One band-two bass players?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by UncleJimmy, Nov 9, 2012.


  1. UncleJimmy

    UncleJimmy

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2008
    Location:
    Lisle, Illinois
    Here's the back story. In June my cover band suddenly came to an end. My daughter was born and I planned to take a few months off. The singer took this as an opportunity to jump ship,saying he was too old and looking to retire. Before I took my hiatus we had one jam with a singer the drummer and guitarist had played with in another band. The plan was that they would work with him while I was off and get some material together. I'd catch up when I returned and we'd hit the ground running. While I've been gone, I know they've had another friend of theirs out to play bass in my absence. I have no problem with this. In fact I've always encouraged having other musicians around that could step in as subs, fill in where needed, etc. The world does not wait for me.

    So fast forward to last night. I come back to rehearsal for the first time. Everyone knew I was coming, even confirmed it the day before. I'm told after arriving that their other buddy who has been playing bass is coming by in a little while, and he and I will trade off every 5 or 6 songs. He shows up, is a cool guy and patiently waits for his turn while I play. I, in turn do the same, even though I feel this is a little weird.

    After a few reps of this we all take a break and hang out for a while. Turns out that the guitarist has come up with a plan where the band will practice with each bass player individually, working out the same (or very similar) sets so at gig time if one can't make it the other can fill in. This would also allow for more gigs to be booked since I've always been very clear that I can't do more than two a month. Also, since I've had my daughter, my free time has become scarce. The other bass player has time constraints as well. He travels for work and is prone to frequently missing rehearsal.

    There was some discussion of working out a plan where all 5 of us could play together. Each bass player could do some light guitar work ( him much more efficiently than I) or percussion and still be around to take up the bass spot when needed.

    As crazy as this sounds, it might be ideal from me right now since I'm new to this whole "daddy" thing and am not sure who much time I'll have to devote to the band. As much as I love playing with these guys and want to be involved in the band, I would never want to hold anyone back. If a full time player were to come along with the time to singularly devote, I would step aside with no hard feelings.

    That said, if I am going to come to rehearsal and be a part of the band, I won't take turns playing bass unless I have another part to play. Seems silly for either me or the other guy to sit and watch for half the night. I'm also a little concerned as to how gigs would be handled ( shows we would both be available for, one with better pay than the other). I like to think I'm a pretty reasonable guy who could compromise and try to make things work, but maybe this is unrealistic?

    I'd love to hear some thoughts or if anyone has ever been in the type of arrangement and how it worked. Let's hear it!
  2. JoeVictim

    JoeVictim

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2006
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Good luck. I totally thought this was something else. I love bands with two bass players. WOOZY!
  3. UncleJimmy

    UncleJimmy

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2008
    Location:
    Lisle, Illinois
    Yeah, the title is a bit misleading isn't it? Thread will get alot of traffic expecting Spinal Tap.
  4. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Thou shall not F*** up the groove Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2012
    Well it's a nice idea to have 2 bass players in one band! :D But for the guitar work, I've got something else on mind. You guys don't have to switch off every 5 of 6 songs, if you like to play more.

    What you can do (and it can be very weird), is playing bass at the same time. Just like guitarist do, you guys can play in different riffs. One as a lead bass player, the other one as second bass player.. Maybe this doesn't work out, but hey, if you don't try, you don't know, right? :)
  5. John Wentzien

    John Wentzien

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2007
    Location:
    Fort Madison, IA
    Disclosures:
    Artist:TC Electronic RH450 bass system
  6. rust_preacher

    rust_preacher Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    Location:
    Finland
    Sounds like a working solution for you! I don't know what kind of music you play, but complementing instrumentation could be found, something that adds spice but is not a glaring omission if one of you should not make it.

    -Slide gtr
    -Mandolin
    -Banjo
    -Keys
    -Percussion

    and (gasp)

    -backup vocals

    I wish you all the best with this!
  7. MarkMgibson

    MarkMgibson

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2012
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    If the other bloke can play guitar reasonably well, then your best option is to rehearse with him playing guitar when you there, and he can play bass when your not. Forget about the two of you playing together; two basses playing together is horrible beyond belief.
  8. skychief

    skychief Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Location:
    West Coast
    +1

    While there may be one or two exceptions on the planet, this is very good advise. imo.
  9. MarkMgibson

    MarkMgibson

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2012
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    LOL Yeah, it's not something you forget when you hear it.
    :bassist::bassist: = :crying:
  10. fourfinger

    fourfinger

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2003
    Location:
    Central Ohio
    I was in a restaurant/bar's house band that had 2 bass players trade off. I usually played Fridays and the other guy usually played Saturdays, and we filled in for each other whenever one of us had a different gig. But we didn't usually trade off during the same night, and when we did, we didn't both get paid.
  11. NYCbassist

    NYCbassist Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2007
    Location:
    Mount Airy, North Carolina
    I think the band could suffer possibly because neither Bassist will be held 100% for the bottom end. But...It's a great solution for you keep a gig going in spite of your new responsibilities.

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