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Take a Break!


wraub

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I recently returned from a 2 week trip to my old home town, where I helped my mom with some home renovations. 2 weeks of too little sleep, physical labor, no cable or internet...

and no bass. No stringed instruments at all, ecxept for that little flossy-toothpick thing.

At first, I was ok. Then, later, I was less ok, and then, still later, I mostly forgot about playing.

Mostly.

 

When I returned home, I made an interesting discovery.

I played better. Or, at least, the way I approached what I played had changed, my muscles felt more relaxed and flexible, and I found myself less inclined to fall into the usual "stock-licks" stuff we all sometimes approach. I actually liked hearing myself. :)

 

In short, a vacation from playing, no thoughts at all about rehearsal, practice, band material...nothing.

Did me a world of good.

 

So, in light of the constant reminders to play, to practice, to be creative and to work at the top of our respective bass games, here's a different opinion.

 

Take a break.

You may not know how much you need it.

 

Peace,

 

wraub

 

I'm a lot more like I am now than I was when I got here.

 

 

 

 

 

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I agree. As much as I believe having the instrument in hand daily contributes to improved playing over time (the rapidity of improvement linked to the thoughtfulness and concentration or the practice or performance), breaks are also good.

 

Sometimes I find playing a different instrument for a couple of days makes me even more refreshed, though. For example, pulling out my harmonicas or trying to learn another couple of chords on g****r.

 

Peace.

--Dub $$

 

PS: Welcome back! :wave:

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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Originally posted by Dr. Sweet Willie:

Sometimes I find playing a different instrument for a couple of days makes me even more refreshed, though. For example, pulling out my harmonicas or trying to learn another couple of chords on g****r.

I find this to be the case on my own part as well. Even switching from a fretted bass to a fretless helps, and going from a 4 stringer to a 6 stringed bass can cause a change in the way I approach playing.

 

I guess the bottom line is that too much of anything can be a bad thing - excluding cowbell. :D

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Actually ... With the period leading up to the exams, and the exams themselves (which finished yesterday for me) I have taken a 2 month break.

 

And I must admit, it seems to have given me the opportunity to adapt my playing. I'm trying to soften my attack, basically, cos I tempt to dig in a bit too hard for my own taste & benefit.

 

Am also working on an ear transcription for The Who's "Behind Blue Eyes". Tabs galore for that one, but following davebrownbass\' advice , I'm doing it by ear anyway :D

"I'm a work in progress." Micky Barnes

 

The Ross Brown Shirt World Tour

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I agree that a switch-up can be a help. Just the change from my fretted to fretless makes me think and approach things differently.

 

But an actual sabbatical always re-sets my mindset, so to speak, disrupts thing to a larger and more helpful degree.

Just put it down, and walk away.

 

It works for me.

 

 

Peace,

 

wraub

 

p.s. Thanks, Dr.!

 

I'm a lot more like I am now than I was when I got here.

 

 

 

 

 

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I took a good portion of 2004 off from playing. I came back to the instrument feeling much fresher about things. It's good to take some time away from the instrument from time to time to just live life. After all, the things in everyday life are what inspire me to play.

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Originally posted by Nicklab:

It's good to take some time away from the instrument from time to time to just live life. After all, the things in everyday life are what inspire me to play.

It's good to take some time away from living life just to play the instrument. After all, playing bass is what inspires us to live.

 

It provides the groove to make our booties move. :cool:

 

Peace.

--SW

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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I agree.

 

When I take a few weeks (or even months) away from playing, I lose a little bit on the chops side, but I usually gain a LOT on the conceptual side.

 

I come back with new ideas and/or a new way of looking at the instrument and after a week or so, whatever I lost in technique comes back, too.

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I teach this way quite frequently.

 

I'll teach a solo in July, then go on to something else, and pick it back up in December for a February contest.

 

I've experienced this phenomenon many times...you work a lick to death and barely can play it. Put it away for 5 months, and come back and it's easy.

 

Here's my explanation: I discovered that if I'm playing something, and try to sing the lick while I'm drivin' or something, I make the SAME MISTAKE SINGING AS I DO PLAYING!!!! That tells me that the mistake is somewhere in my perception of the music, not ONLY in my fingers.

 

Conversely, if I take some time off, I'll think of the lick from time to time, and over time, the tune will "correct" itself in my brain....that is, I'll image it the way it truly is, not in how I play it.

 

Come back to it later, and play to the picture I have in my head and voila! There it is!

