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on the verge of giving up.

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Asa Samuel, Aug 26, 2007.

  1. i've been playing about 2 years now and can play most things someone asks me to learn but i cant come up with anything decent, or if i do it takes me absolutely ages.

    i really love music and i love playing bass but how to hell do i get around this obstacle?

  2. Hemispheres85


    Jun 15, 2006
    I'm in almost your exact situation. I've been playing for almost 2 years w/ lessons, and I have a hard time writing any music.

    One of the things that I'm trying is learning the melodies to songs as well as basslines. This just kind of gives a new perspective on the different parts of music.

    Taking apart music of your influences and understanding things like the chord progressions they use, the transitions between phrases and things like that help. Even though I'm still struggling to write, I find that if I come up with a lyric or even just a phrase I can find a rhythm from that and go from there. I've been told the key is to take baby steps when writing.
  3. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    It takes about 10 years to become a good musician so you are still but a grasshopper. Study more theory to get ideas. Listen to more styles and players for ideas. Transcribe and analyze more music. Come up with ideas away from the bass, sing or play another instrument and come up with ideas and transpose them to bass. Read books on creativity like Free Play, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, or Victor Wooten's The Music Lesson.

    Bottom line to get more ideas you need to listen and transcribe more. Use someone else's line as the seed to grow your own. It is said good player borrow from others, great player steal!
  4. Hawaii Islander

    Hawaii Islander Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2007
    Rio Rico, AZ

    The more music you listen to, the more ideas you get. All you need is one small bass riff or part of a melody from new song to ignite new ideas of your own.

    Don't give up!

    This is my 4th year of playing (since I started playing again after a 25 year break). I'm just really starting to significantly expand my capabilities. BTW: I absolutely regret that I stopped playing bass all those years ago. :scowl:
    But, I'm glad I started back up again! :bassist: :hyper:

    Lastly, find a way to get that enthusiasm back. Starting this thread is a good start! ;)
  5. Time to let the world know of my single greatest inspiration, of which I've found I can steal many many ideas off of. :ninja:

    Play off the trees. I kid you not.

    How to go about doing this:

    1) Find a place with a decent amount of trees.
    2) Look at the trees.
    3) Pretend that the top of the trees are like notes on a staff.
    4) Proceed to sing using the tops of the trees as if they were nothing more then sheet music.

    It's actually based off of how Native Americans would learn songs to play/sing. Very effective. Now for the criticism to blow in. :bag:
  6. lowerclef


    Nov 10, 2003
    FIND A GOOD TEACHER. Emphasis on "good." Someone who can teach you real theory and not just a bunch of licks. Someone who can listen to and analyze your playing on the fly to help you with your weak areas.

    Yes, listening to lots of music, studying theory and books, etc. are all valuable, but under the right guidance, you can use those tools to improve more rapidly.
  7. Personally, I find it difficult to write solely on bass because I often find myself trying to write guitar parts instead of bass I guess so whatever i write sounds more interestign and can stand on its own. I find it easier to write a chord progression on guitar first and then write a bass line to that (I am horrible at guitar but it helps none the less)
  8. Torch7


    May 7, 2005
    Austin, Texas
    I've been playing for a little longer than you, and have hit plateau's.

    DocBop hit the nail on the head with his advise.. Transcribe and know that you are going to progress in time... I know guys who have been playing for 15+ years and still admit they have much to learn. When I listen to them, I am in awe of their music ability and they are still striving to get better.
  9. tswd


    Jun 20, 2007
    Learn another instrument. Since the bass line tends to fit between the other instruments, try coming up with something else first. For example, get a drum machine or something to get a drum line going. Then try to add a bass line around it.

    You may not need to worry about chord changes at first. A lot of funk music doesn't change chords. It has one chord for the chorus and one chord for the rest of the song. Start out writing riffs that you can loop on and worry about chord changes later.

    Don't worry about how long it takes you to write stuff. Very few people can just sit down and come up with something worth while. It's usually an iterative process that takes a while.
  10. Audiophage


    Jan 9, 2005
    Learn to play guitar.
  11. Bottom line to get more ideas you need to listen and transcribe more. Use someone else's line as the seed to grow your own. It is said good player borrow from others, great player steal!

