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Why do I even bother?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by JimmyM, Sep 7, 2005.

  1. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I sit here today completely frustrated and bewildered. When I was a kid starting out 30 years ago, I would have killed for a resource like this. There was no way you could communicate with great players worldwide and ask questions and get answers back instantaneously. I thought this would be a place where top-flight players and working pros could pass a little of that knowledge along to others and maybe learn a little something new in the process, as even great players still have lots to learn.

    I was wrong. Yeah, there are some people on here who really have a desire to learn and they ask good questions and take the answers they get to heart. But there are a ton of people on here who seem to want everyone to reinforce their bad habits, extoll the virtues of their poor technique, and tell them that they can be great musicians without putting any real work into it.

    Every single day on here I see things that just boggle my mind. I see great players making suggestions and offering advice in the spirit of helping others, and I see people saying how this advice really helped them, and that's cool. And then I see inexperienced players arguing with them and telling them they're wrong. And when you try to explain why certain things are the way they are, or give them real world examples that proves the point you're making, you get replies like "If you're so good, where's all your hit records?" or "The bassist from so-and-so doesn't do that and he's a big star." And it's not high school kids either. It's often adults in their 20's and 30's who should know better.

    I cannot understand this for the life of me. If all you want is reinforcement of your bad habits, then why do you even ask? I am a working pro bassist with a lot of credentials working with many top-shelf acts. There are quite a few others as well. I am also a beginning double bassist with a lot to learn about it. But when I ask a question to someone like Ken Smith or Paul Warburton on the DB side of Talkbass, I ask it and then I shut my mouth and listen to the answers. If I don't understand something I will ask for clarification, but I would never dream of questioning what they tell me, because I know they've been at it for a lot of years and they know their stuff and I don't. Yet on this side, beginners are always questioning the experienced players like they don't know what they're talking about and stating ignorance as fact, even when there is overwhelming evidence against it.

    It completely amazes me. But on the bright side, they ARE clearing a path for players like me to take gigs they might have gotten had they not been so hard-headed, so I and the other working pros on here would like to thank you for not getting any better.
  2. Spikeh

    Spikeh Sex Strings

    "Hitting it big" doesn't mean you're a good bassist... as with most things in life, it's also got to do with being in the right place at the right time, and it's who you know.

    I consider myself an amateur bassist. I'm not a pro by any stretch of the imagination, and I ask some relevant questions on here, as well as stupid questions! I'm here to learn from great bassists, and from amateur bassists. Having other people around you helps you imensely as a beginner (I'm sure you can appreciate that!).

    I honestly don't see these boards in any way the same way you do - I consider them inspiration... there are some good people on here, but naturally people will debate! Not everyone can be brilliant, or dedicated! I personally want to become a brilliant player - I'm trying to do everything I can to play perfectly... but there are limits!

    I don't mean this in an abusive way, but the recent posts I've read of yours on here (starting or just taking part) seem to be pretty negative... not nasty, just plain negative! Be more positive man ;P In with anger, out with love... etc ;P
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Good post!

    But you're presuming that all the posters around here want to get better and want to be good musicians.

    I would seriously doubt that and from experience I think there are a core of maybe 30- 40 who are seriously interested in music and music -making - a lot who drop in and out for specific reasons ...

    But there are obviously large numbers who are just "net nerds" - see the net as a virtual playground and a chance to get the 'attention' they may lack in real life.

    Bass and bass playing may be seen as 'cool' in their circles - but they're never going to take it seriously or work at it - it's just something to do when they're bored with their console games or whatever...:meh:
  4. Sorry man, I only took up bass for the throngs of hot chicks :(

    edit: has anybody seen them?
  5. Bullet-Bob


    Aug 20, 2005
    I am very new here, and am still in my "honeymoon" period I guess. However, your post has merit and I think one of the problems we all face in this day and age is that the anonymity of the internet, and the "facelessness" of forums such as this embolden folks to say things, that they might not or would not say to a persons face.

    I guess you just have to take the good, and filter the bad. Only way to function for me with regard to forums.
  6. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    You've got to give the advice to people who want it. If folks just want to reinforce their suck, let em! More gigs for us.

    I sound callus, but I've been where you are, and that's the answer I come up with.
  7. thewanderer24


    Apr 29, 2002
    SJ, CA
    I'm one of those in between players on here.

    I have a few regular gigging projects, a teacher that I work with regularly and a strong desire to be a better musician. The people I play with are generally happy with my playing, in most cases much more so than I am. I am coming from being a self taught hobbyist to being a serious musician. I have an evolving, but focused practice regime, that I try to spend at least a couple hours a day on, even on the days I have gigs - this is in addition to my full time day job. I already have more people asking me for projects than I have time for, but I am trying to improve my skills to make myself in demand for bigger and better projects.

    I am not at a point yet where I can pay my bills with my bass. I want to get there. I want to learn as much as I possibly can about music, about the business side of things, about how you guys do it. I have a ways to go.

    I come here regularly (I read a lot more than I post) because I have tremendous respect for the core of experienced pros around here. You guys have given me all kinds of stuff to chew on that has helped me to help myself become a better musician and a better person to work with. I am not always really vocal in the contentious threads, because I don't have anything to offer.

    I get the feeling that there are many more folks on here like me that appreciate you guys. This is an open forum on the internet. There are always gonna be very vocal people in places like this that talk big, but obviously can't even begin to back it up. Part of my job as a reader is to sift past that bs to the more useful stuff.

    Those of us who are serious as musicians KNOW that anyone telling us the easy answer that we want to hear is almost always full of it. I know that everything I have accomplished musically, I have accomplished through working really hard at it. I don't believe I have talent. I know I work hard at music and get results.

    Anyway, I'm babbling, but the point is that you experienced pros out there that have been very generous sharing your knowledge, experience, and ideas (you guys know who you are - I won't try and make a list) -- You guys are greatly appreciated. Please don't get discouraged by some of the idiots on here. There are many of us on here that you help a lot!!!

  8. billbern


    Sep 11, 2004
    Daytona Beach, Fl
    Endorsing: Inearz In-ear Monitors
    Why do you do it?

    From reading your post, my guess is that even with the frustration of people who are just trolling for an argument, you'll have an experience, insight or have solved a problem that will help open a new door for another player (young or old, like me). Learning more and sharing what we've already found is a way of musical life for many of us and it looks to me you're of the same notion. All you can do is try to help, the step of accepting the help is out of your hands.

    I agree that this board is an asset I couldn't have imagined when I was starting out.

  9. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Well thank you for the replies. It does make me feel a little better about it. But I was hoping to get a little more out of the people who don't listen to the good advice as to why they're so eager not to listen. I guess I won't hear from them either, as they probably don't even realize they're guilty. I don't think it's trolling per se, I think it's more of a case where they've learned a few good licks and have developed some skill and they just plain don't see the need to improve.

    Spike, yeah, you are right that some of my posts get a little negative. It's just that I've been there and done that a million times over and I know from where I speak, plus I had the good fortune of learning from Dave LaRue and I remember a lot of the things he taught me and the bad habits he corrected and the improvements I made from his teachings. And it just gets disheartening when people sit and argue you about things that are just plain fact. So if I seem negative, that's why. Maybe I should tune them out a little more.

    Mr. Wrong, we ALL started playing to get chicks. Show me someone who started playing for any other reason and I'll show you a liar, a chick, or a gay guy who started playing to pick up guys. But I discovered that the better I played, the more chicks I got ;)
  10. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    It probably comes down to those two words. Realizing that I am not as good as I think I am has not always been the case. At first I was a straight rookie and was humble and unassuming. As I got better and began to recieve praise and positive reinforcement I began to practice much more and became a great bass player(for my age and time devoted to my craft!!). If I had access to a place like this at that point I may have been cocky and ungratefull, and possibly very unaware of the greatness I had access to.
    A combination of my age(lack of maturity)and the musical stage I was in probably made me pretty cocky. I was comparing myself to the competition around me. Winning awards at some of the largest HIGH SCHOOL jazz festivals/competitions around the west coast went to my head. At that time I wasn't really aware that I was comparing my percieved "greatness" to other HIGH SCHOOL and college players.
    The most important point of this is I am now able to look back and realize that I wasn't truly great, just better than the other players who where not as good. It's a very simple concept to read, but unfortunately not at all easy to truly realize until later, for me at least.
    The short ending to this story is that I "relaxed" and lost my competitive "fire". My practice time decreased and so did my growth as a musician. I learned some hard lessons, both in life and in music. Things like getting your musical butt kicked and choking during live performances I cannot put a price on. They were the worst, but some of the most crucial moments in my musical life.