Yep. I'm the other voice in the head of davebrownbass.
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Originally posted by Dr. Sweet Willie:

Originally posted by Nicklab:

It's good to take some time away from the instrument from time to time to just live life. After all, the things in everyday life are what inspire me to play.

It's good to take some time away from living life just to play the instrument. After all, playing bass is what inspires us to live.

 

It provides the groove to make our booties move. :cool:

 

Peace.

--SW

Touche!

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I tend to take breaks of a couple of weeks between intense playing schedules. I find it also helps me write music as well when I've not thought about it for a while - sucking up new music and ideas in the break then converting them later.

 

Though I doo actually have to be physically away from my basses to do this - if there is one laying around I will always noodle. Good thing is I've been spending more and more time in london lately with a delightful girl - and it seems a little strange to bring a bass to her place - so i leave it here.

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Good advice, wraub! I've played my bass twice since our DVD show last July. Injuries, illness, random circumstances have conspired to keep me from playing, and I've been in a panic thinking I'll never be able to play as well as I did when we got off tour. But when we did have a chance to play last month, it felt better than ever. Sure, the muscles were a little stiff, but the feeling was great, and it wasn't anything that couldn't be whipped into shape in a week or two! :) After a long period of HAVING to play, it's been nice having NOT to play because it makes we want to do it more!
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Originally posted by clatteramy:

Injuries, illness, random circumstances have conspired to keep me from playing...

Any time to get back to your language studies -- perhaps brush up your Russian with some light reading from, say, Dostoevsky in his mother tongue? ;):D

 

Peace.

--Sweet Willie

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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Interesting thread...

 

I was just thinking the other day, how I actually feel guilty because I have this ritual thing I do before an intense period of playing shows or learning a bunch of new material. And it doesn't sit well with the common wisdom that says 'practice every day'.

 

I generally force myself not to play my bass for a week to ten days before I embark on a period of intense woodshedding.

 

I'm about to finish up on a show or two with the band I'm leaving, and this band hasn't played for over a month, so some serious review of the rep is in order. While at the same time I have formed a new funk band with some other great musicans, all of whom I have worked with in the past. So naturally, the hard work of establishing a three set repertoire has begun with the new band.

 

I find that taking a break before approaching a period of intense playing and leanring new material does wonders in creating perspective, and also a kind of 'hunger' to really dig in.

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Last night was the first night that I've touched a bass since I was at the NAMM show, and the first time I've played with a band in a little over 2 weeks.

 

I had this same experience that you had, wraub. I have had this experience before when taking a few weeks off from playing. It's like a fresh start and new ideas just seem to come from no where. It's very enjoyable.

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Originally posted by Dr. Sweet Willie:

Dostoevsky in his mother tongue?

Nice doc - talking about somebody's mother.

 

Here's a thread I can't relate to, though i wish I could. I've been struggling to find anything that resembles regular playing time. Some weeks I pick the bass up to play Mass on Sunday and that's it. Sometimes it's worse. Taking a break would mean I was actually playing...

 

The only thing I'll say is that my band material comes right back to my fingers. A bit of stiffness and awkwardness presents itself sometimes, but I'm mostly amazed I lay it down as I do.

 

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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Originally posted by Dr. Sweet Willie:

Originally posted by clatteramy:

Injuries, illness, random circumstances have conspired to keep me from playing...

Any time to get back to your language studies -- perhaps brush up your Russian with some light reading from, say, Dostoevsky in his mother tongue? ;):D

 

Peace.

--Sweet Willie

Haha! They're all sitting right there on my shelf! One shelf for books in French, one for Russian. Funny, it never occured to me to do that during my down time! ;) What I DID do was start writing a novel of my own which has been fun!
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Originally posted by Dave Brown:

I teach this way quite frequently.

 

I'll teach a solo in July, then go on to something else, and pick it back up in December for a February contest.

 

I've experienced this phenomenon many times...you work a lick to death and barely can play it. Put it away for 5 months, and come back and it's easy.

 

Here's my explanation: I discovered that if I'm playing something, and try to sing the lick while I'm drivin' or something, I make the SAME MISTAKE SINGING AS I DO PLAYING!!!! That tells me that the mistake is somewhere in my perception of the music, not ONLY in my fingers.

 

Conversely, if I take some time off, I'll think of the lick from time to time, and over time, the tune will "correct" itself in my brain....that is, I'll image it the way it truly is, not in how I play it.

 

Come back to it later, and play to the picture I have in my head and voila! There it is!

This kind of thing works for me too. I don't care what Jeff Berlin says, I practice without my bass all the time! (for those who remember that BP article from years ago) :)

 

Music happens in the brain too. :idea:

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