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Count Bassy

Motivation when not in a band

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Posted (edited)

I have not been in a band for well over a year now. This was a conscious decision I made at the time having been involved in a number of start-up bands that either collapsed before any gigs (2), or played one gig and then collapsed (3). I just got tired of putting in the effort for it only to collapse in a heap. I think I can honestly say that none of the collapses where down to me. (Edited to add: I understand that it might look like I'm the common factor here).

The problem I have is that, without having something to work towards, I have totally lost the motivation to practice (not helped by my depressive nature). To be honest, until last weekend I probably hadn't pickup up a bass for several months. It's got that bad.

I guess the obvious answer is to try another band, perhaps an established one rather than a start up, but obviously the lack of practice makes that less likely. It's a sort of downward spiral.

The other option that occurs to me is to just knock it all on the head.

Any others here been through the same sort of thing. If so, how did you get out of it?

 

CB.

Edited by Count Bassy
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Try writing and recording , it’s also a bit frustrating sometimes but you’ll be amazed at satisfying it can be when you nail a half decent one.

it keeps those musical fingers active as well B|

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Sounds exactly like me. I don't play for the sake of playing, just when I have something to practice for.

I've been trying for TEN MONTHS to get a band working and I've now just given up. If I was in another band on the circuit (aka in the clique) it would be much easier, but local players don't realise I play anymore so I'm effectively retired.

I thought about doing YouTube play-throughs just to keep my playing up to par, but the motivation evades me...

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4 minutes ago, lurksalot said:

Try writing and recording , it’s also a bit frustrating sometimes but you’ll be amazed at satisfying it can be when you nail a half decent one.

it keeps those musical fingers active as well B|

This, all day.

Treat is as a writing phase. An interface, a laptop and a few other instruments bought, blagged or borrowed, and the world is your oyster. I started between bands, and to be honest I probably find it more fun and less of a slog than the whole band thing. Having said that, we're going in to record a bunch of them, and then we (drummist and I) really fancy gigging them, so we'll be back on the treadmill, but it's been a fun, and educational period, and I reckon my playing has improved. Writing something you can't play makes you work, as does working out parts for instruments you don't usually play.

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Posted (edited)

Tom Sholz recorded almost the entirety of Boston's first album at home on his own, using only a session drummer and Brad Delp's vocals.  That not only kept him busy for a couple of years, it ended up making him a couple of quid too.  Perhaps a project such as this would keep your pecker up, and with modern computer sound processing techniques you'd have it so much easier than he did.

Edited by Bassfinger

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The only advice I have is to frame the situation a little bit differently in your head. Instead of thinking I’m not in a band, there for I don’t have anything to practice for. Think of it like: I want to join and established band so I am going to learn these 50 commonly played songs (possibly even in different keys) so that I am ready to audition for any bands that need a bass player.

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Ya.  I left my one and only band 2 years ago.  I live in't sticks so bands are far and few between.  So I'm a spare room hero.  But by focusing on online lessons, practising and generally keeping in with my bass we get along.  Not ideal, but neither is bands unless you're lucky with bandmates, musical genre and so forth. 

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For the first time in nearly 20 years I’m not in a band and am really looking forward to having time to learn new songs and styles of playing. Horses for courses I suppose, your post ,CBassy, screams out to me the want to be in a band so I’d say just get out there to gigs and chat to bands. When I told my band I’d be leaving I still gigged with them for a further 5 months, 4 of which nothing was made public that I was going, however we were looking. You never know what the situation is in a band so never hurts for people to know you play and are actively looking for a good opportunity.

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I was in a similar position to the OP, but out of the blue last year got asked to run an open mic. night at my local.

Enthusiasm returned! :)

Maybe see if there's anything similar near you - might get the love back

Good luck 🤞

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I hadn't played for about 12 years until a chance conversation at church found me on the worship team rota.  I dug out my old Tanglewood violin bass and began playing along to MP3 tracks of the church songs.  After a couple of sessions with the band I bought a better bass and now enjoy playing once or twice a month.  I practice at home to backing tracks and always seem to have a song we haven't done before.  We only play 4 or 5 songs on a Sunday but that is enough to keep me plucking the strings.

I hit the big 7-Oh!! this year so I don't fancy hitting the road in a band, but my church 'gig' satisfies my desire to play and learn more.  Try playing music you wouldn't normally listen to - it will keep the old grey matter working and give you a reason to pick the bass up again.

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3 hours ago, Count Bassy said:

I have not been in a band for well over a year now. This was a conscious decision I made at the time having been involved in a number of start-up bands that either collapsed before any gigs (2), or played one gig and then collapsed (3). I just got tired of putting in the effort for it only to collapse in a heap. I think I can honestly say that none of the collapses where down to me. (Edited to add: I understand that it might look like I'm the common factor here).

The problem I have is that, without having something to work towards, I have totally lost the motivation to practice (not helped by my depressive nature). To be honest, until last weekend I probably hadn't pickup up a bass for several months. It's got that bad.

I guess the obvious answer is to try another band, perhaps an established one rather than a start up, but obviously the lack of practice makes that less likely. It's a sort of downward spiral.

The other option that occurs to me is to just knock it all on the head.

Any others here been through the same sort of thing. If so, how did you get out of it?

 

CB.

I wouldn't give up on bands, however I tell anyone who's looking to gig to stay away from start ups. Most "start ups" never see their first gig.