    The two hardest lessens I've had to learn in MUSIC and in LIFE:

    #1) RESPECT

    #2) HUMILITY

    PS-I try to also show some respect to younger members here at TB, though sometimes none is returned, nor deserved. I try to keep the lessons I have learned on the "middle burner" when I'm here as it may help me to relate better with others.
  11. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    LPB, you rock! You pretty much summed up the problem...respect and humility. Without those, your musical (and personal) growth stops dead in its tracks.
  12. fraublugher


    Nov 19, 2004
    ottawa, ontario, canada
    music school retailer
    i empathize jimmy , alas , this is a very big forum [biggest ive seen] and the good makes up for the bad.

    how do you teach something that [ in most cases] wont garner results for years to come ?

    years to come doesnt jib with the immediate result oriented society that we [ but mostly the wippersnappers] live in now.

    so , dont teach about music , teach a good recipe for goulash or homestyle red beans and rice , and when they get it right , you have an example and their attention.
  13. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Why would anyone think that everyone that's on this board or anyone in any field or endeavor wants to get better? :D Everyone has their own reasons for posting and reading here. Everyone has their own reasons and goals when it comes to an instrument. Everyone does not want to become a pro player, gig, read music, improve their ear, etc. And that's perfectly okay because it's their own descision to make.
  14. Spikeh

    Spikeh Sex Strings

    I'm pretty much the same as thewanderer24 - but I don't consider myself a "in between" or "tempremental" player - I've been serious about it for quite some time now, and I have no desire to lose that enthusiasm. I know my faults, I could list them, but this isn't the post for it (but I feel it might be a good post!).

    I started playing bass... because I wanted to be able to make the sounds that I listen to every day... not because I wanted to pull women, OR create my own music. I just wanted to play "Around the World" by the Chilis... that's what got me interested (and I still can't play it, although I haven't tried, heh ;P).

    Now I play the bass for a very different reason - I play to become a musician... I'd love to pay the bills playing music... I'd love to write my own basslines / lyrics to a melody one of my guitarists brings to a jam session... and I will, we're just not quite there yet! I want to learn everything about everything... I want to thumb better than Wooten... I want to finger better than any of the bassists I love to watch / listen to, I want to create better and more interesting basslines than any of them... I honestly can't think of an ulterior motive for playing bass... I just love the feeling of having a bass in my hand and playing that dropped D at setting 8 on my 300W tube...

    I think you should just ignore what annoys you Jimmy - I come on here to get other people's opinions... usually I get the answers that I'm already thinking off, but I just need them confirming before I 'waste time' trying to learn ./ buy something that's wrong... when I don't get those answers, I go away and look up information and take the advice I'm given - ALL of the advice (good or bad)... a thread usually sorts itself out in the end!
  15. JohnBarr


    Mar 19, 2004
    Central NY
    My .02, having run a number of these things in the old days of the net

    you can look at this form, and all similar, sort of like a neighborhood bar.

    People come in. Hang out. Talk. Mostly talk too much and just to talk.
    So you have the gang of regulars who got to know one another and are usually found in a corner talking among themselves. Friendly enough if you get their attention. One or two usually take on an unoffical lead in the social atmosphere of the place.

    A few loud mouths with nothing to say and saying it all the time. In the bar they talk to any one who is near, usually ready for an argument and they never buy a round.

    A few know-it-alls, some of whom really do know it all, most of whom don't. In the bar these are the guys with all the baseball facts for the past 75 years. Which they recite at the drop of a cap.

    Some just drop in for a drink, get what they want and leave. Visitors.

