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Old dog learning new tricks - and unlearning some too.

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by IvanMike, May 12, 2010.

  1. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    So here I am at 42 trying to learn new techniques, get rid of some bad habits, etc. After playing for 26 years and tons of gigs and recordings it can get a bit frustrating to try to learn how to play what i already know how to play!

    I can't explain the joy of sitting down and practicing correct fretting and plucking technique, not to mention correct slap & pop, double thumping, etc. At times it feels like relearning how to tie your shoes "properly" - :p

    Not that I'm complaining. (Insert bass hero here) has made me eager to get off my butt and take my playing to the "next level" - (maybe I'll even learn to read well - :rolleyes:), but some of the rest of you must feel my pain. Somehow, when i was a kid hours of practicing seemed more exciting, and it's not an age thing, i'm thinking it's a learning a brand new skill vs perfecting an existing skill that you already do well enough for people to pay to watch!

    If anyone has suggestions, wants to vent alongside me, chide me for being childish, or come together in solidarity with me, feel free. :p
  2. Old dog and new tricks - I relate to what you are going through. I retired in 2000 when I reached 65. Since then I've kept myself busy learned how to play - to different levels of proficiency:
    1. Banjo bluegrass and dixieland.
    2. Rhythm acoustic guitar.
    3. Keyboard.
    4. Fiddle.
    5. Clarinet.
    6. Electric bass.

    Taken on new studies and activities:
    7.Play in two bands.
    8. Studied ham radio and passed the Technician and General License.
    9. Kiwanis club - held various offices, current Secretary of our club.
    10. Live on a lake and sail a West Wight Potter and scull an Aldrin rowing shell.

    Some of us old dogs need to learn new things and stay busy. I'm always studying something. I'd go crazy just sitting at home watching TV.

    What ever lifts your kilt.
  3. I'm right there with you my friend! I'm 41 and been playing since my teens, self-taught. About 6 months ago I decided it was finally time to do some woodshedding and really learn how to play. After scanning the internet for ideas I ended up getting the Teach Me Bass Guitar videos from Roy Vogt. 6 months in and I am very pleased with how much I have learned and my playing has improved. I only wish I had more time to devote to playing. If you are interested you can read about my experience with the course on my blog, the link is in my sig.

    Keep on rockin' brother!
  4. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    ah good, at least two honest folk out there - :p

    fwiw, i don't think learning a new instrument would prove to be as frustrating as improving on a 26 year old skill which you do reasonably well. particularly frustrating is going through the motions of learning a new technique only to find your ingrained muscle memory fighting you all the way, especially when you are actually playing at speed, at a gig, what have you.
  5. Interceptor


    Mar 29, 2005
    Madison, WI
    Wow, did your post ever hit me between the eyes.

    I've been in the woodshed at least an hour per day for the last year hammering on basics. Stuff like plucking, left hand muting, and my real fave - the beloved metronome. It is emotionally the same as exercise to me, and interestingly takes about the same amount of time. I don't always enjoy the slugging through either thing, but I do like the end results.

    I've been working on interval recognition for the last nine months. Some days it is just torture.

    FWIW - I've got a decade on you.

  6. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    1-6 my bonnie lies over the ocean (that's still how i hear it - the first two notes of the tune) ;)
  7. AlexanderB


    Feb 25, 2007
    Another self-taught bassist here. After 14 years of playing I now more or less HAVE to clean up my left hand technique for the sake of speed and flexibility. Does ayone know other bass tutorials aiming at "ergonomics" and "conventional bass lines" rather than at musical theory, chords, slapping etc?

  8. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    i think there are links to a ton here. I'm not self taught - i did take lessons for a few years from a great teacher, but that was quite a while ago. my theory is ok but could use work, etc. Outside of not knowing certain techniques well (or not having practiced them) I've just played quite successfully for a long time, have a good ear, etc. However, one always runs into players who dance circles around you. After a while that sends you back to the shed.
  9. okcrum

    okcrum in your chest

    Oct 5, 2009
    Verde Valley, AZ
    RIP Dark Horse strings
    Absolutely the hardest thing for me in the shed has been to bring gig-level intensity to it. Also the most necessary. Just because I can limp wrist a part at home won't mean I can slam it at the gig.
  10. i hate username

    i hate username

    Jan 9, 2006
    Im only 21 and feel like an old dog trying to re-learn old tricks....being self thought is all well and good until you see the guys who were given some good instruction play:(

    1st on the list, learn to read.
  11. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    heh, you haven't had time to learn bad technique properly - get off my lawn!

