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struggling

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by TopOfCool, Jun 18, 2002.


  1. I am changing my name from TopOfCool to SuckAtBass. Last night was one of the worst practice sessions ever. I couldn't hear a ****ing thing. My fingers were sloppily fumbling about. I felt like I should have been accompanying a traffic jam in Instanbul. How can I get out of this rut? What has worked for others?
     
  2. I take that back. The Turkish gov't would have had me expelled for the way I was playing.
     
  3. seamus

    seamus

    Feb 8, 2001
    Jersey
    Just curious, how long have you been playing?

    Is the fumbling you mentioned due to fatigue or nervousness? or were you just having trouble remembering your parts?

    Can you elaborate on the problems you had? Also, why couldn't you hear anything? Were the drums and/or guitar too loud? Is the rehearsal room set up so everyone can hear each other?
     
  4. I have only been playing for seven months, but honestly I do not expect "fast food" results. I am committed to learning things step by step, including reading standard notation, learning theory, ear training, and eventually composition. I am nearly weaned from tabs.

    I am also looking for a San Diego based teacher, and hope to learn fretless and upright along the way.

    On to the other points:
    I was pretty fatigued, I guess, and the guitarist was probably too loud (to block out my crap). I forgot a couple of parts and couldn't even keep up with a slowed down version of Paranoid Android, which has an interesting bass mini-solo. I already know that the rehersal room has to be reconfigured--I was cramped up in a sitting position. We had no drums last night, which probably caused me to lose time.

    Thinking back on it, I should have warmed up more, and "tried" less. It seemed like the more frustrated I got, the harder I tried, and the more frustrated I got.

    I will give it another go tonight and just work on things I feel comfortable with. Thanks for the inquiry.
     
  5. seamus

    seamus

    Feb 8, 2001
    Jersey
    Cool man - warning - long post ahead!

    Everyone is different, but until the muscles get more accustomed to the motions required for solid pull on the strings and fretting, you will likely experience some fatigue. Bass can take a good deal of strength and stamina in the hands. It takes more time than you would think to build it up too.

    Sometimes the fingers can get to a point where they just don't want to do their job anymore, and they can falter when that happens. Don't get discouraged, it's really just a matter of conditioning. This can be achieved through a simple method one would use to condition any other part of the body, repetition.

    I think in time, you'll find you can play faster, harder, and longer on demand. It will come naturally as you spend more time with the instrument. Just be sure to give those hands a rest though when they tell ya. They need time to recover too. Taking at least a whole day off after driving them to fatigue is a good idea. You'll feel it in your forearms the next day too.

    The nervousness with the material compounds the issue of fatigue, very frustrating. I remember these feelings back when I first picked up the bass. Though I possessed respectable dexterity, my fatigue level would just kill my hands after a while. Ever shoot a bow and arrow? Ever hold the bow drawn until you felt you couldn't hold it anymore? Start wavering until you can't even hit the broad side of a barn. Bass is the same way, you can only do so much at one time before the fatigue takes over. You will overcome this obstacle in time.

    Which leads to preparation. You definitely want to spend lots of time with a song when learning it, ad nauseum really. I agree, Paranoid Android has some tasty little fill notes during the main groove. If you want to nail that stuff, you'll want to sit down with the CD and remote, and be prepared to just rewind each passage over and over until you get all the notes right on time. If learning the little fills are frustrating, then go back to practicing what you know for a while. Maybe the main line, etc.

    When you walk in prepared, you should feel totally at ease. Not a nervous bone in your body. When you feel you can play your lines in your sleep, you won't only be supporting the band on bass, but you'll find yourself being the anchor that keeps em all steady. Just relax, don't get down on yourself, and embrace your role on bass. :)

    I like the fact you mentioned ear training, it's always been my best resource for learning. It's great for all those little notes that have little to do with the main line, but can make the difference between a decent rendition, and one that makes people nod with approval. Andoid has some of that going on, and you'll feel great playing everything that's in there after spending plenty of time with the song. It's really gratifying to play all that stuff.

    A drummer definitely will help at practice. If you guys were missing a major part of the band, don't blame it on yourself at all. You shouldn't be cramped if possible, that will make you uncomfortable. Like you said, work on things you feel more comofortable with, the tougher stuff will always be there setting the next goal for you.

    Plus, you really want to learn to rehearse and play standing up too. One reason being that playing sitting down and standing can be very different for some people. The fatigue factor can really be affected by standing up and playing with some, especially when relatively new to the instrument.

    Finally, please don't get down on yourself. It's got to be fun to make it last, it can't feel like a job. If you are having trouble with that song, don't push yourself to the brink of frustration, just tell the band it's not all there yet. I hope some of this helps, sorry for the lengthy post. If anything I've said here provides you with some measure of encouragement, then it's time well spent. :)
     
  6. I've been to Turkey and you should see the way they drive.....foot floored, one hand on the horn, other out the window, not looking...passing here and there...Korea comes a close second.....:eek:
     
  7. Bro, I partied in Pyong Taek, Ch'un Ch'on, Seoul, Osan, but this was in '83-'84. Driving then was probably not nearly as deadly as it is now. I've not been back to Korea since '87.

    Best of luck for a safe remainder of your tour (assuming you're military and coming back one day).

    I was once beaten by the Korean police for being at a party where a shop window was broken. It cost me three bucks and a solid night stick ass whipping.
     
  8. Your reply was motivational. Thanks. I'll use the advice contained therein liberally.

    Incidentally, I picked up "Keep It Like a Secret" by Built to Spill and started assessing the songs last night, trying to get general ideas on structure and rhythm. It was fun--no pressure, just grabbing bits and pieces using ears only.

    If you like Radiohead, and can bear a little Weezer thrown in, Built to Spill could be one to check out. Don't know much about them, but checking out their self named website later today.:cool:
     
  9. Hategear

    Hategear Workin' hard at hardly workin'.

    Apr 6, 2001
    Appleton, Swissconsin
    Don't think you suck based on one bad practice. I bet even some of the "big names" around here will admit to having an off night once-in-a-while. I don't consider myself a big name, but I've suffered through some pretty sh***y practices and a handful of bad gigs in my seven year career. One time, I bombed on "The Star Spangled Banner." It was so bad, my best friend was wishing in his head that I'd just give up. He later told me how amazed he was at the fact that I stuck it out until the end, even though technically, it was over when I played the fifth note. I had audience members coming up to me at break, telling me, "You should practice that more or just don't play it anymore."

    I got over that and you'll get over this.
     
  10. seamus

    seamus

    Feb 8, 2001
    Jersey
    Cool, I'll look into that band you mentioned. I'm a Radiohead fan, and a casual listener of Weezer (our band plays one of their tunes right now actually), so I'm curious to see what they sound like. Thanks!