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Describe your early band experience.

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Blackbird, Dec 4, 2003.

  1. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Just wondering how some other people began, if they had older players to help them out, if it was a sink or swim situation, or if in fact they became bassists because someone else told them to (hey, it can happen in school, I hear).

    I got my first bass at age 16 but didn't play in any bands until two years later. In the meantime, I practiced scales and plucking techniques, while copping licks and playing along with records.

    When I joined my first band, it was also the first band for three out of the other four bandmates, including the drummer, who was 13 years old. We had no orientation, except plug in, crank up and let it rip. This was cool because there was no one around that was set in their ways and forcing their views on us. We could have fun with it any way we wanted.
  2. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Got my bass when I was 13/14ish, and was in a band about 2 months later. Band is a loose term, but we all got together about 2-3 times a week to practice stuff. Lots of jamming... we'd all just started our instruments, I the least experienced, the other with about 2 years, maybe less.

    We though we were hot stuff making it through Bush's "Machine Head." It was a really cool experience though, and I think it'd terminally warped how I approach bass.

    I'm actuall in a band with that guitarist, Josh, too. He's essentiall "my" guitarist, and always has been, while I've switched rolls from bassist to vocalist, we're still in a band some 5/6 years later.

    Good man, he.
  3. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Got 1st bass on Xmas of '72.
    Got a guitar on Xmas of '73.

    Got in my first garage band in early '74..."playing" guitar. A non-musician friend in my neighborhood "played" my bass; we both plugged into my Univox bass amp.
    The drummer was a classmate of my bass "playing" neighbor; the drummer could actually already play some.
    The ONE tune we rehearsed was "Jumpin' Jack Flash"...about a 30-minute version(including a lonnnnggggg drum solo). ;)

    Definitely of the 'sink or swim' variety.

    I did 'jam' with the "older" player in my neighborhood on Xmas night '72...he told me 2 things I'll never forget-
    1)I had the bass slung low...he told me "Keller, you can't look cool & play bass at the same time".
    2)When I couldn't play the THREE notes he showed me to "Magic Carpet Ride"..."Keller, you're hopeless; maybe you can use that bass for an oar".

    All good memories, though...
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I can remember getting a bass when I was at school - I used to sing in the choir, but it was the coolest thing ever when three of the music students played the first amplified music that the school had ever heard!! :eek:

    So it was the first time ever that an electric group had been allowed to play at the Christmas concert - there was a guy who was in the same class as me on guitar and a bass player and drummer - they played Cream's Sunshine of your Love and "Hold your Head up" by Argent!

    After that I bought a bass and got into music big-time - but never was good enough to play at school - I used to play at friends houses - so there was this piano player who was amazing and could play anything he heard on the radio straight back at you. He was into the Beatles and Stockhausen - he wrote me a 12-tone row piece for solo bass - he used to write loads of music in notation - but it was too hard to play!!

    So as I sang in the choir I started off reading music and listening to LPs and getting lines where I could - Led Zep Complete was the only book I coudl find though that had actual written basslines - most books just had piano or guitar music! :(

    Then I went to University and there was a much livelier scene and more proper musicians - even drummers - I had never found a drummer to play with before!

    There was a folk club - and we subverted it by playing punk versions of folk tunes as loud as we could - going through the club's PA!!

    I bought my first 'decent' bass off the Student Union President - a Fender Mustang - which was crap really, but did the job for a few years.

    So I suppose that was my first ever real gig - it didn't seem like it, as we would all be really drunk and messing about - and the audience was 99% fellow college students, who we all knew very well! ;)
  5. When I was a senior in HS (1976), I volunteered for the bass position in the Jazz band. I got it because I agreed to supply my own equipment. I had been an All-County tuba player with 6 years experience but never with a stringed instrument. So I learned bass from reading the charts and getting a little help from our guitar player. When I went to college, I started going to jam sessions and the like but I wasn't really in tune with pop music. Then I answered an ad looking for a bassist (my first) and actually got the job. I was 18 and was suddenly in an well established working outfit. These guys were all older than me - in the 23 - 32 year old range. Old enough to have done things like fight and get wounded in Viet Nam and see Jimmy Hendrix at Rainbow Bridge - real life stuff like that. Boy I had to get good really fast!! We worked the southeast US and traveled for weekends quite a bit. I was in heaven.
  6. Saetia


