Bass confessions - episode π

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by cheapbasslovin, Aug 31, 2018.

  1. Today was a special gig, one where with a packed house and one where we got exposure to loads of potential new fans and promotion. It was going to be great.

    We had finished sound check and had a quick bite before the set was to begin. I was calm as ever; we'd played these songs tons of times and I know what I'm doing.

    The morning DJ announced us for the crowd and we climbed on stage and strapped on our instruments. We had a big start planned with one of the most popular songs of our set; the guitar started the intro, the people cheered, and as he came around to the one I PLAYED THE WRONG STRING!!! It was a nice long note to be held for two measures so I made sure to pull the string really hard and, in this case, really emphasized the dissonance created by the note. Really set the bar low for the evening.

    That's winning, baby.

    Anyone else have any colossal screw up stories they don't mind telling :).

    The rest of the gig went great, BTW, it was just a world class opening clam.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2018
  2. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Yeah, played a college concert, opening for chart topping act, I lost my place in the middle of our opening song, which we had played a zillion times before.

    It was Introduction by Chicago. Lots of parts, I just went blank for a bit. Got back on track. The rest of the gig went fine.
    saabfender, 2112, S-Bigbottom and 3 others like this.
  3. Kind of similar situation recently. New band plays in drop C#, other band it’s a half step down.

    New bands first gig, first song has a drum fill and then needs to be on point to deliver as an opener. I’ve tuned for the other band. Sounded a bit odd!
  4. BassCliff


    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.

    I have never made a single mistake in my life.

    It's always three or four at a time.

    EDIT: Where's my pie?

    Thank you for your indulgence,

    Last edited: Aug 31, 2018
  5. McG

    McG Goat Hill Gamblers

    Oct 6, 2010
    Costa Mesa, CA
    I make mistakes all the time but I'm usually pretty good at hiding them. ;)

    This one though, definitely belongs in the confession file. :rolleyes:

    I had a wanna-get-away moment just last month at a county fair gig. First song I play one passing note on the D string just two times. Something sounded odd but with my bad monitor mix I couldn't tell who it was. I was in tune for the line check so it couldn't be me. Second song I play an upfront bass line with many notes on the D. The monitor mix is still not dialed in but now I know it's me. Go to the tuner and my D string is perfectly tuned to C#. Apparently tuning key got bumped between line check and downbeat. The recording documented the faux pas as it was loudly broadcast through a big sound system to the large crowd. :bag:
  6. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    No one in the audience noticed. In the end, you were just the bass player and according to TB lore, your playing wouldn't even make the list of top 1000 concerns on the human mind.

    Isn't that comforting? ;)

    I can't really recall any major clams myself (not gigging enough to get the chance), but at the start of each show I get the shakes even when I'm not nervous, which has an adverse effect on my playing, of course. It's kind of weird.
  7. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    First show I ever played.....

    I was in a local garage band sometime around 1986.... my first band. The singer knew some people who worked at the local bar. So he got us an opening slot for a very popular regional act.

    Back then I thought I had gone from zero to "bigtime" in about three seconds.

    That night we did soundcheck on that "huge" stage. We were using the headliner's backline. The bass rig was a Mesa 400 and 2-15 cab facing cross stage. It sounded humongous.

    I was on top of the world. I was about to kill it in front of all of my friends on the same stage with their favorite band.

    The time comes. The drummer clicks four times and.... nothing. I'm bainging away on my nass and there's not a sound. The band is off to the races. The song is moving right along. I'm sweating to death and have no sound!!!!

    Turns out, the sound guy had done exactly what he was supposed to do and put the amp on standby. Heck, I didn't know what standby was. I barely knew the notes on my fretboard as I had been playing about 6 weeks. It was about halfway through the first song when someone in the crew finally ran up there and turned the sucker on.

    I was devastated that night. Everything else had gone well, but you know how high school was. Everything was drama.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2018
  8. I'm usually pretty good at hiding them, too :thumbsup:. Not this time:banghead:.
    Somehow, no :). It's a little comforting to know I've given my band mates heaps of crap to fling my way in the near future. A light band atmosphere is a good one.

    Woof. High school, where joy goes to either thrive or die. No in-between for you.
  9. dmq89


    Feb 21, 2006
    Selkirk, MB, Canada
    I have 2... :(

    1) Huge outdoor festival... 100 degrees on stage, so staying in tune was iffy to begin with... We all used backline which included a tuner none of us were used to, and it was calibrated differently for every one of us! :atoz:

    Trouble is, we didn't know it until the first chord of the first song! It was supposed to be a long slow build-up to an epic huge chord...

    Build-up, anticipation... WHANNNGGG!!! Train wreck. :bawl: Sounded like a kindergarten music class.

    2) Like a good (read: cheap!) active bass owner, I always unplug my bass between sets to preserve battery life...

    Live TV gig, AM morning show... No sound check. Come 0730, plug in and go.

    After the song is over, host talks to the band, builds us up for the next song in an hour. Host throws it to the "on location" guy. So far, so good...

    So, per usual, I reach down and unplug my bass. Have you ever heard the sound of an electric instrument being unplugged from a live board? Imagine that, but on live television where the sound reverberates through the whole studio, as well as through the live feed. It sounded like 50 tons of TNT going off...

    Ya know, I coulda remained anonymous if the host hadn't pointed it out on the air... :D
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2018
  10. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    playing fretless all of the time i just can't afford to ever hit a clam....

  11. viper4000


    Aug 17, 2010
    Started a first set with Livin on a Prayer. I knew the song obviously, but had never really played it in a band. Drummer clicks it off, and I come in to play that little bass intro. I'm killing it. Got the bass face just right. The band doesn't come in. I'm like, no big deal, go through it again. I look up and my band mates are all looking at me with that "what are you doing" look. I just keep going expecting them to come in. 3rd time through. I'm still killing it. Crowd is anticipating something, bobbing their heads, tapping their feet. Singer comes over and says in my ear I'm playing the wrong song. So, for about 2 minutes now, I'm playing the wrong song. I lock eyes with the drummer, come around again, and hit the one on the real intro. Crowd applauded, get through the intro, band comes in, and we really do kill the song (we had a great singer). Had a great 4 set show.

    After the 1st set, a few "rockers" come up to me and tell me that was the best intro to Livin on a Prayer they have ever heard. What was I playing, how did we come up with it. Band asked me to never do that again. I never did it again.
  12. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    great stories!

    years ago, we were writing a bunch of songs for a single two-night show, and after learning them, we decided to do an open mic with a few of them. it's our turn on stage, we start playing, sounds good, and i start singing... the wrong song *LOL*

    with a calmness i can't say i'd have expected to have in this situation, i told the audience (and my confused bandmates) what happened, and we started over with the right lyrics. the audience clapped madly, btw, when we started over :D
  13. growlypants


    Nov 10, 2012
    I'm lucky. Never made a mistake in my life. (As I recall....)
    McG likes this.
  14. G19Tony


    Apr 27, 2018
    Las Vegas, NV
    I like that you guys call them clams. :) I’m still learning, so I’m up to my neck in clams! :roflmao:
  15. Too many to list.

    Biggest one for me would be having just purchased a vintage RAT pedal. Love the RAT sound, and wanted it for an outdoor gig, citing a specific (and now forgotten) song where the bass NEEDED the RAT sound.

    Threw the RAT on to the pedal board right from the music store.

    During sound check, I notice a little bit of the bad connection "signal scratchies". No problem. Jiggle the cable from my bass and it goes away. Awesome!

    Cut to the show. Opening count in and the first notes sound- nothing from my bass rig whatsoever. Try the foot switch on the RAT, nothing but crackling.

    I spent the better part of the opening tune trying to diagnose my pedal board an attempted to get sound. Couldn't be the RAT. this bloody thing is vintage!!!!

    Song ends and I begrudgingly end up bypassing the RAT with a patch cable.

    Sound comes back... Embarrassment ensues.

    it turns out that the RAT's Input/Output jacks AND foot switch were pretty shot, as was my confidence in simply throwing a pedal on the board without at least verifying operation.
  16. mcarp555

    mcarp555 Guest

    Jul 14, 2013
    We were doing the bar gig thing, and launched into "Wonderful Tonight"; sounded like a train wreck. The guitarist was looking at me like "Which one of us is it?"

    Turns out I was playing the intro in the wrong key. Once I corrected it, the whole song just 'clicked' into place and we carried on.
  17. greenduke


    Jan 21, 2014
    Dallas, TX
    I once had a required bass change during the middle of a live set, a four string to a five.
    Did everything right, muted the pre-amp and even let the sound engineer know ahead of time.
    Made the switch super fast and easy. Then looked down at my bass and it was like a deer in the headlights...I remember hearing the drummer, "we good"? My delayed response was, "standby". Major brain malfunction!
    What a perfect situation it was for the public announcement as seen on TV: "We are experiencing technical difficulties, please standby".
    I did eventually snap out of it. Learned a lesson, if possible, it's best not to break the rhythm/flow in the middle of a set...Changed the song lineup, future problem solved!
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2018
  18. Lava

    Lava Supporting Member

    Jul 14, 2014
    El Paso, TX
    Yep, Everybody Dance, by Chic!
    First song, big dance crowd. Bass, me, starts the tune loud and proud. Guitar and keys come in and I say to myself, "these guys are both off". Then the other voice in my head says, "they can't both be off"... Ugh, it was me! The audience didn't know, didn't care. They just wanted to get down.
  19. ceesaar00


    May 17, 2017
    At church. Pastor asks us to play a song we havent played in years and me personally never played on bass. Slow worship song. I had the lyrics and chords but in F#m they told they always played it in Gm, why did I have it in F#m. Ok no deal I change it with my pencil quicky and do some first sight reading, no big deal. Well I did that in 20 seconds because the band was started playing already. And yeah I made a mistake in the chorus. I somehow forgot to change a chord. Sounded horrible the first time we went through that part. I saw the chords the guitarrist was playing and of course, I had that one wrong, I changed it. The fun part started when there was a change in tonality that I didn´t know was there and wasn´t indicated in my chords. Boy that was terrible. I had no idea. I just stoped playing and saw what the keyboardist was doing and once I got it, I came in. No mistakes now. Still the chorus were singing some wrong stuff but we had been cought unprepared for that song.
    The following week he asked us to play it again. But now we nailed it.

    MYLOWFREQ Supporting Member

    May 13, 2011
    I hit the wrong note forgetting the bass was drop tuned a few times. Didn't hold the note though..
    LowActionHero and S-Bigbottom like this.

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