Wedding/Club Date/GB/Casual bassists - whats your bass & rig?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by basss, Jul 5, 2008.

  1. basss

    basss Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2001
    I'm going to be working for an agency that books weddings and corporate parties. I'll be playing a variety of styles in a variety of venues. I'm curious as to what kind of basses and amps guys are using for these types of gigs. Do band leaders care what you bring? Are looks important as far as basses go? Is a 5 string necessary? What kind of amps are you using?
  2. Marksb_2000


    Jun 2, 2006
    Atlanta, Ga
    I use a Jazz bass and a Roland Cube 100 for that kind of work. For low volume work that combination works very well for me. If you carry your bass in a gig bag, yuo can carry that setup in to the venue in one trip.
  3. basss

    basss Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2001
    Do you find that that amp is loud enough when you play in a larger ballroom with a dance band?
  4. von buck

    von buck

    Feb 22, 2008
    wolcott ct.
    I use a Bag End 210, an Eden Traveler. I carry it on a small portable hand truck, and can set up in a minute. Covers all gigs from bars and halls to the great outdoors.
    Do you need a 5 ? Depends on the gig. If you don't know the situation it's good to so your covered. I play with some people who don't want those extra low notes. But it boils down to a right tool for the job.

  5. Marksb_2000


    Jun 2, 2006
    Atlanta, Ga
    If you are playing with a 1930s 40s style big band, yeah. If you are doing anything more current maybe not. I play some with a corporate band that does a lot of Motown and Disco covers. If we are in a big hotel ballroom I bring an SWR Redhead with a son of Bertha 15 extension speaker
  6. I use an Ashdown EVO II 500 head and 210 T I can either defeat the tube in the pre for a techy, modern sound, or bringit up for some vintage warmth... or overdrive it for a little grumble. It's pretty good for a variety of situations. I lucked out and got both UK-made, though the current far-eastern ones aren't second-best by any strecth.
  7. Hello,

    You are describing my gigging life for the past 25 years.

    The band leaders I work for could care less what I bring.... amp-wise or bass-wise. However, they do notice if a bassist is putting a nice low end pillow under the band, and I do get some positive comments on my tone compared to other freelancers in my same circle of players. However, reading the charts and knowing the tunes (i.e., playing bass lines appropriate to the tunes) is IMO what has kept me working for the last 30 years or so.

    The only no-no regarding gear is having stuff that is beat up looking, since many of the gigs are very high end. However, complaints about that usually come from the 'party planner' or 'event coordinator' not the band leader or contractor/music director.

    I use J style 5 string instuments (easier for me than drop tuning on a 4), and I find about 500 watts into a 4ohm lightweight 410 is the optimum ratio of power, tone, volume and the ability to make it in and out of anywhere by myself with one trip. Since much of the music I get called to play is funk/pop/hip hop that sometimes requires slap, and often has the bass as a key definer of the tune, I can't really get away with a single 210. However, for most of the gigs I do, 2 x 112 would probably work. I just find a single, large but light 410 (like the BergAE410 or Epi410UL) is actually simpler to schlep with castors than loading a bunch of pieces on a cart. IMO there.
  8. vroc38


    Jan 5, 2006
    This is my primary gig as well. I usually take a G&L L2500 or L2000, but sometimes I'll take a Nordy VJ5. My rig these days for this sort of gig is a GB Shuttle 6.0 and either a NeoX212T or a pair of NeoX112T cabs. Makes for a great sounding and versatile rig that's lightweight and compact. A compact rig IMO is fairly important for these gigs since the stage area varies all over the map, and a compact rig IMO helps to provide a clean and unobtrusive stage appearance. Band leaders and event planners tend to freak out when they see a big rig.

    Whether you'll need a 5 depends on your style and your gig. I take a 5 90% of the time for rock or pop gigs and a 4 100% of the time for funk gigs. My basses are traditional appearance-wise, which is probably a good idea for corporate and private gigs. Band leaders have never asked me to use a particular type of bass but that's probably because they know they are always going to get what they expect in terms of appearance and tone. If you know the material, play the appropriate parts, play with the appropriate tone, and always present yourself as expected, you'll get the calls.
  9. +1 regarding huge rigs also... big drum sets are even worse.

    I actually only use 5 strings, even though most of my gigs are 'funk' oriented. However, it did take me a long time to really get the muting of all the strings together when slapping, so I totally understand the 4 string thing.

    The only other thing that band leaders wince at sometimes is if you show up with an exotic 6 string. However, this is only because many of the guys who play those tend to 'wank' in a pop context. As soon as you make it through the first set playing the appropriate lines with the appropriate tone, etc., they won't care if you bring an 11 string or a 3 string.

    One more point... listen to pop radio as much as you can. Many times, the bass lines of the newer tunes that are in the book are key to defining the tune for the audience. While the bass lines are typically easy to play, they can be very difficult to sight read if you are not the best line reader (which I'm surely not) and you've never heard the tune before. Nailing these sort of parts (i.e., Maroon 5 tunes, Mary J. Blige tunes, etc.) can be the difference between getting some calls and a LOT of calls.

    Sorry for the OT!
  10. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    Regardless of your gear choice, were gonna ask that you bring it down a few notches. I know you haven't actually started playing yet, but trust me, you need to bring it down a little.

