I've been playing bass guitar for coming on 6 years, no lessons and worked my way up to Grade 8. (if grade matters to you guys) I'd say I'm fairly experienced and just starting to move into session work. I just have a few questions because I need help.
1) What do I need or to do to become more recognised and be a good session bass player?
2) I'm bored of playing the same songs over and over. I seem to struggle to find decent music with decent bass lines in them. If you guys have any suggestions for me to learn?
3) My sight reading isn't very strong at all. (music notation, not TAB) Is this what is holding me back from key areas of being a successful musician?
Putting it all bluntly, I feel stuck.
Anyways, hope you guys can help, hence why I came to this forum, looking for advice. Thanks. Feel free to ask questions.
How about getting a copy of Standing In The Shadows Of Motown? Good tunes, great basslines from simple to complex.
Finally, set goals. It's easier to keep motivated if you set short, mid and long term goals for yourself.
Good Luck. You are asking the right questions. I'm sure that people much more knowledgable than me will offer good advice.
To answer your points,
1/You have to be there and willing to play, if not willing to learn.
To get a reputation you have to play, you have to make it clear that what you do is desirable, and if you employ me I can do it for you. That reputation you want may be one that reinforces the idea that you are not the one they want. With in all that, there is be on time, be friendly, be open to ideas,etc..all things that make you desirable to work with rather than not.
2/ Boredom is laziness......simple as that. You have the skills and tools to combat boredom. If your playing is boring you, then re-read point one and you will find a reason why you will not work.
3/ Work on your sight reading and chart work.
Chart work is more common, but the ability to sight read means you can work in any area.
Sight reading is practice, so get it up to a standard where the work keeps it in order.
If you do not have a reason to read, then just pick up some music and read it rather than sit and do nothing, if your playing is boring you then read instead (see points one and two), or do some transcription of parts you want to learn.
4/ if you are feeling stuck it is because you are, so do what you need to do to become un-stuck, the power to change and become un-stuck lies with you (read all points listed)
Good luck and remember that when you leave the house, you want to return with more money than you left with...that is the nature of the game.;)
I am not a pro, but I have a good steady gig. I have played for years, off and on. Stopping to help raise a family and take part in different family projects. I gigged almost constantly for about seven years before getting married. I have been in the studio several times, recording a few albums.
With that in mind, take my information for what it is worth.
I am always trying to improve as a musician. We all get stuck from time to time. Here is basically what I do now to feel that I am improving and making progress as a musician.
* I practice the songs for our shows until I know them well. I study them and make sure I am ready for a show, I want to be comfortable and enjoy myself while I play. The music could be any genre, so it is varied. We mostly use lead sheets, but occasionally I create a chart.
When not learning songs for the next show, I do the following:
* I purchased this book. I use it to learn and improve my reading skills. I also use this book as well. This book, to me anyway, stress timing and learning the different notes and rests.
* I work on learning more theory. For instance, study the Circle of Fifths or Circle of Fourths. Learn the different keys and chords. Relate them to the fretboard so you can locate them quickly. Learn the "Order of Sharps and Flats". These are just a few examples of theory topics to work on.
* I pick songs that I like personally, but that offer me a challenge and also allow me to study and understand the chord structure and relationship. I work on learning those songs to expand my general knowledge of music and chord relationships.
* I study The Nashville Number System. I find this very helpful, especially with the gig that I currently have. We are often faced with transposing and know this system seems to help. Our band leader uses this system to call out changes to the rest of the band on the fly. Being familiar with it makes my job easier.
* Last but not least, you can find a ton of useful information right here on this forum! Look at some of the topics in this section. Great musical minds have shared tons of information and it's here for you to use. Plus links like StudyBass.com is an excellent resource.
I hope this information helps. Good Luck!!!
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