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Why do you play what you play?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Harper, Sep 11, 2008.

  1. Harper


    Nov 10, 2001
    First off, I play in a rock cover band that does pretty well in my neck of the woods. We aren't out to be Led Zeppelin or anything, but we love to play and have a good time doing so.

    I've been playing about 15 years, and would say I've diligently practiced the last 10 of those, sometimes up to 3 or 4 hours a day. For a lot of that time I had myself convinced that I was going build the chops up and rock it like Jaco, Jeff Berlin, yada yada.

    I recently had the epiphany that *I don't care* about playing lead bass or jazz. Just isn't me. While I have the utmost respect and admiration for players of that ilk, I'm much more a band guy. My heroes have always been guys like (don't laugh) Nikki Sixx and Gene Simmons on up to Mark Hoppus. Blasphemy, I know.

    I guess I hadn't stopped to think about why I was trying to play like that. Even if I could those chops wouldn't be leaving the bedroom or basement.

    So beyond learning tunes to play in the band I don't really practice anymore. Besides the usual worthy reasons (family, work) I've found there's no reason at this point to play scales (know em) or work on speed (I'm as fast as I'm going to be, not that I need to be for the music I play) or think about theory (know too much as it is, zzzzzz....).

    Anyone else ever get like this? A few months ago I confused it with a slump, but I don't think that's the case because I still loved performing and playing out.
  2. brivello


    Jun 27, 2008
    I'm on the opposite end of things.


    This is what I don't understand. Why are guys like these your "heroes"? what did they do to become Heroic?. I'm not saying the music is bad, or that you shouldn't like them, but to me they just seem like mediocre bass players who are in bands that got a pretty good break.

    I mean... they are good at what they play...but there is a huge amount of stuff that is more musically interesting to me.
  3. Bassenstien


    Jun 13, 2006
    I took jazz lessons for a few years and actually got pretty good. I never play jazz anymore and almost strictly play doom metal with my band of 5 years now (I still jam some blues and Post rock stuff with my buds). Let me tell you doom is some of the easiest music to play technically, but I wouldn't have it any other way. As long as I like what im doing (which I do), I don't really worry about becoming a virtuoso so to speak. :cool:
  4. Harper


    Nov 10, 2001
    Tastes may vary, but I like them because they write (in my opinion) cool tunes and put on good shows. Could I play them under the table? I sure could. Could I pull off everything else that made them who they are? Not a chance.

    I may be wrong, but I appreciate the "big rock show". I care a lot more about that than I do whether or not someone can play Giant Steps. Not to say the music isn't important. I loath lip syncing and wouldn't watch a "band" where people are not playing instruments if you paid me to. On the other hand there aren't a lot of people I'd pay to watch stare at their fingers and play jazz either.
  5. MrLenny


    Jun 10, 2006
    So. N.H.
    You're in a slump. I took a break from the gig scene and found out
    that there is a lot to learn and grow with by checking out different music
    and styles.
    I play the local scene to keep my interest in playing. if not I might end
    up getting a fishin boat or etc.
    Don't worry. Be happy.
  6. Mojo-Man


    Feb 11, 2003

    I've always had a wide range of musical styles.
    I listen to many different styles of music.
    Thus, as a player, I play many different gigs.
    Here are some of my last gigs,
    GB wedding band.
    Blues band.
    Country swing band. (upright bass)
    50's and 60's rock, R&B. (Some songs were played on "washtub" bass)
    Beatles, 70's cover band.
    Fusion style trio.
    Pit, band for theater show.

    I'm not great at all the above styles, but, I know then well enough to
    get by, and sound good.

    You play what you are.
    Everyone is different.
  7. Harper


    Nov 10, 2001
    I dunno...I've been around the genre block a few times. I always come back to the rock.
  8. I get what you're saying about returning to rock. I finished jazz school spent time in NYC gigging, began to hate it, joined a rock band and love music again. With all that said, I still play theater gigs, jazz sessions (on both electric and upright), and strive to be the best MUSICIAN I can be. I'd never take back the time I spent in jazz school, I learned so much and am better at whatever I choose to do because of it. I love a good rock song, but still love to hear folks blowing jazz. It's all just notes and rhythm.
  9. Harper


    Nov 10, 2001
    That's a good point. I certainly apply the chops I did pick up to what I'm playing now, and whatever phase I went through made me a much better musician.
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Nothing wrong with liking simple music, but don't dumb yourself down to play it. As you get older, the ability to play more complex music can actually get you gigs and keep you working long after you're too old to play Blink 182 covers.
  11. I think another point is, to play even the simplest of music requires great ability on your instrument. If you listen to ANY popular/famous band, those people are pretty solid on their instruments.

