Still feels like i suck

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Phunky, Feb 16, 2006.

  1. Phunky

    Phunky Guest

    Aug 1, 2004
    i have been playing for about 2 years, and i play completely by ear, i've learned the most stuff from james brown, jamiroquai, chic, and just other stuff i love to play, but my improvs are still the same **** and they're quite boring and standard etc.. how should i act to get the most out of playing from cds? what do you do?
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

  3. Start thinking about what makes those bass parts tick - what is it that you like about them?

    Are there patterns or techniques you can learn and ingrain into your own style?

    Try playing along with the songs, but make up your own parts instead of playing the one you know. You'll already know the song structure and chord changes, so just put your own bass part to it.
  4. d8g3jdh

    d8g3jdh Guest

    Aug 9, 2005
    Get into some other genres, start transcribing rock, metal, funk, jazz, whatever. Gives you a sense of what works when and what sounds like what when, something I am just beginning to develop.
  5. All_¥our_Bass


    Dec 26, 2004
    Look online to try and find some music theory information. it's hard to understand some of the stuff at first :confused: but it eventually clicks and then your like " :hyper: OH, now I get it."

    And maybe try finding some good books. I used "Bass Guitar For Dummies"-ignore the name :p , it's great.

    Just remember that when learning, take everything with a grain of salt-nothing is set in stone

    This quote helps
    "You must first learn the rules so you can break them properly"

    Try learning some new techniques, like pianistic two handed tapping-it allows you to play many things that are impossible or very diffecult/painful with the usual fret and pluck strategy.

    Sorry for the long post.
    Rock on :bassist:
  6. Phunky

    Phunky Guest

    Aug 1, 2004
    Yes, i listen to all kinds of music, but often it's just the same improvs i hear in my head, and i don't get it why i'm not progressing when i'm so open to music etc :crying: :help:
  7. BassChuck


    Nov 15, 2005
    Actually, this is the best advice... once you get past the humor.
    In other words, do an improv, but do exactly the opposite of what you have done in the past. Don't worry about details, just go for different, don't sweat the 'bad notes' just do a different thing.

    What is your best solo? How would Queen Elizabeth II play it?
    What if you were in a recording session and the leader said, "Good solo, but I need you to do it again, with half as many notes". What if you designed your solo so that you had to get to the root of every change by coming from a half step above... a half step below.... a tri-tone?

    Just break the mold and do some music.
  8. Joshua gives good advice.
    I had students that had been playing for years. One kid even 14 years saying the same thing you are. A lot of times (and this is just guessing you may be in a similar boat) they'll have the same story where they took lessons a long time ago and forgot what they learned and now learn off cds, learn those licks, learn this groove here. It's great, awesome way to learn from some stuff from the masters.
    But it's one thing to learn it in muscle memory,a nd one thing to learn in mentally. But as others have mentioned a lot of time we miss what or why they did this or possibly why this sounds good? You'll learn the lick but you don't know the progression or anything else, just muscle memory.
    A lot of times there isn't much thought behind it, it's in this mode, it's filling out this chord etc. But it all comes back to some sort of theory. Now i'm not going to say you have to be a theory nazi or whatnot, it's just sometimes you get caught up in licks and aren't thinking about the big picture.
    Sometimes I'll need to step back and think about the different modes and chord structures i'm playing over and think about what idea that i want to express, what type of solo or mood i'm going to play out; not just what notes to hit or when to hit this run. When improvising, lots of people can noodle here and noodle there.
    A lesson I try to go over with them is to exersize a progression and different modes that go over them as a basic building blocks. Might show them how to interpret it differently and how one mode produces different moods from others. Work on learning what each one brings sonically to the front, and substituting different modes for others and even adding non-diatonic tones to shape the overal sound. It's not just what you're playing that's important but it's how it fits with the progression. Back to why do this? Because it's working the brain more than the hands at this point, they'll have slowed down their chops and think more about what they can do for the music. This helped my students work more from instinct and the brain rather than from muscle memory and lick playing that they got stuck in when soloing.
    Maybe this helped, maybe it didn't, good luck with your improv tho.
  9. Phunky

    Phunky Guest

    Aug 1, 2004
    thanks for your great reply unatratnag! i appreciate it.
    unfortunately it's not easy to get a good teacher around where i live :crying:

    maybe you could try to describe a example on what you mean by "exersize a progression and different modes that go over them as a basic building blocks."? i think music is all about the feel, but i need to develop the feel, and even not using the bass i solo some stuff in my head and it feels like it have been done before, maybe i should listen to more/less music? pay attention to more stuff? sometimes i find it much easier to come up with ideas on the bass with a fresh ear after a basspaus for 1-2 days..sorry about my rambling, i hope i make sense. ;)

