Getting back into the groove

Hi all! Long time no see :grimacing: :wave:

So I was away from bass practice for close to a month, due to travelling back home to finally see my family and friends after almost two years! Finally got time for a meaningful practice session today, and perhaps naturally, I’ve found that I had to start reeeeaally slowly, like do all the scales, do the ultimate groove workout routine/drum loop practice, then do some simple chugging tunes (U2’s With or Without You, for example), and patiently move on to other stuff with slightly more challenging rhythm. Basically, some muscle memory (and otherwise) had gone into hibernation, even after six months of daily practice. And my calluses, where are my fat calluses! :sob: :laughing:

Is this something you guys have encountered, after travelling or otherwise having to be away from the instrument for a while? And how did you go about ‘restarting’ your usual routine and generally getting that muscle memory back on track? I suspect the answer is ‘just keep playing’, but thought it would be nice to collect some general advice and perhaps, encouragement :slight_smile:

There’s of course the excellent Practicing while traveling topic, for when the reverse situation occurs…

P. S. I was happy to discover that at least my flying fingers have very much remained grounded :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:


Welcome back to the groove. I’ve never been away from the bass for more than a couple days, so I can’t really advise you from experience, but I will say to start slowly and get your muscles and tendons back in shape before you push too hard. This advice is mainly to avoid injury.
It’s like riding a bicycle (worn out expression, I know), it will come back to you quickly.


I’m actually just getting back to practicing after about 6 months away from it due to back issues…

So far, I’m working through the “end of course badass and super badass checklist” as kind of a “self-exam” to see what I need to spend additional time on. Along with those, some simple “1 finger per fret” type of exercises just to get the finger-independence back up to speed.

I had just finished the course when I had to put the bass down, so I probably have to “go back” further than you, but basically I’d say figure out what’s still comfortable and work up from there until you notice things that might need a little work…

Good luck and welcome back!


Best wishes to you as well @skydvr . I hope your back issues are behind you now (pardon the pun) :smiley_cat:


Much appreciated @PamPurrs … It’s an on-going process, but I’m getting there. :slight_smile:


I’ve been struggling a lot lately with lack of progress and lack of motivation, and haven’t been practicing regularly since around April. It’s a vicious cycle, because if I don’t practice then obviously I’m going to make even less progress, and that just reinforces the “why do I even bother” thoughts in my head.

I’ve been trying to follow Josh’s advice to pick up the bass every day for just 5 minutes, and that usually turns into a full 1 or 2 hour practice session. But here I am again today sitting literally right next to my bass, typing a post about playing bass, instead of actually playing bass…

Anyway, as you too pointed out, a large part of playing an instrument is just muscle memory, and that can return fairly quickly. You’ll be back where you left off soon.


I took a break to focus on sax for over 6 month, took a few days/week or two to get back to where I was (which was really nowhere). The worst part was the calluses for sure. it will come back.

On vacation this week with the family at the beach (which I hate), and will be trying out the Traveler Ultralight bass and zoom combo all week. Plan on focusing on basics, live lesson stuff and Mark Smith courses early while everyone else is sleeping and late at night.