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solo bass at open mic?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by whatizitman, Mar 5, 2018.

  1. whatizitman


    Sep 9, 2014
    I need a little push to get out and play. I'm probably over thinking this, but....

    My current project is going a little slower than I hoped. I'm thinking of doing an open mic or two, and sing with just a bass and a DI pedal. I'm nervous to do it for several reasons. Mainly because it's just not done very much. But also 'cuz I'm not really part of the scene here, so this would be my first foray outside my little project circle. I don't want to suck too much, particularly if I'm doing something that's rarely done.

    I really don't want to do the crappy sounding plugged in acoustic guitar thing. I would have done that already if I wasn't sick and tired of that from years past. I just think it would be fun to try something different, and a good excuse to introduce myself as an also bassist, as opposed to yet another singer/songwriter at an open mic. Also, I'm not ready to do an open jam on bass at this point. Way too scared to try that.

    Absolutely nothing fancy. Something easy to play and sing to, and have an excuse to get out and play, meet some folks, etc... Maybe one or two covers, and one original. Something like, With or Without You and/or Basketcase? Not necessarily those, but something easy along that vein.

    Part of me is really scared. But the other part is like, who cares? It's not like anyone is gonna be listening, anyway. It's an open mic. I guess I just need a little push to go for it.

    Any thoughts yay or nay? Song suggestions? Cheerleading?
  2. Seanto


    Dec 29, 2005
    I say go for it! To me, this is exactly what open mics are for. Trying out new ideas and concepts in front of an audience. Consider rearranging the songs a bit to suit the vocal/bass instrumentation, but some songs may already work for this.

    I've been thinking of doing something similar, but with the assistance of a looper and on the upright bass. I'd like to create a soundscape of upright bass, percussion, and vocals. Still trying to get my hands on a good looper to start working up my material.
    St_G and whatizitman like this.
  3. rufus.K

    rufus.K Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2015

    I've played solo bass at open mics many a time. I live to rage against acoustic guitars and whiney singer songwriters, and an open Mic is the best place for it.
    play it real dirty & mean
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2018
  4. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    You should play this at an open mic:

  5. whatizitman


    Sep 9, 2014
    HAHA my friend (guitarist) is always singing that to me. "So are you guys doing anything later? Oh ok." I think we've talked about doing that at an open mic or party. I don't think anyone else apart from the two of us would even get it LOL.

    I have some thoughts of using some backing tracks. But I think it will be enough for me just to get up with nothing but a bass. I'm pretty nervous about it, so I'm gonna keep it as easy as I can. I've learned the hard way that simple good is almost always better than complex bad.

    This is helpful, everyone. Thanks! I just really need a kick to get off my butt and do it.
    pudgychef and Tony G like this.
  6. Kevorargh

    Kevorargh Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2013
    West Bethel, Maine
    I used to do my solo pieces at open mic nights. It was cool, and most of the time I would be ignored. Unless I was playing Boris the Spider, then the place would get into it.
  7. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    I've seen done around here. Usually followed by a round of polite applause.
  8. sqlb3rn


    Apr 6, 2016
    Nothing to be scared of, if anyone heckles you just tell them to show you how it's done and delight everyone with their artistic wonders.
    five7 likes this.
  9. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    Only one way to find out...
    Enjoy yourself.
    Bunk McNulty likes this.
  10. If you believe you can put on a performance then open mic is your huckleberry.
  11. Sounds cool. Post a video, if possible.
  12. Oddly


    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    Maybe look into using a loop pedal?
    That Ed Sheeran chap seems to have done quite well with one.:)

    EDIT: @Seanto beat me to that suggestion...still worth looking into, even if just to add a percussive element.
    Chicory Blue and gjohnson441496 like this.
  13. ThuzzleFump

    ThuzzleFump All your bass...

    Nov 15, 2015
    Go for it. People will benefit from something new.
    aaronious likes this.
  14. You should not. It's risky and can lead to death. Or at least dehydration. Which can lead to death. So either way you could die. But we all die eventually. So go for it!
    Oddly likes this.
  15. Smooth_bass88

    Smooth_bass88 vaxx! Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2006
    North AMERICA, USA
    I'd say go for it but practice A LOT first. Video record yourself on your phone and review it and critique it. Be honest... if something's not right, go back and work the bugs out.
    bholder likes this.
  16. CalBuzz51


    Mar 11, 2016
    I was in Richmond, VA several years ago (late 90's) and got a beer in a bar hosting open mike night. A young band played, then a a singer songwriter got up and said - would the last band back me up? Everyone said yes except the bass player - he only knew the songs his band rehearsed.

    I said, I can do it if I can borrow your gear, and he was ok with that. That group became the house band for the evening. It was super fun. I have a good ear, they called out covers that I had never played before, but usually I had the roots the first verse and the actual line by the 2nd. More importantly, we found decent grooves, people were dancing. You never know what can happen. Some of it was likely the fact I was in a town 3000 miles from home and bored.

    My bandmate has a rule, if someone invites you to sit in, you MUST sit in.
    Any "dignity" saved by not making a mistake pales in comparison to the opportunity lost to do something fun, and possibly really cool.
  17. aaronious


    May 23, 2011
    Denver CO
    DO IT!!!! I've seen this cat do solo bass and Bob Marley tunes and it's BadAss. You'll regret it more if you DON'T do it.
  18. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    Only caution I’d give is you need to think about gear - will you bring an amp or try to use the PA? I’ve done coffee house style open mics (I was the sound guy) and a group showed up with a bass. A bass guitar through a small PA that’s not designed for it can sound a bit ugly.
    old spice likes this.
  19. packhowitzer

    packhowitzer 155mm of pure destruction

    Apr 20, 2011
    a single voice and a bass can sound pretty good- but in my opinion, the vocals need to be really strong to pull it off. For example, in this vid, the girl has such a nice voice that the dude could be playing a bucket of fish guts and the song would still sound nice and grab people's attention.
  20. pbass2


    Jan 25, 2007
    Los Angeles
    Totally man--just go for it. Practice so you're comfortable and loose enough to improvise a bit if necessary to vibe to the room. And, if you're doing a cover like With or W/o you as you suggest or whatever it is.....do something original with the arrangement (i.e. don't just play the bass part and sing....that, to me at least, would be really meh). Do a different feel, play high chords on your bass, change the time sig, whatever--something unique and different from the original. That would perk up people's ears.
    Oddly likes this.
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