When are you good enough?...and other similarly strange discussions. :-)

Thank you @Gio Yes, I agree. That is also why I think I need to find a band now, because that is a whole new level of learning.


Thank you @Gloucestre ! It’s so good to hear stories about bass players who have managed to get out there and start playing in a band. Great work and thanks for sharing!

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I grew up in Nashville. My dad was a studio musician on Music Row. There, the expectation is that you could walk into any session and flawlessly play anything the producers wanted, in any musical genre, AND effortlessly create guitar parts for songs on the spot.

You are not a studio musician on Music Row. And any musicians you work with, including those with 30-40 years under their belts, aren’t expecting you to be studio-musician caliber.

  • They just want you to be good enough (or willing to put in the work to become good enough) to play whatever they are working on right now.
  • They care more about the experience working with you than how good you are as a player.

You can improve your playing. Much harder (if not impossible) to improve your personality.

My dad worked with hundreds of jaw-droopingly talented musicians. The top 5% had a common thread: they were almost always self-centered Talented Assholes who were difficult to work with. Producers would hire them, of course, but only when they had to.

The studio musicians that got the most work were the ones who were average to above average in skill (read: “good enough”) who were fun to work with. Hell, there was one guy named Dusty who was a below-average guitar player. But he was very likable, very funny, and had a knack for creating hooky guitar parts. His work ended up in tens of famous songs from the 1970s and 1980s.

My momma always said, “A closed mouth doesn’t get fed.” It’s scary to put yourself out there and risk the judgment of others. But do it. The risk is worth it.

  • Reach out to other musicians so that you can gain experience. Be upfront about your experience level. You will be astonished by how many are willing to meet you where you are at.
  • Start out working with musicians on a project-to-project basis, like collaborating on a song or playing on a one-time only gig.
  • If there’s a School of Rock in your area, join it. It’s a great way to get band experience with people at a similar skill level to yours. It will boost your confidence that you are good enough to play with musicians with decades more experience than you.

Such depth of experience in that post mate, thanks


Wow, thanks for this @micklerd!

I made an ad on a local Facebook page for musicians today, hoping to start a band. Feels like my “point of no return”. :slight_smile:

Thanks again for your very insightful response. I really appreciate it, and I think others will too!


That’s such an awesome anecdote. Thanks for sharing.


I’m just learning bass now, but I played multiple instruments throughout my life, even made the national honors band when I was 17-- on contrabass where they only take one player, just one, the best. And here’s what I can tell you from that experience…

I worked really hard at it. Followed my teacher’s advice to the letter. “Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast” over and over and over and over… I auditioned and won that spot. And I STILL didn’t think I was good enough. It wasn’t a self-esteem issue. It was a “there is so much more to learn!” deal. Where you are now IS good enough. You earned it. And applying yourself slowly over time… days, weeks, months, years… when you re-evaluate in the future, you will still be good enough because you’ll have earned it.

I promise you this: no matter how talented or gifted a musician might be, even Josh, there are always going to be opportunities to learn more, to grow.

So understand this: YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH. :slight_smile: Music frees you to be the best version of yourself. “It’s a journey, not a destination”, so…

Relax, plug in, and enjoy it!


Well said. :+1:

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And make friends with a drummer and jam with them. Whether you like it or not, you’ll just start to do it and it will become second nature after a while.

I get performance anxiety all the time but even my addled brain knows that once we start, it’s fine and everyone has a good time.

That’s the super important thing to always ensure - you play bass for fun and enjoyment. So treat it as a fun and enjoyment task with the added bonus of other people doing the same thing. It’s truly wonderful.


Thank you @Niecho, will do! :slight_smile:

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Thank you @quadfather, you are so right! :slight_smile:

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Hey @Johnnyb :slight_smile:

I’ve got some wise words for you for your thoughts about not being good enough:

“God doesn’t choose the best prepared human for a test; but rather He is preparing the one human he chooses the best.” :wink:

Whatever band you decide you go in: Fate has prepared you well to get into it. If it doesn’t fit, keep going. You’re gonna find the fun of your Bass-Life :hugs:

Wish you all the Bass :hugs:

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Let’s not bring Jesus or Politics into this lovely forum.


Just to clarify, it is bass playing I am talking about. :slight_smile:

It has really been some very usefull replys here, and it is great fun to hear your way into playing with other musicians.

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Hello Johnny!
I’m in your boat. Very close in age, probably relatively close in ability. I’m certainly not any better than you; maybe worse.
I have asked a couple of friends who play if they’d like to jam. I’ve just been very open about my abilities. I can keep a beat ass long as it’s not at a blistering tempo, and the more time I have to practice ahead of time, the better. I have a friend who’s pretty good on the guitar. I can’t play with him at the best of his ability, but I can give him a solid bassline that’s good enough for friends in the garage lol!

I was thinking about putting a post on Facebook or summat asking, but I haven’t yet. I’m going to though. It’ll basically be as follows: “new bass player with limited skills looking to form a band with people of similar skill. Let’s learn together!”
I’m hoping something will turn up. Just like we’re learning bass in our 50s-ish, there are certainly guitarists, drummers, and etc. doing the same. You can do it! Be confident in your current abilities and be confident in your drive to learn. And keep that bottom end tight! :guitar:


Thank you! :slight_smile: I have done it, now I have to learn these two before tuesday. Drop D, but that is all I know. :slight_smile:
Domestic Disturbance - Lydian | Lyric Video 2021 (youtube.com)
Domestic Disturbance - Self Titled, 2020 (youtube.com)


Nice! I wouldn’t mind learning to play those! Before too long I’m hoping to feel good enough to record video of me playing to put on YouTube. It won’t be great, but it’s a good way to learn

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My brother is an effing fantastic guitar player. He’s 50 and has been playing since high school. He’s in like… 3 bands and has regular gigs 3 or 4 times a week. If you ask him? He sucks. He’s nowhere near good enough to be a professional musician.


So, I think the answer is… if you ask yourself, you’ll never be good enough. If you get out there and play with people, you might find that others have a different opinion.


Thank you! I have asked for tips from all of you instead of relying only on myself, and that’s why I am going on a tryout on Tuesday. :blush:

That’s me bro! I suck, lol. :joy:

Gigging musicians are really awesome and a few steps above at home bassists merely because they practice more and they know the essential secrets. No ones know when you make a mistake. Sometimes not even another bassists beck your band mates don’t know most of your mistakes, :joy:

Going to to studio musicians though is another level already. Someone once gave an analogy of using Carol Kaye on the record, it’s like using a nuclear bomb to destroy an anthill. They are different breeds just one step under mutants.