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I Hate to Practice


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I hate to practice... I know I should be working on my bass skills,but I just get overwhelmed with everything I want (and have to do) I think of a million excuses not to practice...Time is not really a factor, I just need some advice on what to do. It's driving me crazy.. :confused:
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If you want to improve as a player you really dont have a choice...

there is no getting around practicing on your instrument... it take lots of time to develop your skills and ears as a bassist....


I wish I could tell you something else more constructive but its a really simple equation --the more time you put into playing the better off you will be..


now log off and start practicing !!



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If you want to play bass-or do anything for that matter-and be good at, it you obviously have to practice. It doesn't matter if you don't have an innate talent to just whip out riffs like Jaco. How do you think he got there? Even those with incredible talent practiced.


Your words tell me you lack motivation. Music in and of itself should provide the desire to play. If it doesn't, your wasting your time.

"The world will still be turning when you've gone." - Black Sabbath


Band site: www.finespunmusic.com

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Great topic "pr". I deal with the same problem. Even when I was taking lessons from Chuck Rainey years back, and a friend that was a great musician/teacher (Greg Luce)...I struggled. Now that I "calmed down"..that is humbled myself, and I don't care that I'm not perfect or ever going to be the best bassist in D/FW my passion has come back like it was in the beginning. That's just my feelings though! I had to realize I'm never going to be perfect, and it has helped ME.

I hope you the very best, and as "CHUCK" ALWAYS TOLD ME...PRESS ON!

Keep On Pressing On!



"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." ~ Pablo Picasso

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I think you all should give the kid / guy a break. Surely everyone here has gone through a phase where he or she has lacked the motivation to pick up the bass and practice.


Hell, I've just gone through such a period, prBlack, so here's what I found:


1) listen to music without trying to pick the bass line and all that

2) listen to a different type of music

3) play bass lines from this different genre


This usually helps you get out of a rut. Also, the best advice has already been given: find or start a band.


Of course, chances are that bass is just not your thing. That is always a possibility ... The answer will come to you soon enough.

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


The Ross Brown Shirt World Tour

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I respect your honesty. I also respect that you're not taking the easy way out & telling yourself that practice isn't all that important anyway.


The thing to do is to get to a place where practicing is one of the things you really want to do. Don't look at it as an obligation. Look at it as a way to unwind after work or school, maybe. And the best way to get that motivation, I think, is to set goals to learn specific skills. Get a book & work on your reading skills. Get a book to teach you how to play walking bass lines, or to play Jamerson lines, or to slap. Whatever. Learn something specific you need to learn, & watch yourself progress. In time, it gets addictive.


Remember, girls only want boyfriends who have great skills.

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Post of the day to dcr, for his random reference to "Napolean Dynamite" that made me laugh.


This is very topical for me right now.


My son is now a bass major at TCU. He is a 2 time All State Bassist, lived in my house and eavedropped on my lessons. He was able to get to State mostly on his talent, listening to my lessons and a little practice.


Now he is in a tiny crisis. He is unable to satisfy his bass teacher. This is a tough lesson for him, but he is now working many hours a day on his bass.


This is one of the misfortunes of great talent; because so much comes so easy, you begin to believe the myth that you don't have to work.


He'll be fine, he just has to adjust.


Getting a private teacher is a good practice motivator, as long as that teacher gives appropriate assignments. You practice in small, measured doses at the appropriate skill level. For the best teachers, you work hard because you want to impress your teacher. I had a similar experience when I studied with Chuck Rainey; he didn't really give me assignments, but I was highly motivated to come up with new stuff each week to show him.


Jaco's dad use to leave him to travel and tell him, "you need to know all the ways you can play the '_ ' scale by the time I get back." Jaco did have a disorder that made it possible, during his "manic" phases, to bring concentration to tiny details for 20 hours without sleep.


But, (according to his biographer) Jaco also suffered from a lack of practice. He had learned how to do so many things, but once he became famous and was working all the time, he didn't have enough time to practice. He constantly felt the inability to "be Jaco" because he didn't have the time to add much to his music.


I always tell my students that the most important time to practice is immediately after a lesson. The brain loses maybe 50% of new, unreinforced information each day. If you wait 3 days to practice a concept, you'll not retain enough to make the lesson worthwhile.


On the other hand, if you go home and immediately review the concepts learned, and spend 3 days of good practice, you can go on "maintenance" mode until your next lesson. And you'll develop fast.


I also tell my students that I never set a "time" goal for practice. (You know: 30 minutes per day, 1 hour per day.) I set an achievement goal. "Master this concept, this page, this whatever." It doesn't matter how long that takes.


This seems to work well.

Yep. I'm the other voice in the head of davebrownbass.
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Get inspired. Who are your favorite bands? Put your favorite records on and try to play along.


Don't use those silly tab books. Or use them. The most important thing is to keep reaching for what you don't know.


