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Advice on performance

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by basicdab, Apr 24, 2002.

  1. basicdab


    Apr 24, 2002
    Madison, WI
    Hey all,

    I have been playing for about a year now, but never with others -- I decided I wanted to play bass, got one and some music and the rest is history. I do alright for myself, got scales down taught myself to read music etc, and play with the radio and CD's when practicing now, but have never actually played with a living breathing person.
    Now I have the opportunity to start playing on a regular basis with some friends (two guitarists and a drummer - and me:p). I was wondering if you all had any advice on playing with others over practice. I don't excpect it to be any different, but I don't want to walk in too behind the curve (these guys have been playing w/ each other for a while already)

  2. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA

    Congratulations on finding some people to play with. Double congratulations for the fact that they're a tight nit group of guys with some experience. I prefer to always play with others more talented than myself, I firmly believes that it helps push and inspire you. I've never wanted to be a big fish in a little pond, if you know what I mean.

    There will be some differences. Remember the goal of music, being to create a piece of art, not several little pieces of art. What I mean to say, is that know you are working with others to create something, as opposed to by yourself, as you've done previously as you practice. So really, this is in many ways about team work.

    BIG EARS! It's important to have HUGE ears. You really have to listen to others to know how you're going to play, how you're going to compliment them, help them, inspire them. Some basic examples might be; A) if they're playing "busy" (that is, a lot of notes), then you may want to back off, and play with more space. This will help obtain a groove. B) What notes are they playing? Does the guitarist play a lot of root notes on the downbeat? This will affect how you play. If you also play a lot of root notes on the downbeat, this will create a different sound than if you were to play other chord or scale tones. This opportunity is largely about experimentation for you. You will get a chance to develop your ear as to how these variances sound.
  3. chrisbs


    Jan 12, 2002
  4. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    One of the biggest challenges that may hit you when you start to play with "real" people instead of CDs is timing...staying with the rest of the group and not playing too fast or slowly. You have to pay attention to the drummer, especially if you are playing heavy metal or nu-metal. You don't say what kind of music your group plays.

    The other thing you dont' say is if they are jamming, playing covers or originals. Each one of those situations presents its own challenges.

    See if they can give you charts of their music or at least tell you the key and give you the chord progression. Some bands can't even do that much. I was in one like that, so I know that is when you need really super big ears as was mentioned above. Excellent advice.

    Good luck. You will find you grow much faster as a musician playing with real musicians and not the radio or CDs, because you have to be more honest and stay focused.
  5. Julien


    Dec 29, 2001
    there's nothing better than playing with friends(even the music is not really "good":)))
  6. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Ain't that the truth!!! :D :D :D
  7. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    I've found that statement to be so true.

    Anyways, playing with other people is very exciting. As was mentioned before, your ears are one of the most important assests of playing. A big part of playing with other people is communication. By communication, and I don't mean spoken communication, (Though sometimes you might have to yell "The crowds rocking, let's repeat the chorus" to the drummer ;) :D ) I mean you communicate with each other through the music you play. As was said earlier, if someone else is really rippin' it up, you have to listen to that, and decide that maybe you should back off and not do a lot of fills. Then if there's nothing else going on that's quite complex, that's your chance to stretch your chops a little bit. Some cats are great players by theirselves, but they can't play in a band because they can't properly "communicate" with the other members of the band.

    Good luck :)

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