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wishface

Internet Demotivation

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I'll just ask: does anyone else find all these Youtube superstars demotivating? Perhaps just a little bit?

Click on a channel and it's a well polished presentation that wouldn't look out of place as a professional MTV clip (i haven't watched MTV in 30 years). Kids who look like they have been playing five minutes have already mastered all the techniques imaginable. Have all the best equipment. Some even seem to have fully developed studios and release ENTIRE covers of songs all parts learned and performed by themselves! You couldn't tell the difference from the genuine article!

I've been playing bass, as an amatuer, since 1989. First attempting to jam along with Geddy Lee on Hemispheres (aim high, right?). Most of that time hasn't been spent efficiently: i learned bits and pieces, some licks by ear. I never transcribed, learned to read (I am now). That's all cool, I did what I enjoyed, but always seriously and I never quit. I've never owned more than one bass, and never anything that cost more than a couple of hundred £.

Now, that's enough showing off. The point I'm making isn't "poor me pour me another drink" but it is somewhat disconcerting to be so out of touch. Youtube didn't exist in 1989, the word didn't exist. I had a record player and I played along with my lp's and cassettes and that was that. Now that I'm trying to practice more serioiusly I look at these kids and there's always someone out there who's learned the piece and can play it backwards with one hand while making a ton of cash from showing it on Youtube.

I find it very hard to reconcile my experience with that. Not hating on anyone (well, maybe a little), it's just is this the reality of what it means to be a player these days? Maybe one day I'll join a band (i did years ago it was fun, never went anywhere though) but I doubt I'll be double thumping or tapping. I'm not even sure I want to.

I'm sure this just sounds like sour grapes. Ah well, as you were

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Naw, 99% of those are playing over the original. I'm not saying the YTers aren't any good (I'm sure they are), but it's flattering to mix yourself over a track where the original bass player is there playing just under you.

Listen to a few famous isolated bass tracks to feel better. 👍

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Absolutely, Wishface, it does appear at first glance to be a bit demoralising - here's another bass player whose possibly never played a live gig in their life but he/she's spent six months in their bedroom learning the bass line to just one song  and they now come across as prodigies!

But seriously, there are some really talented people out there that you'd never have known about prior to YT, and good luck to them. And there's masses of free lessons and advice now - I know some of it is a bit dodgy and doesn't stand up to close scrutiny but it's so, so easy for newbies to develop their playing quickly - compared to when I were lad....... - our rehearsal room was just a paper bag in t' middle of road... there were four of us sharing one plectrum  etc  etc...  😰

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42 minutes ago, Ricky 4000 said:

Naw, 99% of those are playing over the original. I'm not saying the YTers aren't any good (I'm sure they are), but it's flattering to mix yourself over a track where the original bass player is there playing just under you.

Listen to a few famous isolated bass tracks to feel better. 👍

Perhaps that's what they're doing. I'm not sure how you can tell. 

I don't suppose it matters. To quote that wise master, Howard Jones, "always appear there's someone better, always appear to be someone worse". But then he also said "woah woah woah woah woah", so what does he know?

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5 minutes ago, musicbassman said:

Absolutely, Wishface, it does appear at first glance to be a bit demoralising - here's another bass player whose possibly never played a live gig in their life but he/she's spent six months in their bedroom learning the bass line to just one song  and they now come across as prodigies!

But seriously, there are some really talented people out there that you'd never have known about prior to YT, and good luck to them. And there's masses of free lessons and advice now - I know some of it is a bit dodgy and doesn't stand up to close scrutiny but it's so, so easy for newbies to develop their playing quickly - compared to when I were lad....... - our rehearsal room was just a paper bag in t' middle of road... there were four of us sharing one plectrum  etc  etc...  😰

It does amaze me how some of these people appear (UI'm sure they practiced hard) to be able to play all these techniques. Seems par for the course. I didn't even know what double thumping was until a year ago! Geddy never did it! :D

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It's easy to appear perfect when you have as many takes as you like to get it right before posting the final video.

Although in fairness I suspect that a lot of the guys and girls on youtube have put in a lot of practice to get to their current standard.

Davie 504,  for example, may be a bit divisive among bass players but there's no denying he's got some very impressive skills that I'd guess took him years to hone before he started putting stuff up online. I'd bet he's still putting in the  practice hours now.

Edited by Cato

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Ah Davie504

Can't really fault the guy. He seems to have flawless technique - in every technique - but it's not music? It's performance. He doesn't (AFAIK) record music/play with a band. Yet his channel was succesful enough to get an endorsement deal!

Not bad going.

It's not music though, is it. I'm not sure what he's doing is a net positive for bass playing. There are educational channels out there (as well as SBL broadcasting endless Hadrien Firaud solos :D - only joking SBL seems like a cool guy) which are great, but these showboat channels leave me cold. 