    Mar 27, 2003
    I recieved my first bass for Chirstmas when I was 9. A squire P-bas. I had no idea what I was doing, just tinkered with it all of the time and had no entrance into it any other way. By the time I was 12 I really wanted to "learn" how to play bass, rather then just screw around. By the time I was 15 I had learned alot of theory, and had been learning other peoples music and entered my first band. I didn't play bass at first, I sang because I had always wanted to be a front man (stupid child dream but hey everyone dreams). That lasted about 6 months until one day I was messing around with our bass players bass and the band decided that I was better fit for the role of holding down the low end. This band only lasted for maybe a year, by that time I was 16. I bought my next bass and amp, a Ibanez EDB 600 and a Peavey Basic 60 amp which both treated me very well. My second band all the members had less experience then me, but I really didn't have much experience with being in a band either. We were totally original and weird, a cross between death metal, jazz, blues, math and art. We basically jammed on most of our songs at every show, our music wasn't the most sund but it was indeed something weird to listen to. That band lasted for 2 years before we parted ways. The singer, guitar player and I are still in a band together, we make progressive hardcore, but also goes many other ways, some is very epic, anywho, The singer and I set out to learn as much theory as we could, both taking class' in school, as well as lots of outside study. It has payed off in the long run. Basically all of my bands up until my last two have been just screw around bands where we didn't know anything and were completely off the wall and original. I actually played with a band where all of the members were at least 5 years older then me and have been playing since they were like 5, all amazing musicians, I held my own but for awhile I wasn't at the same level as them, took me awhile, but I reached their level quicker by playing and jamming with them then if I would of alone. It was a good experience to play with professional musicians. I look back now and wish that I would have started earlyier with possibly another instrament like piano first, but you can't change the past, so now I just learn in the mean time. Looking back over the past 10 years other then changing when I started and adding other instraments I wouldn't want to change it, it was fun and original, and I know there will be a life time of more fun ahead. Sorry for the length or choppyness.
  7. I started with formal guitar lessons at age 11 (1966) as a big Beatles fan, that continued for 3 years. Joined a "garage band" my first year of high school with my best friend who also played guitar, a drummer and another singer/guitar player. We needed a bass, I had money saved from my paper route, so I became the bassist in 1970 with a cheap Japanese J Bass copy.

    We played high school sock hops and community centre gigs, then at age 16 with a new KB player we got the house band gig for the summer at a major beer bar (the Commons Hotel) in a country resort town (Morin Heights) north of Montreal. Andre Perry had also established a studio there, where everyone from David Bowie to Rush recorded in those days, then went for beers at the Commons.

    With a couple of personnel changes, we were the house band for 4 1/2 years there (we were only legal age the last 18 months!). What a learning experience and a ride! If you want to know how to sound tight as a band, play the same material (with new additions of course) every week for 2-4 nights over 5 summers!

    By the way, my best friend since I was 14 is still my best friend, and we started playing together again last year - what a blast we have!! The fun thing is trying to remember all the things we did those summers....:eek: :D
  8. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    When I was 12, my Dad's church split and all of the musicians left. So, all of the kids picked an instrument and started learning to play. I picked drums, and my best friend picked bass.

    After a couple of months, I started playing a little bass, too. Eventually my best friend quit coming to church and I switched to bass full time.

    When I was 15, two of my friends, a guitarist and a drummer, asked if I wanted to start a band. We all three had really good ears, and could play any rock song after hearing it a couple of times. We started writing our own material, and then another friend joined on guitar. The two guitarists were very talented, and played stuff other than the typical pentatonic scale based soloes.

    After two and a half years of gigging, we called it quits.

    I still play with that drummer today. He is my best friend, and we have been in five bands together.

