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Your practice habits


ZZ Thorn

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Since there seems to be so many knowledgable, talented bassists on this site, I really wanna know how you guys got there. I've been playing for almost 6 years, and for the first 4 years I played along with my favorite CDs almost exclusively and couldn't read.

 

Now my routine is: practice 2-3 hours a day. First hour is reading music, second hour is learning new written music, third hour is playing along with CDs/practicing band music. I'm mainly trying to improve my reading ability and prepare for my band jams nowadays. There's leeway here of course, but not in the daily time committment.

 

If anyone would share their practice routines, how they have progressed over the years and any tips I'd sure love to read 'em. What got you guys to improve a lot - what showed results? What pitfalls should I avoid? I'd really appreciate hearing what the pros do too.

 

Getting a teacher

Playing with a band in public

Listen to non-crappy music and emulating that

Persistence

 

These seem key...

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Originally posted by davio:

Careful 09, when you're in Gary, Indiana, teacher starts with T and that rhymes with P and that stands for pool!

 

My apologies for the vague and probably unwanted reference.

I was forced to watch The Music Man over and over and over as a kid........

An 8 year old can only take so much!!!!!!!!

Tenstrum

 

"Paranoid? Probably. But just because you're paranoid doesn't mean there isn't an invisible demon about to eat your face."

Harry Dresden, Storm Front

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ZZ Thorn - It's from a musical/play called The Music Man. Where else could you get a song that features the following lyrics?

 

"Gary, Indiana, Gary, Indiana, Gary, Indiana, Gary, Indiana!"

 

Or something like that. :)

 

As for practicing, I do mostly workouts nowadays, concentrating on speed and technique. Infrequently (but now) I will have a large body of music to learn, either covers or originals, so I'll spend a few hours a day learning those songs, but that comes pretty quickly to me. I never just jam along to a song I already know because I do that enough with the bands I'm in.

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Sweet Mary how did I not guess that? I can't tell you how many people have burst into that song when I tell them I live in Gary, Indiana.

 

LOL Tenstrum, I feel your pain. I too was forced to watch musicals as a child by the women in my family. It should be considered child abuse! "West Side Story" and "The Sound of Music" still make me violently ill, or just plain violent.

 

Thankfully, I've never seen "the Music Man."

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Originally posted by ZZ Thorn:

Thankfully, I've never seen "the Music Man."

It's not that bad as far as musicals go. If you ever survived Cats, The Music Man would be a walk in the park.
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Originally posted by davio:

Careful 09, when you're in Gary, Indiana, teacher starts with T and that rhymes with P and that stands for pool!

 

My apologies for the vague and probably unwanted reference.

Post of the Day to davio for the Random "Music Man" reference that made me laugh.

 

And it's not the Leo Fender MusicMan we're talkin' 'bout here.

 

Oh yeah. Advice.

 

Get in a local community college jazz band and take lessons from a jazz-literate teacher.

 

Listening to music that doesn't suck is also good. Unfortunately, it takes a lot of training to recognize non-sucking music when it comes along. So listen to everything, but find the music you hate the most that many other people you admire love...and learn why they love it.

"Let's raise the level of this conversation" -- Jeremy Cohen, in the Picasso Thread.

 

Still spendin' that political capital far faster than I can earn it...stretched way out on a limb here and looking for a better interest rate.

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You live in Gary. I can't visit you.

Indiana wants me, but I can't go back there....

 

There's no question that you are working hard. Getting a teacher will help you get more results from your time (I'd go with whoever zeronyne recommends). Playing with people is also a big big thing. You need to learn some seemingly fundamental things - like how to watch the band for queues, how to watch the drummer, how to read the guitarist or keyboardist's hands to see what chord we're on (or at least get close) and how to give your own signals. Also, you need to learn the language. Your teacher may say things like "we will work on a walking pattern that is 2 measures of A and two measures of D repeating". The band may say "12 bar in G" or scream out "go to the IV chord". You may know all this stuff now, but it's different in the heat of making music.

 

3 hours a day? Damn - I'd be decent if I could do that....

 

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 Tom Capasso:

[3 hours a day? Damn - I'd be decent if I could do that....

 

Tom [/QB]

You'd think I'd be decent too with all this practicing, but...LOL. I'm trying to work hard - when you work a regular job 40 hours a week it's hard to put in serious hours like I'm sure many are. Personal time is so precious with a straight job, so I really have to stay disciplined to stay in my routine. If I had a wife and kids, there'd be no way I could do it.

 

I have a great teacher who is a pro jazz player(not enough about James Brown for me, but he's awesome anyway) and I'm practicing with a drummer (who is, like me, in the pocket). Our guitarist left for Seattle to get his PhD, the idiot!

 

Getting a teacher has been really important - he's learning me that solid theoretical foundation.

 

People seem to be really big on the instructional videos here - I've never used one. I like funk/blues/rock - can anyone really recommend one? I read here that Rocco Prestia had a good one. Currently I'm working off the "Standing in the Shadows of Motown" James Jamerson book.

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I have a great teacher who is a pro jazz player(not enough about James Brown for me, but he's awesome anyway) and I'm practicing with a drummer (who is, like me, in the pocket).
check this out, it blew me away!

 

some reviews say the sound isn't good, but i think it's great.

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Originally posted by cloclo:

I have a great teacher who is a pro jazz player(not enough about James Brown for me, but he's awesome anyway) and I'm practicing with a drummer (who is, like me, in the pocket).
check this out, it blew me away!

