"Right brained" vs "Left brained" (what's your take?)


It seems that I am extremely LEFT brained . . . very objective, fact and detail oriented, super- organized, etc. etc. but I’m not very “creative” :frowning:

For example, If you asked me to draw a picture of a locomotive, I could probably do a good job of that! But if you asked me to draw a picture of “happiness”, I would draw a blank . . . with no idea of what to do. :frowning:

So, how does all this relate to playing BASS GUITAR?

Well, if I work hard enough, I WILL eventually learn to copy and/or memorize any song . . . but could I come up with basslines of my very own? :sunglasses:

What’s YOUR take on this? . . . Is talent “given” or “developed”? . . . Right vs Left brain?

Post your thoughts here!


Hi @Jazzbass19! This is almost like one of those existential blade runner-like questions… how does “it” know what “it” is? My point being that probably only a very left-brained person ever would ask the question you did, and worry about what you worry about :grinning:

Creativity is a fickle thing for almost all of us, and it is heavily influenced by time, mood, a smidgen of talent, and probably the lunar phases. But, inspiration can come from very unexpected corners and find you at unexpected times. One thing I am reasonably sure of, however, and to paraphrase the Martian: you can’t science the sh*t out of creativity - it is an intrinsically non-rational process. Sure, a good understanding of harmony, scales etc helps, but it doesn’t guarantee success.

So, don’t try to force it - approach it playfully - try stuff and see what “happens”, even if often nothing happens at first. But, above all, I am convinced you can have a ton of fun on the bass just playing what someone else already has “created”. Nobody says you have to create your own basslines, nobody says you have to compose or improvise. Start with interpreting others’ works and see if you can add your personal touch to it (ever so gently) - that is a creative process in itself.



This is controversial and may not land for you, but I don’t believe in uncreative people.

In order to communicate the thoughts in this post, you had to use your creativity (and technique/knowledge of language) to decide how to use words to try to communicate that to other people.

That’s what music is too - communication - it’s just a different language/set of techniques. Which you learn, in part, via imitation (copying/memorizing songs), so doing that stuff is totally useful in moving towards the goal of creating more ‘original’ material.

The people whose bass lines and songs you’re learning aren’t working from scratch. They learned a ton of songs before they wrote any, and/or studied music theory to understand how music had previously been put together, so there are a lot of left-brained conceptual structures creating space for the more right-brained/intuitive creative element.

One more thought - in most human cultures these days, the left brain is given way more value and emphasis than the right brain, so it makes sense for some of us to end up feeling like we don’t even have a right brain creative/intuitive dimension.

But if you did bicep curls on only your left side for years, and then noticed your left bicep being a lot bigger than the right, you would know it’s just been exercised a lot less.

I think it’s a similar situation with learning music - if you want to exercise your right brain, you can explore right brained practice, i.e. improvising! You can do scale-based improv, like I approach a bit in the Beginner to Badass course, or you can totally turn your left brain off and just let your hands move on the instrument and see what happens.

Hope some of that is useful!


Thanks so much for all your thoughts on this, @JoshFossgreen and @joergkutter :slight_smile:

You both make some very good points . . . although there is absolutely no doubt that I am strongly “left-brained”, I’m probably just overthinking it. I’m enjoying the journey getting back into playing bass, am starting Josh’s second module, and practice as much as I can (as I toughen up my fingertips!) :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

I start by warming up with some scales, do some of Josh’s lessons, and then try working on some old songs that I remember from the past. After only 2 weeks, I am making some noticable progress, too.

Ok then, from now on I will ALSO spend a part of my practice just letting go . . . not trying to do anything in particular, and see where it leads, etc.

You guys are great, this is a great forum, and I’m really glad I’m here. :+1:

All best, Joe


Keep us posted Joe! Curious how you feel after the improv exercises in Modules 7, 8 and 9.


I’m on Module 7 lessons 3 & 4 now, @JoshFossgreen Things are beginning to come together for me now! :slight_smile: Learning the C major scale really helped. I thought I was doing “scales” before, but I was missing a couple of notes. :laughing:

Thanks very much . . . I appreciate your patient and relaxed teaching style, too.

All best, Joe