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Thinking about giving up on bass

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by BassMoley, Oct 13, 2013.

  1. BassMoley


    May 20, 2013
    I've been playing for a little while now it'll be 1 year next month. I know after such a short time I'm not going to be some monstrous beast because guitar and bass take a lifetime to master, but I definitely think I'm not as good as I think I should be. When I first started I thought scales and all that theory stuff is just nonsense. I still think a good amount of it is, but I go and do scales and variations of them all the time, but it doesn't seem to help anything. My fingers don't stretch farther, they aren't more accurate or faster, and I can't pluck any faster. But I will say I can mute strings with my thumb much better now so that's good. Whenever I'm in a bad mood playing usually helps people. Sometimes it does, but other times I just mess up on things I think should be simple and I get even angrier. I do t know what I should be doing. I do scales and arpeggios and all that and play songs. songs I try to learn I know I can't play but I slow them down, but I can't speed them up. It seems to me no matter what I do nothing works. I never et better. It's like I started, got a little bit better then plateaued since I don't know how long ago. I can practice for hours on end, and I have before but it doesn't matter. I've played scales while watching Morbid Angel's Live Madness DVD up to 3 times in a row before. Nothing. I was just trying to play a few minutes ago. I was getting really irritated, and I'm sure other people do this when they're mad they hit something naturally out of anger, so I slapped my bass really hard and I ripped my strap by accident. Don't worry I slap the bass on the end of the fretboard so I don't damage my bass. But my hand hurts pretty good. I don't know I don't want to give up, but it just pisses me off how I can never meet my own standards no matter how low I drop them.
  2. noiseguy


    Apr 1, 2013
    Join a band to learn what's important and get out of your own head.
  3. Sonic

    Sonic Lord of the Grump

    Start at The Ramones and work your way up. The stuff takes time.
  4. JellinWellen


    Oct 18, 2012
    ^ yep this is true. Just work on one thing at a time and try not to take it all in at once. It also doesn't hurt to play stuff you actually ENJOY to play. Its not all scales and theory ya know!
  5. FineCatsNCigars


    Jul 25, 2013
    I suggest you play with someone else or join a band! Playing music by yourself is fun for a while, but playing with a group of people is fun and excited. There are infinite possibilities!
  6. Dluxe


    Jan 9, 2011
    Austin, TX
    It most definitely is tough! I started back in October 1977 when there was very little info on learning the bass. I had a vinyl record but I can't recall the name of it. Taught me a little but I found out I learned more by jamming with other people. We formed a band 6 weeks after I bought my first bass. (an old MIJ Kingston) The keyboard player taught me the notes on the first 5 frets and I went from there. I was terrible but slowly improved. My first 3 years I played with several different bands and musicians. I still don't know anything about theory or scales though! That frustrates me still because I wonder how much better my playing may have been. But I always learned songs by ear so that is one thing you may want to consider doing. Go slow, learn a few bars at a time. More repetition within the song is good because it makes it easier to play along too. Watch other players too. I spent a lot of time studying other players in live situations and it helped my plucking hand and my left hand as well. I'm sure others will chime in with much better advice.
  7. Wilbyman


    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    I think your post is in the wrong section. I can sympathize with having high expectations for music and everything else. Unfortunately, having those expectations only makes it hard to enjoy something that should just be fun. If I were you, I would concentrate on having fun and forget about how much you are improving. The improvement will come if you love music and put time into it. Being disappointed and angry with yourself is a terrible habit which will just lead to negativity and frustration in your life. I am not preaching to you, it is just a lesson I have had to learn over several years and I feel like I need to pass it along to you. Good luck.
  8. AaronVonRock


    Feb 22, 2013
    That's the spirit. If you can't master something in one year, just quit.

    Seriously though, playing scales and arpeggios (yuck) alone in your bedroom is boring. Like others suggested, start playing with other people and have some fun. That's what it's all about.
  9. Sufenta

    Sufenta Trudging The Happy Road of Destiny

    Mar 14, 2002
    The Signpost Up Ahead.
    Arguably the most difficult to accomplish.
  10. Filkarri


    May 31, 2012
    Albuquerque, NM
    +1 to everyone recommending joining a band.