As far as motivation goes pick out songs you like but find the bass parts challenging and learn them. Keep practising so when the right gigging band comes along your ready.

Blue

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2 hours ago, Crawford13 said:

The only advice I have is to frame the situation a little bit differently in your head. Instead of thinking I’m not in a band, there for I don’t have anything to practice for. Think of it like: I want to join and established band so I am going to learn these 50 commonly played songs (possibly even in different keys) so that I am ready to audition for any bands that need a bass player.

Great advice!

Blue

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If you're not motivated to play, why force yourself? I like playing bass n stuff. But I like doing other things as well.

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No big deal.  I've been between bands many times, and just load up youtube and twang along just to keep muscle memory.

Its not life threatening

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It helps if you play another instrument .

When I'm not in a band , I pick up my Acoustic guitar and work out new songs ,  my only audience is the cat and my deaf 94 yr old neighbour .I find it helps to keep my brain musically engaged .

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Bluewine said:

I wouldn't give up on bands, however I tell anyone who's looking to gig to stay away from start ups. Most "start ups" never see their first gig.

As far as motivation goes pick out songs you like but find the bass parts challenging and learn them. Keep practising so when the right gigging band comes along your ready.

Blue

Blue, I know that this is a bit of a thing for you, but sometimes I prefer start-ups. There are only so many half decent gigging bands on the circuit at any one time and the good ones tend to have pretty stable lineups. There's nothing worse than going into a not so good band and then have to tell them they're doing it all wrong - they tend not to like it 😕

At least with a start-up, you can get to have a say in the players involved and how the band will go about things (both musically and offstage). There's no guarantees, but if you get the right people and if you are realistic, you can usually get something going reasonably quickly. 

It's a good idea to learn a repertoire of commonly played songs, so at least you can pick up deps while you're looking for another band.

Edited by peteb
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9 hours ago, Bluewine said:

The only advice I have is to frame the situation a little bit differently in your head. Instead of thinking I’m not in a band, there for I don’t have anything to practice for. Think of it like: I want to join and established band so I am going to learn these 50 commonly played songs (possibly even in different keys) so that I am ready to audition for any bands that need a bass player.

Blue

Actually this is great advice and I may take it myself. Doubt if it’s going to be much fun 25 songs in and still no one to play with. But hey you come into this world alone and you leave it the same way. The alternative is feeling sorry for myself and not being ready when the call comes so maybe I just should get a grip. 
My problem is changing gear. My scene is blues, I can do blues. I’m just not wanted by my peers. I therefore need to learn a new scene, the most obvious being jazz, and that’s hard. 

Edited by lownote12

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I find that even though I am in a gigging band, I get the motivation to learn other songs that are never going to be band material just because they are great songs and I like them.  It also improves my playing as I have to play in different styles. My advice is to find songs that inspire you to want to practice and learn  and then you will. If you can't, or don't want to at the moment, you may find that taking a break is the thing to do but don't rush into dumping all your gear because in 6 months time you will probably hear something and think "Mmm, that's a great tune/bass line/whatever: I'm going to dig out may bass..." and before you know it you'll be all over JMB like a rash and back in the saddle! (I've done this too). 

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So many times i've been in-between bands but i just seem to keep throwing myself back in there.

Is there any chance of other styles of bands in your area. I travel 40miles each way into Glasgow to rehearse so its not ideal but worth it if i want to play.

Sometimes a change of style of band can keep you interested and focused even if its only a rehearsal band it can lead to something else. People get to know you are out there.

If you can get into a gigging band it would be far easier.

Try looking at rehearsals as a fun day / evening out making music rather than a means to an end. I quite like our rehearsals. Its the only time i see the band to be honest (outside of gigs that is).

I guess there's no easy answer. 

Dave

Edited by dmccombe7

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12 hours ago, Bluewine said:

I wouldn't give up on bands, however I tell anyone who's looking to gig to stay away from start ups. Most "start ups" never see their first gig.

As far as motivation goes pick out songs you like but find the bass parts challenging and learn them. Keep practising so when the right gigging band comes along your ready.

Blue

Ok, but if there were never any start ups there would soon be no bands, as the old tired outfits split up.

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16 hours ago, lurksalot said:

Try writing and recording , it’s also a bit frustrating sometimes but you’ll be amazed at satisfying it can be when you nail a half decent one.

it keeps those musical fingers active as well B|

Couldn't agree more, this should get the creative juices flowing and hopefully get you out of your musical torpor. Probably means investing in other instruments so if expenses allow then grab a guitar, buy a bouzouki, purchase a pipa, snag a shamisen. Get writing and good luck 👍

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I've not been in a band for over 2 years now and tbh find it very hard to pick up a bass other than sporadic moments when I play along to some funk tune, Ian Dury whatever. I've been playing more acoustic guitars and dobro, trying out loads of different tunings and learning from players like Martin Simpson, Tommy Emmanuel and Tony McManus. I've not yet given up on playing bass in a band, even if it's just to jam in someone's garage, but deep down know I'm unlikely to find one.

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3 minutes ago, bassace said:

It seems that those not in bands spend a lot of time in ‘Off Topic’.

Yep,  that's cos we can't contribute much to threads like 'How was your gig last night' 😕.  What with so many pubs and other venues closing down etc there's less incentive to form bands.  And yet we still want to play bass.

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Thanks for your thought folks.

I should have made it clear that I've only ever been in cover bands, and never attempted writing or recording (which might be a good reason to try it I guess).

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