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Two or three brains

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by Warlock, Mar 15, 2006.

  1. Hi guys - I saw Fred Thelonius Baker here in the UK on Saturday night and it confirmed to me that some people are born with more than one brain. Steve and Michael are definately in that catergory.

    Touched by God is often used and I reckon what they don't say is touched by God and another brain inserted alongside the other one!

    Anyhow, if Michael and Steve have just one brain then please help. I can do a little tapping, I can do a littel lating thing with my left hand and sort of tap with my right, but how do I do the complex stuff that you guys do that I love to listen to so much?
  2. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    Haha! I only wish I had two brains - would make all that multi-tasking that I struggle with so much easier.

    sadly, it's not that. I think the key phrase here is to realise that 'difficult music is just simple music that you haven't learnt yet'. The process of learning anything like this is one of observing, understanding the process, slowing down the mechanics and then repetition to entrain your muscles to respond without the need for conscious thought being applied to every step. The speed at which we can make our bodies do things we've never done before is painfully slow. If the movements are modified from some other process, it's a bit quicker (like learning a new fingering for a line we already know), but it still takes time.

    The point at which things seem to be impossible is when we attempt to jump in at the level of someone who's been doing a certain thing for years, and has thankfully gone through the painful process of training their body to carry out the task behind closed doors, so we can see the finished product.

    The other thing that's worth noting is that I can't sound like Michael, and he can't... actually, I'm pretty sure he could sound like me if he wanted to, but that's cos he's really has got two brains.. :D ...only kidding - a lot of it is to do with the way that each of us conceive of music. Every now and then, a player comes along who I'm a big fan of and says they love what I do, some expressing amazement at the loopage or whatever. I'm always surprised by this given how relatively easy I find the process of composing and performing in this way, and these are usually players who do things on a bass that I genuinely can't see me being able to do without a few months of daily shedding... It's all to do with how you think about music, what you hear in your head, and how methodically you break down the process of making that music happen on your instrument, before training your hands to make the sounds, to articulate the phrasing, to play with rhythm in a way that tells the story and to get the notes in the right order - this last one seems to be most people's obsession, but I'd say that what you play is at least on a par with how you play, if not even further down the list!

    So, to reiterate - difficult music is just simple music you haven't learnt yet. Write that on the wall in the room you practice in. :)

  3. amen!

  4. Steve you are right and thanks ever-so for the wise words. Off to the wood-shed.
  5. Michael Manring

    Michael Manring TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Thanks, Steve! Once again your answer is so articulate I don't think I have anything to add...

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