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Bass in a Marching Band?!?

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by Brad Barker, Sep 3, 2001.


  1. Brad Barker

    Brad Barker Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2001
    berkeley, ca
    Last Friday, I played my first show with my high school's marching band. I think it's cool that I'll be getting to play to 100s of people every week, but everything else about the marching band is not to me liking.

    I have little time for anything (no fridays for myself for a while, two days of two hour practices a week), I have to wear a goofy uniform, the music isn't my favorate (although I think it's cool how the time switches between 4,5,3, and 2-the next piece we will learn switches between 4,12/8, and 7). And most people in the band are kinda geeky. One of my friends best exemplifies the band geek. The bus rides will be extremely aggravating.

    Anyway, I would love to embellish, but I'm pressed for time (as the Daily show is getting oh so closer).
     
  2. What do you do, pull a little amp in a wagon behind you?
     
  3. melvin

    melvin

    Apr 28, 2001
    Yeah, what do you do about the amp thing?

    My school bands just getting into the marching stuff again. I saw Bass on some of the music, I got all happy, the teacher shoots my dreams in the head when she heard me say "OOO" after the tuba saw that on his music.
     
  4. Brad Barker

    Brad Barker Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2001
    berkeley, ca
    I should have realized that you would ask about the amplification...

    My band director had a gas-powered generator generate the electricity for the school's uncomfortabally large crate 1x15 cab and crate head. Band parents wheeled that stuff around, along with the timpanees, et cetera.

    It would have been funny (and damn silly) to bring along 300 ft. of extension cords!!

    Anyway, when we got around to playing the halftime show (which lasted about three minutes) i couldn't hear the tubas at all, which sucked cuz i use them as a reference for my part (in fact, my friends and i call the bass in this situation the stringed tuba), so i was really hoping that i wasn't out of sync with the band.

    Anyway, comedy central decided to show revenge of the nerds 3 for the millionth time instead of the daily show
     
  5. liran

    liran

    Dec 18, 2000
    San Antonio, Texas
    Why don't you just get one of those antennae things for ur bass, so you can just walk around without having to be connected.
     
  6. Brad Barker

    Brad Barker Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2001
    berkeley, ca
    a public school....in florida....buying equipment for a bass player in the marching band...when the school's music program is in enough trouble as is?

    I doubt that a wireless system is an option here. Although, I have joked about it a few times at school. Well, at least we don't need 300 ft. of cords! (only two cords, which aren't very long).
     
  7. Do you have any difficulty in playing and marching at the same time? I think I would probably suck at that.
    jim
     
  8. Sofa King

    Sofa King

    Aug 20, 2000
    Rowlett, TX
    BFD man, we have two hour practices four days a week, then football games on Friday. I think you can survice through two practices in a week.
     
  9. John Davis

    John Davis Guest

    Mar 27, 2001
    Houston, Texas
    I should form a marching band. Like guitarists, vocalist(s), and bassistSSSS, and have some people tow along the drummer. That would be cool. Anyway, lucky you, playing bass and overpowering the rest of the band!
     
  10. LOL! That would be funny. And the rope 'accidentally' breaks on a steep hill... ;) :D
     
  11. That is a great idea, i don't know how many gigs you would get?
     
  12. John Davis

    John Davis Guest

    Mar 27, 2001
    Houston, Texas
    You could hire people to tow around huge amplifiers and cabinets so all you have to do is march around the regular marching band. It will overpower them, and if you have a good enough bass speakers, then it will bring them to their knees!! *evil laugh*
     
  13. Brad Barker

    Brad Barker Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2001
    berkeley, ca
    You know what they say about assuming....

    We both did a little bit of assuming, but this is mostly my fault.

    I didn't make this clear to any of you- I'm in the pit, with the timpanees (sp?), vibes, xylophones, and auxillary percussion. I don't have to march a damn step. All i have to do is make sure that i play the music as perfectly as i can.

    By the way, at the end of today's practice, a band parent showed me a new battery operated a generator and tested it out for me. It works perfectly and it weighs a hell of a lot less than that gas powered monster (not to mention that it doesn't have any emissions).

    Sofa king, are you on your school's football team? If you're just in the marching band, that's kind of rediculous imo. I can get used to the practices, it's just that i'm so academically oriented that i want to have as much time available as i can. I like getting my homework done before 3, and this has always been my attitude, but now for two days I'm lucky to get home at 5:30.

    I used to play football too, so I know how hard it is at practice...three to four nights a week...and then a game...Band practice is much easier, but it's just very time consuming. Luckily my classes don't require hours of homework (I am only a sophomore, anyway).
     
