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Learning 60 songs in three days....

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by 5StringFool, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. 5StringFool

    5StringFool Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2011
    Greenup, KY
    I've been called on to do some sub work for a local band whose set list consists of 60 songs, all essentially 70's, 80's, and 90's rock/hard rock. I've heard all the songs, and played a few before but a lot are new to me. I've already made a Spotify playlist to practice with... anyone else have any tips that might help me out. This is a large chink to digest in just a few days.
  2. Good luck with it. I've been through something similar a couple of times. Lots of notation, TAB, and cheater notes. I committed as much to memory as possible and relied on chord charts when possible. I also tried to enlarge my notes so I could see them from the floor, but you might get away with a music stand under the circumstances.
  3. funkybass


    Oct 19, 2006
    Make charts. Unless the song has a bass line that defines a song, learn the chord progressions and make up your own.
  4. pedroims


    Dec 19, 2007
    chord charts and do your own lines, if the bass line makes the song then learn it, same if the song is made of riffs.
  5. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
  6. 60?? Many band leaders prepare an ACTUAL set list for each set. Ask your leader to email you the ACTUAL set list for your next gig. I doubt there would be 30 tunes on it! These guys know your subbing and they should help YOU out! Expecting you to learn the 30 tunes that they WON'T play is bogus on their part.
  7. Cycho


    Nov 30, 2010
    This ^
  8. Hope you're getting paid for it...well
  9. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Why would 60 be such a stretch?

    My typical sub gig for a Rock band in a club usually requires around 40-50 songs to do an all nighter.

    If you do pop/rock tunes like the recording, without any extensions, it's not that hard to do 60 in a night. Especially if you include medleys. The typical radio song is 3 minutes. The typical cover band set is 45 minutes. Typical all-nighter is 4 sets. Based on that, if you ran through all tunes with no stops in between, you would do 15 a set for a total of 60 tunes.
  10. 5StringFool

    5StringFool Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2011
    Greenup, KY
    Yes... yes I am. :D

    This is the situation to a "t". Four sets running from 10-2, 45 mins per set. I just talked with the band leader this evening and he said we'll likely do about 50 of them, but he says on such short notice they're not expecting it to be all it will be in a couple of weeks. As it stands I'll be subbing until the end of February.

    I think I'm going to try and make some Power Point slides (white lettering on a black background) to use for cheat sheets, I think that will work out well and be fairly low profile on stage.

    Thanks for all the tips guys, and mucho gracias for the thread link jive. :)
  11. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    why 60 songs? you can only play half that at a gig.
  12. wmheilma


    Jan 5, 2010
    Make charts! When there are than many songs, it is hard to remember them all by name. They don't have to be perfect charts just enough to remind you what to play. When time is of the essence, I will write chords with bar lines and rhythms and sometimes a rhythm with 'notes' that make a contour that reminds me of the line. Also do not stay up until 4 AM writing charts ;) If you are too tired to play that will be bad!

    (I really like the pressure and excitement of subbing for somebody who plays really well! It is a great way to learn!)
  13. grisezd


    Oct 14, 2009
    As others have said, listen and write notes. Make progression and structure charts. Make special note of anything you start. Then make sure you get at least one band member to stay, er, not hammered and keep making eye contact with him/her. Hopefully they'll give good cues! Good luck!
  14. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
    I have a good memory so I find that if I listen to songs as much as possible even if I'm doing something else other than playing, I can usually remember them. The more you hear them the more familiar you will be with the changes. In my opinion the only way to really learn them is through repetition.
  15. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    Hope it ain't like the band I joined once about 11 years ago who also expected NO ONE to miss a note, EVER! Their list was over 100 tunes, and there was no set list. The leader called the tunes as he wished. You just had to know it all. I spent a lot of time writing charts beforehand. The band was good, though, and had two hits on beach radio. But, dang it was too much to deal with. I quit after a year-and-a-half. No fun, purely analistic situation.
  16. Kmay


    Dec 18, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    I have been in a similar situation. Have the leader make the set list for each set. So, you should have 4 set lists. Make notes/charts to all the songs. After sound check, break out your notes (I brought a flashlight since most venues are to dark) and study the crap out of the notes for set one. After you make it through set one, should have a 10-15 minute break. While everyone else who knows the songs are hanging out and having fun, sit down side stage, with notes and flashlight and study your ass off for set two.
    With this method, I did 50 songs in two days without notes on stage.
    Good luck.
    If you forget, play ghost notes with the drummer...
    Find yourself and start again.
  17. Yeah, I like the suggestions for defined set lists.

    I know 80 songs with my band, and I still like to get the set lists a day or two in advance when possible to line things up mentally and make a few notes.
  18. All of the above is good advice, charts etc....
    I had to do the same thing a few weeks ago and the band only used the original version as a loose guide, then changed its feel, genre, key and then jammed parts. So I used a chart with the chords written out to help if I forgot where to go next in the song.
    BUT ...... I also had all the songs on my phone/ipod etc, so if you forgot how the feel went, you could have a quick listen to the songs you were a wee bit vague on before the set. This was really helpful so I didn't start a song in a rock feel when they had changed it to Reggae etc.
    May help you

    Good luck!!
  19. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Honestly, that's a hellova lot of songs to 'learn' in just 3 days. I'm pretty experienced and have a vast knowledge of 1000's of songs but if these songs were new to me and I've never heard them before, not thinking I would do it.

    As for playing 60 songs a night.......I've done it (within 3 sets) but that's a stretch. Doesn't happen too often in my world. 30-40 is average. Don't know too many bands that stick to the radio average 2.5-3.5 minute versions of songs. At least in the realms of what I've done and the bands around here.

    Jive.....4 sets?? Don't think I've ever done a 4 set'r in all my years of playing. 1-3 sets is my average.
  20. two fingers

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

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I was in a band once that wanted to (just for fun) break the record at a particular club for playing the longest time with no break. (Stick with me, this will make sense in a minute.) We actually played 4 1/2 hours with NO BREAK. We even ordered a pizza from stage and ate while we played just to make it even more fun.

    "What in the heck is your point TF?"

    Well, with NO BREAKS we played 52 songs in 4 1/2 hours. And this band didn't do a lot of BS in between songs. There is NO WAY you will EVER EVER EVER play 60 songs in a show. That band should select the actual 30-40 songs they will probably play this weekend. Asking you yo learn more than a dozen songs you will never play in 3 days is ridiculous.

    That being said, I do fill-in stuff all the time. It's what I do these days. Make charts. You won't remember 60 songs in 3 days. Our brains don't work that way. As stated above, get the"band leader" (geez I hate that term..... and they're all egomaniacal dip sticks) email you the ACTUAL set list for this weekend. That way you can put your charts in order so there's no down time between songs while you flip through a binder. Tell him that by next weekend you won't need most of the charts. If they can't live with that, tell him to find another guy who can learn 60 songs by memory in 3 days. (He won't because that guy doesn't exist.)

    Again, I have played THOUSANDS of shows in DOZENS of different kinds of bands and have NEVER played more than 52 songs in a night, and THAT was EXTREME.