Playing/practicing withouth screens ( computer, smartphone)

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by boringbassist, Oct 2, 2022.

  1. dougfr67


    Feb 19, 2021
    Rochester, NY
    Probably the way people practiced before the age of computers and internet... :whistle:
    james condino, boombloom and SteveCS like this.
  2. Celen


    Aug 25, 2018
    Gothenburg, Sweden
    If you’re talking about practicing technique, scales, time etc., how about a metronome?
    I use a metronome app these days, but wouldn’t mind going back to a good old quartz metronome.

    For working on actual music, it would be pretty hard (for me at least…) to go back to CDs and tape recorders, after getting used to the flexibility of a DAW and music streaming.

    Good question, though. It is harder to stay focused on the “here and now”, with a screen in front of you…
    boringbassist and Carl Hillman like this.
  3. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    Just pick up your bass,and play
    boringbassist likes this.
  4. King Harvest

    King Harvest

    May 13, 2022
    You’ll have to pry my screens from my cold, dead hands. :laugh:
    mikewalker likes this.
  5. mikewalker

    mikewalker Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2017
    Canada, Eh!
  6. Get a mixing desk. If you have not much money, a cheap analog one will do.
    If you can invest a little more, look at the desks from Zoom or Tascam. The Zoom R20 for under 400,- offers even an integrated drum computer and synths. The Tascam Model12 for under 600,- offers more controls, higher quality, but no drum machine. It has a metronome and can record even basic loops. Both allow you to permanently plug in drum machines, your bass, record players etc. and to record multitrack or stereo-master to a sd-card and have integrated effects like compressors, eqs, reverb and delay. So you can even record without the need for a computer. If you have a smartphone instead of a record player, you can even play along to Spotify etc. via bluetooth (don't know, if the Zoom offers this, but the Tascam does).
  7. Several posts here give advice on things that try to put the things we want from computers, into a small device with little or no screen. That can make for poky interfacing, to say the least, and it may not solve much as a result. All those posts are great advice, but isn't this missing something?

    The way I decided to go, decades ago now, was to accept the computer for what it is, and know when to turn away from it. Obviously I never perfected the art. :)

    What I did do was go for an ex-demo multichannel audio and MIDI device, one of the best, it was ten years before there was much consensus on a better one. The original Echo Layla rack unit. It ended all the IRQ conflict nonsense, it let me turn my machine into any kind of audio system I wanted, software permitting, and I write my own software now, and still use the same device. (It, and the low power Mini-ITX mainboards I like, got so cheap for a while I got several backups!)

    That's a DEEP involvement with computing, to say the least, but when I want to play the bass I don't even use it as a metronome. I just switch off the power to the VDU and walk away from it, and set up the bass and play it. It's easy for me because I'm not trying to get all those little things it can do as surrogates in other hardware, let alone hardware I can't use for anything else.

    Dedicated hardware for stuff can be great, but I find it so only if it's stuff the computer has no chance of doing.

    Getting away from screens only really works if we get away from the reasons people needed to invent them.
    mikewalker likes this.
  8. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    loop pedal.
  9. I used to just turn on the radio on a station I listened to at least part of the time, and just played with whatever came on. The random nature of it is like skeet shooting: You yell 'Pull!' and you got to hit it. Whether on a screen or anything else, it's too easy to fall into practicing the same old same old.
  10. swarfrat


    Sep 23, 2014
    If only the radio were that random.
  11. wilberthenry


    May 12, 2009
    For those prone to distraction like me, having screens nearby when I practice is a bad idea. I do use a phone when I am learning a cover, but I try to avoid having anything like that in the room unless it is needed.
  12. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia bassist, arranger, aelurophile Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    We didn't have screens when I was growing up, apart from the Sony in the family room.

    I practiced with a metronome, records and other rowdy teens. It's much easier to learn songs today, but we came up with interesting covers when we couldn't figure it out exactly from the record.
  13. juggahnaught


    Feb 11, 2018
    Seattle, WA
    You have a looper pedal? Put that thing to work. There's a lot that you can do for practice purposes or juat for playing. On my profile page, i've got stuff linked from my Sou dcloud that's all created with my aix-string bass, a Helix, and a looper. You can go from simple to complex.

    Try looping juat two chords, and improvise a bassline around that.
    james condino likes this.
  14. DivisionLocal


    Mar 8, 2022
    I print out tabs and put them on a music stand to use while playing along with the recording.
  15. This ^
    Record player worked for me. It was the sixties.
    Joined the garage band then learned (or tried) to play bass.
    Smartphones and computers ARE today's record players.
    What is you particular dislike in using these?.
    DivisionLocal likes this.
  16. Scott Bland

    Scott Bland

    Jun 19, 2020
    I used to play along sith Jamie Abersold stuff (sp) it came with a book with notation and you could practice what you learned from the book. i enjoyed it.
    Now i enjoy just playing from the real book or working on the tunes for the next gig.
    kreider204 likes this.
  17. swarfrat


    Sep 23, 2014
    I suppose this counts but .. now that I have an X-touch - sometimes I practice songs with the monitors screen locked. Mostly because my kid is absolutely obsessed with the thing and his mom is uber strict about "screen time". (So we still play with computers with the screen off. Hahaha).
  18. Theobald


    Oct 16, 2019
    Munich - Germany
    I practice with a Berhinger RD8 plugged into the AUX input of my amp. That way I can create the rythm I want. If I struggle with a bass line, I add it on top of the drums using hi-hats or hand clap and practice along. Once I have it in hands I mute the track.
    And I also have an old CD player which can loop from A to B in a track, repeat the whole album or just one song...

    Of course, you could do the same with just a smartphone, but I like my old gear.
  19. Nobis17


    Dec 18, 2018
    New England
    I know when I was a kid, first learning bass, I would play along with my CD player. I would spend hours trying to match my playing to the bass parts in the recording - this was before the internet or the read availability of TABs. Now if I play along with a song, it's on Spotify, I guess I don't really see a big difference. I do still prefer to figure the bass lines out by ear. I only will look up the music or tab if I can't figure out a line.

    But completely free of screens, like was already said, playing with people is the best way :)
  20. Well, you might buy a keyboard with sequencer, and jam to your own playing tracks! That will teach you to find the theory fun!