  12. Turtle71

    Turtle71 Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2009
    Madison, WI
    I totally feel ya" and I am right there with ya'...

    I'm self taught (and started late), but I have been banging away it for 18 odd years, I'm 38 now.

    I'm almost completely convinced I've learned & mastered every possible "bad habit" there is :eek: ...So, I'm currently starting back over, a ground up restoration if you will.

    But I'm not so much "learning a new trick" as I am "learning how to do the trick right in the first place". :D
  13. bassfuser


    Jul 16, 2008
    I've also been playing bass for around 30 years. Started with guitar which I still play once in awhile. For the last 5 years we've been playing mostly in the basement with an occasional gig. We record all the time and it was a real wake up call to me when I isolated my track. There was so much noise and sloppiness that I got on a mission to clean up my sound. It's amazing that the crap is not really noticable when all the instruments are present. Anyway, mainly bad right hand technique.

    The last couple of years I've been going through Ed Friedland books, playing Bach and working on my sight reading paying particular attention to the rhythm patterns. And of course, still playing with the guys every Friday night.

    Sorry so long, but I'm right here with the rest of you guys.
  14. I am also in this boat. I notice my ring finger on my fret hand is weak and I work around it to my pinky quite a bit in situations where i shouldn't.

    I am going back to basic lessons to try and work the strength and technique back into it.
  15. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    had a fun workout last night playing day of the eagle - trower. simple song, but i just learned it and decided not to cheat and play it in the first position entirely - 1 finger per fret. ouch - :smug:

    that's all of us there are just 10 or so? :p

    I have been running through the exercise sticky in this forum, some great stuff there.

    If only i didn't play so well allready (slap - pop excluded) this wouldn't feel so much like work.........:bag:
  16. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone. Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    I'm doing the same thing. I've been a gigging bass player for about 10 years, but recently decided to clean-up my act. I'm working on playing with a lighter touch to play faster and cleaner finger-style (What Is Hip has to be easier than the way I was playing it :meh:). And, I'm working on the slap-and-pop via an Alexis Sklarevski DVD.

    FWIW, I've been playing guitar for 25 years, and I'm re-learning my guitar playing techniques as well.

    It's never too late to improve...
  17. Wow, I worked out the same 1-6 interval in my head by singing "Mama loves short'nin', short'nin', short'nin'....mama loves short'nin', short'nin' bread". That little melody has 1-6 all over the place.
  18. Brand new Talkbass member here. Man I was going to start my own thread on this very subject but I saw IvanMike's thread. I'll be 58 this summer and I've been playing bass for almost 30 years but only relying on a good ear and a cd player with a treble-cut switch. I had some good instruction, but he was a super-talented supergigger with no theory training so he was not able to teach the academics. So now, I'm semi-retired and I'm taking music theory and basic technique at a local music store and I'm loving the heck out of it, but my GOD, the work! I'm learning my modes along with left-hand and right-hand technique and I'm having to go in slow motion just to do it right and hopefully speed up later. Should have learned all this stuff 40 years ago... ah well, better late than never I guess. Gotta go...the mixolydians are calling me...
  19. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    ouch. just starting theory? I feel lucky now. My teacher (George Raccio, Hamden CT - I think his shop is "all things musical") seems not to have aged at all since i was 17. I haven't taken lessons from him in a long time but popped in and said hi. Way back when he clued me into chord tones, modes and song analysis which has been vital these past 20 some odd years.

    Now I'll go back to funk type stuff. Still scanning this forum to see if there is a "trick" to quickly switch from Flea style slapping into the string to victor type slapping thru the string and back. They do sound different...
  20. Yeah dude. 58 and just starting to learn theory. What an ass I am :mad:. Now I might actually become a decent musician but now I'm at the age where I can't stand being out as late as I used to. No wonder yer s'posed to learn this stuff as a young'un. Ah well, it takes my mind off of health problems.

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