Do you smile when you play? [Poll]

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by tb-player, Oct 18, 2021.

  1. Yep! I grin like I don’t have a care in the world.

  2. Nope! I’m intense and focused.

  3. Never thought about it. I probably look like a grump.

  4. I’m conscious of it. I try and look pleasant.

  5. How can I smile with this carrot in my mouth?

Multiple votes are allowed.
Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. tb-player

    tb-player Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2019
    I never used to think about it. But in the last few years, I’ve been playing Sunday mornings at a church that has developed a significant media department, which means my face is on camera every dang week. So when I watch the playback, I see what a grumpy bass player I can look like. As a result, I have started including smiling in my practice routine.

    To be clear, I don’t stand up there grinning like an idiot. Sometimes, the only answer is bass-face. However, I’ve learned to be mindful of the fact that I’m doing something I really love and my overall demeanor should reflect that.

    Sounds silly, but it’s a real thing.

    Anyone else ever pay attention to this?
    (As always, photos encouraged!)

  2. Seanto


    Dec 29, 2005
    I'll smile on and off. If i am executing something difficult i might a bit more stern face. Overall though i try to put off the vibe that i am having fun and am happy on stage. I also look at and interact with my band mates when something cool happens.
  3. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    It depends... when I am on stage with a “serious” band, I tend to play it straight.

    If I’m playing a punk or metal show, where we can be on the floor instead of the stage, then I’m going to be interacting with the crowd in a more personal, familiar way. It’s impossible not to smile and laugh when someone is rocking out to your band right in front of your face.
  4. bass12

    bass12 Not a "groovehacker" Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    It's not silly at all - it's show business. :) Smiling on stage doesn't come naturally to me in most circumstances. This wouldn't bother me if it wasn't for the fact that my default expression on stage can look a bit severe. I've had audience members come up to the front of the stage and indicate that I should be smiling. I've also had band leaders emphasize the need for me to smile. So I try to smile more on stage. I also try less to stifle my laughter when I see something ridiculous going on. :D
    newwavefrank and ghorvers like this.
  5. LBS-bass


    Nov 22, 2017
    I try to remember to smile as much as possible. It was easier when I was doing most of the lead vocals because I tend to smile when I sing, anyway.

    Generally I go into the zone and sometimes I'm told I look serious, but it's just me concentrating on staying focused and not straying out of the zone. When I think of it, I remember to smile.
    Border, OldShark and ghorvers like this.
  6. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I had run out of contacts and was wearing my "walking around" glasses that night. But this is pretty typical of me on stage. 20191124_183213.jpg

    I've also lost about 20 pounds since then. I forgot how round my face was.
  7. Plain Old Barry

    Plain Old Barry Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2018
    I adjust my outward demeanor to the music being played. ;)

    Some music is smiley, some is mean and gritty, some is serious...
  8. murmur70


    May 3, 2017
    I only smile when I mess up!
  9. FrenchBassQC

    FrenchBassQC Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Gatineau QC CA
    upload_2021-10-18_13-38-42.jpeg As you can see, I try to smile...
  10. juancaminos

    juancaminos Supporting Member

    I used to be called "Smiling Johnny Rhodes" because I did not smile. That was 50 years ago in a country band setting. Now...well 225760560_4841823092500923_6809359309602675064_n.jpg
  11. tb-player

    tb-player Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2019
    Yeah. That’s huge. Definitely the most organic way to achieve the proper stage presence.
    bolophonic likes this.
  12. I probably try to look more serious given most of the music I play but I don't try very hard. I'm comfortable in that environment, more than I am in almost any other context. I'm gonna hoot and holler if my bandmate kicks out the jam, egg people on in the audience going wild, laugh, mope, scream, show some genuine appreciation for the audience. I'm comfortable on stage, I'm not too cool for anything though.

    Reminds me of a funny conversation that reminds me of the 'act' versus the people.

    I was in a goth/horror accordion group. :p Upright bass, accordion, drums, violin, I sang/growled.

    After the show, a completely gothed out young lady came up to buy a CD. She said something like

    "man, funny...I am so glad we caught you all, if there hadn't been a long line for the bathroom, I, honestly, saw you all setting up and told my friend, 'let's go grab something to eat' I was here for the headliner (a standard goth rock band -who I liked a lot). But your first song, wow, surprising."
    I laughed and said "why was it surprising?"
    "Your stuff is dark as ****, I mean, you look like corporate office people but ***. Makes me think of all those serial killer stories where the neighbors were all 'he seemed like such a nice guy.'"

    ha fact is, I totally would get up there with that group and be all jovial "Hey, how y'all doing. Awesome. [GROWLs] This song is about a child murder that happened in the town next over to mine as a kid. 1234"
  13. Dr. Love

    Dr. Love

    Nov 5, 2008
    Lubbock, TX
    Isn't it against the Bass Player Code of Conduct to show emotion because it might cause someone to notice you? Just like we can't wear shorts because our fabulously toned calves (from hauling SVT's and 8x10's up and down staircases) draws attention from the lead singer.
    Bassamatic, covermego and ELG60 like this.
  14. OptimalOptimus


    Jan 4, 2019
    I don't smile unless I'm playing something that I really like.

    Most of the time I'm serious and in my own bubble of playing.
    ELG60 likes this.
  15. ficelles


    Feb 28, 2010
    Devon, England
    I never smile while I'm playing. If anyone tells me I should, I growl at them.
    slagbass, Williethump, Nev375 and 4 others like this.
  16. Holdsg

    Holdsg Talkbass > Work Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 10, 2009
    Alta Loma, CA
    I try to remember it's supposed to be fun.
    Most of the time, its the funnest thing I do all week, so why should I be so grumpy?
  17. Wipe that silly smile off your face. Who do you think you are? Gomer Pyle? TEN HUT! MARCH!
    Williethump and BobDeRosa like this.
  18. Oddly


    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    Smiling on stage? Usually when the guitarist or singer messes up...:D
    oranje and tb-player like this.
  19. Gustopher

    Gustopher Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2018
    Not as much as I would like. I see pics from every show and I am always serious or intense looking, lol.
  20. pocket_groover

    pocket_groover Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2004
    Northern California
    I usually am looking at the crowd and smiling. There's usually a lot of audience interaction as a result. I've heard comments from a lot of people that one of the reasons they like us is that we look like we're having fun.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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