What Can You Do In A Month?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by tweak, Dec 2, 2007.

  1. tweak

    tweak Guest

    Dec 2, 2007
    I've been playing in a celtic/punk outfit wherein the other members (drums, guitar, fiddle and mando) are all much more skilled and experienced at their respective instruments than I.

    I've been playing bass off and on for the last eight years (I started at either 13 or 14 and I'm just shy of 23 now) but my skill level is nowhere near where it should be for that time frame. I haven't had a lesson in close to five years.

    Which brings me to my next point: I've been given a month to shape up or ship out. These guys are known for their live show and I'm still struggling with memorizing the songs.

    I've decided to undertake a month of intense training and practising. I'm trying to sign up for 2-3 pro lessons per week, my s/o is going to teach me some basic theory and work on my finger technique whenever we have the time and I have about 2 hours of band practice weekly. This just leaves me with the 8 or so hours I'm hoping to practice on my own each week. I've come here to ask of you all the following, out of your own personal experience:

    What exercises do you favour when you're limbering up your hands/warming up?

    What techniques do you use when memorizing? I'm finding rote memorization and reading tab/notation really ineffectual.

    What are some good songs/scales/whatever! for the punk/rock/celtic&trad styles would you recommend?

    I appreciate any sort of input whatsoever, so thank you!
  2. El-Bob


    Oct 22, 2006
    Hamilton, ON
    well, i can tell you that you may be better off playing riffs over and over until muscle memory takes over and you don't need to think about it anymore. as for memorizing how a song goes, i find that after playing it a few times with the rest of the band it starts to come naturally and i don't have to think about it. and for technique, don't ask me:p
  3. magnusdeus123

    magnusdeus123 Guest

    Jul 2, 2007
    Mumbai , India
    8 years ?? What exactly where you doing in the time ??
  4. Arpeggios up to the 7th. Then back down. Do this on every fret up to the octave. Then do the same thing all the way back down the neck.

    Like the Jazz cats say, "If you can sing it, you can play it." Also, listening to the music over and over again never hurt anyone either. :smug:

    Dropkick Murphys come to mind. Stick to Major/Minor/Pentatonics scale wise IMO.

    You're welcome. :D
  5. tweak

    tweak Guest

    Dec 2, 2007
    Uh, going to school, working, going to school some more, world travelling and just a basic loss of interest for a couple of years after I had to sell my gear to pay off debts. I also switched to voice a couple years ago and forgot strings. Tragic waste of time, looking back. Aside from the travelling, I always could've made time. Hindsight's 20-20!
  6. jenderfazz

    jenderfazz Guest

    Apr 17, 2003
    montreal, qc, Canada
    Just get the stuff down very tight. Learn and love the songs, make them second nature. Practice till it's perfect, then keep practicing it.
  7. About the memorization thing. I was in a similar situation when I started playing. I started recording the practice sessions, and then playing along to myself at home. Making mental notes of the changes and spots where I could improve, put in fills or just be tighter. Any cheap recorder will do. You will have the songs down in no time. Id say about 3-5 a week.
  8. If you only have a month to prove yourself to this band you need to concentrate on nailing their songs and nothing else for that month. You won't learn enough theory to be practical in just a month, and you will still have to learn/memorize their songs.
  9. BUY A METRONOME!!!!!!!!!

    If you can't play in time, whatever exercises you are doing won't help.

    Also, if you are taking 2-3 lessons PER week, this is a bit much. WHy not just ONE really good lesson - you'll get enough to practice in a week, for sure. Lessons does not necessarily mean better playing, unless you practice a LOT.

    A month is plenty of time to DRAMATICALLy increase your playing level.

  10. locolobo85

    locolobo85 Guest

    Nov 13, 2007
    North Carolina, USA
    +1 You need a recording of what you're working on. Use this to perfect your role in that setting.

    +1 You don't have time to do anything other than perfect what you're doing within the frame work of this band.

