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Gigs with No Prep Time

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by Atticus, Nov 13, 2010.

  1. Atticus


    May 26, 2010
    Memphis, TN
    Okay, a more accurate title would be "minimum prep time". Post your gigs that you had next to no time to learn material for, get set up, etc.

    Yesterday the regular bassist for out school pep band was out, so I asked the band director if he wanted me to fill in. I'm normally a tuba player, but I figured that if I duplicated the tuba parts it would be close enough. He was a little hesitant but told me to go get my gear and start practicing. I dashed home, grabbed my stuff, dashed back, and spent an hour learning stuff. He told me "Okay, you're on. Keep practicing." After a brief break to haul everything down to the stadium (if this was an away game I probably wouldn't have bothered), the guitarist and I turned to low volume and I kept working through everything some more. Whenever the band wasn't playing I turned down my bass volume and kept practicing. Some songs sounded like utter crap, but when we started playing something that I knew, it worked really well. I talked to the director later and he thanked me for my effort and said I did a good job for the time I had. It was nice to spend a night with my true love instead of her brass counterpart.
  2. plangentmusic

    plangentmusic Banned

    Jun 30, 2010
    Don't move to New York. Here, you're expected to jump into any situation, know most of the material in any key, any style and be able to hear what you don't know on the spot. No rehearsal, no sound check. No mistakes.

    Many a hotshot musician has found himself with a one way ticket back home after less than a year in the big apple.
  3. kcole4001


    Oct 7, 2009
    Nova Scotia
    Doing one tonight.
    I got a partial song list Thursday night, though much of it is stuff I've played before, it has been a while, and it also includes some Beatle songs I only know in passing and have never played.
    I have played with one guitar player and the drummer (my brother in law) for years before, so it will be fairly familiar overall, I'm just going to be rusty on a lot of the stuff.

    We'll just wing it and have fun.
  4. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    And no leadsheets?
  5. Saxn


    Oct 23, 2010
    Nashville, GA
    This is actually how I made my living for a while... just not on bass ;) I was fortunate enough to live in an area with an extremely high 'flake-to-musician' ratio, so I got a lot of calls to show up when the flake didn't. Subbing at the last minute can be and is a pretty daunting experience ESPECIALLY if you have never played the style of music being done.

    Two things come to mind here: Music theory and ear training. These and just a little bit of listening can give you an enormous leg up on sounding like you know what you're doing - and allow you to 'fake it till you make it'.

    Just my .02 and of course I reserve the right to be wrong :D
  6. Baron Von Vik

    Baron Von Vik

    Jun 11, 2010
    Somewhere in Arizona
    Mojo FunkBasses
    Playing by ear is the challenge. Bridge to chorus is always fun to figure out on the fly :D

    I'll post a video of my old band playing "Jump" (Van Halen) for the first time- whenever I manage to make it home. Youtube is blocked on the work computers. :eyebrow:

    We decided to do the song at sound check, and the keyboard player was the only one who had ever played it before. It actually came out sounding all right, but practicing it subsequently brought out all the bits I missed.

    Since I was familiar with the tune, I found that humming it to myself while playing it at the show really helped me pick it out... might not work for everyone, but hey.
  7. wow, on first reading the title I thought it said "GIRLS with no prep time"

    boy was I mistaken :]P
  8. Art Araya

    Art Araya

    May 29, 2006
    Palm Coast, FL
    When I was a teen I was asked to sit in with a band with no prior rehearsal or knowledge of the tunes we would play. One of the songs I had to fake my way thru was Rush's YYZ. Needless to say, that was train-wreck!
  9. plangentmusic

    plangentmusic Banned

    Jun 30, 2010

    Even if you had them, you wouldn't have time to pull it up since tunes are called randomly and with no time in between songs.
  10. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    I am not good at this type of thing at all. After a few impromptu gigs, I learned that it would be best for all if I stuck to playing well-rehearsed material only. My hat is off to anyone who can jump in and make a random gig work.
  11. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    Yeah, I guess you got a point there.:)
  12. Its fun when it works! Lots of ear training, being quick on your feet helps, and not having volume issues is a must. That's one case where its more important to hear the rest of the band instead of just yourself so you can hear the changes.

  13. Martin89


    Nov 8, 2010
    Glendale, AZ
    Unofficial Endorser: Ibanez, D'Addario, Zoom
    I did it for a practice last night. I was playing trumpet and they had no music prepared and no progressions written out. Usually I can do well as long as I know the progression or at least what key it starts in. Because of their bassist(6 string) they did a lot of their songs in B which transpose to C# in trumpet and is a nightmare. However when he did some singing and I subbed bass I had a much easier time.
  14. brothernewt

    brothernewt Some people call me the stormtrooper of love...

    Apr 13, 2004
    Happyrock, OR
    2 bands on the bill... my regular band was opening. About 20 minutes before we were done the singer from the headlining band comes up to the stage between songs and asks me to fill in for his guy who's too drunk to wake up... No prep time, lot's of originals, and they kept forgetting to give me the key of each song. I had a good time, a few uncomfortable spots, but they paid me pretty well in the end.
  15. I just did a gig last week where I had 9 days to learn 45 tunes. One of my fav shows ever
  16. mikerophone


    Mar 10, 2010
    Denver, CO
    tonight! we basically lost our drummer in the last week, so one of the guitar players is filling in for the gigs we have lined up. he's been a drummer longer than a guitarist, but we've only practiced with him on drums once, and that was earlier this week.
  17. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    One Time TB'er BassmanRon up and died suddenly several years back, and left his band in the lurch. I went to his funeral in the afternoon, and played his bass rig that night. It wasn't pretty (I had maybe 3 days or so to prepare) but the gig went well, and all in all, I think Ron would have been pleased.
  18. good man!
  19. Dethrats


    Oct 26, 2010
    Napoleon, Ohio
    Awesome Tribute!
  20. Played a gig last night, never met one of the players before I walked into the venue, much less rehearsed or learned tunes.


    ...ain't just in NYC folks, that was in Winston-Salem, NC.

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