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Advice for aspiring Studio Players or anyone that wants to "Go Pro"

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by tommixx, Apr 3, 2005.


  1. CamMcIntyre

    CamMcIntyre

    Jun 6, 2000
    USA
    More gigs, time for another post.

    Ok, I just started 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes' at the Circle Theater in Forest Park, IL. I got this gig from the 'Monday Night New Voices Chicago' thing I played for. The MNNVC was a freebie showcase and GPB is an actual run. Same music director. This kind of networking is the bulk of why I'm willing to do certain showcases as freebies-I look at them as networking events more so than performances. GPB is a non-equity, semiprofessional theater. We open on Wednesday the 19th and go until Feb 1st-playing shows Friday thru Sunday. We're also doing the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade. Thus far I've enjoyed it, it's a different set of personalities from what I've grown accustomed to, but I am still learning a lot.

    I've also signed on to do 2 more shows after this. I've signed on to do 'Evita' at/with Theo Ubique [I think the space is called No Exit Cafe-not sure] which is maybe 3 blocks from my apartment and then 'Sundays in the Park with George' in Des Plaines. Both of these I got because the Piano Player/Music Director from 'My Fair Lady', 'Damn Yankees', and well-he's also the piano player in my trio. 'Evita' runs March 9th thru April 19th and then 'Sundays in the Park with George' runs April into May if memory serves correctly. 'Evita' will be a change for me-it's all electric and the last electric show I did was 'High School Musical' in July.

    An overall update with the Green Mill/Poetry Slam gig. Marc liked us a lot. We did 3 weekends in a row [tonight was our last]. He's going to keep us in the rotation-so we'll see when the next bunch is. The only thing I'm concerned with is the timing of 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes' needs to be consistent or else I'll risk being late to that gig. It takes about 1hr 15mins to get from the theater w/GPB to the Green Mill. I need to be at the Mill by 6:30 to get setup...GPB starts at 3 and runs a bit over 2 hours. There's not a whole lot of wiggle room with timing on the long end for me. This is something that I will be able to figure out better once GPB has a few more shows and we get into a groove. If I can do both, I will. The other thing is-we don't have any more Slam dates scheduled so, I can deal with this when it comes up.

    Not sure if I told you guys this goal or not, I wanted to be booked through May by New Years. I achieved this. I even booked a New Years Eve gig playing a showcase.

    Activity breeds Activity. Patrick Holland said to me 'If you get in well with a music director they'll start to use you a lot-comfortable combos work together regularly'. This same thing was said by Jeffrey Gitomer in his Little Book Series [thinking of the Little Black Book of Connections/Networking right now] "All things being equal, people will do business with their friends....All things being not so equal, people will STILL do business with their friends."

    That goes all the way around. When I was asked to put together a trio for the Slam gig, the guys I used are ones that I'm comfortable with. Drums-was Scott Hirtenstein, the guy who plays with The Weird Sisters. In other words, he was who I played with initially at the Slam, so when the opportunity came, I wanted him to be in my group. Just happens to be he's not only a great guy, but perfectly suited for this type of gig. Ryan Brewster the piano/music director who I've been working with-I was recommended to him by Bonnie Shadrake and from that recommendation-we've done 2 shows together, have 2 more on the books, and I used him for my trio. All of that because we get along.

    I owe Bonnie Shadrake a huge debt of gratitude. 95% of the work I do now has stemmed from her recommending me and it taking off. The Green Mill/Poetry Slam gig came from her having me sub in when her bassist wasn't available. To think, I went to school for jazz and I made the best connections with the theater department people. I worked with Bonnie on the school shows while I was there and we hit it off. What I'm getting at with mentioning Bonnie is-behold the power of mentors. Find people that are doing what you want to do, talk to them-make friends, but don't expect something for nothing. Read Jeffrey Gitomer's 'The Little Black Book of Connections' to see what I mean. He covers how to communicate with important connections without schmoozing or well-begging.

    all the best.
     