    Plus practice is what keeps music alive in us, moving forward is a part of life and music. If you still played the same today as you did 10 years ago, you'd be pretty depressed don't ya think?
  12. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    I explored jazz for years but always as an exercise in applying theory -never really expecting to be gigging jazz cat (doubt I have the chops)

    When Cuban/Latin music was popular in the late 90's I played in a 'salsa' band and learned quite a lot. I came away feeling that any genre, if honestly embraced and studied, will be instructive and beneficial.

    These days I like to play original pop/rock (some would say it's "indie" pop/rock), because I like working with a simple strong melody/progression, and rather than worrying about executing difficult technical challenges, I am focusing more on clean technique, listening and feel.
  13. Mainly to have fun.
  14. bassbully

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

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    I'm with you and for the most part and also do like you. I dont care about fancy chops, theory etc. My fav players are bassists who hold the floor like your bass hero's. I hate bass solo's if they are long or bassists solo albums :spit: Bass is what it is bass. Thump it ,pump it ,slap it , pick it or walk it and I'm down.

    I practice a bit but like you mostly I cover new material for my country band who does originals and covers as well as some light rock and oldies.

    As i have said some guys want to play the bass some want to learn it while they play. Once you are past the basic learning curve at something you choose to be decent at. All thats left is to improve thru experience or continue the education of what ever it is. I did this with fishing years ago...yep fishing i know. Now i just fish for fun like my bass playing. I threw the reasons why and what for out the window and play from the heart and I'm happy.
  15. Twiggy Jr.

    Twiggy Jr.

    Nov 17, 2005
    b/c twiggy inspired me, he knows how to write awesome music that the bass (sometimes) drives the point home w/o following the guitar (the reflecting god, minute of decay, dope show, etc)
    and b/c, w/ no musical training my friend started playing the guitar and said "i need a bassist, learn to play the bass"
    "no way, i'm no musician" i responded
    "dude, it's easy, it only has 4 strings, one string/note at a time"
    little did i know he couldn't be more wrong
    and i looooooooove it
    my only addiction
    (next to boobs)
  16. Boobs :hyper:
  17. mrkreuzschlitz


    Jun 30, 2008
    Dacula, GA
    My band just played our "farewell" show last night. We headlined to a sold out venue, and we're a so called metal band. Think along the lines of The Devil Wears Prada, kinda like that. I play it because its fun, I have a knack for it, and I like it. I was really happy after we finished, and kinda bummed that it was our last.
  18. Trust me, no matter where you are in your playing. Theres always something to practice.

    After all...

    Its not what you say that counts... Its HOW you say it.
  19. Chipsonfire


    Jul 20, 2007
    Socorro, NM
    I'm sorry for derailing this conversation, but this post was so ironic, it made me laugh:
    Written this way, it's grammatically correct, but not at all what you were trying to say lol. It should be written "Trust me; no matter where you are in your playing, there's always something to practice." It gets ironic when you go on to say
    BTW, no offense is meant at all in this. I'm just a bit of a grammar nazi and this made me giggle because of the inherent irony in it :bag::D
  20. dwanetom


    Aug 20, 2008
    I think as long as you're evolving it will remain fun for you. I taught public school music for 33 years and started to play bass because we needed one for pep band, which led me to the basics of technique and music reading. That evolved into the Big Band I was playing trumpet in that needed a bass player, so I switched to bass for about 3 years (upright and electric), which further improved my technique and music reading. That evolved into several ballroom dance bands where I learned to read off lead sheets. When I was 60 years old I joined up with a classic rock cover band, which really developed my ear and more technique. At my age I have no inclinations to become a rock star. My goal is to lay down an intelligent bass line and if I can do that I get a lot of satisfaction from it. I'm having a ball.

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