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Timid Players....

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by glocke1, Oct 14, 2013.

  1. glocke1


    Apr 30, 2002
    Not sure if this belongs in BM or elsewhere...

    Suggestions for getting a timid player to play more ballsy or agressively?

    The past year I've been playing on and off with a friend who is a less experienced player but who has gradually improved over the past few months..

    Problem is, he is what I can only describe as "timid"..even though he plays lead, he doesn't really drive or push the band...
  2. Hmm. Maybe talk with him and also explain what you mean by drive/push the band to him?

    EDIT: I’m not sure if you mean musically, energy wise, or both. But get in his space and help him get into it - dig in on the bass and push him, dance, jump up and down, make funny faces, physically bump into him - do anything it takes to get him to cut lose and tear it up. Good luck.
  3. nojj

    nojj Guest

    May 20, 2013
    some folks just aren't aggressive, driving players.

    I get regular work on guitar, not because my lead chops are up to it
    (frankly, they aren't: but ah bin workin' on that.....)
    but because I have an aggressive style with what I can bring to the table.
  4. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    You may just need to give him time. Presumably he's shy because of his inexperience and is worried about screwing up, or maybe doesn't want to come off as a prima donna, or who knows what. Is the friend on guitar btw?

    Part of it would just be him getting more comfortable and confident with the music, and with his instrument. You may want to start drilling some of those musicians' mantras - everyone makes mistakes, the audience never notices anyway, or my favorite, Victor Wooten's "Never lose the groove just to find a note."

    Now, personal gig story - my former cover band also commented on my being reserved and not "rocking out." Then there was one gig when we weren't sure if we were going to be on or not, I specifically told the BL how to let me know, but he had been drinking and forgot so I didn't know until an hour beforehand that I had to pack up and run off to this bar. So I came in mad and yelled at him and basically played the gig p.o.'d and not giving a ****. Afterwards everyone was saying, "Wow, what happened with Jonathan? That was great, he was really getting into it and rocking out!"

    So... I suppose you COULD be irresponsible and piss him off to get him to play off the chain. But of course, I wouldn't really recommend that as a band management strategy...
  5. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    Not a clue. You might just want to say to your friend exactly what you told us. After that the ball is in his court. Personally, if I'm not happy with someone else's performance I don't feel it's my job to get them to do anything. Either they want it and they do and we progress, or they don't (and that's the end of that).
  6. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    Once had a singer with a monster voice. Could sing anything with real passion and feeling AND on pitch. Looked the part as well, fit as a fiddle with long red hair. Could easily go shirtless and cause the ladies to swoon.
    We rehearsed the guy for a couple weeks in the drummers basement and learned a sets worth of tunes, then made plans for a showcase thing at a local bar. The night of the showcase we signed up but just before the band ahead of us finished, singer comes up and says he's "not ready" to go on. LSS he never got "ready" that night. Turns out he was terrified of singing in public to the point of being phobic about it, and was not aware of it until confronted with actually doing it. Our mistake was throwing him in the spotlight too soon and ruining a golden opportunity to have a really killer vocalist who was truly the total package. I believe if we'd have worked him a bit more in the basement to build his confidence it would have been a different story.
    You might want to encourage the guy to step out more, but I'd be careful about making a big deal out of it. If he's got confidence issues too much focus on him could have the exact opposite effect.
  7. Nagrom


    Mar 21, 2004
    Western Canada
    We all have our crosses to bear. Fear of performing is just one of them. As with all of the challenges we face on a daily basis, we must learn to overcome them, or find something else to occupy our time.

    Like plumbing, for instance.
  8. Tell him to wear sunglasses or like a bunch of jewelry or some ridiculous hat... it is small, but I know it helps me sometimes to create a new persona - if any of you are old enough to remember Sly Stallone in that arm wrestling train-wreck of a movie... flip the hat and it's go time.

    My boss came out and saw my band the other night and her comment was once I put on my sunglasses and hat, it was like I was a different person, well, because I am. Plus she was really drunk, that helped too.
  9. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    That actually might work. I've heard that when Rod Stewart first started singing, he literally turned his back to the audience the whole show - too nervous to turn around and face them. Eventually he built up the confidence to turn around. Rick Wakeman also had a real problem with feeling shy on stage - then someone suggested that he wear a cape. The sense of being in costume transformed him, like wearing a mask, and he loosened up.

    Of course, the OP may not really be talking about stage presence - reading it back, I'm thinking it really has more to do with musical confidence, and probably the guy just needs to woodshed till he's confident with what he's doing.
  10. randyripoff


    Jul 12, 2008
    Is he timid in both rehearsal and gigs, or just gigs? If it's the former, that's purely a confidence issue. The best thing is likely for you and your bandmates to be as complimentary as possible and also to assure him that if he can cuts loose the band will be better for it.

    If it's performance fear or something like that, that's harder to work on. Much like Hogborn suggested, a mask of some sort could do wonders--something as simple as a neckerchief covering his mouth and nose could give him the freedom to open up a little more.
  11. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    I agree with some of the comments suggesting giving the guy some time to feel super comfortable with the material. Some people dont like looking incompetent/sucking when trying to "bring it" and prefer to do so once they feel certain that they'll pull it off.

    I'd use some positive reinforcement/trickery. "Dude! You were really driving that section... let's run through it again, keep doing that!" When he does something that you like, always pull that line. Also, just express your patience with him so he doesnt feel judged or on the spot. "Experiment with trying to drive this section a little more, we know it will take a little time to get it just right." You can also lead by example. Put that playing energy you want in something (from your end as a bassist) and ask him to match/"keep up" with what you are bringing. Energy can be infectious.

    On the flip side of the coin, I've also contemplated the element of personality involved with what exactly people bring to their playing. Some people have awesome fluidity and groove, and it's just an expression of their personality in music- a synchronization of heart, head, hands. Other people don't seem to have the ready ability to tap into max level of aggression when it comes to metal/aggressive styles. As a long time prog metal bassist, sometimes I'ved asked people- can you make that more aggressive? and I might get a confused look. They feel like they are doing all out 100% but I'm only feeling it at around 80%. I think you need to really know the energy of what you are wanting to express to truly tune into the mix of playing style, tone preference, and judgement calls.
  12. Record your rehearsals and at a later date, have a sit down with him and go over what's great and what could use some work.
    Hopefully that will build confidence and focus.
  13. sobie18


    May 5, 2002
    Shaw AFB, SC
    I know a drummer like this...he's probably never been in a band, probably OWNS a drum set, probably no formal instruction, goes to jams, and I get stuck driving the Time/Tempo train.

    I'll need to chat with him on a personal professional musical level. See if that works...
  14. xk49w


    Apr 13, 2008
    I dont know - i would rather have a good singer that is timid than the other kind. Lousy singers with big egos.

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