How to prepare for unexpected bass-learning opportunities
By Jon Liebman
Week of March 2, 2020
Imagine going to John Entwistle’s house, having him open up a closet full of basses, and telling you to “help yourself.” That’s exactly what happened to this week’s interviewee, Eva Gardner, when she was a young bass enthusiast, all of 14 years old.
It’s often said that you shouldn’t meet your heroes, lest you be disappointed. But if ever have the opportunity to meet your favorite bass player, and you’re willing to take that chance (by the way, I say, “Go for it!”), do you know what you would ask that person? Would you gush over them, tripping over yourself, or would you see it as a possibility to learn something new about playing bass?
The list of questions is practically limitless.
You might ask about bass technique. Maybe you’re curious about that person’s gear and equipment. If you’re bold enough, you could even inquire about how they’re getting along with that former band mate, and whether all that “bad blood” still exists between them.
Or you could approach the encounter as a teachable moment.
As an exercise, take a deep dive into all facets of your bass playing and see how many areas you can identify in which you are deficient. You might think about ways to become a better groover. Maybe an education on tone would open up a whole new world of possibilities. Or you can try to pinpoint the reason you’re still struggling with a particular bass-related issue.
Once you’ve identified the detractors, come up with a list of actionable items and start implementing them right away.
Learning bass is great fun, but it’s important to have goals, and to work toward achieving them. Try this exercise and see what you can do to start improving your bass playing today. If you do end up meeting any of your bass heroes, you’ll be able to speak intelligently about bass-related issues and ask how they would approach a particular situation. Who knows, maybe you’ll even end up being the next John Entwistle!
How about you? Do you have a thought on this subject? Leave a comment below. I’d love to know what you think. In the meantime, check out my interview with Eva here.