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Bands that want unskilled bassists.

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by The Juice, Oct 19, 2019.

  1. kevindahl


    Aug 21, 2006
    Vancouver, BC
    I would like to add, What are you as a bass player offering to your band? How is your theory? Arranging skills? Songwriting skills? Can you sing and/or assign harmonies? If playing bass well is your only contribution then I would expect your bandmates not to be looking at you for advice. I have been just the bassist and have been a major contributor in the process. I can say based on these experiences that other musicians respect you way more when you are able to articulate yourself as a professional. Most guys could really care less if you can rip sixteenths at 152 bpm and have an awesome double thumb technique.
  2. ThudThudThud


    Jun 4, 2010
    As a mostly originals player throughout my musical life, I cannot count the number of times a guitar player has tried to show me a song they've written by rolling quarter note root pedals at me. "Play something like this..." they say.
    I usually tell them, "Play what you'll be playing, and I'll make something work."
    Until they hear a 'bass line' rather than root pedaling they don't really think about the bass part.
    It's rare to find a non-bass player who will write a bass part with any real syncopation, melody, or harmony.
  3. Great statement. And I will follow 2 horrible examples.... Geddy lee and Steve Harris. Put aside their amazing up-front playing styles as their other contributions to singing, writing, and arranging far outshine everything else.

    Backing this up primarily from a drummer's perspective... There have been plenty bands where I was just the "pocket player", but I was able to contribute in other ways like writing and arranging etc.
    Mike Whitfield likes this.
  4. Yeah. Geddy Lee, what a lazy band member. Outside of playing bass and singing while he plays keys with his feet, he writes music, arranges, and produces. Other than that he contributes NOTHING.
  5. PhatBottomBass1


    Nov 24, 2018
    I've read a few replys and see some examples of players like Adam Clayton who never played Bass when U2 was formed, or lowdown in the mix Metallica or Cliff Williams playing Bass in MALCOM YOUNG'S band or the brother in Kings of Leon who was put in a room for a hardcore crash course on being the Bass player!

    I have found great players to play with because I know how to work with people who generally have an idea of what they are looking for and I work in polish on a basic idea that is often times a better interpretation of the song needs.

    Cliff Williams in AC/DC was the best player for that band you could ever hope to find. There are guys who could never play with a pick, tight as a knats a** around a rain barrel with the drummer and following the rythem guitarist...but, it worked for 13 albums, world tours and platinum albums!
    Mr_Moo, Dr Gero and Mike Whitfield like this.
  6. hwystar


    Jan 30, 2009
    I know of 3 bands in the Dallas that have NO BASS PLAYER!! One plays with bass tracks and 2 have keyboards that play bass on their keyboards aka early Doors. I texted the one that used tracks about why no BP he said they couldn't find one that fit so they went with tracks that the guitar player recorded. He says it works and they make more money with one less member. Sadly I think this may be the way of the future. Especially when you have a keyboardist that can kick left hand bass.
    juggahnaught likes this.
  7. Mike Whitfield

    Mike Whitfield

    Apr 10, 2019
    A band willing to perform live over pre-recorded bass tracks couldn't find a bass player who "fit"? Yeah, gonna need a minute to put on my shocked face.
    Mr_Moo, Dr Gero and comatosedragon like this.
  8. wluffman


    Dec 21, 2013
    Sometimes, all a band wants or needs is a bassist who keeps it simple, but does it extremely well. If you want to be a standout player, perhaps you need to switch to lead guitar, keyboards or vocals. Or show how your playing can help the band be even better, without detracting from the other players. Or find a band that wants a bassist who does more than play root-fifth. Or even start your own band, built around your bass playing.

    An exceptional bassist can grow his/her part within a band over time, if the entire band wants to be their best as a team. Paul McCartney wasn't really an exceptional bassist during The Beatles' early success, but he grew over time -- and so did the entire band. And please note that his post-Beatles efforts were built around presenting his singing and songwriting talents in a full band setting, rather than just spotlighting his "lead bass" playing.