If you get stuck trying to figure out something that you can hear but can't play, press pause until you figure it out. Then hit play again.


If you really hit a brick wall, find a teacher who can help you climb over it.

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You have to keep practicing, It is the only way you can get better. Go through your favorite songs. Sometimes what I do is set goals for myself for example, I set a goal for myself to play through the whole Californiacation (RHCP) CD. It was hard work but a lot of fun. You just have to dedicate yourself and just have fun.

"All things are possible through Christ." (Matt 19:26)


My band: http://www.purevolume.com/fadingsilence

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"Sometimes you want to give up the guitar, you'll hate the guitar. But if you stick with it, you're gonna be rewarded." -jimi hendrix (yeah, he didn't play the bass but the point stands)


quit making up excuses and just sit down and play for hours, after you see how much better you get and how much fun it is to play you'll enjoy it and it won't be practice, it'll be playing. just keep learning new stuff and always challenge yourself

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I've found playing with other quality musicians affects my practicing and my desire.


Also, a practice box like the Tascam or the Pandora Box or a drum machine is useful, as playing along drum rhythm improves your timing and it's fun improvising.



"We will make you bob your head whether you want to or not". - David Sisk
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Yep. Conversely, being in a band situation with bad morale (even when the players themselves are good) is something one has to make a concious effort not to slow their own PERSONAL growth down. One can always be learning other songs, shopping for another musical situ, etc.


Writing/composing can also light a serious fire under one's azz if the material is ambitious enough to go beyond all-too-familiar habits and patterns. Writing the kind of lines and feels you would like to play often puts a greater focus on what it actually takes to do this well.

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I too used to have this problem occasionally, very occasionally now as my time on bass is very precious given all my other commitments. Well, I'm coming to terms with the fact the maybe I'm a hobbyist, though I aspire to be a musician and I think that the very fact that prblack is posting about this, rather than accepting it or giving up shows he is, or aspires to be a musician rather than a hobbyist

Usually I had this problem when I was feeling tired or unwell and did not have the energy to play.

These are some of the things I've tried/try in this situation . . .

Use a different sound (e.g. effects),

Sight read form the Real Book or similkar,

Play scales or arpeggios while watching TV (naughty, I know)

Learn new material

Play unplugged

Jam with my four year old son

Play along with the radio (I used to use the testcard - UK LDers will know what I'm talking about)

Play an unconventional technique (slide bass was one)

Improvise freely, find a phrase you like - then modify it, transpose it, play it with different time feeling, extend it etc.


Try the ideas from the Steve Vai link above, they might open up some possibilities.


Sometimes, my dark-eyed beauty would probably prefer I was washing dishes, mending something, doing chores rather than practising. Still, that only makes me want to practice more!

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I enjoyed the responses by DCR and Dave. Anytime I have trouble bringing myself to the practice table, I try to learn something new, then find that everything I was doing before is now so much easier.


I am not sure what your level of ability is, but I recently purchased the "Bass Bible" and have improved and learned alot in a short time. A good book or taking a lesson may be in order for you.


And of course, being in a band makes it easy for practice motivation as well.

"Some people are like "slinkies". They're not really good for anything;

but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down a

flight of stairs."

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Originally posted by greenboy:

Then DON'T. Just play. After awhile your playing will tell your ear where it needs some help from practice. Keep a balance between the two and you will enjoy both.

Ah - feel that cool, refreshing breeze of reason blowing thru the forum?


I don't play bass anymore, mostly because guitar is my first love and - well, long story. But I love bass. Anyway, coming from gtr., I had trouble practicing bass at first. The solution I came up with was to play bass lines I liked rather than scales and arpeggios (EEEEEE!). The "scales and arpeggios" trap is one many of us have fallen into at one point or another, but if all you practice is scales and arpeggios that's all you'll be able to play.


I dig James Jamerson's and Paul McCartney's lines, and learned them. I also listened to the radio and learned bass lines from power pop bands like No Doubt, not something I'm usually drawn to.


Anyway, FWIW...



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I don't completely agree about practising scales and arpeggios meaning that's all you can play, Chad. Basically, they just give you more options. But I take your point.

One thing I spent years without realising is that when you do practise scales and arpeggios you should use a rhythmic feeling similar to that you use in your curent or preferred musical context.

I tend to prefer the 'sound you like' approach first and the 'find the theoretical reason' afterwards and then use the teory to be able to extend the idea and apply it to other musical contexts.

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Originally posted by plastic_chancellor:

"Sometimes you want to give up the guitar, you'll hate the guitar. But if you stick with it, you're gonna be rewarded." -jimi hendrix (yeah, he didn't play the bass but the point stands)

Hendrix played the recorded bass part on his cover of Bob Dylan's All Along the Watchtower. On a righthanded bass. Played upside down.


P.S. My second favorite Rolling Stones bassline was played by Keef Richards, Sympathy for the Devil


P.P.S My favorite Rolling Stones bassline is obviously from Miss You

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