17 songs for an audition!?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by DudeistMonk, Jul 3, 2008.

  1. DudeistMonk


    Apr 13, 2008
    Newark, NJ
    So I've got an audition and the front man sent me an album and an ep with the instructions "I'll send you some CD's with all you need to learn for the audition." 17 songs with no chord charts or anything is a little ridiculous isn't it? Would I be out of line to be like "How about I do 5 or 6?, or email me some chord charts."

    Any advice?
  2. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    Listen. Transcribe. Make your own charts. Practice, then nail the audition. :)
  3. gmstudio99


    Mar 11, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    Completely ridiculous, IMO. My guess is that working with this guy will be more trouble than it's worth. He sounds like a pompous douchebag. Unless this is a dream gig (touring with Prince or something), I'd take this as a red flag of more trouble ahead.
  4. cymbop


    Mar 1, 2006
    Greenville, SC
    Five or six is gracious plenty. You -- and they -- will know if there's a fit after about three songs. Pick your three favorites from the list and ask him to pick three more, preferably challenging ones. That'll do it.
  5. bassmonkeee


    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    Wow--You really take a tiny amount of information, and run with it, don't ya?
  6. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    One of the reasons I say this is because I got a set list from a band I was subbing for, just a set list, it was about 60 songs. I knew less than half of them. I went on the internet, d/l'd the ones I was either not familiar with, or had never heard (a lot of Latin stuff, mainly), and the gig was two days away. Keep in mind I work full-time, plus I have a family life. I listened, made up a set of 3x5 cards with the names of the songs, the key, the feel, a short chord chart, and still managed to have a home life in the two days I had to prepare. It can be done, and done easily. I took my cards with me to the gig, turns out I had to ask to do the Latin stuff because they were afraid I'd wreck the tunes. As it turns out, they want me in the band permanently. I didn't even need the cards, the very act of putting my "charts" together on the cards cemented the songs in my mind.
  7. Twiggy Jr.

    Twiggy Jr.

    Nov 17, 2005
    i'd say even if you can't figure out the chords, atleast hear (and "learn") the bass riffs you want to play...worry about what notes you'll play when you are auditioning...but don't try to lie to the band, tell them you couldn't figure out the chords and it might take you a run through or 2 to nail them
    for example, i'm going to do a little jazz walking line here, repeat for a few measures, then go up an octave and do a little fill...
    eh, i guess
    or ask the guy to send ya the chords
    i can play other people's bass lines by ear, but when it comes to jamming w/ guitarists, i still watch the guitarists' fingers to figure out what chords they are playing...that's just from not "jamming" with guitarists, but mainly hanging out and playing cover songs
    maybe one day i'll be able to simply play with any type of instrument by ear
  8. kraigo


    Jun 21, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    I think it's ridiculous, but if it's worth auditioning at all, it's worth putting your best foot forward. If you want that gig, put in the effort transcribing the tunes. If at some point you decide that the songs aren't worth any more work, stop and go into the audition with what you know.

    Get to work. You'll find out if they're the type of songs you want to play over and over again pretty quickly.

  9. bassmonkeee


    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA

    Here's a reasonable approach to the situation. Just tell him "I listened to everything, and really dig these tunes. Do you have a couple more that you think we could get to in an audition?"

    That's all you need to do, really.
  10. john_g

    john_g Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007

    Its really up to you to decide whether its worth it or not. If its a cover band that "sometimes" plays out, 17 is ridiculous to learn for an audition. If its a national touring act, Im in the shed for as long as it takes.
  11. Twiggy Jr.

    Twiggy Jr.

    Nov 17, 2005
    or maybe he's had his share of auditioning bass players and doesn't want just any ol' guy w/ a bass showing up...i have come to realize that most beginning bassists seem to think they are capable of being in a band w/in 2 times of picking up the instrument...i'm not gonna lie, i thought i was..mainly from my guitarist friends telling me how easy the bass is and all that bs...he quite possibly wants to see how the OP will respond to such a ridiculous request, and maybe the OP just needs to say "hey, dude, seriously, a little help w/ the chords"...
    or, maybe you're right...maybe he is a douchebag...but we never encounter those in this line or work, right? :)
  12. IanStephenson

    IanStephenson UnRegistered User

    Apr 8, 2006
    Agreed it's rediculous - 4 is a good number (let them pick 2 from the 17, and you pick 2). I'd be happy with just a CD though - learning 4 by ear is should demonstrate your skills.

    If it's a full time paying job, then they can expect you to put a week's work into the audition (but if it they are full time pro's why do they want to spend 3 hours on a first audition?), but I agree with gmstudio99 - if this is actually just a local band then they've got delusions of their own importance. It sounds like the "serious pro bassist required. must be prepared to work for free because we are gods" type.