  2. bassplayaman

    bassplayaman

    Jan 10, 2008
    TOMMIX,

    First off, I have to say that this forum has been EXTREMELY enlightening, and thank you. Second, I've got a 94' Ken Smith 5(with the infamous neck drop...but I'm used to it now) and I think when I get some dough, I'm gonna pick up one of those Sadowsky Vintage 24 fret 5 string models......you've got me convinced about Sadowsky basses. I've got a bachelor's degree in commercial music and have spent over 200+ hours working with an SSL 4000G+, and lots of time with ProTools, outboard gear, and vintage mics. After college, I interned at a small studio that recorded Dave Matthews Band's 1st album in my hometown. The college I went to was a music conservatory, so we still had to do classical and jazz(upright and elec.) lessons, juries, and recitals,....so I'm a DECENT player(ALWAYS ROOM TO IMPROVE I THINK IS THE RIGHT ATTITUDE). I also spent 3 years in the U.S. Army band playing around East Asia, and am now teaching ENGLISH here of all things :( I've been gigging some, but my REAL goal is to be a studio bassist in the U.S.(seems more family friendly....got a wife and newborn baby)

    Anyway, I have two questions that I wanted to ask you.
    Question #1:
    What is the best city in which to be a studio bassist???? My friend from college who's now a freelance head engineer(recorded Jimmy Buffet, and a lot of other cats) in Nashville said that a LOT of the big studios there are closing down and most stuff is being done by either production companies or home studios. So, this leaves a very negative impression in my mind for the possibility of being able to make ends meet as a full time studio musician. Even if I was the best studio player in the world(one can dream), I still have a wife and kid to support. I also have no intention of giving up playing bass(both upright and electric)......ever. I heard that Austin is the BEST place to be for live music in the world, but from the MIX magazine article that I just read, studios there are still on the upstart and are struggling. It's also my understanding that in the past, Nashville, L.A., and NYC have always been the best places for any kind of musician, but the job prospects just don't seem sustainable(especially because I'm coming up on 30 years old, bad economy, family to support, etc). I know KILLER players in NYC and LA that have to work day jobs because of lack of music work, both live and studio. So, what would be your advice on the best "studio friendly" city in which I might be able to survive if I'm willing to tough it out for a little while?

    Question #2:
    I'm probably going to be moving back to Virginia(where I'm from)...my folks live in Roanoke, and was wondering if you might be available for private lessons??? Your in VA...right? (If so, please let me know so I can give you my email so we can make arrangements for lessons) Once I move back to VA in a YEAR or so, I'd be willing to drive up to 4 hours to take lessons from you. I have friends in Northern VA that I can stay with(I have no idea where in VA you're located) If you're in the Tidewater region, I'll just get a cheap place to stay for the night to take a lesson with you. I'll be patiently awaiting your reply and thanks again for this thread....it's FRIGGIN' AWESOME!.
     
  3. Cool..Sounds like you have had a taste and want some more...LOL! First I want to say that this is my personal opinion and I may get some disagreement and even some flack about it...This is my own experience and your mileage may vary...The cold hard reality is that there is no studio business to speak of compared to the old days. Though this may sound obvious work is really where you find it. The old guard studio system is essentially gone with very few exceptions. Most of the finest studios that have ever been built are now either gone completely, in foreclosure, or have become something else entirely. The economic reality for most studios is very grim and the outlook does not seem to be very hopeful. Budgets are gone and the rate card has gone out the window in favor of a "I need grocery money so I will work this $300 an hour room for $25 an hour with a 4 hour minimum". The very top of the game are WORKING and a lot of really good freelancers are SURVIVING. I know cats that were getting SERIOUS money...$5000 plus per side and even points in some cases who are doing development projects for a few thousand dollars for a WHOLE PROJECT!!! Recording and Mixing....Sad state of affairs indeed...Without sounding like the harbinger of doom, as long as the current crop of label execs remain in power it is only going to get worse. Most of these people would not know talent if it stood in front of them and shot them with a double barreled shotgun....and reloaded and did it again. Have them pick out a hit song....Fuuuuhhhhgedddaaabout it. They have relegated some of the most talented people in the business to starving for work and doing most anything to get some...

    DON'T GET ME WRONG!!!! There is still good work being done but unfortunately not nearly enough of it and with no where near the budgets necessary to actually eek out a substantial living anymore. I still think the major music markets are good choices IF you have an in and you have the personality and the chops once you get in. The reality is that even the top session players are NOT getting the work they used to and I can not in good faith tell anyone that any one place is better than another because no matter where you go there are already talented people there trying to do the same thing you want to do. I LOVE AUSTIN AND I LOVE NASHVILLE!!! BUT the business has changed so much that neither of them are the places they used to be. IME/IMO they BOTH have great night life and great live stuff happening but nether is "RIPE" for new studio players unless you are exceptionally gifted and can find a way to make yourself stand out. Personally Austin is one of my favorite places on the planet and there are MANY worse places to be...

    If I were you I would go back to some of my earlier posts that I made a year or more ago and reread them...Nothing has really changed as far as m y advice goes. I tall comes down to this: ACTIVITY BREEDS ACTIVITY. PICK A SPOT! It might be where you are, it might be where you THINK you are supposed to be, it might be where someone told you to go. Find a place that has a good music scene and BECOME PART OF THE SCENE. Find some gigs and play...just play! Get out there and Play...if you can't play then TALK about playing with people who ARE playing. Find out who is who and who the best players are and FIND A WAY TO PLAY WITH THE BEST PLAYERS WHERE YOU ARE!! If you play with them and they like you it is HIGHLY likely that when they get the call to play, you get the call to play with them! I know I make it sound simple and it really is IN THEORY! In practice it takes desire, determination, and drive to make it happen. A lot of times it is YOUR DESIRE that will get you ahead of the other guy that maybe does not want it as badly as you do. Keep in mind that sometimes your ability as a player may be overshadowed by your willingness to go along and get along with other guys in the project. I have gotten a lot of work because I am known as Mr. PREPARED and Mr. NO PROBLEM. MOST OF THE TIME my ability to get the job done goes further than just playing or engineering chops....

    As far as teaching goes I have never been the teacher type in a one on one...the best lessons I could ever give you are in the posts I have made in this thread. To think I started it almost 4 years ago and how much the business has changed for the worse in that amount of time is very sad to me but if I go back and read I think I saw it coming. the advice I gave then is the same would give now as far as chops are concerned...practice, practice, practice! Play with anyone as much as you can and just get out there and work...ACTIVITY TRULY BREEDS ACTIVITY!!!

    YOU CAN DO THIS IF YOU REALLY WANT TO!!!!

    GOOD LUCK AND GOD BLESS YOU!

    Peace,

    T
     
  4. I...
    - practice, practice, practice
    - have a good 4 string and a great 6
    - live in San Francisco
    - can read
    - am always on time
    - play tastefully
    - gets along easily with people, especially artsy artists
    - work as an engineer at an audio-post facility
    - play with everyone/anyone I can in the area

    I have been in this city for a couple years and have noticed a dramatic increase in contacts, referrals, etc.. I know I am doing something right.

    But how do I get into the SESSION scene? How do I get my first session? I know the economy sucks right now and the music industry has sucked for a while and is not getting any better, but I don't want to get rich, I just truly LOVE playing to tape and making good songs.

    Do I make a demo of my bass playing different styles and start emailing/snail mailing studios/engineers/producers?

    I know it is about meeting people, but how the hell do I meet producers?! Am I getting ahead of myself and just keep doing what I am doing and see where it takes me or am I leaving out a vital step?
     
  5. EVERY single person I know got into sessions by accident or by a fluke event...Personally I just started playing with a LOT of different people and I got asked to do some recording for a situation. I did the recording sessions and the Engineer loved my tone and my professionalism and got my number. It was not long before one of his friends called me to do a session and the producer on that gig liked my can do attitude and my preparedness and frankly my fearlessness. I have NEVER turned down anything at all no matter what it was and I think that opened a lot doors for me. That same producer worked with a lot of local talent and I was lucky that he liked me and used me on almost everything he did. That one relationship got me almost ALL of my initial work and really got me established as a reliable and flexible player. I attribute my entire career to the good fortune of meeting just a few key people. The initial engineer, his friend, and the producer that the second engineer hooked me up with. I met MANY people after that but it was those 3 that really got me working consistently. I was also lucky enough to work with some really heavy hitters in engineering side of my career. I met Tom Dowd when I was young in an airport. I recognized him sitting waiting for a plane by himself and I walked over to him and said simply...Mr. Dowd please forgive me but I just wanted to come over and thank you for all the things you have done for the music business. I really appreciate what you do and it is my honor to meet you like this. He looked up at me and with his characteristically gruff voice said. "How the hell do you know who I am?" I just laughed and explained that my family owned a music store all my life and I was a fan of his work. He said "Sure but what do you care about a guy like me, how did you even recognize me? I told him that I had seen his name on so many old records that i wanted to know about him and had researched his work. He laughed and said "you must be pretty bored to take the time to do that" I just laughed and told him that I really wanted to be an engineer and was going to School to get my degree and he said "Listen if you are serious enough to take the time to come over here like this then give me a call when you get out of school and I will see if there is anything I can do to help you get started"