    Just focus on their material and your parts.
  11. Daniel J

    Daniel J

    Oct 25, 2007
    Discipline. I know it's hard for me. But when it's there. Things get done and progress is made.
  12. Did your band mates tell you what you needed work on or what was lacking? If so, that would be a good indication on what needs the most concentration. If they didn't, ask them.

    I agree with lessons; 2-3 a week is probably too much. You need time in between to make some actual improvements. I would suggest no more than one a week.

    For memorizing the songs, just drill them. Nothing like repetition to keep them in your head. You could also transcribe the songs. If you don't read music, you can just chart out the form. Say, 4 bars of 4/4 in C for the intro, 16 bars in Dm for the 1st verse, etc... Once you get a visual picture of the songs, it is easier to memorize them and then after a little while you won't have to think about it any more.

    As for technique; you can try practicing some two octave major and minor scales in various keys with different fingerings. You can also do arpeggios (1-3-5-7) of them in two octaves that will make you move around the fingerboard a bit (unless you have a 7-string!). This will help get your fingers moving.

    And, last but not least, have some confidence in your playing. The guys you are playing with may be better than you and you may feel like your being put on the spot, but get into it, have fun and don't be too timid. The bass needs to be there and playing confidently will help you.

    Good luck!
  13. do you have the songs down on cd or something? If so play them over and over again until they sink in, then play along to them over and over again until it's 2nd nature..
  14. T-MOST


    Dec 10, 2004
    NJ via NYC
    +1 learn the things you need to know PERIOD
  15. tweak

    tweak Guest

    Dec 2, 2007
    Yeah, there is a recorded CD that I can play along with. I do actually know the songs, I think I was just shellshocked at the last show and it was very apparent that stress was killing what I already knew.
  16. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    It is hard to do but do not allow yourself to become flustered by anything. Concentrate on the notes, the changes, and make eye contact with the band. Remember, the drummer is your best friend. Lock up with him as much as you can.

    In one month's time there is only time to nail the tunes you have to play. If you have an iPod or an mp3 player rip the tunes and listen to them all day for the next month. If you have the ability to do so at your job, do it. When you're at the computer, having dinner, wherever listen to the tunes. Try to sing your bass lines with the recorded music. Then sing the lines while you're playing them. This will help you internalize the lines. If you're doing two hours on stage you should shoot for a minimum of four hours a day, seven days a week, when you're off stage.

    Good luck.
  17. JonathanD

    JonathanD Guest

    Dec 13, 2006
    Atlanta, GA
    I would not take more than 1 lesson a week. Lessons do not make you better, PRACTICE makes you better. Lessons guide your practice.

    If you want to make this band, practice the songs for the band over and over and over and over and over. When writing for someone I like to listen to the song on repeat for a few days then play to it approx 100 times doodling, getting a feel and seeing whats going on before I come up with a part. Really, as a teacher, and as someone who performs, nothing gets you better like practice. If you know what you need to be better at practice that thing.

  18. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Hey i am in the same boat so to speak. I just got in a gigging country band and have a month to get 40-60 songs down for my first show with them. Its my first country band and im stepping up to the plate.
    No offense but from what you said i appears you lost alot of drive and put it down(bass) do you still have the desire to put the work in? If so here's what i am going to do and did in the past to learn songs quickly...thanks to other TBers on this board. IMO dont think of theory lessions or lessions period...why? If you cant play at this stage why be in this band? You will need 100% of your free time learning those songs.

    Get recorded material a must!
    Get a Tascam Bass trainer..a world of diffrence over playing with the CD v.s. playing thru an practice amp etc out of a CD player.
    Chart out anything you cant play and practice that part only. If you dont know the chords etc...ask the bandmates or who wrote the song ...dont guess.
    Play the Bands CDs when you drive to work around town etc. You will continue to hear things in the songs and it will sink the songs in.
    PRACTICE any free time you have do it. Like a fighter training for a fight put your mind to your craft if you cannot look for a replacement in that band. Sorry to come across harshly but its the facts.I'm with ya and behind ya you can do it!