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band joining disaster :(

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by NielsBass, Apr 30, 2010.

  1. NielsBass


    Apr 30, 2010
    Hi i'm Niels and i play bass for about 3 years (from which i put some serious work into for the last year with taking lessons etc)

    While I don't feel like a pro and still have alot to learn, i have the feeling i'm good enough to lock in with a drummer and deliver a nice bassline.

    On my own I pracised alot of songs from bands like rage against the machine, rancid, manic street preachers arctic monkeys and muse, and my bass teachers learned me stuff like Money (pink floyd) can you feel it (micheal jackson), and some other rock/pop songs.
    Next to all that i'm learned some music theory and try to write some basslines myself (with octaves, 5ths, 7th flats etc).

    So i'm taking a bit of a broad aproach to learning and don't want to force myself into playing a certain style of music.

    Now someone at my work asked me if i was interested in joining some mates band he was setting up.
    At first i declined because they came from a black/deathmetal background and i don't have any feeling with that kind of music.
    Only metal I like is Tool, Dillinger escape plan and NiN.

    But when that mate of him called me up, he convinced me to meet them (he and the other guitarist who are currently the other bandmembers) at his place to write some concepts of songs.

    Now i spend the last 2 weeks practising some faster and harder stuff (even practised 3 fingerpicking) and really studied the theory of writing a bassline from studybass.com.

    Now i actually got a good feeling when i went at his place (got stuff like pulling teeth and hysteria practised to show i could play some faster songs) but man i was wrong....

    First of all we met and we had some talk about the visions of the band and what they wanted to be.
    While they where really friendly they said a few things that made me worry:

    1. they both had 10+ years of guitar/band and even 1 was bass teacher for 3 years, which made me not so sure about my basskills compared to them.
    2. they played in some crazy 7 string guitar tuning which i could not archieve on my 4 string peavey grind. (this means i would have to buy a 5string bass)
    3. they mentioned some names that inspired them from bands i never heard off. (and bands i mentioned which i really liked they considered crap or didnt know the bands either).

    Now after this talk we went upstairs to the practise room and i followed feeling quite insecure since i had to keep my bass packed and pick up some 5 string practise bass they pretuned for me in some dropped tuning (which makes all the notes on the fretboard feel like chinese to me).

    Now when we plugged in all, both guitarists started playing some riffs and expected me to join in with a bassline, but since i had no idea what chords they played (and even if i knew i had no idea where i could find those notes on my fretboard because off the low tuning (AKA 2 weeks of practising bassline theory in the trashbin)) I just sad there with some unknown bass on my lap getting sweaty hands and feeling like a total loser :(

    After i said "sorry i feel totaly out of my element with a other bass/tuning and i'm not that good that i pick a bassline out of my magic hat when listing to your guitar", they started to give some instructions about what notes i should play, but because if felt so bad about me ****ing up all this i couldnt keep pace and kept forgotting notes and we kinda gave up.

    Now the wise thing would be if i said "sorry guys this is not really the thing for me, thanks for your time" but they both started to talk into me and even convinced me to buy a 5string set and put the lowest 4 on my 4string bass so i could practise the bassline at home and i could borrow that 5string bass of them when we practised together.

    Now i went home saying that i would buy myself a 5string set, but in my mind i still want to drop this whole thing (+ i'm afraid it will damage my 4string bass i love), now the problem isn't calling them up saying i wont be joining, but i took a big dent in my ego and for the moment i dont feel like i have any talent for playing bass and might drop it all together...

    Am I really so crap and should i need another 2 year practise at least, or did they expected too much of me, or does someone here have a similair experience?

    Would love some insight in this.
    (P.S. if you read the whole story, sorry for the wall of text, i just have to get it off my mind)
  2. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    You don't like their music.

    They play in a wierd tuning you're not comfortable with.

    They sound kind of pushy and unreasonable.

    I don't see the problem. It's just not your thing. No shame in that.
  3. K2000


    Nov 16, 2005
    On the positive side, they are willing to work with you and bring you up to speed. (I wouldn't call them pushy and unreasonable - they sound like they would bend over backwards to try to help you join the band.)

    You could practice and learn to play that music, but why spend that much time playing music that doesn't speak to you?
  4. mazdah


    Jan 29, 2010
    Kalisz, Poland
    Well, not everyone should play everything.

    Me, I just don't get dropped tunnings other than dropD (used from time to time).
    For me a 5 string tuner BEADG should be fine for everything.
    Once I talked do a friend and we decided to put on some Paramore-ish style band.
    He had a singer who can sing almost like that girl from Paramore, I liked the songs and .... the disaster came when I had to learn them. My flatwound stringed P-bass just ... wasn't right. I dropped the idea, because In my main band the flats fit just great.

    No big deal. You shouldn't play music you just don't feel. On the other hand you should be as open minded as possible being a musician...
  5. Rob Lewis

    Rob Lewis

    Feb 23, 2006
    No reflection on your skills at all, and they'll really p*** you off after a while. Put any instrument with an odd tuning in the hands of an expert and it'll be Chinese to them too. I have been playing for over forty years and one of my friends (who's into all that tuning malarkey) gave me a go on one of his guitars and I was clueless. More of a reflection on the skills of the one with the funny tunings if you ask me.
  6. Hi Niels, I'm with Rob on this one: It doesn't really sound like you have that much in common, and that you probably won't get it down the line. I've joined some gigs sometimes where the others were totally superior to me, but we had common understanding of music, goals, and had a good time. I felt pretty lousy and inferior in some situations, but decided to bite my teeth together, swallow my pride and just LEARN from them. That has proven a good strategy in terms of developing - but only b/c we had common understanding of music, goals, and had a good time. Your situation sounds like a bad match somehow. The bright side is, that it makes you more aware of what you want and don't want as a bassist. And don't even THINK about quitting the whole thing b/c of this: There's always someone "better" than you, you can't put down the bass everytime you realise that ;)
    Get out of it, set new goals, and keep on thumpin'!
    Have a good one.
  7. Not your fault at all, as everyone else has said, regardless of your skill level you need to be able to practice at least a few times when using a new tuning or adding another string!
  8. ChrisB2

    ChrisB2 Bass... in your fass

    Feb 27, 2008
    TalkBass > Off Topic
    Neils, don't give up. This just wasn't the right group for you. No reason to quit! The right band is out there, you just have to find them. Just because this group does things differently than you doesn't mean you aren't cut out for bass playing. If they played the songs you like, in normal tuning, and at the volume level you prefer, were pleasant to be around, and they were close to your home (i.e., if everything were perfect with them), how would you feel about them? I'm not saying the perfect band is right down the street, but the point is that this wasn't a fault of your playing; it was just a mismatch. No problem. Keep playing and practicing, and look for a different group. Good luck!
  9. Agree with all the above.

    Don't give up.

    You found yourself in an audition that wasn't a very good fit. Of course it was awkward. I've been playing music for 22 years and I would have been out of place at a metal audition as well.

    Now you should choose whether you want to change directions and get up to speed with this group (it sounds like they are willing to help you along) or whether you should continue to improve in your original direction. Both are good choices.

    My only advice there is that if you do not love the music you are playing, it will be difficult to find the energy and excitement to stick with it.

    Good luck and don't quit.
  10. Yeah, do NOT sweat this. You'll have tons of opportunities to play with groups that are a better fit. I personally just bowed out of a group because I just did not like the music they were playing. Nice guys, smokin' guitarist. But the songs just not my bag.

    Don't get down on yourself. If it's the kind of music you do want to play, then work on getting better (WITHOUT buying new gear!). If not, then move on.

    Good luck and keep rockin'.
  11. Yerf Dog

    Yerf Dog

    Jun 29, 2009
    Carol Stream, IL
    Hardly a disaster and it sounds like you have a few options.

    For me the key would be deciding if you enjoy the type of music they want to make.
  12. JMac- Wiskerface Designs

    JMac- Wiskerface Designs Terror headcase dude

    Jul 8, 2009
    Atlanta, GA
    I am with the rest of the guys here in saying that if your heart and mind is not in it don't do it. These guys sound like they are more than willing to help you into the spot, but if it is not your thing you won't be as motivated to learn or to develope the material. It sounds to me like you have invested alot of your time, money, and talent into being a good bass player, so quiting playing would be a huge waste. I have been where you are trying to find the right band to fit in. I wouldn't get discouraged by not picking up there material on the first try, If you don't understand the style or genre of music it is hard to jump in and nail it. Think of it this way, Its kind of like trying to drive across country with no map on roads that you've never been down.
  13. BobWestbrook

    BobWestbrook Mr.

    Mar 13, 2006
    Philly suburb
    If I'm an artist or a craftsman with my familiar tools of choice, and someone shoves an unfamiliar tool in my hands insisting I use their tool and their technique, I'm walking.
  14. blockinlay


    Feb 21, 2009
    Phila Pa
    I think it sounds like a good opportunity to gain some knowledge and experience. You're making excuses. Life is fleeting, keep trying with no regrets.
  15. TheEnthBass


    Apr 9, 2010
    I've gotten the most out of playing with new people doing new things. I was playing a lot of jazz and funk and met these crazy guys from mississippi who were into southern style thrash metal. Not my thing but found it to be a lot of fun. My right hand got very quick, i learned some new tunings which have shown me new ways to work a neck, not that i use them frequently, and they were willing to help me transition. I bought some new gear which i now have to use with all sorts of projects and I gained two brothers in the process we've been working on all sorts of projects for 6-7yrs now. Could be worth it to stick it out for a few jam sessions before you jump the gun, could be a great time and it doesnt have to be your only project. I'm working with three now busier than I have ever been but absolutely love doing new stuff all the time.
  16. wetzelman1


    Feb 12, 2009
    I'd say at least give it one more shot. Let them know that you're not too sure if you're the right fit but at least you can try and maybe you'll be into it. Its hard to just be able to play along with guitars that are going crazy especially when you don't have a drummer to work with rhythms on. Worse case scenario, you don't join the band, not that bad.
  17. You will gain skill, a new understanding of music, and possibly some good friends.

    And honestly, if this makes you want to quit playing bass altogether for some reason, then you must not really be into the instrument (not trying to be harsh but I find it very odd to even think about quitting playing just because of something like this).
  18. guroove


    Oct 13, 2009
    Buffalo, NY
    I've been playing for 20 years, and I would feel equally out of my element in the situation you described. No shame in that whatsoever.
  19. jpTron


    Apr 19, 2010
    I had a similar experience, only I actually liked the music the band I was trying to join was playing. I go to the dudes house and he's there to show me some riffs. Just the guitarist and me. He shows me the riffs and I start playing along. As soon as I get the riffs down he's like "I really want the bass to be playing something different under the guitar." That's cool and all but it's like 'let me learn the song first'. Of course once I go home and practice the riffs over and over I'll come up with something different. I'm not really a jam on the fly type guy (which I'm trying to work on), but throw me some sort of bone. And it's not even like we were jamming with a drummer and I could maybe lock into something with him. It totally bummed me out. I told them I'd learn the songs and come back to their real band practice with the whole band and have something to show them but I didn't feel like playing my bass for like a week after.
  20. swelltrain


    Mar 3, 2010
    Also, keep this in mind: musicians are strange people. For the most part (especially guitarists) they are passive agressive when in a new musical situation. Passive meaning they are real friendly to you, agressive in that they had to display dominance. Kinda like dogs. We musicians are generally pretty insecure. Their behaviour is pretty typical of insecure musicians. They probably didn't even know it, or mean it, but they were just displaying dominance.

    Think of it this way, you could have easily pulled out your 4 stringer, busted into a bassline and then nodded and smiled at them encouraging them to start riffing on your idea. When they complained that it was in standard tuning, you could have said "no prob-- tune yourself up. There's a tuner in my bag if you need it." and continued with your bassline smiling and encouraging.

    The good news is they usually get over their insecurities after the first meeting or two. So I would maybe give it another go and be just a little more assertive. You crossed the bridge to their side, now see if they will do the same. Show them some of your basslines in standard tuning and have them come to you. If they don't, then you know it won't work.

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