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Bass player in a band that sucks or guitar player in a band that gigs?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by russpurdy, Oct 31, 2013.

  1. russpurdy


    Apr 16, 2013
    So my main project has been acting as a sideman for a solo artists synth rock project. After years of doig original stuff I find it relaxing to just show up and play what the guy wants. We have, however had the hardest time finding a guitar player than can handle the material and is fluent enough with ambient effects. Basically our jam sessions turn into guitar lessons for whoever is there playing guitar. I like the music and want to get out and gig but we are making very little progress with the current crop of players in our area. I played guitar for a long time before switching to bass and have made a very big effort to play as a bass player, not a guitarist with a bass. I think I have done a fine job and really like playing bass in this band. On the other hand, I find it frustrating to listen to amateur guitarists fumble through songs without knowing how to set up a delay pedal or dial in a decent amp tone. I could easily play all the guitar parts and do them well and after much hesitation I have offered to try a rehearsal on guitar. The bass lines are easy enough and I think we can find someone to cover them. It's just the ambient guitar stuff that is really throwing people off. Although I would prefer to stick with bass I figure its better to play guitar and start making progress rather than continue to suffer through awful guitar players like I currently am. Any thoughts? I have another project I'm still playing bass in and am considering finding a cover gig on bass as well (never really played in a cover band before but always wanted to).

    So, better to play guitar and gig or play bass and be stuck teaching a guitarist the same three songs in a dingy jam space?
  2. plong123

    plong123 All Your Bass Are Belong To Us

    Nov 19, 2012
    Columbus, Ohio, USA
    Nothing wrong with expressing yourself musically in as many ways as you like. Want to play bass in one band and guitar in another? Super. Play some gigs on trombone? Rock the keys in another? Go for it. As long as you keep yourself busy and are happy, anyone that tells you otherwise is full of it.
  3. pklima

    pklima Commercial User

    May 2, 2003
    Kraków, Polska
    Karoryfer Samples
    Gigs are better than no gigs, and if you can handle either the bass or guitar parts, then play whichever slot is harder to fill with somebody else.

    But - what is the synth guy using and could you use it to make the guitarist's job easier? Maybe instead of having a guitarist set up delay pedals you can use delay VSTs running on a laptop. I'm in a band with a singer who plays some guitar and doesn't understand much about effects, but we have a laptop in the band and can just set up trance gates and amp simulators for her, sync to the song's tempo, save the settings for each song, maybe even add automation of the parameters. All she has to do is play the notes.

    Or you might be able to sequence the bass and/or guitar parts, too. Just read about this yesterday - a dedicated ambient guitar instrument for Kontakt. OK, you probably want a live human guitarist on stage, but I thought I'd throw this idea out there.
  4. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Make music. The instrument is just a tool. I would go ahead and play guitar in your shoes.
  5. Garyth

    Garyth Now What ..?

    Sep 9, 2013
    Punta Gorda Florida
    is it about getting gigs and money or the music? If it's gigs / money play the guitar yourself and get a bass player. If it's about making music and you want to do the bass parts, teach the new guy how to play the guitar. So long as he wants to learn, if not get a different guitar player.
  6. Runnerman

    Runnerman Registered Bass Player Supporting Member

    Mar 14, 2011
    Go after something else at the same time. Don't stick with this situation if it doesn't have a potential for a better ending. I'm hoping the solo artist recognizes the issue...assuming he does. It should be on him to find a competent guitarist. You should express that to him.

    In the meantime, go after the cover band gig. Don't limit yourself.
  7. Personally I rather play guitar and gig. Just teaching gui****s the same 3 songs over and over again would be a total nightmare.
  8. avvie


    Oct 12, 2010
    Maui, HI
    Me too. I get very frustrated with people who are claiming to be competent players who can't grasp the material.
  9. remainthesame


    Sep 24, 2008
    lots of players play multiple instruments, sometimes within the same band. i say go for it. i was in a band once where i played guitar and bass. the guitarist and i would often switch back and forth.
  10. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    Gigging is work. Usually the 3 or 4 hours of actual playing time at a gig is supplemented
    with a few hours of driving, loading, setting up, sound checking and then reversing that process to get you and your gear back home. For me a typical gig is at least 8 hours of work. But I also get paid for it. And sometimes even dinner and drinks.

    On the other hand, trying to play music with an under skilled guitarist who can't get past the same 3 songs is a repetitive, boring, pain in the azz endeavor that usually has no reward other than the time spent and quickly chips away at my desire to repeat the process.

    it's a no brainer.
  11. russpurdy


    Apr 16, 2013
    Thanks guys. I'm going to go ahead and play some guitar indefinitely. Ive never played guitar in this type of band (has always been harder rock or blues) so it will be a new experience. It's not about gigging and money per say but the desire to get out and play for a crowd. It's original music so we will probably be doing 45 minute sets on a multiple band bill for little or no money which I am ok with. I do this as a hobby and hobbies usually don't make alot of money. I teach Arts Education all day (music included) so spending my free time giving free guitar lessons to guys who swear "they'll have it next time for sure" is getting old fast. Bass is s subtle art and I think it will be easier to push forward with someone working on playing in the pocket and not having to futz around with effects.

    As for having effects triggered or sequences, we are on a tight budget and don't have the best monitoring setup to play along to sequenced material. I am perfectly comfortable firing up the tap tempo delay and keeping everything in line. Problem was that none of the other guitarists had ever used effects beyond a distortion pedal. These guys were showing up with solid state peavey bandits and expecting to cut through bass, drums, synths, etc. It just wasn't happening. I'm actually looking forward to seeing the look on the bandleaders face when I bring in some of my gear and let it rip on his songs. I think it will be a pleasant suprise. Sorry to sound egotistical on that last part but man have we ever had some dud guitarists lately.
  12. russpurdy


    Apr 16, 2013
    and to make things better, just lined up an audition on bass with a cover band. Always wanted to get into the cover band scene but hadn't had the chance around these parts. Looks like we will be doing a mix of radio type music with a few 90's tunes mixed in. Everyone is a weekend warrior type person which I am as well (working a day job). so fingers crossed it works out well.
  13. nojj

    nojj Guest

    May 20, 2013
    I'm going to go ahead and play some guitar indefinitely

    Most bands seem to prefer definite guitar............:D
  14. Huh? If I'm going to expend the time and effort involved in gigging live, it's all about the money for me. Total $whore I am.
  15. +1. Yep.

    Personally, I play at home, parks, friends backyards, and etc for fun (hobby) - but I only gig (work) for $$$. My personal rule is - if anyone is making money, so must I.
  16. russpurdy


    Apr 16, 2013
    Fair enough call on the money and I respect that. I guess what im saying is that I wouldn't turn down a gig if it didn't pay and the promoter was up front about it (unless it was a cover gig). Where I live it's tough to find venues for original music so it's a take what you can get situation. If you get a representation of always demanding a certain amount you'll probably end up with nowhere to play. Usually the gigs pay a bit but I hardly consider splitting a hundred bucks between 4 people a "paying" gig. More of a "break even" gig.
  17. eddododo

    eddododo Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2010
    I have been in a lot of similar boats myself...

    Play guitar ;) i love playing other instruments, it allows me to get out alot of noodles and chordss and melodic information out so that i can play bass without the entirety of my musical ego trying to cameo

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