Anyone else struggling with where to focus effort?

So, I took up guitar at age 57, 3 1/2 yrs ago. I can play recognizable renditions of some of my favorite songs (Led Zeppelin, Metallica, and a few others). I recently completed BassBuzz, and found bass came fairly easily. Right now, I’d call myself a mediocre intermediate guitarist, and an improving beginner bassist. I think I have better potential as a bassist (prior background on tuba), but have worked hard to get where I am on guitar, and am concerned if I pursue bass all-out, my guitar playing will deteriorate. I’d like to play in a band for fun, I live in a community with several “retired dude garage bands”.

For those who found themselves in similar positions, how did you balance bass and guitar learning? My conundrum here is, is it wise to throw the majority of my practice into bass at this point, or can I still make decent progress on both. To clarify, I have at least two hours a day, and 2-3 days a week can do more. Thoughts?



Although I’ve more typically worked as a bassist I’ve played both for a very long time. I’ve always found that my guitar playing and practice helped rather than hindered my bass playing and at times vice versa.

My biggest problems with practicing bass solo is I often need the “feel” of working with others in ensemble to improvise bass lines but not as much on guitar when I can play over a pre-recorded jam track.

I still practice on both just by alternating between them almost based on my moods or something I might come across online.


I only play bass, but yeah, I’ve been struggling with where to focus effort ever since I finished B2B. I tried Fender Play for a while, meh. Tried SBL for a while, better than meh. I really enjoy the Players Path stuff. I’d heard somewhere that you should try to master 10 songs, so I worked on that for a while (and I still do). Went back to SBL after they added some new stuff (Beginner Pathways with Ian Allison; good stuff, almost as good as B2B) and did some more Players Path stuff (still doing SBL, but it feels very unfocused).

Now everything is kinda meh, but that’s an overarching life condition right now. I still love playing bass, I just don’t know where to go or what to do that will give me the engagement and interest to continue that B2B did.

(I guess this is where I should start calling for the creation of the Intermediate to Badass course, but meh. LOL.)


I play 2 songs on guitar so my only comment on you focusing more on bass would be do you mind losing the finger toughness, :joy:

I’m a gigging bassist but not for a living more of a hobby. It turns out bassists are pretty in demand. But my passion for live performance is drums. lol. I would shamelessly bargain my way to a gig if I can play a few numbers on the drums, I’d even bring my own drum, ha ha.

Sadly I don’t have my drum setup at home at the moment as my basses taking up most of the spaces. I’d love to set up my shed like @Paul_9207 (oh! He changed the name) but that would only lead to a disaster if I have that much space because I’d filled it up with more basses, lol.


I simply sideline one instrument completely while working on another. When you pick it up again you will be a bit rusty but it will come back quickly. The key is to not let yourself get in to a mental mode of assuming you’ll be bad. Just assume you’re going to be fine and just need a few days of warmup, and it’s like riding a bicycle.


when I started playing bass I didn’t do much of anything else for about two years. After that I started playing drums again.

Since you asked, I’d say focus most of your time on bass but when you feel like it play your guitar. But I’d try to get as comfortable as possible with bass first.

EDIT: basically +1 to what Howard said.


Yup, I realized I’d rather have people call me by my name :grin:


That’s awesome what’s your name, :joy:


Let me interject a question here.

Is it possible that a lack of focus or getting stale is tied to not having something to do with what’s been learned? If you’re gigging professionally or semi-professionally or even just jamming with neighbors or at a jam or open mic you have motivation and an end point to focus on right? You have a practical need to learn something and a time frame within which to learn it.

This is one reason I believe the “School of Rock” approach is so helpful to those just learning to play. Students are actually taught not only the fundamentals of their instrument but how to play in ensemble with others. Mini shows or concerts are scheduled in which there is material that must be learned, memorized, and then executed with others like yourself.

Are other approaches based on online learning as well connected to an end point as this and is that what eventually leads to frustration and a loss of focus? I’m curious because now that I’m not gigging regularly I find my focus lacks focus too. LOL My take on it is that I need to plan something that does have an end point again like finding a few jams to play.


This exactly how I’d describe myself 2 years ago when I finished B2BA and things went just like @Howard said: I focused almost all my efforts on bass and am mediocre intermediate at bass now too! My guitar skills really didn’t deteriorate much, takes a few days of focus to get the cobwebs out. I tried splitting my time but it never seemed to work for me. There was always more I wanted to work on with bass.


Your intonation on the Fretless is nearly flawless @dlamson13 you are now a legit bass player.


Good point. I’d like to play in a band, and my best friend and neighbor is a bassist who recorded and toured with a heavy metal band at one point. We’d discussed putting a garage band together, my goal was to play rhythm guitar, and we’d find a lead and drummer. But he currently can’t play (injured), so that’s off the table for a while, and I feel I’m sort of aimless at this point.


Sorry to hear of that delay your facing. It must be frustrating. I fully admit that I struggle with the same thing and yet when I was gigging every weekend and had both bass lines and vocals to prepare it got done along with running my own business and being Dad to my daughters.

The only suggestion I can offer even to myself is to find ways to create some false time limits as if I did have a rehearsal or a gig coming up. This is where I can use some online sources from guys like say Griff Hamlin to push myself to learn some new licks or a new rhythm and riff pattern for r&b tunes.

But on bass it’s always been tougher to do that without having a drummer and keys or a guitar to work off of since so much of what I play and how I play it based off “feel”. So I bought a Spark 40 that can give me a backing track with those instruments I can play over. Maybe play to some tracks???

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Thank you @Al1885, for the kind words, quite a compliment from a mega-legit bass player :slight_smile: Well, classifications don’t matter as long as we’re making music :jbass:


I would be more inclined to tell you to focus on bass. Guitar is a strange animal and one thing I’ve learned is there are several ways to play something on guitar but generally only 1 or 2 on bass. get good on the bass, get into a working band where you’ll also meet and befriend guitar players and they’ll teach you more than trying to learn it on your own.

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Probably depends what instrument you’d prefer to play in the band.

I play both, but just for relaxing at home so I just go with what I feel like on the day. I’m also not even remotely focused though and probably because I don’t have any specific goals. Some days I can get in an hour, but others it might only be a few minutes. I also get interrupted at times which can break the groove/flow.

I don’t feel that I progress very much, but there must be small improvement at least.

I found guitar practice to be very effective at keeping skills fresh on bass. YMMV.

Of course I never got very good at guitar though :rofl: