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So, I'm doing my first audition...

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Spikeh, Sep 9, 2005.

  1. Spikeh

    Spikeh Sex Strings

    And I'm surprisingly not that worried about it... though I reckon I will be closer to the time.

    The guy who's arranging it has just suggested 2 songs I need to know... Seven Nation Army by White Stripes and one of the bands own songs I See You. I've never really picked a bassline out of a song and played it before, and I have done with this one pretty easily (I managed to play it perfectly in about 2 listens last night).

    Thing is... both the basslines are so simple it's embarrassing... Seven Nation Army was the first song I ever learned... and the bassline to "I See You" never changes! My problem is that I can't really ad-lib yet (there's another post here somewhere about it), but I don't JUST want to play those songs cos I'm better than simple basslines!

    The band are chasing a record deal apparently (I don't know much more than that)... and tbh, their music isn't bad... think it needs a bit more depth, but who am I to say? They HAVE mentioned that they want to go a little more upbeat, and that if I get in I could write my own basslines or even songs!

    I'm used to playing things like Jimi Hendrix, RHCP and RATM... again, not HARD basslines, but still considerably harder than the suggested songs!

    I mean... what happens at these things? Do you just go with the flow, and if you can't play it, you don't, or die trying? I just dunno what to expect... I kinda need to at least know the songs before I play them with someone else. Gah...
  2. Dan Molina

    Dan Molina TalkBass Secular Progressive

    Jul 17, 2002
    Murr Town, California
    I'm sure you could spice up there original song. I don't know how much you can spice up 7 nation army. Since there is no bass in that song.
  3. Spikeh

    Spikeh Sex Strings

    Yeah - I forgot to mention that, he uses an octave pedal or something doesn't he? Gets a bassy sound anyway...
  4. Don't worry too much about "spicing things up." Play the bass lines solidly and get into it. I have blown auditions because I thought "this is pretty simple stuff, better show 'em what i got" and in most rock situations, it dosen't fit. Just make the song sound good.
  5. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA

    Thank you. This pretty much sums it up.

    When you start writing new songs with the band, spice it up then. They are use to hearing simple... so they will like it simple. But if you bring a flashy bassline that isn't part of a song to the table, they'll be like "Wow, that's sweet, what key is that it?"
  6. Dan Molina

    Dan Molina TalkBass Secular Progressive

    Jul 17, 2002
    Murr Town, California
    I didn't really think about making an entire bassline by spicing things up. I was thinking more of a fill.
  7. Our band does "Seven Nation Army" and of course I handle the bass line (yes, Jack White played it on a guitar, but it's still a bass line). I just play it straight forward, like on the album. If you try to get fancy with it, it ruins the feel of the song.

    As far as the original track, I think that might be the one to mess around with a bit...but don't get too exotic. Stay in the pocket if you are unsure. Keeping the beat and staying in the groove are more important then trying to be flashy and ruining a song's feel.
  8. Sturge


    Sep 10, 2005
    Liverpool, England
    I've been on the other side of this before - auditioning people - and I think that people holding auditions are looking for the right person as much as the right player. If you're on the same wavelength as them, and you have the roughly the same idea of what you want to do in the band, it'll put you in a much better position than any superfluous chops.

    Both Seven Nation Army and that I See You, from the sounds of it, are sorta built around the bassline, so I wouldn't go changing them just to show off what you can do. If you wanna show them what a great player you are (course you do!), it'd probably be better taking down an original riff or line of your own, and getting them to jam it with you. I'd suggest something pretty mininal, since they seem to have that Jane's Addiction/early Verve thing of building on a fat bass groove. If they asked you to learn I See You, they must like it, so leave it as it is.

    Anyway, hope that helps. Good luck and all that.
  9. Spikeh

    Spikeh Sex Strings

    hehe... you're all suggesting that I'm actually a good bassist - I need to learn songs before I can play them with someone usually... I'm tremendously bad at picking / making basslines up when I'm under pressure!

    I'm aware that they're looking for more than just a good bassist - it's the same with me, I've been auditioning people recently for the band I'm starting, and it's more about wavelength than how good they are...

    Anyway, the jam's been moved back a few weeks, so I have a while longer to get better ;)
  10. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Arranging and rearranging songs is great fun but the place to do that probably isn't the audition! Among other factors, you won't have much idea of the band's history with a given song - what might seem a boring bassline to you could be seen as the rock solid foundation for a solo someone else has invested blood, sweat and tears into perfecting!

    If you've got the two suggested songs down cold, perhaps you could find out if they've got something in their repetoire that you'd find more interesting (although that's probably not the best way to phrase it ;) ). You could also ask in advance for a song where they'd like an alternative line. That would give you scope for doing whatever you want and will also give the band a chance to check out that side of your musicianship. They may not like what you do with it, which is fair enough, but you're less likely to unintentionally upset them that way.

    Also, don't forget that one of the possible outcomes of an audition is that you decide it's not a band you want to invest time in even if they rave about how you fit the rest of the band. If their definition of a bassist is someone who plays what the guitarist tells them to, then it may be better for all concerned if you end up somewhere else!

  11. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo gone to Longstanton Spice Museum

    Feb 8, 2003
    if they're like most other singers and guitarists, the chances are they don't care at all how wonderful and inventive you are as a bass player, provided you play the right notes with the right feel and look the part..

    they'll be more impressed if you nail a simple part perfectly and look like you're having a great time than if you throw in some amazing fills in an otherwise average performance

    your main concern should be to go in there and absolutely nail it.. i've auditioned guitarists who've not been able to play the things they're supposed to have learned, and it's an immediate disqualification
  12. Spikeh

    Spikeh Sex Strings

    Just thought I'd let you guys know that I got the part :D Well... they've invited me back next week again... and they said I'm much better than their last bassist... which gives me a bit more confidence! I thought I was utter crap... if there's someone else out there that's worse than me who's played in a band, there's time for me yet!

    I really felt nervous when I was playing the song that they'd wrote, but they said I did it OK - the main singer wasn't there, so the guy who was singing didn't know many of the words, so we'll probably play it next week instead.

    The lead guitarist started jamming to one of the tunes he's working on at the moment, and I joined in with a simple bassline... I thought I did well considering I've never done that before!

    I nailed most of the well known songs we played - the only thing I struggled on was picking up the bassline to songs that I've never tried before. Something that'll come with time I think.

    Anyway - to all you new bassists that are going for your first auditions and are worried - don't be! It was an experience, and I did better than I thought I did!
  13. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Glad to hear it turned out okay! The next thing is to turn that good start into some great bass work with the band ;)

  14. i play seven nation army in my band with a big muff and a small stone phaser it sounds killer