what makes some one good? and how can i get better?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by big daddy cool, Jul 2, 2001.

  1. I've been playing for about 11months and im able to play anything ive ever tried to, and im able to play it really well.

    The only thing im no good at is slapping.

    But I wanna know how i can improve my 'finger style' tecnequies, because im finding it a struggle to get better. Please dont say practise coz im allready perfect at what i do.

    Also, i wanna know what actualy makes someone good at bass. I can see the difference between someone who is really crap and someone who is amazing like flea or stu hamm, but i dont see what makes people fall into different catagories inbetween, what qualities do they have 2 have to fall into each catagory?

  2. agyeman

    agyeman Member

    Mar 6, 2001
    creativity and emotion in their playing.
  3. liran


    Dec 18, 2000
    San Antonio, Texas
    Well said Ed. Well said.........
  4. agyeman

    agyeman Member

    Mar 6, 2001
    Maybe the guy has never heard someone like jaco play or geddy lee, marcus miller etc etc.
  5. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Not to dis you, but after only 11 months, what you've tried to play must be pretty basic, or you THINK you're pulling it off but as your ear gets educated, you'll find you're nowhere near playing it well. Have you tried playing your repetoire in front of people with other musicians? That can be pretty humbling.

    The statements like being "allready (sic) perfect at what I do" are typical of many beginners who later found they were so far from perfect they couldn't spell the word any longer.

    One big quality most of these top players have is never being content with their playing as you seem to be. I think if either of the people you cited told you how much they practiced, it would blow your mind.
  6. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Ed said it better than I could ever come close to saying.

    Saying that you're perfect in what you do is an extremely bold statement that will certainly be met with much skepticism. Defining perfect is even more of a slippery slope. I could say that I can't play droning eighth note open E string in 4/4 perfectly; because for some, perfect might mean that every single note is of exactly the same dynamic and duration. Or some might say that perfection is the organic feel of a tight rhythm section where each and every note should not be exactly equal in dynamic, or even timbre for that matter, but rather suiting that individual song, or even that individual moment for that matter.

    There is always something to work on. Chris Fitzgerald recently brought up the point about Rufus Reid taking time away from other comments to focus more on practicing!!! Rufus Reid!

    But your question may very well be legitimate to you, because possibly you're unsure of what to practice. It is my humble opinion that one of the most difficult aspects of practicing is all the stuff that takes place before you practice; the scheduling of quality practice time, a strong idea of what will be practiced, and for how long, and how it will be done. Acknowledging what you need/want to develop, pushing and challenging yourself to move to the next plateau. Also, there's just way too much to practice:

    • rhythm training
    • ear development
    • sight reading
    • multiple styles and genres (rock, pop, jazz, latin, world music, folk, funk, soul, R&B, hip-hop, electronic, drum & bass, classical, etc etc etc)
    • playing with other instruments
    • listening to one's self recorded
    • slap/pop (if that's your thing), in addition to finger style, playing with a pick (if that's your thing, or just to increase your diversity), and other miscellaneous techniques like playing chords, double-stops, harmonics, and others
    • theory/harmony
    • drills, and other exercises to develop technique
    • notation
    • dynamics
    • tone (timbre)
    • arranging and other writing
    • and so much more

    It is still my opinion that the best way to advance, and to improve all aspects of your evolution toward becoming a bassist, is finding a good teacher. It is, in my opinion, the best investment a bassist can make. Worth more than the money spent on gear, by far.

    And oh yeah, Ed Fuqua has been playing bass longer than I've been alive. He does it professionally, day in and day out. I do it as a hobby. If he still has stuff to work on, I still have so so very much to work on. Stick around him though, you'll be amazed at what you learn! He's already affected my bass playing and approach, and the funny part is he probably doesn't even realize it!
  7. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Woodland Hills, CA
    I would suggest that you start learning things that you don't commonly listen to. For example, you may be able to play every rock song known to man. That's cool. :) Now learn some Jazz. Then move on to Funk... etc etc... Just keep expanding your horizons. That is what I am trying to do.
  8. dude, technique isn't everything. Writing good lines is just as important.
  9. kezekiel


    Sep 24, 2000
    Good point, Davy0. I play several times a week in a church, often using sheet music of songs that I've never heard before. Since there's no bass line to cop, I have to make up my own, usually with just a few minutes rehearsal - and then play it live in front of several hundred people.

