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What's your practice routine?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by RemoteOutpost, Jan 9, 2020.

  1. RemoteOutpost


    Dec 5, 2019
    For those of you who keep a structured practice routine, what does it look like? Is there a set of fundamentals that you review daily or regularly to stay sharp on them? Are you usually busy covering gig material? How long do you practice? Thanks for your input, I'm looking forward to seeing how other people do it.
    alanloomis1980 and FatStringer52 like this.
  2. Ooba Tooba

    Ooba Tooba

    Apr 30, 2017
    Drummer gets to our rehearsal spot early and sets up. We all arrive and plug and in tune up, and hit record (every practice is taped with an 8 track) we start every time with an improvised jam (any one can start it with a beat, or groove etc) and play it, and change it around, add effects or another part etc probably for 20 minutes. That’s a warm up. Then we usually work on a new song for a bit breaking down parts or adding something to it, then trying the whole thing. If we get through it ok then we try it 2-3 more times to tighten it up. We do that again with another newer song, or something from the last improv jam. Then we try to go through a few shakier songs (usually newer) on our set list. If we have a pending show we run through our (ever growing) list and try to tighten up the newest stuff or arrange more. During this time some alcohol is usually consumed, but not a lot. Then we have a screw around jam (more improv) and call it. We have fun and joke around, but make sure we play and sound good in front of each other and others. The day after or after that someone will do a quick mix on the practice and email it to everyone. During the week we listen and throw out comments/suggestions (curses/backpats) in a group text and Sunday we do it all over again. Practices range from 3-5 hours typically, and I usually work on fundamentals at home by myself. Sometimes not even plugged in.
    *sometimes a take will be most excellent and near impossible to replicate. If it’s that good, we mix it well and shove it away for a spot on an ep. and we try like hell to make it happen that good again.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
    FatStringer52 and RemoteOutpost like this.
  3. There has already been several threads on the subject, just search "practice routine." You'll be able to get a lot of additional information from those threads.

    With that said, my practice routine is divided between the technical aspects of playing and playing/learning songs.

    The technical portion of practice is done in the morning (I get up half an hour before I need to, to ensure I get in at least 30 minutes in this area every day -- normally it is much longer that 30 minutes tho.) My morning practice is structured around keys. I change keys on a weekly basis. Personally, I feel this gives my brain ample time to absorb the material thoroughly. I practice the major key along with its realtive minor during the week. I cover technique, reading, scales and arpeggios (2 octave), chord progressions within the key, improvisation, soloing, etc.

    During the evening hours, I spend an hour or so playing and learning songs unless I'm playing out.

    Overall, on most days I have my bass in hand at least two hours, usually more.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
  4. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Practice - What I do by myself to make sure I'm improving and preparing for rehearsal.
    Rehearsal - What I do with other musicians to prepare for performance.
    Performance - What we let other people hear.
    ZedLepp likes this.
  5. ryco


    Apr 24, 2005
    I don't practice the same now that I'm getting up there in age as I did even 5 years ago.
    Used to read through bass instruction books, and practice to Abersold workbooks, and different jazz pattern books, and JS Bach cello suites, mostly on fretless. And would spend time learning songs for whatever bands I was working in.

    Anymore I read through JS Bach in the morning working on fretless. Then I turn on the local rock radio station and just start playing along with songs as they come up. This is how I played as a kid - kind of gone back to that. Then I go to a streaming Classic Jazz radio station and play with whatever comes up. Then work on band songs.

    In the afternoon I play out of funk books. Then I turn on the iPod and start playing whatever comes up. Then I work on songs for whatever gig is coming up.

    My goal for playing has always been to learn to be able to play quickly on the fly. I like reading and have done so for years and years, but now I just want to play. This is pretty much how I started as a kid = learning songs by "dropping the needle" - now I don't pick up the needle as often. Just to learn difficult passages, but just going for progressions these days.
    FatStringer52 likes this.
  6. James Collins

    James Collins

    Mar 25, 2017
    Augusta, GA
    I practice a mixture of classical guitar and bass guitar currently. The type of practice is broken into two main categories.

    Category 1 is abstract practice. This generally includes practice based around scales. I try to practice through all of the scales working on some facet which could involve timing, proper fretting, speed, etc depending on my needs. There are some additional studies I will do, but they tend to be related to techniques like slurs or ligandos. I think of this groupings as abstract because it really is not musical.

    Category 2 is my musical practice. This involves studies of more musical pieces. Some of this is learning songs and committing them to memory or working out kinks in a song. Some of this involves short studies that I sight read, etc.

    Ultimately, my practice schedule gets dictated by my work schedule. I have a full time plus job. On days with not much work, I might practice 8 or more hours. Those are few and far between. I probably have that happen 2 or 3 days per month. Otherwise I end up with about an hour a day on average. I try to divide the two categories 20% Category 1 and 80% Category 2.

    Regarding multiple instruments, that seems to be harder to divide properly. I end up focused on one instrument for longer periods of time. I am currently getting guitar instruction, so I practice that everyday and bass 2-3 days per week.
    FatStringer52 likes this.
  7. Warm up with a reading exercise. (I have a few transcription books I’m working through.) 5-10 minutes.

    Hit the newest songs in the setlist. Whatever isn’t committed to memory, or anything with trouble spots. 20-30 minutes.

    any extra time goes to playing “on the fly” (just let YouTube or Spotify radio or whatever play, and try to play along.)... or work on scale patterns up the neck, key determined by our newest “jammin” song. :)

    I try to get in 30 minutes a day minimum.
    FatStringer52 likes this.
  8. ZedLepp


    May 12, 2013
    I have band rehearsal 4 days of the week so the rest of the days I go by what I heard Victor Wooten once say "Just play something, doesn't matter what it is, just play." So I usually spend at least an hour or so just sitting on the couch noodling or working on problems that I have in songs.
  9. I usually put on a backing track from youtube in various keys and play the modes on 2 strings up to the highest fret. Then I move to 3 strings, 4 strings and 5 strings. I've used this approach to work on my familiarity of the sound, the fingerings and the fretboard. I feel various parts of the fretboard are under utilized. After about 30 minutes or so, I feel warmed up then while playing backing tracks, I begin chordal work, playing various chords throughout the fretboard. Finally, I end up incorporating both into an improvisational jam session with myself using passing tones and triads to create a more musical approach.

    I used to use the metronome, work on speed, etc but I think if you playing with music in the background you won't sound stale and play scales or in the same key. One thing I've notice about many musicians is that they feel very uncomfortable in different keys and positions. I was this way but this approach allowed me to playing in flat and sharp keys, up and down the fretboard.

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