Any tips, advice when going pro (+ synth beginner).

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Syl_Funky_bass, Sep 17, 2020.

  1. Syl_Funky_bass


    Jun 4, 2016
    Hi guys,

    It seems I might get the opportunity to go professional. I get more and more calls and start making me a name in the local scene.

    What would be your best pieces of advice for a 32 year old bass player who finally and quite surprisingly gets the chance to make a profession out of his passion? Any tips, ideas, golden rules are welcome.

    Then, more specifically but still related to my first question, I'm also asked more and more to play synthbass. Therefore I bought a Novation Bass Station II about 6 months ago. I'm very pleased with it and thanks to hours of practice on that new instrument during the last months and to my advanced knowledge of the bass I feel quite comfortable and confident that I can offer something enjoyable on synth.
    I was an absolute beginner on synth until 6 months ago (never played piano in my life either).
    To those of you who have been/were in the same situation as me, what would you advise me?

    The genres I play in the various projects I'm involved with are: funk, hip-hop, R'nB, electro pop.

    Thanks guys.
  2. I haven't "been there, done that" so all I can really offer is to take every opportunity as a learning experience rather than "did I do good enough?" moments. No matter how it went, you can learn something from it. This is a good approach to many industries and vague, I know.

    I wish you the best of luck! :thumbsup:
    Syl_Funky_bass likes this.
  3. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    I think the question requires more info. Do you want to tour as a side man, record sessions, tour as a BL, or any of the other 'professional' jobs in the industry ? (teaching is professional, as is demoing gear at trade shows, it's a BIG industry)
    As a vague answer- Tour as a sideman means knowing how to nail every audition, sightread, and be able to play any groove instantly. They are looking for brilliance on command. Nowadays they will want choreography, and singing. You will most likely need to be based out of N.Y. L.A. or Nashville.
    Session bassist- Wait until someone in the industry dies. Hope you are in the right place when it happens.
    Being a star- Look like Justin Timberlake, write songs like Springsteen, sing like Adam Lambert, play like Jaco, and you will narrow down your chances to about the same as being hit by lightning twice. Oh yeah. You will need to know how to dance.

    One more bugaboo- No one is touring during Covid, Sessions are pretty much non existant, and as a rock star Spotify will pay you .00025 cents per play (to put that in perspective, Taylor Swift had one billion plays, and got $24,000)
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2020
    Syl_Funky_bass and JRA like this.
  4. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    Best piece of advice I can muster from the dim memories of when I first turned "pro" ~40 years ago: Approach every gig with the same confidence that any other working person brings to their job. The kid who's running the copy machine at the law firm of Dewey, Cheatum,& Howe doesn't go to work thinking "Geez, I sure hope I remember where to put the toner..." he just shows up to work and gets the job done. So should a bass player.

    Also: Be punctual. "Early is on time, on time is late, late is inexcusable" should be your mantra.
    Syl_Funky_bass likes this.
  5. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    LOL! Truth
    ( least regarding full-time non-stop A-list session work. I somehow managed to get a decent workload of studio session work for the first 20 years of my career, but if those were the only gigs I'd done I'd have been below the poverty line.)

    My favorite quote about the difficulties of breaking into the Big Time studio session scene came from, of all people, Will Lee, who said when he moved to NYC in the very early 1970s there were zero opportunities for session bassists, because "Tony Levin and Leland Sklar had every gig already sewn up!"
    50 years later...they still do!
    Syl_Funky_bass and JRA like this.
  6. ItsmeSantiago


    Nov 23, 2015
    Someone told me that being able to play is a prerequisite, it's the other stuff that you have to offer that will keep you in the game, and that's very true. Being able to change a tire, cooking, knowing how to purchase materials (merch) are all things that can make you viable.

    The synth thing is huge. I saw the industry going that way, and did something similar to you and bought an inexpensive synth and I never had anyone say I should get a Moog or something fancy. Again, the synth is that trick that sets you apart. All of my bass buddies that gig constantly can play an upright, too.

    The one thing I would have done differently once I got to the position you're talking about is that I would stay quiet about what I had on the horizon and don't spam your socials with what you're currently doing, because there's always someone or three lurking in the shadows that could try to knock you down. Unfortunately, losers exist and won't be as enthused for you.

    I was around your age when I got to that place where I could start filing a tax return on my music, and that's a good age. You'll find you have some hidden wisdom and tricks you learned from working other jobs that will cross over. Have fun and kill it!
    Syl_Funky_bass likes this.

Share This Page