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#453966 - 06/26/18 09:44 PM my walking bass progress
Mark79100 Offline
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Registered: 10/23/06
Posts: 1355
Loc: USA
So I didn't say anything about it for whatever reason? But, with all this talk I do about Power of the Mind and Mind over Matter principles, I decided to apply them to a new goal......learning left hand walking bass on the piano. My God...what a challenge! First 2-3 months and I still can't do it. But I'm determined...I wasn't going to give up. Finally the "mind" kicked in and it was slowly becoming easier...VERY slowly. Six months later, I can now "walk the bass" to maybe 50% of my tunes. A huge accomplishment for me, after six months of dedicated daily practice.

I'm not sure if one can play walking bass while they're improvising but I don't think I'm going to go for it. I wouldn't learn to do it in this lifetime. I'll be happy, probably sometime in the next six months, when I can "walk" all of my songs.

One tip I really want to share that helped me the most. I mentioned this before...I'll say it again. Sit down at your instrument and set an alarm for 15-20 minutes. And then STOP...no matter how good your practicing is going. Wait a period and go back to it again. Instead of two straight hours that start to get unproductive, you have multi mini-sessions. That's how the mind works (on everything, not just music). Instead of 7 daily sessions in a week, your mind reacts now to 30+ mini-sessions. That's a lot of practice.

But that helped me the most so I definitely wanted to mention it. Meantime I'm still working regularly every day on my left hand. I'm not going to give up until I've mastered "walking the bass!"

Mark

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#453967 - 06/26/18 09:54 PM Re: my walking bass progress [Re: Mark79100]
Nigel Offline
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Posts: 6069
Loc: Ventura CA USA
Originally Posted By Mark79100

I'm not sure if one can play walking bass while they're improvising but I don't think I'm going to go for it.


You can definitely improvise over playing walking bass lines. In fact doing that is a favorite of mine. Once playing walking bass is automatic muscle memory you will be totally free to improvise over it. Just give it a little more time and you will see I am right.

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#453969 - 06/26/18 10:47 PM Re: my walking bass progress [Re: Nigel]
Mark79100 Offline
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Registered: 10/23/06
Posts: 1355
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By Nigel

Just give it a little more time and you will see I am right.


No problem there. I'm obsessed with learning this before my lifetime warranty runs out!

Nigel.....do you have any tips on an easier way to do this other than plain "hard work?"

I'm aware of muscle memory. I was reading some articles on it a few weeks ago. Does that mean something like with the common II-V-I progression your mind remembers the sequence every time it pops up.

Somebody said you have to keep shifting your mind from left hand to right. That's NOT true? Muscle memory trumps that?

And......how did YOU go about learning it?

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#453976 - 06/27/18 02:35 AM Re: my walking bass progress [Re: Mark79100]
bruno123 Offline
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Registered: 06/04/02
Posts: 3587
Loc: West Palm Beach, FL 33417
No clocks or practicing time each day -- just enjoying what I am doing. If there is a need I might give it some time, but not enough to kill my joy.

My dear friend who past away six years ago was part of the Watkins products; something like Amway products. He lived in a large home on A1A here in Florida with beach house on the other side of the road. He had a Wersi Delta 500 organ and a Technics keyboard. The man was rich. One day as we were driving over the intraostal bridge we saw two black men fishing. He turned to me and said, "John, I bet those men are happier than I am". Amen!

Just saying, John C.

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#453978 - 06/27/18 05:07 AM Re: my walking bass progress [Re: Mark79100]
cgiles Online   content
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Registered: 09/29/05
Posts: 5259
Loc: Roswell,GA/USA
John, I know it's an age and generational thing, but I hope one of your friends will point out (and try to explain) to you what a racially insensitive thing that is to say. I'm sure you meant no harm but you may want to rethink posting things like this. And for the record, 'black', when used in this context, should be capitalized (otherwise it' just a color). The point is, would your 'dear friend' have make the same statement if the men had been White? See what I mean?

I don't want to take this post 'south', so I won't say more.

chas (a proud Black man who doesn't like assumptions being made about his state of being based soley on the color of his skin)
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#454002 - 06/27/18 10:01 AM Re: my walking bass progress [Re: Mark79100]
Mark79100 Offline
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Registered: 10/23/06
Posts: 1355
Loc: USA
So back to my original question. Does anyone have comments or tips on learning walking bass? Nigel said it's easy...it started me thinking are my missing something in how I'm going about it (just keep plugging away).

