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Is Making Mistakes Playing Live Inevitable?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by ::::BASSIST::::, Aug 30, 2007.

  1. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    Are mistakes inevitable? I made two fairly noticeable ones at tonights gig. The band leader gave me the "look"... however at set-break I talked to a few friends in the audience (yes they would tell me the truth) and they said my playing sounded great, and they didnt notice any mistakes. They were non-musicians though.

    I can play the material easily enough, so its not a matter of technique. I just simply lose my concentration and my mind drifts off.

    Is this common for you guys? Is it inevitable to make mistakes when playing for 3+ hours, or is it just because I'm still a hack?
  2. Mike Money

    Mike Money In Memoriam

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    If I don't mess up, it means I'm really sober, standing there like a tree, and not rocking nearly hard enough.

    I don't really "mess up" per se... The closest I come is just playing a mute on accident.
  3. 88persuader


    Aug 5, 2007
    Everyone can make mistakes. I saw Chick Corea with Return to Forever around 15 years ago and during "Romantic Warrior" Stanley Clark made a major flub ... the band, Stanley and the crowd all laughed! If Stanley can make a mistake I think you and I can too! The important thing is how you recover from the mistake. Don't make a big thing out of it and most people won't even realize it was made. And don't beat yourself up about it either. Just do your bast and HAVE FUN playing!
  4. Willem


    Dec 26, 2005
    I have a question in the line of this...

    Is it more important to play no mistakes and be boring to watch? Or play a small amount of mistakes when trying to get the crowd going?
  5. Ideally, we could all play mistake-free and still entertain the crowd. And, I'm sure a lot of us do. I tend to thrash around a bit on stage, and if I make a few mistakes, so be it. I've found the less I worry about making mistakes, the fewer I make. And most of the time, they end up being dropped notes instead of wrong ones.
  6. KPJ


    Oct 2, 2001
    Methuen, MA USA
    Being human, and not a pre-programmed sequencer or taped backing track, mistakes are going to happen. As noted, almost everyone makes mistakes. I saw Rush on their most recent tour with a drummer who pointed out that Neil Peart(!) made a number of flubs, one of which I noticed (he has late with a fill) So don't sweat it. It's how you recover from a mistake that makes it. Keep your cool and move on. If a band leader is going to be too hard on guys for an occasional flub, he'll be going through a lot of players...
  7. Markus Bender

    Markus Bender

    Dec 15, 2005
    I think giving someone "the look" is much worse than making a mistake!
    Smile and make the same mistake again :D :D
  8. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    The question isn't really about making mistakes, we all do that. Notes that are late, early, not loud enough etc etc.

    As one gets experience the mistakes get smaller and fewer and the recovery is faster and less noticeable.
  9. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    I'd go so far as to take the "Live" out of the equation. Mistakes playing are inevitable. That being said, you're never more than a half step away from something that's not wrong. It's what you do with mistakes that is the challenge.
  10. Dan1099

    Dan1099 Dumbing My Process Down

    Aug 7, 2004
    It really depends on the context. When I play a rock show, yeah, I've make some mistakes. Let it roll off your shoulder. It's the nature of the music.

    A few years ago, I played trumpet in a pit orchestra, playing "Into The Woods." Tough music, but, as near as I can tell, there was not one flub in the pit during the performances. Granted, in the weeks leading up to it, we were practicing eight hours a day, five days a week.
  11. Johnny Crab

    Johnny Crab ACME,QSC,Fame/Hondo/Greco/HELIX user & BOSE Abuser Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2004
    South Texas

    The only thing worse than that, which points out to an audience that a mistake MAY have been made, is to completely stop a song.....or train wreck it over one.
  12. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I"m a perfectionist and I struggle with mistakes. Don't like makin them, still go a little harder on myself than I should at times, but feel I've learned a bit over the years.

