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Do I need a "good" bass for auditions?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Yonni, Dec 2, 2019.

  1. Mannyinnewyork


    Sep 28, 2016
    New York
    It’s a cliche but it’s true, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Depending upon the band, the time of day, sunspots, who might be in a bad mood etc.. you just never know. It can’t hurt to bring your best gear. If your best gear is inexpensive, so be it and just hope your abilities are what really matter (as it should be).
    Yonni, Mechanical and EatS1stBassist like this.
  2. Peteyboy


    Apr 2, 2018
    Los Angeles
    Once I was in a band that was auditioning new guitarists and a dude showed up empty-handed. No guitar at all. We thought that was so funny that we loaned him a guitar, just to see what he had.

    He had exactly what you think he had.
    Yonni and pbass2 like this.
  3. DeepFriedBass


    Nov 21, 2019
    New strings would be a plus.
    Yonni likes this.
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I lost a gig by showing up with a booteeky 5 once. Would have never dreamed of showing up with my current band with anything but my best Fender. Once I got the gig, though, I can bring anything I want. Except the booteeky 5, but I don't want to :D Some are particular, some aren't. But darn right there's psychology involved in landing gigs, and you're best to do your homework if you want the gig bad enough.
  5. You can't go wrong with a p-bass. Mine is a Carvin, but no one bats an eye. If I brought my green 7-String to a country gig, I'd get looks and probably not the gig. Plus, that thing is heavy. Conventional is the thing for auditions. You can get your freak on (if you like) after a bit. It's like anything else. Go to a job interview wearing ripped jeans, natty Air Force Nikes, and a Slayer T-shirt? Probably not getting the job.
    Yonni and JimmyM like this.
  6. JYD

    JYD Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2001
    I did give this entire thread some more thought.
    If the band is some type of theme group and only specific styles of instruments will work...........well that's a bit different.

    If the only priority is landing the gig then I guess you better ask up front what type of equipment did yall think will work best in the mix? Hopefully you have that type of equipment already, can afford it or steal it from you kid brother (LOL Just kidding steal it from your sister she is really a drummer faking her way as a bass player)..

    If the band turns their nose up because your not walking in with a boutique instrument then I still have the same thought, the long term potential is doomed.
    That's all presuming your a good player and can provide the low end support they need. Music is for the ears not the eyes.
    Yonni likes this.
  7. fabubass


    Jan 13, 2006
    Always a safe bet to bring a Fender Jazz or P to an audition. Look is most familiar and so is the sound. And if it's an oldies/ classic rock band, 4 string ONLY!
    Yonni likes this.
  8. I haven’t had to auditioned for anything in a while because the rhythm guitarist in the band I play in has been in most projects with me over 20+ years so we are normally the core of every new project I’ve been in. But I can talk about what it’s like from the other side of things. We have had auditions for lead guitarist, vocalists, and drummers. Lead guitarist as recently as a few months ago. The guy who got the job did happen to have really nice gear. We were pleasantly surprised when this guitar player showed up with two PRS guitars (a really nice high end one as his main player and the se signature version of the guy from periphery as his backup) and a PRS archon combo. It was particularly meaningful to us at the time because we had previously been in different band with a singer/guitar player that basically played hand me down guitar gear and never even learned how to change his strings. That said having nice gear was not really what got him the job. It was a nice bonus but it didn’t get him the job. He got the job because he can play and personality wise he fit right in. The rhythm guitarist I play with has used everything from cheap line 6 amps and Ibanez guitars that were under $300 new to top of the line Mesa boogie stuff and les Paul’s. Gear has never kept him from constantly playing in bands.

