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Playing with others ...

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by keithconn, Feb 6, 2002.

  1. When would you say is a good time to start playing with others? And what EXACTLY is expected of you when you start playing with others. I'm talking your standard cover band situation.

    I started playing about 6months ago. As some of you may know I came from playing the drums for about 12 years. So I have a knowledge of music. I am at the point of knowing all the notes on the fret board, major scales, (maj, min, dim)chord tones, some basic blues lines, and I can pick up songs with a little work.

    Thing is, with the drums I started playing when everyone else was starting to play ... so everyone sucked, and was learning together. Now I suck, and am learning, but am going to be playing with people that have been playing for years, unless I start hanging out with kids 12years younger than me! - which is not happening!

    I would just like to know what to expect when and if I ever start playing with people again! And let me tell you, stick with one instrument, because it sucks ... I am just dying to start playing with bands again!!

    Later -
  2. Well, I've only been in garage bands and jamming with friends, so I'm no expert on this. What I can say is try to hook up with people who are into the same type of music. One band I was in consisted of: Lead guitarist into The Grateful Dead, NRPS
    Rhythm guitarist into Jazz, classical
    Drummer into Grateful Dead - That was it!
    Keyboard into Classical*
    Bass (Me) into Jazz, R&B, Pop, Folk, C&W
    Singer - Very pretty girl - hardly ever showed up
    always going on dates. When she did show up
    she sounded like Linda Ronstadt

    My point: We weren't great, but, we were good. The fact that we were all into different types of music is what basically torn this band apart; no one could agree on what to play, and some people never heard some of the songs others wanted to play. I'm all for having a open mind, but, IMHO and from this experience, it doesn't work if you want to put a band together. Don't try to be a musical "Jack of all trades," be a "Master of one."
    Focus on one thing, and do it well.

    Just my $.02

    Mike J.

    *Our keyboard player was classically trained, and VERY GOOD. There were two problems with her though: 1.) She had no feel for Rock 'n Roll, or anything that wasn't written on sheet music.
    2.) She was going out with the rythm guitarist --- then they broke up. And both stayed in the band. And refused to talk to each other. I think you can figure out the rest. :rolleyes: I still might try to write this into a movie script. We coulda been a contender. :(
  3. Well we could use a good drummer is you fancy commuting from LI to UK a couple of times per week......;)

    I don't know. It's a tough one, isn't it?

    I'm certain your previous musical experience will count for quite a bit when you do hook up with other guys, even though as a bassist you might not be up to speed, as it were.

    As a drummer you'll obviously be aware of what you wanted from a bassist so as a bassist you should be able to provide for the drummer :D

    Just go for it, I guess.

    Best of luck.

  4. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    It's hard to restrain myself when you serve up a straight line like this one! :D

    But I'll try............

    Seriously Keith, you've gotta have a couple of basic abilities, IMO, before you can play with others...at least in a serious band context as opposed to just "jamming" with friends. Basic skill #1 is being able to learn, retain and play the material. Having to work (even work hard ) at learning tunes is no crime, as long as the end result is that you've got your part down. Basic skill #2 is being able to listen to everyone and recognize when a part is wrong, either rhythmically or harmonically. Basic skill #3 is good time...at least always knowing where "one" is, and having the ability to recognize time fluctuations when they happen.

    Don't be afraid to play with guys who are better than you are; in fact this is a good thing. On the flipside, be honest with yourself regarding your own abilities and don't expect too much of yourself, especially having been playing bass for such a short time. My advice to you in the meantime would be to learn as many tunes as you can by ear, regardless of style or degree of difficulty. If you're able to learn your part correctly , even if you have to work hard to get it down, your success will be the best indication that you do indeed possess the above basic skills.
  5. Personally, I don't think you should dismiss hanging out with kids 12 years younger than you. They might surprise you, and you might even learn something.

    Take some of the younger folks around here for example, they're extremely serious about music, and spend a good bit of time practicing.

    Just my $.02.

  6. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Start playing with others ASAP! It may be a little while before you can GIG with others, but practicing bass alone is completely different from playing in a band situation, and the sooner that you get used to this, the better.

    Besides, playing with others is more fun, they can help you out (and vice versa), and you'll notice that you improve faster.

    It's starting to get a bit cliche here on TB but I'll say it anyway: If the people you play with are better than you, you pick up the slack to catch up with them; if they are worse than you, you learn from their mistakes.
  7. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    My advice is to keep it simple and low-pressure for yourself;

    - come prepared; have everything you need and two of everything that might screw up; battery (if bass is active), extra strings, extra instrument cable.

    - beforehand, get some songs they usually play, play them like the originals, and make sure they play them in the same key as the originals. If they have been at it for some years, they'll often burn you a copy of the songs they want to start off with.

    - be personable, don't mess around between songs, get away from your speakers so you can hear what everyone else is playing.

    - when it's over, thank them and see if they make arrangements for the next session. If they don't, ask whoever appears to be the leader if you should call about the next session or if they'll call you.

    The band I play with the least has guys who are 12 years younger than I and more. They have a respect for music that pre-dated them and like to play it. I have repsect for newer music, I stay knowledgable about it, can play the newer stuff, and can talk about it. Consequently, we have a high degree of mutual respect for each other. As the oldest guy by a definite margin, they have a lot of respect for what I say and play and always want my opinions. They are more mature than I was at their ages, and I respect them.

    It can work.
  8. bizzaro


    Aug 21, 2000
    It is a process and the sooner you get into it the sooner it will fall into place. Don't let yourself get discouraged. Really stick to the basics at first and HAVE FUN :D
  9. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    I was in a similar boat. I had not played bass in a number of years... forgotten most of what I learned and suddenly wanted to do it again.

    There are more people like that than you know. People that played in highschool, but then dropped it and got a job, etc etc... eventually wanted to play again and wind up just like you and me.

    30 something years old... haven't played in 10 years. You will find guys to play with. Place an ad in your local paper, and go for it!
  10. bizzaro


    Aug 21, 2000
    I guess I forgot to mention that I didn't start playing till I was well into my 40's. I was lucky and hooked up with some talented and seasoned mucisians. They pushed me way beyond my limits. By many years I was the oldest member of the band, but we were all adults. I am now 46 and don't intend to ever stop. I am in different band now getting ready to play out this spring.

    Like Gabu said, their are a lot of us out there. And at all levels of ability.
  11. Thanks for the support. I know that its very similar to playing the drums in that its 'learn the songs, be nice, play what they want you to at first' ... i never had a problem with being accepted as far as that stuff ... but you know, there were 'secrets' of playing the drums, and Im sure its the same with the bass, which made me feel confident that I was doing the correct thing. But I guess that ONLY comes from playing with others, and gaining that confidence that you get from playing with others.

    My comment about players 12 years younger was not meant to say all 18 year olds are undesirable. I was just being 'bad' and generalizing, saying that I don't want to do the drinking, partying, dream of rock and roll status thing again... but I know that that's just generalizing - sorry!

    Thanks again -
  12. Bands are more patient with bass players, because we're harder to find, at least in my personal experience. I joined my first band before I even really knew what I was doing (as if I do now), but a rookie bass player is better than no bass player at all to some bands. Give it a shot, what have you got to lose?

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