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After three years of not being in a band, I have been asked to join a new one.

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Stewie26, Oct 27, 2020.

  1. After not playing in a band for three years, other than jamming with some friends from time to time, I had my first practice with an established band last week and will have a second practice in a few days. The band has two acoustic guitars, one electric and as of now, a cajon player for percussion's. The three guys singing vocals were quite good. This is new to me as I am used to playing with a full kit drummer and all electric guitars. So far, the music selection of songs has been soft rock. That said, I really missed hearing the hi hat, the ride and crash cymbals you get with a full kit. The good news is the cajon player has purchased a drum kit but says he is not ready to play yet as he has not played a kit in over 25 years. In the meantime, just wondering if anyone has any special tips for playing with just a cajon.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2020
  2. kevindahl


    Aug 21, 2006
    Vancouver, BC
    The great thing about this lineup is that the bass can be melodic as well as rhythmic. It's an opportunity for you to be prominent in the mix.

    Good luck!
    nixdad, RNG1, RSBBass and 18 others like this.
  3. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    It sounds like a fun gig. My only tip would be to listen closely, and make it work. I played in a band for a while that had a similar setup, and felt it gave me a lot of room for dynamics and creativity. If you're doing covers, in a situation like this I'd also want to do my own thing. I'm usually a N4N (or as close as I can get), but am open to total rewrites when in situations like this.
    nixdad, Koshchei, Mr Cheese and 6 others like this.
  4. dalkowski

    dalkowski Supporting Member

    May 20, 2009
    Massachusetts USofA
    Yes: Listen. Have fun.
  5. I have the song list and have been learning and practicing some of the songs on YouTube. Tom Petty, Gordon Lightfoot, Jimmy Buffet, Jim Croce to name a few. I have found a lot of places to add a little of my own interpretation to many of the songs. The bandleader told me to do what I want as long as I fill the low end of the band up.
  6. We are 3 pc with a cajon and yes it will take some getting used to but we've had great fun with it.

    Our old lead singer was extremely talented and when he left we thought we'd have a really tough time finding a replacement but it turned out to be easier than we thought. The new singer did many guest spots with us over the years so we knew she could sing but would she be willing to learn the cajon, yes she would.

    Keep it upbeat and mix the cajon well, you'll still get dancers and fun crowds. Not to mention you can play from the biggest outdoor stage to the smallest club with a cajon and the mix is far easier not having to contend with a full drum set. I run our sound too so I love that aspect. Either way, best of luck! :thumbsup:
    nixdad, CallMeAl, Helix and 3 others like this.
  7. Eli_Kyiv


    Apr 7, 2020
    Kyiv, Ukraine
    Keep you treble tame. This metallic clang doesn't go well with a cajon and acoustic guitars.
    nixdad, expatmuso, bluemonk and 9 others like this.
  8. Good advice! Thanks for that. I will be using my SG bass with flat-wounds for this project for the reasons you stated.
  9. Have a singer play tambourine, or shaker til your drummer gets familiar with his kit.
  10. darwin-bass

    darwin-bass Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2013
    Salem OR
    Cajon player should be able to shake a shaker while playing kick / snare with his other hand. No room for fills that way, but it can give a fairly workable basic beat.

    And I 2nd the idea of keeping the bass tone mellow. 1/8 notes with a pick will sound out of place with the acoustic vibe y'all will be producing.
  11. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia bassist, arranger, aelurophile Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    Larry Graham invented slap bass to cover the back beat because his ma was too cheap to hire a drummer:roflmao:
    Seanto, Bass Jones, Stewie26 and 3 others like this.
  12. taliesin


    Nov 12, 2007
    Toronto, ON
    A drummer I work with a lot has a couple of gigs that he uses cajon for - he picked up a kick pedal that's made for the cajon and it makes a big difference.

    He uses that for the pulse and can use both hands for other parts.

    Maybe an idea for your cajon player.
    nixdad, whero, bignc and 3 others like this.
  13. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    The job is the same. Bridge the gap between rhythm and melody.

    Congrats on the gig!
  14. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass

    May 10, 2006
    I played with a cajon in a prior band. It was quieter, acoustic music but principles were the same as far as playing against percussion. Just a smaller pallet of percussive hits, that's all.

    nixdad, JRA and DJ Bebop like this.
  15. BAG


    May 5, 2014
    New Zealand
    Most of my playing for the last 10 years has been in situations like yours.
    And this is what I like about it. There's more opportunity for being melodic in your playing. Generally try to keep it subtle and it can be real fun.
    nixdad and Stewie26 like this.
  16. 60bass

    60bass Supporting Member

    Apr 24, 2005
    Charlotte, NC
    If the dude is a good Cajon player you should be able to follow him just like if he was on a set. When he plays towards the top it's higher in pitch and will provide your hi-hat and snare vibe. When he moves down the front towards the bottom the tone is deeper more like the kick drum. If he's used to playing on a drum kit he'll probably play the Cajon just like I described. It's fun playing along with a Cajon player when you both do it right.
    nixdad, CallMeAl and Stewie26 like this.
  17. 60bass

    60bass Supporting Member

    Apr 24, 2005
    Charlotte, NC
    to the OP. Check this out. I've played with full kit drummers who didn't have the tone or grove this woman has. All on one Cajon. Skip ahead to around the 4:15 mark and listen. IDK any bassist who wouldn't want to get funky and jam with those beats.

    nixdad, Lex P., equill and 4 others like this.
  18. Koog

    Koog Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2010
    Central Iowa USA
    Lots of good thoughts here and I have to say it's both refreshing and encouraging to read such positive sentiment.

    This gig sounds like a great opportunity to stretch a bit, explore some new expression, and have some fun. I know that, at this stage of my 57 year journey with bass and guitar, I'd grab this one in a heartbeat.

    Best of luck with this!

    nixdad, bignc and Stewie26 like this.
  19. Thanks. I will be brings some shakers and tambourine to the next practice.
    nixdad, JeezyMcNuggles and DJ Bebop like this.
  20. CallMeAl


    Dec 2, 2016
    Ithaca Ny
    Congrats on the new gig!

    my blues band drummer used a cajon for probably 90% of our gigs. Honestly I don’t miss the kit as much as I thought (maybe on a few particular numbers.) but I think you will get used to it. I’ll say it’s a great setup to have in your arsenal- we can play a lot of low key gigs (like wineries) that would not want a kit drummer.
    nixdad and Stewie26 like this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Nov 27, 2020

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