How Long Did You Play Before 1st Gig?

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by Bass-A-Nova, Apr 24, 2001.

  1. Bass-A-Nova

    Bass-A-Nova Guest

    Nov 2, 2000
    Just curious. Haven't come across this one anywhere else in TB, sorry if it's out there. But I'm wondering...I've been playing bass (ok maybe "playing" is a relative term here) for exactly 1 year this week. I try to practice for an hour or two daily. A couple of jams with friends have gone OK, nothing special or monumental. But with summer coming, I wouldn't mind finding a band that I can actually play out with, maybe only on weekends. At what point did the rest of you decide you were good enough (in yer own mind) for public consumption? 6 months? A year? Five years? Two days?

    Also, did any of you who have played out ever regret playing a first gig - maybe wished you'd waited longer until you were more polished? Or are you ever really "polished" enough?
  2. I've been playing for about two years, and I still haven't played any gigs. It's really getting on my nerves because I'm getting tired of plaing my Warwick in my room by myself. I might be in a band this summer, becuase my friend hates the bassist in his band.
  3. Guitargirl

    Guitargirl Guest

    Apr 18, 2001
    Upstate New York
    I've only been playing a little over 4 years and as soon as I could play a couple of songs (few months)I was getting on stage. Open mics are great and it helped to have a boy friend in a band, so I made plenty of "guest" appearances. I have since played in several bands. Confidence in yourself is all ya need. As for being polished, my believe is that there is always gonna be something to learn or something that ya just can't get. No matter what...GO FOR IT!

  4. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Nova - Don't sweat the "polished" thing too much. The way to get polished is to just get out there and do it, once you can play reasonably cohesively together. Even then, you could get a bunch of tatoos, piercings, knee length pants, peroxide hair, bounce around while hitting a detuned/drop-D tuned bass and you wouldn't be much worse than a large percentage of what the recording industry is passing off as bands these days.

    In my own case, the Beatles first appeared on Ed Sullivan, by Christmas I had a guitar, drove some nails in the head so I could detune it to EADG, and by spring, we took the school talent show by storm and were playing parties. NO, I didn't regret it. It was one of the best moves I ever made. The key was we didn't attempt music that was was over our heads, technically. The guitarist and myself had already had years of piano lessons by 8th grade, so that helped with the theory part.

    My advice is to put up some posts on the bulletin boards at your local music stores, just lay it on the line that you haven't been playing long but are real hungry to just play with others and learn. Bassists are almost always hard to come by in about every town I've been in.

    Bottomline, don't stifle your musical growth by assuning you aren't polished enough. You may make a jerk out of yourself at first, but the lessons are quickly learned.
  5. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    I had been playing about 2 years before a gig presented itself. I was at college and working full time so I didn't have time before that, but I might have been interested had the opportunity been there.

    I have NEVER regreted it! Sure, the band sucked, I sucked. It's a great story: I had just gotten home from work at 6:30pm. I checked my answering machine and my friend, a multi-instrumentalist (drums on this occasion), left a message saying that he had run into someone earlier that day who needed a rhythm section for a gig that night, and he was playing. He asked me to come down to check it out, and to "bring my bass." I grabbed my bass and amp, and drove out there, and we hopped onto the bandstand. He had no charts, and we played by ear, to a crowd of 7!!! It was a blast though. I've had the bug ever since.
  6. i've been playing at church for a long time now, pretty much like a couple months after i started, i dont know if that counts....last night we played at a holiday inn for a dinner too.....i'm pretty sure that counts......and ummm, yeah, i jam with friends and stuff all the time, havent found people i'd like to start a band with yet though..oh well, i've got a couple oppertunitys coming up really soon i think, so thats good!!
  7. Bass-A-Nova

    Bass-A-Nova Guest

    Nov 2, 2000
    Thanks all for the encouraging words; GuitarGirl - always nice to see the "fairer" (I use the term for humor and not a slight) sex taking up the bass mantle! (Actually I know two female bassists myself, both better than me - but that's probably not saying much). I placed an ad this week in the local entertainment rag (for the Cleveland area) in search of a bass-less band. Hope to get some calls, we shall see - I'm with "bassman", jamming solo gets old...
  8. I had already been playing guitar for about four years before I took up the bass. The main reason I even started playing bass was because we were forming a band to play a school talent show and didn't have a bass player. I had checked out a bass from the school and found myself practicing that more then my guitar anyway so I thought it might be fun playing bass instead of guitar so I volunteered. I was actually a better guitar player then the one in the band so it was pretty much my choice whether I played guitar or bass.

