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Short notice , note for note?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Handsome Dan, Feb 8, 2019.

  1. i hope this is in the right forum. Did a search and came up empty.
    I responded to an ad for a bass player in a currently working cover band. Thursday afternoon. They gave me a list of 6 or so songs. Audition is this Saturday. Is common for them to expect note for note accuracy? Or would you think that being in the right key/ chord progression is close enough? As long as I have the "hook" of the song.
    Thanks in advance.
  2. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    I would just ask them. Some cover bands aspire to play the original as close to note-for-note as possible; others like to take liberties and put their own spin on it. You won't know which unless you ask. Another possibility would be to ask them to send you some recordings or links to videos so you can see for yourself.

    That said, if you don't know and can't find out it is probably best to err on the side of note-for-note. Learn the originals note-for-note as well as you can and play them that way. It's a lot easier to learn the original and then put your own spin on it than it is to do it the other way around.
  3. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone. Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    Do the best you can. Start out learning the changes and signature licks, then build up from there. Just be honest with the band and tell them you did what you could with the time you had, and things will improve with time. Most bands will be happy if you don’t hit too many bad notes and fill out the bottom end. Usually, only other bass players know how the actual recorded bass lines are supposed to sound.
    Artman, eJake, vancityjoe and 10 others like this.
  4. oldrocker


    Feb 13, 2005
    Long Island, NY
    I wouldn't think they'd expect note for note. Chances are they wouldn't know note for note if they heard it.

    Typically chords, changes, arrangement, signature lines and feel should be good enough.

    Good luck, have fun.
  5. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    Another thought I had was that the answer might depend on the particular songs or genre. Can you tell us what the six songs are? Some songs just have to be exact -- say, Pink Floyd's "Money" or Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" -- or they just won't sound right. On the other hand, there are lots of blues-rock classics that have been covered by many bands, all differently, in which case the idea of "note-for-note" doesn't even really make sense.
    eJake, Handsome Dan, jamro217 and 3 others like this.
  6. One example is Sweet child o mine
    Lobster11 likes this.
  7. buldog5151bass

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

    Oct 22, 2003
    A tune like that, you better have the intro down note for more, as well as the signature licks.

    Odds are they wouldn't recognize the entire bassline note for note, but best to get as close as possible.
  8. craigie


    Nov 11, 2015
    It’s an audition. Think of it as a competition. If you nail the important parts like the intro and any stops/shots etc and sound great on all the rest of the songs, and the other guy just fakes his way through it they’ll go with you unless they sense some other problems.
  9. saabfender

    saabfender SUSPENDED

    Jan 10, 2018
    There isn't much to the bass part on "Sweet Child O' Mine".

    I'm strictly of the "don't ask, don't tell" school of faithfulness to the recording. I would never ask an auditioner if he wants the notes as on the recording. If he does, I'd be happy to read them off a part they furnish. I'm going to play what I came up with while working on preparing the songs.

    If you were to play three different solutions, including the recorded one, for any given song, I'd lay long odds that anyone in the band (except maybe the drummer) could identify the one from the record. Doesn't matter what you play, it's how you do it.

  10. Bodeanly

    Bodeanly Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2015
    I am a note for note kind of guy, but if there’s no time to get them down 100%, I tell the group I’ll know them for the callback. If the songs are popular, they might expect you to already have em down. If they do their own arrangements, they may just be auditioning your ability to drop into the pocket and your personality.
    Handsome Dan, Kubicki Fan and craigie like this.
  11. Thanks for the feedback. Like everyone says. I'll just do the best I can.
  12. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    That's what I'd do. There are some songs you want note for note, and some songs that it doesn't matter so much.
  13. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg , Conquest Sound
    You should ask them what they expect. I always assume bands want note for note.

    I learned an entire original cd and some covers note for note in 2 days so I could audition for a touring band. I was only told to learn 2 songs. The BL told me that I was the only bass player who learned everything note for note and took the time to learn more than what was needed for the audition. That's what got me the gig.

    Good luck.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2019
  14. Magthegrate

    Magthegrate Way less skilled than my gear suggests. Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2017
    Austin, TX
    I recently auditioned for a cover band. The BL sent me some backing tracks that he'd been playing with for a while to give me the lines that he wanted me to play. Many of them had notes a full octave lower than a standard bass guitar has.

    I didn't say anything about it, learned the songs my way, and went to the audition. He said I sounded great. I got the gig.

    Like has been said earlier in the thread, many people don't recognize note for note. They just want the feel to be right.
  15. Skillet

    Skillet Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2011
    If you ask, it makes you look like a noob. Just show up and play.
    Artman, GCPENG, PauFerro and 4 others like this.
  16. DrThumpenstein

    DrThumpenstein Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2015
    St Louis, MO
    You've got the right approach. Learn the songs, get the feel, the hooks and turns, then note-for-note if you have time. Keeping the groove and staying in the pocket is way more important than a note-for-note recitation.

    And always remember that you are auditioning them too.
  17. Yep. Exactly this. If you really want the position, go in presuming that, if not you, somebody will show up knowing those songs note for note and phoning it in will likely land you with no gig.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2019
  18. madbass6

    madbass6 Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2009
    I do not give consent to use any of my photos ! please respect that. thank you.
    if they're expecting note for note how could chord progressions or anything else be enough! Note for note means exakly that
    "NOTE for NOTE" wish is just another way of saying they're expecting a musician who can site read on the spot period!
    With that being said, if you feel you can't do it you're better of sucking up your pride and not waste everybody's time including yours .
    Handsome Dan likes this.
  19. A tune like Sweet Child I think the signature intro should be note-for-note, or darned close. The rest just capture the groove and overall register and feel of Duff’s part. Certainly don’t need to get all of the fills in the song exactly note-for-note at all.

    In fact a stiff, non-grooving but note-perfect performance is probably worse than close enough but totally nailing the feel in my opinion. As others have said, odds are they don’t really know the bass part that precisely anyway; they want the feel and the groove.
  20. JC Nelson

    JC Nelson

    May 30, 2015
    Post the list of songs. I am sure the sheet music or tab is available for most popular songs. I have the Bass Tab White Pages. If the songs are in it I would be happy to send you a scan of them

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