    One of the guitarists quit playing altogether. The other, who is the most talented guitarist I have ever worked with, doesn't play much any more because his wife won't let him play when she is around.:rolleyes: It's a real shame. He is an awesome musician, and should be using his talent in a band.
  9. tonedeaf

    tonedeaf Supporting Member

    I joined my first band when I was 19 or so, as the lead singer & lyricist. I've always loved to sing and write, so it was a perfect fit for me. On the side, I was noodling around with guitar, but I always found myself playing little one-note groove lines. I was a closet bass player! The band I was in broke up after about 2 years. It was a four-piece (guitar, bass, drums, and me), and the guitarist and I immediately re-formed a new band with a different drummer and yours truly on bass and lead vocals.

    It was definitely a baptism of fire. I learned to play bass while singing. At first I stuck pretty close to the root notes, but as I got more and more familiar with the instrument and more comfortable singing and playing, I ventured into more creative lines. I think a singing background helped me a lot. My early approach to basslines was to hear a harmony to the guitar part and figure out how to play it on the bass. My early stuff was more focused on harmony than rhythm (not that it wasn't rhythmic, but pretty straightforwardly so, if that makes sense--the focus was more on harmonizing, as if the guitar and bass were singing a duet--is there a better way to say that?).

    Lately I mostly play bass for other people, and am concentrating on bass playing, not singing. My latest goal/challenge is learning to read music, again on the job. I don't know if it's the best way - I guess I'm just a baptism of fire kind of guy.
  10. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Way back in 1976 when I was in high school my dad let my brother and me throw a garage party featuring a power trio band called "The Host of Mordor" :) which was made up of friends/schoolmates. The band left their gear set up overnight so my brother and I went out the next morning to noodle around on it. He was already learning guitar, so I picked up the bass. That was perfect because I was always fascinated with bass, probably because I was a huge Beatles fan as a kid.

    Much to my delight I was able to figure out simple riffs such as "Sunshine Of Your Love" and "Train Kept A-Rollin'". Shortly thereafter I convinced my dad to buy me my first bass, a beat up medium-scale Guild that looked kinda like an EB3. As soon as I got my bass, a drummer friend and I found a guitarist and started jamming together. For the first few years I was completely self taught, but then took a few basic theory classes in college and also took lessons from a guitarist who taught me about fingering positions: how to play in any mode in any key in any part of the fretboard.

    I've been very lucky because bassists seem to be rare around here: even though I don't sing, I have never had trouble finding bands (I currently play in three).
  11. Fliptrique


    Jul 22, 2002
    Szczecin, Poland
    Endorsing Artist: Mayones Guitars&Basses, Taurus Amplification
    I`m currently 22, and I`ve been playing bass for like 2,5 years. I wasn`t really doing any musical progress until I found a great teacher few months back, and...

    ...joined my first REAL band three months ago. It`s cool - our drummer is actually good at improvising, and guitarist is a clasically trainded riff-tiger. Yeah, there`s that guy who tries to sing, but he won`t be around for long.
    Last monday I`ve brought a six string bass I`m going to buy (this tuesday, hopefully) - the guitarist was afraid and insecure, and the drummer loved it. :bassist:
  12. I started on guitar at 13 or 14, and my sister bought a bass when i was 15, but rarely played it.

    when i was 16, a friend of mine said "you play guitar and your sister owns a bass. wanna be in a band?".

    i said yes. Then the guy who played bass with my high school's jazz band and jazz choir moved on (he was 1st percussionist in the toronto symphony youth orchestra), leaving the school without a fulltime bassist. having been involved in most of the music department stuff (choirs, french horn in concert band, trumpet in jazz band) the director knew i played bass and asked if i'd play for the jazz band. a couple of quick after school lessons to get me started, and i've never looked back.

    the band i was in actually recorded a short cd, and eventually morphed into a tragically hip cover band called "hip replacement". good fun. we actually rehearsed in a garage.........
  13. wakizashi


