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To open mic or not to open mic...

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by patplaysbass, Jun 27, 2012.

  1. Just got invited by some friends to a local restaurant that puts on open mics every Wednesday. They want me to play, I have MAYBE 5 minutes worth of solo material that's performance ready. I've never done an open mic anywhere before, is that a normal amount of time? Too short? Should I do it even though I wasn't expecting a gig in the next half hour?
  2. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    I play 1-3 open mics a week usually. At most open mics there are plenty of opportunities to back up other acts on bass, and little expectation that you'll know the material flawlessly. You could do do that, plus your 5 minute solo. That's my usual mode, anyway...;)
  3. I like bass as much as the next guy but a 5min bass solo, not so much. :D

    On the other hand you might be a singer songwriter guitarist in your spare time? 3 or 5 min of whatever you got is fine. Tune your guitar off stage please!

    I would also take the bass rig along and have a fun time jamming out, if it's that kind of open mic.
  4. I have never played a solo at an open mic. I either show up with
    a band to try out new material or jam with other musicians. What
    is a bass solo anyway?
  5. I'm a classical music geek, so I've been learning some Bach cello/violin solos on bass. I ended up going and playing a few of those and it went really well! I also tried my hand at some of Portrait of Tracy, which could have been better. But everyone was impressed that I even knew who Jaco was, let alone could play his stuff. Overall rating: successful!
  6. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    Besides frequently playing a chorus or three on jazz standards with a band, I often do spoken word/Zappa/Waits/hip hop type vocals with just bass, or bass and drums. Occasionally I'll play the whole melody of a standard without any chordal backup too, if my preferred players aren't around to share my time slot.
  7. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    Cool, glad it worked out. I plan to work on a few classical pieces on my EUB eventually, but my bowing needs a lot of work before I'd want to put it in public.
  8. Bard2dbone


    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    A restaurant in my neighborhood used to do a weekly open mic. I often ended up as the default house bassist for those nights. Just not that many bass players show up for open mic nights. Often I'd be the only one. For my tunes I'd usually play my 12-string guitar, then switch back to bass to accompany whoeven else was up.

    The restaurant is still there. But it has changed hands a couple of times since then. Now it is a Hungarian place, in a part of town that I wouldn't expect to give enough business to a Hungarian restaurant to keep it open. It was a steak place, then Mexican (but not Tex-Mex, real deep down in central Mexico to western coast traditional) I miss that version. Then I think they did soul food for a few months. I kept meaning to try them out. But I never made it in. Then they became the current Hungarian place.

    They haven't had live music since the steak days.
  9. fraublugher


    Nov 19, 2004
    ottawa, ontario, canada
    music school retailer
    Very interesting , so , much like an "original" Indie act , they have to change their material.

    So the question is , which music is synonymous with steak.
  10. tholos


    Mar 19, 2012
    you know what I always say...

    A GIGS A GIG LOL:bassist:
  11. ma4rk


    Jun 28, 2012
    Sydney, Australia
    They're great practice gigs BUT back in the day my band played every open mic night and band comp we could get into... then when we felt good enought to play proper gigs, we couldn't land one because we had inadvertantly became known as a 'band comp/open mic night' act so no one took us seriously. So we changed our name & the real gigs rolled in after that. However we still kept the old name for the open mics & band comps!
  12. bobsax


    Jan 16, 2011
    Southern Oregon
    that's a good story;)
    As far as sticking around after your solo and being the house bass for the other acts, I would give some serious hints for free drinks at least.
  13. Hevy T

    Hevy T Supporting Member

    Jan 11, 2011
    Lethbridge, AB Canada
    I went to an open mic last year and noticed something that really turned me off. There were 2 guys that got up and wanted to play Jumping Jack Flash with the band. Guitar and bass player. The bass player started to play the entire run. Suddenly the guitar player that was leading the jam went to the bass player and said something to him. The next thing I know the bass player was just playing the root notes only. That really upset me, I thought that a jam was supposed to showcase your talents and have some fun:rollno:
  14. phillybass101


    Jan 12, 2011
    Artist, Trickfish Amplification Bartolini Emerging Artist, MTD Kingston Emerging Artist. Artist, Tsunami Cables
    Open mics are great and a good opportunity to network. As a consequence of going to an open mic where another bassist heard me, he has offered me fill in gigs with one of his bands when he's working with another group. Theres something to be said about networking. Open mics are great for trying out something new or playing something you normally don't play with your full time band or whatvever.
  15. Bradass


    Oct 17, 2011
    Tallahassee, FL
    Open mic is how my roommate and I met our drummer and rhythm guitarist, with no expectations of doing so, it sorta just happened. Great opportunity to network with other musicians...you never know what will come up!

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