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How do you know when you are ready to play with other people?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by H2ODog, Mar 11, 2004.

  1. H2ODog


    Sep 30, 2003
    Roseville, CA
    I started playing 3 months ago and eventually would like to play with other people. I would like to find other musicians that are about the same stage I’m in because I have read and been told that you can really progress a lot faster if you have an opportunity to play with others and I think it would be a lot of fun. My question is how do you now when you are ready to play with others and how do you go about finding other players that are at your level.
  2. bassmantele


    Jul 22, 2003
    Boston MA USA
    You are ready now. There's no reason why you couldn't play with others on your level. There are plenty of simple songs you could play and have fun with. And don't worry about making mistakes - everyone does. As to how to find people to play with - I can't help you there.
  3. efcleff


    Jan 20, 2003
    you could check out "open Mic" nights at local clubs. Usually it's musicians getting together and just jamming. Also, check out local music stores and classified adds for bands looking for a bass player...call them and tell them your level and see if they're interested.
  4. Groove_Master

    Groove_Master Guest

    Feb 29, 2004
    just go and try with sum1. dont wait for being ready and try to find a band which has better musicians than you. not too much better :)
    you can learn many things from them.
  5. Exactly what I was going to say. I know from experience how much you can pick up an progress from playing with better musicians.
  6. Absolutely! Get out there now and jam with others. You will learn so much faster by playing with others especially if they are a little more experienced. The input and feedback of a collection of (reasonable) people is a great learning tool. I also recommend jamming at home with your song collection to develop good timing.
  7. I also like to go to jam nights not just to play but to meet people. There are usually a good collection of styles and ability levels out there so even if you don't play at one you can talk to the guys. Once you get to know them they can introduce you to other people who know other people who know oth............................!
  8. Deepkick


    Feb 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    While you can (and should) start playing right now with other musicians, I would first suggest looking to join up with a group of muso's interested in starting a covers band, in the style/genre of music that you would like to play.
    While playing originals is also an option, I believe playing covers (initially) is better/easier for gaining confidence and establishing yourself as a musician in a group.
    The songs are set, you have your reference (the bass parts of the song), just emulate. Everyone practices their individual parts during the week in the comfort of their own home, then all join together at a later date to combine what they have learned as a collective of musicians playing live music.

    With that in mind, I offer a few suggestions:

    1. Timing: Timing is what you need to start playing confidently with other muso's. As Muzikman says, jam along with your fav songs will help here. Spend some time with a metronome occasionally also.

    2. Basic theory:Know the notes on the fretboard (at least on the E & A strings). When some one calls out "The chords are C, Am, F then Dm, E for the chorus", you need to be able to know where these notes are (play A (ie root note) for Am, D for Dm, as a minimum).

    3. Ear Training: Some basic ear training helps. If someone starts playing a random chord sequence, you should be able to "zero" in on the chord roots by trial n error. What I usually do here is lower the volume of my amp, then squat near my speaker and play what I "think" is the root note of the chord, then play notes higher (or lower) along the same string from there until I "hear" the desired note.
    Once you have identified the chords, boost volume and join in. I find a good exercise for this is to play my favourite music radio station and jam with every song I hear, with the goal of identifying the root notes of the chord structure as fast as possible, and really play the song, before it ends. You only get 3 minutes to do it :bawl: ...but it gets easier over time.

    4. Ability to play a complete song(s). Pick a song (or three) that fits the style of music that you would like to play with other muso's. Now learn every nuance of the bass from that song. Learn every detail, not just the primary basic root notes of the chorus. Identify where on the neck its played. Don't worry about the fancy fills till you have the primary song structure down. Count the bars, know the structure, ie verses, chorus, bridge, intro/outro. Don't cue off the vocalist (alot of young bands don't have one!), but rather count the bars as you play, so that you know when you come in, without relying on a familiar sound/vocal phrase you hear on the original recording).
    Its a lot of work, requiring ALOT of rewind/play over certain parts. But its all good solid training for ear, timing and song structure.

    When you can finally play entire pieces from start to finish, just like the original recordings bassist, without error, and with confidence and ease, then congrats!.. you ARE a bass player! :bassist:

    I once was exactly where you are right now H2ODog, so I suspect its normal to doubt your abilities when you think you are ready to play music with others. I was nervous as hell auditioning with my first band, lacking any confidence other than the fact I could do the stuff I mentioned above. But any doubts I had as a bass player disappeared by the time I was playing the second song and realised I was actually doing it, and then proceeded to have the time of my life! :bassist:

    Go for it!

  9. The fact that you want to play with others means you're ready. As bassists we need to play with others because our main function is to provide support. You can't learn that by playing by yourself.

    Check out Craigslist. The Musicians section has lots of ads looking for bassists of all skill levels. You can even post one yourself. Best of all, it's FREE.
  10. H2ODog


    Sep 30, 2003
    Roseville, CA
    Thanks everyone for your input and support. I'll put your advice to work and see what happens. Thanks again!
  11. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    The Mitten
    I like what Deepkick wrote. I really like that ear training suggestion about playing along with the radio. Another thing too is tab, it's taboo around here but as an introduction to bass playing I found it invaluble. By linking tab and sheet music I am able to learn to read music better, learn tunes off tab found on the net and sites like this, and learn the notes on the fret board. I take my tab and write the notes under it so it visually helps me learn the fret board. Better yet get lessons, learn to read music, and develop your chops from a pro.

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