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Playing live and making mistakes

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by Mata Leao, Dec 26, 2017.

  1. Mata Leao

    Mata Leao

    Dec 21, 2017
    Probably been covered before, but for you guys and gals who play live often, and at a high level, how often do you make mistakes while playing? I'm talking about anything from just a missed or wrong note to playing the wrong song or even having a brain dump and forgetting how to play a song. Let's hear it.
    dbase, Pbassmanca and Smooth_bass88 like this.
  2. Lesfunk

    Lesfunk Supporting Member

    I usually make a mistake or two per gig.
    What's great is that they're in real time.
    Once you make them, the song keeps going. They're gone forever.
    In the studio they're forever
  3. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    Sometimes I clam so much that I feel I should bring a loaf of sourdough! :woot:
  4. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    God yes!! The trick is just make it unnoticable. Usually a cromatic walk to the right note will do it.
    You can't go wrong pedaling on the 5th of the root till brain fart fades. Try a 16th note run down from a couple octaves above the root, and stop when you fumble on the right note. When all else fails, laugh!
  5. Stumbo

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

    Feb 11, 2008
    Song Surgeon slow downer. https://tinyurl.com/y5dcuqjg
    Try a slide into the correct note.
  6. mwbonsall

    mwbonsall Supporting Member

    Aug 2, 2000
    Casa Grande, Arizona
    I like to blame the guitar player.

    nixdad, Mvilmany, Wisebass and 22 others like this.
  7. Basshappi


    Feb 12, 2007
    Once is a mistake, twice is Jazz. :D
    Just keep playing as if nothing happened. I have seen major bands have the rare trainwreck, it happens at all levels.
    We are humans, not machines (heck, even machines screw up from time to time!)

    There is an old axiom that states; An amateur practices until he gets it right, a professional practices until he never gets it wrong.

    The important thing to remember is that while every dedicated musician works hard to raise their "ceiling", professionals work just as hard on raising their "floor". This is so that when the inevitable bad gig happens it is still perceived by the audience as being a very good performance.
    BluesOnBass, Conkal, joebar and 39 others like this.
  8. Top 40

    Top 40

    Feb 28, 2016
    I make multiple mistakes (missed notes, wrong notes, flubbed notes). Sometimes I play the wrong pattern (then repeat it) makes it sound intentional.
    I stopped being concerned years ago; playing a good show is all that really matters.
  9. "When you make a mistake, play it again the second time round. People will think you meant it" . Best advice ive ever had from a muso friend. It really fekks with the musicians in the house watching.
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Plenty. Most are tiny. Some are gigantic. But I strive for perfection.
    BluesOnBass, kentiki, SWRnut and 27 others like this.
  11. 2saddleslab

    2saddleslab Supporting Member

    May 30, 2003
    On a good night, which is usual, no clams. On a bad night, sometimes I can't find my a$$ with a map and a flashlight.
  12. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    Small mistakes are pretty common. Not frequent, but common. Note mistakes aren't often as critical as time mistakes.

    Having a brain dump, in my experience - usually reserved for those who don't practice enough to be sharp, or those who indulge in drugs/alcohol as part of their routine. Nerves can also play a part.
  13. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I average 1 per set on good days.

    Just stumbled across a video the other night I didn’t know existed, where I’m messing up majorly in one song. I’d post it, but I don’t wanna :). It’s original al material, so would be tough to tell anyhow. Or at least I like to think that.
  14. JGbassman

    JGbassman Supporting Member

    May 31, 2011
    Cedar Rapids, Iowa
    If you are playing the same set day after day in a controlled show it’s not so tough, as long as you don’t disengage your brain. There will always be subtle little goofs, but you can cover them up pretty easy.

    Stay consistent and engaged in what you are doing. That’s the key for my playing. Certain bands and players can step out and explore better than others. Just know your limits.
    Joe Nerve and the harp unstrung like this.
  15. jchrisk1

    jchrisk1 Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    Northern MI
    It happens. In my band, we call it jazzin' it up.
    Big Shrek, bassbully, bobba66 and 2 others like this.
  16. Bunk McNulty

    Bunk McNulty It is not easy to do simple things correctly. Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2012
    Northampton, MA
    I mostly run on autopilot these days, but when I mess up, sometimes it's epic. Ever drive the wrong way on a one-way street, and wonder why all the cars are parked in the wrong direction? We play "White Rabbit," which has a long drum/bass intro. I started it in the wrong key, sure that I was right. At first one of the guitarists just gave me stink-eye, then the other guitarist mouthed to me from the far end of the stage "Wrong key!" and I still didn't get it. Finally the first guitarist got in my face and said "F#!" and finally, finally I got the message. Now: Because the intro is just drum and bass, getting the key right was no big deal. The big deal for me was being so sure I was right when I was totally wrong.
  17. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    I think it is rare that ANY musician gets through a night perfect. The key is not to make them noticable, and move on. You will notice mistakes others won't, and harping on them only highlights them.
  18. Bass Man Dan

    Bass Man Dan Endorsing Artist: Ned Flanders' Bass-a-Reeno Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2017
    The ONLY way to screw up is with supreme confidence.
  19. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    People hear with their eyes...
  20. EdwardofHuncote

    EdwardofHuncote I Still Dream of Jeannie Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    Southwest Virginia
    As of New Year's Eve, I've been playing bass in bands for 30 years. (my first paying gig was a New Year's Eve party in 1987-88) In that time over thousands of shows, I've played exactly 3 error-free sets. I make mistakes on virtually every song... most are so small that only I know about them, but well... there they are.

    There's always next weekend to do better. ;)

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