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Playing a tambourine onstage too?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by nsmar4211, Feb 25, 2008.

  1. Go for it!

    8 vote(s)
  2. Too cheesy

    7 vote(s)
  3. Ok.....but bordering on cheesy

    2 vote(s)
  1. nsmar4211


    Nov 11, 2007
    Ok, so here's the dilema-
    My group is having a heck of a time finding a drummer. We've been gigging without one longer than with, so gigs not the problem. The problem is, there are some songs where a backbeat would sound a lot better. I can do some tapping stuff with my bass, but it doesn't always cut it.

    So, I made a tambourine contraption , basically a tambourine on a seesaw that I can play with my foot. Yet......I haven't used it at a gig... because I'm chicken. I'm not chicken I can't do it (ex drummer....coordination good), I'm chicken it'll look stupid! My guitarist and singer are fine with it....doesn't care if I do it, whatever I'm comfortable with.

    So, what's your guys' opinion if you were to see a bass player tapping a tambourine with their foot onstage? Too cheesy? Or just another way to add to the music?:bag::bag:
  2. Marcury

    Marcury High and Low

    Aug 19, 2007
    Mid Hudson Valley, NY
    Get a bass drum and a pedal and play that.
  3. Basshole

    Basshole Banned

    Jan 28, 2005
    Wow, if it's stupid looking, you better not tell George Benson's bassist.

    IIRC, he ALWAYS played while operating a tamb with his foot. No contraption either. He'd put his foot through it and rock it, pivoting on the ball, and swivelling his ankle.
  4. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Banned

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    It looks pretty dumb imo. Every time I think of tambourines I think of James laBrie or Deborah Holland of Animal Logic shaking them away during instrumental passages. Animal Logic were an amazing band though, despite the tambourine use!
  5. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    I don't see why not. As long as you keep the beat steady. I saw a one-man band once, he was playing guitar, bass, drums, and singing, and novelty aside, it was amazing.

    Also as suggested, a kick drum with a pedal is not a bass idea either.
  6. A blues player named Slim Harpo used to play electric guitar sitting down, have a harmonica rig on his neck, and at times play a foot tambourine like you described while he sang.
    He was great, and lots of boomer bands stole his music.
    He started doing this in the late 1950's and played till he died in 1970.

    Try it.

    Good luck.

    ADDED Try Slim Harpo on Myspace, listen to "Got Love If You Want It". IIRC, he sometimes used a drummers high hat set up with a tambourine on top of the cymbals.
  7. JKT


    Apr 30, 2007
    Buffalo NY
    Endorsing Artist: Barker Basses
    My only complaint with tamborine and other percussion instruments is they are too often use by people who have no clue how to use them. if you can play a tamborine with your foot and it sounds good, go for it.

    A major pet peeve of mine is singers or non-musicians who assume they can play percussion just because "they can hit the thing" plus or minus in-time.

    This is a sore subject with me right now as a "conga player" has now materialized at my regular Sunday morning worship gig. :(

  8. FWIW, I agree 100% with JKT-practice with what ever rig you decide to use till you get really good with it and it will add a lot to your sound and stage performance.
    I used to use tambourine and marracas when I was singing, and practiced with them till I learned to play them right.
    You can get quite a variety of sounds out of these "simple" instruments.
    Old Beach boys tunes used a lot of tambourine, marracas, and castinets, and if it was good enough for Brian Wilson....

    Good luck.
  9. nsmar4211


    Nov 11, 2007
    Ok so it's not as bad as I thought then :)
    No problem playing it "right" (i.e. on the beat) here......can't stand an off beat tambourine.
    One reason for the contraption (versus just tapping the tamb) is to stop anyone from getting ideas about picking it up. I hate people touching my stuff :ninja: and I really hate people with no rhythm and a tambourine :ninja::ninja:
    Gonna check out the people mentioned.... see what it sounds like :)
  10. mynan


    Nov 7, 2007
    Grand Haven, MI
    I think you need more cowbell...

  11. bassaficionado6

    bassaficionado6 Something about gumption

    Jan 7, 2008
    Napa, CA

    But seriously, tamborines are fineIMO, just as long as they don't detract from the overall sound.
  12. nsmar4211


    Nov 11, 2007
    Now *there's* an instrument that could clear a room...... cowbell...... :)
    I think the band would take it and hide it (if that's all the did to it) if I rigged up a cowbell and used that for the backbeat....wow.... :help::D
  13. Deacon_Blues


    Feb 11, 2007
    I've done that too once or twice. If someone think it looks funny, who cares?

    Oh, and +1 to JKT's reply above.
  14. nsmar4211


    Nov 11, 2007
    Just an update in case anyone ever wondered :)

    Used the tambourine contraption at a couple gigs, works great! Sat down with our set list and played every song to hear what the drums did and decide if a tamb would work, notated it on my master setlist :). Actually, we like it enough that even after we add a drummer I'm gonna go ahead and use it on some stuff :).

    Had fun with a couple friends who showed to watch.......they were trying to figure out where the tambourine was coming from, thought we had it recorded or something..... took them several songs before one of em looked down at my feet :ninja::D

    As for the embarassment factor...... I just tried not to think about it. Realizing that any musicians watching that might find it cheesy are watching because they aren't at their *own* gig helps......as does the fact that most people had no clue where the noise was comin from. bwahaha

    Found out that playing dead notes really helps when trying to coordinate a tambourine with a off beat bass line. Easier to get foot to move when fingers are playing that beat :). Also makes some of the "boring" songs easier to bear because now I have more to think about......and those are the ones a tambourine works well in! Now I'm eyeballing my jam blocks and wondering if I could add an extra pedal and play those too.. hrm...:bag:
  15. anderbass


    Dec 20, 2005
    Phoenix. Az.
    You'll probably find a tambourine will clamp directly into the attachment jaw of most any kick-drum pedal.
    (this setup works pretty dam good)
  16. nsmar4211


    Nov 11, 2007
    The kick drum pedal idea would've worked fine if I was sitting down... but I'm standing up :hyper::hyper:
    I had to have something I could stand on and play, i.e. keep my weight on it if I needed to. Standing on one foot is tricky while playing bass , espically when doing it for entire songs/sets :). My current setup I can put my weight on if I don't play in a chorus or whatever :bassist: I tried out the kickpedal off my drum set, I didn't even make it through half a song using it! The motion was the wrong angle standing up for my ankles :).
    Did find out I didn't make the lever wide enough, I designed it when I was barefooted so I have to be careful which shoes I wear-found out I can't play in my workshoes at practice in it LOL. Did make for a laugh when the big footed guitar player tried it out though :ninja::D

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