Need a little Therapy!

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by lyla1953, Jan 4, 2015.

  1. lyla1953


    Jul 18, 2012
    After roughly 40+ years away from bass I picked it back up. This time I have the time and resources to "do it right". So I took the advice of my fellow TBer's + my gut and after a few years have a general knowledge of how to read notation and theory, always used an degreed bass instructor, KNOW my fret board, notes and the other basics - In fact I currently play with the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music Adult Jazz Ensemble in which we play out quite often. The latter in all this is to learn the genre as I'm not committed to any, I just like to play.
    To further round out my education I've been in search lately for a classic rock, blues or country band as playing live with others is in itself a great education.

    I'm finding that this is easier said than done;

    Therapy session;

    Where the heck do I find bands who want to have fun but are serious about putting in their time to practice and are serious about rehearsals?

    Guitar players?; Is it normal that many do not know their fret board and could actually have no clue what the name of the chord is they are playing or what key they are in? AND they have supposedly "YEARS of experience"?

    Drummers?; ***!

    I have to be honest - I'm kind of in shock. I hope I'm going about this all wrong or expecting to much to soon.
  2. There's a lot of players out there that know what they are doing. There are also a LOT of players out there that have been playing for years that don't know their a$$ from a hole in the ground. It may take a bit of time to find the former. Patience my friend.... patience.
  3. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    This may help a bit. All of the bands I have been in had been gigging and then "lost" their Bass Player. My current project being the only exception. So I knew at least they had their [email protected]% together somewhat. Each time I had to learn about 50 songs very quickly. I really felt a tremendous sense of accomplishment at the first show being able to pull it off. I think this is the best way to go and I see many Bands looking for a bass player. My current project is my Baby. I have organized players from my previous bands.We are playing very different Classic Rock songs from the normal repertoire. It's the hardest way to go about it but the payoff is anticipated to be pure satisfaction to me as a musician. We don't care about the $$ at all. It's all about the music and the satisfaction of doing it right. I hope we can do every song Justice and show respect to the original creators. It is many hours of practice but a labor of love. I recommend holding out for your "dream" team and not settling. Play with people that are better than you any chance you get. That gives you a more realistic view of your own abilities.
    Best of luck,
    Winfred likes this.
  4. Winfred


    Oct 21, 2011
    As NYCBassist stated - you need to find working bands that need a bassist. "Working" means having paid gigs on the books.

    As for Guitar players - yes. The majority are like that, not all, but a lot of them are just own guitar owners. They're not musicians.

    Drummers? Good luck. If you can find one that shows up, keeps time, and remembers arrangements, you've got a keeper. If they stay sober, that's a bonus!
  5. lyla1953


    Jul 18, 2012
    Related to guitar players;
    I REALLY like the "finding working bands" comment. Thats a keeper! With that said, if I find myself (despite my best efforts) in this situation;
    How do I communicate to these guys? Do I need to be able to look at their fret hand and recognize the chord or the tonic note they are playing? Do I just "hunt" for the right note sound?
  6. I think this is all luck in magic bullet on that

    There's a place near me that hosts an "Open Blues Jam" on Tuesday nights, and holy crap! some of the players are amazingly good. I can't say I've been to many open mics, but I get the impression that it's normal is some cases for people to sign up and go up on their own or with the group that they show up with. The way that this one works is that they keep a full band going by rotating individual players in and out.

    You might look around your area to see if there's anything similar. If there is, it would be a good opportunity to play, hear others play and network.

    As said above, it runs the gamut. Personally, I think it's a mistake to cut people off or necessarily lump them together purely based on particular knowledge they do or don't have. If these standards interfere with your interaction with them or they're really just not that good, that's understandable.

    There's a guitarist who can often be found in a local music store. He's a phenomenal player with an encyclopedic repertoire and fantastic improvisational vocabulary. I got to talking to him one day and learned that he's one of these guys who couldn't necessarily tell you "the name of the chord" he's playing...but, man is he playing. The touch, the sound, the skill...he runs circles around most.

