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How good is good: Session work

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by smoothergroover, Jan 21, 2001.

  1. My ambition is to earn a living by playing bass. There were some good articles on session work in Bassist magazine but they raised some big questions:

    -How good is good enough to do sessions?
    -Can I get into work on a part time basis, assuming I am competent and not instantly rejected for having a somewhat unfashionable and stereotyped day job (The Army)?

    Hopefully some of the professionals (Bruce and Steve Lawson spring to mind in the UK) can help me out on this one...
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well, I don't know where people get the impression that I'm a professional - I've always been a part-timer and have never been able to devote as much time as I wanted to music.

    I have met a few session players over here, but I think everyone is different. I mean I could say that they are all excellent sight readers who can play anything at the drop of a hat. But then you can probably find examples who don't read and just have a good ear and have played on a few "hip" records and have the "sought-after" sound of the moment.

    My view is that in the music industry - being in the "right place at the right time" can be worth more than any amount of experience and expertise. Of course if we are talking orchestral session players, then they will have to have a lifetime's experience and knowledge of theory and reading. The session players who have a Jazz background will also really know their stuff, but in the world of popular music, I think it can be much more of a lottery and it's often a case of who the producer's heard of or just "contacts".

    I think Steve Lawson might be a better peson to ask, as from his articles in Bassist magazine, he must know a lot of session players - why not put the question in his part of the forum?
  3. MJB


    Mar 17, 2000
  4. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    How good is good:

    -- Being able to sightread moderately complex parts and get it right in one take

    -- Being comfortable with all styles of music

    -- Being able to reproduce the sound of another bassist after hearing it (i.e. when you get asked "can you play something that sounds like this?")

    -- Being able to play to click tracks or pre-recorded parts

    -- Being able to make up a good bass line by ear on the spot after hearing a quick rundown of the song

  5. Many thanks! Carol Kaye's site is excellent but I need more time to absorb it. Bruce, you give the impression that you are a pro because in all your posts you act in a mature and professional manner. In another thread Gard said that I shouldn't be intimidated - he is semi-pro too - but the same applies. Sorry for banging on a bit but you have all been v. helpful - and as soon as I can I'll contact Steve...:)
  6. Hey Bruce, quick, help me hide the Rana Ross thread before smoothergroover sees it and realizes we're not so mature and professional after all!!! :eek: ;) :D

    ...seriously though, thanks for the kind words SG. I try to be helpful and reasonable (and sometimes I actually am :) ). I'm certainly hoping to be a "pro", but not counting on it. I'm getting up there in years (37 of 'em now, and that's not old by any by any real measure, but...), and with the whole Empty-V generation running the "music biz" (funny how it's not so much about the music anymore :rolleyes: ), with their silly fixation on IMAGE being paramount, I'm having my doubts about being a big success anymore :(. It seems if you're not an anorexic 20 year old heroin addict, you'll never make it in the music business :mad:.

    Oh yeah, just in case you do find the aforementioned thread:)eek: ), understand that while I often disagree with Mr. Lindfield, I have a great respect for him, his opinions and experience, and hope to have never seemed rude or unkind. He truly is a professional in most of the ways that count to myself.

    How about we just leave all that "mature" stuff about me out though, ok??? :p ;)...if I wanted to grow up, would I be trying to do this crazy stuff for a living?

    [Edited by Gard on 01-22-2001 at 11:43 AM]

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