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Session Work Offer

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Swinging Beef, Dec 11, 2006.

  1. Session Work Offer
    Hi everyone.
    Im new to this forum, so if Im in the wrong area, sorry about that.

    I have been offered some session work to play on a cd release of a young band.
    These guys seem to have their stuff together, but would like upright/double bass on one track. They have sent me a demo of the song and the score.
    Ive been playing bass and bass geetar for nearly 20 years, but never done any session work, before, but have played as a hired gun for some years.

    Is there any trick to this?
    What and how do I charge? Hourly, track, travel time, etc?

    Any help would be appreciated.

    The gear I mostly use is a german upright, a sansamp, and eden nemesis 2x10, and a 60s fender jazz. Im in Sydney Australia
  2. christ andronis

    christ andronis

    Nov 14, 2001
    I don't think you have to be concerned about bringing an amp. If the studio is decent and not a homemade job, they should mic your bass and probably have you in some sort of isolation booth or partition. The Sansamp would be ok to bring but you probably won't even need that. I would also do some research on the studio, maybe even call and talk to the engineer to find out what his specs are for recording.

    As far as what to charge, I'm not sure what the scale is Down Under. Ask around to get a feel for what session work is paying.

    Other than that, just go in and play!

    Have fun.
  3. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    I try to feel the client out a bit. I quote $75/hr. I will negotiate down to $50/hr but not below.
  4. thanks guys
    not a lot of feedback onthis subject on any forum it seems.

    perhaps not a lot of people play paid work:crying:
  5. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I just played a session for a singer. I "felt her out" (yikes) with $50-75 an hour depending on some things. Ended up talking her into my favorite engineer/studio (which was best and cheapest for her anyway) and we settled on $225 a man for the session which worked out to $75/hr for 3 hours in the studio or something closer to $50/hr if you count the one rehearsal we gave her.

    I hired a good pianist and drummer for her and they were happy with the pay and the work. It went great, she's happy and I'll probably end up with gigs out of it. I've never thought of myself as a session guy, but I sure liked the feel of it.

    Don't let the guy take your bass direct to the board no matter what he says! Make him mic you. Just my opinion...no not just my opinion, lot's of people's opinion. But it is a matter of taste...no it's not a matter of taste, it's a matter of preference. :)
  6. Pcocobass


    Jun 16, 2005
    New York
    I would also agree with $75 an hour as a standard, and no less than $50. I would also agree with Troy that going direct to the board is a bad idea. This is a great way to make an upright bass sound like it's been filtered through a toilet.:D

    Ideally, you want a mix of mic with direct, but this is all dependent upon the engineer. If he knows anything about recording a db, you'll be okay with this kind of set up. Unfortunately, many times you'll get a guy who doesn't really know what a bass should sound like.

    Remember that they are hiring you specifically because you can play the upright. Not many people can do what you do. There is nothing wrong with asking for a fair price. So many times, we as musicians undercut ourselves when it comes to our prices for sessions and gigs. Think of the countless hours you have spent honing your craft and believe you are worth the price.

    Good luck!
  7. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Yeah, right :rolleyes:

    I'm not sure how what I would do in a situation where I live ( lots of musicians, lots of studios, lots of competition, etc etc ) is going to let you know what to do in your sitaution. It kind of doens't matter how much I would charge, because every situation is different.

    What's their budget? What would a gig with them pay? What do gigs around Sydney pay? What's you time worth? Are you looking to build up this kind of work? You can ask for a million dollars and a per diem, but if it ain't in the budget, you ain't gonna get it.
    Why not just ask them what they were looking to pay and then decide if it's something you want to do for that money? Sure, YOU only have one shot to make money off of this recording, by being paid for your time committed. But is this for a commercial release (either independently or under contract with a company) or demo release (they're just looking to get gigs). $75 an hour is fine to say in the abstract. But that's basically taking a live gig (in NYC) and using that as an hourly rate. If gigs in Sydney are paying $200 a man or $25 a man, $75 is either gonna be too little or too much. It's YOUR market, not mine.
  8. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Yeah, Ed's right as usual. However, I would add that sometimes the first price that comes out of your mouth becomes your market price. I certainly have no idea what is fair in your town and sometimes you have to work your way up to a better rate, but sometimes, it's tough to change the perception of your value once there is an association with it.

    Will you get gigs or other work out of the recording or is this purely a transaction?

    Having recorded my bass nicely with a mic a few times now, I don't really even want to let the guy take a direct line "just in case" or to blend, because what sounds "clear" to the engineer sounds like a Fender P-Bass to me. If he doesn't have it, he doesn't have the option to use it. But that's just me.

    Let us know how the session goes.


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