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How good do you have to be?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by TeenBassPlayer, Jun 23, 2003.


  1. TeenBassPlayer

    TeenBassPlayer

    Jun 19, 2003
    Hey guys, I'm a begginer on the bass and I'd like to know how good you have to be to join a decent band. Thanks for your input.
     
  2. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Whatever gets you by.

    Playing perfectly with CD's and other recorded music won't cut it because the other musicians on the recording are playing (within reason) perfectly.

    There's no substitute for spending as many hours as possible with other musicians, live, where mistakes happen, where the drummer may louse up the beat. That's where you become a "real" musician.....not playing with recorded music that wherre each cut is the 10th attempt at getting the song perfect.

    For instance, I think Mark Hoppus of Blink 182 is about as simple as you can get on bass. He's not anyone I admire at all, but I'm old enough to be his daddy! But, he hits the notes on time with the drummer on the recordings. He's just a beginner who will improve if he sticks with it --- that's where you start.

    Don't make the mistake I did decades ago - trying to play Entwistle's lines after only 3 years on the bass.
     
  3. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Whatever gets you by.

    Playing perfectly with CD's and other recorded music won't cut it because the other musicians on the recording are playing (within reason) perfectly.

    There's no substitute for spending as many hours as possible with other musicians, live, where mistakes happen, where the drummer may louse up the beat. That's where you become a "real" musician.....not playing with recorded music that wherre each cut is the 10th attempt at getting the song perfect.

    For instance, I think Mark Hoppus of Blink 182 is about as simple as you can get on bass. He's not anyone I admire at all, but I'm old enough to be his daddy! But, he hits the notes on time with the drummer on the recordings. He's just a beginner who will improve if he sticks with it --- that's where you start.

    Don't make the mistake I did decades ago - trying to play Entwistle's lines after only 3 years on the bass.

    So - be excellent at your simple lines. The complex stuff will come later if you stick with it.
     
  4. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    The answer is "when your good enough". You see, it all "depends".

    Every band is different, and different types of music have different requirements for the bass player's abilities. If you find guys with your own experience level, then there you go. You need decent gear, a decent sense of time, and an ability to play the band's songs well.
     
  5. TeenBassPlayer

    TeenBassPlayer

    Jun 19, 2003
    Thanks guys (now that you say blink 182 has a beggining bass player I'll look up some of their TAB's).
     
  6. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member



    Mah man, if I couldn't smoke Hoppus at my age, then I would be too ashamed to be posting on Talkbass.

    On the other hand, I relatively sucked playing punk across the nation in the late 70's and I was making more money than I could spend. I'm still living, in large part, off that money as invested, decades later.

    Use your youth while you can. Attitude and image will take you far before you have to rely on sheer skill..............and I know I still suck!
     
  7. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    What is your definition of "decent"?

    What kind of stuff would you like to do - what style of band are you looking to join?

    I'd say one good first step is to take a few lessons (run a search on teachers, there have been tons o' threads about this), as this will help you improve very quickly.

    Second, play with other people as much as you can. This will get you used to it, and they can help you along as well.
     
  8. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    I guess the answer would be "decent"? :D
     
  9. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    If you and some friends start a band you can always choose songs - or make your own - that are at your level of skills. You can also simplify bass lines just to get a start.

    If you join an existing band you may have to be good enough to handle their existing repertoire, preferrably a bit better actually so you don't have to struggle with each song.

    So, as have already been said, it depends...
     
  10. ConU

    ConU

    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    Sage advice:rolleyes: ,could be one reason there is such a lack of good young bassist's.
     
  11. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Hah! Hah!

    It's sorta sad Con, but when the years started showing on me, "cute" and dropping to the stage on my knees during my bass solos didn't get me by any longer. :rolleyes:
     
  12. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    How good do you have to be?

    I don't think it really matters how good you are in the instance of joining a band. The most important thing is that you enjoy it and that you learn from it.

    In my experience playing in a group is the best feeling. You work hard, you rehearse, you practice at home and then one day you're on stage, or just in rehearsal playing along, or maybe listening to a recording of the band and all of sudden you realise that you're there... you're grooving away and you can say to your self "that groove right there is ours".

    Playing with a great drummer, whoa, there's a whole other world of joy! Drums and bass when really playing together are great to listen to and even better to play :)

    I've been playing 13 years and I've only started playing with really decent drummers in the last year! It's changed my entire outlook to the opint that I'll never work with a half-arsed drummer again.

    I say go out there and join a band now. You might get through ten auditions before you find one that's right, you might even get sneered at by people who are "better" than you are, but don't let any of that put you off. Everyone starts somewhere, pediod! Like I said the most important thing is that you're making music and having fun.

