this is a nerdy musician blog.  some of you will hate it.  but i’ve been dwelling on it and wanting to share it for a few months—-soooo…..

i’ve always thought that right was right.  if i play the song perfect—note for note—that it was right.  if it is supposed to be a C# in an 8th note pattern from measure 45-46 then thats what would happen.  read the chart and get it right—right?

one day i was working with mr. jeff balding (www.jeffbalding.com).  we were re- tracking the bass part on a song from john ragsdale’s album(www.johnragsdale.com).  i’m pretty sure it was “what a sound”.  jeff was getting the sound he wanted for the bass (which took him about 4 seconds) so he asked me just to play through the song.  i went straight through it and then it was time to get to it.  he gave it to me again.  so i started concentrating this time.  of course jeff noticed this.  he let me get all the way through it again.  then the test began.  “let me play you this second verse from the first pass and the second verse from your second pass and tell me what you think.”  oh boy.  

well they both sounded right to me.  even kinda cool.  i’m not even sure what i told him because i thought that they were both right.  jeff says “listen to the urgency, tension and passion in the first pass.”  uhhh—it is a bass part man!  one note at a time.  urgency?

he was so right.  the first time i played it i was just playing the song for the fun of playing a song.  i wasn’t trying to lock it down and get it done asap–i was enjoying every note and it came through.  

this lesson came from one of the greatest note observers of all time.  i listened and learned.


8 Responses to “lessons”

  1. Andrea Scheefer Says:

    Sooo not a “nerdy musician blog..”
    It’s just plain truth… We all need to listen a lil more… But we must learn to listen more mature…. To whatever it is that is being said…
    So many times we listen already thinkin’ bout what WE”RE gonna say next… We will never truly hear what is being said if we do this…and that’s why we rarely learn the lessons that God is tryin’ his best to teach us…Our human minds get in the way….
    If we can ever learn the simple “lesson” of listening more mature, our lives will elevate to a level we never knew was possible!!

    Love the blog..

  2. Elizabeth Wharton Says:

    That goes so much deeper than a bass part. It’s an amazing word picture of the process I’ve been in over the past year or so. Enjoying living and loving and being who God made me instead of focusing so much on getting things right and trying to “play” the perfect “part.” Everything is so much more fun that way!
    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Jereme Says:

    you & I have always joked about the fact that we play better when we don’t practice…deep down, I’ve always believed it was true.

    I guess what it really comes down to is, great music always comes from the heart, not the head. sure, we’ve gotta do our part and learn, practice, prepare, etc…but the real magic happens when we let our hearts choose from all that preparation what they want to use…and say through our instruments what we’re really feeling.

    that’s one of the reasons I’ve always loved playing drums the most when you were playing bass. there’s a trust & familiarity there that just doesn’t exist with other bassists (even big-dogs)…I always feel like I can create more, and follow what I’m feeling, when you’re the other part of the rhythm section.

    in short: “you are da man” 🙂 ok, that’s my big compliment for the month…hope you feel like a rockstar now…

    great post dude…keep them coming.

    • jacob lowery Says:

      @jereme—yeah man. you taught me how to put my heart into playing notes. you are the king of passionate playing! we are still learning this stuff together—and that is cool. someday the word is gonna get out!!

  4. Melanie Says:

    Jacob –

    First of all…NEVER a “nerd musicians blog”. Always interesting perspectives and thought-provoking material. A great perspective on life in general and WELL worth sharing! Thanks for your “perfection” on my project you worked on! Whether “perfect” or “not”…I was MOST pleased! Congrats on one year in Music City! Hope your dreams are coming true!

    Blessings – Melanie

  5. Rob S. Says:

    Sour bass notes are like coffee spilled on a term paper. Sometimes you learn more from the stains…

    • jacob lowery Says:

      @rob s
      what the heck?
      that is deep bro…

    • jacob lowery Says:

      @rob s
      and btw—i never play a sour bass note—i just turn it into a silky run to the right note when i land wrong!! i learned that from james owens and brent cole.

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