This came up in the Gig Stories thread, but it’s so important, and there’s so much information to share and tell and explore here - and it’s so important that I wanted to give it its own thread.
Making the move from practicing the bass at home to playing with a group (whether it’s out and about with gigs, or just a regular rehearsal [which then leads to gigs…]) is one of the most important things (to me) about playing music. It’s the part that binds us together as humans and musicians, it’s the conversation part of this language learning process, and it’s fun and challenging as hell; it’s where we learn what we need to practice next.
Things that I’ve found that are great for people getting into music and the idea of bands after those luxurious college years are gone are:
Guided Band Performance Programs.
– these have allll kinds of manifestations. The one at my local shop was called Rock Overtime. There are School of Rock type of courses; some informal jams at local cafes - scour your local calendar and try and find these! Ask at your local music shop!
It’s low pressure, it’s usually guided by an instructor and there’s almost always a performance at the end.
It’s a great way to meet players, and get out there.
– these can be a bit weird as a bass player, because we are accompanists. But if you start checking out your local open mics, you might hear someone that sounds good / plays a style you like / writes cool songs. It is entirely appropriate to approach them and say (verbatim:) “Hey there, open mic person. I’m (your name here). I really like what you’re doing (the importance of this opening compliment cannot be overstated). I play bass, and if you ever want to play an open mic, I’d be super down to learn a few of your tunes and play with you. Here’s my lavishly embossed bass player card.”
Start talking about playing bass in public places
– bassists are rare enough, that if you are overheard just talking about playing bass, there’s a 67% chance that a guitarist in need of a bass player will hear you and try to hire you. … This is getting a bit silly, but - actually - if you let the people at work / your social circle know that you’re getting into bass playing, there are good chances of a connection being made.
There are some of my suggestions.
I have more, but this is way too long as it is.
If folks out there have had luck picking up the bass late in life and getting into some playing and performing scenarios, I’d love to hear about it. We all would!