    They're probably the exception, but there are people who are extremely gifted at playing music by feel and by ear. IMO, it's more important that you can work with someone. I'm not playing guitar. It doesn't matter to me whether the guitarist has particular knowledge. If he can play and we can work together, that's what matters.

    I know a guy who's a "music nerd," he has and amazing grasp of music theory (a very mathematical mind) and he has great gear...he has no feel for playing whatsoever...

    Same thing as with're talking about hobbyist level players; skill runs the gamut, and you're lucky to find a really good player. Because drums are such foundational part of a group, shortcomings in skill become apparent and frustrating very easily. There are certain failings (lack of meter and lack of dynamics) that tend to become issues.

    The good thing at the hobbyist level is that a drummer who may not be highly skilled can fill the role as long as they don't fall into those basic failings...holding down the beat and knowing the breaks. For a classic rock, blues, country band that gets together to scratch an itch to play music, that works.

    I think that if you're expecting to find a group where everyone "puts in" the exact same amount of time (or has to) or that has the exact same level of seriousness, you probably are expecting too much. Other people's experiences and outlooks may be different.

    Good luck with it.
  7. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Most adverts/auditions centre on musicianship. They don't show how unreliable the person is or their work ethic. I've been in and out of various bands over the last 2-3 yrs. I left one band because the songs were picked at random not what suited the line up and one person was a serial complainer. So I bailed, politely and with plenty of notice. I joined a start up which folded. I'm currently looking at another start up or re-jig. I'm also in a band with some very close friends that dont play much. In the meantime I'm playing. I'm getting gigging experience even if it's rare.

    The point is that you have to keep trying.
    drpepper likes this.
  8. If you're talking about playing classic rock, blues and country covers, ideally there will be agreed upon songs that everyone will learn (memorize) prior to getting together.

    I suppose with varied situations you might face, the skill of following by ear/sight might come in handy, but I don't think it should be an expectation.

    I guess we all have to go by our mine, it seems that the chance that someone you actually end up in a band with being completely unable to tell you what root notes are is extremely remote.
  9. bassbully

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

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Get out and get involved in your scene. I don't care what kind of musical training they have or if they can read its all about the music and can we communicate.
    If you keep looking for a particular type of musician or a band full of them, you might be stuck in your bedroom for a long time.
    drpepper likes this.
  10. Ha, I'll have to wait for you to post next time...then I can just say "What he said" or better yet "+1"

    Would have saved me a bunch of typing.
    bassbully likes this.
  11. Gaolee

    Gaolee Official leathers tester and crash dummy

    I have been fairly lucky with regard to finding actual competent people. Mostly. There are plenty of duds to go around. Chops with no feel and no timing is the worst, whether it's a drummer or a guitarist, since the person who suffers from that combination doesn't understand how bad he or she really is. I would rather play with a relatively unskilled person who understands how to count and understands where the pocket is. Getting the changes right is a plus, but shredding up a storm in some random direction in some random rhythm - no thanks.

    As far as reading the player's hands, the first step is to see if they have charts for the songs. If not, you can chart it out if it's a cover band and you know the songs. Otherwise, there's not that many progressions in classic rock songs, for example, and you can get many of them just by ear if you know what key they start in. There are bass riffs that you may have to work out, but if you get the feel right, the notes aren't quite as important.
  12. gjohnson441496


    Dec 14, 2014
    Hey there! I'm from Cincinnati also, but I live in Nashville now. I took bass lessons at UC years ago with a degreed instructor, put the bass down for a number of years then picked it back up again, about 3 years ago now, and all that training flooded back in, but I am in the process of brushing back up on reading music.

    As for your dilemma, GOOD LUCK! I'm in Nashville and can't find anyone that wants to play music seriously with commitment for the simple love of it. However, it is a very nice musical environment down here. There is a vibe in the air.

