How to make it big

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Lanzy, Dec 27, 2014.

  1. Lanzy


    Dec 5, 2014
    Hi everyone

    I am relatively new to playing an instrument, bass is my first and only instrument right now.

    I was wondering how people become pro in the music industry as a bassist, and how I can get better.

    I/e Techniques, Drills, Insights, Road stories, Advice, and anything else that could help me become better. I can read music, if that helps
  2. Jaco Taco

    Jaco Taco

    Jul 30, 2012
    By a "pro", do you mean become a session musician? If so, you have to have pretty instantaneous sight-reading and the ability to play any style of music.

    If you want to "make it big", I would suggest getting in a time machine and going back in time to the 70's or 80's.
    sparkyfender2 and drumsnbass like this.
  3. BazzTard

    BazzTard Inactive

    People usually 'make it big' by asking how on TB. Congratulations !

    Here's the answer: be really, really......REALLY good !
  4. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    It seems nowdays to make it big at a young age you need to be really good and be a cute female.
  5. Hahaha


    Sep 26, 2003
    Olympia, WA USA
    Study song writing. It is a craft that takes as much dedication and practice as any other music related skill. From my experience it is the most valuable thing you can learn if you want to make it big. There is no shortage of good players. Good songs are harder to come by. Nobody makes it "big" without a good song. Along with song writing, learn the langauge of music as well as you can, and keep your reading chops up. You'll feel better about your musicianship, and you'll be qualified for more opportunities, should they come up.
    GregC and 10cc like this.
  6. Lanzy


    Dec 5, 2014
    By "Pro" I mean making a living by playing bass,
    And obviously not at the age of 15

    I want help, not some idiots telling me sarcastically that this is the best way, to ask around.

    I asked because this community is usually helpful, but if you want to be funny, than go ahead. I don't expect to be great overnight, but how can i improve enough to eventually make it big
  7. FA108208usat2

    FA108208usat2 Guest

    Mar 24, 2014
    Just keep trying try joining competition and sending demos to labels, but if you want like top 40 hit it is usually meaningless pop/rap songs, Jaco Taco has a point It's harder to make it big these days especially if you play Rock/Blues/Jazz/Funk people nowadays just doesn't dig that stuff anymore they like DJ's and stuff "Uptown Funk" by Bruno Mars is one of the few todays songs that I personally like. Well hopefully in the future people will change, It's hard to find new songs that I really enjoy nowadays.
  8. Lanzy


    Dec 5, 2014
    Im not trying to write the next big song.

  9. jerry

    jerry Too old for a hiptrip Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    Practice, be and act professional, take every kind of gig you can, play with lots of different cats, don't just stay in your room and get good, get out and play with real people and for getting work: just be cool and not a jerk, being a good hang is a very important trait in people hiring you. Have fun!!!!!
    exidor, Bill Whitehurst and hintz like this.
  10. Lanzy


    Dec 5, 2014
  11. mdogs

    mdogs Supporting Member

    Seriously, you ask a question like this you need to expect to be ridiculed. Especially given the fact that a large portion of the people on here are either trying to figure out the same thing or figure out how they didn't make it big...
  12. hintz


    Jun 5, 2014
    wahiawa, HI(Oahu)
    this is very true, alot of times personality/likeability win out over being the next Jaco, even at top level gigs!! Obvious answers, being versatile, great groove/feel, being able to read chord charts is more realistic than being the best site reader IME.... If you define "making it" as being a fulltime musician, its not impossible, I play bass for the US Army Band, I also have to do alot of non-music things like daily fitness, shooting/qualifying on the m16, office work, but in the last 5 years my sight reading has greatly improved, played standup in jazz combo, big band, electric in rock band and salsa band, but I also have to play percussion for parades and ceremonies.

    another option is doing the cruise ship thing, I remember carnival trying to recruit at my college, but don't count on having any kind of serious relationship as your on a boat most of the time...

    there are plenty of options, teaching, get in cover bands.... Actually tribute bands can pay very, very well, but I will say I miss playing original music even though I never made a dime doing it....
    edit: so yeah, scales, arpeggios, good techniques, sight reading, learn some standards, memorize jazz blues and rhythm changes, get out and play covers and original's, make yourself some business cards, there is no shortcut or secret, talent is 10% inspiration, 90% perspiration!!
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2014
    Lanzy likes this.
  13. hintz


