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Are bass players REALLY in demand? (long, but interesting, I hope!)

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by JPJ, Oct 19, 2002.

  1. JPJ


    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    After years of practicing, searching, and playing in sub-par bands, I finally got my "dream gig" a few months ago. It was one of those magical situations where everyone clicked musically and spiritually from note one, and I'm now playing the music that I love to play. However, while I would have cut off my own hand to be in the band I'm in now, I was amazed that the drummer and dual-lead guitarists felt the same way about me...that "I" made the band, that "I" was the missing ingredient that "they" had been searching for. According to the other guys in my band, they had been searching for bass players for ever and couldn't find anyone who even came close. I've also heard similar stories from other musicians looking for bass players, told to me when I was going to a lot of auditions.

    While I realize that the nature of the bass player is changing dramatically as the days turn into weeks and weeks into months (almost like the computer chip industry), I was amazed to hear from so many local musicians (Chicago area) that bass players are in such high demand right now. When I started playing drums in Jr. High/High School in the late '80's & early '90's, most bass players that I knew were frustrated guitar players and got the job by default. They weren't really interested in the instrument, per se, but the band had to have a bass player, and it was either "play bass or go home and mow the yard"...mowing the yard not being the best way to get girls in the 8th grade, etc.

    However, the "frustrated guitarist" things doesn't really apply anymore, as more and more kids are CHOOSING the bass as their primary instrument, or gravitating to it by necessity as I did (because hauling a drum set sucks), and I would think that there are more tallented, accomplished, practiced, and skilled bass players than ever. Are bass players in such high demand becaue so many are unreliable (I'm always on time, am extremely agreeable, don't drink/smoke/etc.), or might it be that so many who choose the bass just aren't stylistically compatable with the common gig? I would guess that MOST bands and most gigs don't require massive, extended range bassists with slapping, tapping, and weedeling chops out the butt. Yet, I get the feeling that this is where most "modern" bassists are headed, with "most" being a generalizaton.

    There may also be the scenario that in Seattle, bass players are a dime-a-dozen, but you can't find a guy with a high-hat to save your life. Just wonderin'. Any thoughts and opinions on this are welcome, so please reply and tell me what you think.
  2. I can't get my hands on a drummer.

    I think decent bassists with some knowledge of timing are are harder to find, but bass players I don't find are that difficult... then again, it depends what you are looking for.
  3. Justin V

    Justin V

    Dec 27, 2000
    Alameda, CA
    There's plenty of bassists around here. The hard part is finding a drummer. Up until last year, everyone at my schoo shared the same three drummers. Then, one of them graduated. :rolleyes:
  4. StrudelBass


    Jul 6, 2002
    I don't know if bass players are in demand. Any new band can pick up some bum off the street (or posibly just a friend) and tell them to just play along with the chords. In fact I'm reluctant to leave my band because I don't know where I would go.
  5. Unfortunately I had yet to take up the bass when I was in high school (One of several mistakes of my life). I think there were about two bassists in the high school during the time I went there, in a school of about 1200 students.
  6. bill_banwell

    bill_banwell Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2002
    No, i dont think that bass players are in demand, because since ive been playing bass, more and more people have been playing it, i think the drummer are more in demand, as our band doesent have a drummer.
  7. I know 2 AWESOME drummers.
    1 was supposed to be in our band, got wrecked one night and forgot :rolleyes: - but I guess he was busy with University & his work.

    The other is already in a band and getting pretty big around here.

    I know of 3-4 other drummers that are just starting up.. and don't even have kits :(

    IMO, around here.. we need everything! Everyone has a guitar.. but can they play it? no. A few good bassists, and a lot of good guitarists I do admit ;)
  8. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    Well, I'm first going to comment on your first paragraph, JPJ, because I think you bring up an interesting point. I've learned that you can stick talented musicians in a room, and just because they are good musicians, doesn't mean that you are going to sound "magical". I think music goes deeper than that. When you play, not only are you comminicating with the audience/listener, you are also communiciating with your band members. You are playing off of what they are playing, and they are doing the same. It's sort of a chemistry that is unexplainable.