    So we formed the band and a couple months later played the show. I've been playing bass ever since.
  9. Check out that is how I found my band.... they list the gigs by area code... Everyone needs bassplayers, we are like hens teeth...
  10. fisk


    Jan 3, 2001
    Indianapolis, IN
    Rick, i'm glad you gave that advice. Thats what i'm about to do. I have a flyer already written out, just need to print it and take it around to the music stores.

    I am also about in my 5th month of playing and was wondering how long other people waited before they started to feel ready to look for a band. Obvioulsy it depends on how much you practice and put into it. But as a measuring stick, it would be nice to find some other amatures to jam with in a basement or garage and get some valuable experience.

  11. cb56


    Jul 2, 2000
    Central Illinois
    I played my first bass gig 2 months after I picked up bass. Of course I had already gigged for years on trombone, but BOY was I nervous!
  12. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    fisk - More power to you! Yours will probably be the only one where the word "Bassist" isn't followed by the word, "Needed."

    Most of the prospective bands I've dealt with in the last few years want an audition package or heard me/about me. They weren't posting at music stores, BUT, these were established bands.

    Lots of famous bands got together through music store bulletin boards. Quite a few I've seen already have gigs lined up. If they don't find a bassist, I guess they either cancel out or get a guitarist to fill in. Many would be glad just to have someone with passable gear playing root notes.

    Once you get hooked up, your name should get into the grapevine and you may find other offers coming out of the woodwork.
  13. fisk


    Jan 3, 2001
    Indianapolis, IN
    Rick, you are right on the money. Every time I look at the bulliten boards in music stores, at least 70% of the ads are looking for a bassist or 'something' and a bassist. I always cringe when I see those ads because I know i'm not ready yet.

    Right now, I would love to find some other "not ready for prime time players" to get together with and just jam for fun. Just like you said, you can get out from there. Network, I believe its called... I think i'll post that ad soon...

  14. Dude, you will play up to the level of the others you play with....Don't go in with the attitude that they are better than you....

    Try out for one of the bands, the worst thing that could happen is that you stink up the audition and don't get the gig......
  15. fisk


    Jan 3, 2001
    Indianapolis, IN
    christos, except for the fact that most people ARE better than me, I think thats good advice.

    You know, i've had this ad on my pc in a word document for over a month. I think i'll go ahead and print it out and put it up this weekend. What the hell. Like you said, the worse that could happen is i'll suck and no one will want me back.

  16. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    fisk - By not putting it up, I can almost guarantee regret later, ("the road not taken"). If you find your gear isn't sufficient, there are other bassists in bands with less than your RC-210 where you would be a welcome addition.

    Win, lose, or draw, at least you'll know how you stack up and "water seeks its own level." The worst scenario is never knowing.
  17. Lets see I was playin for about a three months when I played on a local radio show, after 8 months I recorded a track on my friends bands album, and played my first gig shortly after that. It wasn't perfect, but you gotta go through the growing pains.
  18. White_Knight


    Mar 19, 2000
    I got my first gig about 1 1/2 to 2 years after I started playing. My church was looking for a bass player and it sounded great to me (especially since my friends were the ones singing/piano/guitar). I've never regretted it (through that church I was able to go to New York City and play bass there for a week-long kid's club over Spring Break). Playing for my church has definitely taken me places. I'll probably be playing every day this summer for a local kid's club at my church.
  19. Bass-A-Nova

    Bass-A-Nova Guest

    Nov 2, 2000
    Well, got my ad placed - like Fisk, I'll probably venture to the local music shops with a b.board doc in I play the "wait to hear back from bass-less bands" game... Sounds like most of y'all started at about the same time/skill level I'm at now...
  20. I got my gig by word of mouth.

    When I bought my fretless, the guy who sold it to me was a bass player playing in a local regular duet. One night he couldn't make his gig, so he looked up my number at the store, and called me. Said he loved my playing and wondered if I could cover a gig for him.

    Been playing that gig ever since (about 9 months now).