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GreeneKing

If you could wind back the clock and....

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2 hours ago, Bassassin said:

I'd still be a bassist - it's the only instrument I'm good enough on to consider getting on a stage with.

That said, I've always been predominantly a writer/composer. I play guitar well enough to write with & to record, given an indefinite number of takes. If I could change anything, I'd never have stopped playing keyboards (drifted away in the early 90s) or drums, which I dabbled with when I shared a house with someone who had a kit. I'd also focus on learning some actual theory - I'm painfully aware that everything I know I just sort of picked up along the way.

Having those skills would add a lot to my writing & recording - I often feel musically stagnant and hampered by my limited vocabuary & ability, These days I lack both the motivation to resume playing other instruments, or the focus to study theory. That might change going forward but I doubt it.

Pretty much same here really. I’m a writer who plays bass as my first instrument and guitar as my second. 

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2 hours ago, Happy Jack said:

Although, and famously,  none of The Beatles had any formal musical training worth mentioning.

 

Indeed - and for a long time I'd remind myself that McCartney claimed he decided not to learn to read because he worried that it might affect the way he wrote.

Which sounds like a good excuse about as much as it sounds like bollox! :D

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I started on guitar, and still play a bit. I think I'd keep with my original path, guitar then bass, but not taken the odd year of three out here and there, and been a bit more positive about switching to bass - I still nursed ambitions of being a guitar hero, and it took me a little while to start acknowledging to myself that I wasn't actually that good.

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If I could wind the clock back, I would have taken guitar lessons in school. I have always loved music but never had the urge to play until later on in school. I more or less self taught from then. I really wish I had taken professional advice and tuition.

 

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Some interesting themes here. I came from an 'unmusical family' according to my parents. I struggled at school but music was a favourite lesson. I remember doing a musical aptitude test in year 9 and coming out near the top. Mr Harris had a trombone that needed a fiver deposit to secure but my folks said no. (My parents said no a lot).

So the itch was always there. A life in the RN meant being very unsettled and occupied. When I left and became a copper in Plymouth I was on my beat looking in Manson's in College Avenue. Ralph sold me a Hohner Jack and the rest followed on. I thought that bass would be easier than guitar (our rhythm guitarist makes me realise that it's not the case).

The point I take from this is that all we can ever do is now. Those most successful are those that apply themselves in the now. The now becomes the past with a purpose.

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I arrived at the low end after dabbling with several different instruments - piano and violin as a kid, both of which I hated largely because of the utterly uninspiring teachers I had, followed by bugle, trumpet and marching snare drum. I was quite passable on those, and if I'd stuck with the trumpet I might be a reasonable trad jazz musician by now. I still play the snare on occasion. Used to sing pretty well, too.

Then I went to university (well, it were Hatfield Poly, but it were a university to us, etc). One of the lads in the house next to ours had bought a bass - no idea what it was - and it was sitting there gathering dust, like so many students' instruments do. An impromptu jam started up one evening and I had a go on the bass. I was surprised to find I could easily manage some simple stuff by ear but thought no more of it. Shortly afterwards, I started knocking round with the technical manager of a theatre in St Albans, who'd been a pro for a while - he was in the Dogs D'Amour at one point. He suggested I should give the bass a go, but me being me and Knowing It All, decided I was meant to be a guitarer.

So I tried it, couldn't get on with it and promptly gave up. Then life intervened - career, marriage, house, kids - and music went to the back of my mind. After my marriage broke down and I'd got over glaring at the world through the bottom of a bottle, I realised I didn't Know It All after all. I bought an Ibanez GSR200 and was instantly hooked.

Looking back now, I should have followed my instinct and taken my mate's advice. If I had, I'd now have thirty years' playing under my belt. But better late than never!

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I would love to have been able to play the drums, but man alive, given my levels of GAS over the years I shudder at the amount of money I would have hemorrhaged on drum kits and hardware.  I probably would have ended up with a kit like Mike Portnoy.

A mate of mine quit playing drums about a year ago, he had a phenomenal amount of top-notch gear that sold for peanuts; he always maintained that drum kits were like cars, you take 'em out once and they lose half their value, so I suppose his selling price saw that.  It honestly must be party time if you're buying drums at the moment.

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3 minutes ago, NancyJohnson said:

 I shudder at the amount of money I would have hemorrhaged on drum kits and hardware. 

Our drummer has no kit.

He has cymbals, a snare and a snare pedal.

He uses the kit provided in the rehearsal studio and borrows this if we have a UK gig - and we rent his kit with the backline locally for the non-UK gigs.

I suspect he's parted with the least amount of gear cash over the years out of all 5 of us.

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10 minutes ago, Twigman said:

Our drummer has no kit.

He has cymbals, a snare and a snare pedal.

He uses the kit provided in the rehearsal studio and borrows this if we have a UK gig - and we rent his kit with the backline locally for the non-UK gigs.

