I learned a lesson this night...

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by mrbaloo, Aug 13, 2004.

  1. mrbaloo


    May 9, 2002

    This night I had a outdoor gig with a local band. Earlier this week the temperature had been about 25-30 C, but this day the temperature dropped to 10 C. I didn't think of warming up before the gig and I played the first 5-6 tunes with really cold fingers. In the third song I had two solos and guess what: I didn't nearly play any single tone right. My hands felt like ice and the solos came out really bad. :rollno:

    From now on: I'm going to warm up regardless of indoor or outdoor gigs... :hyper:

  2. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    Maybe bring a chemical hand warmer, like the ones they use for hunting and outdoors stuff.
  3. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    I used to have a regular outdoor gig and used to bring a small fan-heater. I'd set it up to blow hot air across the stage. It was still cold, but it took the bite out out if, and at least we could feel our fingers.
  4. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    I used to live on the east coast, and sometimes it gets pretty cold there. Whenever we had to do a gig in cold weather, my approach was to try to simplify my playing as much as possible. Just hold the groove, stay in the pocket, and don't try to do anything outrageous. Usually that's possible even with cold fingers. That worked in northern Illinois too. Here in SoCal that problem seems to have gone away. :)

    Seriously, unless your act depends on you doing blazing bass riffs, try to simplify. That's something I learned from Alfonso Johnson. We were chatting between sets one day, and he made the comment that the complexity of his playing was inversely proportional to the volume. The louder the gig, the simpler he'd play. At the time I thought his comment was a little odd (especially since he can be a master at blazingly fast fretless licks), but since then I've come to appreciate the wisdom of his experience.

    Now, based on my own experience, I've realized that his principle can be applied to any situation in which the benefits of complexity can't be fully realized. And that would include cold hands.
  5. appler

    appler Guest

    So true! I got sick the day of a little party type gig at a friend's house. My hands were ice, so I played basic grooves, nothing too fancy the whole time. Then a couple people made me play "Amazing Grace", the Victor Wooten one. I died. Thankfully, my fingers warmed up a little bit into it. Anyway, warming up is muy importante.
  6. Good Point there also if you really dont have much time to warm up with your bass I find that wearing mitten gloves about a couple of hours before the gig keeps your fingers warm ( ie when your travellin a long distance to your gig ) therefore when you do get a chance to grab your bass your fingers would be luke warm
    Also a good finger exercise (left hand only since I play right handed if youre a lefthanded playa use your right)
    If you know the shapes of scales on your fretboard use you thumb as the fretboard so you would press your remaining fingers against your thumb
    Hope this helps
    Anyway nothin beats a good warm up with the bass in hand
  7. De Teng

    De Teng

    Oct 27, 2003
    Utrecht, Holland
    Not only your fingers, but the rest of your hand too. Even you can have problems with a really cold shoulder, but the big problems occur when having cold muscles in your underarms. Within a few minutes they can cramp and you can't play anymore. Having a drink before a gig really decreases those problems, but don't do it with the medicaments eh?? Coffee does the vasoconstriction too! (unfortunately :D )

    Also be aware of moments, when having taken in particular medicaments! Some of them close the small arteries in your skin and muscles, so they cannot get a proper amount of blood when needed. They can have the capability of thinning your blood too, so that it flows faster, but has a relative less amount of nutrition to the tissue. And then in the end you can get cramps too. (It occured one time and it scared the hell out of me, I almost couldn't move a finger anymore...it feels really stupid and frightning too)

    Cool that have been talking to Alphonso Johnson! Have you heard the 'Live and Unreleased' from Weather Report lately? How he plays Cucumber Slumber there... a real talent!!
  8. Hi All!!

    A good warm up is critical to good playing. What I do before I pick up my bass to warm up, is get down and do about 60 to 80 pushups. That really gets the blood flowing in your arms. I know about playing in the cold, I live in Minnesota. In the middle of winter here when the temp outside is -25F it can be freezing in some venues. I know some times when my fingers were cold and stiff I have blown some bass lines pretty bad.

  9. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    I can tell you now that if I did 60 pushups before a gig, I wouldn't be able to move my arms for a week afterwards. Quick, someone write a song about Lactic Acid.............
  10. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Ah, the stories of the young and in-shape.

    *realizes he's 16* *sigh*
  11. stagger lee

    stagger lee

    Jul 11, 2004
    before i play i always try to wash my hands, preferably with very hot water. this way your strings will stay in shape longer (less grease and dirt from hands) and your joints and muscles are a bit more flexible.

    when warming up before playing it's best to keep to the style you'll be doing. there's no point practising your double thump sweeps and tapped chords if you're going to be playing sting riffs all night. also warm up in the position you'll be playing. if it's a band gig and you're going to be standing and walking about then it's best to warm up standing up. same goes for if you'll be sitting down most of the gig.

    one thing i do before gigs is take a look at the set list and work out a couple of fills for each song. just some basic, easy to remember, easy to play fills. that way if you come to a point that needs a fill and inspiration doesn't strike you, there's always a lick to fall back on.
  12. Hey guys,

    I am not young, I am 46 years old. But I have been in the Army 21 years, PT is a habit with me now and being in good shape really helps when hauling around equipment to and from a gig.

    Rock on all!!!