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how to become a session player?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by fivesevenoh, Mar 1, 2006.


  1. I was curious as to how one becomes a session player...
    any insight?

    also are there performance schools one could attend?

    I am interested in learning to play my bass for the sake of pleasing myself, and my love for music...i would love to be able to express myself thru my instrument and be able to create music and share.

    can someone "work" as a touring bassist?

    I am interested in gaining knowledge on this subject. not for the sake of fame or money, but for the sheer fact i love playing my bass and want to get better at and be able to do what i love.

    thanks everyone, topher
     
  2. Woodchuck

    Woodchuck

    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    Yes, one can make money as a touring bassist. Pino, just to name one, manages to eek out an existance doing it. As for doing session work, well, for the most part, it's who you know. Actually, I've got a session today @ noon with the guy that produced "Roses" for Outkast. Also, I'm playing on India.Aries first single off of her upcoming album. How did I swing that? I knew someone. As for the session today, Matt was working on a track, when a very popular artist (I don't know who yet) heard it, and wanted it, but he didn't have a bassline on it yet. Someone in the studio said, "Call Woodchuck, I think El Pus is in town." As for the India.Arie song, Anthony David, the writer of the tune, called me at home and said, "What are you doing now? Whatever it is, stop it and get your ass down here and play bass on this song I'm writing!" A week later, India heard the song and asked if she could have it. That's how it happens alot. If you go sit in at clubs, you'll find that ALOT of people will sometimes come up and ask if you do studio work. Every now and then, that one studio session will lead to a hit, and your ticket is punched. It's rare, but it happens. Marq has one hell of a resume, because one of his earlier sessions lead to a platinum record. Preston Crump told me that got alot of session work in the beginning because of the vibe he brought to the sessions. That same vibe someone saw from the audience at a gig. Another thing to keep in mind, being a good session player, to me, is more than just being a good bassist. I've gotten sessions because of my ability to make people laugh. Sure I had to produce once I got there, but my jokes got me there. I hope I didn't bore you with my rambling, and I hope you found something in my post that helped. Good luck.
     
  3. SuperDuck

    SuperDuck

    Sep 26, 2000
    Wisconsin
    Yeah, but looks aren't everything.

    There's a thread stickied at the top of the Misc forum regarding this topic, isn't there?
     
  4. Woodchuck

    Woodchuck

    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    :D
    Ahh, SuperDuck we meet again! BTW, am I the villain this time, or is it your turn. I can never remember. :confused:
     
  5. SuperDuck

    SuperDuck

    Sep 26, 2000
    Wisconsin
    I think you are, you scurvy scoundrel.
     
  6. that was funny...i laughed.
    anyways, i think woodchuck said it right, it just comes down to knowing the right people at the right time...
     
  7. MAJOR METAL

    MAJOR METAL HARVESTER OF SORROW Staff Member Supporting Member

    Solid Chops and I am sure being able Site Read couldent hurt either.
     
  8. Ken Lloyd

    Ken Lloyd Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2004
    Portland, Maine
    Success, some say, is the intersection of preparation and opportunity.

    It's great if you know a lot of people, but you've got to know your stuff. If you can't play really well, and usually in many styles, you might not get called back to record. Most session players can read music intuitively, and flawlessly.

    Everybody wants to play sessions. If you get more session work than you can handle, I'll bet there are many players here on TB willing to help out.


    [
    QUOTE=fivesevenoh]I was curious as to how one becomes a session player...
    any insight?

    also are there performance schools one could attend?

    I am interested in learning to play my bass for the sake of pleasing myself, and my love for music...i would love to be able to express myself thru my instrument and be able to create music and share.

    can someone "work" as a touring bassist?

    I am interested in gaining knowledge on this subject. not for the sake of fame or money, but for the sheer fact i love playing my bass and want to get better at and be able to do what i love.

    thanks everyone, topher[/QUOTE]
     
  9. thanks so much everyone.

    so i should become versatile and be able to sight read?
    right on.

    I'm not looking to become a session player right now, im not that good yet, but i figured 10 years or so down the line, id like to give it a shot once i think my chops are good enough.

    btw, woodchuck congrats on the whole indie arie thing. thats rad. and thanks for the info. it helped a lot :)
     
  10. Actually at the moment I'm attending Cabrillo in Aptos in hopes of transfering to Berklee to get a degree in musical preformance, which I'm hoping will lead to a steady job as a studio musician. My current tutor who I'm working with is quite the humble bassist, very talented with many hook ups. One day he decides to cancel the lesson, reschedules it a few days later, I go in and ask what happened. Turns out he's starting to play gigs with John Lee Hooker Jr. Intresting how life works out sometimes.
     
  11. Fivesevenoh, sight-reading is essential. Also, you should be quite comfortable on many styles of music, as mentioned before.

    You would probably also find that producers would expect you to have a clean style, with little or no technique oddities.

    Also, you might find that you will need to relocate to California or New York, but as I live in Australia, I'm not sure about that. Over here, I would need to relocate to Melbourne or Sydney to get enough work to make a living out of it.

    YMMV
     
  12. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    The catch-22 of getting session work is you get it by playing live!

    All the famous studio players...the Funk Brothers, Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, Carol Kaye, Chuck Rainey, Marcus Miller, Nathan East, Willie Weeks, etc. all worked their butts off doing everything from weddings to frat parties to strip clubs and then got noticed by someone who needed musicians to do a recording date.

    This has been my own experience, too. Every time someone asked me to play on a session was because I had done some gigs with them in the past.

    Once you get that first session, THEN you need to have all the skills ready...great sound, great groove, be able to lock in with anybody immediately, be able to sightread complicated charts in one pass...plus be fun and easy to work with.
     
  13. Woodchuck

    Woodchuck

    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    One more thing: GET SOME BUSINESS CARDS!!!!!!
     
  14. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    :cool:
    Jump in a time machine, and go back to 1970?
    It's hard, good luck.
    Nashville is good example, so many great players in that one place.
    Sometimes it does not matter how good you are.
    You just can't break in.