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Responding to ads "dos" and "don'ts"

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by belzebass, Dec 13, 2012.

  1. belzebass


    Feb 21, 2012
    Hello. TBers!

    I've recently started to look for a band, after quitting my first band.

    I'm not a highly experienced and all-tattooed bass player, but more of a solid hobbist. I have a year of playing in a group, and I'm positive to be able to fill a position of a bassist for a serious group. Unfortunately I do not have enough contacts and network to find something directly, so "search musician" ads, here I come!

    As there are a lot of serious hobbists as well as pros around here, I 'd like to ask: What do you search in a response to your ad? How can I distinguish myself? How to show that I'm serious about playing? What information do you want to find in a reply to an ad?

    hanks u for head-ups :)
  2. im not pro so i maybe super wrong

    all depends heavily on the ad
    general rule of thumb is to not include unnessecary information and to make it as short as possible

    you should include experience (especially mentioning styles and genres you are familiar with) your goals (ie are you in it for the fun women or money (haha) or you want to make good music or practise or whatever.)
    your time schedule is maybe too, ho if you have a 9 to 5 you should probably mention that.if you are a drug addict you should mention that too

    !!sound samples of your previous work!! that would be most important to me

    but as i said, depends on the ad. if an ad mentions specific requirements you should adress these.
  3. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    It sounds dumb, but punctuation and the ability to form basic sentences/paragraphs.

    yo im a gret bass player i got all own stuff and just want to rock im not innit for the monie or chicks and i want to take this as far a ic an to make a carreer 4 myself

    It could be the greatest player to ever live, but that will general not get a response from me. You might be surprised just how many people respond like this. I've contacted a few bands that put out the ad and got a response from the band like that too.
  4. NOAH_FX


    Aug 12, 2010
    Ottawa, Canada
    just because you get the gig, dosen't mean it's the gig for you. It's ok to be picky :p
  5. gastric

    gastric Professional product tester for hire

    Jun 8, 2009
    Raleigh, NC
    Source Audio BETA tester
    This. Specifically so you don't say anything to turn them off immediately. Seriously.

    The goal is to try to get yourself to the face-to-face as quickly as possible, even if it's just meeting a coffee shop to chat. You'll weed out the non-serious who will want to send 100 emails and never commit to anything, and you'll find it more enjoyable talking to the people in person to get a real feel for personality, etc.
  6. drpepper

    drpepper Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2009
    Columbia, Maryland
    I was recently on the search myself. Fortunately, it didn't take me long. I think luck in timing can play a big role. I found ads for two band that I was interested in. I had two auditions and was offered both spots (and I took one). I was told that my dealings and communications with them were clear and professional.

    I was ready with a list of all the songs I knew and links to be able to see and hear me.

    One ad was very short on information and my response to the ad was this:


    I'm a bassist located in Columbia. I'm interested in finding out about what you have going on.


    That led to some back and forth of questions and answers so that I knew I was interested in an audition and they knew they were interested in seeing me and then ultimately to an audition.

    The second ad was full of information...identified the band, gave a website, answered most questions I had, said what they were looking for, and gave the name of the contact person. I knew I was interested in an audition.

    This was my initial response to that ad:

    Hi Aaron,

    I'd be interested in an audition. Profile-wise, I'm 40+ with a family and full-time job. Playing out a couple of times per month is what I'm looking for.

    On history, I was involved in playing through high school and college and then gave it up (now that I'm playing again, I'm not sure why that happened). Approximately 3 years ago, when my son started taking guitar lessons with my old guitarist, the juices got flowing again, and I picked back up with it and have been with a band called Tension since then. I recently decided to leave Tension. I'm trying to find something that's a better overall fit, in terms of personality and vision for the band/show (your description of "making the party fun and keeping the dance floor full" is more in line with the shared vision I'd like to find).

    Since reconnecting with the guys from my high school days, I'm also playing with a loosely put together group that's mostly for fun. They are all way too busy to become a regularly gigging band, but it's something that's keeping me connected to and active with playing, so it's something I intend to continue with as a sideline.

    I have some backing vocal/harmonization ability and I'd judge myself to be a reasonably fast learner.

    I just left Tension, so if you'd like to get some idea of what I've been doing, pictures and a handful of videos including me are on the band's facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/tensionrockandroll). There's also some videos on my personal page (I believe they're public).

    I'm also attaching a list of most of the songs I've played over the last couple of years, again, so you can get an idea of what I've been doing. The ones with asterisks were in fairly recent rotation. The others might have been a while since played, or they were learned and were either dropped or just didn't make it to the set list.


    The first response wouldn't have been appropriate to the second ad, and the second response wouldn't have been appropriate to the first ad. I even included information about playing in another band in my initial response to the second ad because with so much having been laid out, I felt that was one of the important aspects of my situation that might be relevant. It was one of the straws on the camel's back in my quitting the previous band. With the first ad, I didn't bring that up until we were talking at the audition.
  7. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    Good advice,

    Before you start search make a list of what your looking for in a band. Be honest with yourself about what you want.

