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"My buddy's a pro bass player..."

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by bassmatt4792, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. Had a gig last night at a great little bar in Watertown, NY. It's 1:00am, we're about 1/3 of the way into our last set. I finish playing 'Basketcase' by Green Day (a song I feel as though I do well on; I play it with a pick and add a bunch of fast fills into it). A dude ad his friend seem to be staring at me the whole time (odd, because our guitarist is a showboat). They motion to me to come over and chat. The guy says "hey man, my buddy's a pro bass player; can he sit in with you guys? He knows all the songs better than you." My questions-

    What the **** do I say to someone like that? I don't want to be super arrogant because we're trying to be a professional group and keep people around.

    What does 'pro bass player' mean to you? Technically, I'm a pro, right? I got the gig and am being paid to play bass in a contractual agreement with the bar...

    How do you feel when a 'pro bass player' is watching you like a hawk?

    Would you say 'no' on the basis of the guy possibly being a horrible player, or do you just not like strangers on your gear?

    Sorry if this is a stupid post, I'm only 20 and I've been playing out in bars for 9 months. It's the first time I've dealt with this. And please no arrogant answers like 'just say no and kept playing'. I'm interested in what everybody has to say.

    EDIT: I posted my response to him somewhere in the middle of this thread, but since it's hard to find, I said something to the effect of: (pointing at my vocalist/BL) "It's up to him." It was the first thing that came to mind in this moment of disbelief, even though I a) knew the guy wouldn't ask the singer/BL, b) wouldn't ask the singer/BL myself, and c)knew the singer/BL wouldn't agree anyway. I really don't think the guy/pro friend heard me anyway because we had already started the next song and it was plenty loud. I also have a speech impediment and I probably mumbled/stuttered/stammered too.

    Thanks for reading!
  2. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Intergalactic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon sofware
    "I'm glad you're here at our gig but I'm with the band and you're not so good luck with that. Maybe I can stop by and give your band a listen some time. Hope you stick around and spend some cash to help the club out so we can get paid. Have a nice day!"


    Not really. :eek:
  3. cableguy


    Jun 4, 2009
    North Bend, WA
    "pro" can mean a lot of different things. If it was worded like you said I might say kiss my ass, just because it souded rather "holier than thou"'. But if you want to be polite you can just say, sorry I don't let other people use my gear, or jam night is on Monday......

    He may be way better than you, or not, but it's your gig. If you know him or reconize him and "you" offer, that's different.......
  4. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    You haven't been playing out long, but this won't be the last time you encounter this. EVERYONE'S a critic, all of them think they play better than you, or their buddy does, or "hey do you play bass because you couldn't handle guitar", all sorts of b.s. out if the mouths of people who don't have a gig tonight, and you do. Don't take it personally.

    As for my response, on a good night they'd be ignored, on a bad night they'd get an f you and then be ignored. Because that's a presumptuous and insulting thing to say whether you were playing well or not, and a true "pro bassist" would never do such a thing.
  5. "Thanks but NO, he can't sit in. Let me know when and where he's playing and I'll go watch him"

    Pro means different things to different people. It's your gig and your night. Don't give it up to anyone.
    If he's so "pro" what's he doing watching another band and hoping to sit in? If he's so rip-roaring to play, what's his Pro band doing tonight?
  6. puddin tame

    puddin tame

    Aug 14, 2010
    If he is really a pro he is well past the point of hawk eyeing the fingers of the dude in the bar playing green day.

    That is something beginner players do out of curiosity and desire to learn, and mediocre insecure players do to try and find reasons to pump their ego up
  7. scottfeldstein

    scottfeldstein Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    West Bend, Wisconsin
    I'd never, ever, EVER let someone sit in that I didn't personally know to be a player who isn't going to let my bandmates down. Period. Ever. No way.

    Plus, anyone who approaches a stranger with a story like that? "My buddy's a pro bass player, better than you, can he sit in?" No. So wrong on so many levels. I don't care if the "buddy" is Victor Wooten, the guy talking to you is a class-A jerkwad and I wouldn't pi$$ on him if he were on fire. Who on earth would say that to someone at their gig? I certainly wouldn't. Something ain't right.

