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Entering the dark murky world of play for pay :P

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Metalbasspro, Feb 16, 2014.

  1. Metalbasspro


    Feb 9, 2009
    After being handed an envelope of $150.00 bucks to play a show for a guy with a CD but no band it was sort of a wake up call.


    I have never played in cover bands or for pay before because I was of the mind that if I could not play my fav style of metal I did not care to play at all.

    But this last gig I had some fun. I played with good musicians and got paid. Even got compliments on my playing from some guys who I either knew play bass, informed me they did. And any time a black guy compliments a white bass player it must say something :)
    I need a second job but will never take one. The play for pay is a happy medium and I think it's time. I put an add out on Craigs list and I got a lot off replies. The one that grabbed my attention is a band that plays in the spring for some brewery and they told me they could pay me 100 dollars for a 4 hour set on the week ends. Not sure if that was one set or two over two days but either way it's 100 I can put in my pocket and have some fun doing it.

    Another band is forming and they are playing classic rock and need someone to learn 60 songs in a time frame I am just not comfortable with so I declined that gig. I need to start out smaller with the gig I am looking at for 100 a week end.


    The guy who released a CD and paid me to play live will be needing to do more shows. If I get the call how do I determine what is fair to accept on future payments? I was thinking that 150.00 was probably a one time deal on the first show that had 500 people turn out. Would have easily been sold out with 900 people of standing room only had a large snow storm not been in progress.

    How do you guys, hired guns determine all this as policy for yourselves?
  2. Metalbasspro


    Feb 9, 2009
  3. Nothing wrong with getting paid to play, better still if you enjoy it! $150 to sit in as a sideman is decent especially if you haven't done it before. $100 would be about the bare minimum for me for a typical one-night gig, depending how much learning/rehearsal was involved and prospects for future work with the same group/artist.

    Working as a sideman or session player is a great way to develop yourself as a musician, become exposed to unfamiliar styles, and improve your playing. If it piques your interest, I'd say go for it!
  4. Metalbasspro


    Feb 9, 2009
    I do feel I learned a bit form the experience, Playing a style I never have before and still doing it well. While I did not compose the bass lines I was told to see about composing a few. in one case my bass line was not very good but the one that ended up on the album had the same feel really. In another example I did come up with a great addition to a song section where the bass line was simple and boring, mine was melodic and added to the poppy feel of the song but I did not get the music in time before the Album went to press. I was asked to play it live.
  5. That all sounds very above board and promising. Mind out if they dangle stars in your eyes. Plenty of stories here of contributing bassists dumped by the wayside.
  6. philvanv

    philvanv Gerbil Turds, Kitsap County Turd Core

    Jul 2, 2012
    and at the bottom it says thank you, and now you can shag off
    As long as you don't pay to play run with it..and enjoy......
  7. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    That's the one!
  8. Metalbasspro


    Feb 9, 2009
    These projects that pay I am talking about are local, bands needing bass that get paid by like a brewery for example. The solo artist I played a one time gig for will be calling me for a few shows but if he goes anywhere with his music I'd fully expect to be dumped when the suits surround him and start telling him they can surround him with big name player and that is what he should do. No big deal! I'll take the shows and pay for as long as he's offering them.

    Just looking to make some extra money not get famous. Just not sure how low I should accept for a gig. With the gig that paid me 150 I had a lot of work to do with learning the songs and making sure I knew then before show time. And dealing with the stress of few rehearsals and a last minute cram session by the entire band. But that is out of the way and under my belt. I can now just refresh with the CD, show up and play when asked. So long as it's in the area I don't need any big money but I am thinking there should be a minimum. The guy has about 700 CD's to sell having pressed 1000 of them. Sold over 250 copies at the show.
  9. Hired gun payment is local market dependent. It sounds like you got hired by a fairminded artist. Milk it for what you think it's worth for your ongoing expertise.
  10. Metalbasspro


    Feb 9, 2009
    I suppose so. In my area we are out of the way for the touring bands and the minor bands don't get out here much. We do have a casino that sees some national acts but it's limited. Shortage of bass players, those that are here few are good players.
  11. Jeff Elkins

    Jeff Elkins Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2007
    East Tennessee
    Not really a pro, but in Nashville I made ~$50 a night, plus expenses (food/beer) playing for indie singer/songwriters, which seemed the going rate to learn 10 songs. Ish. If I liked their stuff, I'd rehearse with them for free, but generally rehearsals were paid half that, and we'd get 1, if/when the artist could get all the players together. If they dug me, there were more gigs, fewer rehearsals.
    For $100 *I* would do a four hours cover gig or a 45 minute originals show, and throw in one rehearsal. But I wouldn't do grueling rehearsals (plural) without getting paid for them specifically.
    Sounds like you did well, first time off the blocks!
  12. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
    Seems to me that the guy who did the cd already set the standard by paying you $150. I would use that as a starting point but wouldn't take less than $100. If the crowds get bigger, ask for a little more.
  13. That's why I mentioned prospects for future work. A string of one-offs where each gig needs extensive prep and rehearsal can be a huge pain. Repeat work on multiple projects should be the goal, but a lot of that is always out of your hands in this kind of work. All you can do is bring your best to the table.
  14. +1. ^^^ This is good advice.
  15. dls119


    Jun 27, 2013
    Northern Virginia
  16. ChrisB2

    ChrisB2 Bass... in your fass

    Feb 27, 2008
    TalkBass > Off Topic
  17. headband


    Oct 18, 2013
    Lately I haven't done much "gun for hire" playing, but I would typically charge $100 for a three hour show, maybe more for 4 hours. I have played $75 for a two hour show - they are easy money. I would include one rehearsal in this (assuming that I didn't have to drive a long distance), and that I am already somewhat familiar with the material. I live in a metro area of 300,000 - not big, but not rural, either.
    Sounds like you are off to a good start.
  18. Metalbasspro


    Feb 9, 2009
    I think the population in the town I am in is around 56,000 plus the town over the river adding some more. Up the Hill is Moscow but not sure how many people come down for the shows.

    The 150 bucks I was paid was paid out by the guy who produced the CD, he also played on it and played Guitar live for the show.

    He's done with the project now so not sure what the mentality or philosophy will be with the Artist himself and his wife/manager.

    I may not even get a call, they may find someone who works for free. We'll see but I do expect a call because I was very professional throughout the process leading to the show and played almost perfect at the show.