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Hiding behind the music


Ross Brown

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UPDATE :Thursday

 

I still stink. Played slow last night, no CD. Concentrated on clean notes.

 

Everyone else probably already knows this but this will be something I'll be working on for a long time. Playing clean.

 

Another thing I want to work on and may start tonight is some sort of pseudo-solo. You know, something to play when someone who never saw a bass up close says "play something".

 

I will concentrate on coming up with something I can keep in my back pocket and also play clean.

"When I take a stroll down Jackass Lane it is usually to see someone that is already there" Mrs. Brown
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Originally posted by Ross Brown:

UPDATE :Thursday

 

I still stink.

 

[...]

 

Another thing I want to work on and may start tonight is some sort of pseudo-solo. You know, something to play when someone who never saw a bass up close says "play something".

 

I will concentrate on coming up with something I can keep in my back pocket and also play clean.

Don't get discouraged; it's going to take some time and dedication. We're behind you, man! :thu:

 

To answer the "play something" thing, what usually works best is to play the melody from a familiar song. Like "Popeye The Sailor Man". Sometimes I play a really goofball version of "Mary Had A Little Lamb", but it's really not that exciting if played straight up. Not a bad place to start, though. (Or even "Twinkle Twinkle".) Find something you like and work it out.

 

I've never tried it, but anybody that's played piano, or had a kid that took lessons, is going to know "Für Elyse". The melody by itself shouldn't be too bad, but trying to work out an arrangement to incorporate the "left hand" stuff might be a little challenging. No need to go beyond the melody for now.

 

There's plenty out there other than childhood songs and classical pieces. TV theme songs are usually well received. Just make sure you pick something with a recognizable melody. More power to you if you can do EVH "Eruption" on bass, but I don't think that'd go over as well.

 

FWIW, I hear jazz guys "quoting" these kinds of melodies during their improv solos. And yes, I've heard "Mary Had A Little Lamb" by more than one player. So there is some worth to learning these beyond just the "play something" aspect.

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Originally posted by Ross Brown:

UPDATE :Thursday

 

Everyone else probably already knows this but this will be something I'll be working on for a long time. Playing clean.

 

My friend, that's something just about all of us are still working on, regardless of how long we've been playing. The longer you play, the more critical your listening becomes and the more you want to improve how you sound.

 

When I'm trying to build up a new technique, I generally like to practice unplugged, and using a metronome about 20-30% of the time, and no metronome about 70-80% of the time. I've discovered that practicing "free-form" (ie. no timing reference) allows me to build up speed without realizing it. Then when I turn the metronome on for a while, I get a pleasant surprise. It's a good motivation. There's other things of course where a metronome is crucial...this is just what seems to work best for me when I'm tackling some new playing hand technique.

 

I also really like and use the idea of practicing unplugged. Unless there's a lot of background noise, you can hear yourself very clearly, and you can't hide behind anything. If what you are playing sounds good unplugged, then 90% of the time (there's a few exceptions), it's going to sound even better amplified.

 

Dave

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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UPDATE for Friday:

 

Last update, the week is over.

 

Been a good week and a good excercise to concentrate on playing clean. It can be done! I'll be at this for a while. Focused on "Midnight Hour" Wilson Pickett version last night. Did OK. Some thuds. Definately getting better. I think it is as much about concentration than anything.

 

Also rented and watched Led Zeps "The song Remains the Same" last night. I like Zep. but this was crap. :bor: Oh well. Now I know.

 

Thanks for the advice and thoughts everyone.

"When I take a stroll down Jackass Lane it is usually to see someone that is already there" Mrs. Brown
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