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.

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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!


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Now I’m CERTAIN I’m in the right place here! :wink:

I could repeat what several others have said, too. Looking forward to getting back into the game by starting off with your lessons, Josh.


This topic is too good to let it just languish in forum limbo.

Hi! I’m Eric and I suck!
Hi, Eric.
It’s okay. It just means I have more to learn on a journey intended to last a life time.
As an older person it’s easy to get frustrated. We’re used to being good at things we’ve been doing for a decade or two. (My oatmeal cookies are pretty damn good.)
However, to continue to grow, you have to be willing to embrace the fact you are going to suck.
This isn’t a bad thing, but it can definitely be humbling.
I want to be good RIGHT NOW.
But that’s not going to happen and I have to be okay with that if I’m ever going to get to where I want to be.

I’ve been struggling a bit lately with my brain not functioning the way I expect it to.
I needed this thread as a reminder…
Just Go With It, Till You Get It.


I suck. I have this thing going right now where, when playing fast, I hit the strings too hard with my plucking hand and it sounds like slapping. It’s driving me cray cray.

The solution is, of course, to back off to well below my skill peak, play much slower, and work up to speed for a few weeks, hopefully fixing the bad habit. still, frustrating.


Perfect timing to strike a chord with me, @eric.kiser.

Hi, I’m pete, and I don’t actually suck but I do struggle with assimilating the pattern when presented with it in super slow mode. I need to hear the final tune before I can work through it. Some days it pays to remember the paraphrased version of a mantra; Every day in (almost) every way, I’m sucking less and less.

Specifically; I’m at M11L3 (Papa and that damned bag of his) and got so bogged down & frustrated that I skipped my first lesson. Then I started to struggle with M11L4 so called it a day for the weekend.


My mantra (OK, it applies more to knowledge than to skill, but still…):

“Being at ease with not knowing is crucial for answers to come to you”

Have a great week, everyone!


Fully agree.
Being new to bass, and knowing I suck, is just part of starting something new… The learning process take a while… I know it’s a long path to reach the destination.

To quote the ancient philosopher Lao Tzu

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”


Good point, @eric.kiser and thanks for bumping it up. :+1:

In some ways (after Josh’s course), I now suck a bit less than I used to! At least I’m aware of scales, some music theory, diatonic progressions, Nashville numbers, etc. etc. stuff that I never even thought of before.

But there will always be something I need to improve on, ergo I still suck.

I have to keep that in mind . . . sometimes I think I have to do it ALL right away, but I need to remember that being here and playing music IS a journey and not just a destination.

Cheers, Joe :slight_smile:


At the end of every day, I’m able to say to myself, “I suck less today than I did yesterday. Tomorrow, I will suck even less”.


Aww man, after some herbal refreshment this morning, legal now in a handful of US states, I’m too unaware to even know if I suck :upside_down_face: Just lovin playing my bass, making sounds! Basses are the best! :grin:

Random musings: " if no one can hear me suck, do I actually suck?" ; “every interval is special ! just need to figure out why?!” ; "this is the way Monday morning should be spent :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: "


This is what you need @Vik


Best enjoyed at full volume on the speakers…


Whoa!!! A little too trippy right now, but, a most excellent piece! Did anyone else hear the bassline playing inside my head along with this composition??

And full screen too!!