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Have these Lockdowns improved your bass playing?

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I don't want to detract from issues around missing band life (gigs, rehearsals, studio etc) or the impact on people's livelihood in a lot of cases but just wondering how this has impacted on people's actual playing?

I miss playing louder with real musicians but have been practicing much more regularly over the last year or so. Mostly with records or playing along with streaming services / videos. I have looked at a couple of different styles and even touched briefly on some simple keyboards for the first time.

I can't wait to return to playing with people but it's not been without a couple of positives in these very dark times. How about the rest of you? Similar stories or is your bass gathering dust?

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No. I've barely picked up any instrument, since April last year. 

Because of my personal situation at the moment, I have little opportunity to play music right now and as neither band are doing anything because of the pandemic I've almost completely stopped playing. If either band starts rehearsing//gigging/recording again then I will make the effort, but without that incentive I find it very hard to get the enthusiasm to play for the sake of it.

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The same reasons as @BigRedX unfortunately - not being able to perform live has resulted in no incentive for me - I've probably picked up my bass less than 5 times since March 2020.

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1 minute ago, thebassist said:

Not being able to perform live has resulted in no incentive for me - I've probably picked up my bass less than 5 times since March 2020.

This :(

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18 minutes ago, BigRedX said:

No. I've barely picked up any instrument, since April last year. 

Because of my personal situation at the moment, I have little opportunity to play music right now and as neither band are doing anything because of the pandemic I've almost completely stopped playing. If either band starts rehearsing//gigging/recording again then I will make the effort, but without that incentive I find it very hard to get the enthusiasm to play for the sake of it.

This is me, almost word for word.

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I got annual membership for Scott's Bass Lessons when the first lockdown started last March and found the combination of that and working from home with it easy to pick up the Bass for quick breaks has meant a lot of short bits of practice time when I wouldn't usually have been able to. The 'payers path' part of those lessons has been quite addictive working up through the levels. Having paid for 12 months membership has been incentive to make use of it, and to try and get through as much of it as possible in the time. 

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I've been playing (modestly...) drums, guitar, bass, keys... for the last half a century (well, a bit more, actually...). I've always done so because I like it, and it interests me. I've played in bands, either pro, semi-pro, amateur or just mates, on and off over all that time. Now retired, I still play, and always will. 'Playing out' is fine, but, for me, it's not my sole reason for playing. Essentially, it's just because that's what I do. It matters little whether anyone hears it or not. Does a tree falling in a remote forest make a sound..? :scratch_one-s_head:

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I’ve been thinking about this lately. I barely played during lockdown 1.0. I was pretty annoyed at the whole situation and had the worry of losing my main source of income; whilst accepting it was necessary of course.
I did a few weird socially distanced gigs and some live streams last year and was still kind of disillusioned with it. It’s only been the past couple of months that I’ve started playing regularly again and I’m enjoying it more than I have for a while. Doing some remote stuff for people and learning music that I enjoy and find challenging to play has been a nice change. 
I found it really difficult to get motivated to play, and the break did me good as now I’m excited to get the bass out again every evening. 

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I keep thinking that this should be the perfect opportunity to sit down and hone my skills.

Instead it seems I'm spending most the potential extra playing time gassing over guitars and basses on youtube.

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I have a wee fiddle with my instrument, occasionally.

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I think for me it has been up and down, not having gigs or rehearsals has me concerned with me live sound as I've not played at volume in months.

Yet I have probably played a bit more than I would have but it's not necessarily been productive. 

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I've managed to find enough socially-distanced music projects to (i) find the incentive and (ii) keep playing at least fairly regularly, but I'm appalled at just how rusty I now am.

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Like many others here I'm finding staying motivated more difficult - I'm definitely practicing for shorter periods and I'm having to find innovative ways to stay focussed.

I have a project ready to go to when lockdown is over...looking forward to this.

 

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I'm playing bass or guitar, for one to two hours most days. The most practicing I've ever done.

