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Session bassist? How to prep and start?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by tocoadog, Jun 4, 2007.

  1. tocoadog


    Apr 10, 2005
    Any suggestions? I'm reading more and more. My ear is getting better and better. I'm always reading theory.

    My question? Where to start, who to contact? I don't live in a big town (Albuquerque), so the recording scene is small. I don't have plans on moving either.

    Thanks in advance.

    Rozzy Tocoadog
  2. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Local's cool. I've always wanted to be on a locally-famous advertizing jingle. Seriously: I'd really consider that a proud accomplishment as a bassist!

    There's a super-famous one here around Milwaukee: the Ernie VonSchloedorn car dealership jingle! "Just minutes away; on rout forty-one; Ernie VonSchoedorn; Main street in Menomonee Falls!" It's been around for decades, and just a couple years ago, he had it all redone. The orchestration and choir sound JUST like the old original, but the fidelity is real high-fi, and they changed a couple words: like "Our overhead's low; prices are too..." (good call on the lyrics, probably - it's the same old building from all those decades ago too!).

    Not much of a chance for me, though, I don't think - I can't read charts, and I don't know my theory...

    Get on a jingle!

  3. stealth51


    Jan 26, 2007
    Chicago, IL
    If there are recording studios in your area drop your name there. A session may get scheduled and the bass player dosen't show up. I call that an opportunity. You can also drop your name at your local musicians union, that's if you are a member. I made sure that my union rep knew my name. Got a lot of referrals for gigs and session work. Your chops will actually get the job though :bassist:
  4. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    Stuff I have done at one time or another:

    Put together an online demo of you playing lots of difference styles along with an appropriate musical context. Be a very good reader and a quick learner. Have a P-bass, a Jazz, and a 5 string. Learn upright well. Have very solid time and play with restraint. Know a lot of songs and do a lot of styles, from Bluegrass, to James Brown, Hendrix to Real Book standards. Perform every chance you get and practice every day.

    Be a hired gun. Gig a lot. Always look for people who are seeking bassists. Check Craigslist, music stores, studios, dealers of recording gear, jams, etc. Make lots of musical friends. Record for free at first. Advertise and offer your services, keep prices low and negotiable (~$50/hour in the studio, ~$75 for a gig). Always Always Always be totally prepared (Did I say totally?).

    Have a business card that points to your web pages, cellphone, email, and demos. Never insist on "doing it your way." Be generous, patient, diligent, never late, and always carry spare stuff. Have a reliable car. Know good people to send work to that you can't take. Word of mouth is your friend. Love your work, but don't quit your day job just yet.
  5. DanielleMuscato


    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    My suggestion is simply to listen to that guy.

    - Dave
  6. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    Everything that Jim Carr said.

    The other thing i recommend is studying with a guy who is already in the scene. Might sound odd, but it's a way to get referals and often lend yourself more credibility.

    I've currently got: business cards, website, Myspace w/music, and i take whatever gig i can get with rare exception. I've done a chunk of recording, but not as much as i'd like.

    Some more tips

    Always Be Early! If you're late, don't expect to be called again. I say this because i also contract for some sessions & groups. If a guy is late more than once, i start looking for someone else. There's a thousand other guys out there that want your gig-do everything you can to keep it.

    Have a variety of gear and ask the leader of the session what sound he is going for ahead of time. Asks if he has any requests for specific basses. I've got gear that sounds "vintage" & gear that sounds "modern". I also have an Upright. If the session leader just says "bring an electric, you won't need the upright"-i'll bring 2 electrics. My Ray5 [modern/strung with rounds] & a Fender (Jazz) w/flats. Between those 2 BGs, i can cover and cop a huge variety of sounds.

    Reading-if you can get the material ahead of time, do it. Have it perfect BEFORE you get to the studio. Be prepared to mark the part up with cuts upon arrival.

    Ears are your friend. This is the one that i need to work on the most. You won't always be given a part, sometimes it's you get to hear it a few times & you play it.

    ALWAYS HAVE A PENCIL!!! I hate it when people show up for sessions or rehearsels with out one. I typically bring 3.

    Relax-if they called you, that means they want what you can do.

    Also: check the thread in Misc. about aspiring studio players. Tomixx does a great job talking about it.
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    Primary TB Assistant

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    Jan 24, 2021

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