    • They will absolutely happen.
    • The more you practice on your own the less they WILL happen.
    • The majority of mistakes we make fit right into what the band is doing and nobody notices anyway. We just think they do. Playing just about any note in the scale of the root can sound like a tasteful "choice" you made, so long as your face says so.
    • Some bands are a lot more laid back about mistakes than others. Those bands are a lot more fun to play in.
    • I'll never understand how classical musicians do what they do. I just gave up on that.
    • I think it's a good thing to aspire towards making a few mistakes as possible. I make a lot less now than I used to because I'm a little anal about it.
    • If I make a mistake and review it at home comitting to never making that mistake again, it generally WON'T ever happen again.
    I hate to throw numbers out there, but I feel good if I play a 45 minute set with 3 or less glitches. I see it as mortal and venial sins - the only way catholic school ever paid off. 3 glitches (venial sings) equals one clear mistake (mortal sin) that there's no getting around. I punish myself for the mortal sins. :)
  13. mrokern

    mrokern TB's resident Rush freak

    Jul 20, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    Back in my trumpet days, I had a conductor tell me that the key to being a professional was to make a mistake, and then to appear so confident immediately afterwards that the other players start worrying that THEY were off.

    We are our own worst critics.

  14. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    Thanks guys.

    These were fairly big mistakes. The first one my mind drifted away and I lost my spot in the song. Trying to find it while playing in that "moment of time"... it was obvious that something was wrong to an audience member with "ears". Neither were, or caused, complete trainwrecks, but if I didnt recover quickly they could have easily been.

    I am certainly no pro and I allow myself to make mistakes. Most of the time they are just flubbed notes and they generally go unnoticed. These two were more than that.

    It is combforting to know everyone makes mistakes. The bandleader has to accept that from me or he has to let me go.
  15. oxygenbass


    Jun 27, 2007
    UK - Cumbria
    Hitting the low notes for the king of kings
    i agree with what most people are saying about this,

    i was playing a gig last night and during a drum and bass only solo icompletly missed 4 notes - was lost in the moment rocking out - but because i kept on rocking and having fun i came back in so strong that at the end of the song the drummer turned to me and said

    "sorry mate i proper messed that up!"

    be confident in your ability - no matter how high or low - as time goes on and we become more familiar with the songs, band we all become better!

    Mistakes happen but i think its our attitude towards eachother thats most important!

    :bassist: keep rocking those low beats!
  16. IanStephenson

    IanStephenson UnRegistered User

    Apr 8, 2006
    If you're not making mistakes, you're not trying hard enough.

    It's easy to sit in your comfort zone, not "perform", keep everything simple and nail a basic bass line.

    At the beginning of the year, I started doing more backing vocals - outside my comfort zone. Result: more mistakes, but better show. After a few months, mistakes went back to their regular level, and I can now sing and play at the same time!

    Simlarly a few shows ago we got a new lighting rig which it fell to me to operate DURING the show. Result: A few dogey notes, but it looked COOL. I've now more or less got the hang of the lights, and setting it up so there's less to do, so I'm not getting back to speed.

    I made a few mistakes, but having been through that experience I can now play, sing and operate the lights at the same time (almost!). Had I not wanted to make a mistake, we'd not have any of those things.

    Mistakes are GOOD.

    You should also look at what you consider a mistake. To make an analogy - all photographers get one or two good shots per "film". Doesn't matter if they're a newbie or an old pro. They look through the shots and find two that meet the standard they're required to meet. If you can't find room for improvement (mistakes!) then you're not listening hard enough. If you're hearing too many mistakes you're being too hard on yourself.

  17. Scottgun


    Jan 24, 2004
    That's what Artie Shaw said. In the mediocre Ken Burn's jazz documentary, Shaw was commenting on the Glenn Miller band that they never made mistakes, and if you are not making mistakes, you are not trying. You are not playing at the edge of your abilities, and the result is it's b-o-r-i-n-g.

    Of course this doesn't apply if one isn't practicing, doesn't know his part and is just slopping through it.
  18. Most of my mistakes are fairly minor...forgetting a chord change, but then quickly correcting it, missing a note, forgetting to sing a backup part...however, I've never had an audience member come up and say "Gee, you really screwed that one up" after a set, in my seven or so years of playing gigs. Heck, if I make a mistake during a song that I feel is bad, and apologize to the band afterwards, I usually get "I didn't hear anything, sounded fine to me", as a response.

    Don't sweat the small stuff, life's too short. Music is supposed to be fun.
  19. Lost Drummer

    Lost Drummer

    Aug 27, 2007
    Nashville TN
    mistakes can't be avoided.

    The pro's simply make them small, infrequent, and when they do happen they make them musical.
  20. Yeah mistakes are made. Just go on without drawing attention to it.

    I keep perfection to the studio and try and have fun on stage.

    To be honest I don't think i've ever played an entire song live without making at least one minor mistake. Yet night after night we get compliments from other bands saying how tight sounding we are.

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