    With only a few exceptions, bass solos simply aren't what attracts listeners. I love the bass, but I also know where it fits.
    MarkJC8, Dr Gero and Mike Whitfield like this.
  9. jeff porturica

    jeff porturica Banned

    Dec 11, 2017
    Well, you are part of the rhythm section, if you wanna take rides then pickup guitar or harmonica or something. People love bass players that actually know what the job is. Laying it down fat. Play the pattern in the lowest octave it’ll fit, and laying it down in the groove hard, and you will have more work than you can handle.... guaranteed!
    Dr Gero, Sachelis and Mike Whitfield like this.
  10. kevindahl


    Aug 21, 2006
    Vancouver, BC
    An old timer once told me when I was 19(a guitarist who was probably pushing his late twenties or so) if you want to gig stay away from that 12 fret high register crap and stick with your first 5 frets. He said, "That my son is the cash register".
  11. Our church has a excellent polished praise team. One of thr better ones i have heard or played on. The WL requirements for the bass player is to play with the kick only and play basically the root note.
    So its either play what he wants or not at all.
  12. For the record. Ill repeat myself again. Approach notes, bass runs, walking the bass in pocket, playing strong notes like 4ths and 5ths or even walking them to the root and vice versa are considered standard bass playing 101. These skills are not comparable to to 16th notes or wanky guitar shredding.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2019
    Mr_Moo and Mike Whitfield like this.
  13. LoveJackBruce


    Apr 8, 2018
    I agree 100%. I practiced with a 3 piece where the drummer was only fair and the Blues Guitarist was great. With my Cream background I'd insert timely bass lines and occasionally jammed along with the Guitarist. He told me I was messing things up and just 1 week before our first qig they booted me.
    IMHO, I was taking the band up a level, making us unique, adding fire. I was told I didn't know my place. LMAO. OK fine.

    They played the gig with a new guy with maybe 1 or 2 rehearsals. Your point Exactly. They lasted about 3 months.
    Mr_Moo, RBrownBass and The Juice like this.
  14. One of my druming instructors in college had a framed hand drawn cartoon in his office. I will try to illistrate it with words....

    The first picture was a drummer, with flailing arms and wild hair. There were lot's of random notes flying from his drums. Next to him was a man in a suit saying "Wow, you're great!" The next one was another drummer, looked more reserved, and there was a neatly organized rhythm notated above him. That same man in the suit was standing next to him saying "Wow, you're hired!"
  15. Joe Schmenke

    Joe Schmenke

    Nov 9, 2017
    Generally, I agree. And I submit for your consideration that *somebody in the band needs to play bass parts. And if that ain't gonna be the guy wearing the bass guitar, because he his busy "shining," well... whaddaya gonna do. Many roads to Nirvana.
    Ya know, as an aside, my least favorite kind of bass player is a guitarist who really doesn't see himself as a bassist... doesn't really wanna do it. There's a guy who will leave a hole where there should be a bass part. It can happen when a bassist is looking to switch to guitar for a bit, and a guitarist finally consents.
    But then, guess what, you get a guitarist who plays lead like a bass player. *heavy sigh* I see one of those guys when I look in the mirror. Any more, I contentedly play what I call "real bass," meaning that I tend to reach for the lowest note I can use at any given moment. Somebody needs to play a bass part.
  16. Don't play with those bands. I have lived in Austin and Houston, gigged both places and in DFW.... met lots of great, open-minded musicians in all three areas. And in San Antonio. Some songs call for simple bass lines, others just cry for something more complex. If your prospective bandmates don't get that, time to find another band....
    Mr_Moo, LoveJackBruce and The Juice like this.
  17. RBrownBass

    RBrownBass Thoroughly Nice Guy Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    Did you give that gig to one of your students? It sounds like a good opportunity for a young person to gain some experience without risk.
  18. I don't teach, plus they have a back up bassist. Plus they practice when I can't. I just play a small gig now.
    But to say this all the musicians on the praise team are VERY talented.
    jeff porturica likes this.
  19. RBrownBass

    RBrownBass Thoroughly Nice Guy Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004

    This is a great way for a band to handle the bottom end without adding another player who does very little and adds very little ("fits", as the typical guitarist might say).
    jeff porturica likes this.
  20. LoveJackBruce


    Apr 8, 2018
    Makes me wonder why Cream, Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and Mountain didn't think of this.
    It did work well for Traffic and their style of music.
    Mr_Moo, Mike Whitfield and RBrownBass like this.

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