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Zen state for playing

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by basschrs, Oct 5, 2008.

  1. I was just wondering how many of you have ever found your "zen" while playing live? You know, the place where everything is perfect and musically amazing, and it just makes you happy to be there and just listen. I have found it before, usually only lasts a few seconds in a song, but I seem to get lost with what the next notes are when I hit "zen". It's like, "wow, this is amazing and if I ended my career musically right now I would be happy" one minute, to "holy crap where am I in the song!" the next (dang zen messing me up :). Not sure if you know what I'm talking about, just wanted to share.
  2. KirkW


    Apr 16, 2006
    Casco, ME
    Absa Fricking Lootely! I've had this same thing happen to me. It's a real chore to recover sometimes after zoning out (zening?). Mostly I've been trying stop short of total zoning so I can enjoy the moment but not get into train wreck territory. This is probably a lot easier for more experienced players. I've only been playing for about 3 years.
  3. Twiggy Jr.

    Twiggy Jr.

    Nov 17, 2005
    i love it
    it used to happen to me occassionally, now every time i play it seems to get there
    for me, though, it seems my fingers just become one w/ the strings and almost (oddly as it sounds) is like they actually stretch a few inches
    then you just happen to be able to hit every fret (no matter how much you have to shift on the fretboard) w/o looking...
  4. Nyarlathotep

    Nyarlathotep Banned

    Feb 5, 2006
    West Coast of Canada
    I totally love finding that center, even when just playing by myself. Groovyness :D :bassist:

    EDIT: Actually I totally got into that state jamming out to some flamenco stuff with my pops the other day. 'Twas amazingness :D
  5. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    you have to practice letting go and trusting. There are books if you are really interested. The Music Lesson by Victor Wooten, Zen of Guitar, and Effortless Mastery.
  6. j.a.e.r.i.p


    Apr 8, 2007
    I find that a few choruses into some hard bob, (usually hank mobley tunes, don't know why) I just get into a zone where the changes all just come under my hands perfectly, it's an interesting feeling to have walking go from an intellectual thing to...something automatic
  7. I think it's the reason I'm still playing after 30+ years. When it happens there is nothing like it and I'm sure it has something to do with physics, acoustics, energy and spirit... funny hard to find when your looking for it kinda of like a good woman...
  8. Nyarlathotep

    Nyarlathotep Banned

    Feb 5, 2006
    West Coast of Canada
    I also find that I like listening to music that has a similar effect, albeit on a smaller scale. I would never want to get into that zen state and run into a telephone pole.

    Although.... I guess I could quote some zen "scripture" about being in the moment and highly aware at the same time.
  9. dulouz


    Dec 7, 2006
    If you have to look for that space in which reality fades, it will alwayas escape you.

    Excellent reading!!! Another one is "Zen Mind Beginner's Mind"
  10. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    I been there myself.

    in fact ,we took to referring to that state as "THERE"...like after a particularly good set, I'd turn to the drummer and say "dude, we were THERE!"

    IMHO it's a state of egoless engagement in the moment, so the instant you think "I'm THERE!" it pulls you out of nirvana and back into the dive bar you happen to be playing in :)

    "Consciousness of self is your greatest enemy" -Bruce Lee
  11. I've been there and it's a great feeling. In my case my vision actually starts to darken and things start to tunnel. It's like my mind is switching energy from the sense of vision over to the sense of hearing and feel. Absolutely amazing state of mind where it seems effortless to hit the right notes at the right time.

    I've experienced it mostly on guitar, but have been there on bass and keys a few times over the years.
  12. DudeistMonk


    Apr 13, 2008
    Newark, NJ
    Been there a few times on my own, a few times with a drummer...trying to achieve it with a guitarist. Also I'm trying to make it consistent and immediate.

    Like if I'm going to hit that "There are no wrong notes" state it usually takes me a while to warm up to it...and some days it just wont come. I'd love to be able to plug in and play like that right off the street and maintain it all night....hell I'd really love to be able to play like that in front of my instructor, I never play up to my potential in those situations.

    It seems to be all about relaxation, trusting your subconscious mind to hit the notes instead of actively controlling your fingers. It also only seems to work better when I'm improving because if I hit a wrong note I can turn it into a right one by just going off it and altering the groove. I dunno how I would do that if I had to stick to changes.

    I also think this is why guitarists are such wankers, seems like a requirement of a good guitar solo is to zen out...I'm sure they loose all concept of time and space.
  13. paganjack


    Dec 25, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    it's a beautiful thing. it happens now and again, sometimes through that weird sort of zen effort [concentrating on not concentrating], sometimes completely out of the blue.

    it sometimes seems easier to me to achieve this state while playing bass than while actually meditating... go figure.
  14. John Wentzien

    John Wentzien

    Jun 25, 2007
    Elberta, AL
    Artist:TC Electronic RH450 bass system (original test-pilot)
    Read some J. Krishnamurti just for fun.
    He describes this state in great detail....

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