now its feeling like I have two jobs and Im only getting paid for one.I know they say the grass is always greener on the other side,but Im keeping my eyes/ears open for something new too.
  15. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    ...I can't recall the time when I actually didn't hate anything I played.
    And now I'm at the point where my tone ain't happenin'(I'm no technician; with me, it's about tone & it's sucking right now).
    I'm about at the point where I'd like to sell/give everything away to someone who'll do somethin'. ;)
    Sometimes, I will get serious enough & work on one of my problems(odd times, to name but one); playing grooves I know & making them 'odd', walking in 3 or 6, displacement exercises, etc.
  16. Playing in a blues /classic rock / R&B /cover band I often feel uninspired with the same old ,same old . While I Know I could spend the rest of my life learning walking bass lines, Some days its hard to do the work. For me, what often works is to pick up my second bass (you know the one that gets little attention, since you got your main axe). I keep flatwounds with kinda high action on my 2nd bass . Anyway after 20 minutes with my 2nd I almost always feel inspired getting my hands back on my main bass. If that fails I just put some SADE on and think what Paul Denman must feel like laying down grooves for her!
  17. Hang in there dude!

    I get those blah periods too.Granted I only have a year under my belt,but I know the feeling.Sitting down to practice/learn and it is just not there,not happening,heart not into it.I find if I leave the bass alone for a few days it really helps.Right now I have a lot of stress and crazy things going on in my life.This either makes me not into playing...or strangely enough makes me accel at my bass.Only I can`t control the when and why of it.
  18. I can sympathize! I have been feeling exactly the same way lately. Nothing short of a new bass and a new amp will get me out of my current doldrums. :(
  19. ross

    ross Guest

    Mar 17, 2000
    i'd say listen to some britney spears and arron carter and junk like that listen to how bad it is and then get inspired to make a difference in a meaningful way and then sit down and just think dont play at all just think about how you want things to sound and try to do it.
  20. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification