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No Desire To Play For Weeks

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Greg Waldon, May 30, 2020.

  1. Greg Waldon

    Greg Waldon

    Aug 22, 2017
    I don’t know if this is in the right place.
    During the few months I have lost the desire to play. I don’t know if I was burnt out, lazy or just what the problem was.
    Tonight, I got the desire to play. Played for about and hour and played absolutely fantastic. I was completely floored as to how well I played.
    Has anyone else been through this, for lack of a better term, no desire to play?
  2. TOOL460002

    TOOL460002 Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Santa Cruz CA
    If I have a bass I play it, but travel has kept me from playing for 3-5wks at a time. If I take time off I am often better on inspiration but worse on stamina and general skin/muscle toughness/memory.
  3. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    i've been burned out from bass a couple times. after a few days or weeks off, i came back fresh and played better than ever and enjoyed it more, too.
    sabre79, RocknRay, RumbleBot and 7 others like this.
  4. BurnOut

    BurnOut It's The Billy Baloney Show Supporting Member

    Feb 1, 2015
    The Natti
    When this happens to me I usually switch back to the guitar for a while, I'll jump back to the bass when I'm ready to get back to it.
    My band just broke up a couple months ago, working with some new folks. It's looking like I'm gonna be doing mainly a Paul Stanley type of rhythm guitar thing, singing lead vocals, rhythm guitar accents as required. Actually kinda looking forward to the change. I'll probably still be doing some sets on the bass too, think it's gonna be a fun band once we get rolling.
    Peace N Chicken Grease
  5. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    I've been hit with "bass depression" pretty hard during the first two months of quarantine. I couldn't get myself to actually practice, but I did listen to a lot of new (and old rediscovered) music.

    Apparently I haven't lost much in terms of skill or dexterity, so there's that... but I know how you feel. It's awful.
  6. BassChuck

    BassChuck Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Time off, especially if you've been playing a lot is often a good thing.
    When you're in a 'bass depression' one way to get out is to try something new musically. Try some jazz, or spend a day playing melodies from children's songs. Radio and TV commercial jingles are fun melodies, or take a simple song or bass line and see how many different ways you can play it and still have it sound like that song. Make up stuff. How would Hitler have played 'Stand By Me', or Liberace played the opening of the Barney Miller theme song (if you don't that bass lick, check it out on YouTube).
    Just be different.
    GravyGoodness, tonym and Greg Waldon like this.
  7. Greg Waldon

    Greg Waldon

    Aug 22, 2017
    I find that when I have “bass depression“, it is best for me just to put my basses down for a little while. It may be a couple of days, weeks or even months. I did go back and listen to music that I haven’t listened to in a really long time. I didn’t just play the music, I LISTENED to it. It have given me a new energy to not only play but to learn.
    cdbrewer99 and hieronymous like this.
  8. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    i have had the OP's 'spontaneous recovery' experience of playing with command after a hiatus, but i don't know if i've ever had the "bass depression" a few of you are posting. i've never liked being away from 'the music' too long. my practice is unscheduled, however, so i'm sure that some days i just don't do enough...and other days i do more than i need to do. on slow days: i at least pick it up --- always to make sure (in my mind :D ) that i could pack it up and go play a gig if called!
    johnnynitro, Mili and Greg Waldon like this.
  9. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Same for me, I've played very little the last ten weeks. It's been years since I was free to sit in the living room and just listen to albums all day long.
  10. Samatza


    Apr 15, 2019
    After decades of doing gigs there were a couple of times I got into a bit of a funk.

    I probably needed some time off, having a career and a working band can take it out of you so I schedule a break once in a while and just take a holiday.

    ive had no gig now for 2 months so when we get back into it I’ll feel better, especially as my career has taken a detour over a cliff during lockdown, I don’t think we’ll be going back to work.

    Everyone I know gets into the ‘down’ space once in a while but it’s never permanent. This too shall pass is my motto.
  11. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    I'll have a day or 3 of laziness here and there, but the band(s) meeting just about weekly have kept me motivated to not put it down for too long.

    It's only lately with this CV-19 putting the kibash on live music (or even just getting together with other players) has been demotivating and slightly depressing me lately. Boo. Hiss.

    Fortunately our household is made up of mostly peeps who play some instrument, and at least the band's guitar player and i have been getting together weekly during this past month and a half. Doesn't look like the others will be anytime too soon
    alanloomis1980 likes this.
  12. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Everyone does, for numerous reasons. I went through this during COVID. No band, no drummer, no desire to play. But I find it I take more than a few days off, my technique and times starts to suffer. So even if it's playing two songs Al my with YouTube,I try to pick up the bass every day.
    johnnynitro likes this.
  13. Malcolm35


    Aug 7, 2018
    I miss not being with a band, being with the guys was fun and I looked forward to our sessions. Playing by myself is not the same and because of that my practicing has been put on hold.