    One thing I know for certain - I will *never* be perfect at that (or anything else), Big Daddy O, and I started learning by copping lines that were new over 15 years ago.

    Big Daddy, your perfection comment surely brings up some steam from guys like me who have been at it a while, and for whom growth is an unending challenge. There is no perfection - no arrival point.

    It's all in the journey, bro! Keep on playing, keep on learning, and have an unreasonable amount of fun doing it.
  10. Aah, it takes me back.. Ed-F shot me down in flames when I made my fisrt post on talkbass!

    ...and quite right too, he's a knwoledgable guy and I was evidently talking crap!
    Obvioulsy my response wont be precise, but for what it's worth...

    What make someone a good bass player?
    Bass is a supporting instrument. A good bassist listens and lays down the exact groove for the song, therefore emphasising the other instruments.

    A good bassist gets precisely the right feel though each note. In both the way it's played and the choice of note. It is, as they say, ALL in the fingers... and the mind.

    History tells us that in a metal band a bassist can get away with playing straight 8th notes for an 8 album deal. This maybe perfectly fitting to the songs, but it's dull as far as bass/groove goes. IMO A good musician writes music that stands out a bit, a bassline that really works, something a bit different, maybe something it takes you a while to get into?

    In short: I think agood bassist writes and plays with feel... all the time. It can't be a fluke.

    Basically lessons won't make you a creative musician, or a good bassist - I think that comes from within, but if you're going to be that creative person then the theory acts as a tool to help you be more creative.
  11. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Two issues

    'Perfect at what you do' I think that's been covered but try recording what you do play and listen to it. If it makes you wince then you need to practice. The common problems are finger squeaks, flubbed notes, slight timing problems and uneven volume.

    Improvement-do things you dont do. You dont mention others so play with other people, get some gigs, join a few bands playing in different styles. Listen to as Gabu said other styles. Get some lessons, learn some theory, find out what 'mode' means.

    Ed's knowledge alone humbles me and I have been playing in bands since 81. Honestly criticise your playing and sort it. Self praise is no praise at all and dont always believe others.

    Hope this doesnt put you off and see you around the boards
  12. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    if you wanna get good like stu and all the others, ya gotta just keep practicing. thats all there is too it really. i know thats not what you wanted to hear, but its the truth.
  13. "try recording what you do play and listen to it."

    Damned good advice!

    I jam weekly with a sax player and a guitarist, totally apart from the groovy-hard-rock band I'm trying to make a go of.
    It's always a nice jame cause there's no agenda, we just jam... but we all play through a mixer and out of studio monitors and we record everything we do.
    When we listen to it back there'll be bits I play that'll make me wince and some that I'll think wow, I can actually do this! The mistakes I notice, however, are very rarely picked up by the others, who think I'm being over critical... and I hope I am, it's a good thing.
  14. I could. Then again, I did play piano for almost 5 years
  15. "Cause I gotta say right up front, not trying to harsh your mellow, but I have NEVER heard anybody play after only 11 months that could even get through a single octave of major scale (much less two octaves) in every key in more than one position, much less communicate to the point where they could make actual music on their instrument."

    I gotta say this... I could communcate and play music through my bass within a week.
    Communicating some sort of feeling through your playing is in many ways totally irrespective of skill. The dead kennedys were a highly emotive band, but they very, very little skill as musicians. None of the beastie boys are bassists, as such, but I'd kill to write some of the lines and create the moods they have in some instrumental tracks.

    For example, thinking about it, I could play the scales Ed mentioned above, but not without thinking about it in places and I've been playing 11 years. I don't think this makes me a bad bassist and certainly don't think it makes me a bad musician or detracts from my ability to create good music.

    It's all down to opinion really... except that learning theory can't do any harm... can it?
  16. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    King Ad-Rock (or whatever his name is :)), plays bass for many of the tracks on their most recent albums, if I'm not mistaken. I know he played it on "Sabotage."
  17. Err... I was wrong... but my point still stands???!!!

    He's definitley not a technically proficient bassist in terms of Stu Hamm and Flea (as mentioned above), but does write and play great bass.
  18. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    I just want to know what's up with people showing up, asking questions, and then not responding, apparently just abandoning their own thread!

    Hello BIGDADDY, where you at?
  19. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Woodland Hills, CA
    *evil mean dude ON*

    Sticks tongue out at BDC.

    *evil mean dude OFF*

    Let that be a lesson to all that abandon their posts.
  20. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Hm, judging by the nick...:rolleyes: