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wait until after the chord changes to play?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by ElectroVibe, Mar 27, 2013.

  1. ElectroVibe


    Mar 2, 2013
    If you are playing live and the song is one where you are not sure when the changes come. For example, the singer might vary it each time. He will sing 2 verses instead of 1. Or he will bring in the bridge at a different time.

    Is it okay to wait until after the chord changes on those transitions?
  2. CraigTB


    Feb 16, 2012
    I guess waiting is better than playing the wrong thing, but you should really try and get some kind of a cue happening.

    If there's a legitimate reason for the singer or someone else to call an audible and change the form of the song, then they have to cue in the band ahead of time.

    Otherwise how does anyone (the drums, the guitars) know how to hit the change?
  3. Agreed.

    I jam stuff out at home by ear and figure out the song little by little off time, then I can nail it.

    Wouldn't wanna have to resort to it love though, I don't feel the same playing the songs when I don't know the changes and I'm just kinda winging it.
  4. iovar


    May 7, 2011
    Chania, Crete
    Your singer needs to learn the form of the song. If it's a mistake you should try to cover it, in a live situation, but remember that a late transition still has to be on the beat.
    Now if it's not a mistake and/or it happens regularly then you should confront your singer and tell him to either learn the form (and give cues when he wants to change it), or go back to singing in his bathroom.
  5. As a pro guitarist one time told me,
    "If you follow the vocalist, you'll be screwed"
    Just stick to the song structure irrespective of the vocalist.
    It is common for a good vocalist to sing before or after the beat at points during a song.
  6. First, this happens all the time in Praise music. The music being sung does not follow a strict format. Chorus may be repeated several times and the music can and does move as the mood changes. So........

    Yes, the vocalist can screw you up. And yes vocalists do not sing on the beat all the time. But, have to disagree with just sticking to the song structure as written, if that is not what is now being sung; our job is to lay down a beat to what is being sung and call attention to the chord changes that are now happening.

    Who is the audience listening to? The vocalist. If the vocalist takes you to the chorus, you need to move to the chord progression used in the chorus. If the vocalist decides to sing the chorus twice, yep, you need to be laying down a beat for the chorus, not moving to verse number three while the vocalist is still singing the chorus.

    Now to the question at hand. If you are following what is being sung - which I recommend you do by singing along under your breath or following along with lyric sheet music - it does not take long to realize the vocalist is not following the written music. If you realize the vocalist has moved somewhere, and you do not at this moment know where - you gotta keep the beat going, hopefully the drummer is also reacting and you can stay locked on his kick drum pounding out tonic roots till you can figure out where the vocalist has taken the song. When you figure out where ever one has gone - go there. Most songs have a chord progression that is repeated, you can always revert to that while looking for the place everyone else has gone.

    That's the way I do it, will be interesting to hear how others handle a situation like this.

    For all the Praise guys and gals, good luck with tonight's rehearsal. Have a great time Sunday.
  7. ElectroVibe


    Mar 2, 2013
    Thanks. He is very good about giving cues because he plays rhythm guitar and he knows that we have to follow his changes. But once in a while there is a song that throws me off a little. Fortunately this problem does not occur with most songs we do. It's rare, which is good.
  8. El-Bob

    El-Bob Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2006
    Hamilton, ON
    Gotta hit that 1.
  9. ElectroVibe


    Mar 2, 2013
    Yes! That is what concerns me the most. It's really the only note that matters.
  10. CraigTB


    Feb 16, 2012
    That is really interesting, I've never thought about that aspect of praise music before!
  11. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    If the vocalist is not being consistent, then they must adhere to some system of cueing if the band is to be tight.
  12. Grego54


    Mar 9, 2011
    I think you've just got to 'feel it'. How long have you been playing with those guys? May be its a case of once you get to know them better musically you'll probably just know that this time the verse is going to be repeated etc. The way he plays the bar before the chord change you mentioned is probably a give away.
    Now regarding waiting for the chord change I don't subscribe to this method. A music teacher once told me," if you're going to make a mistake, make it a big one". What? You're better off playing boldly and confidently and making a mistake than playing timidly and not getting noticed. You can always turn that wrong note into a run or something.
  13. mrbell321


    Mar 26, 2012
    N. Colorado
    You probably shouldn't listen to me, since i'm not a very good bass play or musician of any sort.