I suspect he's parted with the least amount of gear cash over the years out of all 5 of us.

Isn't it generally a case though that most drummers don't have to space (or soundproofing!) to keep a kit set up at home and as a consequence they don't strictly play the drums, they just play the drums at jams and gigs? 

I mean, good on him that he can just survive on breakables alone; the drummer from the last band just bought a very cheap kit and used to gig with that, allowing anyone to use it, so fair play to him.  When I went out with Rocket66 recently, the studio kit was thrashed to such a point that it was ready for the skip and the venue kit was literally held together with Gaffa tape.

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4 minutes ago, NancyJohnson said:

 the venue kit was literally held together with Gaffa tape.

We've come across a few of those - a festival in Berlin a few years ago provided a kit with only 1 leg on the kick drum and no drum stool......we worked around it!

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I started on piano at the  age of 8. I then went onto double bass at the age of 13. I then started playing a bass guitar at the age of 15. Still playing bass at the age of 64 and struggle to  play my Strat. 

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2 hours ago, NancyJohnson said:

Isn't it generally a case though that most drummers don't have to space (or soundproofing!) to keep a kit set up at home and as a consequence they don't strictly play the drums, they just play the drums at jams and gigs? 

In my experience many of them don't have transport either.... 😩

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I would have applied myself to learning music theory (rather than learn it by osmosis); and make the effort to learn a new tune every week (rather than simply noodle through what I already know)

Wait..... I still can!!

It was not all a disaster though - I think that I got my instrument upgrade route right, buying a much better one each time, so that upgrades were exponential rather than simply a change of instrument.

Two electric basses, two acoustic basses, two acoustic guitars, four amps. In 40 years... 

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Certainly I'd still think of bass as my primary instrument to play in a band but I'd have concentrated on songwriting. Somehow I ended up becoming a craftsman rather than an artist and , worthy though that is , for me it's a poor second.

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I originally was a guitarist. But back in the day when I was in my first band, the bassist could not really play.

I remember one song we were doing.. Funeral Pyre by The Jam, the poor sod couldn't grasp it.

I recall showing him how to play the bass part and was sort of cajoled into 'Why don't you take over on bass?'

So I did.

I would probably have done the same if I had my time again.

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I am a drummer. Always have been always will be. I have played bass off and on for 20 years but drums will always lure me back. From the first time I ever sat at a kit back in the day I could play, don't get me wrong I am not claiming to be a great drummer I just find it easy. Never had a problem with limb separation, complex rhythms or coming up with grooves for original material,whereas the bass took some getting to grips with

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I would still be playing the bass - I love it but... I should have stuck in at my piano lessons when I was 6 and I should have started on the Chapman Stick in the early 80s. If I had done these I might be quite good at them by now! Hey ho!

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It would be piano for me.  As a child I played accordion, penny whistle, piccolo, mouth organ, then graduated onto guitar [which I still play] and ultimately bass.  However I should have taken up piano well over 25 years ago.  Wonderful instrument - even simple major or minor chords sound fantastic on a piano. 

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Probably would have gone with drums rather than bass, tho bass has worked out well and is where I feel at home. 

I didn't have the space or money for drums when I started. Stupidly I was also put off by the thought of having all that stuff to lug around. 

Being a bassist just meant I had space left in the car and ended up lugging everyone else's stuff around instead. Missed a trick there 

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At heart I’m a songwriter, I play solo acoustic gigs fairly regularly and have done for many years. I’ve played bass since 1991 but have dipped in and out over that time. I joined my current band (on bass) four years ago because they needed a bass player and having not played bass for a few years I quite fancied it. When this band ends I’ll probably try to find a bass role in another band, as I get a kick out of gigging. Then again, I might just put the bass aside until the next opportunity arises.

If I’d never picked up the bass I’d still be doing the solo singer-songwriter thing.

Edited by BrunoBass

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Guest oZZma
On 17/10/2019 at 08:48, Frank Blank said:

Same here, I think I’m more naturally suited to drums.

Me too.

But you don't write songs on drums so...

 

Edited by oZZma

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40 minutes ago, oZZma said:

Me too.

But you don't write songs on drums so...

I partook in the songwriting process in every band I was a drummer in.

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Guest oZZma
24 minutes ago, Frank Blank said:

I partook in the songwriting process in every band I was a drummer in.

Yes but usually you don't write the song STRUCTURE on the drums and then arrange the other instruments later, that's what I mean...  I think you do that job on a melodic instrument.

Probably there is someone who does it on drums but I can't see the point of a workflow of that kind.

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2 hours ago, oZZma said:

Yes but usually you don't write the song STRUCTURE on the drums and then arrange the other instruments later, that's what I mean...  I think you do that job on a melodic instrument.

Probably there is someone who does it on drums but I can't see the point of a workflow of that kind.

Got you, yes, agreed.

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