How much input do you have in your band?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by FretGrinder, May 1, 2001.

  1. I play what the songwriter/guitarist/etc tells me to.

    3 vote(s)
  2. I have as much creative input as anyone else in the band

    24 vote(s)
  3. I write all the songs and have the final word.

    2 vote(s)
  1. People who play in covers bands need not answer this poll.

    If you play originals, what role do you have in the songwriting? Do the songs evolve through collaborative effort, or does someone write the song and give out a demo? What input do you have into the process?

    How much freedom do you have in deciding what to play? Who has the "final say" in what a song does? Do you often ask other musicians in the band to play in a particular rhythm or scale, etc?

    Do you write lyrics? Sing backup?

    The quintessential "songwriting instrument" is in most people's minds an accoustic guitar (or perhaps a piano). How viable a "songwriting instrument" do you think the bass guitar is?
  2. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    In my band , someone will come in with lyrics and the basic musical elements of their part. the rest of the band write their own parts, and the song evolves from there. It's not to bad, though I would like to write more "on the fly" as well.
  3. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    I write music and progressions on the Bass... Lyrics on a notepad... If someone else brings a song, I write the bassline, unless they have a very definite idea they'd like incorporated. I'm pretty fortunate in that we're all pretty good buds also...

  4. interesting thread...

    but none of the options refer to me... of the originals that we play (we play mostly covers, but several originals) the song/lyrics is written by the guitarist/singer, but I add to it as I like and tell if something should be added or be taken away... although people aren´t always listening ;)...

    and I think that the bass can be very good as a songwriting instrument... After all, the bass is the skeleton of the song... and you start with the skeleton, and then add the to that the organs and flesh(guitars, drums, etc.) :)
  5. Pretty much described my situation, though we're 99% originals ... Someone comes in with a song, everyone else writes their parts ...
  6. I_Dream_Of_Bass


    Feb 8, 2001
    I've only just started trying to write my own originals with another guitarist over the past couple of months. Since the guitarist knows absolutely nothing about music, I tend to get very pissed writing stuff with him. It might also have to do with the fact that the bass lines I come up with are inferior to his guitar chord progessions. *sarcasm*

    I don't think that it is entirely his fault since the last bass player he jammed with really wasn't very good and he is slightly intimidated because I can play actual lines, not just the same note sixteen times.

    For the majority of songs that I do write, I use my bass first, then add other instruments. Occasionally, though, I use my piano to find chords or melodies.

    And don't even get me started on lyrics. Probably something I should have started practicing a long, long time ago. My lyrics are sort of like someone picking up a 5-string and playing without even knowing what instrument he is playing.
  7. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    As it stood (now bandless for a few months) I had just as much control, maybe a little more, than the others, but that's just because I was the brains, and the brawn behind the band. Most likely, this will continue.
  8. muzfuz


    Oct 2, 2000
    we all have about the same input. we can all write songs for each other, and then each person will modify it to their style. Generally we tell the drummer sort of how we want it to sound (usually through a bunch of bangs and booms)... and the lyrics... well we have quite a bit of trouble with those, but otherwise we do fine
  9. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    I did the all original thing for a while, and here's how we handled it. First rule of thumb was songwriter's prerogative. Whoever brought the song in had first say so. That meant if he had parts already mapped in his head, we played them. If they didn't work, then everyone was free to make suggestions - to anyone, not just their own parts. If the band was writing together, then anything was fair game. The guitarist might suggest something to the drummer, etc.
  10. Well, we've only got about 4 original songs, but I guess that qualifies me to answer the question, right? :D:p

    Anyway, all of the originals my band's ever played were written by the guitarist/drummer/aspiring bassist. He only had one bass line that he refused to let go of, but for the other 3 songs, I was free to write my own parts however I wanted. Seeing as he was the songwriter, he sang and played rhythm guitar. He also wrote the guitar solos for the other guitarist to write, and the drummer was free to do whatever he wanted, as long as it flowed with the rest of the song.

