Too old to take the plunge?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Cacklingjackyl, May 27, 2012.

  1. I've debated about posting this internal struggle but here goes. Maybe someone will care, or have some advice.

    I've recently been drawn to jazz (thanks to Art Blakey, Wayne Shorter, among many others) and discovered a passion for the music, especially the role of the double bass. I've found myself listening to bassists like George Duvivier, Paul Chambers, Ron Carter, Reggie Workman, Jymie Merritt etc. I'm considering taking the plunge to jazz and double bass, but I have serious questions about my skills, age, and available time. I feel like I'd be starting way too late in life to ever get anywhere. I know more talented people have dedicated their lives to this idiom, and knowing this makes me feel like I'm starting too late and my effort would be all for nothing.

    Here are a few self-criticisms of my playing, and a few facts I'm considering.

    I'm a 38 year old father with about 30 mins to an hour to practice each weekday, with more time on the weekends. I'm concerned that this amount of available time may be too little to do it right.

    I feel like spending $40 an hour 2-4 times a week for lessons maybe wasteful given I should be focusing on my children (would this be $$$ better spent on a 529 plan for them?)

    I have never had a structured practice regimen.

    I have trouble counting and currently playing in odd time signatures even though I'm starting to work through it.

    I've relied mostly on patterns rather than being able to name the notes as I play. I'm now just starting to attempt to name notes as I play through them.

    I can play blues type walking lines easily but unable at the present time to play good sounding jazz walking lines that swing and used chromatics effectively. I'm currently unable to get away from the habit of playing the root on the one.

    I have trouble using open strings due to reliance on patterns.

    Overall, I'm an average, intermediate, electric rock bassist.

    I do not sight read. I started one time, but put it down.

    I'm familiar with harmonization of the major scale, and modal patterns. I know the patterns of maj7, min7, and dom7 arpeggios. I'm starting to learn to practice ii V I patterns and connect the chromatically.

    In all, I almost feel like I'd make a better jazz listener and appreciator than a player, but there's something inside me that passionately wants this, despite my current limitations.

    I realize others cannot make this decision, or put in the time needed for me. I'm torn.

    There's something inside that won't allow me to stop thinking about jazz and playing it. Also, there's seeds of doubt telling me that I'm being delusional and dishonest with myself, and that I should just listen.

    Thanks for listening.
  2. I meant 2-4 times a month on the $40 lessons piece. Sorry.
  3. ToP fan

    ToP fan Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2010
    Waterloo, Ontario
    Well....I'm a 48 year old Orthopedic surgeon with 2 young kids...played bass and trombone in high school but didn't pick up a bass again until 3 years ago. Always wanted to but every year found other things to be busy with and every year kept saying that I was too old. Now gig with 2 bands ( not very good!) and am loving it!! I know it's a cliche but you only come this way once and you're only going to get older....just do what you love regardless of how good others are. Also I find by having something to do that is really just for me I'm a better happier husband and father the rest of the time.

    Enough Oprah/ Dr. Phil crap....just groove baby!!! :hyper:
  4. gerry grable

    gerry grable

    Nov 9, 2010
    I feel like I'd be starting way too late in life....

    You're 38. . . In ten years you'll be 48 , and if you do it, you'll have ten year's playing experience. If you don't-- you'll still be 48 and sitting around bitching.

    GO FOR IT!

    BASSDROID Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 22, 2007
    Port Huron, Michigan
    Yeah, stop waiting around and get to it!

    An instructor is a great idea, but find one who is willing to work with you on your terms. In your case, I think, a lesson every two or three weeks would be more productive. It would give you adequate time to digest the material.

    You might want to set up a practice space in your home that is conducive to quick, spur of the moment sessions, ie: the bass already out, sitting on a stand tuned and ready to play, metronomes, computer, music stand set up and ready to go at all times. Just walk in and do it. With focus, discipline, and the feedback of a good instructor, you'll be surprised what you can accomplish with 5 minutes here, ten minutes there, etc.
  6. I played double bass in high school, and concentrated on electric as an adult playing rock. I was 43 when I took the double up again, and after listening to some of the players, almost gave up, but decided to persevere, and now (even though it could be better) I play acoustic in almost every project I am involved in now at the age of 49.

