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Playing bass over 40...?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by SanDiegoHarry, Sep 11, 2008.

  1. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    <The "bassists" forum was the closest I could think of - if it is inappropriate, sorry!>

    I can't find a band, and a part of it is that I'm 47 years old and don't want to play A) classic rock or B) blues.

    Am I alone out here? I'm I the only guy who has been playing for 30+ years and is struggling to find folks to play with?:crying:
  2. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    I haven't had any problems, but maybe San Diego is different (I'm 47 and in LA)?

    What style do you want to play?
  3. kelleysdad


    Dec 12, 2007
    What do you want to play?
  4. Stumbo

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

    Feb 11, 2008
    Song Surgeon slow downer. https://tinyurl.com/y5dcuqjg
    What types of bands have you auditioned for? What were the ages of the members and what did they tell you?

    When is the last time you were in a band?

    Have you checked out Craigslist? Come across anything that remotely sounds interesting?
  5. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    I'd like to play funk/soul something like that. I don't mind loud, but I don't like metal/goth/punk...

    I've tried the craigslist - Here in SD, the music scene appears to be "classic rock" and Metal (doom/death metal I've seen it listed as) with a smattering of pickup blues. Now, I have no problem doing some pickup blues - it's fun to get out and meet folks, but I just don't see myself as a retired bassist whose whole gig is going to monday night blues jams at some bar...

    The last two bands I was in were rather the wrong band for me - female singers writing introspective folksy stuff (sensitive chick music, I usually call it) - I took the gigs because they were nice folks and - hell, a gig is a gig - but I *really* want to play something FUN - but what fun bands that exist in SD (and they are few compared to LA, no doubt) are all kids (in their 20's), and the few I've auditioned for, they kids are polite but never call back. I know I'm sounding like I'm whining here (waaaaaa!!!) but... well, hell.. I guess I am. My girl friend lives in LA and keeps trying to get me to move up there... maybe I should!

    Oh, and the last time I was active in a band was... 2004? Yeah, that seems like a long time ago, but I took a job out of the US for a year and that rather screwed up my connections...
  6. rosanne


    Sep 30, 2004
    SF Bay Area
    Have you tried to form your own band? Seems like it may come to that. Who knows how many others down there (I'm from PB but live in the Bay Area) are in the same position as you are...

    But it's true, most bands seem to want people in their 20's or 30's. I got frustrated this summer trying to find people to play with while my band took a break so the keyboardist could go work on his cabin.
  7. Hoover

    Hoover Banned

    Nov 2, 2007
    New York City

    Consider yourself lucky: The last three auditions run by twenty-something musicians I went on, they did call me back. Problem is, I've yet to meet a band of 20-year-olds who have the musicianship or professional demeanor I deem minimally acceptable. Total waste of my time.
  8. stflbn


    May 10, 2007
    I'm 43 and have not had any problems finding bands to play with. Current top40 rock covers, older, or originals.

    I think it's much more about your personal interests, tastes, and how you present yourself than it is purely about age.

    I also have pure white hair that I'm not at all paranoid about and have no intentions of dyeing.

    If you're not finding what you're looking for, then the best bet would be to actually 'start' what you're looking for.
  9. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    It's a little tough to find 'good' gigs as we get older (I'm 49) and it also depends on the scene. I'm like you and desire to play Motown, Soul, Funk, Latin and Jazz music. Unfortunately for me, this area sucks as far as musical diversity! Believe me I know. I came from the NYC music scene. Huge musical difference and a culture shock for me when I moved here! I'm in a band now that has focused somewhat on the above genres but also plays some classic pop/rock and some alternative (due to the female singers influences). I'm sick of seeing Craigslist ads for the same old 'metal, heavy, classic rock or southern rock'! When I saw the ad for 'bassist needed for Soul & Funk band', I almost fell out of my chair!
  10. It's tough. I'm 51. Many of the guys I play with (I'm still freelancing) are in their 20's.

    Things that seem to work for me:

    1) Don't get fat. I'm not kidding... staying in moderate shape makes you look a little less conspicuous on the gig (also, no white beards and 70's long hair!).

    2) LISTEN TO NEW MUSIC.... don't get stuck in the old rut. I love still listening to Steely Dan, James Taylor, Miles, whatever. None of that matters at this point. Watch MTV/VH1, and at least stay familiar with both the tunes and the tone/styles (i.e., don't fool yourself into thinking that slapping 70's funk is still hip... it's not).