    The only experience where gear was an issue for me personally was because my rig was too big basically. I only had an ampeg 810 at the time and they wanted a bass player present but not heard type of situation. And even though I got that gig there were constant arguments over levels at rehearsals and it didn’t last long because as soon as we started talking about recording mixes I was like “yeah this isn’t for me, I actually like the bass to be audible in the music I listen to”

    I’d say play what you want. See if personality wise and playing level wise you are a good fit. Dress the way you would dress onstage. Not necessarily for every rehearsal but at least show them that you care about image for the audition. Lot of people can play but there’s a difference from being a “bedroom rockstar” and being in a gigging band that is at least semi professional. I personally am not into going overboard with image and making a circus of it. For example I prefer more of a jeans and black shirt simple kind of look (like Metallica or Pink Floyd basically) but there’s a difference between that and showing up to a gig looking like you just don’t give a damn at all.
    Yonni likes this.
  9. It struck me that the majority of respondents said something like “those guys aren’t worth your time.” It’s like a test, part of your audition of them.

    it’s important to draw a distinction between weekend warrior/hobby play (which is what I do) and true professional musician. In the former, play what you want! In the latter, you best have a Fender P, J and then some.

    I also find it fascinating that a Fender bass is the standard. In most cases a MIM will do, a bass I can pick up used for $500 any day of the week. High end Fender clones will not turn heads like a “real” Fender. So much of this is about image, and if the band organizers are trying to cultivate a certain image.
    Bassdirty, mmon77 and Yonni like this.
  10. pbass2


    Jan 25, 2007
    Los Angeles
    I used to play in sort of a hipster old-school country and honky-tonk band. The band's look was somewhere between rockabilly and 60-70's country--the clothes, the gear, etc. I played a regular 'ol Pbass. A guy subbed for me once and had a modern coffee-table-looking bass, and man, people were dissing the look of the thing to no end. Played fine I imagine but that's not what stood out to people. A beater Bronco with stickers all over it would have been more "acceptable". C'est la vie.
    Yonni, kerrycares and alanloomis1980 like this.
  11. TheGreatSealof

    TheGreatSealof Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2010
    Deptford, NJ
    Yes. You want the gig, right?
    Yonni and kerrycares like this.
  12. DeepFriedBass


    Nov 21, 2019
    Unless you're applying for the roadie for 'DEATH CHEEZ'
    Mechanical likes this.
  13. bobba66


    May 18, 2006
    Arlington, Texas
  14. FrenchBassQC

    FrenchBassQC Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Gatineau QC CA
    If it looks like this images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSIZUFQv5Ytj49j_khfg_V4d43SfOUCmsvQ1tDzE3ZxI5O1qp1w&s.jpg maybe.
    Volker Kirstein likes this.
  15. alaskaleftybass

    alaskaleftybass Will Hanbury, Jr. Supporting Member

    Mar 21, 2012
    Sitka, Alaska
    I just had some nitwit tell me I didn't know about a high end bass because I said I didn't need one. That's hilarious because I've played decades and none of my basses were over 2,000USD. Matter of fact, my two favorite basses are under $1,000 Ibanez basses. They look nice but not fancy. If you got the chops don't worry about pulling out your Ibanez. It's a popular brand nowadays.
    Yonni likes this.
  16. Tim Craig

    Tim Craig Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    I would be more focused on playing good than having a "good" bass...just say'n.
  17. kerrycares

    kerrycares Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2006
    Some bands and some artists want what they want and it’s their prerogative.
    I know artists that only will use Ken Smiths.
    Some that only use Fenders.
    Musicman , Sadowsky, etc ........ they are artists.
    I give people what they want.
    I don’t like P bass but I bought one to get a gig in a 70’s rock band.
    Yonni and lfmn16 like this.
  18. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Yes, you absolutely need a good bass. You don't need an expensive one, but you need a good one.

    I held auditions for bass players a while back for my rockabilly band. I had several people show up with instruments that looked they were purchased from a Sears catalogue. Unfortunately their playing matched their basses. I also had someone show up with a Fender Custom Shop who couldn't follow a simple 12 bar progression.

    I knew a teacher that said, "Never give them a reason not to hire you." Show up with good equipment in good repair that doesn't look like you pulled it out of a dumpster. Whether it's fair or not, you will encounter situations where you will be judged by your equipment.
  19. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Smart man! :thumbsup:
  20. Artman

    Artman Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2017
    Georgetown, TX
    I played my Pedulla at my band audition. At end of session, LG asked me what kind of bass it is. I told him. He said that he's never heard of them. I still got the gig.
    Yonni and bassbully like this.

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