When thinking you suck can actually be a good thing


In my experience, the first step to making a conscious improvement - whether it’s fixing a sloppy technique, or getting more knowledge of the harmony inside a particular idiom - is having some recognition of “wow, I don’t know that” or “wow, this is not working how I’m currently doing it.”

Without that, people swirl around in mediocrity for decades and decades.

So if you’re stuck thinking about how much you suck at something, consider that you’re actually at the beginning of the process of moving forward, just by acknowledging the ‘suck.’

Just my thoughts! YMMV. Anyone agree/disagree?


Stage 1 - Unconscious Incompetence. You don’t know your shortcomings, and thus, no improvements can be made.
The caveman grunting in the cave.
Stage 2 - Conscious Incompetence. Hooray! Now you see your shortcomings. The Suck has been revealed!
The trick here is learning to love the ego sting. Leaning into it, instead of fighting it. Then thou art free to learn, improve, and un-suck.


How appropriate for today. Got your course 3 days ago. (Brand new student. Bought my bass a month ago and started with a couple books) Been cruising right along doing the online stuff waiting on disks to get here. I am completely obsessed with seeing what is next to learn. I didn’t seem to have a challenge until today. That’s when I got to Billie Jean. Now I feel like things have escalated a bit. Hahahahaha Ending the day humbled is great. Absolutely love the course.


Haha yeah that catches lots of people off guard! Glad you’re digging the course Jon!


Howdy guys,

I got my new bass about a month and a half ago. I didn’t even really get on it for a couple of weeks, worrying about the neighbors hearing me fumbling around on it. I then got Josh’s course and started doing the lessons and I am taking it really slow. I have had a bass before, but the last time was about 10 years ago, and back then I just tried playing along with songs and sometimes I actually thought I sounded pretty good. Mostly I was just trying to play along with the guitar, paying no attention much to drums and realizing later that usually for every 12 or 16 or 25 notes that the bass player was playing, I was cramming in 50 or 60. Lol The amount of alcohol I normally imbibed back in those days undoubtedly made me sound a lot better to myself than I did to anyone else.

I had realized back then though, that although I could fly on the strings and cram in a ton of notes really quickly, I really had no idea in hell what I was playing. I had never had any lessons and I spent little time trying to learn any tablature or to read music either. I had also gotten in the habit of telling people that I was a bass player. One jam session with some guys from work ended that. The first song that they wanted to try, I struggled mightily with it and the night ended early and with humiliation on my part.

Now, I still keep getting the itch to just put a song on and to try playing along…BUT… I have forced myself to just keep doing the lessons with Josh and to keep working on notes on the fretboard and scales etc. for now. It is not as fun as trying to jam with a song but I think this slow and methodical process will really pay off later.

I have a pretty fair grasp on most of the notes on the fretboard, and I am working on getting all of the scales down, forward and back. I am committed to working on that, and also on music reading. Although working the scales and notes for hours SHOULD be boring as hell, I have been enjoying it. I am thinking of how much better of a player I will be if I really concentrate on the basics now. I am spending a lot of time reading about the various components that make up music as well, instead of just knowing that I should know something and memorizing it.

Anyhow, I didn’t mean to write a novella here, but to sum it up I am again a newbie who is pretty much sucking at the bass but loving the learning process.

Good Luck on the lessons guys and take care, and Thank You Josh.



Hey Ty, thanks for sharing that story! Really cool to hear that you’ve been pushing past that urge to just go fast and flail around, and actually slowing down enough to make progress on the basics.


I guess sucking and surrounding yourself with people who are more accomplished is a great art. Like a baby born into a bunch of expert English speakers, just listening with fascination and trying to mimic and communicate. We have all succeeded in this sucking among the experts scenario, right?

The best part about sucking (which I often forget) is that it brings you in touch with those who are struggling… with music or with whatever they are struggling with. When you really feel how it feels to suck, you can find new levels of empathy and compassion. I really needed to remember this today.

thanks, bassbuzz forum!


Great point!