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The "real" world

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by DannyTheRed, May 6, 2006.

  1. DannyTheRed


    Dec 27, 2005
    I was wondering what the real world of a freelance or session bassist is like. Im 16 and i've been playing the bass about a year and it has become my goal to be a professional bassist. My bass teacher told me i have to learn the DoubleBass, and im planing on starting that over the summer.
    My real question is, what kind of things should i know to survive some gigs? Im starting to learn how to sightread and play over a few chords, but it would help to know what my overall goal is. Any suggestions on things to work towards?
  2. Shearstown


    Oct 15, 2005
    For one you don't have to learn upright. That's baloney.
  3. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    I think you would have to create your own opportunities. Don't wait for someone to give it to you.

    And do LOTS of jamming - for free.
  4. DannyTheRed


    Dec 27, 2005
    I know i dont HAVE to, but he said that you wouldnt be able to get into music school, or get high paying gigs without the upright.
  5. Shearstown


    Oct 15, 2005
    I'm pretty sure these are also myths/untruths.
  6. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Depending on where you are, they are myths. I can't think of a single music program in Canada that doesn't mandate you play upright bass at least after you start (if not upon entrance,) but I think there are a couple places in the US where you can go all the way through on electric.

    That said, the concept of only getting high paying gigs with an upright also makes me skeptical. There is one reason and one reason only to play upright bass, and that is for love of the sound of it. There are 10,000 reasons NOT to -- the obvious ones, such as transportation and cost of the instrument, but others that don't become obvious until after you start...difficulty of maintanance, the thousand minor inconveniences, not to mention an almost sickeningly steep learning curve...if you play upright without having a deep and abiding love for the sound, you won't continue to play it. It's just not worth it unless you really love the instrument. Don't let me deter you from trying the instrument, though -- playing the upright bass was the best and most rewarding decision I ever made for myself.
  7. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    Glen Cove, NY
    Versatility = more gigs.
  8. +1 to versatility.

    Upright is important in my opinion, for the simple fact that it makes you more employable. The more versatile you can be as a bassist, the more calls you're going to get - simple as that. How do become versatile? immerse yourself in lots of different genres of music. Open your ears up to playing genres that you normally wouldn't 'enjoy' listening to.. and transcribe!

    Obviously working on reading skills, technique, stage presence, is also really important. but if you can read like a mofo and the guy who's hiring you asks you to create a reggae bass line over the changes (or a walking line, funk groove etc) and you've never really immersed yourself in that genre... well you know the answer.

    all the best and good luck on your quest :)

    ps. work your ass off with a metronome..
  9. ras1983


    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    check the sticky. i think its called 'tips for aspiring studio bassists' or something like that.

    it might be in the OT forum.

    EDIT, i just checked. its in the Misc forum.
  10. Shearstown


    Oct 15, 2005

    Not saying it doesn't help, I'm sure it does. Just saying it's not a bass commandment.
  11. thumbzilla


    Apr 28, 2006
    Mentor, Ohio
    Don't forget that this forum aslo has a doublebass section, check listings in "forum jump". Ask them the same question only backwards.
  12. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    Glen Cove, NY
    To the double bass naysayers, you don't know what you're talking about. You'll never get a real jazz gig, or a big band gig or whatever, without knowing upright. And there's plenty of situations other than jazz where it's useful. On one of his recent tours, David Gilmoure had an upright player only.
  13. ToR-Tu-Ra


    Oct 15, 2005
    Mexico City
    I think you should learn to play the "bullfiddle" only if you really LOVE it. It's hard enough that way to be learning it just to get more gigs. It's a beautiful instrument but it can be a burden if (self) imposed. You're not going to be "less" of a bass player if you only play electric and the other way 'round. Playing doublebass doesn't make you a better bass player automatically. I think it's been mentioned before, the key is knowing what YOU want to do/be and strive at it.
  14. Marcus Willett

    Marcus Willett Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2005
    Palm Bay, FL
    Endorsing Artist: Bag End - Dean Markley - Thunderfunk
    The best advice I can give you (as someone who has been playing bass for a living for the last 20 years) is that you better be very sure this is what you want to do for a living. It's a tough way to make a living.

    Agreed. And let me add this; if you want to increase your employability then get your vocals together. The "real world" truth is that an OK bass player who can sing reasonably well (either lead or backup) is much more in demand than an excellent bass player that can't sing. This isn't really the case in the jazz world, but then again most work as a musician is outside the jazz world as well.

    Not true. I've done many "real" jazz gigs and even have a regular big band gig and I've never played upright. There is a very real prejudice in the jazz world against the electric, but your suggestion is not correct.
  15. Murf


    Mar 28, 2001

    + 1000000
  16. If you play the electric and play jazz their is an incredible prejudice amongst some players. I have been the electric bass player for 3 years in a jazz big band but still feel the cold shoulder of an upright player. Its unavoidable in jazz.

    Its something you learn to live with. We play tunes that can only be played with an electric about 20% of the time. But when we play the swing stuff you feel a certain disdain. It will never pass.
  17. DaftCat


    Jul 26, 2004
    Medicine Hat
    I'm with Marcus Willett here too.

    In my opinion, having good vocals(especially lead) and suffice playing ability will yield you the most gig work overall.
  18. mvw356


    Mar 2, 2006
    my advice would be to get a band and play as many gigs as you can, nothing prepares you as much as experience. sight reading, double bass, knowledge of theory etc are all nice skills to have but not mandatory to be a session ace.

    also, whe you got to an audition, the last thing you should do is tap, slap or anything you would play to impress other people. they don't want to hear that, they want solid grooves (thats what bassplayers are for after all)
  19. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    I've been a pro for the last 20 years or so. Blanket advice like this is never a good idea. Do you slap well? (and by well I mean in context, with good time, in support of the song) If you do, you might want to show them a bit of what you can do. Solid grooves can be slapped, you know.

    I've slapped at just about every audition I've taken. And I've gotten the gig for every audition I've taken. Whatever that's worth...
  20. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    You're right, it probably won't go away. An electric bass player trying to swing like a DB is somewhat akin to someone using one of those K-Mart kids guitars trying to pump out SRV -- it's just not the same.

    Personally, I think this quote is the most important advice here.
    I couldn't agree more. I play the double bass because I love the instrument, because if there's ANY other reason for doing it, you won't keep at it. There's just too many reasons NOT to play it...but only one to ever pick it up, and that's for love of the sound. If you don't love the sound of the upright bass, don't bother. You'll just end up wasting your money and other people's time trying to hack away at gigs on an instrument that takes considerable more discipline to learn than you would ever expect.

    Honestly, I cannot fathom of someone playing upright bass for the money. That just seems completely ass-backwards to me after dropping over $250 on one full set of strings, $500 USD on an AI amp for it, etc. etc. -- not to mention the thousands you'll pay for a good bass, or the hundreds in lessons to learn how to play the thing.

    Yeah, I definitely don't see it as being a good reason to play the upright.

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