    When you say your looking for something serious, that usually means your looking for more gigging experience.

    I have a few thoughts, be open and flexible, I would not restrict myself to one genre. I think you will find more opportunities from responding to ads then bands responding to your ad.

    Keep tbers in the loop they can help you avoid getting involved and wasting your time with " going nowhere " opportunities.

  8. MrDOS

    MrDOS Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2006
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Great advice so far. "Be honest" is the first thing that came to my mind. It's a bi-directional audition, if you know what I mean.
    Best of luck, and keep us posted!
  9. Phantasm

    Phantasm I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For.

    Sep 16, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    If the ad is really long and wordy or it comes across as being written by someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (in layman's terms, a self absorbed ******* who doesn't play well with others) then I don't answer. I also don't answer if there's poor punctuation or grammar.

    When I do answer I make the initial email very short and to the point. I want to see what they'll say and how they will say it. It's amazing what you can learn about people and how they behave if you just let them lead the conversation.

    Oh, and be ready to have about a 10% success rate with the ads - but fumbling through all these people can be the interesting part of starting a band sometimes.
  10. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    Good advice!

    Again understand what you want in a band experience and learn to discern what a band has to offer.

    You will see ads from guys with good intentions, but at the end if the day all they have to offer in a " pipe dream".

  11. Piggy8692


    Oct 2, 2010
    Northern Utah
    Spelling, punctuation and grammar are pretty important in my eyes. If they can't type, how well do you think that they will be able to play?

    What was is that made you quit your last band? Make sure that you don't make the same mistake twice. I'm just figuring it out myself. Make sure that your specify that you aren't trying to be famous, and then don't join a band that is.

    You should trust your gut. That's one problem I have. I try to imagine how good it could be, potientially. Usually leading to a dead end. Good luck. I'll be looking too in a little while I think.
  12. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    Or your looking to play out a lot at good paying gigs and the band gigged 5 times in 2012.

  13. Piggy8692


    Oct 2, 2010
    Northern Utah
    Just had another thought...

    If you end up trying out, and don't make the cut. Do not call back and ask for another attempt. You didn't make it sorry.

    My band just recently tried out a drummer. We'll just say that he was sub-par to be nice. When the bassist is telling you what time signature your playing in, that's not good. Anyway, we tried him out, he failed, and that was that. Next I hear that he called the singer(who wasn't at the try out) and says that he wants to play something heavier. Uhm... Go find a heavier band perhaps? My thoughts on this kid are much less now that he's called back asking for another painful audition and wants us to change our sound.

    Don't do that. Be professional. Who's to say tthat the band won't break up next week and half of the band liked ya. Who knows. (end rant)
  14. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    I've seen that happen, a guy comes in, wants to change the band and doesn't understand the audition process.

  15. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
    Ive had that happen before! Its like "hold on guy, you havent even passed your audition, and now I just kind of want you to leave."
  16. drpepper

    drpepper Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2009
    Columbia, Maryland
    Yeah, this is an absolute "Do"

    At the same time, I think it's important to not undersell yourself with negatives or by framing things in a negative or sheepish way..."I'm not," "I only," etc.

    In the op, you say that you're "not highly experienced" and you'd classify yourself as a hobbyist. I'd avoid framing things that way, even if you feel they're true. I think you want to make sure to focus on the positive angles.

    You say you're a "solid" player. Leave it at that. You're positive you could play with a serious group...that one should go without saying.
  17. Yeah I agree with that. If they get back to you, they'll ask what kind of experience you have, then you can tell them. But they'll also ask about your musical tastes, how dedicated you are etc, and that may be more important to them than your experience.

    Besides, experience doesn't always = skill level. I've heard people who have been playing for 2 years who were great, and people who've been at it for 20 years who were hopeless.

    I agree with the grammar comments too. It does matter to a lot of people.
  18. Piggy8692


    Oct 2, 2010
    Northern Utah
    According to you guys, whats the difference between being dedicated and being committed? I think it's the same? I think I'm dedicated. I practice, show up on time, I'm professional, and I expect the same. Though I'll probably never go on a summer tour or anything, I want to be the best we (as a band) can be.

    To me that's dedication. I'm sure that there are bands that stay local that are much better than bands that go on tour. Would you agree?

    So, how would one put across that they expect professional players, but don't want to 'make it'?
  19. Here's my take.

    Dedication comes from rehearsing well, knowing your parts, helping load in/load out, helping people with their parts, nurturing the sound, promoting the group through friends and social media you already use, giving priority to the band, for example.

    Being committed comes from assisting financially and logistically...helping score gigs, paying for rehearsals, donating vehicles/trailers/lights/gear you don't use, managing the group, setting up rehearsals, promoting outside your usual hangouts, and paying expenses out of your pockets before recouping, for example. You know, committing time, money and resources.

    You can be dedicated without being committed, and you can be committed without being dedicated. Some on here may argue it's one and the same but I've seen people who were one type and not the other.
  20. that never came to my mind before i always try to make everything clear up front as to not waste time going places and talking things. but interesting thought. true especially when you really want the gig