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Overthinking your playing/technique?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Precision101, Jan 23, 2014.

  1. Precision101


    Sep 22, 2013
    Not sure if I'm the only one who does this or have done this but I'm in this weird stage where my technique is most important to me and I think about it too often and can't play as good as I could I try not to think about certain things that bother me on bass but they creep up on me like finger pressure on the string (if I'm digging in too hard) or triplets,and feel like my action is creeping up on me when it's not. If I think about it too much my finger style gets sloppy and I tend to get tense about what I'm doing wrong. I do have slight OCD but I'm not sure if that's the case here. Both my basses are fine btw. Should I take a break? I am a drummer as well and used to kind of have this problem with drums too. Any suggestions? Is this a normal stage of playing? I'm semi new to bass. Been playing for a year but know a lot of knowledge about the instrument and know how to play fairly well.
  2. LazyGecko


    Nov 19, 2013
    I suggest recording yourself when you play. What you hear later on helps to know that you're doing just fine. Just try your best to relax and play and have fun.
  3. Precision101


    Sep 22, 2013

    Thanks man. I do record a lot of stuff and look back and it sounds pretty good. I guess I have to look at it a different way and have fun with it more than i should
  4. pfox14


    Dec 22, 2013
    KISS - Keep it simple stupid - I live by this rule.
  5. MarTONEbass


    Jun 19, 2009
    Norton, MA
    If you are giving yourself too much feedback while playing, I highly suggest reading The Inner Game of Music.
  6. kikstand454


    Sep 28, 2012
    All of the above and this:
    If you're ONSTAGE thinking about these things..... stop it. Its not the time or place. That stuff is for practice/ rehearsal. HAVE FUN! Your attitude, stage pressence and overall performance is far more important to the audience ( and to some extent the music being performed) than your technique is.
  7. theretheyare

    theretheyare Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2010
    Brooklyn, NY
    the issues you mention I know very well, and I found out that they were based in my mental process steering my playing, rather than my joints being to stiff or something else purely physical.

    In addition to the before mentioned self-recording suggestion, I'd suggest to listen while practicing - it helped me tremendously to loosen up in a natural way.

    With this I mean that an efficient practice session strarts for me with listening first. For example: take one note and play it (meaning - let it ring out completely ), and listen in a focused way (meaning: relaxed!) to the note running its full course from 'birth' (attack) to dying out. then hear the silence afterwards. Then repeat. (And marvel at how different that so-called 'same note' actually can be)

    You could easily spend half an hour doing this, and you wont have noticed that half hour passed.

    Then move on to regular execises and listen to what you practice with the same intention.

    This not a beginner's exercise - I know of a 1st trumpet in a major symphony orchestra who on a given Sunday goes into his practice room for several hours playing just one note, in order to, as he put it, "get back in touch with the instrument".

    As a book, I'd recommend Zen Guitar by Philip Toshido (it like $4 second hand through Amazon). Like any book, it is not to be taken as the end-all solution or last word on any issue, but reading a few pages from time to time did nudge me towards putting things in perspective, and loosen up (in more ways than one) as a result, which reflected itself in my playing.

    Hope this helps.
  8. frisbieinstein


    Dec 29, 2007
    I found this tricky as well. All I can say is that eventually the fingers just do it themselves. I dunno how to get there sooner.
  9. Part of becoming proficient is learning to turn off your mind and let go. Let it be more like a meditation where you listen to everything going on around you but lose focus on exactly what you are doing. Don't even think about your fingers or whether or not you just missed a note. Just let your mind take in all the music in the room including your part, but let it be separate from what you're actually doing. In other words, try to listen to the result as opposed to the minutiae of your part. This is harder to learn and do than anything else related to playing, but the rewards are infinite...
  10. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Remember, it is all about the music, so when in doubt, turn off the brain and open the ears. If your band sounds great and the audience is entertained, all those distracting thoughts become insignificant.
  11. jamminology101


    Aug 22, 2012
    Indianapolis In
    Endorsing Artist: Glockenklang
    I think the best (in a proficient on the instrument sorta way) players have this incredible link with their mind, creativity, and consciousness, fused into their muscle memory. Have you ever sat down and your chops were just amazing and it was almost as if someone or something took over your body and you were just passively watching a set of hands rip out incredible passage after passage?? Then some days it seems like you can't play anything in time very good no matter how long you sit there??,Same person, no more knowledge. ..ryt? I think the amazing players can get in that zone every time they play and they possess great mental acuity. I dont think you need to take any time off...your just going through that process of having to dial it up. It seems some can get their alot quicker than others. I wish I knew of a shortcut.
  12. Precision101


    Sep 22, 2013

    Dude your so right. This is exactly how I feel.
  13. Precision101


    Sep 22, 2013
    Thank you all for the tips and replies I will definitely check out some of the books and practices you guys have told me. I need to relax more I definitely know that haha.
  14. thinking is not productive, you actually play a note when your brain send the signal to your hand, not when you think about it. Just practice more...