The fumbling around method

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by drummer5359, Aug 9, 2013.

  1. drummer5359

    drummer5359 Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 10, 2011
    Pittsburgh PA USA
    I'm am no great wizard of the bass. I take lessons and practice a good bit. I find however that some of my biggest gains in playing come when I'm just fumbling around noodling.

    For instance...

    I'll hear a turnaround or walkup in my head. I'll pick up the bass, pick a key and screw around with the different walks and turnarounds that I do know and move stuff around until I figure out the exact run that I was shooting for.

    It's not very scientific, but as I say, it's proven effective for me.

    Does anyone else seem to have their bigger "aha" moments when noodling?
  2. Fumbling around method works for me!

    Love it.
  3. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    Totally. I trend to spend the last 5-10min of my sessions of learning songs or practicing scales, strictly for noodeling. I come up with some cool riffs to learn from & incorporate somewhere later
  4. I guess the three of us are the only fumbling TB'ers

    We should start a club!
  5. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom

    Feb 17, 2013
    Queens, NY
    I am most definitely a fumbler.
    Add me to the club.
    Honestly although I spend a very good amount of time working on theory and technique other than that I feel all I do is fumble. :)
  6. tr4252


    May 27, 2013
    I also fumble. I'll start playing something that I hear in my head, and it begins to evolve. Often, without a clear idea of the end result I'm after, I'll change it as I go. I make mistakes, and sometimes the mistakes are worth keeping. Eventually I've got a phrase or tune more or less finished, but I still continue tweaking it.

  7. BowserBass


    Jan 18, 2012
    Count me in as a fumbler... I believe thats the music inside of you making it's way out.
  8. NailDriver


    Dec 27, 2008
    Yep, me too.
  9. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    90% of the music I've written has come from the noodle method of songwriting. Including my slap happy thingie below.
  10. Dug2

    Dug2 Supporting Member

    Sep 24, 2011
    i'd say this is the case with many players, myself included
  11. shawshank72


    Mar 22, 2009
    100% true.
    Ive always believed that less thinking is a good thing.
  12. Rip Topaz

    Rip Topaz

    Aug 12, 2005
    Willow Street, PA
    Beta tester for Positive Grid
    I'm in. Some of my best ideas come from when I let go of the routine and let my mind and fingers wander.
  13. I'm a fumbler/noodler. Ususally, I'll come up with a riff from experimenting with scales in different keys (thank goodness for the melodic minor scale).
  14. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Stewartsville, NJ
    This is How I learned and still play. I play by ear and I hit the notes that come into my head. Give it 30 years or so & you brain will give you the notes fast enough to get them on the fretboard in time. Or....Learn all the theory, Scales, Modes, Charts etc. and make it easy on yourself.:) Here's a video of how I do it. Solo at 5:40. The Ric is straight into a Crate with a 18"
  15. Luv2Pla4U


    Feb 18, 2011
    Richmond, VA
    Another proud fumbler here, since 1968:bassist:
  16. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    If I had to fumble around for 10 minutes every time I thought of a cool riff and wanted to play it, I'd probably kill myself. Nothing better than being able to think of a riff in your head and be able to play it almost instantly. That's what learning some theory will do for you. Don't mean to be Debbie Downer, just stating facts.
  17. INTP


    Nov 28, 2003
    Dallas, TX
    Victor Wooten advocates making time to just play what's in your head as part of your practice routine in his Groove Workshop DVD.

    I think it's a useful way to creatively apply the theory, technique, etc. that you're working on. I hope it goes without saying, but if noodling is ALL you do, then the usefulness will be limited.
  18. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    I think that's pretty much a given. Being able to play what you're hearing in your head is essential to being a solid musician.

    For songrwriting though, just about everything I've ever written has evolved. I rarely, if ever, sat down with something in my head and said, "I want to make this a song!" I'm often noodling, sometimes even while doing something else, and something comes up that I like. It then starts to grow and expand and if I don't get tired of it within a few days, becomes a song.

    Everybody has their own process, and whatever works works. That's what works for me. It's actually often the same if I'm writing parts for someone else's song. Sometimes I'll hear something in my head and say YES!, but more often than not, I'll try different things until I really love what's happening. Especially if I'm working on the part with a drummer, as we start influencing each other and some really awesome stuff can start happening.
  19. Schmorgy


    Jul 2, 2012
    I like to fumble thematically. I'll think "today I'm only going to fumble around with a pentatonic minor" or "I'm going to fumble exclusively in locrian mode with a tonic of C". While simultaneously restrictive in a sense, it also has helped me come up with some of my best lines.
  20. Clef_de_fa


    Dec 25, 2011
    I like to improvise whatever comes to mind but if I heard something in my head and I have to find out what it is it has to be very quick or I'll loose patience very fast. Same thing if I want to cover a song i like ... I don't like shooting in the dark until I touch something a week later