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How to become a pro bassist?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Jay boogs, Jun 14, 2017.

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  1. Jay boogs

    Jay boogs Banned

    Feb 21, 2017
    I have been playing bass for a year and after just exploring music and just life in general I realized I want to become a pro bassist . My playing is OK but I feel I'm bad and probably won't make it to being a pro but anyways I would like to know the steps needed to become pro or at least close to it. BTW my style is typically roots, fifths, thirds, octaves and chromatic and diatonic movement
  2. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    1) Practice
    2) Get in a band and learn how to function with a drummer. Join the first band you can and play with others. Play styles you don't even like (as they will teach you something).
    3) Network - Meet with any pro musician you can find. Find out what they did. Find out who they know. Go to open mic nights. Go to other bands' shows.
    4) If practice and playing and networking in a band doesn't get you moving in the right direction quickly enough try formal lessons/education. Then repeat steps 1-3.
    Rickter, JGbassman, zac2944 and 20 others like this.
  3. bass12

    bass12 And Grace, too

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    Be as good at business and networking as you are at playing and understand the rule of supply and demand.
  4. Jay boogs

    Jay boogs Banned

    Feb 21, 2017
    this is me playing at my schools music show
  5. Jay boogs

    Jay boogs Banned

    Feb 21, 2017
    Sometimes I can feel down about my playing and feel it won't happen
  6. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    You've been playing for a year. You don't have a "style".

    All "pro" means is getting paid to play.

    1 Play with people better than you as often as possible. Learn from your mistakes.
    2 Take every paying gig you are offered. Make them glad they hired you.
    4 Pro.
  7. knumbskull


    Jul 28, 2007
    Define "pro" -

    Covers/function band player
    Touring/studio session musician
    Bassist with successful originals band

    Any way you play it, you'll need to work hard at networking, running multiple jobs at the same time, and giving music lessons on the side to pay your bills. You'll need to be 10x smarter with money than your friends and work 20x harder.

    My 2c :)
  8. Jay boogs

    Jay boogs Banned

    Feb 21, 2017
    I do have a style
  9. Jay boogs

    Jay boogs Banned

    Feb 21, 2017
    Couldn't have been said any better
    knumbskull likes this.
  10. Odinbass


    Dec 6, 2006
    Cleveland, OH
    Network n' hustle.
    Jay boogs likes this.
  11. Jloch86


    Aug 1, 2016
    New Jersey
    Be lucky.
  12. Gully Foyle

    Gully Foyle Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2014
    Near Boston
    Write a song that no one can stop humming, otherwise it seems like a ton of work!
  13. TjMetalhead

    TjMetalhead Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2011
    New Mexico
    Bruh, all pro means is getting paid to do what you do. You've only been playing a year, practice practice practice every day even if it's for 30 minutes. Your skills will increase, just slowly. I've been a musician for 13 years, and been playing bass for over 8 years. I'm good but not where I want to be yet. Be patient and PRACTICE!!!
  14. pbass2


    Jan 25, 2007
    Los Angeles
    I agree, all "pro" means is that someone pays you to play. You can literally suck on your given instrument and be one of the lucky ones who stumbles into being paid well. Those cases are of course the exception but anyhow...
    You've only been playing a short while so cut yourself slack and just focus on doing music all the time, with as many different people and as many different styles of music as you can get yourself involved with. And in this day and age, I feel the MOST important thing is, don't just focus on bass. Start now learning about recording and computer music production, start writing, etc. That's ultimately where the money is, in the writing.
    Rickter and BonyLindsey like this.
  15. IconBasser

    IconBasser Scuba Viking Supporting Member

    Feb 28, 2007
    Alta Loma, California
    The number one thing I can think of:


    As in, near perfect levels of precision and timing in everything you play. No flubbing any notes, no inconsistency in your plucking, no wandering in and out of tempo.

    Especially if you're going to try to be a hired gun or recording artist, you have to be able to play things perfectly the first time.

    Even if you're only playing simple songs, this is a much harder proposition than it sounds on the face of it. It takes years and years of hard dedicated practice to make even a simple bassline not sound like crap on a DI track.

    Hell, I've been at it for 15 years now, and I'm only starting to get to the point where I can play the stuff that I want cleanly.
  16. TjMetalhead

    TjMetalhead Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2011
    New Mexico
    I.E Sid Vicious.
    pcake likes this.
  17. Jay boogs

    Jay boogs Banned

    Feb 21, 2017
    For what it sounds I will sell my first song at 31
    eJake and dannylectro like this.
  18. dannylectro


    Aug 2, 2010
    Yonkers, NY

    As a working "pro"... you will, like me, probably do all of the above. And I recommend learning to be a bartender as well...
  19. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    • Get a teacher. Should be someone who has been there done that. I've been playing for decades and I still go to a teacher sometimes. Go to YouTube and search "Lamont Johnson bass". That's my teacher.
    • Pick 10 songs that you really like. Learn to play them.
    • Pick three songs you don't like. Learn to play them.
    • Meet other bass players. Your teacher can help with that. If you are in a decent sized metropolitan area, look for Facebook groups of bassists and other musicians. For example, if you are in Detroit, Detroit Bass Players is a very active group of bass player, many of whom are professionals and play for artists that you more than likely have on your smartphone.
    • What two-fingers said
    • What Odinbass said
    • What bass12 said.
    Rickter, krovx and Jeff Elkins like this.
  20. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    There's no quick, easy, or guaranteed road to becoming a professional musician - or anything else that involves skill and good judgement.

    You bring the commitment, put in the time, and do your best to be smart about things. And after you've done all you possibly can on your side of the equation - you hope for the best, and maybe say a prayer if that's your thing.

    There's an old saying that chance favors the guy who's best prepared. And it's true. So practice. Learn all you can about the biz. Be flexible. And there's a very good chance you'll pull it off and make it as a pro.

    Luck! :thumbsup:
    interp likes this.

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