    And lots, maybe most, are just there to talk about a subject they like and glad to have some company and maybe really don't know that much in the first place. Who's the best pitcher? what's your favorite beer? Mostly it goes no place, but there's no end to it and no one really cares. Every day another one walks in and wants to know what your favorite color pick gurad is. Sooner or later someone presses a hot button and a little pizzing contest flairs up.

    Sometimes the bartender comes out from behind the bar, but usually he has enough sense to stay quiet and keep things moving.

    But what you get here isn't really different from what you get any place when two or more people get together.

  16. thewanderer24


    Apr 29, 2002
    SJ, CA

    For the record, what I meant by "in between" was that I am in between the excited amateur and the seasoned pro. I am getting paid to play once or twice a week these days, and slowly getting better gigs. I know my goals musically and professionally, and they revolve around becoming one of these old seasoned pros. The advice I have gotten on here has been very helpful in getting that direction.
  17. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    The internet can be a frustrating place that's for sure.

    The way I see it, some people just haven't figured out what it's all about yet, this music thing.

    I'm only just starting out on my journey (I'm sure I always will be.. does anyone ever feel any different?), but in the past year or so, I've felt that I'm starting to "get it" more than I ever have.
    It sounds stupidly obvious, and clich├ęd, but the more I learn, the more I realise I have an infinite amount to learn. I've found that in itself incredibly humbling and it is a lesson I know I will continue to learn over and over for the rest of my life. Moreover, coming to terms with it has given me a real sense of place. It feels almost spiritual.

    Nevertheless, it's very difficult to step aside and to stop worrying about reaching a destination and just get on enjoy the journey. To throw away the notion of being a better or worse player than someone else and just focus on playing my music. It's all too easy to lose sight of what's important.

    On web forums we've all read loads of dreadfully arrogant and ignorant posts by people who clearly can't see beyond the boundaries of whatwever goldfish bowel they happen to be swimming in. You just have to ignore it.
    For every ten people who shout you down for helping them, isn't it worth it for the one person who learns your sharing, from your experience? I think so and I'm thankful that those I learn from feel the same way.

    To roundup, I think we've all been on both sides of the coin on this one, I know I have and there will be times where I act like an idiot again.. so maybe one or two of the trolls will get there eventually?

  18. I'll be having the Southeast GTG at my house in a few weeks. A handful of players, whom I've never met, will be dropping in for a jam. I would have never been able to exchange ideas with others and grow without this forum. Normally I lurk on other forums and never support. This group is so good and I found it so useful I decided to pony up. It's a valuable tool.

    I've been the recipient of some great advice and help. When I joined a latin project and needed help with ethnic bass lines, Alvaro Gomez had already PM'd me and offered mp3's and even a video. I'm relatively new to the board and try not overstep my bounds. I feel that I might have something to offer, but I can see who the big boys are and I RESPECT that. It's not about your age or how man posts under your belt. There's a certain way these guys and girls go about speaking. You just know they're not full of crap and genuine.

    Unfortunately, I have seen some pretty nasty stuff on this board. I've also seen really ridiculous stuff too. It's true, when you're anonymous and have no accountability other than a username, people can be pretty bold.

    The good here far outweighs the bad.
  19. 5stringFanatic


    Mar 3, 2004
    NY, USA
    Sorry if this is a tad bit off topic.

    however, i wanted to thank you JimmyM. I come to these forums alot, and ive been a member here for a little over a year now, and my post count is very small and minimal. Mostly, because i recognize that there are people on these forums that i can learn so much from, and i try to learn from every experience that i encounter in life. I come to these forums and i just read.. for hours i can sit here and just read all the posts made by people, and take in all the advice offered to others.

    So thank you to all those who offer your wisdom, know that it does make a difference and it does help. This is by far the best resource a bass player can hope for.

    Kind Regards,
  20. I think there may be some clashes between people who see playing bass as a career and those who see it as a hobby, and that that comes from the nature of the subject. Music is also very subjective and therefore it is easy to talk and talk based only on opinion and not facts. I think you don't see as many 'stupid' posts at an Accounting forum, because everybody takes it very seriously. Try to laugh at it. I don't think it is possible to get rid of in an open forum (and a closed private forum would not get off the ground).