    I'd try to be polite, have a laugh, even buy a drink if need be to avoid hard feelings. But under no circumstances would I allow such a person to come within five feet of my guitar or my rig.
  8. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    The best thing, the most pro thing you can do, is have a good way to answer him. "Sorry man, I just borrowed the bass and I can't let someone else play it" "The management won't let people sit in, but I'll come and hang with you guys at the break ok?" Something like that, delivered with the coolness of a studied actor, will save you a lot of hassle.

    Of course, the guy is being a jerk and trying to intimidate you, so he has no right to ask such a favour in the first place. Just keep practising and doing your thing!
  9. mouthmw


    Jul 19, 2009
    So what did you say to him man? You gotta finish the story.
  10. rockinrayduke

    rockinrayduke Supporting Member

    Dec 30, 2007
    Henderson, NV
    Well said, Scott. ;)
  11. bearhart74

    bearhart74 Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2009
    Possible replies...
    1.. If they guy is really a pro and wants to play he can ask himself
    2. No (with no explanation)
  12. Silas Stingy

    Silas Stingy

    Feb 19, 2009
    I know what you are saying regarding trying to remain professional. I've found myself in some sticky situations especially at weddings when the brides brother etc want to get up and do a song. The simplest out for me is to say that the bands PL insurance doesn't cover others to use the equipment, they soon go away.
  13. BassChuck


    Nov 15, 2005
    He's better than me?... and yet... I'm on stage with my bass and he's in the crowd with a beer.

    If he's really a pro he knows how to respect someones gig. His friend may be a d-bag, but the pro should know better. Its a tough world out there, and if musicians don't extend respect to each other, how can we expect non-musicians to respect us?
  14. sprag


    Sep 15, 2011
    Melb Australia
    If you would like to be polite say something like "we get asked all the time by guitarists drummers and singers who say they are awesome, we tried it a couple of times and they were usually terrible players or to drunk to be competent. now we don't let anyone" the pl insurance excuse is a good one. but with the way they approached you I would have told them to F*** off
  15. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    Pro bass players don't do that. They're busy gigging.

    Best answer I found so far: Really? That's awesome! Tell where and when you next gig is, I shall pay you a visit.
  16. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    With that attitude towards you I would say "F234 Off" this
    is not a jam. I never approach a bass player on a gig to sit it.
    It's not kosher unless he's your buddy and gets asked
    to play a few tunes.
  17. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Why is the guy asking on behalf of his "pro" buddy? Does the pro have a speech impediment or something?

    That he would insult your playing ("he can play all the songs better than you") is a giveaway that he is NOT a pro wanting to actually sit in. The guy is either an arrogant **** or he was just jerking your chain to see what you would say. If he were really professional, and really did want to sit in, he would say what a great job you were doing (even if you weren't) and he'd be honored for a chance to sit in.

    I would respond by engaging the "pro" in conversation, find out who he plays with and what kind of gear he has, that kind of thing. If he does turn out to have any clue what he's talking about, tell him that it would be really cool to get together to jam sometime, but the band's wrapping up the final set and hadn't planned on anyone subbing in, and you don't want to throw your bandmates off. He can message you over the band's fb page to get in touch.
  18. A real "pro" that has been around and plays for a living would understand that it is your gig. He also is way past the ego of needing to cut into another musicians set and try to show him up. Sounds like a load of bunk and I hope you politely said no thanks. No sense burning any bridges with folks, you never know who is actually in the audience and where they may fall into your life later.
  19. dbase

    dbase Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2008
    South Jersey, USA..
    I would make an announcement that a "Pro" bass player <insert name here> is going to sit in to do a few tunes with the band and let him have at it. If he sucks, its not on you or the band. If he's a real pro, It will sound good for the band and your a nice guy for letting him play a few.
  20. jmac


    May 23, 2007
    Horsham, Pa
    This is one of those situations where I don't know what I would do at that moment. Well, I know I wouldn't let him sit in, but I really don't know what my response would be.

    It's amazing how dicky people are.