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Not playing for a while

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Tbeers, May 13, 2006.

  1. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    I'm going to be in Afghanistan for a little over two months this summer. Does anyone have any tips for getting back into playing when I return, or just stories about their own experiences with taking a break? As much as anything, I am looking for reassurance that I won't lose everything I've built up on the bass for the past several years (though if I will, by all means be honest). Thanks.
  2. tbeers,

    i read a george mraz interview once...he said if he is ever away from his bass for an extended time, he works on bach cello suites when he returns to the bass. says he never gets them sounding great, but it is a great way to work up your stamina and technique quickly.

    usually when i am away from the bass for too long a period of time, i just go heavy on scales until i feel comfortable with the instrument again. anything technical is a great way to get back into it. i also try to strech a lot when i cant play...for some reason i feel like this helps me, but that might just be mental. enjoy your trip!
  3. christ andronis

    christ andronis

    Nov 14, 2001

    Just try not to catch up all in 3 or 4 days and you should regain your form after a little bit.

    I think the more important thing here is to keep your head down and watch your back. :bag:

    Have a safe trip and we hope to see you back soon.

  4. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    You'll be fine. I didn't play for about 17 yrs and it came back quickly. At your level, you'll probably be a little rusty, your intonation might be off a bit when you try to make jumps up the fb, but it'll come back rather quickly. You may not remember something that you had just learned before you stopped but it's like riding a bicycle.

    Have fun and stay safe.
  5. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    The physical stuff will just take some work, and callouses will take some time to build back up.

    If you can at all, take an iPod (or something) with a bunch of solos and **** to transcribe. One of my old teachers said that if you can't play, the best thing you can do is to keep working on your ear.
  6. Kam


    Feb 12, 2006
    Minneapolis, MN
    I took a 3 month break due to tendonitis; spent the time listening and mentally playing through solos and rep. When I got my hands back I did two weeks of mainly scale work and Hrabe etudes at slow tempos. When I felt comfortable moving towards the solos I was working on, I felt like I was playing them better than I was before I was injured, even my teacher said so!

    In short, I think if you stay mentally sharp, your physical playing will not stay dull for long once you're back on the horse.
  7. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Thanks for all the encouragement.

    I will actually have my laptop, which has a ton of music on it. And the computer has Finale, so I can do transcriptions/arrangements in my spare time (they say the Afghan night life is not so hot).

    The only thing I won't be able to do is play!

    Hopefully it will be alright. Thanks again!
  8. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    Couple of observations:

    - These days about the only time I'm gonna get a blister is if I've taken off more than about a week to 10 days, for something like a family vacation, then come right back to a fairly intense playing schedule. My right hand pays.

    - Nobody's talked about the positive side of a break. I almost always enjoy a certain freshness when I come back. All my well-trampled paths aren't so trampled down anymore and I tend to notice some different sights along the way. I look forward to that aspect of coming back off a break.
  9. I took a month off when I traveled last summer. I came back and felt like I had never played a DB in my life. The upside of this is it is a very good chance to eliminate any bad habits in your playing. I recommend focusing on that when you get back, and use this as a positive opportunity. I could feel many things I didnt like about my playing when I got back.
  10. musicman5string

    musicman5string Banned

    Jan 17, 2006
    Why are you going to Afghanistan?
  11. Scott McC

    Scott McC

    May 13, 2006
    I find breaks can be very inspiring. I have never intentionally done it, but when I have, I came back so eager, I think it gave me new perspective. I also think going to a place like Afghanistan will make you appreciate music in general a whole lot more. I dont want to sound cheesy, but I think a deeper understanding of the world makes for better music.
  12. Why do you need to know?
  13. musicman5string

    musicman5string Banned

    Jan 17, 2006

    Well, if it's for vaction I could think of maybe, oh I don't know, 642,986 other places that would be nicer.
  14. I can't find it but I remember some one posting about a box bass or something thats like a breif case for like 50$. I hear its crap but maybe it can keep your fingers up in shape.
  15. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    The reason for my trip isn't a secret or anything. I am actually going there with a professor, and I will be tutoring Afghan university students in conversational/written English. For me it is a way to build fluency in Farsi, acquaint myself with the culture of the region, and hopefully make contacts in various NGOs.

    Anyway, thanks for all the advice so far. It seems as though getting back to playing DB will be an uphill struggle at first, but maybe with enough dedication I can turn this into an opportunity for musical growth.
  16. Noam Elron

    Noam Elron

    Apr 14, 2005
    Haifa, Israel
    I thought the main language in Afganistan is Urdu, or is that Pakistan?

    Anyway, I am currently battling tendonitis (battling = not playing and wishing very it would go away already). I'm passing the time by singing transcribed solos out of the omnibook, a coltrane book, various stuff off the net, and transcriptions I've done in the past.

    I find that solfege is the complementary skill to "playing what you hear" - instead of hearing a melody in your head and knowing where to place the fingers, you are given the notes and have to know what they sounds like. Well, I find it helps me get new sounds into my vocabulary independantly from technique. Once the new phrases start coming out naturally when I sing, I'll also get them under my fingers (assuming I get rid of the tendonitis anytime soon :meh: )

    Have a fun trip, Tbeers
  17. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Well, Afghanistan won't be happening this summer. Yesterday an angry mob destroyed the ground floor of the hotel where I was supposed to be staying.

    Still, lots of good advice in this thread. Thanks for the responses, and I'll keep all of this in mind in my future travels.
  18. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Yikes. I was just wondering tonight (while on my gig, instead of actually concentrating on the tune I was playing:meh: ) if you were over there yet. Glad you weren't!

    I actually could use a little time away from the bass. I'm like Damon; I usually come back fresher. I do have a couple of weeks of vacation coming up, but my Dad always lines up a bass for my home visits, so I end up playing as much as I do here.
  19. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    I wondered what a person did for vacation when he lives in paradise and plays bass all day.

    Your life sucks dude.
  20. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    :D ..well, I hang out with my family in Northern Wisconsin, which is every bit as beautiful as is Maui, in its own way. I am a very lucky individual.

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