Advice from Country players

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by James Hart, May 11, 2003.

  1. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    I've got a chance to get in with a fairly busy country group (3 to 5 gigs a month) and being a rock/jam/funk/wannabe jazz player & listener....

    Is there anything a bassist crossing into country should know?

    I listen to some new/pop country and I have at least a 1/4 of the set list on disk. I've done blues gigs with limited success in the past. I'm feeling confident I can fake my way through most of these shuffles... but the 50+ tunes I was given is a bit intimidating (Garth, George Strait, Brooks & Dunn, Dwight, Travis Tritt, etc).


    thanks in advance for any replies

    (mods: please move this if I guessed the wrong forum)
  2. Tsal


    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    Yep, got two things for you to remember:


    And fifth.

    Break a leg! :D
  3. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    Yeeee Haaaawwww!

    Thanks [​IMG]

    (but I broke my leg good last summer and spent it in bed... I'll skip that part)
  4. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    Well... having joined a country band two months ago, I can say that it's a bit more than that! But actually, the meat and potatoes approach to bass playing works well in a country setting... Good groove, taste, and tone go a long ways!

    Same boat as you spedding... I auditioned for a gigging country band that had been together 3 years... The sheer amount of music was daunting. 5 sets of 13 songs each... first gig was three weeks after the audition. Now, I'm on my ninth set. They have twelve total... then we start learning new stuff as a band...

    Don't be afraid to play simply, but alot of the stuff you've listed can have some happenin' bass going on. My group allows me some leeway in what I play now that they're confident that I'll keep the bottom together. I joined a country band for a change of pace, and I'm glad I did. If nothing else, at least it's an affirmation that I can hang in a variety of situations!

  5. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I've been playing in a country band for 6 years, and posted my thoughts on this topic in another thread a year or so ago, but I'm too lazy to repeat it here so you may want to do a search. As I remember, there was a lot of good advice on that thread.
  6. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Taste?!? Country?!? By playing country music, you've pretty much abandoned taste from the outset :D (j/k guys)
  7. ZonPlyr


    Apr 29, 2003
    Pasadena, CA
    I too made the switch a few years ago. I learned a ton on this gig, mostly through just listening to what the other guys were doing. Most country songs are like everything else, they follow a pattern. If you can keep your ears open and follow what's going on you will find that what you learn in one song will transfer to the others. The biggest thing I had to re-learn was that it's about the song, not about my chops as a player. Keep the groove and the time going and keep your ears open. Good luck, you have been presented with an opportunity to learn and grow, make the most of it.
  8. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    very cool... I read most country stuff I've found in my searches. This might be the thread you mentioned.

    good advice there

    I must say, following the echos of "use your ears" recommendations.... most of these country bassists have million dollar tone!

    Well put! as much as I love to show off... that is SOOO true in any music.

    Thanks for the well wish too! I think what I'm fretting most is the fact I haven't had to buckle down and learn 50 tunes in almost 10 years... my ears, mind and fingers are off to a slow start.

  9. cb56


    Jul 2, 2000
    Central Illinois
    Tell that to Vic Wooten who does plays some country tunes now and then.

    I played country for about 10 years before getting back into classic rock. Good to see you aren't content to do the lazy uninformed player's root fith approach to every tune. While root/5th does have its place you will also play alot of walking bass and some rock style bass also. Listen to some of the uptempo stuff that Travis Tritt, Vince Gill, Marty stuart, Ricky Skaggs, Steve Wariner and company play. Check out their bass players and you'll be off to a good start.
  10. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    ...their bass players?!
    From what I've been seeing/hearing/buying, it's ONE guy named Glenn Worf! That guy is on about everything of late.

    Others to check out-
    Willie Weeks
    Mike Brignadello
    Michael Rhodes

    I am still doing a Summer gig with a New Country parody band...I have settled down a lot over the past 10 years with these guys/gals. Why they didn't get me das boot way back when, I dunno.
    I do enjoy this gig as it's usually a big event with big appreciative crowds. Country fans do show up!
    I approach the gig as a Pop gig...I do try to get a big, full-valued notes happenin'(180 degrees out of my usual staccato Latin-Funk thang).

    Have fun!
  11. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    I spent some time on the phone tonight with the guitarist (my contact so far has been with the steel player). The singer is on vacation so I've got till the 24th to get myself comfy with all the tunes.

    I've been respecting the power, style and conviction of the current country bassist (yes it seems to be Worf or Rhodes anytime I've checked) for the past 5 years or so... man do they drop some bombs if'n you're paying attention :D

    turns out I've got 38 of the 62 tunes from the list. The guitarist is 'hoping' I can nail 10 in almost 2 weeks :cool: I'm planning to nail all 38 :D
  12. ConU


    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    That's the spirit!!Play exactly what's on the records,nothing less,nothing more,and you'll keep that gig.I've been in your shoes,with that many tunes in front of me,if you stick to what's on the record 40 tunes in 2 weeks is'nt hard.When you start making up your own lines and skimping,that's when it gets confusing.
  13. cb56


    Jul 2, 2000
    Central Illinois
    And Glenn does kick @ss but he can't play for all of them all the time. They also use David hungate, Dave Pomeroy, Mike Brignardello, etc...:bassist:

    Oh yeah and try to check out John cowan from New Grass Revival. He was also in a band called Sky Kings with Bill LLoyd. good stuff if you can find it. It didn't quite fit into the Nashville pop country mold so it didn't fly. (pun intended)
  14. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I have been watching some CMT recently...tryin' to get in the mood as we're about to kick off the Summer gig season-

    I do like Worf's line on Deanna Carter's "There's No Limit"...then again, maybe it's the damn video that drivin' me nuts. Carter's resemblance in this video to my ex is scary...

    Worf lends a very minimalist touch to Martina's "Concrete Angel"...nice fill towards the end of that one.

    Whoever played the line on Worley's "Do You Remember"(Dontcha' Tell Not To Worry 'Bout bin Laden)...very nice job!
  15. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    Yes, he's a very talented bassist. To bad all of the Bluegrass purist put the screws to him and his band. :mad:

    Also, a lot of people may not know who New Grass Revival is, but I'm sure most are away of the contributions (and don't even realize it) Garth Brook's tune, Calling Baton Rouge was orginally a NGR tune, and it's also the former band of Bela Fleck.
  16. neptoon

    neptoon Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2000
    summerville, sc
    keith horne is another guy to check out. country is most definitely NOT an invalid style of music for a working bassist to have a good knowledge of. imo, of course...
  17. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    I always have a good laugh at a lot of Rock guys who look down on Country, then for some reason, they have to play it once, and they always say the same thing, "Wow, I never realized how much goes into playing Country".
  18. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    LOL.. I get a kick out of most closed minded types of musicians. I did a little playing with a guitarist that refused to acknowledge ANY guitar recorded before '78-'80 as anything before was too sloppy and untechnical :rolleyes:

    My grandpop was a geetar picker back from the farm in Iowa at age 9. He would shuffle a I-V, strum the chords AND pick a melody while singing all at the same time. Semi-Pro most his whole life. His paying me a dollar to sit on stage in front of the bassist's 2x15 as a 'page turner' in the mid 70's is a big part of the reason I chose bass.... the thump of the p-bass had been knocking the wind out my chest
    yeah, I wanted that power!

    Anyway, thanks for all the info and name dropping guys!!!! I'm knee deep into my list and think I should make my deadline.... tonight's learnin is:
    Keith Urban-"But for the Grace of God"
    Toby Keith-"Country Comes to Town"
    Little Texas-"God Bless Texas"


    Travis Tritt-"Modern Day Bonnie & Clyde"

    "well we pulled up to a motel, in the middle of the night,
    we were counting all the money, smokin' stolen Marlboro lights,
    Lord we never saw 'em comin' 'till the read us both our rights"

  19. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    That was me 6 years ago when I got the call asking if I would join a country band. I wasn't interested, but they talked me into it, and I've learned more in the last 6 years playing country than I did in 20 years playing rock. There is so much more variety of styles and feels in country, and it has made me a much better, more versatile player and taught me that it is all about the groove, not how many notes you play. I'm still in the country band, and 6 years is the longest I've ever played in one band so I must like it...;)
  20. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Horne is a monster...he used to play in a Fusion band around here called Secrets(w/ Carter Buford, Tim Reynolds, John D'Earth, Butch Taylor...all guys playing with the DMB. The other keyboardist in that band, Dane Bryant, is with Clint Black).

    This was the sorta band that would open for Miles...what was killer, though, was when they played the local clubs: $2 cover & you could sit, literally, 5 feet away from them.
    I miss them daze...