BTW, I already did the Youtube routine.

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#454005 - 06/27/18 10:09 AM Re: my walking bass progress [Re: Mark79100]
Uncle Dave Offline
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Registered: 12/01/99
Posts: 10666
Loc: Philadelphia Pa, USA
Mark, the best way to gain a comfort factor with walking bass lines is to think of both hands as one. They need to act together, kick together, and complement each other. If you're soloing, keep the bass simple - maybe arpeggiate the 1-3-5, or even just the 1-5 during intricate parts of your solo. A simple "walk" through the diatonic scale is usually pretty much correct through alot of changes. I played bass more than I played piano, so when I think of the two, I think like a bass player, and just bang out the chords with my right hand. I've said many times that bass is far more important than the chords to me. Tune hierarchy goes like this:
1) melody (usually voice, in my case)
2) bass
3) chords
4) drums
5) everything else (fluff)
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#454008 - 06/27/18 10:35 AM Re: my walking bass progress [Re: Uncle Dave]
Mark79100 Offline
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Registered: 10/23/06
Posts: 1355
Loc: USA
Dave....thanks for your "elaborate" reply. What you wrote made me think I AM going about this wrong. I'm a perfectionist in general so I think I'm trying to play advanced bass lines as a bass player would play and right hand as a pianist would play. I can do the walking bass now, but as soon as I start to improvise, I lose it. As far as playing just plain good bass against your right hand, I'm OK there

Let me read over carefully what you wrote here later on when I can concentrate on it. That old saying....The quickest way to insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and getting the same results!

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#454011 - 06/27/18 10:38 AM Re: my walking bass progress [Re: cgiles]
bruno123 Offline
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Registered: 06/04/02
Posts: 3587
Loc: West Palm Beach, FL 33417
Wow Chas when I used the word black I never meany to offend anyone. I was just telling the story as I remmember it.

Please accept my opology, John C.


Edited by bruno123 (06/27/18 10:39 AM)

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#454013 - 06/27/18 10:43 AM Re: my walking bass progress [Re: Uncle Dave]
Mark79100 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/23/06
Posts: 1355
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By Uncle Dave
I've said many times that bass is far more important than the chords to me.


I forgot to comment on this important remark to other members also. That's what happened to me six months ago. I started to realize how important a good bass line is....how it moves a song along and defines it probably more than the drums.

A few years ago I was at a piano performance. I will never forget the pianist played All The Things You Are and the second time through he added "walking bass." The difference knocked me right out of my seat.

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#454024 - 06/27/18 12:17 PM Re: my walking bass progress [Re: Mark79100]
captain Russ Offline
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Registered: 01/02/04
Posts: 6514
Loc: Lexington, Ky, USA
Hang in there. When it "clicks", it's a wonderful thing. Of course, you find yourself trying to play every tune Jimmy Smith, Tony Monaco or Joey style.

Walking is easier than playing other bass lines and leads simultaneously.

Joey is my current favorite. Plays just enough, and has his tone down flat.

You'll get there sooner than you think!

Russ "I'm Walkin" Lay

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#454030 - 06/27/18 12:50 PM Re: my walking bass progress [Re: bruno123]
cgiles Online   content
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Registered: 09/29/05
Posts: 5259
Loc: Roswell,GA/USA
Originally Posted By bruno123
Wow Chas when I used the word black I never meany to offend anyone. I was just telling the story as I remmember it.

John C.


The word "black" doesn't offend me John, but clearly you missed the point of my post. I'm sure that was a 'cute' story back in 1950, 2018....not so much. But back on topic.

