How long should it take to nail "ONE Set" of songs for new band?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by CoffeeLove, Jun 20, 2020.

  1. 1st Rehearsal Totally Locked! Come prepared slacker!

    29 vote(s)
  2. 2nd Rehearsal Totally Locked! No one's perfect, but shoukd be there by now!

    31 vote(s)
  3. 3rd Rehearsal Totally Locked! This is reasonable, we are all busy.

    73 vote(s)
  4. I never totally lock songs, just the important parts.

    23 vote(s)
  5. As long as it sounds good, no need to lock any original parts.

    18 vote(s)
  6. I hate carrots

    11 vote(s)
  1. CoffeeLove

    CoffeeLove Supporting Member

    Just curious where you guys stand on this one. Started playing with a 2nd band. Learning 16 new "cover" songs per set, with a total of 3 sets (to get started). Overall, the songs are not tough, but many have specific runs/hooks/riffs/stops that need to be played, not just 12-bar blues the whole time. It made me wonder where others stand on this one. The band was stoked to have me and I will be back. Here is a personal "critique" vid that I always make to see where I suck, in order to improve.

    It was a last minute call, so practiced the first 16 tunes for a couple hours the day before to leqrn the catchy/necessary licks, and did pretty good, but plenty of little mistakes. Not every single note was played as in the original, but the main parts covered.

    They have reasonable size gigs for the area, that is, city Concert series gigs, Golf course gigs, Wineries, and of course bars, etc....

    I have played for 8 years, which is not long, but started taking lessons a couple years ago. Wish I had more time to dedicate to practicing, but have 2 young kids and a full time job as a public school teacher. Well, there you have it, a poll, video, and short story:)

    Last edited: Jun 20, 2020
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  2. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    The guitarist is a jazzer so we play the way we like it but may include signature passages in the heads as required.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2020
    CoffeeLove likes this.
  3. luciens


    Feb 9, 2020
    I voted never lock songs, just the important parts. But that's mainly because how long it took me to get a set down was so dependent on the music, style, etc. Also, it depends on how drunk/stoned/girlfriend problems the other guys are, but that's a whole other thread..

    If it's an originals band, where half or more of the tunes are originals, ain't going to be no 3 rehearsals and we're done :).

    But even in a covers band, there are ways to speed it up at rehearsal. What I did was always start simple - just get the chord progressions of the tunes down if I didn't know them already. Even if all I'm doing is playing whole notes at the first rehearsal, I did just that. Once I got those down, then I could work on fills or extra parts, etc. at next rehearsal.
    I could also practice the actual parts at home if I had time. The main idea for me was just to get through rehearsal with the basics just so we had that foundation. Once we're actually getting all the way through the tunes, we can finesse it.

    Especially if they're good easy tunes, this worked well for me. So by the time we went to the gig, even if I wasn't solid on a particular part, I at least knew the chord progression and could just whole-note my way through it if I absolutely had to. It never got quite to that point, but I was always prepared to do so if necessary.

    And again if it's an originals situation, that's an entirely different story.

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  4. CoffeeLove

    CoffeeLove Supporting Member

    Yeah, its covers as you can hear in my video, and I am doing similar to you. I spent a couple hours working on well-known riffs of certain songs the day before first rehearsal, and then just followed chord charts while at rehearsal. It went fairly well.
    Plain Old Barry and JMacBass65 like this.
  5. luciens


    Feb 9, 2020
    If you ask me, looks like you're doing great so I wouldn't worry. The first rehearsals are always grueling anyway, as everyone's just trying to remember the tune and get through it. Once everyone gets the changes, then you'll be able to relax and be more artistic, add runs and different parts, etc.

    If there was a complicated part, what I'd do is get together with the guitar player just the two of us and go through that part by itself, so we weren't trying to learn the song at rehearsal....

  6. CoffeeLove

    CoffeeLove Supporting Member

    Good info. Yeah, its an already established band, I am the newby trying to catch up. I feel pretty good about the first rehearsal, and the crew seemed pleased. Stoked to go at it again, thanks
  7. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    I would not be happy with any band member who turned up to a rehearsal not knowing the song. IMO you learn the song and practice at home. Rehearsal time is for getting the band to hit the starts and stops together.
  8. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    48 songs? Depending on how hard the songs are........I chose 3 weeks but IRL, probably a bit longer. Playing songs [email protected]$$ed is NOT an option for me. In over 40+ years of playing I've never had that attitude. I also never play in or sub for bands whose music I never played before. Makes it easier for me and them. My current band......when we started, a playlist was given. I already knew 80% of the material and was familiar with the rest.
  9. CoffeeLove

