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How did you get your start?

Discussion in 'Ask Justin Meldal-Johnsen' started by BHurn, Sep 29, 2008.


  1. BHurn

    BHurn

    Sep 29, 2008
    Baltimore, MD
    Hey Justin, I just want to say, I was playing pool with a friend of mine this evening and a Beck song came on and only you could produce that magic.

    Onto my question,
    I am 15 years old and I was planning on going into the session bassist business. How did you get your start? Was it a real struggle from the beginning or was it just like an instant gratification deal? And what kind of formal training, if any, did you have?

    Sorry if you already answered a question like this, but I just thought I'd ask.

    Thank you!
     
  2. jmjbassplayer

    jmjbassplayer Justin Meldal-Johnsen Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2005
    Hi, thanks for writing.

    A lot of this has been covered in other threads, but I'll say that getting my start was a fairly haphazard thing. I never wanted to be a session musician, actually. All I cared about was being in a band. I think my friendly attitude, and fairly broad stylistic interest, are the things that naturally pointed me in that direction.

    So, in a sense, I don't really know how to articulate to anyone in a clear way as to how one can get a start! I know this was all going on in my early 20's:

    - I was friendly and open.
    - I played many styles and didn't have too overpowering of an aesthetic identity...or at least some flexibility and transparency when needed. In other words, I was no Lemmy, or Jaco, or Peter Hook.
    - I had a fair amount taste and restraint not only with my playing, but in conversation.
    - I was around; in clubs, at parties, at record stores, at other people's sessions, etc.

    It wasn't a struggle in the beginning, because I was too busy juggling a day job and my band projects to worry about my session career faltering or gaining. In a way, not obsessively focusing on it made it easier to grow naturally.

    I've taken lessons from The Faunt School in LA, but no formal training otherwise.

    Best,
    JMJ
     
  3. tomhanzo

    tomhanzo

    Apr 20, 2008
    West Virginia
    so Justin i got a question about your lessons. Did you take lessons and learn scales and music theory before you ever played in a band setting? I personally have never had a lesson and played for a little over a year only knowing where the notes were on the frett board and nothing more. I only a month ago found a thread here on talkbass explaining Major and minor scale. Knowing those two have improved my music ten fold lol.

    thanks for your time Justin, you are my hero man.

    TA
     
  4. jmjbassplayer

    jmjbassplayer Justin Meldal-Johnsen Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2005
    No, I didn't take lessons until I was around 18 I think. I was already playing in bands. Those scales are bread and butter, for sure. Very vital. And it just continues on and on from there. Keep it up the learning, I certainly intend to.

    JMJ
     
  5. tomhanzo

    tomhanzo

    Apr 20, 2008
    West Virginia
    as will I, its the reason we play, so we can get better
     
  6. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Not me. I learned how to play so I could get laid. It was my only hope ;)
     
  7. tomhanzo

    tomhanzo

    Apr 20, 2008
    West Virginia
    ahahhaha dude i think somethings dont have to be worn on our sleaves they are just understood.
     
  8. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Man, you're all assed up tonight, aren't you? ;)
     
  9. tomhanzo

    tomhanzo

    Apr 20, 2008
    West Virginia
    Umm im dumb. what does that mean?
     
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    It means you're getting real cocky ;)
     
  11. tomhanzo

    tomhanzo

    Apr 20, 2008
    West Virginia
    yeah i am lol, but im trying to be nice about it. I just finished my first remix and put it on youtube. i am super pumped even though it sucks.

    SO BACK TO SUBJECT

    Im sorry for getting side tracked.

    Justin when you got started playing was bass what you picked up or not?
     
  12. jmjbassplayer

    jmjbassplayer Justin Meldal-Johnsen Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2005
    Yeah, bass in earnest. Tinkered around on my dad's guitar before that, but bass was the thing that gave real excitement.
     
  13. tomhanzo

    tomhanzo

    Apr 20, 2008
    West Virginia
    awesome. i wish i could say the same. i started on the banjo (im from west virginia ;) )
     
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    And as luck would have it, here is some early footage of tomhanzo playing the banjo:

     
  15. tomhanzo

    tomhanzo

    Apr 20, 2008
    West Virginia
    touche sir

    I have glasses now so i dont squint as much.
     

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