    I'm a self taught player (though I had been playing the violin for about 15 years before I picked up a bass so to be fair a stringed instrument wasn't a totally new concept to me) and at first I could barely play Pixies songs. Naturally I found this all very frustrating, but I just started jamming with a couple friends and that improved my playing vastly as I kept doing it. Plenty of great songs out there have very simple parts (Pixies songs come to mind). Get comfortable just playing simple bass lines, and then gradually work your way into the world of fills and more complex rhythms. Seriously though there is nothing that will do wonders for your skill (and your desire to keep going trying) quite like playing with other people. Its because that's fun. Practicing scales and arpeggios has its place to be sure, but lets be real here, that **** is boring. Jam on my friend, jam on. :bassist:
  11. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    You just can't be so emotional over things ruled by laws of nature. The music equivalent of writer's block is very real and not very pleasant. Maybe you should quit bass, but if you are a musician in your heart you'll never quit music. You'll say you will and hock your horn a thousand times and next thing you know it somehow calls you back. It can't be resisted if it's in your blood. If it doesn't call to you then you really aren't a musician.

    But the fact that you are throwing a fit shows music DOES matter to you. I've been there more than once. I started with piano lessons. Studied for years. Nothing ever seemed to happen. You go to a party and there is ALWAYS someone there who just sits at the piano and rips off some impressive number. Feh! Why can't *I* do that I pouted. But after a number of years it became clear to me that the amount of work and dedication to achieve the level of even an average concert pianist wasn't going to happen. So I got interested in other things. Like guitar!

    Then things got WORSE! I sounded just like you! Why won't my fingers bend to make those chords! WHy to the strings hurt my finger tips. How many chords are there to learn anyway. And SCALES! Feh! I sold my guitar to a friend and bought an upright bass. and since my dad was a drummer I started fooling around on his drums as well which I had resisted to that point.

    And then things changed. It was just like the old joke of the kid who learned 3 notes on three bass strings and then blew off lessons because he had a gig. Point is you do NOT need to be a master to play music. Lots of famous rock bands have started playing three chords. To be able to do everything at the start is fantasy. The key is to take time to do WHAT YOU CAN DO right. Practice makes perfect even though you think it is doing nothing. Not so. Every minute you spend COUNTS even though it often does not show until much later. The more minutes the more it counts. Physics. So learn the rule: practice ONLY at speed were you can play it perfectly. If you try to speed it up before you can do it perfectly you are only practicing playing it WRONG! That is not what you want to do. Eventually speed comes in whatever time it takes for you. It takes what it takes. Don't beat yourself because someone else seems to get it faster. You have no idea what their effort and experience was before you saw them. So learn one thing RIGHT and after than another and another and pretty soon you have a great many things you can do right and everyone is impressed because they don't see the work behind it either.

    And music is ART. Creativity is very much part of it and needs to be practiced as well. But Art is work. My perfect example is when I learned dancing. You are out there huffing and puffing sweating like a pig and smelling like one too and yet you have to give the perfect appearance of you and your partner in the most effortless romantic mood as you gaze in each other's eyes or whatever is required. Art is like that. The work part is HIDDEN from your viewers. Go to some clinics with some of the well known and relatively famous players of ANY instrument. The thing that will strike you is that how much work they put in. You find they have master's degrees from places like Berklee, and experience working up to where they are (called paying your dues) that is amazing in it's depth and time spent. No they did not just land that huge gig because they were so wonderful. Like I said you don't see the WORK that went before the "big break". And another thing you will observe about these "name" artists is how professional they all are. The "life" the public imagines is usually quite different from the actual things happening in the music "business". Standard business things, like reliability and showing on time, and giving your customers what they want and are paying for.

    And today? Weil, I can say that to this day nobody has EVER paid money to hear me play keys. Just how it is. But studying piano was in NO way a waste of time. Piano has it all and you can do no better to get a handle on music. And suddenly I got interested in songwriting and singing. So I restart guitar after all these years. And it turns out the trouble wasn't ME afterall. Now after playing bass and banjo and being through the mill and that includes DANCING which was key lessons in how one has to use personality to hold an audience, it all comes together almost seemingly out of nowhere. Why? Because I really had INTEREST this time and enough water under the bridge to know what it would really take!

