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Need to further my skills...

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Paradox11235, Dec 2, 2017.

  1. Paradox11235


    Mar 1, 2015
    Denver, CO
    I know this probably gets posted a lot, but this forum has been phenomenal so far for searching for gear/other questions.

    Basically I'm gigging very frequently with two different bands in the Denver area, I'm self taught on guitar and bass but I know enough theory to be dangerous. I've never really gotten anything but praise on my writing and playing, and sometimes i'm satisfied, but I'm getting to a point where I feel I need to improve. I always know when I see a bassist better than me playing, and it happens quite a lot.

    What do you guys do when you feel like you've plateaued? What I usually do is study some theory I'm foggy on or didn't know about previously, but I don't feel like it helps my creativity much. Beyond knowing your scales, chords, harmonies, circle of fourths and fifths, stuff like that I feel like I'm just treading water.

    I think I need to study some other great bassists and learn to emulate their styles to help me develop my own more...

    Not looking for a link to a beginners course, just some strategies for furthering myself as an intermediate player. Thanks!
  2. You are gigging with two bands so you can hold your own. Sounds like you are entering into technique. This is best done knee to knee with a bassists that plays like you would like to play.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017
  3. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    Just to clarify this conversation, what things do you specifically want to improve in your playing?
    Whousedtoplay likes this.
  4. Whousedtoplay


    May 18, 2013
    Could you elaborate your statement, better than me playing ?

    What kind of music are you playing?

    Do you want to play more notes?

  5. I think your problem isn't "theory'...it's "creativity".

    Knowing what goes where and when.

    As said, maybe you need to listen a lot more to bassists you admire (be it recordings or live) to see what they do to make a song sound great instead of it just being a "by the book" offering.
    Badwater and Whousedtoplay like this.
  6. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Where will you be with bass and your music 5 years from now.... 10 years? What music do you practice beyond the music you need to prepare for your gigs? How many composers can you name that have not written music played by the bands you gig with? What kind of music was popular in 1920? 1900? 1850? 1750? What is the music like in Africa? Indonesia?
    What music do you play that was not written for bass?

    When you feel you've plateaued, go a different direction... set a goal.... move away from your comfort zone.
  7. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    I think the benefits of knowing more and more theory accrue in diminishing curve.
    Once you have a command of basic theory, " scales, chords, harmonies, circle of fourths and fifths, stuff like that "
    Each additional bit of new theory adds less and less to your musicality versus things like listening, experience, and exploration.

    If you are conformable with the basics of theory I would turn to building and analyzing repertoire.
    Lean more songs and bass lines.
    Pick them apart phrase by phrase.
    Identify chords and chord tones.
    transpose to every key.
    Disassemble every song and riff, reduce it to parts and tools in your workshop.

    Another thing you might try is to pick a well defined genre (especially one that may seem "simple" -Country, Blues, Latin etc)
    and study, delve deeply into it. Find the sub-styles. Find the old masters of the bass in those styles. Learn what the drummers do.
    Spin Doctor likes this.
  8. Paradox11235


    Mar 1, 2015
    Denver, CO
    Yes, I suppose creativity is where I feel most stuck. I definitely rambled a bit there...

    I can certainly hold my own, and sometimes I write parts I'm quite proud of, just looking to do that more consistently I guess. As I said, studying other genres and players has been next on the list, guessi just figured I'd see what everyone had to say as I've been pretty impressed with this forum so far.

    I play in a soul band and an alternative band which is hard to peg genre wise, but we've been described as the killers meets queen (although that was a bit flattering if I do say so). I started studying blues a bit more when I started with the soul band, my lack of blues knowledge was a bit embarrassing. Also I play with the same drummer in both bands, which has been great for keeping the pocket tight but perhaps it makes me a bit too comfortable rhythmically.

    Technique wise I think I can definitely improve, but that's something that's easier to know what needs work I suppose.
  9. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin Banned

    Dec 11, 1999
    First of all, it totally normal to have hit a plateau. It is part and parcel of the learning process. It is comforting to know that it is usually followed by a period of intense growth. Sometimes all one needs is a bit of inspiration, a dose of motivation and a good kick in the ass. I would humbly ask that you take a look at my CORE Method. It might just be that bit of inspiration you're looking for. Since it is free, there is no harm in looking

    The CORE Method Bass Lessons by Michael Dimin
    Whousedtoplay likes this.
  10. zackattack

    zackattack Supporting Member

    Apr 8, 2006
    San Francisco
    Try this out WHAT MAKES MOTOWN BASS MOTOWN? - Grooves - BassBooks.com
    I stumbled across him on YouTube and thought his method was fantastic, then found out he was a Berklee professor :D

    I like this because a) if you’re playing anything close to soul you should have some Jameson licks at your disposal b) this has a great method of learning and retaining vocabulary that it will serve you will to master sooner rather than later c) it’s an opportunity to learn / practice some reading.
  11. Bondobass


    Mar 14, 2014
    Transcribe, not just for the music, but the feel of the music.
    Whousedtoplay likes this.
  12. Paradox11235


    Mar 1, 2015
    Denver, CO
    Thanks for all the replies, I'll check out all of your suggestions.
  13. glocke1


    Apr 30, 2002
    I'll just pick some random song, technique or lesson to work on and grind away at it until i feel like i've come as close to getting it down as I can, or give up and realize that whatever it is Im working on is just something i wont get at this point.

    I may fail at whatever im working on, but I always learn something.

    At the moment I've taken a renewed interest in bass, and am spending time over at scotts basslessons.com reviewing some fundamentals...Its basic stuff I went over years ago, but its put a fresh new perspective on things for me.

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