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Old Dog. New Tricks

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by IPYF, Nov 11, 2012.

  1. IPYF


    Mar 31, 2011
    I consider myself to be pretty decent heavy metal bass player. I've got a super fast two-finger style, I'm consistent and I believe that I fulfill the requirements of my band perfectly.

    The problem is that playing in gigging metal acts for the last 7 years has made me a really bad general bass player. If I try to play anything outside of the sphere of metal I can sort of do the notes but I generally suck pretty badly in terms of feel and groove. Also my adopted chromatic blues style improvisation doesn't translate well to anything outside of heavy music. I think that the worst part is that I have absolutely no control or expression on even the best set up bass in Standard tuning. I've been playing in C standard nearly exclusively.

    Up to this point I've been alright with my problems because I'm adamant that being a specialist is better than being a generalist, but it now looks like my current band is on the ropes, which will probably spell the end of my heavy metal career.

    I know this might seem like a stupid question but do you think it's possible to retrain myself to be a better all round bass player? And how would I go about doing it?

    I've got no music theory and I'm more or less completely self taught. I see all these Jazz cats playing all these complex patterns and I'm just looking at them knowing that if I went to audition for their act I'd be frowned out of the room in an instant and for someone who's been playing bass for over a decade it's really hard to stomach.

    I know the obvious response would be to do scales and find genre's which I want to play to, and replicate these styles but every time I try this I end up dropping in pentatonic shreds, arpeggio runs, bass booms, slides, the most inappropriate of things just because I'm so used to doing this sh*t and because I'm so far out of my comfort zone. I just can't seem to 'unlearn' any of my habits to suit other styles.

    I'd love to hear if anyone else has had to do a similar thing and how they went about it.

    Sorry if this post is in the wrong spot.
  2. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
    Listen to songs that you don't normally listen to and learn them. Try various styles such as jazz, blues, funk,classic rock, southern rock, country, etc. Be open minded and don't rule anything out. Sometimes, I just put my Ipod on shuffle and play whatever comes up. You'll be surprised how much you will learn.
  3. Right, listen. After that, randomly cruise the airwaves and play along with whatever comes up, commercials and all.
  4. Anonymatt


    Jan 3, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    You know, probably a lot of the raw musical knowledge you have applies to a lot of different kinds of music. Kinda like how auctioneers all speak English but they can't talk that way when they go out on a date. If you truly have a desire to play music you're unfamiliar with, then you'll listen to that kind of stuff all day long and develop an expectation of yourself to meet dynamic/emotional/social needs of that music. But yeah, like everybody says, the genesis of the change is truly getting into music that makes different demands of you as a player. It can't be a superficial thing, because no one has the discipline to go through with a change that isn't their true passion.
  5. Sni77


    Aug 23, 2012
    Vienna, Austria
    Maybe you could try to play some blues first. Sounds like it's not too far from your comfort zone? And then try to extend from there?
  6. If you feel you're falling back on your old bag of tricks, time to learn some new ones! Make a conscious effort not to play stuff that you would in a metal context while trying out other genres. And as everyone hear has advised, try and learn more styles by listening to more music.
    This is a completely new learning process, so you have to give it some time. Don't get disheartened. And keep practicing!

    - Jimmy Rage
  7. willbassyeah


    Oct 9, 2011
    you know the term "play what you sing and sing what you play". If you were able to sing a funk bassline you will be able to play it. In my case, i just cant sing a funk bassline for god knows what reason, and i listened to alot of james brown, bootsy, jamiroquai, etc, etc, but my mind just wont sing that bassline haha.
  8. James Judson

    James Judson

    Jul 16, 2009
    Your almost there man! You've climbed one mountain and you see more. Feels pretty good on top of your mountain but there's a lot more you can see from there. Lots more. Overwhelmingly more. You could just quit now and just sit there enjoying the view. Or you can try another mountain. Next one will probably be easier. Heck, you already have most the tools its just a matter of figuring out which tools you need for the next mountain. Oh------- maybe your missing some tools or you don't know how to use the ones you got. Easy answer is hire a guide. He'll show you everything you need to know. And you'll get to the top much faster. Or you can take the hard way and teach yourself as you go.

    Now a word to the wise. All mountains are hard, all mountains are dangerous, all mountains will WIN, if you let them and your wife sees no practical use for climbing mountains. And you don't have to go at my pace (seems the mountains I pick are d^^m near impossible).

    All you really need is patience (and lots of it). And please come back and tell us which mountain your on. Maybe we'll see you at the top some day or better yet help each other get to the top.


    If I posted this in the wrong forum will the mods please move. Thanks!
  9. James Judson

    James Judson

    Jul 16, 2009
    Oh I almost forgot. Do what them other guys said to!!!!
  10. Step out of your comfort zone! Yeah it's gonna hurt...for a while, but that's the only way to branch out to other genre.