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I’ve practiced a lot more. A lot of this is to do with having a new band/project so want to keep on top of the much more difficult material that we play, but I’ve also learned a fair few songs that I’ve always liked but either never had the time to learn or didn’t have the confidence to have a go at. Luckily as the material for the new band is more complex it’s given me more faith in my abilities and so far I’ve been ok with them. So yes, these lockdowns have helped me become a better bassist.

Edited by Lozz196
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In answer to the OP, nope, my playing hasn't improved one jot, if anything, probably got worse.  I do very litle playing/practising.

On the upside, I've dedicated a bunch of time migrating my DAW from a decade-old version of Audition to Cakewalk (all hail), so from the perspective of what the listener hears, I've been able to spend a ton more time recording properly and capturing best performance rather than simply just making do.

The fruits of my labour are on the Recording area on this very forum.

 

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Did the SBL Gary Willis course on a whim which was great and has given me more motivation to practice. 

Weekly jamulus can't replace gigging but has it's upsides - being able to ramp up complexity without having to get gig ready has been liberating. 

Feel lucky I've had more time on my hands in lockdown, appreciate not the case for many. Being able to play more has brought my playing on a lot this past year. 

Edited by Drax
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I think I've improved. I play almost every day, having switched to a 5-string and enrolled in an SBL course. Have also done some demos and videos with my bandmates, and learnt a few songs I'd always wanted to play but never had the time to study before.

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I got my first guitar in 1959 as a young teenager and have been playing ever since. Much like Dad it's been on various instruments and from no gigs to full time. The last 30+ years I have been playing bass in a variety of jazz groups from trios to big bands and switched to DB and EUB about six years ago and was gigging with two bands before lockdown.

In the last year I have improved a lot and am playing almost every day using sheet music and a huge collection of books I have accumulated, iRealPro, video lessons and playing along with recordings I have or other sources. I have watched a lot more videos(performance and instruction) than before lockdown and always find something to learn from them, great to have a resource like the internet, much better than "the good old days" with just records and books.

My reading is much better and I feel more confident in my reading and my ability to actually play what I'm reading. Playing along with recordings (everything from pop, oldies, jazz standards and even big bands) has really improved my ear and I am getting much better at finding the key and chord progression before the song ends, well sometimes.😉 I have also been struggling with the bow on DB.

I really miss the gigs and the rehearsals(usually 2 a week) and playing with other musicians and since I retired from my very hectic day job a couple of years ago music has been the main social part of my life until last March.

I am a much better player than I was before lockdown and can't wait to get back to gigging, and at almost 75 I hope that happens soon!  

 

 

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I think so. I have weekly jazz session that has improved my walking bass a lot, and a weekly funk session that has improved my bassline creation and confidence. Then I've had the opportunity to play the double bass with real musicians without having to take it out of the house. This is all remotely through Jamulus. I suppose I should feel guilty that there is no technical practice in there, just playing - but that does have a learning curve.

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I play bass because I enjoy it and find it hugely rewarding. With no gigs happening I find I'm actually playing more because I WANT to and not because I HAVE to.

That's not to say I don't enjoy gigging - I love it! Rather, not having to practice for a gig means I play whatever I want, whenever I want, and I've rediscovered my love for just 'playing' the instrument for my OWN satisfaction.

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I sincerely hope so. Of course only gigging can get you gig tight. Its like sports people, they can train all they like but the intensity of a match is something else. 

But my reading, writing, technical skills and theoretical knowledge have all improved. 

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It's probably given me the chance to improve my overall playing skills, not just on the bass. This lockdown has allowed me to play around with the multitude of different instruments I have at home and, without wishing to sound grand, I feel I've gained some appreciation of overall musical theory that may have been lacking beforehand. Haven't been in a band (pub covers) for getting on for 15 months now and wasn't particularly missing it but I'm starting to get the desire back to do something. That could be just a reaction to this isolation period we're experiencing. I'm probably conveniently forgetting the hassles involved and I think it's also going to be a very different and difficult scenario for pub bands when restrictions start to be lifted. 

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