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How do you become a studio musician?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by liran, Jul 16, 2002.


  1. liran

    liran

    Dec 18, 2000
    San Antonio, Texas
    Hey, I was just wondering, because i feel that I am capable of doing studio work now. I was wondering how do u start getting offers to play bass for people who need a bassist to record for them?
     
  2. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    Can you sight read perfectly in any form? That is standard notation, charts, lead sheets, Nashville number system, etc. Can you take any of these and play a song that you have never heard beginning to end in PERFECT meter and dynamics in one or two tries? Using perhaps just a click track?

    Is your technique such that you can play most any style with virtually no finger noise or fret noise?

    Do you have very high quality, studio grade equipment?

    If so, you should put together a package including a CD with some of your recorded samples along with a resume and mail it to the studios in your area. If you are fortunate, you will get a break and a chance to work. You never know when a late cancellation will put you in a great spot.

    Shop yourself around to some of the local solo artists. They are the ones who need people like you when they go into the studio.

    Continue to update your resume as the work comes in and shop yourself to bigger and bigger studios. Be willing to travel and work cheap for a while.

    Don't discount shopping your resume to ad agencies, TV stations and such. While it isn't as common as it once was, they do sometimes use studio musicians. Anything on your record is good.

    If you can get in and out quick and give them a solid track, they'll call you back.

    Chas

    Edit (BW) Sorry, Chas. The term "Site reading" was making me cringe.
     
  3. liran

    liran

    Dec 18, 2000
    San Antonio, Texas
    Are you a studio musician? Chasarms, and would they hire me even though I am young?
     
  4. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    My first job as a journalist landed me in Nashville. While there, I did part time club work helping out aspiring singer/songwriter types. I got to know some of the guys I competed against for work pretty well. Most were also studio types. I got a pretty clear understanding of the job they do. These weren't even the guys working for the big boys. They were working in the second-tier studios and they were all VERY, VERY good players.

    At the time, my sight-reading was way too weak for studio work. It is now MUCH better, but probably still not good enough.

    Up here, I have a regular gig and pick up a little bit of other stuff here and there. I have a very good job in communications. I keep playing bass to satisfy my heart. I gave up on being a full-time pro a long time ago.

    I have only been in the studio a couple of times in the past few years.

    Your age probably isn't helping you, but if you have the full package and keep plugging, there's a decent chance that you'll eventually get a break.

    I am not certain, but I would guess most would be hesitant to even talk to you until you turn 18 simply because of contract considerations and liability issues.

    Chas
     
  5. hyperlitem

    hyperlitem Guest

    Jul 25, 2001
    Indianapolis, IN
    james, i could be wrong here, but your only 14 i think and im guessing your not ready to become a studio musician. Our singer got a scholarship to berkley school of music on drums and theres no way he could be a studio musician. Its really really hard today with all the syths and such around. Where i live only the top 2-5 musicians in the state get work at all. The money isnt super, especially if you dont get work all that often. I would say work hard and go to a good music school if thats your goal. Im in music school and the only person i would consider a studio musician, and is, is my teacher. Hes the president of the national upright bassists society or whatever its called. Im sure some of the people who play upright know who he is cuz hes pics in the front of all the issues of their magazine. You have to be able to play just about every musical style ever and without thinking twice be able to invent a real catchy riff. I would say studio musicians are about the best it gets, but in my opinion not a cool thing to do at all. I mean dont get me wrong its real cool and impressive just not my bag. Id rather get in bands and have fun just goofing around and touring. Most of the studio musicians i know are a little off anyway. They are usually pretty full of themselves, which is why theyre not in bands, in my esperience. But who can blame them, id probably be pretty full of myself if i was that good. Theres always a point in a musicians life where they have played bass a few years by themselves and they think their pretty good. Get out and here alot of "good bassists" and youll realize how bad you really are. Ive played bass for about 8 years, been in countless bands, and am in music school. Im just now at the point where i could play in a good touring band and last. Im not gonna impress anyone, but i could keep up with anyone i think, and have fun. I dont play prog rock or jazz, but that stuff is out of my league anyway.
     
