Re: Should I learn the bass?
Try multi tasking! Find a way to do as many things simultaneously as possible - that's my strategy, works well for me.
E.g. while typing this, I'm having a salad, and my feet = doublebass.
When I'm eating at the PC or in my homestudio room and my left hand is free... guess what -> left hand workout. With or without doublebass going at the same time, sometimes the hihat. Or brushing my teeth - why waste those minutes on only this activity? Sometimes I don't have the time to do so, but I prefer getting to the double pedal and practice BD at the same time. (For variation, try learning to brush your teeth with the other hand - some drummer recommend this, it's not my original idea ;-)
Mostly when watching the TV I would either practice drums (handwork on pad, with or without hihat, with or without double pedal) or the guitar. I always try to keep my limbs going when possible. I'm only watching the TV without doing anything else in addition if I feel very tired. I just got adjusted to make use of the time I'm watching TV, else it would really be a waste of time.
Try to utilize time which normally would be 'wasted time'. When I'm doing a walk or doing the shopping, I always have a GripMaster to keep my hands busy. Recently I took up exercising my forearms, holding the sticks at the tip with my forearms rectangular to the ground and letting the butt end of the sticks hit my forearms - this will work with American and French grip. (I started doing this recently, when sitting in front of my DAW (digital audio workstation, hardware) and doing some edits or operations where my DAW is doing some operations which consume from a few seconds to minutes.) That's why I plan to get a 2nd double pedal (I already have 2 practice kick pads), to have 2 double pedal setups in different rooms at hand, instead of moving the pedals from one place to another.
Some people have a practice pad at hand when travelling in the metro or going by bus, but I'm not exposed to such situations (I'm at home most of the time, and also working at home).
Now it's getting experimental... Sometimes I practice doublebass and play an electric or acoustic guitar at the same time. I even have one original tune on the ac. guitar which I worked out to be accompanied by one bass pedal & hihat. It took me quite some effort, but it's getting better and better. I plan to record that tune in the next weeks so you might see what I mean.
Be creative, you can _always_ come up with time-saving ideas/concepts! I'm sure there's quite some potential you could discover.
As to the bass: Well, practicing finger picking (there's a plethora of variations from 1 to all fingers, _including_ the thumb) while watching the TV was what I was doing at some time. I've been neglecting the bass guitar though. You could read a book, having the bass in your lap and practicing. This works with basic exercises, not with very hard/fresh stuff, or with anything that your muscle memory has already 'saved'. Just try it, there will be a way to combine things. Don't forget that - also for variation - you can always practice both hands or one hand at a time. This works great on the guitar and bass. Right hand = picking, left hand = legato (hammer-ons, pull-offs, trills). There was a time when I was practicing right hand tapping quite intensely (only the right hand on the instrument, with the left hand completely eliminated), or for experimentation, I also practiced my right hand as if being left-handed, with the guitar flipped on the other side (Satriani does this!).
Last edited by Arky; 09-20-2011 at 08:46 PM.