| Jeff Schmidt, Bassist
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January 01, 2009

Practice + Luck & Circumstance = Success.

As we've discussed on this blog before and ELSEWHERE practice is a HUGE part of achievement.

The idea of being "gifted" or possessing "innate" ability/talent is massively over stated in the explanation of why some people do amazing things. It's easy to see an elite musician perform and think "they're god" but that totally ignores the DECADES of dedicated practice and motivation that came before the performance.

And here, as Malcolm Gladwell covers in this great interview - we learn luck & circumstance ALSO has a LOT more to do with it than we'd often like to admit.

But you know that - we've discussed that here also.

This was interesting to me because it answers the problem I had with the "practice" issue. While all elite musicians are dedicated practicers - not all dedicated practicers are elite musicians. Gladwell suggests that Luck, circumstance and environment (mostly outside of our control) are the other elements that result in success when combined with dedicated practice.

Bottom line - it's not good enough to not suck. It's not good enough to be good enough.

I think about what it must have been like to grow up in the Marsalis home, or the Wooten home. Everyone playing and experimenting with music. Clearly, that kind of shit makes a HUGE difference.


My vote is for Gladwell and JMJ to trade places for 2009! I totally wanna hear Gladwell throw down the bassline to March of the Pigs.

December 23, 2008

I'm Bored. Are you Bored? Want to not be Bored with me?

Ahhh the holidays.

I'm without my bass in the arctic wonderland known as Upstate NY. Which pretty much looks like this in every direction.


I do however have my fancy computing device which affords me the ability to mangle and mix sound. That's where YOU come in my fearless bass pioneers!


I want you to send me a bar or 2 of your bass playing OR other any other instrument you play.

I'll collect all the riffs I get and produce them with my laptop toys over the next week.

I'll post the results (for better or worse) on this blog and throughout the interwebs with full credits to everyone who participates.

Or - if you prefer - I'll leave your good reputable name off this auditory abortion leaving your participation totally anonymous. Your call.

For the sake of simplicity / interoperability there's only 2 rules.

Play to a click/metronome with a tempo of 110. (don't record the click track if you can help it)

Play in the key of E maj.

You can play in ANY mode of E Maj - but please confine your riffs to the key of E Maj.

Play in any time sig you want - just label what it is

Play with any effect(s) you want.

As simple or complex as you want. Doesn't matter. Don't overthink. Just hit record, play, save the file - and


mp3 is fine.

Let'r loose kids!

December 15, 2008

This moment in Twitter


follow my twitness

November 03, 2008

Tale of 2 artist political emails.

Got 2 emails from major artists today regarding the 2008 US elections.

1 from David Byrne. 1 from Trent Reznor. Interesting to compare the 2 approaches.


I Can't, But You Can

Pardon the bulk mailing. I Can't Vote. I am an immigrant with a Green Card and, therefore, I am not eligible to vote in a federal election. FYI - I can get drafted (luckily, Daniel Berrigan burned my draft board's records) and I pay taxes, yet I cannot vote for President. On Election Day, I see my neighbors heading to the nearby elementary school to cast their ballots. The voting booth joint is a great leveler; the whole neighborhood - rich, poor, old, young, decrepit and spunky - they all turn out in one day.

But most of you can vote. What can I say? The Republicans have made us less safe than before 9/11, bankrupted this economy, started an illegal war they can't - and don't intend to - finish, removed what sympathy (after 9/11) and respect the world had for the US, and have robbed US citizens of many of their basic rights. Global warming? What's that? Science and education? Investment in our future? No, thanks - we'll stick with a good 'ole hockey mom. Ignorant, and fucking proud of it, as is always the case.

Although it looks like a shoo-in, it ain't over 'til Florida. And there are plenty of racists in this country who will vote against their own best interests. So please, get to your local elementary school, post office, town hall, or whatever, and cast your vote and make this a country we can all be proud of. We can get out of this mess, and life can be better than it is.

David Byrne

And then this one from Trent of Nine Inch Nails.


*Important* Regarding Tuesday's Election

Next Tuesday we will elect the next President of the United States. The result will have great consequences for the nation.

This election offers a choice is between two men with dramatically different visions of the future. We have strong feelings about this choice. But we feel even more strongly that all Americans, regardless of political preference, have a stake in the outcome and should vote in this critical election.

This is likely to be a close election. Your vote matters. Please use it and make a difference.

Trent Reznor

I'm often put off by artists/performers I otherwise enjoy when they start mouthing off about politics. Usually because they spout cliches and don't add anything original to the discussion.

The funny thing is - both these guys prefer the same candidate as I do.

But only 1 treats me with respect and doesn't assume I agree with their point of view just because I expressed interest in their music.

Considering I only ever agreed to receive messages from these guys about their MUSIC - not politics, I have to say that Trent took the high road. Byrne took the low road.

Neither one of these email messages was necessary. But I also understand the temptation to speak out when you feel you have an "audience". I wouldn't care if they posted these exact messages on their blogs or websites.

But the e-mail lists were supposed to be about the music.

And even though I agree in general with the points of view Mr. Byrne expressed, I felt his articulation of them was ineloquent petty.

That's particularly unfortunate particularly since our preferred candidate has done an amazing job of elevating the level of political discourse. Perhaps Mr. Byrne should listen a little closer to the way his candidate has been talking about these issues and learn a new song.

What are your thoughts about artists and politics?

UPDATE: 11/5/08

I'm poaching this relevant comment off the Analog Industries - Audio Damage blog by Chris Randall. Chris is "Sister Machine Gun" and other acts - but "Audio Damage" is his computer music plug-in company.