    "I think once you reach a good level of technical ability, it’s about your life experience that will give you the feel." - Stuart Zender

    thankfully //phunky
  10. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Id listen to some music that you normally dont listen to. Sometimes you gain inspiration and a new feel.
  11. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    New York, NY
    Honestly, my best advice is learn how to play jazz and play it well. It makes you a better player in every way.
  12. Hey phunky, make sure you don't put so much pressure on yourself. Especially after 2 years don't beat yourself up if you "feel" like you suck. We're all our own worst critics at times and i've had nights where I thought I sucked and then listening back to a tape i'll think I had some nice moments or even just wasnt' as bad as I thought.

    In terms of a good teacher, you can learn almost anything from anyone. Even from the students playing less than a month I have learned things here and there. Just keep an open mind. I remember reading an interview with Randy Rhoades who was talking about how he'd be on tour giving guitar lessons to the other bands on the tour he was so good. Then on top of that he'd spend free time seeking out different teachers (even ones in local areas with no names) to pick their brains and learn from them something musically.

    As for the advice, actually if you check the top of the stickies, you'll see lots of posts dealing with this sort of thing. I recommend you skim them and start on the maj modes. Some of the posts have progressions and transcriptions of songs. Start with those and work the standard progresssion for that song. Using the main modes that you would typically use for diatonic style playing. Work your groove, pop a solo, you name it.
    Then revisit the progression and now substitute different modes. You're only playing root, third, fifth (seventh) for most of the chrords typically. The second, forth, sixth can be changed around to make different modes (i assume you'll know the dif maj modes at this point). Learn what the difference in sound is between the ionian and the lydian and how that fouth makes a big difference and how they both create lots of tension in different ways. After that go into the higher extension like 9ths 11ths and substitute them down below to their usual seconds thirds etc etc.
    Now you might not use all of these techniques and thoughts all the times. I certainly don't. But at one point it will click. There's always that turning point in a musician's career that they can look back at. It's up for you to find your sound and the best way to learn that is by hearing what all the notes do and how they interact. All this advice given is good, this is just my way of helping. Sometimes it doesn't work right away, and we go back to learning specific songs or techniques. But at some point, given determination, you'll find your voice. Good luck, and we look forward to hearing what you have to say musically one day!
  13. AspiringBassMan


    Dec 10, 2005
    is there anybody in the world who isn't bigheaded who thinks otherwise? i think not. i think everyone feels like that about themselves at some time or other. i think its quite natural. sometimes its difficult to know how much you, yourself, are progressing. if one of your friends heard you play about a year ago, then didn't hear you play until recently, they would know just how much you've progressed and say: "wow! you've really come a long way".
    alwunatratnag is quite right when he says that we really are our own worst critics.
    don't set your sights too high because it can lead to disappointment.
  14. You suck?

    I suck!

    I've sucked as a bass player for over 25 years.

    I constantly have people at gigs and even band mates coming up and telling me what an awesome bass player I am. How much that bass line blew them away.

    They just don't seem to realise how much I suck.

    I have all these limitations in my playing.

    I'm not as fast as I want to be.
    I'm not as versatile as I want to be.
    I'm constantly listening to players who are much much better than me.
    I make mistakes.

    No matter how much I improve, I raise the bar on my expectations of my own playing to the point where I still suck.

    However, despite how much I suck and always have sucked at bass playing, I love it.
  15. oathbass462

    oathbass462 Guest

    Dec 27, 2005
    bass guitar for dummies. its good. has all the scales, chapters on technique, timing, gear etc. its like $20, just go buy it, sit down and read it. professional lessons cant hurt either.
  16. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Get a teacher. It'll save you a lot of time and frustration. Your abilities can grow exponentially.
  17. Some of my best stuff comes from just beating the SH*T out of my bass...I get frustrated, and just start striking the strings...many times I wind up "tripping" over something that sounds pretty cool.

    ... Then I go back, take it apart, change it, add dynamics to it, and more importantly, remember what the heck I did to get that "thing" that I liked so much....and it becomes part of my style.
  18. jazzbo58

    jazzbo58 Bassist for My Man Godbey Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2001
    New Orleans, LA USA
    I'll just put on the radio or tv and try to play any song or jingle that comes on. It's just to break me out of the same old song pattern. A teacher could shed some light and help.
    What ever you do just keep on playing and don't get discouraged.

  19. txbasschik


    Nov 11, 2005
    Leander, Texas
    I've had two really good blues players tell me the same thing about the blues.

    Cherie :)