As 2013 draws to a close I thought I would offer some final thoughts on my year. Â Truth be told I have a lot of mixed feelings about this past year. Â Things have not been so great for me career-wise. Â Donâ€™t get me wrong, I am still gainfully employed at a pretty decent job, itâ€™s just that I feel like I am stuck in a rut with no clear path out. Â I have always been one of those upwardly mobile types, yet as it stands I donâ€™t really have anywhere up to go at my current place of employment. Â This, as well as a number of contributing factors, have made for a very stressful and unhappy year. Â Thankfully I have music and a fantastic family to keep me going. Â
In regards to my musical development, however, I would have to say that it has been a stellar year, fueled in no small part by my participation in Roy Vogtâ€™s Fantasy Bass Boot Camp. Â I truly feel that the personal instruction given to me by Roy, Adam Nitti, Tim Smith and Anthony Wellington enabled me to reach new levels in my playing. Â Adam and Anthony were able to explain Modes and Theory to me in a way that finally took, while Roy helped me get past some of my roadblocks in regards to playing slap. Â Tim got me thinking more about the relationship between what I hear and what I play and how to go about getting those two things on the same page. Â Unfortunately I canâ€™t say I have progressed much in my studies with Teach Me Bass Guitar this year as I am still working on Lesson 13. Â This is in large part due to the fact that I took Tim Smithâ€™s words to heart and restarted the course from Lesson 1 after I returned from Bass Camp. Â I am currently re-working my way through Lesson 7 and am truly enjoying revisiting the entire course. Â
One of the main aspects of my playing that I focused on this past year was my technique. Â I actually spent a lot of time in this area as I had both wrist and shoulder problems. Â My shoulder problems have mostly been solved by using a wider, higher quality strap as well as mainly playing my Lakland Skyline 44-01 as it is my lightest bass. Â Wrist problems can be a bit trickier. Â I was feeling quite a bit of pain in my left wrist, which forced me to focus on my fretting technique. Â Strap height also played a part here as well, but once I started focusing on what I was doing with my left hand and how I was holding and fretting my bass things started to improve. Â At this point I am no longer experiencing any wrist pain, but my shoulder does tend to bother me from time to time. Exercise, or the lack there of, may be a contributing factor here as well.
2013 was also the year that I started exploring effects again for the first time in years. Bass effects have come a long way in the last few years and I am slowly starting to build a small pedal board. Â For years I was a firm believer in running my bass straight into my amp, no effects, but as of late I have started to change my tune. Â I still feel they should be used sparingly, but I am really enjoying playing around with the different sounds I can get. Â So far Iâ€™ve gotten a Chorus, a Octaver, a Looper and a Compressor and hope to pick up a Fuzz or Overdrive pedal soon. Â I also picked up a 5 string bass, which I had previously given up as I never knew what to do with the B string. Â Again, after attending Bass Camp and gaining a better understanding of music theory and modes, as well as playing in a cover band every week, I began to realize how useful that B string can be. Now Iâ€™m not saying that I am playing my 5 all the time, but I am finding in to be a useful tool. Â This is actually the 3rd 5 String I have owned, but it is 34â€ scale, the other two where 35â€. Â It may sound weird, but this one just seems more comfortable to play to me. I canâ€™t see how 1â€ can make such a difference, but somehow, to me, it does.
As I say, music-wise, 2013 was a damn good year for me. Â I look forward to attending Royâ€™s camp again in 2014 and to continuing my studies. Â I will endeavor to write more on this blog, it seems likes sometimes I just canâ€™t find the time. Â I am getting better at managing my time and accomplishing more in less time, but honestly it is a work in progress. Â I found that my sleep was suffering and with everything that has been going on at work I was completely miserable. Â Many nights I am faced with the choice of either practicing bass or writing and practicing has been winning out almost every time. Â I will definitely continue to write updates in regards to my progress with Teach Me Bass Guitar, and hope to write more consistently. Â
Hereâ€™s hoping that 2014 is a fantastic year! Â As always, thank you for reading. Â I hope to interact with more of you in the coming year.