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Level of difficulty related to bassist turnover?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by spade2you, Feb 18, 2008.


  1. So, the other day I was looking at the local music boards and kinda noticed that there's constant bassist turnover, which is nothing new in this neck of the woods. The predominant genres include Indie/Americana, modern rock, and the various metals and "cores", along with cover bands.

    I've been in (and out) of these bands where the bassist is expected to be a support instrument. None seemed to value what I do. I was dubbed as too flashy, but I consider what I do as more of having my own signature style and sound.

    Ever since joining my jam band trio, it's basically expected that I step up my role and fill in the gap. It's assumed that we're all support instruments and we all get our chances to shine and show that we're unique.

    So...the food for thought question is....
    If your job as a bassist is very easy, are you more likely to get replaced?
     
  2. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    I don't think so. I play in a cover band. I'm not flashy and I tend to try to remain in a supporting role. My job is making the other players in the band look good. My goal is ultimately not to be noticed. I play simply, but solidly. For some odd reason that I really don't understand, people really seem to love me. My own band as well as other players. I think if you play for the song, and try to make the other guys shine people will beat a path to your door.
     
  3. tycobb73

    tycobb73

    Jul 23, 2006
    Grand Rapids MI
    Geling with the other musicians is more important than complicated playing. Plus, I put the band together, put the setlists together, schedule rehearsals, make the files for everyone, put together the website, etc. so they couldn't replace me.
     
  4. I think that the goal of a good bassist is not to make the BASS sound good, but to make the BAND sound good. There have been times when I have had to listen to my bass parts that are very busy and say "OK, this is too much, and it is detracting from the song." I play in an indie/post hardcore band, and before that, I was in a metal/hardcore band. There were times in both where I've been able to go a little crazy, and a lot of times where there was just too much going on for me to effectively play a lot of notes. Sometimes you just have to do your job and pound out those eighth notes.
     
  5. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    IMO and from my personal experience a bassist being easy has nothing at all to do with bassist turnover. In fact we (bassists) are hard to find or so im told and taseful ones are rare. We as bassists many times hold the cards in bands and are needed badly and are also full knowing other bands and gigs are looking for decent players all the time. This can change market to market of course.

    I have only been in the giging band biz now going on 4 years and have been in 3 bands...i left them all...why? Lazy players, no direction, attitudes, Stuck in the mud ideas on music ,sound etc and having to run the band although i was the newest member.
    I feel bassists need good drummers and tight bands to feel comfort in their playing. If the timing of the drummer is off and the band is loose no bassist will help it and will struggle to play right...so they leave for the next band of the week.

    If you are a solid non flashy bass player who can play the pocket, groove,walk and rock stay sober and show up when asked to do so with a good attitude you will be in need in most markets. If alot of bassists are like me and have half a clue of their abilities and talent they know they dont have to wait for a band 8 months to learn 40 cover songs or put up with crap in order to be in a band...we pick up and move on to hopefully a good gig. I think i found one this time...hope...1st gig this weekend...YEA!
     
  6. Interesting. to me, a bass is exactly that - a support instrument - unless you're in an unusual kind of band with a specific role for the bass that's different. In other words, about 95% of the time I think that's exactly what a bass is. No surprise that bands agree. That doesn't mean the bass doesn't take solos or occasionally step forward in the music, but let's face it - a bass is not normally a lead instrument.

    Depends on the band, the personalities and the circumstances. If you're playing the same kind of music as everyone else around, probably. I play in a surf band with other guys aged 50+, and we have a great time doing it. No chance of being replaced there...I'm the bass guy for as long as I want to be. :cool:
     
  7. CrazyArcher

    CrazyArcher

    Aug 5, 2004
    Israel
    Bass players are a rare breed over here, so there's no significant turnover. Most bands are happy to have a full-time bassist playing with them, beeing content with whomever they got. Hence, I'm very unlikely to get replaced :) I mostly play in the pocket, locking in with the drums, however far from beeing lost in the mix. I have a few solos where I can show off, but otherwise playing technically not-really-demanding stuff can be a nice opportunity to have pure fun on the stage.
     
  8. I think you need to find a band that suits you, and that you suit the band.

    It's not a "level of difficulty" it's "playing with taste and maturity."

    If you're being chastised as being "too flashy" and consider your "signature" playing to be more important than the music as a whole- then that's the issue- not that the parts are too easy, you're just unwilling to tone yourself down.'

    Competence and a good ear trump "chops" in 99% of pop/rock contexts.
     
  9. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    +1.
     
  10. When I play with other people, I know I am--and completely happy to be--a support instrument. You can play cool and involving lines without stepping outside the support role. Support doesn't mean pounding 8th notes all the time, remember, although it's exactly what the music might call for.

    If I really want to play out, that's what side projects and solo music is for. :)
     
  11. I consider every instrument a support instrument.
     
  12. bajagill

    bajagill

    Mar 31, 2007
    Eastern Oregon
    +2:cool:
     
  13. Fnord Explorer

    Fnord Explorer

    Feb 3, 2008
    Nibiru
    When it comes down to pure technical proficiency, anyone is ultimately expendable. I've played in a lot of bands over the years and there isn't anything I do that someone else would not be able to do.

    Being easy to get along with, being able to take criticism, being able to tactfully offer your own, being on time, and being fun to play with makes you a lot harder to replace than what you in the frame of technique and chops.

    Obviously, being happy with what you're doing helps too. If you want to play a certain way and really let your chops shine, it's imperative that you don't join a punk band or a singer/songwriter band. That sort of situation will end up messy with bitter feelings on all sides.
     
  14. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I agree ... simple and solid. I'm not a technical wizard, can't slap for squat, but I have great meter and I'm a fast study. I've been invited to join every band I've auditioned for, except one (out of about 10), and I've never shown any phenomenal chops.
     
  15. HollowBassman

    HollowBassman

    Jun 24, 2007
    Hancock, MD
    +1
     

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