So I played a pretty cool gig...

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by 70spbase, Sep 26, 2017.

  1. Read

    39 vote(s)
  2. Not Read

    9 vote(s)
  1. 70spbase

    70spbase Fender/Ampeg for over 30 years!Portaflex #449 Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2011
    Las Vegas
    I'm located in Las Vegas and I get to do some traveling as well as 5 gigs a week in town. Not a brag post, but more or less a thank God we all still play a bass guitar/upright bass. We live in a time where everyday we get more and more (bass track) songs that get jammed on radios. So I'm glad that there is a still a need (want) for real bass. So anyhow in regard to the topic. I have been fortunate enough to work for a producer in town that gets a call 5 out of the last 7 years to put a band together to play at the HBO Emmys afterparty. I get the call and the other musicians are all professional as well. Vegas show members and the drummer that had played in THE FAMILY STONE. Amazing drummer named Frank Klepacki , he also composes Video game scores. So let's say we get the music approved (covers) 2 weeks before the gig and we have 3 rehearsals scheduled prior to the date. 90% of the material has no traditional bass. Just mindless low notes played on a keyboard/laptop. Not complaining, but then we are told that the original versions are just for reference. Key changes, style changes, and tempo/note changes TBA. :rollno: So all of this with a four piece band and female lead singer. The best part is that we only do 2 rehearsals because the first scheduled rehearsal turns into a gong show due to the fact the keyboardist and guitarists have charts (what are charts?) So fast forward to the sound check .. SIR LA provides gear. At least it's an ampeg as requested... unfortunately it is a Porta-flex 350 with the single 15 matching cab. Why oh why are the speakers so inefficient in these cabs? Granted it's an outside gig under a Pagoda as decorated. But, seriously the speaker is blown to the tune of both volumes at about 10 o'clock and low end cut back. No D.I. (thank God I bring a sans amp). The producer wants continuity on stage so I get a music stand as well for the guitarist. Mine has a setlist. So the gig happens and I miraculously remember verbatim every song and actually get a thumbs up from Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban. Meanwhile the chart guys are having issues reading their own charts and personal notes. Mind you I'm not boasting. I pose a question. Do you feel it is beneficial to read or not to read? That being a question in regards to pop music. As opposed to actually "learning" songs. Also as we all have to wear many hats and learn every style of music, does it make sense to apply every facet of your knowledge into higher profile gigs? More so than your regular shows (bands)?

    Attached Files:

  2. RattleSnack


    Sep 22, 2011
    Cool gig! Do you have more photos?
    I have noticed that majority bassists have preference with learning songs by heart.
    But, I feel both have a place: reading - when there is little time to prepare, and material will not be played again; and learning it - when you plan to play it regulary.
    Maybe you could add more options? Ie, "both" "according to situation" "just simple notes on a set list"...
    Stumbo, smogg and 70spbase like this.
  3. Reading is another tool in your toolbox. It will get you some types of work that is denied to non-readers. Every skill you acquire is a new market for you.

    It’s not like learning to read makes your ear playing, or any other skill, suffer.
    james condino, Stumbo, Engle and 5 others like this.
  4. 70spbase

    70spbase Fender/Ampeg for over 30 years!Portaflex #449 Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2011
    Las Vegas
    I have some more photos , yet they're just boring shots of the decor and name placards for tables.
  5. 70spbase

    70spbase Fender/Ampeg for over 30 years!Portaflex #449 Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2011
    Las Vegas
    So reading is another tool er useful necessity for most musicians. I just never learned and I have lost a few gigs due to that fact. Yet in turn I have played hundreds of gigs maybe a couple thousand in the last 30 years without "needing" the skill. Trust me I should a, could a, would a in hindsight. maybe when I get to the cruise ship stage of gigs I will learn. ;)
  6. Oddly


    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    I can't read.
    I wish I could but I manage without.
    Certainly if I had any aspirations to a real career in music doing musicals, etc, or a lot of sub-work where you're in and out fast to a gig, I'd have made the effort to learn properly years ago.
    As 'just' a soul/blues covers player I get by just fine learning by ear/with tabs but it's definitely a skill I'd encourage anyone to have.