    On that note, I don't think bands are really looking for musicians with certain knowledge, techinques, ect. I think they are looking for musicians that "fit" with the band. Like, I've never been setting up an audition and the guy I'm talking to says, "So, how are your 16th note runs, Is your knowledge of the melodic minor modes up to par, are you into two handed tapping, do you play a 6 string bass? ect." I find that most times when I talk to someone for a potential band, the subjects are goals, expierence (but not on a techincal level), a little bit about the music scene, what bands/songs you'll be covering, are you going to do orginals, what types of clubs you are going to be playing, ect.

    Personally, I think when it comes to finding other muso's, it's difficult to find "the right guy" no matter what instrument they play. That factors into many things including musicianship, personality, and goals. You have bands that want to see how far they can make it, they want career minded players. Then you have bands that consist of guys who have families and day jobs, they want guys who just want to play down at the VFW on Saturday nights. I think it's all about finding the right player for the right gig. I don't think you can analyze it to much.

    As far as the supply and demand of musicians in my area, we definaltey have a lot of drummers. You can't walk down to the market to buy a newspaper without tripping over a drummer.
  9. i believe that bassists are in demand. in my school of over 350 students, there are 2 bass players, one of which is graduating this year. and i am in grade 9. however, there are more drummers than i can count on my fingers and toes, there are 7 drummers in concert band who rotate around the percussion instruments, while Peter (the other bassist) and i struggle for a bit of room in the back from his large DB and me and my bass guitar, plus or sheet music. When my friend Aaron who plays guitar found out I was a bassist, he was quick to claim me as "his" bassist, before many other people who were looking for a bassist "claimed" me. I have been at school for about 6 weeks and about 6 or 7 bassist-less bands have approached me to play in their band. I'm very content in my band, and they also say that their other bassist was just a guitar player who as you said, didnt want to be mowing the lawn.
    that was really long and pointless.
  10. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    They are in demand here for sure. My only problem is that they all want someone who can join full-time, and I would rather do sideman work at the moment.

    Almost every week at open mic, someone asks me if I want to join their band, but that isn't my thing right now.

    If I met some musicians that saw and heard the music the same way I did, I'd join 'em. Haven't yet, except for a few side projects...
  11. bprestonjr


    Oct 11, 2002
    That's what I was asking on my very first post on this sitebut somepeople thought that I was being some what negative in asking.I've picked up a guitar before I wasn't intersted because the bass is a more fulfilling instrument.If you don't like playing bass or drums or whatever then don't play it.You have to do what you like or don't do it.
  12. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Bassists aren't really in demand more than anyone else.

    But good bassists are.
  13. bprestonjr


    Oct 11, 2002
    i agree with pacman he said beter than i was trying to say
  14. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Good bassists aren't really in demand more than anyone else.

    But hard-working, dedicated and professional good bassists are.
  15. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    How would you know?:p
  16. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Cuz everytime they turn me down they say that that's what they're looking for.
  17. Pacman and jazzbo have the right idea, IMHO.

    It has probably never been easier or cooler to be a bassist today. However, there is still the steep learning curve of theoretical knowledge, technical facility, ear training, stylistic nuances, professionalism, and maturity that define how in demand a bassist will or will not be. Unlike talent, these characteristics are not innately present in people - they have to be learned over (typically) a pretty long timeframe, and many people are unwilling or unable to commit to that learning effort.

    I would bet that the in-demand players mentioned above simply have a better grip on some or all of the non-talent characteristics I mentioned earlier.
  18. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    You made me laugh! Thanks! It has been a bad day, but you lifted my spirits!:cool:
  19. PeaveyTNT

    PeaveyTNT Banned

    Jul 21, 2002
    i am looking for guitarist and drummer

    My style is odd IMHO

    sorta... punk/metal/funk rolled into one

    my guitarist in my old band could only come up with punk

    my guitarist in my current band cant play power chords to save his own mother... he always loses the rythym... he is an awsome lead though

    our ryhtym never shows so i get to play mark hoppus and play his part....

    so ya... i get screwed band wise alot.

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