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Getting flak for being a multi-instrumentalist....seriously?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by LassoTheMoon, Nov 1, 2012.

  1. Seriously, I thought being able to play more than one instrument would earn respect/credit/whatever from band members but this doesn't seem to be the case. Two nights ago saw me get into a full-on screaming match with my guitarist over this very issue which almost became a serious punch-up.

    Long story short, I play guitar, bass and also piano. In the band I'm currently in, a small rock-ish band, I initially begun playing bass only, but eventually began playing the guitar and piano in the practice room, and then eventually at gigs too. My lead singer and bandleader thinks this great as it's expanded our setlist by a massive amount and means that should he wish to practice with me alone, we can have something of a melody to work with.

    Problem is that this seems to have rattled our guitarist to the point of the situation in the first paragraph. He seems to actively hate the fact I am playing the piano at all in the band, and has in the past complained it's 'pushing him out' or that 'it's a distraction' at gigs or some other ridiculous statement. I hold him under suspicion of at least once trying to sabotage my keyboard too, although it would be massively difficult to prove this.

    I've tried my hardest to make him understand that a) I'm still first and foremost a bassist for the band before anything else and b) I'm trying not to push anyone out, and least of all him, as I have a great deal of respect for his skill on the guitar.

    Any ideas what to do?
  2. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    Tell him to build a bridge and get over himself.
  3. he's got some serious insecurity issues. and you've demonstrated you're more valuable to the band then this guy. probably just a matter of time before one of you isn't part of the band anymore.
  4. Epitaph04

    Epitaph04 Bajo Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2010
    Some people just don't like talent.
  5. You tried. He doesn't want to know about being in any playing situation where he doesn't dominate. He might be a great guitar player but he's obviously no musician.
  6. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    Sounds like he's jealous and/or threatened. I know in my last band, our bassist didn't like the idea that I played bass..and that was just on my own time. I am horrible and he's honestly the best bassist I've played with so far. But even just conversing about bass I can tell he was uncomfortable with my encroaching on his "turf".
  7. All he needs do is come to me and actually talk through why I'm doing what I am (which I can easily explain) and then work with me. I've given him that chance and he's not taken it.

    I've worked with a few different guitarists and whilst some have managed to appreciate other melody instruments such as piano, and the bass too, others don't and want to be the 'star' and not the 'star group'. It's pick and mix as far as I can tell.

    Well I'm not exactly Gary Husband, so it's not like I'm trying to be some major piano whizz. The way I see it, I'm actually helping him a little by taking some of the difficult melodic work away from him and adding some flourishes/chops where needed as well as doing the original job of playing a bassline.
  8. craig.p


    Sep 28, 2008
    New Hampshire
    You're approaching it logically. He's not. You might as well be speaking different languages.

    He doesn't want what's best for the band. He wants what (he thinks) is best for him.

    What he doesn't realize is that what's best for the band is what's best for him.

    But this is what you get with insecure, egomaniacal adolescents, no matter how advanced their age.
  9. Some people just have that kind of attitude, for whatever their reason. I play both guitar and bass, mess around with keyboards some, even play with wooden flutes once in a while. I am primarily a bassist myself now, but I do still value my ability to move between some different instruments if I want. I guess some people feel threatened or insecure if you move too much into their perceived "territory".
  10. Corbeau


    Dec 14, 2011
    I'm a multi-instrumentalist too, and usually people find it more interesting if there are various instruments being used aside from the usual drums - guitar - bass - vocals. Plus, it adds a nice complexity to the songs.

    Your guitarist sounds really insecure. I think he has to either get used to the idea that you are going to play other instruments or leave.
  11. That's just an insecure guitarist talking, I'm afraid. He probably feels you take away some of the spotlights from him too.

    How does the rest of the band feel about him?
    Frankly, I would not like to work with someone who acts the way you say he does, so if I'm in that band I would have already talked about letting him go.
  12. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Before I 'defend' the guitarist, I'll point out that he obviously has some issues and shouldn't have had a screaming match. Also where was the band leader? Doing his hair?

    Basically you are not what was advertised. Suddenly the bassist starts playing guitar and piano and the BL wants secret private rehearsals with him. That's going to get most people rattled IMHO.

    If the BL wants the multi instrumentalist thing he is going to have to incorporate it into the band without hurting feelings. He hasn't. He's got some work to do, not you.

    I play in a fourpiece with friends. We have always swapped instruments and in our one gig so far we settled on the 'best' line up.
  13. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    Guitarists and their fragile egos. Must suck to be the most easily replaced instrument in any group. I'd say 90% of the musicians I know can play guitar at a proficient level.

    Anyway, you're going to have to be the bigger person. Let HIM be the one to fly off the handle and act like a lunatic while you remain calm and rational. The less you let him bait you the angrier he'll get, and eventually he'll end up doing something that gets him booted. You have to realize you're dealing with a bully mentality here.
  14. Yorick


    Nov 10, 2006
    Ask him if he wants to play bass......... :D
  15. I don't think the band leader, if there is one, needs to do any work to not hurt the feelings of an insecure guitarist.
    He sounds like the kind of guy who would throw a tantrum if you even suggest getting a second guitarist. Life is too short. You talk about it... if the way The band is changing is not to his taste, there is the door.

    Now, I have not heard the band. The guitarist complains it's distracting to have bass player change roles in different songs. I would not get into a shouting match (negative points for both bass and guitar player, honestly) but maybe the guitarist has a point. Maybe. We are hearing one side only, and we haven't seen the band. It does sound like an insecure jealous guitarist, we have all probably met a few... But the reality may not be exactly as painted here and maybe he does have a point.
    When two people yell, chances are neither is a "victim".
  16. Fantastic! :D
  17. Spino


    May 21, 2006
    Maybe you should just say from now on I'm sticking to the Bass player role if the guitar player does'nt cop himself on,or recommend some therapy for his insecurities ,or better still a full band meeting to get things talked out ,if that does'nt work ,fire the guitarist or leave . There are'nt any more alternatives...are there ?
  18. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    This is why I really don't like democratic bands. That sort of thing just isn't tolerated. If it's my band then it's my way or the highway. If I'm playing for someone else I do what I'm asked. There just isn't room for someone to throw a fit if they need their tampon changed. It can still happen of course, but it's much more easily squashed.
  19. Marko 1

    Marko 1 Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2009
    N.E. Ohio
    Lead guitarists tend to be the least likely to be team players.

  20. He's the reason the word "gui****" was invented. What a douche.