Russ's post triggered a thought. The term 'walking bass' DOES conjure up the image of a jazz organ-type bassline, but clearly this is not suitable for all types of popular music. Plus, this type of bassline doesn't lend itself to piano or piano styles (Boogie woogie, Stride, solo Coctail (lounge) piano, etc.) as well as it does to organ. So perhaps 'left-hand bass' might be a better or more accurate description of what you're looking for. In that sense, learning suitable basslines for piano might be even more challenging than for organ. But....I feel your pain; I too, am usually at a loss as to what to play in the left hand when playing solo piano. If I'm playing atempo, no problem, but if I have to maintain a beat...arrrrggg. I'm guessing Dave (UD) might be the most experienced in this aspect of piano playing. Good topic, though.

chas



Edited by cgiles (06/27/18 01:30 PM)
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#454038 - 06/27/18 04:11 PM Re: my walking bass progress [Re: Mark79100]
salsaman Offline
Member

Registered: 04/07/08
Posts: 97
Loc: Port Angeles, WA., USA
There is a short article in the latest issue of "Electronic Musician" by Jim Alfredson on starting out learning walking bass. It's pretty basic but it sort of gets you used to left hand/right hand, left foot/right foot independence. I've been doing it for over 50 years now because of playing the B-3 organ. It's my claim to fame but I learned it gradually over the years. I was much younger when I started doing it with no life distractions like having to cook and clean for myself because my Mom did all that for me at that young age. I could stay focused in a sense.
I started out with imitating what the bass guitar was doing and then later on simply started out by outlining the chords of the tunes. I have since learned how to play the bass guitar and that helps learning to play convincing bass lines with my feet or left hand.
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#454050 - 06/28/18 01:11 AM Re: my walking bass progress [Re: cgiles]
Nigel Offline
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Registered: 06/01/98
Posts: 6069
Loc: Ventura CA USA
Originally Posted By cgiles

The word "black" doesn't offend me John, but clearly you missed the point of my post. I'm sure that was a 'cute' story back in 1950, 2018....not so much. But back on topic.


Although this is off topic I will not remove it because I think it is dialogue that should remain as it makes people think more. And that will always make the world a better place.

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#454051 - 06/28/18 02:07 AM Re: my walking bass progress [Re: Mark79100]
Gunnar Jonny Offline
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Registered: 04/01/01
Posts: 3735
Loc: Norway
Nigel,
I admire highly your great way to administrate and moderate the SZ forum.
bow

------

Regarding myself and left hand bass.
Years ago I played accordeon, and left hand bass was a part of it. But when swap to arranger keyboard, I find it really hard to play bass with left hand.
So I take the easy way out, autobass does the work. During the years the styles getting got more dynamic responding to what chords played.
But, I agree fully, bass and drums played 'correctly' really make the differences. smile
keys
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Cheers & Happy Playing. smile
GJ
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"Success is not counted by how high you have climbed
but by how many you brought with you." (Wil Rose)

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#454060 - 06/28/18 08:35 AM Re: my walking bass progress [Re: Mark79100]
Bill Lewis Offline
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Registered: 11/12/08
Posts: 1612
Loc: Bluffton/Hilton Head SC USA
Mark

Go slow and it will start to become second nature. Back when I though Jimmy Smith did all his bass on the pedals I practiced 1 -5 jumps in all keys and then scales. After awhile I really didn't think about my left foot much and can still play a pretty good pedal bass.
For LH bass I would put on a SLOW swing or shuffle rhythm on your drum machine to keep you steady and do ii - V - I's in all keys using scale tones to move smoothly from one chord to the next. Later you can add 1/2 step slides and jumps from 1 - 5 or octaves. With you RH keep it really simple and just do chord stabs wherever you feel like it. Sort of like comping behind an soloist. Soloing over it will come faster than you think. Good luck
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#454061 - 06/28/18 09:04 AM Re: my walking bass progress [Re: Mark79100]
Mark79100 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/23/06
Posts: 1355
Loc: USA
I really, really appreciated the input from everyone here. I thought I was carrying this situation "alone."

So here's the way it went. I never turn away from a challenge once I take it on. But after I first brought up the subject here, I started thinking to myself something like.....why don't you admit you're wearing yourself out and starting to dread your daily practice and maybe it's just one of those things that I'm just not good at.

Well, you guys helped jump-start me again and I appreciate it.

You all wrote such good information I'm going to go over each message closely, one at a time, and "reevaluate" how I'm going about this. I'm probably not seeing the "forest for the trees."

I know my chords, scales, progressions, etc. And I CAN play a lot more songs with walking bass than when I first started. But that's it.....the instant I start to improvise (doing LH bass), I lose it!