    I bought myself a Yamaha S90 keyboard - full scale. It has very nice, usable extensible drum patches that are programmable, can be time consuming (or fun, depending on how you see it), as well as a full size weighted keyboard. Combined with a Boss RC 300 Looper I avoid the hassle of humans. I feel like Todd Rundgren or Prince inside my studio and some nights (last night for example) I don't go to bed. However, it would be nice to jam with a cadre of like minded individuals.

    Again, good luck in your search for musicians.
  13. Winfred


    Oct 21, 2011
    Sometimes I do it by looking at their fret hand, but that only works on bar chords, or open guitar chords that I've learned to recognize over the years. I've never been a guitar player. I learn the arrangement of the song down cold, so I know every chord they SHOULD be playing. That helps, too.

    If a guitarist doesn't know chord names, intervals, arpeggios, key centers, etc, it's almost impossible to tell them what to play. If they would even listen??? In those cases I just open my ears as much as I can, and try to figure out what they're doing, and then change my part to fit it. It's just too hard to teach uneducated guitarists.
  14. strictlybass_ic

    strictlybass_ic Mediocrity is a journey

    Jan 9, 2014
    Northern Indiana
    I'm hardly the gold standard, or "the norm"... but I find myself doing a lot of this. I'm actually working on theory so that I can understand what my guitarist is doing since "play the E, then roll down the stairs to a G, then short circuit to the chorus that isn't really a chorus" doesn't compute for me. As Winfred says above if it's a cover I learn it dead on and go from there, but originals... that's a lot of trial and error. :/
  15. lyla1953


    Jul 18, 2012
    Hey all great stuff - Basically I'm not bad mouthing anyone (sorry if it came across that way), I just want to know how often to expect this and how to communicate when in this situation. I did and do as several suggested, learn the songs prior to the audition.
    Where the wheels fell off the wagon was I assumed I was the only one auditioning. In this case both myself and the guitarist were auditioning at the same time AND the guitar player did not prepare. He knew a few licks from the songs but it was pretty darn sparse. Compound by the drummer who got us together could not keep time. I gave up trying to play what I knew was right and tried to figure out what the guitar player was doing AT the various tempo's (between the first bar and last bar) the drummer felt like playing. What a mess in my mind.
    While this by far was the worst experience I've had - It's the third time I've come across guitar players who I had no way of communicating with - they didn't know the chords, keys or notes.
    I'm smarter now for sure - Going forward, I'll make sure I ask a few more questions before I put myself in a situation like this again.
  16. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Springtown, Texas
    Watching the fret hand works pretty well, but some guitar players hands are easier to read than others. Most rock guitarist I have known know the basic chords, but don't have a clue about theory. I recent incident comes to mind, the song was in F and the guitar play shouts out as we are playing and a change is coming up A#! It took about 2 seconds for my brain to adjust to that. (if you are a jazz player, you will understand that).
  17. Runnerman

    Runnerman Registered Bass Player

    Mar 14, 2011
    I play with two polar opposite bands when it comes to music theory integration into what we do. I admit I enjoy both.

    One is a power trio and the guitar player and I talk about scale modes, modulation, etc. Everything we do is notated and generally played note for note as recorded.

    The other is a larger combo that I started playing with late last year and several of the guys have no formal training and play totally by ear. For example, I ask the keyboard player what key he's playing in and he has no clue. Then I ask him what chord he is playing and he just hits the chord again....doesn't know what it is called. It's been frustrating at times but it has taught me to be a way better ear player than I was. When we do play together you have to be really on your toes because they might change the arrangement mid-song or switch totally out of the setlist to a new song, sometimes one we have never practiced before.

    So don't totally judge the musician buy his knowledge of theory. And since you are trained, you can help them along that path if you choose too.
    Good luck and keep us posted on how things go. Keep looking, there are good people to play with out there. Keep in mind that attitude just as important as skill. And playing together with people is a talent that some musicians just don't have.
  18. bassbully

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

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Its common on CL to find bands like the ones you tried out for. Try to expand your search and always ask tough questions when you respond to any CL ad.