Inspiration

Hi guys I’m looking for some inspirational stories from like minded people, I’ve just turned 50 and am starting on my bass journey , I was seriously into music when younger (trumpet) but had a family young and raised a couple of musicians and an artist and put my dreams on hold for a while but the dream of preforming in public has never gone away and I was wondering if any of you guys started later In life and are now gigging or preforming regularly, I would love to hear from you and your journey.

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I started bass a little over a year ago just before covid, at 53.
No gigs yet but certainly up to doing so once the world returns to normal.
I play sax, but never in a band, etc, just for enjoyment / hobby.
I have never felt confident enough to play sax in front of anyone, but bass, I feel like I could do that, even if rather poorly.
I have loved this journey and this site and forum for all that it is.
I have really grown to love the bass too, for loads of reasons.

Some days, of course, you hate the instrument, or your fingers, or your brain. But that is part of the deal when you sign up for any musical hobby. Its a long game, not a short game. I tend to revel in this fact, that I will have this (and sax) for the rest of my life as something to always take me away from Covid, or stupidity, or other worldly nonsense. Music has been my refuge since my first album in 5th grade, KISS Alive! Playing it is even sweeter.

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Started B2B last August at 47. I figured 3 years is just enough to learn to play OK-ish before I turn 50. Sort of a middle finger to all those over the last 40 years who have told me that I would never learn any instrument. That’s the overarching strategic reason. The immediate driver was that I wanted to play something for my wife for our wedding anniversary, so I surprised her with a few bars of Live is Life, her favourite. I sleep about 4-6 hours a night, so I practiced at night for two weeks in the garage without an amp, so that I could get the jump on her on the morning of our 14th anniversary. She didn’t even know that I had bought the bass. I kept it behind the workshop :smiley:

Why bass? Because Steve Harris and Iron Maiden. I just want to play along. Of course, other styles and musicians are in the works as well as I delve deeper into the instrument.

I chose B2B because the @JoshFossgreen approach seemed the most aligned with my learning style and time I could commit. Also, his free content on YT is actually useful, as opposed to Some Boring Limey, who talks without end on how he was walking and got a coffee before he gets to a 30 second bass lesson. I also like Mark J Smith, and I’m going to do some of his stuff after I complete B2B (lesson 65 now).

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You’re in good company. Bassbuzz Demographics (a poll) Most of us are 45+.

The last year and a half has been really rough on musicians. With all the restrictions there haven’t been any gigs and very little in the way of people getting together for practice.

Live music is starting to come back and a lot of people around here are working to keep learning till things pick up and the gigs come back.

Pre-COVID this forum was pretty small but we still had people joining bands and playing out. If you want to see what you will be capable of, check out these threads were people have posted videos of their playing.

Post your covers!

And the 50 Songs 100 Week challenge. Here are the first four.
Song 1 - “Another Brick in the Wall” by Pink Floyd
Song 2 - “Bad Moon Rising” by Creedence Clearwater Revival
Song 3 - “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley
Song 4 - “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash

I look forward to what others have to say on this. Has anybody started getting a band together now that things have started getting back to normal?

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Lockdown is starting to ease in the UK. I’ve been able to play with other musicians again and it makes a HUGE difference in motivation and inspiration. I encourage others to play with fellow musicians when they can. Just make sure they aren’t elitist brats. I play with other adult learners at a similar level to me. We just play for fun. A bit of improvisation, bit of covers, and are attempting song construction. All excellent learning experiences.

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yes with lockdown easing off my next goal will be to find some people to jam with in next few months .I did think it may be difficult to find people of my sort of age and experience but from replies on this thread i may have to rethink that!

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I started playing when I was 51 and was fortunate enough to be able to join out l the worship band at church after I had been playing about 6 weeks. Playing with other musicians has been huge in helping me become a better player and in keeping me motivated to practice every day.

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Here’s mine from my blog…
https://pampurrs.com/a-bassist-is-born/
Hope it helps.

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I live in rural Ontario 60 miles north of Toronto. We only have one music store within an hours drive and their prices seem to be reflected in that fact.

Jam sessions were non existent 4 years ago so I went to the local library and talked to them about doing jam sessions there. As it turns out as long as there are no fees, ie. charges for lessons, they would provide a space free of charge. I also advertised at the local music store and several other places. Within weeks there were up to 40 people getting together for some sessions. All experiences from beginner and up.

So that the beginners would not become discouraged I started doing a 1/2 hour training session for them at the beginning of each session. I would forward them material ahead of each session to practice so we were all on the same page when we got together. This was very labour intensive for me but well worth the satisfaction I received from seeing peoples faces light up when they could do a whole song. And the best part is that there was no cost.

There are now Four separate jam sessions in the area with ages ranging from 7 to 92 with experience levels from beginner to intermediate. We do exhibitions and concerts in senior’s homes and local fairs and it just keeps growing and growing.
NOTE: The library now has a lending system for musical instruments and amps that works just like books. I guess I did something right.