 

some reviews say the sound isn't good, but i think it's great.

I got that one - it's also sold as "the Lost James Brown tapes." Lots of good stuff. Circa 1979.

 

What I have on VHS, that is unfortunately now no longer working it's so old and been so thoroughly used, is tape of all of James's Soul Train performances. If you can get that, spend whatever it takes. The music is unreal, James is awesome.

 

Good luck finding it tho. I got mine from a store, this is back in 1998, in Chicago (on Clark St.)that specialized in music videos. The guy didn't transfer his stuff to DVD and went out of business?! He just wouldn't change with the times, and it's such a shame cuz he had so many killer tapes....

 

I've also got a tape from LA circa early 1980s - not that great actually. I've got another one that's from Boston, and it's taped the day MLK got shot, and the mayor of Boston comes out and him and James urge the crowd not to tear Boston (which is considered by many to be the most racist city in the north (don't kill the messenger)) a new one.

 

Maceo does a comedy routine, and there's a female singer opening act that's pretty darn good. The music is good, but not long, quality is all right. Jimmy "Chank" Nolen sounds great.

 

If I get anything more I'll let a fellow JB fan know. I have to get those Soul Train tapes and transfer it to CD, but the one I have is no good anymore. I've looked for it, but never seen it sold, which is such a shame cuz the music is of such high quality. 80 minutes of live James, circa I'd say 1971, and then the second half is from 1973. Fred and Maceo are on the second half. A young Al Sharpton gives James an award for his charity work or something, LOL, James's daughter Deonna dances, James has like 6 costume changes, LOL. Oh yeah, it sounds SO FRIGGIN AWESOME! The guitars are so killer. Fred Thomas is a padlock on bass.

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wow, thank you very much for all that info!!

i'll keep my eyes open and will certainly let you know if anything turns up concerning the 'soul train tapes'. aaaaaaaaah, i cannot wait!

 

i want it now! (mentally blocks out the Queen riff, too late now, it's all over the place, i want it all, i want it now, aaaaaa, hate it when that happens)

 

sorry for the off-topic side-tracking here :D , i WILL let you know, but first, i will let you all continue on this thread...

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No problem for another JB freak. I'm a huge JB freak - here's my story with this tape. I got it in 1998 when I was taking a year off from university, working double shifts as a waiter at Carson's Ribs and making pretty bad dough. Every night for months I'd come home, smoke 'cigarettes' and watch this video. And I didn't even play the bass back then!

 

I gotta find another copy of that tape.... If I find one I'll let you know.

 

EDIT: So I did some searching on the net, and I've sent a couple emails to some guys who claim to be selling/trading it. I tell ya, if I get it, first thing I'm doing is downloading the music to a CD so I won't lose it. The quality of the recording as well as the tunes themselves are outrageous. JB in his prime, and with the Fred Wesley-era JBs.

 

My favorite JB stuff is actually from a couple years earlier with the "original JBs," when Bootsy and his bro the tremendously underrated guitarist Phelps Collins were in the group. Bootsy with James was was so tremendous - then he took too much acid and was never as awesome, IMHO. One of these guys claims to sell/trade a rare video from France with the 'original JBs!' I'd pay a king's ransom for that.

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So anyways, feel free to post your practice habits here. I'd love to read and steal them.

 

Or post about your old habits, when you were an up and comer and not the whiz you are now. Did you have a time in your life where you really practiced a ton? Or you just practiced an hour a day for 20 years.... Anything at all would be much appreciated.

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So I got an email back from a James Brown tape guy. Turns out he's selling copies of that Soul Train on DVD for $30. It is seriously, THE BOMB!!!!!

 

He also sez he has, now brace yourself, seriously, this will blow you away: he sez he has a tape of the world-famous, seizure inducing, legendary, boogaloo-til-you-puke...James Brown Live at the Olympia in Paris, otherwise known on CD as "Peace Power Love".

 

What a live album that is! With the first JBs, which included the Collinses and Fred Wesley, with some of the greatest funk guitar solos I've ever heard from Phelps Collins, with James at the peak of his abilities. I've loved this album, worshipped it really, for years. I can't imagine there's video of it, but he sez it was taped for French TV.

 

When "Live in Dallas" came out a few years back, that did the unthinkable and trumped this Live in Paris, but I would be beyond thrilled to own this DVD.

 

I'm not trying to break any rules here, not trying to advertise, but here's his link:

http://members.aol.com/staritems/videos.htm

 

I'm inquiring about the quality of his Hendrix Band of Gypsies tape as well.

 

I'll be sending a money order tomorrow - I can't wait to hear Lynn "The Female Preacher" Collins song "Never Gonna Give You Up" off the Soul Train tape. She can freakin HOLLER!

 

It's gonna rock.

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Originally posted by Tom Capasso:

You live in Gary. I can't visit you.

Indiana wants me, but I can't go back there....

 

Post of the Day to Tom Capasso for the random reference to "Indiana Wants Me," a minor megahit from 1971 by R. Dean Taylor.

 

The lyric is really: "Indiana wants me, Lord I can't go back there." But Tom, in his infinite wisdom, refused to take the Lord's Name in vain.

 

If you've never heard this song, we all know how young you are! But the theme is, uh, kinda eternal. Here's another maudlin lyric from the opening verse:

 

If a man ever needed dyin' he did

No one had the right to say what he said about you

Get the picture? And, at the end, the sirens do wail and our young murderer is running.
Yep. I'm the other voice in the head of davebrownbass.
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