I've been working on learning Chromatic Fantsay (the Jaco version). I don't have it up to speed yet and no way I'm going to give up of course. But you go on YT and every bass player and their dog has already filmed themselves tearing it up. Madness!

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I’m not demoralised by it too much, You Tube has a very concentrated amount of people making videos - for every one of these seemingly prodigious teenagers there’s a thousand middle aged people of average ability, like me. 
 

Everyone had / has a super talented mate, who made you sick with their skill. When I was a kid I worked with a lad called Giles who was a stunning guitarist, absolutely world class. If YouTube existed in the eighties he’d probably have been making videos. I wasn’t too jealous though, because I was in a band and he never had been, nor had the desire to be in one.

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Sometimes I think there are things some players can do that others can't.

Victor Wootten seems to be able to master every technique (as well as being a decent guy with it! The nerve!)

I don't think I can physically do all that stuff. I can't do doublle thumping no matter how hard I try, my thumb just don't bend that way.

Well that's my excuse. TBH i'm not terribly into slapping. Unless you're Larry Graham, what's the point?

There's a bit in Portrait of Tracy where Jaco bars the 2nd fret o fthe A string to produce a harmonic on the 6th fret as if it were an open string. Unless you've got Jaco Hands good luck doing that!

 

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3 minutes ago, wishface said:

Ah Davie504

I'm not sure what he's doing is a net positive for bass playing.

I have no interest in Davie504 but would opine that he does have a positive effect - if he inspires people to think ‘I fancy a bit of that’ and to pick up a bass guitar that can only be a good thing, especially if said inspiree later gets out of their bedroom and gets into a band. 

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1 hour ago, wishface said:

I'll just ask: does anyone else find all these Youtube superstars demotivating? Perhaps just a little bit?

I'm sure this just sounds like sour grapes. Ah well, as you were

No I don't find it demotivating at all, elements of it are entertaining and it makes me smile especially the Nathan Navarro videos .

That said, I don't confuse it with music.

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I think it's the law of large numbers - no matter how tiny a percentage of amazing players, given a big enough population....

That said, it does teach people a little of bit of humility seeing one of these V talented frigging nine year olds on YT absolutely smashin whatever it is they've made themselves a genius at.

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I must be a similar vintage to the OP, but the way I've taken advantage of not understanding anything the kids do is that I pay no attention to social media. 

There's a whole generation who don't think something counts unless it's getting likes, and a new income stream from posting these videos, so posting videos of their bass playing is to be expected.  From talking to mates with teenage kids who are very promising musicians, they have little interest in playing in bands, playing gigs, writing and releasing music, etc because they don't see that as a viable source of fame or income, whereas posting videos does get them instant attention (and there are studies about the damage that this sort of mindset is causing to kids' mental health...topic for another thread).  One very good young guitarist wants to write music for video games, because that's where the money is

So I take it philosophically.  When i was learning how to play the bass there were always players who were better than me in other bands, but I wouldn't see them outside of a gig.  Unless they covered it when I saw them, I'd have no idea if they could play a note perfect version of La Villa Strangiato.  If they did unleash it at a gig then that would probably inspire me to try harder, or I'd dismiss it as something that I'm not aiming to do (not always true, but that's what I would tell myself).  Now that I've hit 50, while I still like to improve my technique and broaden my playing horizons, I'm OK with not being the best player on the planet, I'm fine with what I can play and what I can bring to a band

If it does bother you, keep telling yourself that of all the thousands of bass players on the planet. most of them haven't posted videos of them nailing a Jaco tune.  You're in a very hefty majority

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Bass playing is not a competitive sport.

Our job of supporting the song and acting as the glue betwen the rhythm & harmony of the song far outweighs the need to play flashy stuff that draws attention to the bass, and away from the lead voice or instrument.

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1 hour ago, wishface said:

I'll just ask: does anyone else find all these Youtube superstars demotivating? Perhaps just a little bit?

No.

When you are a kid you are a sponge. Your brain is in gear, you're in full learning mode and you acquire a lot of stuff with ease.These days I watch these guys to keep up. It's my homework. It always grabs my attention when I see a bass player do something I can't. If they are doing something which could be useful to me I'll get it down, otherwise I'm just interested.

Fortunately, age and experience means we know what we need to know in order to get the job done. That's why I can watch Davie504 and others and recognise their ability and talent without thinking I need to do that.

Any bass player who is making a living out of playing bass gets a thumbs up from me.

Sometimes I wish I could play like Marcus Miller, Mark King or Victor Wooten, but I've never been in a band that required me to be anything other than a bassist with 70's Soul and R&B as a starting point.

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21 minutes ago, petebassist said:

I think it's the law of large numbers - no matter how tiny a percentage of amazing players, given a big enough population....

That said, it does teach people a little of bit of humility seeing one of these V talented frigging nine year olds on YT absolutely smashin whatever it is they've made themselves a genius at.