    That's why the guys are saying find some other beginners to play bass with. Bass alone is a bore unless you can master singing and playing bass and take my word for it, it ain't so easy. I started bass playing root-fifth in polka bands. Paying gigs. And I might add amazing ethnic food when the band was invited to the kitchen for eats!

    So start where you ARE. And then to get where you want to go you practice and work. And whatever time it takes you WILL get there. But you have to really WANT to get there. If you don't have the true interest (like me and my first run at guitar) it simply won't happen.

    To me the fact that you are angry with yourself that things aren't going what you think is fast enough shows you have the interest. If you had no interest you wouldn't care. But you can't just let it control you. If you try to force the laws of the universe, believe me, the universe always wins.

    OK, grasshopper. Lecture over.
  12. Set realistic achievable goals and you won't be disappointed. Get a good teacher as well, that will really help a lot.

    Last do not give up!:D

    Learn to play and understand jazz as well I think it makes more well rounded musicians. Marcus Miller was schooled musician before he ever started slapping some people don't know that FWIW.
  13. TheGreatSealof

    TheGreatSealof Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2010
    Deptford, NJ
    Do not! I repeat, Do Not Give Up!!!!

    I started in 2010. No musical playing experience. I purchased "The Ultimate Beginner Series Bass Complete" book published by Alfred Music with DVD.

    It starts with a tutorial of bass guitar instruments and various electronic configurations. I.e., passive and active variants.

    Then it explores Bass basics, Blues, Rock, and Slap. It teaches the major and minor chords as well as tablature notation. The DVD is great to play along with and learn.

    As a result of this series, I have become a decent amature bass player. I also learned to read musical notation. Some will say that this is not a required element, but I have found that it has helped me especially since I have purchased a few music books by my favorite artists.

    I visit my local music stores and developed a great learning relationship with the player/employees in the store. So much so, that I am frequently asked to attend open mike/bass nights that they frequent.

    If you are attempting to emulate thrash/metal, you will never get there until you learn the basics. Slow practice with easy songs leads to more advanced playing.

    Do not give up. Keep playing. It will all make sense in time.
  14. Yeah you need a teacher.

    It doesn't matter how much you practice if you are practicing the wrong thing or not concentrating on what you are doing when you practice - you won't get better.
  15. K2000


    Nov 16, 2005
    Great answer! Find some SIMPLE music which you already love (maybe punk rock, or AC/DC, or some old country music, or any one of a million options) and learn how to play a song that you already love. (Morbid Angel is too complex, but you should pick music that you're already very familiar with). Then learn some more of your favorite easy songs. Play along to your albums. Make sure it's FUN and not something you're forcing yourself to do.

    Just curious - what is your age?

    The most important thing is to keep going, even when you are discouraged. Get as much hands-on time with your bass as possible. And stop judging your progress, and comparing yourself to an ideal version of progress that doesn't exist.

  16. remainthesame


    Sep 24, 2008
    I know this isn't going to be a very popular opinion but please hear me out.

    Maybe you should quit, to me it sounds like you aren't getting much enjoyment out of playing bass. If you're not having a good time, why don't you try something else? A different instrument, juggling, what about doing yo yo tricks? Or professional arm wrestling?

    I'm not saying quit the bass, in fact I hope you decide to stick with it. I'm just suggesting that if you aren't having fun, to try something else. There has been a lot of good advise that these guys have been giving you.
  17. Hey Vin!

    Spot on...I hooked up with scottsbasslessons.com a few years ago.

    Worth a look, I have years of experience but he totally changed my way of looking at the board :D
  18. gregmon79

    gregmon79 I did it for the muff... Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL

    For real man! I've been playing for 14 years and I'm not as good as I think I should be. If I was just sitting in my room playing that whole time I may have given it up too at some point. Get in a band or at least jam with some people. That's where a lot of your education is going to come from. That's where I learned and continue to learn the most. Stick with it, you'll be happy you did, trust me. You're not gonna be a bass prodigy in a years time. Well, at least most of us aren't. Keep working at it.
  19. seang15


    Aug 28, 2008
    Cary NC
    Have FUN. You won't play baseball like a major leaguer in a year, but you sure as hell can have fun trying!

    And what's even more fun than trying alone? :) yep, you got it.

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