    CoffeeLove Supporting Member

    Cool. Yeah, these are mostly new songs for me. We are doing 16 songs for each rehearsal, so not necessarily 3 weeks. I was curious how many rehearsals it would take most people to get one set of 16 totally of this genre locked, or approximately.
    DWBass likes this.
  10. My standard is 10 songs in one week. You should be good to go on ten songs.
    CoffeeLove likes this.
  11. JohnPaulSmith

    JohnPaulSmith Supporting Member

    Jan 30, 2014
    Lancaster County, PA
    I voted #1 but not adamantly. We're a covers band. We learn songs on our own time and often play them at gigs for the first time together.
    However, for particularly difficult songs we might hold them off until we rehearse at least once. We only rehearse maybe 3 times per year so we often let it fly on stage.
  12. James Collins

    James Collins Guest

    Mar 25, 2017
    Wouldn't it depend on the song?
  13. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Mount Prospect, IL
    Covers are always interesting. I did covers of 80's songs with no keyboards, two guitars, no horn sections, and one main singer, one backing singer. It was always interesting to see how the rest of the band would approach the song. The tempo, the feel, and the overall sound of the song was ALWAYS different from the original recording. Sometimes it took 4 practices to get it right and/or change it up to suite what we do better. None of us can tell you a good steadfast rule to follow. The closest thing I can say is that if the band has the song down by the 3rd practice and you don't, then it's likely on you. If the 3rd practice rolls around and you are solid, but others are not, this is your chance to help others get up to speed. Sometimes just playing your bass with the drums, no singers, and just the guitarist is more helpful than you realize. It might even point out a few notes you need to change to lock in with the guitarist more

    For me, here is what I typically go through:

    1st practice - Trudge through, figure out the form, don't worry about the transitions, get a feel for how everyone's approach to the song. Get adjusted to the instrumentation. (Is it the same as the original? Guitar covering Keyboard parts?, etc). Understand the form, figure out what parts you really need to lock in. Adjust to the speed your band is doing it.

    2nd practice - (after working on those troubling parts AT HOME) - Tighten way up, listen to the rest of the band more, get adjusted to the form. When you see the rest of the band is having trouble in a spot, speak up and simply say, "let's try that part again". Or do something like this: "I think I am playing something wrong here and/or I am hitting the wrong beats. Can you help me out?" "Here is what I am playing in this part".

    3rd practice - Might not be needed. However, we will typically play the song several times through and determine if it will be played at a show. Create an ending if necessary.
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  14. nnnnnn


    Oct 27, 2018
    I completely agree about the difference between learning and rehearsing in a general sense, but if we're talking specifically about a new band member coming to their first rehearsal would you really expect them to have learnt the whole set list?

    OP mentioned 48 songs - how many days' notice would you need to learn 48 songs?
    CoffeeLove likes this.
  15. bobyoung53

    bobyoung53 Supporting Member

    To me it depends on what kind of a band it is, if the band plays covers "just like the record" I will learn them almost note for note if not I won't. How long it takes to learn them note for note depends on the music, I will make sure I learn the kicks though so I can lock in with the drummer and I will make sure I have the basic chord structure down cold. I will play along with them on youtube until I'm comfortable with the songs and can play them without thinking of them. Being comfortable and locking in with the drummer is more important to me than playing covers note for note. But if you do plan to learn a bunch of songs note for note it will take some time. Listening to the songs without playing also will help you learn them. If you play along and miss an important part and can't get it just play it over and over again or slow it down to 3/4 speed if its too fast, YouTube has made learning new tunes very easy, I used to pick the record player tonearm up and down to learn tunes.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2020
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  16. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    How long is each set?

    We used to play each song for at least 5 minutes, 7-9 songs per 45 minute set. Some songs were already longer than 5 minutes.
    CoffeeLove likes this.
  17. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    You all sound great!

    Given the talent and seeming experience of the people involved, I have to go with first rehearsal, totally locked.

    That's certainly not the rule though. The first cover band I played in rehearsed weekly (2X a week) for about 3 months before we had 3 sets down.

    After that any cover band that wasn't a tribute, people were pretty much expected to know the material. Lots of people around my parts jump in and out of shows with no rehearsals. Its not difficult so long as people follow the original recordings, listen, and know how to give and take cues. I've had many arguments here that rehearsals aren't required for a tight band. Experienced players who do their homework, are.
    Smallmouth_Bass and CoffeeLove like this.
  18. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    What the hell kinda person hates carrots? Who voted that?
  19. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    They should be rooted out. See what I did there? Root Vegetable Burn.
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  20. CoffeeLove

    CoffeeLove Supporting Member

    Yeah, it definitely depends on the types of songs.
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