Not progressing on bass

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Artisticbassist, Apr 28, 2019.

  1. Artisticbassist


    Apr 28, 2019
    Hi so I’m 17 yrs old and I’ve been playing the bass for about 3 years now. I love it so much and it’s always been one of my favorite things to do. But lately I’ve been feeling like I’m not progressing at all. I play everyday but it’s usually just songs/riffs I already know. I try to learn new songs but always ended up getting bored for some reason :( I really want to improve and get better but I don’t know what to learn. I feel like I’ve lost motivation to play and into frustrating me. Does anyone have any tips maybe that could help? Thank you
    Maxime1980, djaxup, teh-slb and 5 others like this.
  2. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    How about learning a new/different genre...something outside your box & comfort zone?
    Example: Afro-Cuban music/bass.

    Take something you know well (like a 1 or 2 bar figure) & mutate it.
    Mutate could mean play it back-to-front?
    Example: l1&2&3&4&l becomes l&4&3&2&1l

    Or- If it's 4/4, make it into an odd time figure.
    Or- Shift the figure to the right (displacement). If the figure starts on "1"...move it so that it begins on the "& of 1".

    Something else to strive for (eventually).
    Take a 12-Bar Blues.
    Be able to play it is a variety of feels-

    Just food-for-thought.
    lizardking837, r10, jchrisk1 and 14 others like this.
  3. Artisticbassist


    Apr 28, 2019
    I will give that a try, thanks.
    jamro217 likes this.
  4. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    Are you getting out to jam with anyone?
  5. monkeyfinger

    monkeyfinger Moderator Staff Member

    Seeing the bass as a part of the whole composition is the best way to really learn how to be a better bass player. You could accomplish this by learning more about harmony, studying vocal and horn lines, or playing something completely outside your comfort zone. (A good bass teacher should be able to help you define your goals and find suitable material.) I am also a big fan of creating your own music. It's a really fun and rewarding way to see the big picture.
    nightchef, jamro217, srayb and 3 others like this.
  6. Artisticbassist


    Apr 28, 2019
    I’m not. I wish I could but I don’t really know anyone who play any instruments.
    jamro217, Gearhead17, BOOG and 2 others like this.
  7. oZZma


    Sep 13, 2018
    I stopped worrying about "not progressing on bass" right after I started a band. :D

    Like many of us. Try with advertisements, at your young age it shouldn't be too difficult to find other people to play with.:thumbsup:
  8. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    No one at school or work? Does your town have any “rock school” type places you could join?

    You may need to put up an ad.

    Sometimes just having one person to jam with helps, especially if they are just a little more advanced than you.

    When I was 17, the musicians just kind of gravitated towards each other. I wore a Zildjian t-shirt to school one day (first day at a new high school) and it didn’t take me until lunch time to hook up with like minded people. And I was NOT what I’d call an accomplished player at the time. I still play with one of those guys today...35 years later!
  9. QweziRider

    QweziRider Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2008
    Northern Nevada, U.S.
    Find a band or multiple bands, come hell or high water. It's the best way to get that kick in the pants and be inspired.
  10. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Look for jams and open mics near you. Most will be at bars where you're probably not allowed, but some will be at coffee houses and places you can go. Go and meet people.
  11. SparkyLB


    Jun 6, 2018
    Listen to tax man, REAL INTENTLY. Learn the riff. Then learn the double-time bit he does at the middle of the song. That'll learn ya something new.
    nixdad, jamro217, Telemesa and 3 others like this.
  12. Hand slap

    Hand slap

    Feb 14, 2016
    Your in a slump, it happens to me, weekly.
  13. Keger Jupit

    Keger Jupit Inactive

    May 10, 2018
    The Great PNW!!
    I've been in your shoes twice in my 30 yr "career" (I use the term loosely :D) Try lessons. You don't have to get professional lessons if you live in the sticks/can't afford them/don't have the time, just peruse around online a bit & you'll run across some interesting stuff. Every time I've "hit a wall", this works for me. I learn new stuff, my interest gets piqued, & BOOM, a re-kindling of bass twiterpation.

