Archive for March, 2012


How to get “over the hump”

March 27, 2012

I haven’t posted for a few weeks, because I have been in a period of extreme concentration. The object of this focus? Why, my bass guitar of course!

Beginners to all instruments often talk about getting “over the hump”. This phrase generally refers to the period after the “honeymoon” of acquiring a new instrument ends, when making random noises soon becomes boring and it dawns that a great amount of effort is needed to progress to the next stage. The “hump” in this case, is the plateau, the learning curve that most of us face when learning a new skill.

My best advice for getting over the hump, progressing past the plateau, conquering the impasse, is to get professional tuition. This doesn’t have to be one on one private tuition – with the power of the internet, it is easy to get hold of quality video tutorials that are almost as good as a personal instructor, and cost a fraction of the price. Instruction is the only way to beat the hump, which is almost always symptomatic of the brain becoming bored of playing the same one or two (or 30) licks over and over again.

Now, what does all this have to do with my recent lack of blog postings, I hear you all cry. Well, I may have been playing bass guitar for over 25 years, but – and this may be a shock – I still hit humps in my playing every once in a while.

The difference with this musical rut for experienced musicians is, it tends to be much longer and deeper. It requires much more focus to negotiate through. With a newer player, learning a new riff or song is often enough to boost the motivation again. Experienced players are not so easily placated, and can play most riffs by ear anyway. No, a bass sage needs something much more substantial to take them to the next lesson.

I had hit a bad hump, so I decided to pick a “hole” in my bass playing repertoire and learn it – then master it. The technique that I selected, and now have down pat, is the Double Thumb Double Pop. If you want to try it for yourself, here is a good introduction: