1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Stuck in a rut!!!!!

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Michael Henson, Oct 15, 2005.

  1. I'm not sure that this is the right forum but I'll go ahead and post here anyway. I feel like I'm completely stuck in a rut. I play the same patterns and notes and can't seem to even come with any different sounding grooves in my head much less come out with them on my bass. I'm sick of feeling like nothing I play sounds good or enjoyable. I think I'm going crazy! :bawl: :help:
  2. Michael,

    Man, I know just what you are talking about. I've been through that so many times. Once I even quit playing because of it.
    There's alot of stuff you can do, but the main thing is a change of scenery. What I mean is to change things up. Play a different bass for awhile if possible. Find challenging music with styles much different than you normally like to learn, and try to learn them. Pick a bassist, try to get some of his music, and study his style. Change your practice room around , your warmup routine, strap position, sound..
    Find some scales on paper and start memorizing them.
    It's all about a change of pace. Your playing might seem boring, but not so long ago you were probably challenged by stuff that you couldn't play then, but are playing now.
    Another thing I do is to use one of those free drum machines for computer, and set up complicated and different beats. I then re-program myself to play these different beats. When I go back to the old stuff, I have a fresh outlook on things...

  3. Hookus


    Oct 2, 2005
    Austin, TX
    #1 thing I think is to listen to music you don't normally listen to. Listen to all sorts of genres.

    Get a book. Seriously, something like Bass Playing for Dummies. You might be surprised...

    Sing melodies, and turn them into bass lines.

    Play in scales/modes/chords you do not normally use.

    Get to gether and jam along with some new people for a while.

    Hope some of those may work.
  4. psi


    Mar 11, 2005
    New Jersey
    Another thing I like to do when I get like that is to switch up my tuning. Tune your bass to something retarded and play those same chordal patterns and mechanisms. Ya might find a new sound.
  5. pil


    Feb 17, 2005
    Pimlico, UK
    +1 That book is REALLY amazing! The only book worth owning on the subject in my opinion...and ive bought a hell of a lot!

    Really helped me get out of my rut, someone on here recommended it to me to whom i am forever grateful for...

    And no, i dont work for the publishers :D
  6. When you are stuck in a rut, this means that you are comfortable where you are musically. As for your playing, it is a good Idea to look at what you accomplished so far. You then can evaluate where you are and where you want to be at a particular time later on. Also, change your practice routine to incorporate reading and transposing music. Learn a different playing style/technique. Try something out of your normal routine. ( try playing a classical composition instead of what you normally play )
    Once you find out what you lack, you will have an interest in filling that void.

    Lesson may be a good option or it may be good to seek other bassists in your area and teach each other. You can find them in the music stores (bass section), house of worship and schools.

    I hope this helps
  7. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    Yeah, just try to find something out of your norm. I find playing different instruments helps me a lot. If I'm feeling uninspired on bass for whatever reason, I'll just put it down and log some extra time on guitar or keyboards.
  8. Michael, I'm no experienced player, but I've had mini-crises like yours and have read that the solutions are indeed a change of scenery and in part, a return topracticing fundamentals. Go back to playing oddball scales with a metronome.New right hand techniques,etc. Find a great bassline out of your genre and copy it verbatim.

    I'm, fortuntely, too busy still trying to catch up to where I was muscially 24 years ago. :eyebrow: Gotta get these old fingers moving faster....

    Willie Dixon had some funky basslines.
  9. Kristopher


    Mar 13, 2005
    Tempe, AZ
    Funny thing, I logged on to Talkbass tonight to look for some answers for this very same problem. It's depressing! :crying: :bawl: I pick up the bass and the same boring stuff comes out. I've never been so uninspired in my life, and it's been going on for weeks, if not longer.

    I'm definitely going to try some of the suggestions here. Any more would be greatly appreciated.
  10. Steve Harris Is

    Steve Harris Is

    Jul 4, 2005
    I'll have to agreee seeing as the author is my teacher! GREAT guy, GREAT player and GREAT book.
  11. Wow! Thanks for the great responses! I'm getting a Bass Trainer for my birthday in a couple of weeks so I'm hoping that will inspire me. I guess I'll just basically "start over" with the basics and fill in the gaps. Is there a free online source that would be good for learning theory as it relates to bass? I'd really like to at least get a basic grasp so I can carry on an intelligent conversation. Keep the suggestions coming, they are really helping! :bassist:
  12. Kristopher, I think we've all been there at one time or another, so take heart in the fact that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Don't give up. It's a matter of "deprogramming" some of the routines that you've been doing. Sometimes, even taking a break from playing can help, because you'll begin to actually forget some of the old lines and start creating new ones.

