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Couple 'Open Mic' Questions

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by slipperyPete, Jan 15, 2006.

  1. Hi everybody, I have a couple questions regarding an open mic night in my area. I have played there twice before by myself and with my own bass. However, I would like to go and not worry about bringing my bass, but this means using the house band's bass.

    My first question is how big of a difference do you think it will be to play someone elses bass that you aren't used to which is a 5 string (I currently have only played 4's)?

    My second question is in regards to jamming with the house drummer. Would it be in poor taste to jam with him for the first part to kind of get warmed up on the new bass and then ask him to sit out so I can play one of my solo compositions?

    Any insight to either of these questions or even general open mic advice is greatly appreciated.
  2. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    People who aren't used to having a B string usually play it by accident, as they're conditioned to having a Low E. It's a common problem and part of the learning curve when moving up to a 5.

    Instead of telling the drummer to lay out, why don't you sign in for two spots, one with the drummer and one without? that way, you don't have to have someone on stage with you just sitting there.

    If you can't do that, ask the guy in advance. I'd hate to be up on stage and be asked to lay out out of the blue.
  3. Thanks for the reply. I'll definetly let him know my plans ahead of time, that seems like the respectful thing to do. Also, I might sign up for two spots if it isn't a busy night, but otherwise I would feel like a stage-hog. You know the type, one of those acoustic guitar/singer guys who keeps asking to play just one more song five times.

    As far as hitting that B by accident, I don't think it will be too big of an issue since I'm planning to just improvise some funky drum and bass, so I won't be clashing note-wise with anyone else. Basically, I just don't want to completely flop because of my unfamiliarity with the bass.
  4. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    It's hard for me to imagine why you wouldn't bring your own bass. Half of your problems go away if you do.
  5. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Unless, of course, it's a Wishbass.
  6. My experience learning to play a 5 was that every time I looked at my fingers, my brain automatically assumed that top string was an E, and I'd automatically be playing everything a 4th down. If you can play without looking at your fingers, you might, MIGHT be able to get away with playing a 5 if you're used to a 4.

    Alternately, some people may orient themselves starting at the "G" string and working back, so their instincts about what string to play might still be correct when playing a 5 instead of a 4, and only have problems like I did when learning to play a 6.

    On the other hand, I'm still getting used to playing a 6 also, so it seems I was referencing both G and E strings to orient myself on the neck...

    Regarding having the drummer sit out, just let them know you're doing a solo composition. I don't think it'd be a problem. Just don't preface the request to sit out with "WOW you SUCK!" :eek:

    Talk to the guy running the open mic thing and let them know you're doing a solo bass thing. They may have you up first or last to avoid lots of people standing around onstage doing nothing during the solo, or getting up and getting off stage during the set for the transition. Makes more sense to put them on break early, or come back from break late to let you do your thing first or last.

  7. LOL :D
  8. dharma

    dharma Srubby wubbly

    Oct 14, 2005
    Monroe, Louisiana
    I've played some open mic's. I've been asked to borrow my bass. Don't ask somebody if you can borrow their bass. Just don't.
  9. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005

    +1... - in my experience, borrowing or loaning instruments rarely works out well...

    - georgestrings
  10. Regarding the borrowing of the bass, I don't have a car and carrying my bass downtown is not very fun during the winter, plus the house band is 100% cool with providing the instruments at this open mic. However, if I can find a ride down there I will probably just bring my own bass now. Thanks for the insight everybody.
  11. Bard2dbone


    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    Definitely +00 (That's supposed to be an infinity) on taking your own bass.

    If you can't take your own, don't play that night. Seriously.
  12. Akami

    Akami Four on the floor

    Mar 6, 2005
    If they've got an instrument for you to play then by all means go and check it out.

    One of my friends used to run a couple of very popular open mics and always had a couple guitars and a bass available for those who couldn't or weren't inclined to bring their own instrument.

    I always prefer to have my own, but if you're living for the music then don't let the fact you don't have your favorite with you stop you from doing what you love.
  13. Would you let a bunch of strangers use your bass for a night? What if some guy started doing a "Pete Townsend" with it? I don't lend, and I don't borrow. Take your own axe with you and you will be so much happier and relaxed. Can't find a ride? No taxis in your town? No friends that want to drive down with you? What is so hard about carrying a bass in the winter? Good thing you don't live in Canada, your bass wouldn't leave the house for 4 months a year. Is it in a case? Hold onto the handles and bus it away! Ask mom to give you a ride. Or if it is that much of a problem, just don't go.
  14. the brain pain and worrying I would go through worrying about using someone elses bass. What about set up? scale length? String type for crying out loud, string type or heck even brand of strings? My bass My sound!

    At best you are either borrowing somebodies baby or their beater bass. Why risk it?

    Step up and bring your bass.

    Best of Luck,
    Wesley R.
  15. Akami

    Akami Four on the floor

    Mar 6, 2005
    There are still open mics where they specifically have instruments for players who show up without them.

    Imagine every drummer bringing their own kit.

    Everyone should go with their own advice but I see a lot more sterile atmosphere surrounding the way people think of open mics than I grew up with.

    I believe a good open mic will have instruments for others to play, as well as reserving their own instruments for themselves only.

    Worried you can't play with something other than your own? I guarantee you that there isn't a single pro on here that couldn't pick up a properly set up instrument and not rock the house.

    I want my own instrument whenever I play, but I can still play on a strange instrument and not feel any sense of adultry!