  6. JAUQO III-X

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    CHICAGO,IL.
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    Studio work is a great goal to strive towards and can be very rewarding.you truly having nothing to lose.I think its great that you are so young and would like to persue becoming a studio Bassist.by the time your 2o years old if you keep focused you will have developed a keen understanding of Groove,Playing behind a vocalist with out stepping on their toes(getting in their way),and becoming as versatile as you think you want to be.and its a good tool in teaching discipline.and as a note when you get the chance to show what you got give them exactly what they ask of you,and don't talk much,do be very attentive,and don't attempt to be an over the shoulder producer(do not suggest to is in charge that maybe they should have done it this way or that)it is not your show.STUDIO BASSIST
     
  7. newbalance802

    newbalance802

    May 16, 2002
    Dude if you want to be a studio bassist just keep playing. I have a feeling alot of these guys couldnt even recognize U-47.lol. Dont worry about all that nashville numbers crap. I started playing when I was really young and was good by 14 but not nearly ready for it to be my job. Here is what I did.I started writing songs and learnt how to start and keep together a good band to perform my musical ideas. I made sure my bands only got killer shows.This drew attention to me and people started talking to me after shows.I am not the best player(but better than most) but when I play live i rock the **** out. Then people have a visual and an audio. I get called to do alot of hip-hop albums in town and have worked for some pretty cool people:Sir mixalot,Edawg,Outtasite,Dolomite and more.When you start playing in real bands don't settle until you think it's perfect. get good shows, and dont even send a bio to record studios, its all word of mouth,bro_Oh yeah, I have never had to read music in the studio once.
     
  8. newbalance802

    newbalance802

    May 16, 2002
    Oh yeah!!
    Whatever you do, do not waste your money on music school unless you are going to be a jazz bassist(they make all the money,lol,lol,lol).Trust Jeff Berlin about this one,he is right!!!
     
  9. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Hmmm, the jobs you mention are only hiphop acts...coincidence?

    Care to back it up with some samples (no offence intended)?
    Those jobs are only a fraction of what a studio pro is supposed to be able to do. You'd be lost very fast when you only have your street playing skills to rely on.
     
  10. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification

    My BS meter just pegged :rolleyes:
     
  11. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    My thoughts exactly - I'm just too polite :rolleyes:
     
  12. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA

    Bass player: What key?

    Engineer: It doesn't matter. We'll fix it in post-production.

    :confused:
     
  13. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Perhaps, if it wasn't a reading gig...

    Bass Player: What key?

    Engineer: The door ain't locked, c'mon in. gIvE uS sUm pHaT bEetZ.

    kidding :p
     
  14. liran

    liran

    Dec 18, 2000
    San Antonio, Texas
    Oh I know I'm not a Victor Wooten or anything like that, but I have things down actually quite solid, and I'm still working towards getting to that level. But in reality you don't have to be a victor wooten to be a studio musician. My teacher actually knows Will Lee quite well, and Will told him, that guys know that when he comes in its not gonna be groundbreaking or incredible. But it's gonna probably be done in one take and it's gonna be hip and they know he is known for these things so if he comes in they know he will get the job done. Also another important thing about getting into studio work is being easy to work with and get along with. But that's just my 2 cents. I actually just turned 15 on the 13th! I'm just gonna keep plugging away and hope I keep getting more gigs, actually my teacher is gonna try to get me into the Musicians Union so I can start getting more gigs around here. So hopefully I'll keep on progressing forever, and hope to get a bunch of more gigs now! Wish me luck!
     
  15. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Ain't gonna help around here, buddy! The union doesn't have much play in S.A. since Texas is a right to work state, your best bet is word of mouth...
     
  16. JAUQO III-X

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    CHICAGO,IL.
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    Hey Bro keep doing your thing.as a matter of fact the path that you make yourself may become one of the best paths in life that you could ever take.There are not to many things in life that come easy.you seem to have a clear pic of what you want.just go for it and the first pro session that you do post it on TB.:)
     
  17. liran

    liran

    Dec 18, 2000
    San Antonio, Texas
    Ya I'd figured the Union wouldn't have much backing here, hey but at least I can say, "Hey, don't mess with me im part of the union!". But besides that I guess I'll just try to keep playing around town and see what comes up. But pacman what gigs are you playing around town right now?
     
  18. DanGouge

    DanGouge

    May 25, 2000
    Canada!
    I remember one session ace in Bass Player saying that drummers often refer a bassist to the studio. So be nice to your drummer! That and keep a good attitude. No one wants to work with more prima donnas than necessary (that's the vocalists/lead guitarists job anyway).
     
  19. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    I'm playing with a local social/wedding band contractor, I sub for some local guys and I play in the Air Force Band of the West at lackland - that keeps me pretty busy. Aside from that, there's a fair amount of freelance stuff around here, especially if word gets out that you own an upright!
     
  20. newbalance802

    newbalance802

    May 16, 2002
    Pacman and JMX, you guys dont know **** about studio work. Yeah,I mainly get called for hip-hop,so what? Pacman, as far as you thinking i am lying.First off, why would I lie and then talk about the has beens that call me.I would say something like Puff daddy or Ludacris. Go to hardroad.com and look up Dolomite (my band) and I will get the sound samples from mixalot and outtasite up in two or three days, when I get back from vacation you amateur suckka!!!