    I think it would be better to keep practicing, because so much coordination and stamina is lost when you don't play. What I would do for starters is to:
    1. Do Not warm up with anything you usually play. Once you start, you'll be playing the same ole rut lines. If you play along to music, don't. Those same ole songs that you might love are causing some of the rut problems.
    2. Find something different and unique, and concentrate on learning that. Don't stop if it's hard, and start playing the old stuff. It doesn't matter if it's from a book, CD, etc. This is important, because it's very easy to go back to playing music you already know, because it's easy.
    3. Play when you are in the mood to play. Don't set aside a "set" time for practicing. If you're tired, or maybe just not in a great mood, this will not only affect your session, but will leave you feeling even more depressed about playing afterwards. So don't go pick up your bass because you're bored, and it happens to be something to do. That mood you're in will affect your jam.. I sometimes laugh about the fact that I swear I can hear my bass callin' me.. Funny thing is that it always seems to know that I'm in the mood to play. :bassist:

  13. mikeboth

    mikeboth The last thing you'll ever see

    Jun 14, 2002
    Tallinn, Estonia
    Operator: prophecysound systems
    This is a good suggestion - recently I went 'back' and relearned some Led Zep songs, putting aside all warmups, scales, arpeggios etc for a few days. Ok, maybe it's not 'different and unique' to most people, but I'd never played Zep songs in a band before, only picked up a few pieces of the bass lines here and there. Learning the lines, from start to finish, gave me a fresh view on things and got me away from the 'pressure' of daily practice. There's a reason why many good musicians have spent hours copying lines from records / CDs, and forcing yourself to get 'inside' another bass players lines can only benefit you in the long-term and short-term.
  14. Kristopher


    Mar 13, 2005
    Tempe, AZ
    Awesome, thank you! That sounds like exactly what I need.

    It makes a lot of sense to only try to create when inspired, but it's also scary. What if that moment never comes? What if I never pick up the bass again? Sometimes that sort of feeling scares me into picking up the bass when I probably shouldn't, thus propelling this cruel emotional affair even further.

    After I posted I thought about the subject a lot. Eventually I came back to the things I was drawn to the instrument in the first place. Connecting with that feeling was both an adrenaline rush and a relief. It doesn't mean I'm any less boring when I pick up my bass (yet), it just means that I have an idea of where I want to go.
  15. Book yourself a ticket and go see a show or artist that has great musicians or treat yourself to a DVD of a bassplaya or and artist that may inspire you which sounds like you need if not then forget this
  16. When I'm down and out, I usually, like suggested, listen to something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT, in comparison to what I usually listen to.

    At the moment, that would be Dave Brubeck Quartet.

    That usually motivates me to keep on going.

    That and seeing other bassists perform live. That just makes me strive to be a more active musician.
  17. Funky-Wunky


    Jun 15, 2004
    I have had the same feeling. I think it is a motivational problem. I think "Well I'll play the stuff I know, it is easy and sounds pretty good". It is harder to put hard work and time into it to learning new and harder material. A good thing to do is to strive to meet and play with new people and good players. Play with the best players you can find.
  18. SpareTomato


    Oct 27, 2005
    Certainly playing a different style will help immensely.

    I started playing in a heavy rock band - you could get away with 'peddling the E' most of the time, fun though it was, it was not rewarding and I got bored to the point where I gave up for a few years. I still kept the Bass and Amp, and did pick it up from time to time, only to put it down after a couple of runs through 'Enter Sandman'.

    However, last year I started playing in a different band, through a work colleague. The style of music is completely different - mainly rock/blues, but we also have a country song, a rock & roll song and a couple of pop songs, all of which gives me a lot of room to work in, however, that does not mean I don't get stuck in a rut...

    I'm presently listening to '60s instrumental band The Shadows, and I never appreciated how good and varied the bass was on a lot of pieces, I'm now itching to start working some of these lines out!
  19. Try playing the "same old same old" notes/patterns in different places on the neck. I find that by physically seeing the patterns in different ways helps me to change them and keep it interesting.
  20. Thank you everyone for your awesome responses. I'll be going through each one and I think that they'll really help. Thanks!