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Feeling like I have no say in my bands song writing

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by LukeMan970, Jan 11, 2013.

  1. LukeMan970


    Jun 22, 2005
    Seattle, WA
    I've just recently joined a new band which is kind of a prog rock/fusion band, very fun to play but definitely challenging. The thing is I'm the youngest and least experienced player by far which seems to make my ideas less legitimate in some way.

    The guitar player is the primary song writer but so far I've had little say in the bass lines, even ones I come up with that I like more than what he did seem to get thrown to the way side. Now I'm not the biggest fusion player but it still gets to be frustrating when it seems like I'm not taken seriously for my parts.

    How many of you out there have had a guitarist like this or have been in a situation like this? How did you overcome it? I have the parts that he comes up with down and am practicing a few hours a day to get better, but what other advice would some of the better players on here have for a young guy in this situation?
  2. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    I play bass better than any guitarist I've played with can play bass so it hasn't been a problem for me. Is the guy just OCD about the orchestration or is he telling you what scales/modes to play? If he is asking for certain techniques or sounds in certain places, as the writer that's his prerogative. If he's telling you what to play, note by note, then I guess you might want to listen to his ideas, but if your ideas are good enough he should be open to them. If he is just a control freak, you have to ask yourself if you want to be in a band with someone like that.
  3. Marial

    Marial weapons-grade plum

    Apr 8, 2011
    I've never been in a band where someone else wrote my parts, but I do not contribute at all in the songwriting in my current band, which is a first for me. I also had to rewrite most of my parts for the album we're currently recording per the instructions of the producer, also a first for me. It is what it is and as long as we're playing to good-sized audiences in good venues I have no issues with it.

    I'd say just roll with it, especially if you're not a natural prog/fusion player. I'd look at it as a learning opportunity on several different levels.
  4. madrob


    Aug 22, 2006
    Ottawa, ON, Canada
    I'd tell him to stick it where the sun don't shine. The whole point of playing originals is to create and he's taking that away from you. I would never play in a situation like that. I'm always open to discussing my lines for the songs and making agreed upon changes but that's it. If I was going to play his lines then he would be paying me for my rehersal time.

    Rock on!
  5. fcoda


    Jan 23, 2002
    Although it's an orginal band you may as well be playing covers. Has the band at least tried the songs both ways with his bass lines and then yours.
  6. LukeMan970


    Jun 22, 2005
    Seattle, WA
    Well so far I've just thought of it as a great learning opportunity as everyone there is 4+ years older than me and has played in a lot of different groups. This is only my second band ever so it's definitely a little intimidating. On the other hand I feel like I can hold my own alright in this setting even though it's way outside my comfort zone for my style of playing (mostly rock/blues/metal) Do you guys have some players in mind who kind of exemplify the prog/fusion style?

    I really like the band as far as the songs go and all the players are great so I don't want to pass on this opportunity. I just really want to get my chops up and confidence up to say "no I like my lines better than what you came up with there" you know?
  7. LukeMan970


    Jun 22, 2005
    Seattle, WA
    Well some of the songs the guitarist had written before the band formed so the bass lines were there already so I haven't had too much to say there. It's all still so new that it seems like we're trying to grab our slice of the creative pie right now you know? It's just a situation I've never been in before.
  8. fcoda


    Jan 23, 2002
    Just keep on coming up with your own parts when they bring in new material even if they don't use them at some point they may. In the mean time your playing a group that you like, getting better and writing your bass parts even if they aren't using them it's still a good learning tool.
  9. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    Pretty simple for me ... if you don't like what I'm playing and want me to play your lines, then pay me as your hired hand, because that's what I'd be. Yep, rehearsals and gigs, travel expenses, etc, etc. If you insist that I'm part of the band and not entitled to that kind of pay, then live with what I give you, or get another bass player.

    I've been playing bass since '67, in many different groups, and many styles. I don't know if I'd have had the confidence to take such a hard line when I was still a newbie bassist.
  10. denhou1974


    Mar 6, 2008

    I enjoy hearing suggestions but ultimately it's my decision on what to play. Otherwise pay me.
  11. bearhart74

    bearhart74 Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2009
    Ask him to explain why his bass parts work better than your parts. Be prepared to make a sound musical argument as to why yours should be acceptable and, most importantly, listen to what they guy has to say.. if he comes back with some form of "i like mine better" then you know where you stand.
  12. dminer


    Nov 26, 2007
    I would ask them to at least consider recording the songs both ways. If your bass lines are really a better fit than the songwriters', it should be obvious and the other band members will back you. Unless, the songwriter is a control freak and the other members are spineless, you'll gain some musical clout and should be trusted to write your own parts in the future.
  13. JohnMCA72


    Feb 4, 2009
    Everybody needs to get something back for what they put in. It isn't always the same thing for everybody. If you're not getting what you'd like out of it, then you need to get more from some other area. As in Rusty's example, if you feel you're getting shorted in the collaborative/creative part, make it up with more pay! There are many other dimensions where you can make adjustments, too, not just these. If the band doesn't want to make sure it's worth your while, in whatever way(s) are important to you, then search for greener pastures.