Problems playing smoothly?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by cire113, Dec 3, 2012.

  1. cire113


    Apr 25, 2008
    Ive been playing bass 5 years now; and I've had a lot of personally problems cause of past injuries..

    But i still cant seem to play very smoothly at all;

    Does anyone know what i mean?

    I think i need to go back to basics and really play SLOW smooth

    Here is a short video of me soloing

  2. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    Well you aren't playing a cheap bass :) I think you did fine one thing you can't do is go watch a Marcus Miller video and wonder why after five years you can't play like that relax you play better than you think.
  3. cire113


    Apr 25, 2008
    Yeah i think that is my problem; I compare myself to marcus miller, victor wooten and everyone else;

    Its a terrible recipe for disaster...

    Oh well; I Just play for fun too;

    i need chill out and maybe find people to play with and play some REAL bass.

    Ive been really trying to pay more attention to note duration and things like that;

    I compare it to like talking regularly versus stuttering.

    There is a certain flow and rhythm that is steady?
  4. DougD

    DougD Bassman7654

    Sep 19, 2002
    North Las Vegas NV
    It took Vic and Marcus a life time to get where they are today. You need to find people to play with, you can only go so far by yourself. Interaction with other musicians is a necessary part of growing and learning as a musician. Notice that you never see a Victor Wooten or Marcus Miller jamming in their bedrooms by themselves. I'm sure they do it, but thats only to practice their parts before they get with their BANDS :bassist:
  5. Clef_de_fa


    Dec 25, 2011
    Well since you want to play smoother ... I would work on going from very quiet to very loud with 8th note in a 4/4 at maybe 80bpm ...

    all with your finger the volume of your bass at max ... you need to control the attack.

    then I would take a very simple groove and loop it, start loud to quiet and back to loud ... then try to play a part of the groove quiet then a sudden very loud and back to quiet


    remove the staccato note attack, let the note ring a little

    also it can be good to look at Marcus Miller or Victor Wooten or whomever is your bass star ... it can be good if you think one day you will play this song ... if you look at them like a goal and work that way be inspire by them because you can be them but you can learn a lot of them
  6. Clef_de_fa


    Dec 25, 2011
    well I'm sure they woodshed ... otherwise you can't master a new technic or reall push the boundaries of what you can do otherwise. Most people stay in their confort zone while playing with other.
  7. FretlessMainly


    Nov 17, 2010
    There's certainly some skill there, so don't despair. One thing I would add is that if you really want to critique your playing, lose the effects so you can hear the natural tone of your bass and your style. Too many effects tend to blur the message, as it were. You need to hear what you actually sound like. We can't ascertain that from the youtube viddy; it's too wet.
  8. cire113


    Apr 25, 2008
    I totally agree.

    Well Here is a video of me playing a blues no effect clean; cant believe its almost a year old!

    No effects;

    Critique is always welcome :ninja:

    Ive figured out what i need to do; I've trained myself to play sloppy fast; so i need to relearn/retrain playing smooth slow;

    "Never play faster then you can play perfect"
  9. Bassguy87564


    Jul 5, 2006
    hey dude it sounds great but I don't think its a problem of playing smoothly. I think what you are missing that you hear in Victor's and Marcus' playing is direction. You have chops, you have a sound that doesn't sounds awful, you have some cool licks but I am not hearing your story. I know it sounds a little odd but when ever you hear Marcus or Victor play they are not hitting notes just for the heck of it but instead picking one that get across exactly what they are feeling at that moment.
    I think thats the smoothness you are hearing in both of them because your technique looks fine and not choppy at all. Now what I'm talking about is kinda obscure but it is real and is something you will be working on for your entire musical life. I am still working on it and I still suck after 11 years so your not alone in this haha.
    I would say learn some of the old Miles Davis solos. Really look at what notes he is playing, look for where the climax is, and listen to how he starts and then sends it off to another person or the head. Then next try and build your whole solo into a shape. One example would be a rainbow shape where you start off quietly then build it up to a climax then bring it back down at the end. These are just concepts to think about when your playing. Goodluck man :D
    you are right I saw an interview of Victor like 6 years back where he talked about how he would bring his bass into school and during lunch time he would sit and practice his bass instead or something like that.
  10. DougD

    DougD Bassman7654

    Sep 19, 2002
    North Las Vegas NV
    Yes, they woodshed as i said in my previous post. Maybe i didn't explain it correctly. Their goal was to play with other people. Of course you need to practice to accomplish that. Almost all musicians of the caliber of Wooten and Miller will tell you to find people to play with. An even better idea is to find people that are better than you to jam with. The Op has serious talent, and plays better than most already. Imho it'd be a shame to never get on stage and let his light shine:bassist:
  11. Clef_de_fa


    Dec 25, 2011
    oh ! I didn't get that ,my appologies.
  12. DougD

    DougD Bassman7654

    Sep 19, 2002
    North Las Vegas NV
    No problem :) i cant understand myself most times ;)
  13. Some very nice ideas there. What are you using for effects? I really like the sounds you're getting.
  14. cire113


    Apr 25, 2008
    Thanks man; I really am horrible with effects;

    Am just getting started..

    I believe in that video im using envelope filter+octave up/down+delay

    MXR Envelope Filter, Electro-Harmonix Micro Pog, Tc Electronic delay....

    If I could reccomend one pedal that everyone must own definetly the micro pog... "Its good for practicing because wrong notes sound better!"-Victor Wooten

    It really lets you get out of your comfort zone and try new things; I use it for really stretching what I "hear" in my head..

    The problem is to my ears the only thing that sounds good is pentatonic in key but there is just soo much more outside of that you can play
  15. I like using the pentatonics too, one of my favorite devices it sounds so open. I really like the way you incorporate the flat5 in your phrases. Sounds good, it's just a matter of time, like you said, practice, practice, practice.

    Something that helped me play more fluidly is to work my exercises very slow, let's say 40 bpm and focus on relaxation. Once I'm done with that I start cranking up the metronome/drum machine.

    I'll check out the Micropog.