    Dec 5, 2003
    My first and only "band" only lasted one practice.
    It was about two years ago. When my friend approached me and asked me to come play in his "band". The thing was he couldn't play his drumset for shh...poop. me and the guitarist were alright but I never got to talk to him much. Hahaha. It's kind of funny. It may have worked if he actually practiced his set but the music isn't in him.
    Now he wants to be a cop. We call him Bacceous Bittious(our scientific name for baccon bits). I'm still bandless. But something might come together soon.
  14. Im a sock

    Im a sock

    Dec 23, 2002
    Central MA
    I got my first bass when I was 13, and when I was 14 or 15 I started a band with a friend of mine, who played guitar, and who had been playing it for a very long time and he was very good. This forced me to get better.

    We were in a punk/ska band and then we went on to do a folk-rock type thing.

    He really forced me to get better, and i really appreciate it. :)
  15. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Other than garage jams, my first band was a bluegrass band actually. Since it was simple chord progressions with root-five lines, the only work I really had to do was figuring out how to get a good tone and keep a steady tempo.

    That band and the next few that followed had players only slightly better than I was so it actually hampered my growth a bit compared to later bands where I was definitely in over my head and had a lot of catch up to do.
  16. Two words:

    Proud Mary :eek:

    I had a short scale bass (Lafayette Radio) anda Univox 25 W bass amp. My bro played drums and my cousin played guitar, along with another guy.

    We played the bassment ('scuse the pun) None of us could sing really, so vocals weren't a big part of us.

    We called ourselves 'Freak Accident' - from a George Carlin sketch.

    So if you remember CCR and George Carlin, you know I'm old. :D
  17. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    Spencerport, New York
    I was the drummer in the first few bands I was in, in the early 80's. The Bass player and I were (and still are) close friends, so in our spare time he showed me a few things on Bass, which would help later on.

    Fast forward to '95, another friend's band loses their Bassist, so the singer (knowing I owned a Bass) asks me if I'd like to join their band. They were in the process of switching their format from classic rock to more modern rock, so we were all starting from scratch, which gave me time to play catch-up.
  18. i got my frist bass xmas 8th grade.iam in 12 now. i had been messing around with a guitar since i could rember and i had a organ and trumpite(sp?sorry) in the house so i all ways essed around with those . i played with two of my freinds till about the end of freshmen year.he guitar player never really showed u for pratice, or when we were doing a song 1/8 of the way in he would start another song.

    me and the drumer wrote alot of stuff togarther, we were spose to play a show (with the guitar player)just playign between bands, they decied they would rather go try e then play our frist show(the day befor the show).

    my friend putting the show sent a band over to get me they walked in my house and took all my gear befor waking me it was the summer so i was sleeping at 12.no lie i got dressed on a stage out side in front of evey one like 200 people.
    i ended up playing with a band with two othere bass players ,we played two deftones songs i kinda new. then between bands i would just play slap groves, i think i played awaking and my name is mud 100 times each.

    my second band we had like two pratices then a gig we were spose to play just one song, only me and the guitar player finshed the song.

    iam still trying to find a band to play with i've kinda been playing with this freind of mine he plays guitar. most of the stuff, we have wriiten he just made up guiatre lines for wat i have had. i think iam goign to just keep writting with him and if he doesnt work out ill jus play what i write solo bass at coffe shops.

    i learn how to sing one day.
  19. Hategear

    Hategear Workin' hard at hardly workin'.

    Apr 6, 2001
    Appleton, Swissconsin
    I can describe my first band experience in six words: Together four years, played four gigs.

  20. I'd been playing bass for about 2 months when I got the call to duty from an aquaintence who had somehow scored a gig with his band but didn't have a bassist in the lineup. Learned their set in the four days notice he gave me (more songs than I had learned in the first two months up to that point), and obviously got pretty good pretty fast to keep up with them so they asked me to join full time the following week.

    We were sort of prog metal when we started out but by the looks on the faces of the crowd at those first few shows, we knew we had to change if we wanted to continue to gig in Ottawa. Still playing with them, now we're more of a straight ahead classic rock inspired rock n roll band.