Tips for playing with others

I have heard the following repeated a few times…

  1. Be On Time
  2. Know Your Parts
  3. Be Easy to Work With

Has anybody else come up with any crucial tips?


I think all the other tips are variations on these three main parent categories. Maybe another rule would be - bring the right tool for the job.
That was when I invested in a Fender P-Bass.
I was tired of being the session player showing up without the most common/expected/reliable tool in the biz.


YES man did we both wait a long time to learn that lesson. I did the same thing for so many years. So many folk records in Sonoma County have Peavey Cirrus on them for no good reason.

And to be fair, so did Sean Hurley, he talks about it in this interview:

It took Matt Wright (a great engineer Gio and I have both worked with) telling me flat out that I should bring Fenders to sessions, to actually get my ass in gear and start learning about P bass tone. I’m so much happier in sessions now.

BUT, for any beginners reading, this is more of an issue for pro-level session work + gigging, it’s perfectly fine to go do a bar gig with your garage band with whatever the hell bass you want to.

I might add to the list:
4. Grow Big Ears

People who listen to me are fun to play with and I want to play with them more. People who don’t, aren’t, and I don’t.

Breaking that down, “big ears” to me means:

  • Doing the ear training to be able to understand what your bandmates are playing, either instantly or close to it
  • Being in the habit of listening more to everyone else than you do to yourself

Both those things take years to develop, and infinity to master, so it shouldn’t keep anybody from doing some jamming with other people at their level.

But not only is having big ears really important - it’s also super super fun to be able to actually respond to what other people are playing in the moment!


in my opinion :

  1. understand a bit what makes a good mix

Listen carefully to records, find what sounds good or not, understand the relashionship between the different tones and how they complete each others to make a compact and uniform mix.

I find it helps a lot to find good amp settings on various situations (live or recording). for a same band and a same song, the mix can change drastically the final result.


Josh, this is my long term goal. I was never skilled enough to do this when I was young and I’m looking forward to doing the course and getting the foundation I need to be able to do this.


Yes! I feel like I’ll always be working on that, so much nuance to how different instruments inhabit the frequency spectrum in different contexts alone. Not to mention all the different ways musicians can interact, sizes of bands, genres… endless fun!

When in doubt - P bass. :stuck_out_tongue:


When in doubt - P bass. :stuck_out_tongue:

that’s my strategy :face_with_hand_over_mouth: