My Brain sucks

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by madjazzbass, Oct 16, 2017.

  1. madjazzbass


    Jan 5, 2014
    I so badly want to learn my arpeggios but my fingers won't (willingly) go where my brain wants them to ... especially going backwards (the same pattern) it's really frustrating; everytime I pick up the Bass, I always end up doing the same riffs/patterns etc..:meh: How do I fix this? Give it time I suppose.
  2. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    You do them as slow as you need to, in time to a metronome.
    When you're confident that you're nailing it, speed up the metronome just a bit.
    repeat until you can do it full-speed
  3. Oddly


    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    What you do is this.
    Take a bottle of your favourite whiskey.
    Fill maybe seven shot glasses.
    Start working on the arpeggios.
    Every time you mess up, take a shot.

    By the time you've had the seventh, you won't care anymore.:D

    EDIT: KBD's suggestion would work too, but mine is more fun.
  4. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    The thing about doing it over-and-Over & OVER is that it gets into your muscle memory & you could do it in your sleep.
  5. madjazzbass


    Jan 5, 2014
    Now That's Rock n Roll :woot::bassist:
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  6. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Personally, I'd advise you to leave out the metronome for the time being. It only creates an additional obstacle at this stage of your learning. By all means, incorporate it into your practice session when you get your fingers to "obey" you. Play the arpeggios VERY slowly without worrying about timing for now. Regularity is more important than actual time spent IMO. Play for fifteen minutes at a time, take a rest and come back to it. Stick with it. Your fingers will "get the message" with regular practice. Then, start using the metronome.
  7. Mushroo

    Mushroo Guest

    Apr 2, 2007
    Here's a suggestion: Choose some of your favorite songs that feature arpeggios in the bass line. Put them together into a set-long playlist. Close your eyes, imagine you are on stage with the band, and play your heart out!

    I think that is a much more fun way to practice arpeggios than to just grind them out as a dull memorization exercise. :)
  8. madjazzbass


    Jan 5, 2014
    Yeah thanks, do you have any bands suggestions that uses arpeggios with the bass player, right now off the top of my head, I can't think of any bands ... and please don't say Dream Theater I can't take that stuff, believe me I have tried, but I just can't do it; but I'm willing to give any other band I shot that feature arpeggiated bass lines, Thanks Again.
  9. Let me get this out of the way. Scale and arpeggio exercises are the first step. Using them is way down the road. But to answer your question; jazz will use the full arpeggio, however, most of us only use parts of the arpeggio in most everything we do. The basic root on the first beat and then the 5th on the 3rd beat is an example. An old standby R-5-8-5 comes to mind as a generic bass line that I groove when I'm not pounding roots. We are told to follow the chords and play notes of the chord. That pretty well means gather your bass line notes from the arpeggio of that chord. Which ones and how many will come into the picture as you move into playing songs.

    To do that you have to have the arpeggio into muscle memory. To do that you have to run your arpeggios a zillion times. Yes start slow and work up from there. Its a right of passage thing. We've all been where you are now.

    Think of arpeggios as little scales. You had to run your scales to get your fingers going where you needed them to go. Same thing about arpeggios. If you have not been running your scales, start. Scales and arpeggios are what we train our fingers on.

    Good luck.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2017
  10. Mushroo

    Mushroo Guest

    Apr 2, 2007
    Hmmm, the first song that comes to mind featuring a prominent arpeggio is "The Star Spangled Banner." Pretend you've been hired to perform the national anthem for your favorite sporting event. Play (and sing, too!) the song like thousands of people are watching, concentrating on perfection not speed. Then, perform "The Star Spangled Banner" in the other 11 keys. If you can nail this song in all 12 keys, perfectly with no mistakes, then you will have a pretty good handle on major-chord arpeggios. (Apologies if you are not from the USA; if not, what is your country's national anthem, and does it use any arpeggios?)

    Now it's your turn. Can you think of a song that uses minor-chord arpeggios? If none of your favorite songs use arpeggios, then I ask you: Why are you practicing something you don't need? ;) Music theory is meaningless in the abstract; the concepts only have value when you apply them to actual songs and performance. "Learning arpeggios" doesn't just mean knowing how to wiggle your fingers; it also means training your ears so that you can hear and understand arpeggios in action!

    Here is an exercise you can do, to figure out whether or not arpeggios are worthwhile for the style of music you play: Transcribe one of your favorite songs. Take a highlighter. Go back and listen to the song again, following along with your transcription. Highlight all the arpeggios, and write down what chord they are outlining (for example, C-Eb-G spells C Minor). :)
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2017
  11. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    play each thing you learn slowly enough to get it right, no matter how slow. for me, that can start off absurdly slow. once you can play it easily at that speed, you can speed it up just a little, but still at a speed where you can get it right. that's very important because if you keep playing something wrong the same way, you'll develop muscle memory of how to play it wrong. if you play it right even at a slow speed, you'll develop muscle memory of playing it right, and that will allow you to play it faster and faster.
    Nev375, mrcbass and Ant Illington like this.
  12. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    Killed_by_Death and pcake have nailed it, IMO. it's the only way! the biggest mistake folks make in retraining their brain = impatience! also: repetition at the slowest/slower tempos is crucial.

    good luck! :thumbsup:
  13. If you can't do it, just learn to play the blues. Nearly every blues bassline uses arpeggios. And besides, as a bassist, you need to know how anyway.

    On another note, (pun intended) I'm a big fan of having knowledge for its own sake. Arpeggios are a key aspect of musicality so I think you should have a good command of that stuff whether or not there are "bands that use arpeggios" or something like that.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2017
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  14. Arp Workpg1.jpg

    BTW, I created an arpeggio worksheet to help me work through that stuff. If it can help you, you are welcome to it. The above thumbnail shows the first page. You can download it from the link if you wanna.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 17, 2017
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  15. tlc1976


    Aug 2, 2016
    As others have said, start slow. I was told early on that if you can't play it slow, you'll never play it fast. I just keep doing it over and over for awhile. It's like a wavy learning curve. You'll think you got it, then you find you don't quite have it when you either speed up or throw the rest of the song into it. So it means more practice. Eventually after some 3 steps forward 1 step back cycles, you'll get it.
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  16. MrLenny1

    MrLenny1 Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    Repetition like KBD said.
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  17. Mushroo

    Mushroo Guest

    Apr 2, 2007
    No doubt! My earlier comment was meant to be a friendly challenge to the OP, not an excuse to ignore this important musical concept.

    When I was a kid, I used to enjoy learning big words, so I could sound smart. My teacher would always say, "okay, but can you use it in sentence?" My point being, arpeggios are not a bland and boring finger exercise, but rather an exciting and fun building block of real music! It's possible to come up with all sorts of fun exercises, for example: take a famous bass line that is all root notes, and try to reinterpret the song playing arpeggios instead of just roots. Jam along with the recording and pretend you are on stage rocking out your arpeggios with the stars. :)
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  18. CryingBass

    CryingBass Ours' is the only Reality of Consequence Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 8, 2016
    An important study aide in this regard:

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  19. Calvine Dune.JPG

    I have this up at work. Seems like you're wrestling a bit with both.
  20. Fast vs Slow. If you cannot hear each note, slow down. To play fast you have to listen fast. If you can not hear every note you play its a blur and you are just making noise. Play as fast as you can hear each individual note. Then increase your speed and start playing at this new level.

    Good luck.
    madjazzbass likes this.
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