  14. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    DC
    My university's pep band has a bass player. I've never gotten close enough to see his rig but I think it's some sort of big old Peavey with a 15 or two. It actually does overpower the rest of the 100 or so members of the band. It must be interesting for the guy to play in front of 60,000 people every football game.
     
  15. I used to play in the pit too...It can be pretty fun...It can be hard to play in time with someone all the way across the field, so Watching the drum major is really important....The music is usually really fun to read too...I also spent a lot of time marching with the trumpet...now that is challenging. Believe this-you need four four hour rehearsals a week to get a decent looking and sounding show together...
     
  16. Aaron

    Aaron

    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    i thought you were playing an upright with a caster on the end of the end peg.

    BTW, i hate sousa.
     
  17. Brad Barker

    Brad Barker Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2001
    berkeley, ca
    That would be pretty cool if i was playing an upright, but we are as of yet to get a pickup for it! (and we are as of yet to replace the broken g string...see my other post in "setup" entitled "i'm f'n pissed...").

    I guess by sousa you mean sousaphone, as in tuba. I'm indifferent to the instrument itself, but i really don't like how it seems that the tuba players and I are always off at a certain point.

    I agree, looking at the drum major is very important, especially when each member of the band seems to have a unique interpretation of the beat. Luckily, i can see her out of the corner of my eye (I really only need to pay attention to the downbeats for the first 30 seconds!).

    Anyway, last night we had a game against South Fork (another high school, naturally). To everyone's surprise, our football team won! (the team is historically bad...although this could very well be our only win of the season, so i won't get my hopes up). Our marching band also did very well, considering that we absolutely blew last week (half of the girls were crying! is it me or is that rediculous?).

    This all would've been great, except that it rained...and rained...and rained. I told the band director that I didn't think i should play at all, but he encouraged me to at least get the bass out at half time for the show. When the pit was getting the equipment out, a few band parents were trying to coax me into plugging in, saying that if they covered the amp rig that i would be fine. I just didn't want to risk it. Oh well, maybe next week i'll be able to be heard (it is a home game, too...i just hope no one recognizes me come monday...i can practically see it now,"omg, are you actually in the marching band!"....i need to practice rolling my eyes).

    My favorate parts about playing games so far is during halftime, we socialize with the other 'band. I said my name was Bryan Adams. I also devised the plan that I would say that i played the mouth harp (aka the harmonica) when asked what i played, but that didn't really go according to plan b/c some of the other band kids recognized me as the bass player. At leas they didn't recognize me as the bass player who didn't really do a damn thing!

    During the game, some of the kids told me that tomorrow morning (actually, as i write this, this morning) there would be a practice from 9 in the morning to 1 in the afternoon. I was thoroughly pissed and disappointed: i was looking forward to having a decent night's sleep for once (i haven't had one since last saturday, naturally). Anyway, when we got back to the high school and I dropped off my uniform and got my stuff together, the band director told me that i didn't have to go. I was thoroughly delighted. I woke up at 11 in the morning this...morning. It must have sucked for all of the "regular" marching band kids.

    This practice coincides with your observation that it takes four nights a week for, say, a trumpet section to get any good. I reckon this is a condensed version of all the "extra" practice. Maybe they're practicing the music and drilling for the second arrangement (as of yet, we've only rehearsed and performed the first in three arrangements...i suppose we will get all of them down by the end of the season).

    Anyway, this is an extremely large post. I sympathize with you if you have read it all.
     
  18. LowfreqB

    LowfreqB

    Nov 10, 2000
    United States
    Bass Guitar in a marching band? sounds like a Jazz band that likes to march around. (my highschool had the same type of jazz/marching band) since neither one was very good they combined. In a real marching band your bass parts are played by tuba and bass trumbone. Since talkbass combines upright players with bass guitar players, maybe it should expand to include tuba and bass t-bone players?! :D
     
  19. silvermaneZ

    silvermaneZ

    Oct 10, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Back in the day I did this same thing at the University of North Texas. Had an old Peavey Mark III head and a Peavey 2-15 cab. That was plugged into a thousand watt power converter that was wired into 2 car batteries. The whole thing was on a metal cart that I got to drag back and forth between the equipment truck and the sideline. For some reason, the director wanted to have 2 bass players with that same setup for a 120 piece marching band. So me and this other guy each had a Peavey Mark III going full bore in the pit every week. It was a heck of alot of fun.
     
  20. now THERE'S and Idea!