1st Rehersal was Tonight

Tonight was my first rehersal ever playing with others as a newly selected bassist for a band at the music school in town! I didn’t know what to expect. We had two instructors; one on drums and one on guitar. They helped me get set up, did intros, etc. Two other guitarist students were there, and one woman keyboardist sitting in to see if that band might be a good fit. The other two students have been in this band for 3 years. That’s a long as I’ve been playing!

We dove right in.

A week ago, the instructor sent me the 3 songs we were going to start with, and i found the tabs and chords on ultimate guitar. One was “Free Fallin” by Mr. Petty (that’s what i always call him). The other two songs were “Colors” by Black Pumas, and “Far from Any Road” by The Husbands which i had never heard.

I practiced hard all week but wasn’t really good at any of them (I always try to get a close to the sheet music as i can-- prob need to drop that idea). But i could get by with root note “on the one” when i got lost.

The instructor sent me a wrong song. Mr. Petty’s song should have been “Learning to Fly”, so i had play a brand new song. They gave me a sheet w/ lyrics and chords ( i forget what they called it–some kind of sheet). Fortunately, that song is super easy for the bassist. I totally nailed that one and even tried changing octaves to add some variety. I’m calling that one a WIN.

I did ok on “Far from any road”. I couldn’t remember the walkups/walkdowns from one chord to another at times, but hit the root on one again and muddled through.

Same with “Colors”. The basslines on that song are so awesome, but i was practicing all week at a much slower tempo. I couldn’t keep up. So, i hit the root on one again and tried to get something in between. I think i need to ramp up my tempo in practice at least a day b4 rehersal so i at least have a feel for how i can simplify.

I did get some advice to study up on the pentatonic scale and that makes a lot of sense. It’s been a while since I’ve done any scales. Might be a good way to warm up for a song.

I must say, that i even talked about this forum and BassBuzz. I can’t even remember what i said… Josh, you’ve clearly had some influence on me!

Overall, i did ok and didn’t totally embarrass myself. The instructor seemed a bit frazzled, but i hope it’s because it’s the start of a new semester. They’re probably short staffed like everyone else.

I think I’m going to learn a lot fast, but right now, i feel like i have to think about everything a little longer than event else. But it’s all new to me, so i should give myself more credit. I PLAYED WITH OTHER PEOPLE FOR REALZ!! And i survived and had fun.

Oh and they want me to sing at some point. Shit, i am a decent singer, but doing that, and playing bass together right now will make my head explode. One thing at a time please! I’m drinking from a fire hose right now.

I’ll keep you posted. Reflecting on the session and the things i learned well help me remember what i need to work on.

Janis like Joplin


Awesome @connellj65. Keep killing it and have fun.


CONGRATS!! Sounds like you had a great experience @connellj65!! Always fun playing and making music with other musicians… Just making that first attempt at playing bass with others is certainly a memorable achievement… It only gets better the more you do it, and the more you do it, the more addicted to it you become…

It’s called a “Lead Sheet”… Lead sheets are simple one page sheets that show chords and lyrics and are a great memory jogging tool for the guitarists, bass player, keyboardist, and lead singer… It’s pretty much all I’ve ever used to both learn and play songs in the bands that I’ve played in. When your band has two to three hundred songs in their library and are playing usually two to three sets of 10-13 songs per gig, trying to memorize or use tab or music sheets just doesn’t work…

One of the tricks I use quite often when playing from lead sheets is to always stick to those roots and work fifths and/or octaves… The pentatonic scale is a
the bass players friend and is a very simple scale to play, and will work on probably 90% of all rock and country songs… Another thing that helps a ton is to just listen to the song you’re gonna play over and over and over… Hundreds of times if necessary… You will after listening over and over be able to pick out “signature” bass riffs that are key to the song… For instance, ZZ Top’s song “TUSH” is basic G; C; D with a lot of root chugging - all pentatonic scale however, the signature riff that makes that bass line shine are the walk up notes… Miss those notes, and I can guarantee you’ll hear about it (I know, happened to me “Just” ONCE)…

Anyway, Good Luck with your new band!!

Keep On Thumpin’!


Thanks Lanny, that’s good info. I appreciate the feedback.


Not a problem - I’ve been there… Just so cool hearing of others stepping out and playing with others in a band setting…


Congrats on getting out there! Playing with others is what its all about in my opinion. Even if you are nervous or even overwhelmed at times its such a great feeling to actually get through and make it safely to the other side! It will get easier and should be even more fun once you get a bit more comfortable. Stay with it! I got a late start as well (age 56), so its never too late to try and rock. (Or any other genre as well of course)

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That’s fantastic! Playing with others is probably the best thing about learning an instrument!

I am sure you will experience that you develop a lot faster because of your playing with others now, and being constantly “challenged” with new songs.

Soon, you’ll want to slightly expand from root-fifths-octaves and try out little fills. One “move” that almost always works is to add a little slide from the octave to the ninth (2 frets up) and back…

Anyway, have tons of fun!!