    I'm thinking about dusting off my rhythm guitar and digging out my old gig books. Been thinking about this for a week, and have yet to strap on the old rhythm guitar.

    Gotta break out of this slump. :dead:
  14. Blues Daddy

    Blues Daddy

    Jul 1, 2016
    I don't think I've ever been burnt out or 'bass depressed', but I have been lazy before about picking up an instrument. Often, I've only maintained a home-practice regimen "as needed" (when I had to learn new songs for an upcoming gig), and the best incentive for me has always been full band rehearsals, jams with others and obviously looming gigs.

    However, since COVID came and no more rehearsals or gigs are happening I'm actually now spending more time with my instruments - not only playing them but also cleaning them, changing strings, setting them up, etc. I have everything (basses, guitars mandolins) hanging up on the wall in the music room and this makes it very convenient to just grab one and spend some time (sometimes just noodling or focusing on a very unfamiliar style to me like chords on the bass).

    We also have an old upright piano in the front room and I've always enjoyed just playing it as a relaxing activity (I'm self taught on keys and not particularly skilled but I can play with two hands and it's a great way to work out chord structures, harmonic inversions and melodies).

    I agree with others here who have encouraged you to try something new (outside your box) just to re-spark an interest - and most importantly find a way to make the time spent enjoyable or even fun.
  15. BOOG


    Dec 13, 2016
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Sounds like you and I were given the same alien probe at about the same time. When the whole lock down, don’t breathe on anyone, everybody go home thing happened, I was off for a month and was looking forward to spending some quality time with the music. Instead, what happened was that I only in the last week have tuned back in and am back to playing daily.
    For me, it’s psychological. I had the image that I would have all the time to play but, the musical/creative thought processes got interrupted by all of the negative pandemonium and gauging the instability around me and my life. Not to mention, the general negativity and vitriol that seems to be getting spewed everywhere, including TalkBass is good cause to avoid an environment.
    El Thumpo and Greg Waldon like this.
  16. Dincrest

    Dincrest Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2004
    New Jersey
    Life does that to you. I've had periods of time during my bass playing life when I stopped playing for years at a time for multitudes of reasons (burnout, depression, life giving me too much to handle so I had to put bass aside, etc.)... only for circumstances to intervene with a piece of inspiration to pick up again.

    EDIT: But, yeah, quarantine fatigue is real and it is really getting to me. (I want the country to open up so I can get some much-needed work done in my house that requires expertise greater than mine own). That being said, I've actually been using my additional at-home time to play more bass. I've been revisiting my lesson books, refining my technique, learning songs I wanted to learn but didn't have time to before, even trying out songs that are completely new to me that I normally wouldn't listen to.
    Last edited: May 31, 2020
    BOOG likes this.
  17. selowitch

    selowitch Supporting Member

    Aug 6, 2005
    Rockville MD
    In the current environment of COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders, bored family members, and limited social contact it is no surprise that many people find themselves at lower levels of mental function. It's not necessarily depression in many cases but just sort of a malaise that makes it harder to enjoy things we otherwise like doing. Don't get down on yourself.

    Plan to play along to three songs today. Tomorrow, add a single finger or scale exercise. Look at jamming online via JamKazam if that's your thing. And listen to other bassists to re-inspire yourself. It'll come.
    Last edited: May 31, 2020
    Hambone70, BOOG and Pet Sounds like this.
  18. Greg Waldon

    Greg Waldon

    Aug 22, 2017
    Just before the "beer virus" hit, I had kinda hit a major plateau in my playing. I thought having to work from home for 8 weeks may stoke the fire, so to speak. It didn't. I was working long hours to keep myself from "behind the 8 balll" and was completely wore out mentally and physically. I think being back in my office full time has gotten me back in a normal rythem, if there is such a thing. Everything is gonna be a-ok.
    BOOG likes this.
  19. In my time, I've played myself into dead ends, and walked away for a period just to be shed of the dang thing.
    I couldn't get away from it fast enough, I was sick of it.

    It seems subconsciously that after a while, my mind somehow eased me back off the sandbar I was stuck on, high tide lifted me off, and once I was floating free, I could get back on course.

    Different personalities would just put their head down and dig their way out, working every day to ease past. I'm not one of them, and when I'd come back, everything would flow again.
    BOOG and Greg Waldon like this.
  20. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Peak planning is what athletes do, some don't even know they do it but the real champions work in a path that resembles a wave. Train, improve, and plateau, rest or decline, etc.
    It's easy to find examples of really great players who walk away for a while. When you feel like you cannot improve sometimes the best thing is to take time off. It's not "lazy" but our brains and bodies respond well to these cycles. It's often how we pass limitations.
    bmb73, Bootrice, BOOG and 1 other person like this.

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