    30 minutes to an hour each day is plenty of time to do it right, if you take a concentrated effort to master a particular technique, passage, or song. I myself am lucky if I get 15 to 20 minutes most days.
  7. chuck norriss

    chuck norriss Inactive

    Jan 20, 2011
    I'd rather play than not. Even if it's just to my cats & God as my audience.
  8. troy mcclure

    troy mcclure Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2007
    Central Florida
    Yes you are too old...says the 48 yo who restarted at 42
  9. johnbee

    johnbee Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 15, 2009
    SF Bay Area
    Not too old! I started when I was 40 (rock on a bass guitar, not jazz on a DB, i'm aware that's a little easier of a goal). I figured I was too old; but now I've been playing 8 years and I'm, um, mediocre. :) But decent enough to jam with good players. It is fun, and that is what is all about.

    When you're you're 60, you'll have been playing 22 years. That is plenty of time to get good. And if you don't start, you're gonna be 60 anyways!

    With hard work, it seems like you could get your basic jazz chops down in just a few years, and then continue to improve from there. And, if you find you don't quite get there, you can use your DB to play bluegrass. :bag:

    EDIT: Do you mean jazz on DB or electric? If you meant electric, all the more reason to go for it. If you're playing fretted, you can get to a point of playing good, solid, workmanlike lines in a few years.
  10. Staccato

    Staccato Low End Advocate Supporting Member

    Aug 14, 2009
    Keep pushin', and playing! Your age equates to many, more years playing jazz.
  11. Means2nEnd

    Means2nEnd Supporting Member

    43 married two daughters 70+ hours a week high pressure sales job. Music feeds my soul and I would feel already dead without music and art. In fact it's just this year I started studying with a Berkley grad teacher learning to read charts and further studying theory. I want to be able to be proficient in jazz so I can play until I die. I think I already have the bass picked out I will be cremated with. Yup a bag of ash and some hardware. Do it you will never regret it only if you don’t. Now you can afford to buy pretty much any gear your heart desires too.
  12. jarrydee


    Oct 22, 2011
    I am 38 also and, I have 4 little ones running around the house and find more than an hour a day to practice. I guess if it is important to you, you will find the time. Now if you have a significant other that will not allow you much time to yourself then you are screwed! Good luck to you!!
  13. theduke1

    theduke1 Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2010
    Sussex WI
    :bassist:What they said go for it! I will be 60 in July,I do not sight read, but can read music and charts. I have been a bass player since 1963, stopped during high school, started again in 1974. I always played 4 string, until 2006, and have been playing 5 since. I started palying in our praise team, with mostly classicaly trained musicians, who marvel at how I play off the page. In 2010 I was asked to play in the pit for a musical and was scared out of my mind.
    since then I have done 5 musicals, just finished a 9 day run of RENT(2nd time I've play that show) and have been asked to do bass for Sweeney Todd next year.
    My point is weather you say you can't do something or you say you can, either way you are correct!
    it will keep your mind sharp!
    Love & peace:cool:
  14. RSBBass


    Jun 11, 2011
    My DB was a 50th Birthday gift from my fantastic wife. Unless you are having physical problems such as arthritis, it is never too late to start.
  15. Rbryant


    Jan 14, 2012
    You're never too old. If you only have 30 mins, then you have 30 mins. Might take you longer to master then if you had 4 hours a day, but it's not impossible. Take the plunge! You'll be happy you did!

    Robert Bryant
    state college bus charter
  16. pbasswil


    Feb 17, 2008
    Put it this way: you're going to be dead a long time.
    Does being a busy professional father mean never pursuing your creative interests, until you die? I hope not.
  17. I've played bass guitar most of my life, but took up double bass in 1990 at the age of 43. I was told by my then band leader I had one week to get up to scratch (I was playing in a fulltime professional six piece swing band at that time). I jumped straight in, but I must have been awful for a while.
    Just do it. You will never regret it.
  18. FenderBassist


    Oct 28, 2005
    Follow your dream.

    You'll be glad you did.
  19. pbass888

    pbass888 Supporting Member

    Jul 8, 2009
    i had an uncle who started violin at 50 and got to play with a symphony at 73. you are only as old as you think you are. Oh yeah, he had 4 kids...
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