    Jun 5, 2014
    wahiawa, HI(Oahu)
    Another thing, go out and make mistakes, not on purpose, but I mean don't be afraid cuz your "not ready", go to open jams and just go for it, I had my ass handed to me a few times, it hurt, but I learned and grew from it, and you can always redeem yourself, look at Charlie parker, one of the greatest, wasn't so good at first, and that was the days before political correctness, when being able to sit in with jazz cats was a test of manhood, not so much nowadays!!

    the fact that you can read will really help set you apart, I couldn't until I went to college, but I'm doing ok for myself now financially!! So I'm not as experienced as alot of people here, I started playing when I was 11 and I'm 31 now, but during the work day I can pick up my bass and woodshed, so I consider myself fortunate that I'm not in a factory all day.... Then again, when I was living in my practice space and broke but happy, I had people say I was "living the dream", so its all what you make of it ultimately, and as a beginner your goals will change

    the best thing I did for practice was writing down my goals and keeping practice logs, I grew more in 2 months doing this than in 10 years of unfocused practice , a awesome book is Jim stinnete's "Laser Practicing",it changed everything for me
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2014
    Lanzy likes this.
  14. knumbskull


    Jul 28, 2007
    based on my (limited) experience and talking to various professional musicians, i'd say you can make a living from playing an instrument by a combination of the following:

    - wedding/function gigs
    - cover gigs in bars
    - long-term bookings e.g. cruise ship gigs, musicals/theatre gigs
    - teaching
    - session work
    - joining a "name" band

    the last two are extremely hard to break into, and are by no means a guarantee of a good living wage. most guys I know who make a living from music do several of the above, and/or combine it with other jobs in or out of music.

    the level of playing ability that you need will vary - you can get by on covers gigs with a fairly basic level of skill (like me!); some demanding gigs like cruise ships and sessions will require you to be able to read music fluently and pretty much be practicing daily. if you're considering being a jazz or orchestral player, obviously it's a different ball game (I'd imagine - I think I've only met one guy who played at this level. He was a percusionist).

    like any job, in all cases you will need to be properly prepared, dressed and equipped. you need to be punctual, friendly and be willing to put up with demanding work conditions, long days and low/irregular pay. you'll need transport and you'll need to work antisocial hours.

    there are other more knowledgable people on TB, hopefully they will offer better advice ;)
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2014
    Fabian_Aryo and hintz like this.
  15. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Inactive

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    You can up your odds by shopping at Guitar Center.
  16. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg , Conquest Sound
    It depends on your definition of "making it big". There is no magic formula. Many of the most talented people never make it and some who can barely play do make it. Luck has a lot to do with it. Your chances are slightly better if you can play, understand your instrument and understand music theory but even that is no guarantee. I have a friend who has played guitar with many famous people, Jack Bruce, John Entwistle, Mark Farner and Todd Rundgren just to name a few. He is still not well known and hasn't "made it big". He does keep himself busy with solo shows and summer tours with well known classic rock artists. He said he used to go to open jams and developed a reputation of being a great player who was easy to deal with. People started to know who he was which led to more and more jobs.
    JakeyBran, Troph, Lanzy and 2 others like this.
  17. hintz


    Jun 5, 2014
    wahiawa, HI(Oahu)
    this is sadly very true, alot of it is confidence and likeability over playing ability
  18. hsech

    hsech Work hard. My Social Security needs a raise.

    Jun 27, 2012
    Central Iowa
    Practice, learn, practice, learn ........ DON'T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB.
    JakeyBran likes this.
  19. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Inactive

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    Instead of "Trying to Make it Big", just be a good hang, show up on time, be more than prepared (i.e., know more than one style), meet as many people in "the Biz", and work yer ass off.

    That's just a handful of "tips".
    hintz likes this.
  20. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Inactive

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    First, it's pretty obvious that you need a thicker skin. If you can't take a little joking on an Internet site, you'll never make it in the music business. Second, insulting the people on the site is probably not the best way to get people to help you.

    Lesson 1 - Good people skills are essential and that means dealing diplomatically with people, even if you think they are jerks. If people don't like you, it doesn't matter how good you are, they won't work with you.
    AuBassMan, mimaz, hrodbert696 and 2 others like this.