    THAT WAS IT....

    THAT WAS IT...

    I thanked him and we talked for a few minutes and I told him that I would call him when I got out and hold him to it. He just laughed and said he would hold me to the call...Long story short I went off to Full Sail and got my Degree in Recording Arts and I happened to be in Houston making a connecting flight back to Orlando from the AES show that had been in San Francisco...I looked up while waiting at the terminal and guess who? As soon as our eyes met we both smiled and he got up at the same time I did. We met halfway and shook hands and he said "So did you get that degree?" I told him I had and asked me where I was going to go to work and I told him I had a gig lined up in Atlanta and he asked me if I ever got down to Miami. I told him that my wife did not want to go to Miami but I really did and he told me do what I wanted to do and let the wife decide whether she was along for the ride or not...:D He was quite a character...Eventually I saw him again about a year later after I decided I hated Atlanta and moved to South Florida. I was there for 2 days when I saw him again at a hotel on South Beach. He asked me if I wanted to take him to lunch the next day and I told him absolutely...needless to say I was in awe of the man every time I was around him. I wound up apprenticing with him as I could for a couple of years while I was doing other work and just my association with him opened a LOT of doors for me. It is one of the thrills of my life to have worked with him and learned from him and gotten first hand accounts of all those great sessions with James Brown and Aretha, Otis Redding, Eric Clapton tthe Allman Brothers, and so many others that we got to talk about. I feel very blessed to have known him and I know that my life would probably be very different if I had not have had the balls to go over and just speak to him at that first meeting. Now granted that is not necessarily something that you can plan for in your career planning but I tell that story to make one point...

    BE PREPARED FOR ANYTHING!!! PUT YOURSELF IN THE PATH OF OPPORTUNITY AND SOONER OR LATER IT WILL KNOCK YOU DOWN IF YOU DON'T GET OUT OF THE WAY!!

    There are many good people in this business that WANT to help people. Granted there are plenty of Aholes out there 2 but for the most part people are good and want to help you succeed. The REALLY SMART people and really talented people are very humble and very down to earth and want to see you succeed as well. Tom Dowd used to tell me all the time that knowing everything in the world is worthless unless you can use that knowledge for something good. He made it a point to help anyone who ever asked for his help. He wanted to pass along everything he could to people because in the end he knew he was going to die and he did not want to take it all with him. He made me promise to share everything I learned from him with everybody I could and I try to do that here and in my personal and professional life as well.

    Honestly it sounds like you are doing things the right way. Put yourself out there and keep doing everything you can to catch the opportunities as they come. TURN DOWN NOTHING..play for free, work cheap, do what you have to stay busy. NEVER BURN A BRIDGE and NEVER SCREW ANYBODY FOR ANY REASON!!!! Be honorable, be honest, never promise anything you can't deliver and always give more than you have to. I promise you that sooner or later you will be in the position to reap what you sow...

    NOW the reality check...Unfortunately the business is not at all what it used to be...as I have said here and elsewhere the studio business is a mere fraction of what it once was. Artist studios, Producer studios, Engineers Private studios, this is where the work is being done now. You have to find a way to meet these people. They are people just like you and me and they are just doing what they love same as you and me. They like to hang out jsut like you and me. You will find that once you make contact with them you tend to run into the same people over and over. Sooner or later one things leads to another and the opportunity will present itself...BE READY WHEN IT DOES...

    There is no secret to this business as I have said...it is all a question of putting yourself on the path of opportunity by being out there and doing it everyday and being ready when the opportunity presents itself.

