Well after 3 years of trying to find a jam band playing the drums with no luck…after playing the bass for 1 year I found a local jam band in 3 months. With BassAss Bass confidence I put up a listing on BandMix for Drummer and Bassist …out of the blue on Wednesday I get message thru BandMix…can you play on Friday. That was 5 weeks or 3 jam sessions ago. We have a keys, electric and acoustic guitarist who also sings. Damn fun folks…In that time I have learned 20 songs…each jam session the more seasoned musicians add 2 -3 songs. Nothing like asking what key…finding the scale…trusting your ear and sensing the rhythm and letting go
That’s awesome! I’ve never had any success with Bandmix, but it’s good to see it has worked for someone. Best wishes with that.
Not only for making the initial jump but also having the confidence and ability to do it after a year !
Congrats @BeachBumDrums ,
Great to hear you are enjoying the band and learning new songs etc😎very cool,
Way cool @BeachBumDrums!! BandMix has worked well for me too…. Have fun!!
Keep on Thumpin’!
I’d never heard of BandMix before, thanks for the heads up. My garage band lost its garage (oh, and lead singer) when the rhythm guitar player moved. Attendance has been spotty at best since then.
After your post, I took a look at BandMix & found a couple of local bands looking for 40ish to 50ish bass players to do classic rock & alternative. Drinking problems okay, drugs not so much. I fit the bill! Now I need to make some audition tracks.
Soooo, I may have found a band, or more to the point, they found me.
TLDR version: my garage band fell apart after our singer moved to a gorgeous beach house (bastard!), so I posted on BandMix, just a basic, somewhat modest, profile. Today I got a message asking if I’d be able to fill in on 2-3 gigs in October. It’s a bar band that plays a lot of Blondie, Pretenders, Stray Cats, i.e., right up my alley.
I can do it (with a set list and some ramp up time), but, fuck! this is terrifying!
To be clear, I’ve been doing improv for years. I’m used to walking out on stage with 20-30 minutes to fill and no idea what I’m going to do or say. I’m comfortable with that. But I’ve been a bass player for 9-10 months!
This scares the crap out of me. Which, of course, is why I said yes.
But, Aaaahhhhh! What am I doing?
<breathe, man, breathe>
Any insights on your first gig greatly appreciated.
i would just remember one thing @LeftyChad , roots and fifths and fill in the gaps,
Congrats @LeftyChad!! You’ll have a blast! Looks like you’ve only got a few weeks at best to be ready for those October gigs though…
Are you able to practice with the band prior to the gigs or are they expecting you to just show up and play?
When they give you the song set list, be sure to ask if any songs are being played in different keys…
When you get the set list, find out the guitar chords being played so that you’ll at least have the root notes to fall back on - learn the change ups and hooks. Don’t try to memorize any sheet music or tabs - you need to just relax and as Obie Wan Kenobi said to Luke Skywalker… “Use the FORCE Luke!”
Find out if you need any additional gear (like a DI) in case the venue has a mixing board and PA system - many do these days.
If you can, bring an extra bass and extra cable. Don’t forget a tuner, a cloth to wipe off the sweat (yup, you’ll get a little sweaty), and be sure to drink plenty of water…. Even when on stage.
Wear comfortable shoes…. You’ll be standing a whole lot!
Keep your bass lines simple. Play to serve the band. Lock into the kick, have FUN!!
So, they sent me a 50 song set list
I’d be playing Oct. 8th & 9th at a beach club in Surf City (@Griff) plus a couple of gigs in Raleigh.
I’m still eager/anxious, but sent them my plan of attack:
- break out the songs with distinctive bass lines, i.e. the intro to Don’t Stop Believin’, the Pretenders My City Was Gone, etc., and get those nailed down
- asked for a list of 10-15 marquee songs, the ones the band is known for, so I can get the bass lines pretty close to the original
- the rest of the songs get basic bass playing — know the changes (and have a crib sheet) and just lock in with the drummer on roots/fifths/arpeggios
I was pretty clear that given the timeline, that’s about all I can do. I did offer to refer them to a couple of local pros I know who could probably walk in cold and nail it.
Looks like I might be rehearsing with them Thursday, so we’ll see how it goes
Sounds great @LeftyChad!! I know the Surf City dives pretty well!!
Being able to practice with the band is GREAT!!
Here’s a list of things that I always fall back on when I’m either practicing or playing live. Many items are from my days as a guitar player, but they still relate to playing bass….