    3) Keep up reasonably with gear. That means relatively small, looking good and sounding decent. I've seen guys show up with a huge 215 cab that they needed help getting up onto stage, and the younger guys were snickering.

    4) Make sure you can sight read charts (not necessarily written out bass lines, but fake sheets). It will open up a LOT of work.

    5) Smile, and don't be a 'bitter old man' talking about the old days. That's even boring to old guys!

    IMO and IME.
  11. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Ha! That's all the 'bruthas' play in my area! It's like a competition on who's the 'funkiest' bass player! I call myself 'The Funkfather' but I don't slap nearly as much as some guys who seem to make it their mission to let everyone know they can slap and the music and groove suffers because of it. Not saying I'm the best but I play for the music, the band and for the groove! That's what gets me a lot of compliments! Yeah, they can all slap but they ain't 'locking in'!
  12. manbass


    May 20, 2004
    Tampa Bay
    Dude - I'm 49 this Saturday, I got my first gig @ 46, not playing Classic Rock/Blues. I am a Catholic Church Bassist. I play anything from 17th Century cinematic hymns to Switchfoot. Read from Grand Staff Classical library notation to tab printed off the web to memorizing from audio. I can walk into almost any band situation now as a result (a couple weeks under Jeff Berlins thumb helped as well).

    Sounds like you just need to network.:D
  13. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I guess I'm fortunate. I'm 42, live in a small town, not a lot going on musically, but still manage to play about 5 times a month in a cover band, a jazz trio, a quartet and a funk/soul/jam quartet. The cover band is with guys who aren't even 30 yet. The trio's average age is a little older than me, the quartet is younger guys again.

    My wife is much younger than me, I teach high school and seem to hang with younger people so I tend to stay up on current trends and poeple just think I'm younger. Most people wouldn't guess I'm over 40 - even though I'm fat and gray. I don' tthink it matters when you find the right mix of people the band works - no matter the ages of the members.

    When I wasn't playing in a band, I started playing in the Contemporary Service at church. That has been fun and was a great outlet for me until things picked up. Got me back in church which wasn't bad, either. I still do it and have a great time.

    Good luck.
  14. Stumbo

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

    Feb 11, 2008
    Song Surgeon slow downer. https://tinyurl.com/y5dcuqjg
    I suggest getting a business card printed and going to various clubs/venues and when you find a group playing what you want to play, chat them up and give them your card. Maybe they have friends who are looking for a bass player or sometime down the road, one of them will need a bass player.

    I also suggest that you keep playing the gigs you can get just to keep your hand in it because if you find a group that wants you, one of the questions that may come up is "what are you doing now?". You'll be able to say that you've been playing out regularly and waiting for a call from a group.

    Or, in addition to the above, get a about 100 songs together of the type you like, place you're own ads and get a group together on your own. Maybe there's a bunch of SD musicians just like you waiting for the opportunity to get cool funk/soul group together.

    Never know until you ask.
  15. I'm 44 and I've not had a problem finding bands to play with at all. In fact, at one time I was in 3 bands with another trying to get me to play for their band. However, I think at least in the Cincy, Ohio area there is a shortage of good bass players hence other bands trying to steal way other players.

    I've only ran into one band that put age or looks as the determining factor on whether or not to audition me. After seeing them live, I have to be honest with you, they should have focused more on the musicianship rather than "the look." They weren't all that & a bag of chips!
  16. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    I think a problem with San Diego is that many folks who really can play who are over 30 have left for greener pastures. Part of it is that there just isn't much of a scene here - very, very few venues for original music and not even that many for cover bands.

    But these suggestions are all good - thanks
  17. I still love it too, but it mainly stays at home and in music stores at this point:p
  18. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Okay, I have a additional question: For those of you in funky bands (somewhat like I described) could you share some of your set lists of more modern songs? Yes, I'm old, yes my ipod mostly has jazz and old reptile music on it - What's new that's considered funky (aside from RHCP, which I have a handle on)

  19. dereklol23


    Jul 28, 2008
    My dad's 52, (plays guitar though :p) Is half deaf and still plays on the regular
  20. I have found the opposite problem. I'm 33 and have been trying to find people much older than I am to play old blues music, BB King, Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, ect. only to find most are younger people that claim to play blues and actually play country/rock. Or if I do find something close to what I'm looking for they already have a great bass player that has been with them for years.

    Oh maybe I should edit this before someone does for me....yes I realize this is not typical packed bar/top 40 set list music, thats not why I play music (been there, not for me). Its just the music I like to jam to.

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