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Want to be a weekend warrior.

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Beefpatrol, Aug 26, 2012.

  1. Beefpatrol


    Dec 18, 2011
    I am a relatively new bassist. (Been playing about a year.). I played trumpet in various school bands from 3rd grade all the way through high school. I played guitar a little bit in high school. In the school bands, I learned to read music and became somewhat competent at sight reading treble clef, playing with others, etc., but I didn't really learn much music theory.

    After my life stabilized with a job and a family, I decided that I wanted to get back into music and that I wanted to do it my way this time -- I wanted to learn theory and try to understand and play music based on theory instead of just reading/memorizing stuff. (I hate memorizing stuff and I wanted to be able to be creative in a non-random fashion.) I chose bass because... I just liked the sound I guess. Also, I wanted to be more involved with rhythm than I was when playing the trumpet.

    Anyway, I have learned some theory and have been having fun jamming to stuff on YouTube, (amazing how a little theory and a few 10s of hours of practice can make you able to just make stuff up that sounds halfway decent.) I am getting to the point where I feel like I could and should actually play bass in a band.

    A side note: I used to drink, but I don't anymore and I don't really want to be tempted to start again. I understand that this can be a problem for musicians in bands.

    It seems like my situation is fairly common for a new bassist that is, say, 15 years old. I'm 34, have a wife and kid, day job (I'm an engineer,) mortgage, etc. I am posting this in the band management forum because it seems to me that finding musicians with compatible goals to play with is a daunting task. Aside from posting an ad on Craigslist, I don't really know where to start. Does anyone have any ideas?
  2. yeh one day i'll have to learn some theory too...

    theres lots of posts on starting out on TB..

    attend some jam nights, talk to people

    put an intermediate bass payer ad in craigs....bass player available etc

    communicate....dont be afraid to have a go, talk to people etc

    sometimes other parents at your kids school play instruments too

    also do a few bass demo's on youtube so you can show a band looking what your into
  3. Stev187

    Stev187 Peavey MegaBass Club!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Toledo, OH
    Then it's time to get out there! I recently found myself in your exact position (except I'm 44, not 34). I was about as lucky as a guy could be, though, because the first CL ad I responded to was my first and only audition. Got the gig, fell in with a great group of guys (who also have families and jobs) and we got up and gigging right away. Pinch me!

    So, I'll just add this: getting out there is going to be very specific to your geographic area. Where are you? How many live music venues are around? Where do musicians hang out? Investigate these questions.

    Finally, I'll say that as far as doing the bar gig thing and being a family guy are concnerd, SOCIAL FIT IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN MUSICAL FIT. I don't mind playing songs that aren't my favorite; but when I take time away from my job and family to play music, I don't want to spend that time with people I don't enjoy. You need a good personality fit with the group(s) you eventually find.

    Oh, and a parting note on drinking. Around here, it would be perfectly acceptable to play in a bar band without drinking a drop of alcohol. If the people you play with meet the criteria above, you can level with them before you start working and just tell them you don't drink; good friends will help you make that less awkward. Patrons buy the band drinks all the time in my new gig. Usually the waitstaff asks what we want; I do drink a beer or two on a gig, but last weekend I just didn't feel like it and asked for Coke. A few times people in the crowd have sent up shots. Set yours aside for somebody else in the band. Again, good bandmates will help with this.

    Good luck getting out there. If I can do it, I am sure you can!

  4. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    To the OP, really think about what type of band experience you want.

    . Goof offs in a basement with no direction or musical ability

    . One of the many start up metal projects that will go no further than the first gig at a friends house.

    . Guys like yourself, good people with good marketable ideas and talent established band or not.

  5. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Good ideas. Talk to other musicians. Give them your numbers and ask that they pass them along to people looking for bass players.
    I like the idea of checking out other parents at your kids school. Try work too. I know many engineers who are musicians. (ask yourself, how many people know that you play bass? Not many, OK... mayber there are others out there like you).

    Plan to run into people who have little direction or experience. Learn what you can from them and move on. Its a lovely journey.
  6. From what I gather bassists are kinda in short supply in most US markets. Meaning there are probably a couple or three bands looking for one near you.

    I would avoid the original "projects" if you want to play out this year.

    You need a singer that can sing and drummer that isn't a crackhead. I recommend a guitar player with a small amp. You don't need to be bosom buddies to make good music, simply respect.
  7. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    +1 to what's already been said. Hang around a couple of open mics or blues jams, get to know the folks there. You may not be comfortable getting up to play the first time but find out what "standards" people come back to and you can go learn it at home and come in to play it the next week.

    Also, put yourself out on craigslist. I'd suggest not having some elaborate conquer-the-world plan for a band in your CL ad, just be frank about your situation and say you're looking for jam partners. If it grows into a gigging band, great. If there's an existing band that wants you, great. Just don't flake out on people and don't exaggerate your skill level.

    A band is not a marriage. Just play with whoever wants to play with you that doesn't waste your time.

    Your marriage, however, IS a marriage. Keep things in proportion, which to me means family comes first, job comes second, band comes third. That means band practice and gigs take priority over hanging out with buddies or watching Seinfeld reruns or playing XBox or whatever, but the band should not mean neglecting your family.

    There are a lot of alcoholics around the music community where I am, most in recovery, some not. I've never seen any pressure on anyone to drink, and plenty of guys drinking water or soda or whatever at gigs. The next bar we're gigging at actually has a policy of no-alcohol-for-the-band-after-9:30. I don't think you need to worry about it being an issue for you in music any more than it would be in any social situation.
  8. Beefpatrol


    Dec 18, 2011
    Thanks everyone! Good suggestions. There is at least one open mic night bar around here where you can just sign up in advance for a date and play. They even have a song list. I think I will check that out.
  9. Jam nights are a great place to meet like minded people who aren’t 15.

    Don’t assume that @ 34 it will be a expected you have 20 years experience, or that you need to be Jaco to hang at a blues jam. As long as you can at least play roots (and in time) for someone to solo over everyone will be happy and you’ll spend a bit of time on the stand. At the jam I go to, out of the 20 or so regulars I am the only bassist, but I am having trouble finding a steady band. Most of the guys my age are happy to jam once a month as an excuse to own gear, but not really interested in putting on a show or playing gigs.

    As far as drinking goes, most of the guys at the jam I go to will drink a Coke and maybe one beer. Mainly as a a kind of appreciation to the pub for letting us use the venue. There is no one in the place who isn't part of the jam, the talent isn't such that we draw a crowd of spectators.

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