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Pearls of Wisdom From The Trenches

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by The Owl, Oct 10, 2005.

  1. The Owl

    The Owl

    Aug 14, 2005
    Atlanta GA
    Well everyone, here I invite you to post your observations andd pearls of wisdom you've accumulated in your travels as a bassist/musician. I'll lead off with---

    1) Play like you mean it! If you make a mistake, laugh it off and go on, or play it twice like you mean it.

    2) Don't just listen to your parts alone, listen to the whole picture and interact with it. Listen to EVERYONE consciously.

    3) A spare axe is ALWAYS a good thing

    4) Better to have a simple setup that sounds amazing as opposed to something that looks like the cockpit of a space shuttle and sounds like garbage. Besides, the less things you have to hassle with, the more you can concentrate on just simply playing and enjoying the experience to its fullest.

    5) It's not a contest of who can have the coolest gear and how much of it you can accumulate, it's about CREATING and playing!

    6) If you can't groove on a 4-string to start with you don't have any business calling yourself a bassist. Everything else after that is icing. Just to clarify, I have NOTHING against extended range basses (I happen to play 5-string and like 6 a lot as well), but there does come a point where some folks go hog wild with fancy gear at the expense of actual musicianship. Don't be a wanker!

    7) Cheaper is not always better, investigate throughly before you buy. Better to spend a bit extra and have something you'll be happy with for a long time as opposed to something cheaper that will disillusion you right off. Frugal is one thing (being a bargain hunter is a GREAT thing) but being cheap is different (NOT a good thing).

    8) Pet peeve of mine (and it's NOT out of jealousy folks, I DO NOT have gear envy), guys that accumulate HUGE amounts of axes and gear that hardly gets played or is used to show-off and say "Hey look at me, check me out I'm so awwweeesssoooommmeeeee!" (People can see right through the vanity more times than not. Befuddling with BS usually backfires). Don't be a gear hog, and remember he who dies with the most toys, still dies. Stamp out GGH (Gratuitous Gear Hoarding). Buy it ONLY if you are going to actually use it.

    9) Don't listen to people who say things like "You should sound more like--" or "Why don't you play bass X or amp X etc" . You are a unique individual, celebrate that and embrace it, or as the Sweetwater Brewing Company puts on their labels "Don't float the mainstream". Your choices of equipment, tone etc should reflect who YOU are as a unique individual, not what everyone else says you should be.

    10) People who chide you about playing an electric bass in jazz are narrow minded snobs and are NOT worth wasting time with. The whole acoustic vs electric snobbery thing is just plain DUMB!! Don't give into it.

    Your turn-------------------------------
  2. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    1) Always remeber contrast/dynamics otherwise you'll just have a wall of noise
    2) Which notes you play are more important than how many notes you play.
  3. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    What is with all the advice threads lately?
  4. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    -If you are going to play electric in jazz, don't try your damndest to make it sound like a DB, because it just isn't gonna work. Be a jazz musician -- come up with a unique voice!

    -Learn every style and every method of play at least to a level of basic comprehension. Don't lose out on a job because you can't play with a pick or you think a bow is for archery.

    -Read music! Public speakers are expected to be able to read, so why shouldn't we? You'll lose out on a great gig in the future, it's happened enough times to TB'ers already.

    -Play what you mean, and mean what you play. If you REALLY think that triplet's going to sound great, then by all means, go for it, but if you're just showing off your Ron Carter licks, you might as well pack up and go home because other musicians can and will hear the BS you're slinging.

    -Have a sense of history. Know who came before you.
  5. 1. Never piss off the sound guy!
    2. I will take a bass player with a great right hand over one with a great left hand every time (sorry lefties . . . just switch the order of the previous sentence.) So when you practice, practice on your right hand.
  6. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    Always have a light to clip onto the edge of your music stand!
  7. Its the notes they DON"T play that seperate the men from the boys in the music business. When choosing between adding more "notes" vs more "space" to a song, the pro's choose more "space" most of the time.

    When in doubt, leave it out.

  8. JohnBarr


    Mar 19, 2004
    Central NY
    How slow can you play fast?
  9. DaftCat


    Jul 26, 2004
    Medicine Hat
    Use the bathroom before EVERY set. Nothing worse than having to go and thinking about it for an hour.

    Ignore other band members when they frown on your mistakes, yet smile at them when they realize you noticed their mistakes.
  10. Get the gig.
    Play the gig.
    Collect the money.
  11. SnoMan

    SnoMan Words Words Words

    Jan 27, 2001
    Charleston, WV
    I think they're trying to send you a message.....

  12. Gard


    Mar 31, 2000
    WInter Garden, FL
    ^ Genius.
  13. When playing a gig, deep breaths, relax, and have fun!
  14. Fo' Shizzle

    Fo' Shizzle

    Aug 28, 2003
    Don't play with guys that suck............. unless you do, then it's OK.
  15. If they offer you free food and/or drink, take it (without overindulging). Consider it part of your pay.

    Bring extra batteries and cables. Many bands have at least one doofus (I mean that lovingly) who always forgets one or both of the above. Charge him double what you paid.

    Show up in plenty of time to set up, check, and take a short breather before the show.

    Don't fiddle obsessively with your gear during a show. Either get yourself together so you can make any needed changes quickly, efficiently, and unobtrusively, or just leave your **** alone and play. Nobody is interested in seeing you dick around with your rackmount EQ between--or, worse, during--songs. If you're not getting the sound you want, don't spend the whole song scowling at your gear, the monitor engineer, or both. Say a quick something between songs, or during a song if you can catch the engineer's eye, but don't spend 5 minutes between songs arguing about whether to cut 1 kHz or 1.5 kHz in your monitor mix; save discussion for the break. Except in cases of significant and unavoidable malfunction, don't ever make the rest of the band wait for you to get it together--that's the singer's job.

    Remember, you're there to make music, not make bass.

    Don't wank at sound checks, especially when time is limited. Nobody who has to be at a soundcheck is likely to be all that impressed, and however fancy you think your stuff is, somebody has probably heard it before. Save your goodies for the show, when it actually matters. You do have to run through the various styles and volumes you use, don't get me wrong, but you don't have to wank. When the engineer says, "Thank you," stop.

    If you have a good soundperson (big if, I know), trust him or her. Unless you have very special needs, don't insist on micromanaging the EQ of the signal you send him/her. The EQ needed for the house, at least in bigger place, is likely to be different from the one you want on stage to keep you happy. If you send the house a signal EQed six ways from Sunday, you may be making things not simpler and better but harder and worse. I'm not saying it always has to be a naked signal from the bass itself, I'm saying you gotta let the soundpeople do their job, and if that means compromising a bit on what you send them, then sometimes that's what you do.

    If you can't hear everything right, either on stage or in the monitor mix, consider subtracting or lowering things, not just adding or raising them.

    If one of the bandmembers is doing extra work, like lugging an entire PA, give him/her a hand with setup and teardown. However, IMO this isn't required if you're strictly a hired hand.

    Did I mention, take the free food and drink?