I'm nothing if not humile

 

21 minutes ago, Monkey Steve said:

I must be a similar vintage to the OP, but the way I've taken advantage of not understanding anything the kids do is that I pay no attention to social media. 

There's a whole generation who don't think something counts unless it's getting likes, and a new income stream from posting these videos, so posting videos of their bass playing is to be expected.  From talking to mates with teenage kids who are very promising musicians, they have little interest in playing in bands, playing gigs, writing and releasing music, etc because they don't see that as a viable source of fame or income, whereas posting videos does get them instant attention (and there are studies about the damage that this sort of mindset is causing to kids' mental health...topic for another thread).  One very good young guitarist wants to write music for video games, because that's where the money is

So I take it philosophically.  When i was learning how to play the bass there were always players who were better than me in other bands, but I wouldn't see them outside of a gig.  Unless they covered it when I saw them, I'd have no idea if they could play a note perfect version of La Villa Strangiato.  If they did unleash it at a gig then that would probably inspire me to try harder, or I'd dismiss it as something that I'm not aiming to do (not always true, but that's what I would tell myself).  Now that I've hit 50, while I still like to improve my technique and broaden my playing horizons, I'm OK with not being the best player on the planet, I'm fine with what I can play and what I can bring to a band

If it does bother you, keep telling yourself that of all the thousands of bass players on the planet. most of them haven't posted videos of them nailing a Jaco tune.  You're in a very hefty majority

WEll, to be fair, I haven't posted a video of me nailing a Jaco tune either :D

Pray I never do! 

What keeps me playing is the love of playing and the instrument. I get a physiological (?) kick out of playing, even if i'mjust noodling away. In fact I could do with focussing my efforts. That's one of the problems of there being so much material at one's fingertips. But that's another topic.

 

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I don't feel demoralised by them because I don't watch them.  I'm not overly concerned about what other bass players are doing, only with what I am doing.  When I learn a new song I copy what I can hear or a version of it then reproduce it in the band, as which point it may evolve into something different.  But watching videos of other players doing stuff isn't remotely of interest to me unless I am trying to work out a tricky bit and some one has done it clearly in a video.

Like absolutely everything in Life - the world is full of people better looking, cleverer, better bassists, more money than any of us so why worry about how you measure up?

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back in the days of recording from a record to a tape, to learn a part, we had to learn by ear and find out the hard way if the bass was not tuned to standard pitch, or if the speed of the record player was ever so slightly out.

Great training for the ear, which I almost completely lost when I had a couple of years out. Took me a while to get it back - use it or lose it.

I do wonder if it makes a difference to those who have always learned songs from clicking on a YouTube video and having it all on a plate (as it were)?

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I think there's also the problem that it takes people away rom fundamentals. I just, quit eby accident, found this clip of someone doing a solo version of Black or White. It's very impressive. But not once during my 'career' did I ever consider learning something like this. I can't imagine, beyond YT or busking perhaps, this sort of skill going to get you anywhere.

Of course you should play the music and the way you like, that's how art works after all. 

But that's not for me what I do on the bass. I've never been turned on by solo bass playing as anything more than spectacle. It's impressive and the guy is talemnted and has learned this style of bass. But it's not the sort of music I'd listen to.

I like the bass int he context of other instruments, i like counter point and clever and interesting lines and parts - fast slow tap slap or wahtever. That's why I like people like Chris Squire or Jonas Reingold or the guy from Spocks Beard who is an absolute monster. 

But I don't see myself ever learning songs solo on the instrument like this. Again, not hating.

 

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1 hour ago, Paul S said:

the world is full of people better looking, cleverer, better bassists

Speak for yaself Paul

 

:i-m_so_happy:

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I’m not demoralised by them, as I’m pretty sure if you put a large majority of them in a live band situation, they would be totally sh*gged.

There is a big difference to playing alone in your bedroom/music room and getting to gel with other musicians on stage.

Edited by steantval

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The internet really is a double-edged sword. On one hand it's an amazing resource that I wish was available when I started playing. On the other hand, it's a massive distraction, and it is easy to become demotivated by players with amazing ability (ironically usually playing music that I don't like!)

The 'jocks' and the 'nerds' already have sport and science. We mustn't let them have music as well. 

 

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Why would anyone expect these "super" bassists to NOT be gigging?

Why would these guys find it difficult to play in a band with other musicians?

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I just try and see the positive and embrace the times we live in. True we didn't have youtube when we were learning in '89  but we do now, great! 

I'm learning a lot from watching               ' 'juliaplaysgroove' on yt and I'm probably nearly old enough to be her grandfather. I'm digging her energy and brilliance playing ace covers and it's inspiring me to practice more and more. 

On the other hand I pity the youth of today in that they will never know life without the Internet or smart phones, when human interaction was more social, natural and done in real time. 

Video added for extra grump factor.. 

 

Edited by miles'tone
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