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Starting a band even though I have reservations about my skill

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by prater, Oct 25, 2013.

  1. prater


    Aug 4, 2011
    So I'm starting a band. I don't consider myself to be all that good. I've been playing alone for a couple of years, been through lessons and jammed with friends a time or two.

    Last year I talked about starting a band with some guys but called it off because I didn't feel confident, went back into lessons to try to alleviate my fears and after a few months my teacher basically told me to take a break from lessons and go do my own thing, then call him when I felt stuck.

    Instead I played rocksmith and didn't practice much, I felt burned out yet again as I have so many times. Then one night hanging with some friends at their studio I asked to sit in on a song of theirs I know just for fun. That one song turned into five (covers) and it was a blast, I walked away feeling confident and decided to revive my idea of starting a cover band.

    I got some guys I know who are skilled and down for anything to join up and start a cover band with me, we haven't started yet. I'm extremely nervous that I'm doing this for selfish reasons but I feel like the only way for me to get better, more solid and grow as a player is to play with other people.

    I'm excited for one reason because our drummer is an extremely talented bass player and good friend of mine. He doesn't have much experience on drums but has always wanted to give it a try. I feel like that will be a great help to me as well having a solid bass player drumming for me and learning himself as we go. He is very aware of my skill level and that gives me comfort.

    But I also feel like I will hold these guys back, so far the only songs selected have been songs I chose because I know I can play them. I'm worried about what might happen if they decide they want to play something that is beyond my current ability. I don't want this band to be all about me, but at the same time it will be limited by my skill level. I'm hoping that if everything goes well I will learn and grow as a musician through this experience and become more confident in my ability.

    But I also feel like I'm kind of doing these guys a disservice by being the weakest member. Part of me wants to talk about this as we start, but that could be kind of a bummer. On the other hand I could just walk in with a confident attitude and just go at it as best I can and address my skill only if it becomes an issue.

    What do you think?
  2. gricko


    Mar 29, 2004
    you'll advance much faster and easier by playing in a band
  3. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom

    Feb 17, 2013
    Queens, NY
    Stop thinking about it and just do it. have fun. what's the worst that can happen?
  4. oerk


    Oct 16, 2009
    Do it! Playing bass alone isn't that much fun, for me at least. The fun comes from playing with other people.

    And you'll learn things you'd never have learned by playing alone.
  5. Bert Slide

    Bert Slide

    May 16, 2012
    Louisville KY
    Sounds like you are the BL and you put this band together and they all agreed to play with you so don't sweat it. Continue picking songs within your comfort zone as you improve. Most of the best crowdpleasing songs out there don't have difficult basslines anyway. Work on your timing and tone as well as your licks. Playing simple basslines well is not as easy as guitar players like to think it is.
  6. Basshappi


    Feb 12, 2007
    And you'll improve even faster by playing with musicians more skillful than yourself. Back in the days before all this internet stuff, us young whippersnappers actively sought out opprotunities to sit in with more experienced players for exactly this reason.
  7. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Your doubts are because you have not proved them wrong, playing in a band will prove your fears un-founded, and you will learn faster, progress further as a player and musician because it is not theory anymore what you doing, its practical application. :)
  8. Do it! No better way to learn.
  9. JLY

    JLY Supporting Member Supporting Member

    At the stage that you described it should be about having fun and getting better while you do it. And there is no better way than playing with other musicians. In essence, no matter how long we have been playing and no matter how good we may or may not be, we are all still learning the instrument. It is a lifelong thing if you have the passion for it! Find some musicians that you are comfortable with and go for it! Don't get down on yourself and enjoy the process.
    Best of luck!
  10. nojj

    nojj Guest

    May 20, 2013
    I'd say go with it.
    Best way to continue to learn and grow musically.

    An added benefit is that some musicians with a higher skill set are happy to cross-train on other instruments.
    I did this with a band for lead...uh...you know, that 6string thing.
    Turned out to be a pretty cool gig, and get paid to work on my gtr chops.
  11. I have nothing constructive to add except to heed ALL of the above posts.
  12. Directing a band has more to do with leadership, human relations, salesmanship, and entertainment skills than how well you play a specific instrument.

    It's like herding cats. Someone has to get the gigs, plan the selections, collect the money, pay out the money, decide on what new equipment needs to be purchased before the money is divided. Then you have to be the leveling agent to all the egos. And then there is that hiring and firing thing.

    If you can do that, how you play, is just added gravy. How about a Wednesday night jamming session where everyone meets at your place and you furnish coffee. Lot more fun than starting a band.
  13. karl_em_all


    Jul 11, 2013
    Dimension X
    All of the above!
  14. LordDog


    Jun 25, 2013
    Norwich UK
    So, how soon after taking up the bass would you guys say is long enough to try and play in a band then? Say if I practice about 10 hours a week.
  15. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Go forth and suck, my friend. Go forth and suck. Don't TRY to suck... just DO it.

  16. Do it!!!

    It was fun, and now that you've tasted it, youÂ’re not going to be happy until you do it, so get over the fear already and just do it.
  17. lyla1953


    Jul 18, 2012
    This DOES sound like fun. Man o man do I love this "jamming session" approach... Would it be appropriate for someone to use this same technique AND suggest a few songs to know before showing up? Then as the group evolves encourage others to suggest what they'd like the others to learn and play. Sort of a semi structured introduction.
  18. Yes some circles do take specific songs and work on them. The ones I'm involved in people just bring the music (or lyrics) on the songs they like to sing and play and just show up. Form a circle and when it your time you "call the song" and give the key it's to be played in.

    You start the song and it goes around the circle everyone taking a verse or two. OR You start the song and it does not move around the circle, i.e. you start and finish this song. The next song is called by the next person in the circle. This is the way we do it here in East Texas.

    You have no idea what song is going to be called next, but you do know the key it is to be played in. Assume a chord progression and hang on. No pressure, if you get lost revert to peddling a tonic root and watching the guitar's hands when he changes cords do likewise.

    As lugging amps, etc. around gets to be a drag most of these circles are acoustic; no drums. As my hobby budget will not stand the expense of a double stand up bass, it's here I pull out the ole 6 string rhythm guitar and strum away. Tom may show up with his double bass and provide a bass line, but, most of the time we just wing it.


    Loads of fun had by all.
  19. Everyone’s learning curve varies, but you should start jamming with everyone you can as soon as you can, and start playing with a band as soon as you can too.
  20. Just level with them - accept any help they offer - and trust me, you will improve steadily by playing in a band.

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