    As for songwriting, I tend to do most of it on guitar. I'll first get lyrics down, and then throw some chords over it. After I've got the chord progression down nicely, I throw in as good a bass line as I can write :)D) and then...well, I haven't presented anything to the band yet, because all the songs I've written so far are just...I dunno, I don't feel too happy with them. If I ever write something that I find I really like, I'd present it to the band. Just play the guitar part & sing it, to let the rhythm guitarist know how it goes. From there, I'd let everyone fiddle around with it however they like. If the guitarist wants to diminish a chord here, throw in an extra chord there etc, I'm happy to let them, as long as it doesn't deviate from the rest of the song. :)
  11. duff_hodges


    May 15, 2000
    Suffolk, UK
    When I used to play keyboard in our band I used to have a lot of creative input; you could interpret the ideas better on piano/keyboard than you could on bass. Since I've gone full time with bass guitar in my band, I have had less input; I just let the other members get on with it. I do comment if an idea is good or bad and the other band members usually respect my decision and take it into consideration. I will try to think of alternative improvements but I never come up with the song ideas.
  12. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Thought I would chip in as I have a different perspective. I have played and play bass for various original and cover bands/solo artistes, scratch bands and church music groups.

    I have a band that started out as a home recording project and recorded most of the stuff myself (bass drums guitar keyboards and shaker) I sing in this band so I play, shock, horror, guitar.

    Being a sideman for so long I know IMHO 2 major rules for dealing with other musicians

    1 Let them play whatever they want regardless of what was originally intended.

    2 Bribe them with Cola Crisps(Chips) Chips(Fries) Tea(Coffee) cos I cannot pay them until we gig and share the money.

    You may want to share these rules with your songwriters. :)

    The last gig I did on bass I got payed in Chicken/Chips(fries) and Cola (translations to American in brackets) so someone has got it right.
  13. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Hello Duff didnt see your post

    I suggest you get a cheap fourtrack and write some keyboard/bass/drum(machine) arrangements
    that way you can contribute and still play bass.
  14. Erlendur Már

    Erlendur Már

    May 24, 2000
    The other bandmembers usually want me to do whatever I want to do...I´m currently in a metal band and I think I should usually double the guitar, but sometimes I´ve tried to spice things up. I haven´t written anything in that band but I did a little in another band (we´re on a break..) but not much, I have never written an entire song by myself..
  15. duff_hodges


    May 15, 2000
    Suffolk, UK
    The guitarist, in our band, has a four track and I constantly ask him if I can borrow it but he is always using the damn thing (he has a big ego so that should explain it :) ) Four tracks are quite expensive here in the UK so I think I will wait a while before getting one!
  16. *ToNeS*


    Jan 12, 2001
    Sydney AU
    my guitarist and i, who formed the band, are the main spokesman for it. we work exclusively together to work out our songs, and then put them to our drummer and singer. it works well in that he has a real knack for coming up with awesome riffs and chord progressions that you don't hear very often - ie. he's interested in deviating from the mainstream guitar chords that are so commonly used in our genre of music (heavy sorta freak rock). i write most of the lyrics for our singer to modify as he sees fit, and come up with whatever groove i'm hearing in my head for whatever tune we're working on. no-one really objects to what each other's doing in the band, as it *always* falls together around the 3rd rehearsal of the work in progress. our drummer just does what he does and makes it work, and it generally goes smoothly. the only problems we come up against are when we decide to incorporate other instruments into our stuff, which means working with other musicians who aren't part of our crew. it makes it difficult to branch out and add other dimensions when you're as tight as the four of us .. but i guess working with others is an important part of music in itself, so we take it as a challenge and the end result is usually pretty satisfying .. 'cept that song with the bassoon and the tuba.. that was a mistake ... ;)
  17. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    I know I'm in UK too. The Porta 02 is about 100 quid if you want basic recording. Guitarists egos do me in as well, thats why I am the guitarist in my 'normal' band (as opposed to church stuff).


    Apr 13, 2001
    Kent, England.
    I write all my own basslines. Someone usually comes up with the original idea, we all jam allong and write our own parts "on the go".
  19. My bands singer/guitarist writes all the lyrics, and most of the music for the song. We only have about 7 originals, and on most of them I play pretty much the same thing as the rythm guitar, but on some of them, when we practice, I'll do something completely different, and if it sounds good, I'll keep it. Unless the writer of the song knows exactly what he wants, I'm pretty much free to do whatever I want to. Well, they do get kinda angry when I start playing London Bridge is Falling Down in the middle of a song =\
  20. ASR


    Apr 2, 2001
    Houston, Texas
    Well, I play guitar also (actually much better than bass, but don't like it as much as bass) so we have 3 very capable guitarists in the band who all put in their pair o' pennies. The majority of our songs are written on the go. Someone will throw an idea out there, and we all work on it regardless of how much we might like it at that moment.