My playing is going to the dogs

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Distant Cousin, Sep 8, 2010.

  1. Ok, so I've mentioned this once or twice before in another thread somewhere, and I guess everyone's pretty sick of me starting threads all the time, but! I am really concerned about my playing.

    I've been trying to practice more than I usually do during the summer, but my playing just seems to be getting worse somehow/for some reason. I'm missing notes all over the place, plucking the wrongs strings, my hands and wrists are cramping and tensing up after a few seconds of playing, and my timing is all screwed up. I keep messing up simple straight 8s fingerstyle lines. I used to have really solid timing with those but now, I don't know what's happened.

    My mind goes completely blank when it comes to improvising or playing fills beyond standard pentatonic funk/rock (Flea) style stuff.

    It's frustrating the hell out of me. I don't know why it's happening but I thought practicing more made you a better player?
  2. RNV


    Apr 13, 2010
    Loxahatchee, Fl
    fEARful (I endorse them, not visa versa)
    What is your age, if you don't mind me asking? Perhaps you have developed a nerve issue or some physical issue. I had to stop playing drums because of a slight nerve issue with my right ankle.
  3. foq1978


    Aug 7, 2009
    Rio de Janeiro
    Perhaps the extended practice is just making you more aware of areas you need to pay attention to? And perhaps this is stressing you, making your hands / wrist tense?
  4. I'm 20. But I do (also mentioned before) have a very bad back, neck and shoulders.
  5. RNV


    Apr 13, 2010
    Loxahatchee, Fl
    fEARful (I endorse them, not visa versa)
    Go see a neurologist and get checked out. Your body may be telling you something. I'm only 33 now, but 8 years ago when I noticed that my foot wasn't as responsive as it use to be I sought medical advise and found that I have a minor nerve issue. Better safe than sorry.
  6. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    After you learn a basic skill level, one that that has to be practiced is concentration. As musically boring as it might be, learning to do a simple vamp for many measures (or minutes) can be as good a practice as dealing with different scale forms or chords.

    Also it helps at the gig. Unless you are playing classical music, you are more than likely, playing a a world of distractions.... people talking, musicians talking about what's next or something else.... waiters making noise, its all a part of the entertainment environment, and you have to learn to deal with it.
  7. MonkeyBass


    Mar 22, 2009
    Denver, CO
  8. What I'm hearing.....
    • Don't worry about starting threads, if no one started them I'd not have anything to do after breakfast.
    • Sounds like you are between class years and taking it easy - practicing because that's what we are supposed to do with our time. Perhaps with out a focus.......

  9. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    If I could only own 36 basses what would they be?
  10. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    In your other thread, as in this one, people were advising you to see a doctor or specialist.

    I'm just wondering have you done this ? If not, then it might be a good idea to get the all clear there. Otherwise all the bass related advice given here, is not really much good, if your problem is a medical one.
  11. Slow, repetitive, relaxed, meditative bass lines. 20 minutes a day is all you need. As soon as you feel tense, put the bass down. Doctor or not this type of practicing should help.

    Effortless Mastery talks about practicing 'no tension'.
  12. been there- had that-
    1- go see a chiropractor / specialist / acupuncturist, to make sure it isn't physical.
    2- Change your practice routine. start off playing slow. I got myself into cramps by starting my regimen with fast scales. If you play a lot of scales, break them up by alternating with arpeggios and varying the tempos. Play some scales, then play a song. STOP when your hands tense up. Put down the bass and play the bass part in your head, until you can feel and hear every note, just as if you were playing them on a bass.

    You probably have that separation of chops vs. music going on- thinking too much about the mechanics of it, and not enough about the music itself. Worrying about your hands will cause more issues. Just think about the music, and use chops work to strengthen the music, not the other way around.
  13. greggster59


    Oct 31, 2006
    New Jersey
    I went through something similar at the beginning of the summer. Really seemed I lost my mojo. I took a week away from playing but did a lot of listening to bassists/bass lines and rebooted by relearning a few things I already knew at a slower pace. Soon enough I was making progress again but I still don't know why I went off the rails.

    I don't know if this approach would help you but a break might. Good luck.
  14. I went to the doctor yesterday and all she gave me were a couple of leaflets with pretty much no helpful information. Think I'm just going to fork out for an osteopath.

    When you say meditative...?
  15. Skitch it!

    Skitch it!

    Sep 6, 2010
    Has your confidence been knocked in any way? This can snowball to the point of thinking 'I can't play anymore' and you will find it tiring because the 'work harder to do this mentally and physically' thing leaves you drained, sometimes it's better to take a break and step away from it for a while and take the pressure off, it really is good to give it a little holiday and get/freshen your perspective back now and again IME, just a thought, take it easy on yourself. ;)
  16. Ivan M

    Ivan M

    Aug 2, 2010
    Bronx, NY
    Get yourself a Digitech JamMan Solo and start messing with it, it is a GREAT jam tool especially for getting your timing back to the way you had it. I too was getting a little bored and somewhat lost, I went out and bought this and have been extremely excited and happy learning new bass lines and my timing has gotten back on point, there are so many features that you will not be bored for a very long time. Hope this helps.:bassist:
  17. younggun


    Jul 19, 2008
    San Antonio
    +100 on the "Effortless Mastery" book. Will do wonders for your state of mind.
  18. M0ses


    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    The more I practice my trumpet, the more I hear how bad I suck.
    In reality I'm quite good, but I have become really good at listening to a trumpet, and I hear even the tiniest mistake.

    So really, just chill out. Don't let one mistake cause another.
  19. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    Maybe you're burned out from too much playing...a bass break may do you some good.
  20. rosanne


    Sep 30, 2004
    SF Bay Area
    Stress in other parts of your life can show up in your playing - loss of focus, hands not obeying head, memory issues etc. It can make your back condition worse too. You might want to look at the other parts of your life to see if the cause (or at least contributing cause) can be found there.

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