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Woodinblack

Repetition blindness

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The situation is that you have a repetitive bassline to-do, which involves some movement but in short loops (so not dacota or something), say a ska bassline or, quite often (in fact almost always) I get this in Billie Jean. In Billie Jeans case, your left* hands job is just to play the same 8 note run on just 4 notes, Gb Db E Gb E Db B Db, over an over again, until you get to the chorus for a little break, or the singer remembers its the end of the song. So you tell your hand to play that, and it goes off and does it.

And then, the 357th time it has to do it, it decides to do something totally different for no readily apparent reason, or just completely forgets how to do it and completely throws you, because you are not really thinking about it anyway, by then you have normal gigging thoughts like 'you better not spill that pint on my pedalboard', 'did your parents really let you come out dressed like that?' and 'yes, your singing voice is lovely, why don't you start your own band'.

I suppose that is why it happens, but it can be really offputting. Does anyone else get this?

 

* other hands are available if you are built backwards

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Yep. I've always put it down to  a lack of concentration: because it sees so straightforward you stop paying attention, and then it all goes to stinky poo.........

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muscle memory is great, until it isn't.

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I find this on the break in Dazed & Confused by Led Zep, after a while my left hand just wants to do something else irrespective of what I tell it.

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I find this a problem when even slightly changing something I’ve played a certain way for years. Old gimmer syndrome I guess....👨🏻‍🦳

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When playing repetitive lines for extended periods I always focus on the groove, ie not working on the notes but how to make them flow. I don't worry that there hasn't been a bass fill for 6 verses, just focus on reaching another level of groove. Merge with the drummer. Always assuming the drummer is playing well enough. When that comes easy then start adding flourishes. . . . . . or don't. What are you going to add that enhances the basic riff, that was good enough for a hit record.

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I found this on my last gig with numbers like Papa Don’t Preach, except I found that I played best when I wasn’t really thinking about it. The moment I started to concentrate too hard it would all go tits up!

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I get this with Billie Jean, and recently it happened again when noodling along with the verse in Livin' on a Prayer (very similar 8th note patterns).

I liken it to the old tongue twister we used to say as kids:

"She sells sea shells on the sea shore"

If you keep repeating it - eventually you will slip up.

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6 hours ago, CameronJ said:

. The moment I started to concentrate too hard it would all go tits up!

There are a couple of ska songs that are like this, if I concentrate on it they mess up.

5 hours ago, Ricky 4000 said:

If you keep repeating it - eventually you will slip up.

I guess at some point you always will!

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Posted (edited)

Stratus, Billy Cobham...used to also do the same riff for a Massive Attack cover in another band. I love both tunes dearly but I do question if I have some kind of attention deficit when doing these type of tunes as the OP suggests. This theory was further tested when momentarily nodding off in the middle of playing Aswads ‘Good Thing Going’...waking after about 2 seconds shuteye was like a moment out of Quantum Leap...suddenly I had this bass guitar in my hands and a dancing crowd in front of me, WTF! ...and I had 2-3 Espresso Martini’s before the gig. Thus proving a stimulant cancellation in a self diagnosed attention deficit...I should have become a Psychiatrist I think ....what were we talking about again ???🤣 

Edited by Raslee
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The worst that happens, is when I should start a song and I get a total blackout in a middle of the set. Not only in wrong key or wrong song start, but nothing at all. The seconds feel extremely long.

My song memory is quite good, but I do not remember the keys, or the names of the songs. A tab with a library of songs has been a dream come true. I used to write set lists with keys, and with what note the bass starts.

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I seem to have the opposite problem on some songs.  As I don't read music, I rely on a good memory and the muscle memory of playing the songs.  When it's all going really well around me,   I get caught up in the atmosphere and it all goes fine until I suddenly realise I should be concentrating more on what I'm playing.

It's at that point that it can go a bit off piste, through over thinking stuff i normally do automatically!😟😖😖

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49 minutes ago, mikebass456 said:

through over thinking stuff i normally do automatically!😟😖😖

Yup, this is what happens to me if I overthink that break in Stevie Wonder's 'Sir Duke'

Go on to autopilot - no problems. Somehow it seems to play itself.....

Start thinking about it too much - it's very likely to go t#ts up, big time.   :sad:

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Posted (edited)

You know you're in trouble if this happens during Simple Minds' 'Waterfront'... :lol:

Seriously though... yes, this has happened to me with the ska band. I remember Too Much Pressure going completely off-piste one night, for no apparent reason :lol:

Edited by Rich

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At the moment I have a complete block over a 12 bar in A shuffle. For one reason or another I cannot count the block of 6 between the two Ds.

Make it a run of notes and I have no problems, but a single note for 6 bars is too complicated for me.

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I used to always have trouble with AC/DC's Live Wire when I had to start the song on the B, once everything else kicks in after around 40 seconds I was ok, but if I thought about keeping perfect timing, the more likely I would drift 😯

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