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Not "There"

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by steveo33, Apr 19, 2011.

  1. steveo33


    Nov 11, 2009
    Cleveland, OH

    This may be a goofy question, and I'm not really sure how to phrase it, but I'd like to ask the more seasoned folk how or if they know there was a point they knew they were a bassist.

    The best ones never stop working and learning; I realize that, and session guys, in my view, are there already. True pros that handle anything thrown at them. I can read, marginally at best, but based on auditions and just general jammmg, I get asked to do quite a few things and have it work, but maybe not to the level where I have the confidence to just say "Here it is, it will work."

    Our band opened for a veteran outfit a year ago. The headliner played basically the same classic rock our guys do. He may have been less adventurous than I was, but I was stoked on how SOLID and effortless he made his rhythm section go. We were a younger band, and he was jazzed on how my take on things was different, yet worked just as well. At least that I was told. I had the feeling he could hold his own with any style. He said he pretty much concentrates on what his band does, and he was smooth as butter.

    I felt like an apprentice, yet he led me to believe I was in the ballpark. I guess if I had to put it into a song, he'd kill on something like the "Lemon Song", where I'm more comfortable with "La Villa". I'd have the suspicion he'd get to doing that quicker too, if he wanted to. We then proceeded to get extremely impared singing the others praises after the show. His background and lack of formal training are similar, he hears, he plays, he rocks. I don't know if he was blowing sunshine you know where, but I thought I had a few tricks he was interested in.

    I guess my question after all that mess is, is there a point where you've think you've got "it"? At least to a point where you're comfortable saying so? Is it a self confidence issue? How many times do you have to hear that you're a bassist before you believe it yourself? I'm well aware of the guy that needs to guess who's the newbie at the card table before he realizes it's him. That's what I feel like, but then someone I respect on the instrument tells me, "That was great".

    I get that the pursuit of excellence doesn't end, but I'm interested in hearing from the vets here what the moment was where you determined, "I can do this, and do it pretty damn well."

    Thanks for muddling through,
  2. dukeorock

    dukeorock Owner BNA Audio Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    Authorized greenboy designs builder/Owner of BNA Audio
    At some point, I just had to say "I'm a bass player," which didn't mean I was making money or was any good, but that's what I do...I haven't had a 'real' job since 1992, so it's working ok!
  3. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    i had confidence in my bass playing right away. i played guitar first and always felt shaky about it, even though i developed a level of proficiency with it, but with bass i knew right away that i would be good at it.
  4. dukeorock

    dukeorock Owner BNA Audio Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    Authorized greenboy designs builder/Owner of BNA Audio
    Same here...like exactly
  5. HeadyVan Halen

    HeadyVan Halen

    Jun 11, 2010
    I'm backwards I guess. I played exclusive bass for 10 years. Wanted my own band but no wanted to sing so I started to play lead (about a year and a half now) and singing..now when giggin' and me and the guitarist switch (which we do throughout the night depending on who leads the song) people say "oh?! you play bass too??.."

    But yeah I think I can get it pretty good on the 4 string, no where near where I wanted to be though. Best advice I've heard is "Don't det down on yourself..that's what the audience is for.."

    Listen to me suck...here: JC McNeil Band
  6. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    Well, I played a little bass in high school in the '60s, but not enough to feel proficient, just enough to do a few songs with the band I was in. Later, I studied classical upright in college and played with the local symphony for six years afterwards. Still, I hadn't been the reglar bass player for a band until 1988. I had already made a name for myself as a guitarist regionally, but that first band as a bass player was different. At first I realized I didn't really know all the nuances of playing bass. After a few months of regular gigging I felt quite comfortable at it and thought I was actually pretty good. However, I was not getting any feedback from other bass players as to "how I was doing." I began to wonder if I were a good player, mediocre, or what. Yet, I knew I wasn't bad, at least. I guess at that point I accepted myself as a decent player and just went on from there. Now, 23 years later I can honestly say I'm a solid bass player, but I don't slap. Actually, I can say I've been a solid player since those times back in the late '80s. It's just that back then, I wasn't sure how to evaluate myself. When did it truly dawn on me? Gee, I'm not sure. Twenty years ago at least.
  7. dannylectro

    dannylectro Supporting Member

    Aug 2, 2010
    Atlanta, GA
    Never stop learning. Never stop listening. Never stop having fun. If you're still doing it when you're 50, then you are "there".
  8. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    61 here and luvin' it:bassist:
  9. Billnc


    Aug 6, 2009
    Charlotte NC
    I learned bass on the bandstand, coming from a jazz guitar background. I did very few guitar gigs, then bass started happening really fast, from the day I borrowed one. There never was a day I felt I 'got it'. It was learn tunes and play gigs from the start. I was blessed with never having time to think whether I was getting it, was good or bad as a bass player etc. That was 20 years ago this month.
  10. unclejane

    unclejane Guest

    Jul 23, 2008
    For me it was when I quit gigging. The nightmare was finally over and I could start playing the stuff I wanted the way I wanted free of the police, drunks and drug dealers.

    I would personally want to ask who cares? If it's someone else, they should be told to go take a hike. If it's you, then you should take back making the decisions about what you play and why.

    I'm one of these wierd guys who thinks playing a musical instrument shouldn't be a chore with a bunch of labels attached to it. I'm not good enough of a player to command the type of gigging/band/etc environment that's enjoyable to me, so I've simply dispensed with it. Better players can pick and choose on that a lot more so their experience may be different.
    But for me I'm content these days to be a woodshedder who just does his own playing for his own enjoyment. So that's where it started for me.

  11. Tony2011


    Mar 18, 2011
    Bass playing was more than just a technical vocation for me. It became a lifetime of self discovery in a very short time after I took it up. I would pose the same kind question you did. At what point will I become a Bass player instead of just a guy who plays on a Bass. As time went on and I realized that I'll never stop learning, growing , and developing new techniques and honing old ones. I told myself that I will either get to where I want to be as a Bass player or die first. Which ever happens, I have nothing I want to do more in the mean time anyway. This mentallity made it easier for me to pursue any goals I have without any anxiety over how good I should be at such and such of time. The original question I asked myself no longer pertains anymore. You and I will only get out of it what we put into it.
  12. cire113


    Apr 25, 2008
    there is no "there" lol......

    Live learn and most of all just have fun....
  13. +1
  14. When my grooves started making me create new words to describe the new found funk-ness.

    ^There, that's one of them :)
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