    Agreed! Listen to everything you can! Even genres you don't like. There is something to be gained from all types of music.

    Realistically, anything on the airwaves now or on recordings now is some form of what someone else did 10, 20, 30, 100 years ago!

    Start by really listening to your favorite music and hearing where they are going harmonically and melodically. Really study it. Then as quoted above, borrow or steal bits of what you like and add your own style to it.

    Also, simplify. If you're in a rut, try starting at the basics. Start with simple, tried and true, cliche progressions, just to get yourself a point to branch out from.

    PS - Don't quit! Just keep banging at it! At some point, you'll break through and the ideas will flow!
  12. bigfatbass

    bigfatbass Banned

    Jun 30, 2003
    Upstate NY
    Endorsing Artist: Karl Hoyt Basses
    Learning piano never hurts, and is the most accessible way to learn theory. Learning about chord structures and resolutions will really help you break out of the ruts.

    I would disagree with the above that it takes "about 10 years" to become a "good musician". It takes a lifetime for some, and minutes for others. There is no bar set for this. I've known people with zero facility/latent talent, but built strong reading skills and good playing stamina (essential for upright players) and as a result have made long and very successful careers. I've also known players that fell into their instrument like they should have been delivered with one in the womb.

    Don't judge yourself by how long you've been playing, you have your whole life to play and learn about your instrument. Keep reaching for it and you CAN get there, even if you're not going to be a virtuouso.
  13. rockwarnick


    Jul 29, 2006
    Rockville, MD
    that very well may be...the most......interesting and inspiring thing related to music that i have ever heard. i have to try that as soon as possible.
  14. steddy2112


    Aug 19, 2007
    Newark, DE
    Do NOT give up.

    We all level off and gain again, it is a cycle.

    I am going through a HUGE stale time right now, I can write, I can play anything anyone throws at me...sometimes I don't feel like picking it up. Go back and listen to some of the songs that made you wanna play in the first place and jam out. Theory and lessons can't break you out of a slump...YOU do.

    You've got to want it.

    Or go to a Rush concert...whoever doesn't wanna play bass after watching Ged work needs to be checked for a pulse lol
  15. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    I've been on the verge of giving up for a little better than 25 years now. Don't let it get you down.
  16. D.A.R.K.

    D.A.R.K. Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2003
    that's rad, i'm gonna do it!
  17. Dont give up. It takes time. I have been playing for about 25 years. I did have a 4-5 year break. I sold it all and never touched a string instrument. I got a bass again and thought. wow, this is gonna be hard -I was so ham fisted. With in 1 month I was back up and running and in 6 months I was better than ever and just keep getting better.
    I can be creative at the drop of a hat now.
  18. Norm Stockton has a great set of DVD's called "Groovin for Heaven" and if you want to really know theory get Vol 2. He is a Christian but he is adamant that the DVD's are for all folks and he does not try to proselytize you. Great guy, someone I am privileged to call a friend and a brother. Check out his website for details.

    Now as far as the tree thing well, if it works great but without a solid foundation in music theory you are going to really struggle to make music IMO. Musicianship is work; get the basics under your belt, be patient, develop good practice habits and I guarantee you will make gains.
    Above all, enjoy playing, whatever level you may be at. There is always somebody better.........
  19. DO NOT GIVE UP. I know it's been said before but don't do it. I know exactly how you feel because I've been there dozens of times in my 7 years of playing. When I start to feel that way I tend to take a break for a little while. I'll leave the bass alone for as long as I can stand it and listen to as many different styles and musicians as possible during that time. When I finally pick it up again I come back with a fresh outlook and excitement to continue to learn. This works for me....For the past year and a half I've been playing occasionally with one of the best musicians I've ever heard and have been discouraged a lot of the time. Instead of giving up I just worked on the areas where I knew I was weak and as a result the past three or four times I've played with her she's been blown away! You'll get through this just don't give up.....All good things take time and practice. If all else fails practice....Jaco used to practice 12 hours a day. Keep working!
  20. It can be debated regarding having music theory under your belt as a "necessary" tool to create music. I however, totally agree with whamonkey; music theory is like learning to spell a new language rather then just speaking it without knowing how you formed it. Music should be fun, not "work".

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