    However, "being late is better than playing the wrong thing", I think I disagree with. Well, I don't necessarily disagree w/ the statement as it is, but more what it implies. It implies that you're going to play the wrong thing. Here's my take:
    What makes you think you might play the "wrong thing"? There are 12 notes you physically have the capability of playing. 8 of those are "in the key", so you've got a 67% chance of hitting a note that is in the key. It might not match the chord, but a little variety can work really well.

    For the remaining 4 notes, who says they are wrong? It may clash somewhat, but you can do one of two things:
    1) Hammer on that same note for a bit and it will start to sound right. You can bring the song in a new direction.
    2) Shift one fret and call it a chromatic run. you're never more than 1 fret away from the right key.
  14. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much

    Jul 2, 2011
    Milton Keynes, UK
    You need to know where you're going. Either the singer sticks to the rehearsed song structure or they improvise but give you some cues. With some parts of a song you'll be okay if the singer changes their mind but other times it'll create a trainwreck.

    I play in a praise band setting where, as has been mentioned, there's typically a much more fluid structure than in, say, a cover band. But a singer who just goes wherever they want with no indication will leave both the band and the congregation floundering. What we do is have a singer leading the song, backed up by a MD who can talk to everyone in their IEMs (quite often my job). The MD lets everyone know where we're going next and if the lead singer wishes to go somewhere different, they can communicate either by a vocal cue or hand signals. The MD then passes this on to the rest of the band.

    Short version - without either good communication from the singer or sticking to a set structure, trainwreck.
  15. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    Try to anticipate the pending "mistake".

    With experience, the right choice of passing tones, and being able to think in two or more directions at the same time you can make a mistake in for structure not noticeable to the average listener.

    Disclaimer: Sometimes this doesn't work
  16. mflaherty


    Oct 9, 2001
    The singer is always right.
    The drummer is always right.
    The guitar player is usually right.
    It sucks to be the bass player.
  17. maxiegrant

    maxiegrant Bassist in Transition

    Nov 26, 2007
    Sellersburg, IN
    My 0.02 on this is, if you are running into this problem on stage, the next time you rehearse, you need to put your foot down, and say "let's rehearse that song we ****ed up on stage last show, until we all know it and it is the same every time."

    One of my biggest pet peeves is working with a bandleader who can't stay consistent. I had a guy who would rehearse us like dogs during the week (two full eight-hour rehearsals, after work, until 2:00 a.m.) and then at the show, he'd toss 50% of that out the window and literally turn to us and say "give me a C, a bouncy C" and I simply got tired of the whole thing -- it caused me to quit playing for several years actually. I was busting my ass for someone who simply didn't have the common courtesy to respect all that work.

    You do not just have to "feel" it. He needs to pick a song and play that song. I'm sure there are all kinds of qualifications to why he thinks he needs to do it this way, but bluntly you guys look like idiots up there when you don't know where the song is going, and that is no good for the band.
  18. Blueszilla

    Blueszilla Bassist ordinaire

    Apr 2, 2003
    The Duke City
    Somebody has to drive, and in most cases it's the bassist. You can't be shy about it. Nobody driving = train wreck.
  19. jason weatherby

    jason weatherby

    Aug 30, 2012
    Our worship leader is always changing things up on the fly to track the feeling and the congregation's mood, etc. It's just "the way it is" for us and we all know it and follow his lead. He does a really good job at it too and it does make for a better worship experience for all. Just be prepared for anything and everything and follow-the-leader.
  20. Bassdirty


    Jul 23, 2010
    I just cant imagine playing a song live...that you've rehearsed before..and sometimes its one way,,sometimes another. :meh:

    I think you /somebody should decide how its gonna go, and stick to it.

    as far as "praise music".. I've never heard (in the church i used to go to) the music "changing", or doing extra choruses/verses depending on mood. (yes the setlist changes time to time, but the songs were played as rehearsed, anything else just looks(sounds) like a mistake or unprepared.
    I think any live performance should be performed as rehearsed..just seems right.

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