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Overwhelmed and frustrated

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by vegaas, Aug 7, 2002.

  1. vegaas


    Nov 6, 2001
    Hey guys,
    I have been playing bass for about three years now. I have never taken a lesson, and everything I do is by ear.
    I play in a band, and we are pretty good. We are going into the studio next month to make a demo.
    Although I can learn and really jam on the songs my band does (both covers and some originals) I know that I can not improve to the point I want to be at, unless I start to learn theory.
    My problem is where to start. I have tried a couple of times, but just get very frustrated. I think I start to understand some of the basics when all of a sudden nodes, triads, circle of fifths and so on are mentioned. So I then think, I better start learning those as well, oh and I should learn to read music, and memorize a good number of scales, and learn chords, and so on.
    I can not tell you how overwhelming and frustrating it is. It gets to the point that I dont know where to start.
    Unfortunalty I am on tight budget as well as not alot of free time, so no, I can not go to a teacher.
    I have bought all kinds of books, and just started to go over to Libster.com.
    I guess this was mainly a rant, but could someone give me an idea of where to start, and then maybe where I should go from there?
    Thanks in advance for any help.
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I got that way about my own playing a few years back. Money was not an issue, but I didn't have TIME to take lessons from a teacher (or so I thought). Besides, I AM a teacher...shouldn't I just teach myself? And still, I stayed in my rut.

    What got me out was deciding to take the plunge and get some lessons. Timewise, I could only afford an hour twice a month, but I went with that, and the benefits started right away. Since my teacher is an orchestral player and doesn't know jack about jazz theory, we focused only on technique, and the results were both immediate and continuing. Even if you can only go once a month, you might get enough new info during that one session to get your momentum moving forward again.

    Good luck.
  3. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
  4. vegaas


    Nov 6, 2001
    Thanks for the replies. It is greatly appreciated.
    I have known for a while lessons would help, but as I said money and time are factors. Another factor is ego or pride, whatever you want to call it. I will have to get over that, I picture myself walking in and the teacher starting out with real basic stuff like a major scale. I think a problem I have is that I dont want to feel like a beginner again.
    My plan was to learn on my own, I feel like I should be able to figure it out with books and the web. That is probably were the frustation comes in, because it gets confusing and is going very slowly.
    Cassanova, thanks for the ideas of where to start, and what should come next. That will really help.
    Time to start thinking about lessons I guess.
  5. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    not a problem. if you have any questions, just ask. Chris, Pacman, Ed, Gard, Jazzbo, and quite a few others are very smart/schooled in this area. They've been a big help to me and Im sure they'll be more than willing to help you too.

    Btw, you really do need to put that foolish pride asside and humble yourself when it comes to the lessons. Ive been playing for 16 years and although knew how to play didnt know why alot of it all worked the way it does. So I humbled myself and just started asking questions. If I can do it, I know you can too.
  6. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Vegaas, you say you don't know where to start, but you also say you have several books on theory. Most theory books are arranged in a logical order. I have several on hand myself.

    I feel the best place to start is take one of those books, start at the beginning and work your way through in the order the material is presented in that book. Don't skip ahead or jump chapters. Chances are good the writer had a system in mind when he wrote the book so that each chapter builds on the one before it.

    Also, make sure you don't start a new chapter until you are pretty sure of what you have already learned. The idea is to build a solid foundation.

    But I agree very much with what was said above, that just knowing theory will only be part of the way you will advance as a player. You must also know how to apply that theory. Maybe you can't get a teacher now, but hopefully sometime in the future you will have a chance and you will see how helpful that will be.
  7. Vegaas - I know exactly what you are talking about with the 'pride' problem. I am 29, played drums for many years, and felt pretty confident as a player(of rock that is ...) So I started playing bass about 9months ago. Now I find myself(like last night) at lessons, feeling like a 4th grader, fumbling through these simple grooves. I am learning, or attempting to learn to read, some theory, etc ... and it is quite humbling!

    I, along with most here, would say even a lesson a month would be very helpful. If for nothing else except to have someone that can answer some of the questions you will no doubt have.

  8. dude im in the same exact boat your in, only your a little bit more in it than me. i didnt get the chance in high school last year to take a theory class cuz i didnt start to play until midway through my senior year. id give just about anything to be able to go back to HS for one year now just to take some music and computer classes. Now i get to sign up for college and have to go there to learn theory, unless i decide to take lessons.
  9. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    i'm in the same boat as you. i started later than all of my friends and the guys who were real "badasses" at my school. well, all those guys don't even play anymore. :p ;)

    you'll get there when you get there. just keep at it.
  10. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Wisdom from a bear of very little brain:

    "Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there someday."
    ~Winnie the Pooh
  11. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    funny how that is, most of the badasses at my school no longer play either, and the couple that still do are'nt exactly what id call badass anymore
  12. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    The thing I just realised is that you DO actaully have to know every note in every scale/chord etc... not just the patterns.
    How much information?!!!! Brain overload!!!!! :eek:
  13. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    Dude, I just started playing bass and taking lessons, and I'm going to be 34 next month. Heck my teacher is only like 22.

    My advice is to just get over it. Remember you are going to see someone that wants to help you play better. My lessons are like going over to a bud's house once a week and swapping ideas on how to play. Of course I never get to give him homework . . . :D

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