Of course this was prior to covid but a lot of people still get together on Zoom.

The bottom line here is if you cannot find local jam sessions - take the initiative and create one. It worked for me.

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Wow, that is an awesome thing you created.
Just goes to show you, “if you build it, they will come”

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I love everything about this.
Well done, and thanks for sharing! I want to do this in my town now.

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That’s really an interesting concept. Do all libraries have space available for such things?

I’ve been talking up the idea of doing jam sessions with some of my friends. Now they are all expecting me to be the one to start it up and run it. However, I have no clue how to run a jam session as I have never even been to one.
I have one close friend who plays guitar, but every time we get together at my house, we just noodle around with our instruments for a couple hours but never actually play anything together.
I’d love to see an outline of “How to Run a Jam Session”, if anyone like you or @Gio or any of the Jam Session savvy people here have one.

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Hi @wolfrun, et al, At 53, I am in the demographic as well. I have been in love with music all my life, but other than a short stint in 5th grade band (40+ years ago) playing the trombone, and a few months with an acoustic guitar borrowed from a friend (20+ years ago), I was only a listener, although I always wanted to play.

Like @John_E, I was hooked around the time of the KISS Alive album, but there were other influences as well from genres such as: Rock, Country, and of course Funk/Disco during that time, so the Bass definitely drew me.

I finally chose the Bass as I just love the sounds it makes and got off the fence during the early stages of the Covid lockdowns last year, and thank heavens I found @JoshFossgreen, BassBuzz, the B2B program, and all of you!

My goal is to be able to jam with other musicians (ASAP) in an open mic setting or maybe even a cover band. Now that I recently finished the B2B program, I will revisit the Master Class lessons to build my skills to that end. Plus , I am doing the #50-songs-challenge (with many of you) to continue the learning.

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@Gio

If the library had not worked out I planned on talking to the local music store or retirement homes about jam session space. I did not have much hope for the music stores because it would definitely cut into their music lesson profits but the retirement homes are a different story and would have been my second choice.

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Not sure. You’ll have to ask them.

Haha :slightly_smiling_face: Somebody has to organize and run the show or else the sessions will accomplish nothing as your next statement mentions.

After getting the session space here is a basic run down of how I do it:

1 - I would obtain lead sheets for the songs we were going to do that included the words and chords and as @Josh says check them for accuracy - usually they need treaking.
2 - I then email the lead sheets to the players - I usually limit it to 10 songs maximum and any not done that session I just move them to the next one and add extras to make up the difference. The nice thing about the library is that they allow me to use their projection system and therefore I can just plug in a USB stick and anyone without the music can see it right in front of them on a screen.
3 - At some sessions I will just do a maintenance work shop. I hate seeing people paying $50+ just to change strings.’

The first important thing to do is make sure everybody is tuned up the same.

Now one thing to keep in mind is that these sessions are geared primarily towards 6 string guitars and ukuleles, but there are some that come with UBasses. I have even had accordions show up a couple of times and bagpipes. The bagpipes did not work out all that well because as the reed gets wet the tuning changes.

Yes it is work to do all this but the satisfaction of getting together with like minded people, and introducing people to playing music, is worth it for me.

I do it for the love of music and even offer FREE in-home private music lessons to anyone interested. Some say I should charge but I do not do this for profit.

Any other questios @PamPurrs just ask.

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You are not kidding about that.

At Christmas of 2019 we did a concert at the library and we had 82 players and a crowd of onlookers exceeding 100. Actually we were over capacity for the space we were in for fire regulations but it all worked out fine.

Do you have the slightest idea what 82 musicians sounds and feels like, all playing the same song and being cheered on by the crowd?
The word AMAZING comes to mind and it is for reasons like this that I continue. Although covid has put a big crimp in it but when it opens up again I will be right back at it.

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First, congrats on returning to music.

I started out in life to be a musician (keyboards & trombone) but wound up in software development… which was for the best, in hindsight. I still play keyboards but decided that Covid was a perfect opportunity to make lemonade out of lemons by learning a new instrument.

I bought a 4 string Fender Jazz bass and took Josh’s online course. I really enjoyed the course and made great progress. After I finished the course, I decided to reward myself by buying a 5 string bass. I settled on the Ibanez SR2405w and I love it. Playing a 5 string is a little harder in that you’ve got an extra string to keep muted when you’re not playing it. But, it’s great in that you don’t have to play down at the end of the neck if you don’t want to. That low B string lets you play a low E (for example) on the 5th fret. So, to me, it’s easier. That said, going back to a 4 string seems like a slightly simpler, less technical experience and that’s cool sometimes.

Anyway, I’ve had a great experience learning a new instrument at 60 years old. It’s brought me a lot of satisfaction and joy. And it’s been good therapy for making the best of a bad situation. Maybe it’s like getting a law degree while you’re in prison? :slight_smile:

Have fun! - Cliff

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