Friend asked me to play on his CD.

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Axtman, Jun 11, 2019.

  1. Axtman

    Axtman Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    A friend, who is a singer/songwriter/acoustic guitar player, is recording a CD of his songs. He is a really good lyricist and songwriter but his songs all sound the same, in about the same key (G) and with the same acoustic guitar strum pattern. All of his songs sound the same and kind of bland.

    He and his brother are recording it at home not in a studio. He really needs a producer to help give him ideas about adding instruments and arrangements.

    So I can't decide if I should give him recommendations, play on the CD or bow out of the project. What would you do?
    EatS1stBassist likes this.
  2. Axtman

    Axtman Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    BTW, the CD is really a vanity CD and a way of him documenting his songs for posterity. He may hand them out to bar/coffee shop owners in order to get gigs. I am not sure if he is even going to sell them. I am not being paid.
  3. Jay Corwin

    Jay Corwin Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    Will it be fun?
  4. Axtman

    Axtman Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    Define "fun"? I am really kind of playing on the CD as a favor. I have played his songs before and to be honest I am bored of them. The sad thing is that I see a lot of potential in his songs. If produced well they could be great. I have a few ideas but I am certainly not an experienced producer.
  5. Axtman

    Axtman Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    I understand that it is his CD, not mine. I certainly don't want to get in their and start barking orders and make it my project. That said I do have a few ideas. How do I tactfully approach him?
  6. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    Ask how much freedom you have, playing your part... remember he's driving the car... I hope you called 'shotgun', before the drummer...

    ... front passenger is way better than back seat, or worse... trunk.
  7. Axtman

    Axtman Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    Drummer? Oh you mean the drum machine. :-(
    DJ Bebop and EatS1stBassist like this.
  8. Oddly


    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    If he's a friend, and I'm assuming, has asked you to play knowing you've got some experience in a band situation, I'd imagine he'd at least consider any ideas you have.

    I would suggest the ideas well in advance of actual recording, if you've all got the time to try any suggestions out.
    DJ Bebop and Spidey2112 like this.
  9. Axtman

    Axtman Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    I have already started a list of songs and my suggestions while practicing at home to his songs. I started the list but then wondered if I was just wasting my time.
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  10. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    Doesn't sound like much fun, but it comes down to how much you want to help out your friend. If it was a good friend and it wouldn't take more than an afternoon and if I didn't have anything better to do, I'd do it.
    megarat, Tampabass, hufe and 7 others like this.
  11. slapshot


    Dec 22, 2018
    SE Michigan
    Talk to him about what he's looking for. Record 1 bass part that you think will help. If he says you have some leeway, tell him you had an idea for this song, play him the track you recorded, and ask him if something like this works. He may not have thought of something like that, and may give you a lot of room.
    I would do it if he's a friend, and I could cut all in a day. Just my 2 cents.
    getbent likes this.
  12. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    As you said, this is a vanity project, being recorded in a home studio. I don't see it going anywhere. If it interests you, sit down over a pot of coffee, and ask if he wants to discuss the songs, or just have you put down bass lines. You aren't going to be making any money on this mo matter what. Perhaps ask if you can use them as examples of your playing for your portfolio. Then decide if you want to do it.
    Koog likes this.
  13. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Springtown, Texas
    If he is a friend and wants bass on his CD, why not? Be honored he asked you too.
    What are friends for?
  14. Personally, I would. But that is easier said than done. I have a few guys I know who always ask me "Hey can you come lay a bass track on this one song I made. Nothing serious." and then it turns into me telling them I won't be starting this new band with them 7 times. However, I digress..

    If it is definitely just a one time thing, go for it. You will learn something while trying to help produce some tracks.
    hieronymous and Admiral Akbar like this.
  15. bass40hz

    bass40hz Cigar smoker, scotch drinker, American Patriot Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Richlands, NC
    Doesn't sound like you will have fun or even want to do it, and I dont blame is too short to volunteer to be miserable. Pass.
    Rock on.
    smogg likes this.
  16. getbent


    Aug 20, 2010
    Chicago, IL
    If being a producer is of interest to you, then here's a low-stakes way to get some experience doing it. It can be rewarding way to get involved without having to be the artist/financier. And you don't have to sign up for the whole project, you can just do one song (that's the beauty of home recording and releasing stuff yourself). If it's fun/productive, then offer to do more.

    Keep it positive and make sure you hash out some general understandings up front (definitely don't wait until the day of the session to bring this up), and be firm about what you will and won't do (join the live band, take days off from work, accept pizza & beer as payment, call in favors from "session players" you know, etc.).
  17. Cave Puppy

    Cave Puppy "Humph Bo, he's wond!" - John Lennon

    Jan 13, 2015
    If you're recording this project on a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation - GarageBand, Reaper, Pro Tools, etc) you don't necessarily have to be in the same room, house, block, city, state or even country to record on that stuff. If you have a DAW recording set up you can record your tracks at your leisure on your own setup then upload your tracks to dropbox or where ever then your friend can fly them in at his or her leisure. I used do that all the time.
  18. When I have done this in the past it takes forever for me to get to it. The reason being that when you are not excited about a project there tends to never be any “spare” time to lay down those tracks. I know I would rather do just about anything with that time than play on a track that I don’t care about.
    BooDoggie and Cave Puppy like this.
  19. grimjim


    Jan 26, 2014
    Chicago, Illinois
    Endorsing artist;DNA Amplification, GHS strings
    I've been asked to play on friends' cd's as well. If they're good friends, just do it. In my case the band is terrible, but they asked and they're friends so.....
  20. Been there done that and walked on land mines. I've done a few sessions where the demo tracks were lame, and i learned to gauge how much the artists is wedded to his demos - if they want it as recorded, then that is what I ask FIRST. If they want my suggestions then I ask and proceed with much caution. I had one session where they asked for my ideas and I redid most of the groove and made it into something much better. Everyone liked it but the artist, even his GF. And he got real attitude - y about it. If it were me, I would say sure and do it. Then ask him if he wants your creativity, first for the bass part, then for the entire instrument tracks. Just keep you radar going for any signs of displeasure, and if your friend gives off the vibe that you are stepping on his toes, just say "well, I was just throwing it out there. No biggie."
    getbent, bolophonic, Koshchei and 2 others like this.