    Ha, quite! My guess is the stage lights reflecting off my balding head give the game away! :D
     
  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member


    I think this is exactly right - seriously!!

    The point is that you have to be good enough - but it can be tortuous if you are too good for the band!

    So, as Howard mentioned, for example - if you are playing with bad drummers, it can be like wading through treacle, trying to get the band to groove/swing or whatever you want - without dragging or getting out of sync.

    It can be great fun playing with people who are a lot better than you and you certainly learn a lot; but doing it on a regular basis could be hazardous to your health in terms of stress and you stand to be the first one, whose services are dispensed with, when the band moves up a gear!

    So the ideal is to be playing with people of roughly the same ability and hopefully who are getting better, at a similar rate to yourself - moving in the same direction!

    So - to be in a decent band, you need to be of a similar standard - i.e. 'decent' !! ;)
     
  14. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    Oh blimey!!!!
    I quit a band about a year back (I was with them for a year, all mates, hard to leave etc) and it was getting to the stage where I was feeling like I had the worst timing known to man, then when I get into a band with a drummer with good time I realised I was actually alright, not half as good as I should/could be, but now I have someone good to learn from.
    I know that this guy can explain the groove to me if I get stuck on somethinmg knew, in the same way that our keys player can explain the chord stuff to me in the same instance.

    Playing with people who are not as good as you is painful and not only does it slow your progress it can actually reverses it!

    The point is, you join a band at your level, then if you outgrow them you move on (or maybe vice versa as Bruce says)... but the important factor is that you continually play with other people.
     
  15. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Yup, I think you nailed it completely there Bruce.
     
  16. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    TeenBassPlayer, the operative in your question is "decent." What do you define as a decent band?
    We really can't give you a specific answer until we know the parameters. If you are talking about a band like, say, The Pat Metheny Group, our answer would be much different than if you are talking about, say, Limp Bizkit.

    My thoughts without knowing exactly how high you are aiming right now would be to say join almost any band that will take you at your present level . Why? Because you will grow exponentially as a bass player from that experience. Being in a real, live band is just so different from playing along with CDs that there is no comparison.

    Plus you will learn vital non-musical matters that go along with bands that you never learn from a set of tabs...such as showing up on time every time to practice, playing a song all the way through, learning how to recover from mistakes...yours and the others' mistakes in the band, deciding what music to play, helping the weaker members and learning from the stronger, and responsibility, because bands are fun, but they are also work.

    So even if the rawest garage band invites you to join, do it because there is something to be gained from the experience. It is called "paying dues'. When you are ready and more experienced, move up. Believe me, there is no price you can put on that experience. Being in a band is not just about the level of your bass technique, it is about so much more.

    Just having been in a band, any band, will make you much better prepared when that "decent" band does invite you to audition.
     
  17. TeenBassPlayer

    TeenBassPlayer

    Jun 19, 2003
    Thanks guys. You've managed to answer my question.
     
  18. GrooveSlave

    GrooveSlave

    Mar 20, 2003
    Dallas, TX
    Man is this ever true!! I had the experience of trying to bring a drummer along. Forget it. I suppose it is possible with the right work ethic, but not in this case.

    After playing for a while with this guy, I thought I was taking crazy pills. My groove deteriorated because I was trying to play with him. Metronome, Metronome, Metronome!!

    :D
     
  19. Yeah, I've also played with a few bad drummers. I am fortunate, however, because the first drummer I ever played with 7 years ago is fantastic. We've been playing together for so long that even when one of us screws up (it happens), the groove is never lost. You'll find that some musicians click with your style and voice much better than others. Finding musicians that complement each other can be one of the hardest tasks in putting a band together. In my experience, this is what makes a band 'decent' What the band decides to do with their cohesiveness is what makes them great(or terrible, I guess)...
     
  20. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    If you can tune your bass, can hold an even tempo, have an amp that can be heard over drums and are willing to have guitar players teach you the bass line to play for a song, you're ready now.

    What really happens is over time your concept of "decent" changes :)

    As others have said, it depends on the band. Many bassists in well known bands are just barely "good enough" yet are naking a lot of money.

    Bon Jovi's original bassist never even played on any of their records he was so bad (this is FACT, the band spilled the beans after firing him)....yet he played with them for almost 20 years.

    Some famous bands have even hired total beginners and TAUGHT them to play bass...King Crimson and Jethro Tull are two (in)famous examples. Yes, the guy who played on "Aqualung" had ben playing only a few months (and sounds like it, too).