So, I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I’m working on the bass line to ‘Stand By Me’ by Ben E. King. I’ve also mentioned I can’t play along with it yet. Naturally, I assumed the problem was entirely with me.

I’m sorry to tell you guys, it’s not me. At least, it’s not JUST me. Yesterday, I was watching a series on youtube for upwards of two hours, so that whole time I was running through the riff over and over again. Becauuusseee, you know, the lesson said ‘it’s just the same riff over and over again.’ And, why should I think my internet instructor would lie (or…perhaps stretch the truth is more accurate in this case.)?

So tonight, as I sat down with my bass, ready to play through. I fumbled again. But I couldn’t see where I fumbled. I thought I was keeping up!  I rewound the video to the beginning of the play through and tried again. It is NOT “the same riff over and over again”, not really. Very early on, it’s the same HALF OF A RIFF repeated several times before moving back into the FULL riff.

This is a beginner lesson, designed for beginners, in theory, so…someone please explain to me how a beginner is supposed to realize when you say ‘it’s just the same riff over and over again’, what you really mean is ‘it’s the same riff over and over again…but, only sort of.’  Are we supposed to be psychic?

Now, mind, if you sit down and carefully watch the first 20 seconds of the play along a few times, you will see this. However, when your instructor doesn’t bother to actually tell you this, and just says ‘okay, let’s see how you do’…of course you’re not going to do well, because he hasn’t actually given you the information required to.

So, at the moment, I’m feeling equally exasperated and relieved. Exasperated because I, once again, find myself watching a lesson that leave out some small but pertinent bit of information required to actually complete the song. Relieved, because I now know that I’m far less bad at playing along than I thought I was.

So, that’s where I stand on learning my first song for now. My fingertips are very slightly tender from playing the same riff over and over for half a day yesterday, and I now have to watch the playthrough like a detective to figure out exactly what information the instructor decided just to not mention so I can actually learn this song from beginning to end. The only way to do that is watch his hands and count, which really wouldn’t be necessary if he’d actually mentioned that you’re not doing the full riff every time, just ever x# of times. But, I guess I can’t complain. This is just the sort of absent-minded instruction you get when you’re learning from freebies.  It’s still kind of annoying, because I wasted a week thinking I was just doing very poorly because of thinking too hard, when really I was doing very poorly because the video I’m working from left out this important bit of information.  Now I’ve worked my muscles into memory of repeating the full riff, and have to train them out of that, since it’s not actually what I’m supposed to be doing.  I’m going to admit that’s really annoying because it’s something that wouldn’t have happened if I’d just been given accurate information from the start. It would have taken all of 5 seconds to clarify, and I spent a week thinking the problem was all me. Jerk.

Until Next Time, I want to be gentle, really, but when I realized what the problem was, I nearly threw a shoe at youtube.