    Hope that helps...

    BTW - Just in case anyone is interested this is some info on Tom Dowd. He was the most amazing person I have ever known and was a true genius at his craft. He is one of the most influential people that ever lived and worked within the music business. He was a very warm and caring person beneath the sometimes gruff exterior and i miss him every day. I hope all who read this will take just a few minutes of their time to find who this guy was and recognize the contributions that this one man made to the world we live in today. If you like any of the music made over the last 50 years it s a good chance that Tom had his hand in a good part of it. I give you this information to honor him and celebrate his work. I hope you are as inspired as I am once you realize all that he left us. The world needs more people like him....

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Dowd

    http://www.thelanguageofmusic.com/bio_40.HTM

    be sure and click on Next at the bottom of the page to get all the way up until his death

    http://www.angelfire.com/ca/oldtimers/TomDowd.html

    http://www.stereophile.com/news/11480/

    http://mixonline.com/mag/audio_tom_dowd/

    Check out this Discography! I know it is not 100% complete...

    http://www.thelanguageofmusic.com/discography.htm

    Peace,

    T
     
  6. :eek:
    Wow amazing reply and story. Thanks for all that. That is truly phenomenal and inspiring.
     
  7. I have seen The Language of Music and am a huge fan of Tom Dowd. I was really in awe after reading your story.
     
  8. I knew Tom for over 10 years and I was in awe of him every time I was in his presence. The interesting thing is the artists that he worked with felt the same way. You would think guys like Dickie Betts or Eric Clapton or Aretha Frankiln would see him as simply a technician. I have seen legendary artists nervous in his presence and just as I awe of him as I was. Greg Allman once told me that he owed everything he would ever have to Tom Dowd and Dickie Betts said that from the very beginning they saw him as part of the band once they saw he had as much talent as they did. People do not realize that Tom was an unbelievable Musician in his own right and it gets lost just how important he was to coming up with arrangements that made songs "fit" within "radio time". He was a true master at songwriting and arranging compositions to make them more "recordable". He used to say "do you want to hear it on the radio or not?" What he meant was we can record this any way you want it but if it does not fit into this amount of time it will never be played on the radio and he was right! So many artists owe their Gold and Platinum to the fact that Tom was so insistent about certain aspects of their recording. I witnessed first hand that most people trusted him completely within just a few minutes of working with him. He had a way of making you feel very comfortable very quickly and he always kept things from feeling too much like work even though he can get very tedious if necessary. I have seen him REFUSE to stop the tape and do another take when he was trying to capture something raw and I have seen record a SINGLE word at a time when it really was called for to make something to work. He was a consummate professional always and I can honestly say that I never saw he make a mistake or miss a cue....I used to call him Mr. First Pass because he usually had a mix that sounded incredible from the time he put his hand on the console. The things he did in a session would blow your mind...I feel very very blessed that he was a part of my life for so long and I know every one who knew him felt the same way. On his behalf I really thank you for taking the time to see who he was and recognizing the contributions that he made to the music we listen to and perform everyday! God Bless you and take some inspiration from his work!

    Peace,

    T
     
  9. drasticDUB

    drasticDUB Guest

    Mar 13, 2008
    great thread everyone!

    thats all!
     
  10. steele

    steele

    Jan 11, 2008
    So this thread is about being a studio musician, but theres one thing I'm curious about. What happens when a new young band is signed to a label and go into the studio to record. Like just for the sake of the question I'll use Guns N' Roses for example. After they were signed by Geffen and went in to record Appetite For Destruction, how does the recording process go for whats essentially a bunch of kids (at the time) stepping foot into a professional recording studio having absolutely no idea about recording. Does most of the responsibility go to the producer and people hired to work on the album. Because I just doubt they all walked in with studio ready equipment knowing what to do. Its not like Duff McKagan walked in the studio knowing how to use DIs or pre-amps to record their album. Who helps with the band when they don't know what there doing so to speak?
     

  11. Good question! If it is a signed band it is usually the producer if they have one or the A&R person in the old days. Now it is typically the engineer or someone in the band that knows what they want to do. I am still recording all the time and depending on who I am recording I will give as much or as little guidance as necessary. I am finding more and more people who have an idea of what is going on when they get to a session these days. I try to allow the musicians to do whatever they are feeling at the time to ensure the session goes well but the creativity does not get lost. I do not get caught up in gear or mixing decisions while I am tracking and I try to keep everyone focused on an end goal for that session...Hope that helps!

    Peace,

    T
     
  12. drasticDUB

    drasticDUB Guest

    Mar 13, 2008
    This is still one of the best threads ever. Thought I'd just say that, and get this one a bump...so maybe a few more people might stumble across it.

    cheers
     
  13. Thanks I hope you found it useful!

    Peace,

    T
     
  14. CamMcIntyre

    CamMcIntyre

    Jun 6, 2000
    USA
    +1. It has been nearly two years since my first post in this thread. The same concepts that I started applying then, I'm applying now. The good thing? I gig more in a month now than I did in 6 months earlier on. I have had an extended break from theatre shows (last one closed in November, next booked one is late April), but I'm still doing the Slam gig. 2-3 Sundays a month, backing the Uptown Poetry Slam at the Green Mill. I have learned that my trio is also heavily featured on the XM & Sirius Satellite Slam broadcasts, and I feel like I am in a good spot. I'm saving up money to have my trio record an album as there has been quite a bit of demand for one at our gigs.

    Network, network, network. Bass playing took a back seat for a few months (the lull in theatre gigs time), and I used that time redefine some other habits. I have lost 30 pounds and 7 inches from my waist since September. So now, I'm back in it heavy. Transcribing, listening, practicing, networking, learning, growing.
     
  15. jbassjosh

    jbassjosh

    Jul 14, 2010
    hey guys I'm a long time reader first time poster... I'd just like to say this thread has been absolutely brilliant advice to bassists who wanna make it in the biz... just wanted to say thank you to all who contributed.
     
  16. bassguitar808

    bassguitar808

    Jul 9, 2010
    what a great thread, thanks for all the excellent advice

    just reading this makes me approach my craft and art so much more seriously

    thanks!
     
  17. craig.p

    craig.p

    Sep 28, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Another thank you to Tom and everyone else for all the info and advice.

    Wonder if I could ask you all a couple of questions. I'm a live player and really don't have much interest in recording, so there's some context for this.

    First, I understand the notion of networking; this is how you get work as an independent in the I.T. world, too. In the music world I'm often invited to stop by for informal sessions and play old standards, but the problem is that old standards don't line up with my typical work, which is C&W -- both new and old/traditional. Frankly, I don't even like the stuff, and that's probably putting it mildly. So my first question is whether I need to bust free of that and do my best to play anything and everything. On the one hand, I want to be gracious and accommodating, but on the other hand I don't need to be puking on my boots.

    My second question has to do with playing with other musicians who aren't yet at my skill level and/or have no desire to be. (I don't mean that to sound uppity, but I've been at this since the mid '70s, and things are what they are.) My specific question is whether I'm suffering damage to my marketability as an individual player by playing in informal situations where the rest of the band is not ready for serious work -- or worse, obviously never will be. I don't need to have people saying, "Oh, that bass player? Yeah, I saw him with that crappy band last week and they stunk. Forget him." See what I mean? Can potential employers (whether other bands or individuals) "hear through" the mix and see through the situation and be able to identify me as at least moderately competent? I have no idea how to handle situations like this. I guess if you distill this question down it would be this: How do you balance maintaining the quality of your PERCEIVED product and doing your best not to appear like a total butthole by refusing work or even informal jams with others who you know aren't really up to par?

    Thanks again for all the great advice.
     
  18. VonCakeman

    VonCakeman

    Sep 22, 2010
    Chicago, IL
    I can speak a little bit from my experience on the playing with less experienced musicians. It is a double edged sword, but overall I think its best to give everyone a fair shot. You never know what the future will hold. The guy that was ruining your band's sound might just realize one day that he isn't a good guitar player and open up the best paying venue/recording studio in town, or maybe he'll start taking it seriously and amaze you one day. What has served me well in music and everything else in life is to generally be a nice guy to everyone that I can. People will remember how you have treated them. It is OK to decline once you have given someone a fair shot, but be sure to be nice about it!

    Now for my own story. What I referenced above has started to pay off for me. I now find myself in 4 bands. I have at least 3 rehearsals a week after work, and I find myself waking up at 6am so that I can get a good 45 minutes of practice on my own (before I work the 9-5) to keep up! My most recent two projects have both come from referrals. One is a well paying easy gig playing music for children, the other is subbing for a well known rock band here in Chicago that is about to release a new album. I'm hoping to make the jump from weekend warrior to full time musician in the next few years. A few things that have been mentioned, I would like to second.

    -have your stuff together. I keep a messenger bag packed at all times that has the following: 3 instrument chords, strobe tuner, a power strip, an extension chord, a DI/Preamp, extra strings (1 set flat wound, one round), earplugs, spare 9 volt batteries, and a Realbook. Wether I'm going to a gig or rehearsal, or playing upright or electric bass, I grab my bag, and I'm good to go.

    -Double on upright and electric. Once I started playing upright, my opportunities skyrocketed.

    -Engineers like familiar instruments. My dad is an engineer, and the first thing he said when I told him I bought a P bass is that he loves them because they always sound good and he doesn't have to put much effort into it.

    Hopefully I can keep this thread going with my own success stories.
     
  19. CamMcIntyre

    CamMcIntyre

    Jun 6, 2000
    USA
    Craig,

    The way that I have handled the sub-par musicians is, if they are paying me, I am going to play like they are the best musicians on the planet, and I am having the most fun ever.

    With regards to playing for little-no money, it has to be with people that I enjoy playing with, at a time that doesn't conflict with my other commitments.

    My general update...
    More of the same from the past few years. I'm booked solid playing theatre for the next several months, and was recently recommended to a pop singer/song writer as a last second sub. I'm learning ten tunes to play a gig with her on Saturday with no rehearsal or formal sound check (my day job interferes and they were OK with me missing the sound check).

    All the work I have gotten has been based off of recommendations and networking.

    Something that I recommend every bassist/musician to watch are the John Miller videos from Bass Player Live. These videos are from a guy who not only contracts major gigs, but is a MAJOR player. If the transcripts of the videos were in print, they'd be a sacred text to me.

    http://www.johnmillerbass.com/media_video_presentation.html
     
  20. SoundSupport

    SoundSupport

    Aug 23, 2010
    This whole thread...
    I just read the whole thing in one go...
    Good grief, this is immense.

    But it's all a bit intense and serious, and I think you're all in need of some silliness, so here's a brief bio and a rather good punchline!

    Despite my tender age of 21, I have a ton of experience. My current axe is a Lakland Darryl Jones, btw. Since the age of 13 I've played in multiple Christian worship bands, and thanks to a gap year, I've played in:

    Northern Ireland
    Scotland
    England
    Germany
    Croatia
    Denmark
    Sweden
    St. Vincent and the Grenadines (caribbean)
    Grenada (caribbean)

    Typically, I play in front of 300 people twice a week, every week.
    I can't count the number of drummers I've worked with.

    In all that time, I've only done one paid gig.

    I was 17, and a scratch band was thrown together from some of the most talented musicians in my school in order to play ceildgh (scottish dancing) music at the 18th birthday of a teacher's daughter.

    I hadn't a clue what I was doing, but nevermind, it was great fun. And at the end of the evening, we were all packed up and hoping to get paid. The birthday girl's mother said
    "Thanks so much for playing this evening, here's your reward!"

    And....

    I got a chocolate easter egg.


    Nearly 8 years playing in front of an average audience of 300/400 people weekly, in 9 countries across 2 continents.
    And in all that time the only reward I've ever recieved is a flamin' easter egg!

    AAARGH!

    Reason why?
    I'VE NEVER GOT OFF MY ARSE AND BOTHERED NETWORKING!:p

    But it is possible that I'll get my first studio time soon - my church minister in Scotland likes to write kid's songs, and for his 50th birthday the church bought him some studio time. And he wants me there, so I'll turn up with my trusty Lakie, and more importantly, the kind of confidence that comes with regularly being chucked in the deep end musically!

    Keep on rocking, and it's really nice get a glimpse into the strange and rareified of the professional bass player.


    Take care and God bless,
    SoundSupport
     

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