    It's playing stuff OUT of your comfort zone that helps you improve, & has the added benefit of fighting off boredom when you feel stuck in place.

    There is a LOT of good advice on this thread already! Go for it :bassist: :bassist:
  14. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg , Conquest Sound
    I'm not suggesting you give up but the fact it is that some people simply do not have the ability to play an instrument or at least their instrument of choice. I have a friend who started playing guitar in the 1970s. He took lessons and practiced much more than any of our mutual friends or I did. He never even got good enough to play in a garage band. He loved music and wanted to be part of a band so he went to school and learned to run sound. He became a very good sound man and was in high demand until many of the local venues closed, converted to sports bars or karaoke.

    If becoming proficient at something was simply a matter of practice, we could all be a virtuoso. We could all play major league baseball, be in the NHL, NBA or NFL. We also need to have natural ability. Practice will help develop that ability.

    My advice would be to take lessons. Make sure to research teachers in you area and do not simply take lessons form the first person you find on Craigslist. Music stores are a good place to start. Follow a practice routine. Maybe a 5 or 6 hours per week. If after a few months, you feel like you're not progressing, try to figure out why. Ask the teacher what you are doing wrong that way you will have an idea on what you work on. Maybe you would be a better drummer, guitarist or keyboard player.
    Artisticbassist likes this.
  15. Take it from an old geezer: This will happen many times in your playing-bass life if you stay with it. You have two choices:

    1) Go fishing, skateboard, forget about the damn thing for a few days, and when you come back to it, you will be surprised how you seem to have made progress without playing it for a few days.

    2) Or you put your head down, cinch up your pants, and bulldoze through a real practice routine for a few days until things give a little.

    In my life, Option One always yielded the best result, and occasionally would bring home dinner. With hush puppies . . . . . and Modelos !
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2019
    nightchef, jamro217, Wasnex and 5 others like this.
  16. oZZma


    Sep 13, 2018
    Lessons are NEVER a bad thing but honestly I'm not surprised of lack of motivation after 3 years of practice and playing alone. It's like practicing tennis or football against the wall. Guess what? It gets boring really soon.
    I imagine that one who starts to learn bass wants to play in a band, maybe it's time to look for a band then, regardless the proficiency level. IMO :D
  17. Hey, best of luck with your playing.
    Playing with others is a GREAT way to increase the fun and get better.

    As per other suggestions here:

    * Maybe there is a jam or open mic event near you?
    * Maybe you’ve spotted a singer/songwriter (or drummer!) playing locally, and you like their style? (approach them).
    * Or talk to a local band you like, and see if they know anyone who needs a bass player.
    * Maybe there are organisations or clubs that put on events, that are run by young volunteers, and have a loose network of musicians (here in Melbourne, Australia, we have local councils with ‘Youth Events’ committees who run ‘Battle of the Bands’ events, etc. The volunteers aren’t all musicians but they love music).
    * Maybe put up a notice at school/work/local music store/venue?
    * Maybe talk to any local music teachers, they might know someone else looking to play.
    Artisticbassist and Sid s like this.
  18. bluesblaster


    Jan 2, 2008
    find a band or at least some other musician to play with, music is about interaction
  19. bobba66


    May 18, 2006
    Arlington, Texas
    I think I played bass for 6 months before somebody knocked on my door and wanted to jam. Maybe play louder?:woot:
    Tommy V, whero, Sid s and 5 others like this.
  20. Door County Bass

    Door County Bass DC EMT 663 Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2015
    I agree with Kmonk. Seek out a teacher and tell her/him straight out what you told us.
    That being said, you should find an instructor that you can’t wait to see every week/month.
    You should find someone that will challenge you and your ability. Hopefully, you will see improvement over a matter of time (based upon your practice regimen). Be patient! Learn a little theory. Learn about your bass. Learn about yourself. DON’T GIVE UP WITHOUT A FIGHT.
    A good teacher will motivate you with constructive criticism. Listen with an open mind.
    Everyone on this site wants you to improve and HAVE FUN. We have faith in you.
    Come back as much as possible with questions and updates.
    Good luck.
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    Primary TB Assistant

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