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My first tryout for a gig-worthy band

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by swamp_bass, Mar 21, 2014.

  1. swamp_bass

    swamp_bass I love it when a groove comes together

    Nov 20, 2013
    North Cackalacky
    Last night I tried out for a band that's looking to start gigging this summer. It's my first tryout for a band with serious aspirations beyond jamming in the garage. Singer has mad talent:


    They were nice people and were generally positive, but I knew I was outclassed. They're re-arranging songs creatively to make their own unique versions, which really compliment and showcase the singer's abilities.

    I've only been playing a year and a half, and I'm not yet able to follow song changes by ear, or to make up creative backfills on the fly. Prior to my tryout, I had gotten a list of the songs they're working on and practiced hard, but when I arrived I found out the songs had been converted to alternate tunings and frequent change-ups from the originals.

    It was still a fun experience. As they say: Back to the woodshed!
  2. DerTeufel

    DerTeufel Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2011
    Wildomar, CA
    Keep at it. I auditioned for the band that I am in after having been playing for 10 months (bass is my first instrument). I was nervous but could follow their changes and was invited back.
  3. Good attitude, and always learn from these experiences, it can only make you better.

    In your defense, they could have indicate the keys they were using ahead of time, but hey, next time you'll be more prepared :)
  4. swamp_bass

    swamp_bass I love it when a groove comes together

    Nov 20, 2013
    North Cackalacky
    I would have actually done better if I had not practiced as hard; I had learned and nailed all the nuances, all the sequences - so it was hard to adapt to the changes and extra fills without reverting to what I'd ingrained with daily repetition.

    I don't think I'd do anything different, except ask proactively if there's anything I need to know about how they're playing the songs.
  5. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Hmmm. The singer definitely sounds like a great asset to a band. But if they use alternative tunings and change song structures and didn't tell you about it before the audition, in my opinion that's not a good sign about THEM and their professionalism. That kind of thing should have been communicated beforehand to anyone auditioning, and they dropped the ball. Remember, every audition runs two ways; you're checking them out as much as they're checking you out. That they changed things and didn't tell you doesn't make them better musicians than you, it only tells you that they already knew about the changes and you didn't.

    You may yet get the gig. Anyone else auditioning may have a harder time than you did. Anyway, even if you don't, I wouldn't be too hard on yourself about it.
  6. swamp_bass

    swamp_bass I love it when a groove comes together

    Nov 20, 2013
    North Cackalacky
    Thanks. Everything was coordinated by the BL, who in turn told me that he likes to follow the singer since she's so inspirational and creative.

    I've come to the conclusion that the band is not a good fit for me. They need someone who has the chops to follow spontaneously and improvise on the fly. That's not where my skill level is right now, and I don't think that fits in with my preferences in terms of approach even if I were at that level.

    On the plus side, in addition to the experience itself, I now have about 8 new songs in my repertoire, two of which forced me to quickly increase my fingerspeed. :hyper:
  7. IncX


    Jul 23, 2007
    the singer is great!

    ... but that's weird. not telling you about changing keys. i am the BL and i make sure that everyone knows very important stuff like that before rehearsal (unless its something like dropping to Eb, which retains all the finger positions anyway).

    you could get something like a Morpheus drop tune for that lol i know its cheating, but think of it as a "in case of on the spot key changes" pedal. or well, you could get a capo.

    as for the BL saying the singer is "creative and inspirational" ... that only means shes moody and tends to change things depending on what mood she is in. people describe that as "creative" because they are being nice. what it really is though, is "inconsistent."

    it sucks that you had to leave. thats a really talented singer right there. a bit hard to work with, so ... its probably not so bad
  8. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
    The singer has a great voice. The guitar player doesn't impress me at all but I doubt there would be any chance to replace him. They could have picked a better spot to record the video than in front of the washer and dryer.

    Whenever you get a set list from a potential band, always ask if they are changing the key or tunings and then learn them that way. You will have a much better chance of getting the gig.
  9. swamp_bass

    swamp_bass I love it when a groove comes together

    Nov 20, 2013
    North Cackalacky
    For the Eb, I just downtuned my bass and went with it. But that was in addition to changes to the song structure and random melody alterations. Plus, he wanted me to fill in all the spots that didn't have bass in the originals. That was actually the hardest, because I had worked so hard not to play over those sections I kept missing the first note of the extra fills.

    LOL! Perhaps, perhaps not. I'm putting it all on the BL since I don't know any better. The singer could have a heart of gold, and just be following what she's being told is the best way. Personally, I like their alterations.

    For sure, this was my biggest takeaway.
  10. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    +1000. "Creative and inspirational" here will quickly become a euphemism for "creates train wrecks and blames the band."
  11. p-lo


    Jun 18, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Singer was great, which made me click on some other videos they had on youtube. I wasn't impressed with anything I heard other than the singer. The videos give the impression they play the songs "their own way" because they don't have it together enough to play them the correct way.

    If the guitar player is her husband/boyfriend I kinda feel sorry for her, she isn't going anywhere with him and she definitely has a great voice.
  12. Seryna


    Mar 14, 2014
    Changing the tuning on the fly without notice is like.

    "Hey, you are going to be our driver you know how to drive a car?"

    "Yeah, I can drive. Sure"

    "Yeah, change of plans since we are here, you're gonna fly a plane. Good luck"

    That's not professional for me at all.
  13. Schilling


    Mar 15, 2007
    Singer sounds great, but the guitar player is all over the place. Do they have a drummer? Can you be the rhythmic root of a band where the guitar player keeps having little journeys out of the bars?
  14. swamp_bass

    swamp_bass I love it when a groove comes together

    Nov 20, 2013
    North Cackalacky
    Haha, I have no hard feelings and wish them the best. I got to have my first band tryout in a situation where I don't want to make the band - so it's win-win all around.
  15. rust_preacher


    Dec 17, 2009
    As seen in the replies, I am not the only one who thinks you got shafted.

    A bass player should be tight, leading the rhythm section together with the drummer (and other instruments), changes by "ear" create a laid-back sloppy feel and you can never land on the "1".

    How can you make a fill if you don't know what chord comes next?