  13. DudeistMonk


    Apr 13, 2008
    Newark, NJ
    I guess its my call huh...

    The guy doesn't seem like DB but the band is pretty serious, lots of gigs at some pretty high profile IMO, NJ venues, a good quality studio album and an ep (which I haven't opened yet). They sound tight and the baselines are really groovy and rhythmically fun but pretty repetitive and simple in terms of progressions and movement, so it won't be impossible to learn it all, but I'm not great at learning things by ear so its going to be grueling. I just hate the idea of learning 17 songs with the possibility of them not liking my shirt and being like better luck next time, ya know?

    I think I'll learn as many as I can in a week and call the guy and be like "I have X songs ready, you wanna do this now? If not you have to give me chord charts for the rest cause I'm not gonna break my back on an audition."

    Ps. I've never seen so many responses in 5 minutes, thanks guys.
  14. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs Commercial User

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    +1, If you want the gig, don't negotiate the amount of songs, maybe he's just through.;)

    I've did an audition once that was close to 30 songs, had 2 weeks to learn it all and only had cd's of the material, but committed all of them to memory, so don't sweat 17 songs. You'll do fine, I would guess.:)
  15. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    IMO no self respecting musician is going to learn 17 songs for an audition, UNLESS it's an unbelievably worthwhile and well paying position - and even then, it's a lot to ask. Not at all respectful on their part either, you're auditioning for them, not playing a gig.

    I would learn 4 or 5 songs impeccably if I really wanted the gig, and tell them I'll be happy to learn the rest - if I've gotten the gig.

    I also have a feeling there may have been a misunderstanding. 17 songs seems like what they'd want you to know if you get the gig. I think I'd make sure I understood correctly before doing anything. I don't think there's anything wrong with telling them learning 17 songs for an audition is not realistic, nor something you're willing to do. Nicely of course.

    EDIT: You didn't mention what kind of gig this is. If it's a cover gig I take back all the above. Wanting you to know at least 17 songs is very realistic. They may want to work someone in immediately and there are lots of guys who could jump in on the spot knowing hundreds of songs.
  16. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    I would say it is a test of your ear and how fast you can learn tunes. I would say don't limit yourself figure out as much as you can. I would whack out chord charts and make notes on style and roadmap for all the tunes first. Then go back and start transcribing the hooks and key lines for as much as possible. That way you can at least attempt all the songs. Also they see you walk in with charts and notes they will see you were interested enough work at it.

    More important doing this you will be practicing a real money making skill. You can get gigs over better bass players if you figure out and learn a show fast. I know a guy who went from a few gigs to in demand because he got good at learning show FAST. As he put it he was just another good player and knew he need something to make him standout. So he worked on transcribing and learning shows quickly to point he has learned complete shows in two days and played the gigs to where the artist said it sounded like he been playing the gig for years. That rep got around and he works constantly, great gigs, and he playing has grown by leaps and bounds in the process.

    So don't limit yourself do as much as you can, don't complain at the audition they know what they did to you, play your best on any tune they call. Last don't read your charts memorize as much as possible and keep charts to the side for reference only. Even if you don 't get the gig you have grown as a musician.
  17. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    I agree with DocBop. Ear training aside, it is good to transcribe as much as you can, until it gets to be second nature. If you do this every day with at least one song, pretty soon you will have gotten good at two things- transcribing accurately, and sight-reading. Yup, that's right! You can't help BUT get better at reading if you're writing all the time. You increase your musical vocabulary exponentially this way, because you are internalizing the language of music, you use it, it becomes part of you.

    Think of it this way-

    If I asked you to read me something in Arabic, you'd likely have a real hard time with it, even if you had an Arabic-English dictionary. You aren't familiar with the language or characters. It would take time to look up each letter or symbol, translate it, check it's meaning, learn to pronounce it, etc.

    If I asked you to read me an article from the New York Times front page, you'd be able to do it without hesitation because you internally know the language. Music is a language, too, complete with its own grammar, punctuation, and spelling. It's just not something that every single player learns and internalizes.

    So take this opportunity to learn, start transcribing, train your ear, and get better and better gigs. You can thank me later by giving me backstage passes when you play the halftime show at the Superbowl next time its in Houston! ;)
  18. Whenever I come across unusual audition requests I have to stop asking whether that is a weird situation and ask myself how badly do I want the gig? I then prepare accordingly.

    Good luck.
  19. BassyBill

    BassyBill Still here Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    How much do you want the gig?
  20. TheJohnG


    May 21, 2008

    It is your call, but,:bassist: if you really want the spot you had better get to "breaking your back", otherwise don't waste their time.

    They are in a tough spot,:help: replacing a band member is much harder than auditioning. You have nothing to lose, while they in turn could lose their band.
    If they think you can help them out your in.