Someone said years ago in a discussion about singing. "It's impossible to be a great singer and a great instrumentalist at the same time. That the mind can only focus on one thing at a time" I'm wondering if that's true with "walking bass." The mind can't handle improvising in both hands at the same time?

I have a feeling when I go over each of your posts that the answer will come to me. This has been one great struggle these last six months! My piano sessions are becoming harder than exercise sessions!

I'll keep you posted on what I glean from your posts in the next few days and let you know if I finally "got it" or I need more help.

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#454062 - 06/28/18 09:19 AM Re: my walking bass progress [Re: salsaman]
Mark79100 Offline
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Registered: 10/23/06
Posts: 1355
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By salsaman
There is a short article in the latest issue of "Electronic Musician" by Jim Alfredson on starting out learning walking bass.


I'll even take "basic." I have the last few issues......can you tell me what month and page #?

Thanks

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#454069 - 06/28/18 11:52 AM Re: my walking bass progress [Re: Mark79100]
Uncle Dave Offline
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Registered: 12/01/99
Posts: 10666
Loc: Philadelphia Pa, USA
Originally Posted By Mark79100


Someone said years ago in a discussion about singing. "It's impossible to be a great singer and a great instrumentalist at the same time. That the mind can only focus on one thing at a time"


To quote the very wise Sherman T. Potter .... "Horse Hockey!"
_________________________
Everyone, and everything I listen to is my teacher. Every instrument, every voice, every sound in nature ... they are all my private tutor ... 24/7 for free.

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#454072 - 06/28/18 12:15 PM Re: my walking bass progress [Re: Uncle Dave]
travlin'easy Offline
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Registered: 12/08/02
Posts: 13608
Loc: Forest Hill, MD USA
Originally Posted By Uncle Dave
Originally Posted By Mark79100


Someone said years ago in a discussion about singing. "It's impossible to be a great singer and a great instrumentalist at the same time. That the mind can only focus on one thing at a time"


To quote the very wise Sherman T. Potter .... "Horse Hockey!"


DITTO!
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PSR-S950, Bose L1 Compact, TC Helicon Harmony-M, Digitech VR (2), Crown CM311A, Samson Q7, Sennheiser E855, Custom Console, Morgan 33 Out Island Sailboat, and lots of other silly stuff!

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#454074 - 06/28/18 01:12 PM Re: my walking bass progress [Re: Mark79100]
cgiles Online   content
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Registered: 09/29/05
Posts: 5259
Loc: Roswell,GA/USA
Nat Cole, Harry Connick, Jr., Alicia Keys, George Benson, Dianna Krall, Chet Baker, just to name a few.

chas
_________________________
"Faith means not wanting to know what is true." [Nietzsche]

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#454078 - 06/28/18 02:30 PM Re: my walking bass progress [Re: Mark79100]
montunoman Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/20/09
Posts: 1950
Loc: Dallas, Texas
Hi Mark,

I mess around with walking bass too. I haven't gotten good enough to want to do so in a performance situation but I do enjoy practicing LH bass/ RH chords and improve.

Here are a few things that have helped me:

1. Come up with some "stock/ go to" bass lines that you know cold and can play them in any key. 12 bar blues with turn arounds, ii V 1, I vi ii V. rhythm changes.... Have some walking lines that you can do on "auto pilot"


One you have some walking bass lines following effortlessly, start throughing in RH chords. Rootless chords work great for this since your LH is providing roots already.

Once you feel comfortable playing LH walking bass lines with RH chord comping you can go move on to RH melodic improve over LH bass lines.

Start very, very simple! For example is your playing blues, limit your RH to just maybe two notes from the blues scale. Just mess around with different rhythmic phases with those limited note choice in the RH, but make sure your bass is steady on 'auto pilot"

Also try outlining the chords tones in the RH while your LH is walking. Try experimenting and make RH improvisations that only use certain chord tunes such as the 3rd and 7th. I saw a great jazz pianist/educator named Andy LeVerne demonstrate soloing using very limited note choices and he could make his solos swing real nicely.

Don't get frustrated! Take baby steps. Even the greats like Oscar Peterson had to put in some serious practice before they became great!
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It not the keyboard, it's the keyboardist.