Next, obviously, we have a new president, and I'm not going to apologize to the dozens of people that have written me complaining about my admixture of music and politics on this site. There are very few disparate subjects that fit together as well as music and politics, and it is one of our jobs, as musicians, to conflate the culture and ideas that are prevalent at our time. We provide a prism through which our compatriots can view the world of our day, and a lens by which our time can be viewed by future generations, and it is our responsibility to color that view with our own ideas and desires. We do this better than virtually any other source of posterity, and it is a damn shame when we can't see it.

Good thoughts. I guess I just prefer the "conflation" take place within the art of music making itself rather than in an email.

August 22, 2008

First time here?

Here's the quick and easy stuff.

You can listen to samples & purchase my CD - HERE

You can watch some videos of me performing most of my pieces HERE

And if you'd like to share a question or comment - you can drop it in the comments section of this post - or just e-mail me directly

jeff at beautiful-bass dot com


--jeff schmidt

February 19, 2008

And you're not on Twitter because . . . . ?



go there.

sign up.

post the inanities of your daily life.

find other people to follow.

watch as interesting things start to happen.

December 17, 2007

Attack of my LINK BLOG

Bit of geekery to share with you. I read (skim actually) lots of blogs.

About 2% of the stuff I skim/read is stuff I feel compelled to share.

So I've added a LINK BLOG over on the left. These are posts I've found on other blogs that I really like.

Only the last 10 links are showing in the side-bar, but there's many more behind that. Topics are stuff that interests me - tech, media, music, marketing, business, space/astromomy/science, politics, philosophy, religion, humor, serious stuff, frivolous stuff etc...

Don't read too much into why I might have posted an item. I post stuff I agree with and support and stuff I disagree with and think is stupid - as long as it strikes me in some way.

Good luck figuring out which is which. ,-)

Direct link to the whole thing HERE

And for the truly daring - an RSS feed568400747-feed-icon-12.png

October 24, 2007

Goth Dolls


Left to your imagination is what it was I was searching for when I found this.

October 05, 2007

It is right to give thanks & praise . . . .


Continue reading "It is right to give thanks & praise . . . ." »

Solo Bass . . . . the punch line!

Interview with SNL Cast members Fred Armisen & Andy Samberg about a new SNL Digital Short making fun of Iranian Prez Ahmadinejad.

Q: So, Ahmadinejad...What did you think of his visit in general? Did you think Columbia should have invited him to speak?

Fred Armisen: I thought that...I don't want to say anything political because it ends up on a blog and it seems like I'm making a statement about it. I have a feeling about it. I'll just say that I think that his speech should have just spoken for itself. I don't know that they needed someone to come out and go, "This guy is petty." He was such a lunatic that I would have gotten that right away.

Andy Samberg: I thought it would have been rad if he actually just put a soap box in Washington Square Park, stand on it and just say whatever he wanted... He actually might be the musical guest on "SNL" next week.

Q: Performing on what?

Fred Armisen:: Bass guitar. He's a really good bass guitarist.

Andy Samberg: Just bass solos. Upright.

Q: You've heard his work before?

Andy Samberg: Oh yeah, he does a lot of cool jazz fusion stuff. A lot of solo bass albums. He shreds. Right?

Fred Armisen:: He shreds. And pops. (laughter)

Andy Samberg: He shreds and pops. (laughter)

full text -

July 20, 2007

Basses are back with me

Got them back today - unharmed as far as I could tell - have not plugged them in yet. But it's a relief to have them back.

It finally happend TO ME!

I say "finally" because I've always known probability says it WOULD happen.

You just never know when or how.

But I am sans basses right now.

Yesterday I joined my fellow Bass Extremes Solo Bass Contestant Zuzo Mouasswer at Victor Wooten's Bass Nature Camp just outside Nashville.

We were the "special feature". Dennis Chambers was the "special" the day before - Mike Gordon is the special today. Pretty sweet company!

Zuzo and I each played a set and took questions - very cool and a lot of fun. Well okay - not COOL - its was 95 degrees and humid as hell. I'm seriously not accustomed to that kind of weather.

We played outside under a pavilion - but still - HOT!! This is camp after all.

Oh yeah - we played through . . . .(imaging me curling my brow and scruntching my nose) Bass Amps.

They were standard fare SWR/Epiphani head and 4x12 cab. They sounded like poo to my ears - but I'm used to playing through just plain loud clean power into the PA and monitors.

Anyway - it's VICTOR WOOTEN'S BASS nature camp - not the Jeff Schmidt show. ,-)

We both had flights out of Nashville in the 5 o'clock hour so wew rode to the airport together. Total side note - but it was great to hang with Zuzo again. He's an amazing player who does things on bass that will totally warp your mind. He's also a great guy - living in Boston now for 2 years while attends Berkely for Film Scoring.

Continue reading "It finally happend TO ME!" »

January 22, 2007

Back from NAMM


On a scale of 1-10

Gear = 1

Friends & Hang = 10

November 21, 2006

Day Job kudos

Part of my day job @ KFOG is producing the live recordings of artists that come into the radio station's studios. Every year we assemble about 15 or so of the tracks from the previous year - and release it on CD (limited run) All proceeds benefit San Francisco Bay Area Food Banks.

Continue reading "Day Job kudos" »

July 02, 2006

Politics . . . bleh

I don't want to blog about politics - too much bullshit to go thru - too many personal identities wrapped up in mental positions.

But if you're at all interested in the NSA Gov Spying on you thing - the infamous hacker Kevin Poulsin posted on the Wired Mag Blog instructions how to run a simple trace on a website to find out if it's traffic is being routed to the NSA.

6/6/06 (06/06/06)

Happy Friday (06/02/06)