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Arrrgggghhhh.......I messed up a performance.

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by Fassa Albrecht, Mar 2, 2008.

  1. Just got back from a church weekend and I was asked to play bass for it with a guitarist.

    We decided to have a practice a few days beforehand and that went OK although there were issues with some.

    So we get there and decide next morning to have a band practice. We chose the songs we were asked to do that morning so i set up as I would for band normally and we began to play.....bearing in mind that for these songs I had to follow the keyboardist's bassline.

    I sounded like pure garbage. Knowing nothing about guitars, I hadn't realised that when a capo'ed chord is played, the actual result is shifted from what it would normally sounds like. For example, a capo'ed D in one song was an F# for me. And nearly every song needed a capo.

    So I ended up hardly being able to play, simply because it was taking so long to work out what I was supposed to play, so I ended up doing backing vocals for a lot of songs.

    I am such a crap bassist.....I should have been able to transpose.

  2. God forgives you.
  3. He knows what I'm meant to sound like.

    Didn't help I used my little 40w amp either, the sound quality is terrible.
  4. jaebee


    Mar 16, 2007
    well, at least you wont need to do any more gigs with them :)
  5. You'll have these moments. It's these moments that cause you to get better and press towards perfection. I had a similar experience happen today when we played the last song. It's an upbeat song where I get to go off a little bit. I really couldn't hear myself so I was hitting a few wrong notes in there. Overall it wasn't bad, just a couple of mess up spots. I took that moment and used it for a stepping stone for me to get better by bringing home my bass rig and going over that song a couple more times by myself, so when I'm in another situation like that I can play it without actually hearing myself totally. I can memorize where I am on the fretboard so when I can't hear my way around I can feel my way around.

    Everything else I leave it up to God to help me because He's the only one who can. :D
  6. I find myself in the same boat at church quite often... We get lead sheets, but depending on who's singing, I find myself quite often having to transpose on the fly... It gets easier the more you do it. One thing I found that helps me, is to learn the song with no open strings, so that when I have to transpose, I just move the pattern up or down the fretboard accordingly, and I don't have to think to hard about it.

    +1 On the God knows what it is supposed to sound like, though... At least you can sing... My church knows better than to give me a microphone! :bag:

  7. You get lead sheets? LUCKY!!! Only the WL, guitarist, and pianist/keyboard player get those. They just expect me and the drummer to go by ear and memory.

  8. It was more a case of 'oh no, I can't play bass cause of the capo, I better do something on stage so I don't look like an idiot'.
  9. I play both bass and drums, and depending on who's on that service, determines what I play that day, but I have always gotten lead sheets... I don't really use them when I play drums, but they are invaluable to me on the bass. I haven't been a Christian all that long, and most of the music we do isn't/wasn't all that familiar to me, so I rely on them pretty heavily until I am comfortable with the song.

    If I didn't have them though, my ear is decent enough to get me in the ballpark.

  10. bassaficionado6

    bassaficionado6 Something about gumption

    Jan 7, 2008
    Napa, CA
    I don't even know what you're talking about. Does that make me a bad bassist too? :(

    My band actually has a capo'd song. Incredibly a piece I had previously written matched up perfectly with my guitarists part and sounded really good. I would not have known what the hell to do if he had been telling me notes though...:bawl:
  11. I'll explain. On a guitar most basic chords are moveable and can be played at different places on the fretboard which is needed for playing with a capo.

    Now when you do move the chord, the basic sound of the chord is changed slightly, which means that for a bassist following the chord the note being played is different, as per my example in my original post.

    Unfortunately most of the songs we'd done I didn't know and we got only a small amount of practice time to sort out songs.

    But it's a lesson for next time!
  12. think of it this way..
    most guitarists will say "cappo 2", meaning,, put the cappo at the second fret,,
    so.. YOU start your fingerboard (in your mind) at fret 2... then play the same notes you normally would,, just two frets higher..
    no need to over think it.. just remember that fret 3 is actually open, fret 4 is fret 1 etc..

    it's easy for me, I hardly ever play any open strings,, so it's a matter of shifting my left hand by two frets..

    confusing huh?? like I said,, don't over think it.. don't worry about transposing ("let's see,, that D is actually an F#),, just play the cappo'd frets position for D(and you'll get F3)
  13. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Everybody knows that the bass player can instantly play any song, in any key, without being told the key or the song :rollno:

    Guitarists generally don't know what key they are in when capoed. They just know to "capo 3".
  14. +1
  15. JansenW


    Nov 14, 2005
    Cambridge, MA
    Things like this do happen. At least you didn't just continue to play the bass lines in another key! Don't worry too much about it.

    In the future find out in advance what the performance key is for each song and always rehearse in the performance keys.

  16. I did forget to mention that I didn't actually know what songs I was playing until 30min before the actual performance.

  17. Yes this is true, but isn't it great when you do a crazy gospel song where you get to do a lot of slapping and synchopation and the new WL changes the key from D to F#? Let's just say I could have used a lead sheet or a chord chart or something, especially when I've only played that certain song twice before. :rollno:
  18. nsmar4211


    Nov 11, 2007
    We (guitars) use capos a lot......... we're tuned down a half step too which will *really* screw with your head. Matter of fact, we call out note names as if we were tuned up just so we don't mess each other up.

    +1 to the just move your hand part. Find the starting note, play the pattern. If you play in position it won't mess with your head if you don't let it. If you don't play in position.......good luck :) Keep plugging, because even if you only hit the first note of each measure it's better than no bass at all. :) :) :)
  19. dls59

    dls59 Supporting Member

    Use Nashville notation and never play open strings. You'll be fine with any transposition, even on the fly.
  20. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    I wish. The one band I am with laughs at the "stupid" Nashville notation. Then the singer calls out D, and some people start in E :rollno:

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