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#454079 - 06/28/18 02:33 PM Re: my walking bass progress [Re: Mark79100]
montunoman Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/20/09
Posts: 1950
Loc: Dallas, Texas
If you need some ideas for walking bass lines, this book my help.


https://www.amazon.com/Playing-Keyboard-...es+john+valerio
_________________________
It not the keyboard, it's the keyboardist.

www.youtube.com/channel/UCV94i--V-A8kZShmGTKyDOw

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#454080 - 06/28/18 02:35 PM Re: my walking bass progress [Re: Mark79100]
montunoman Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/20/09
Posts: 1950
Loc: Dallas, Texas
Here's a short article, which goes step by step to form simple walking bass lines:

https://cocktailpianolessons.com/how-to-play-walking-bass-lines-at-the-piano/
_________________________
It not the keyboard, it's the keyboardist.

www.youtube.com/channel/UCV94i--V-A8kZShmGTKyDOw

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#454081 - 06/28/18 03:17 PM Re: my walking bass progress [Re: Mark79100]
zuki Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/20/02
Posts: 4160
Mark,

Do you have VCR access? If so, I have a great Berkeley professor tape - really good smile
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#454119 - 06/29/18 08:59 AM Re: my walking bass progress [Re: zuki]
captain Russ Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/02/04
Posts: 6514
Loc: Lexington, Ky, USA
I had a rough week or two when, as a bass player in a jazz band, I also became the vocalist.

The left hand will just "click" one day. Listen to Esmeralda Spaulding. Scary stuff!

Listen to Joey do "I Love You More Today Than Yesterday" or "Never Can Say Goodby".

WHAT FUN!

Hang in there. Us "lefties" have to hang together.


Russ "Lefty" Lsy

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#454580 - 07/12/18 09:01 AM Re: my walking bass progress [Re: Mark79100]
Mark79100 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/23/06
Posts: 1355
Loc: USA
I thought I’d wait a couple of weeks to make sure I’m “back on track” before saying thanks to everyone who contributed to my post here.

Well it’s almost two weeks now and I AM “back on track”…..practicing every day again on “walking bass.”

The way it went was…..on Saturday June 30, I decided I “had enough.” Six months and I’m still working at it with little results. That thought lasted TWO HOURS during my afternoon practice session. Then I referred back to this post and got “re-inspired” from you guys, and your advice (muscle memory, etc). I made the decision to keep at it based on your advice, suggestions, and encouragement. So it’s two weeks later and I’m pretty sure I’m back in the practicing groove…..been at it every day again. Possible I’m a slow learner, but…….I’ll keep at it!

I’m glad you all got me back into this, because…….without realizing it, EVERYTHING else in my playing improved, particularly my pitch recognition, chord construction and voicing, fingering technique, and (what I call) “floating bass lines”….NOT so much just using chord “roots” and broken chords on my left hand.

This is the best I’ve ever played and the best sound I ever had on the piano. I only wish I started practicing “walking bass” years ago.

BTW, since I started again with all you guys rooting for me to continue, I actually somewhat broke the barrier. I read, studied, absorbed, everything you all wrote and realized I’m going about this thing “intellectually” and not “emotionally.” When I kind of let it “hang loose” and got my mind out of the way, it all started to flow better. It’s only two weeks now, and my “walking bass” has improved dramatically to the point where I’m optimistic I’ll get it eventually.

So……here’s hoping I can stick to the regimen this time!

Mark

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#454601 - 07/12/18 02:06 PM Re: my walking bass progress [Re: travlin'easy]
Bill Lewis Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/12/08
Posts: 1612
Loc: Bluffton/Hilton Head SC USA
Originally Posted By travlin'easy
Originally Posted By Uncle Dave
Originally Posted By Mark79100


Someone said years ago in a discussion about singing. "It's impossible to be a great singer and a great instrumentalist at the same time. That the mind can only focus on one thing at a time"


To quote the very wise Sherman T. Potter .... "Horse Hockey!"


DITTO!


Sort of like people driving and talking on the phone ?
_________________________
Bill in SC --- Roland BK9 (2) Roland PK5 Pedals, Roland FP90, Roland CM30s, JBL Eon Ones (2) , EV mics, Apple iPad (2) Behringer DJ mixer

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