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Things that sound "impressive"

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Ezmar, Mar 14, 2013.

  1. Ezmar


    Jul 8, 2010
    So I've played bass for some time now, and I'd set my usual modesty aside and say that I'm a very good player. But somehow I feel like I want to be able to do certain styles I can't yet, for example, the fast Jaco stuff. The thing is, I'm not really a huge fan of Jaco's harmonies. It sounds rambling and chaotic to me, but I feel that if I can't play like that, I'm missing some skill and facility that I want to have. Ideally, I want to be capable of anything, and I'd love to be able to effortlessly pull off those long 16th note runs without falling into pentatonic and blues scales, as is my wont. For example, Teen Town is a good instance of something I'd like to be ABLE to play, but is kind of unpleasant for me to listen to; I just don't much like it.

    I guess my question posed on the stream if thought above is this: if that style of playing is impressive to me, more so than my existing skills, is that because it's something I can't do? Does that even make sense?

    This is kind of a weird post, I probably won't get my point across.
  2. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    It can't hurt you to learn new techniques or practice a different style of playing. Learning and practice only will aid you.
  3. EmptyCup


    Feb 25, 2013
    Nashville Area
    Makes sense to me.
    You can cop the style and choose your own notes.
    If it sounds good... it is good :D
    Best of luck to you on your journey.
  4. You are just describing the process of STUDYING. Learn things that maybe you dont like or bore you but make you a better player...
  5. Hobobob

    Hobobob Don't feed the troll, folks.

    Jan 25, 2011
    Camarillo, CA
    Practice scales and modes to a metronome, faster and faster until you impress yourself with your own speed. Then keep practicing. The more scales and modes you get down, the more you can choose interesting notes and patterns that aren't apparent when you're only familiar with pentatonic. Check this out:

    EDIT: Obviously what I stated above doesn't encompass phrasing and rhythmic choices, which are just as important as note choices in defining your musical voice.
  6. +1

    Also, just plain look into jazz and music theory. If you can play jazz fluently, then pretty much all other genres come abundantly easier. The important thing is to remember that music really is like a language. Theory is like learning the proper Queen's English, but you gotta know when to break away from that and use some swear words or not so proper English, too.

    The more you know and the more skills you have, the easier new skills (like a new scale, or a mode of 6ths or whatever) will come to you. Also, the faster, more technically proficient you get, the more concentration you need. It doesn't ever become "effortless," but it sure gets easier over time.
  7. BrendanVlass


    Mar 9, 2013
    Austin, TX
    In life, not just music/bass, I have always found I learn the most from that which I do not 'like'.
  8. sammyp


    Aug 20, 2010
    NB, Canada
    i know exactly what you mean .....you love the sound of the bass playing, the articulation but the music doesn't turn you on ....i'm in the same boat ....i studied jazz for 4 years at university only to realize i had no passion for it. you can learn a ton from it though!
  9. The thing about technique is... you really only need to get to a level that allows you to play the music YOU want to play. If you want to create or get hired for gigs that demand intense chops, then build intense chops, otherwise what's the point?

    I, personally, say go for building above your "required" techniques so that when it comes to playing live you won't have to struggle at all to maintain stamina and such.

    Of course... intense chops also include holding killer whole notes, not just the sixteenth staccatos.
  10. unclejane

    unclejane Guest

    Jul 23, 2008
    I have the exact same reaction to players like Jaco; he's obviously simply amazing, but I just don't like that style of music. And I play fretless bass full-time now; I don't even own a single Jaco record/CD. "The Chicken" is the only thing I've heard him play that I've also tried to learn to play and that's really it.

    I mean, I'm amazed to listen to him and also wish I could do that technically, but I just don't like to listen to it lol.

    So what I've found over the years is I'm actually a poor student of things I'm not interested in. Now, that's not at all the same thing as not wanting to do or put up with the sometimes unpleasant stuff associated with something I _do_ want - in that case, I go ahead and do that if it's part of what I do want and like. Say, learning to read - I did this in high school when I played trombone and it was really valuable. And eventually I plan to relearn it on the bass. That's different; that's something you can always use.

    But if it doesn't turn me on, I've found I've been unable to stick to it and learn it. For example, I've tried for years and years to learn classical pieces and jazz stuff on the bass and have consistently fallen asleep while trying to transcribe it lol... So it never gets done.

    So I agree with the other guys in that it's probably not going to be overly fruitful to force yourself to learn stuff that doesn't interest you and will likely end in failure in the end.

    I agree that learning other styles can be a good supplement to what you actually _do_ want to play. But I'm just saying don't feel bad about abandoning it if it really puts you to sleep. There really is no point in pursuing something that truly bores you because you won't end up getting much out of it anyway.

    Certainly try different things; you may find you absolutely love some other style of music and it may open up an entirely new world for you. But if it leaves you cold, it's no big deal to give it up.

    If I weren't so heavily injured and half deaf, and were looking to get prepared as a professional musician, I'd be a lot more willing to compromise on this, tho. For example, many good teachers use jazz as academic music and I'd definitely be asking 'how high' when they told me to jump there. To be pro is a completely different thing than being an old has-been like I am now lol.

    But I've found this to just be true in general. You kind of have to like it to really stick to it, and there's not a whole lot you can do about that. But that's ok and probably how it should be.


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