    Slightly to de-rail .... please tell me those little risers you were all stood on moved around randomly while you played, like dodgem cars. That would've been awesome!:)
    alaskaleftybass, GregC and PeteBass51 like this.
  7. eJake


    May 22, 2011
    New Orleans
    I read fairly well. I'm not trying to sight read an entire gig but if you give me notes on a page, I'll learn em.

    For covers in the pop world, I believe that it is detrimental to my playing if I bring out chord charts. Reading charts puts me into a jazz mind where choices are up to me. Pop music usually has a groove that can't really be written out in a chord chart. Most of the times I find that if I just learn that groove well, I'll have the song memorized.

    IMO charts and music stands take away from the show.
    mindwell likes this.
  8. wintremute

    wintremute mediocrity at its finest

    Oct 16, 2014
    Endorsing Artist: Langstrom Carrot Farms
    I'm in Vegas. Please let me know about some of your upcoming gigs so that I can go check 'em out.
    Lvjoebass likes this.
  9. Smooth_bass88

    Smooth_bass88 vaxx! Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2006
    North AMERICA, USA
    Being able to read music is better than not being able to read music. If you plan on playing more gigs, you will very likely be handed charts for a gig. Imagine having to turn down a good-paying gig because you can't read!
    neal davis likes this.
  10. InhumanResource


    Dec 28, 2012
    What on earth could be beneficial about not knowing how to read?
    Colonel Barnes and marcwhy like this.
  11. I think its another bow to your quiver
    Jaco and myself recommend it.
  12. klejst


    Oct 5, 2010
    Cool gig indeed.
  13. stingray78

    stingray78 Supporting Member

    Dec 30, 2012
    I can't sight read, but I often write my own cord charts with rhythmical annotations that help me memorize the groove of a song ,if I dont already know it, and any breaks or accents. I often fill in for other bass players and have a day job. If I get a CD with 20 songs one week before the gig and one rehearsal, there just isn't enough time to memorize all the material. The important thing is not to be glued to the lead sheet the entire time while playing. I take an occasional glance and read ahead. Nowadays I have all my sheets on an iPad. I get many repeat calls and have been told more than once that people actually appreciate that I write down the tunes and play them close to the original vibe, unlike other guys who try to memorize everything and end up fumbling through the set. After 2 or 3 shows with the same band I usually lose the lead sheets.
    mindwell likes this.
  14. Reading is definitely a beneficial skill, but with that much heads up, I would have memorized all I could.
    Lvjoebass likes this.
  15. Felken


    Jun 28, 2016
    Ottawa, CAN
    I can read, but I use sheet music to LEARN the song. Once it's gig time, I've already memorized the song, and I'm playing it without the charts. That way, if something happens, I'm not stuck following the sheet, I'm ready for anything.
    LowActionHero and eJake like this.
  16. waynobass


    Feb 27, 2008
    Not read, because your post is one long paragraph with no breaks.
    Felken and Stumbo like this.
  17. Ross W. Lovell

    Ross W. Lovell

    Oct 31, 2015

    Reading is nice.

    I rarely have found charts that have the bassline correct, but the chord are right, unless the singer wants a different key?
    70spbase likes this.
  18. filmtex

    filmtex Commercial User

    May 29, 2011
    Exactly where I'm at too. Currently working pretty regularly with three bands and helping at an open mic/jam every week. I have about 650 songs on my iPad and get plenty of sub calls as well. The chord charts and lyrics mainly act as memory joggers and help me when I'm singing. Can't say I'm glad I don't sight read, but I've been doing ok I guess.
  19. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    My reading skills are poor because I rarely am given
    charts. I do Chord charts well but notation has to be slowly
    worked out. In my next life I hope to become a skilled reader.
  20. I always played by ear and memorized, but in the last couple of years I've started to see that being able to read has some real advantages.
    So I'm slowly learning.

    I've met piano players that can't play much without sheet music, so I agree being able to hear a groove and play / improvise is very important.

    I did sound for a show recently - a singer's CD release party. That band only had 2 rehearsals and played jazz, R&B, rock, pop, blues and even avante guard experimental noise stuff. They all had music stands with charts and it didn't take anything away from their performance - they killed it!
    70spbase, BboogieXVII and Stumbo like this.
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    Primary TB Assistant

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