1). You don’t need to play the recorded bass line versions - in fact, they just don’t work well with other live playing musicians…
2). Learn the chord progressions and start out with basic root notes until you find a riff that works for the band, and works for you…
3). KISS! Keep It Simple Stupid!! Playing in an open environment has an effect on tones… Too many bass notes will muddy things up and make the band sound bad as a whole…
4). DON’T use sheet music…. You have to use your ear and know where the changes and hooks take place and be spot on when they happen.
5). Have “Cheat Sheets” on hand to remind you of the chords in a song, and also have a few basic riffs written down to jog your memory - song sets change, and there’s no time to spend reviewing anything on a song sheet. I carry 5x7 index cards of every song and pull them out when I need them - it’s a fast cheat.
6). Some songs in a set have different tunings - have an additional bass or two already set up and tuned to any alternative tuning since song changes in a set happen fast and there’s no time to retune for the next song in a set…
7). The drummer is your best friend on stage!! You HAVE to work with him more than anyone else! Lock into his kick and you’ll never go wrong!
8). USE YOUR EARS! Listen to how others are playing and stay true to your bass groove… - guitarist’s sometimes get a bit “rambunctious” and if you start following their lead, you’ll be off beat with the drummer!
9). Everybody screws up!! Everybody miss’s notes. Personal and group practice makes things gel over time…. It all takes time…
10). BE PREPARED! Always have a tuner, extra cables, extra batteries, a cloth to wipe things down, a little fret oil (I use gun oil wipes) to use if things get sticky, and plenty of water!! Lots of water!!
11). Ear protection! I use in ear monitors that work well.
12). STAY SOBER!! Playing music is like loading ammo and shooting firearms- they just don’t mix!!..… Unless all you’re playing in a Neighborhood Garage Band when “Nothing Else Matters”!!
13). Dress accordingly…. Dress for the venue - dress for the weather, and dress comfortably so that you’re not restricted in your playing… and remember, there are a lot of different people in the audience - no time to make any political statements…
14). Wear comfortable shoes!! You’re gonna be on your feet for a LONG time!!
15). Find out if any songs will be played in different keys…. Some lead singers want to sing in different keys, so you will have to adjust your riff patterns to march the key that they want the song played in…. (Damn DIVA lead singers)!!!
So excited for you @LeftyChad!! Sent you a message…. Give me a shout…. Curious as to where you will be playing in Surf City…. I play open venue there a lot when I visit my daughter and son in law who live there….
Congratulation LC …glad Bandmix worked out for you. Our Jam Band probably won’t be ready for live performances until next Spring. I follow a lot of the same tips Griff has listed for playing with others…keeping in simple and since we have no drummer yet holding the groove is my primary role. I generally figure out a simple Riff for the verse and chorus …play that …if I am feeling particularly in on a song add some approach notes. Keep us posted on your October performances -
Yeah, I questioned that one as well
I have a 64oz insulated water bottle that was destined for a nice, yet reasonably priced, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, (sigh) but It might just be my usual tea & lemonade mix and a beer at the show. Oh how the mighty have fallen.
. When I played guitar in one band years back, we had a “Great” acoustic guitarist…. When he had just “ONE” beer, his fingers turned to jello….
We never let him drink anything until his songs were done. Typically, he only played acoustic scores during the first set. For second sets, we typically just had him play “unplugged”….
Yea…. Know whatcha mean…. Thing is, when you’re doing a show, it’s like working cause you’re being paid to perform…. Your actions on and off stage at a gig reflect on the band. In order to continue gigging, the band has to have a good reputation. However, after the gig is over, then by all means relax with a little libation if you wish…. Just the rules that I (and the bands that I’ve played with) stick to….
You should see my SUV. Under the back cargo panel looks like a disaster-preparedness van: tool kit, fire extinguisher, EMT-level first aid kit, and so on and so forth.
My gig bag is about the same. I always have extra cables, tuner, spare batteries, a DI, a set of strings, polishing cloth, string wipe stuff, Leatherman tool (seriously, put one of these in your kit), Allen wrenches, and a small notebook. I’m a bit OCD about it, but after years of cooking in other people’s restaurants (and repairing their equipment on the fly) I’ve learned the hard way to be ready for just about anything.
I have no gigging experience, but I do have drinking experience! Something that everyone should remember in ALL situations involving drinking is that alcohol and adrenaline make for a wild combo. You might know your tolerance and how any certain number of drinks will effect you normally, but add a HUGE adrenaline surge of playing a live show with a band, especially while still being new to do so… would be very easy to find yourself sloppy when you were hoping to just calm the nerves a bit. Probably better to just avoid drinking before/ during gigs… especially at first.