    And get those shoes shined, fer Chrissake.
  11. basss

    basss Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2001
    Thanks for the info - that helps a lot!

    I was under the impression that you need to know the tunes and that reading isn't really an option as you are often moving quickly and sometimes segueing directly between tunes. I've been practicing my ass off trying to learn this huge list of tunes that the agency has. I'm sure we won't be doing most of them but I'm trying to be prepared.

    What about transposing? Do you find that you are often playing tunes away from the original key? Is knowing the original key part of knowing the song or does the band leader always call out the key.

    PM me if you want as I know this is getting off topic.

    As for my gear I have a lightweight 2x12 and a Genz Shuttle 3.0. The cab is 4 ohms so I think I'll be OK there. Right now I only own 4's although I played 5's exclusively for a few years and think I could switch back without much fuss if I need to.
  12. There is no OT if it's your thread:D

    Usually a freelance organization will have no problem with you reading everything for a while, and you are right, it can be a scramble to go from tune to tune. Hopefully the book is in nice alphabetical order, and they will usually give you a break on a little scruffing up for the first few gigs.

    No band leader who hires freelancers would expect you to know an entire book prior to your first gig, but you are right, and per my previous post, the more familiar you are with the tune, the better you are going to sound. Even if you are a great reader, a lot of the bass lines are not written completely correctly, or at all... lot's of chord charts/lead sheets, and it is assumed you will know the right feel and 'bass line pattern'.

    Regarding transposing, that can happen if its a large organization with a number of different singers. Usually, it's just taking something down a step for certain singers who can't hit the highest part of the tune. And, usually it's only a couple of tunes in the evening, depending on the singer in question. I've found most tunes done in the 'record key', although I've subbed with some bands who do EVERYTHING in a different key due to the regular singer having a limited range, or a particularly low or high voice.

    The other thing that is key is to listen to the singer(s). If they are 'subbing' also, it will be very common for them to skip a verse and head to the bridge, etc. If you are somewhat familiar with the tune, it's pretty easy to figure out where they went to on the chart.

  13. Lonnybass


    Jul 19, 2000
    San Diego
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    I find that there are several tunes that are extremely helpful to know in different keys - probably the best example of which is "Superstition" by Uncle Stevie. The original version and the charts are in E flat, but about half the time I find that it's moved up a half step to to E...often without getting any indication ahead of time that the band is doing it in a different key. So being able to wing it on the fly is good! I'm sure some of the guys in this thread know what I mean. :cool:

  14. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Inactive Commercial User

    Jul 28, 2006
    LA California
    The Brains:
    For cocktail hour jazz gigs / background music... for either my electric and or upright... GK MB112.

    For larger ones, SWR Super Red Head 2 x 10
  15. willgroove2


    Aug 16, 2003
    chicago IL
    Endorsing Artist;Essential sound products,Dunlop, Ergo Instruments
    Funny,I'm just getting in from a wedding gig.I tend to use a smaller rig on what we in chicago call "jobbing" gig's(on the west coast they call them casuals and on the east i think they call them club gig's) I will bring a 2x10 edens and either my wt400 or my epi 502,there are some larger groups I play with who do a lot of funk and modern R&B and I'll bring a 4x10 but most of those bands use full PA and put me in the system so my stage volume is pretty low.Bass-wise i mostly play 5 strings sometimes I'll bring my electric upright if we are play more jazz stuff,bandleader for the most part don't care as long as you play the right notes. Keep your ear to the radio and learn to cop keyboard basslines on electric without using effects remember it's the feel they want not necessarily the sound. Be on time and try to have fun on the gig's, it comes out in your playing.
  16. mrufino1


    Aug 2, 2005
    Nutley, NJ
    I looked at your list of gear and it looks great, I don't think you will have any problem in that respect. Less gear is definitley more here, and being in NYC, you know that there is not really a practical way to make more than 1 trip. A gig bag with 1 or 2 basses, and a head and cabinet on a cart, maybe a folding music stand, and you are set. Hang your clothes on the cart, off you go! If your band uses a full PA, then stage volume should not be an issue and will be a hinderance actually. If it is "speakers on sticks," then your cab will be the bottom end, although they still want it not too loud usually! Helping pack up/ set up the PA is always appreciated, unless it is a sound company that is hired, then it is NOT usually appreciated!! Being polite and on time (yes, leave enough time for parking in Manhattan if that is needed- we are from NJ, so it is needed!), and not hungry (or develop a love of dry sandwiches!) are also very important. Sounds like you care a lot though, which is good in my book (although you may have to sometimes put up with stuff that will go against caring, just remember it is good to play and get paid for it and in 4 hours you will never see the people who may be giving you a hard time again). When you get fed and they love you, that is always a great bonus. As for you question about the number of strings, I went from 5 to 6 to 4 within the last 2 months as my main instruments and the bandleader did not care as long as I played the right parts (the switch to 6 for a few weeks led to some ...interesting...moments!). The other night I played "Hips Don't Lie" on a 4, when I used to use a low Bb (B string hipshotted down to A) and no one complained about the missing octave. I am still waiting for the day, with my current band, when I can show up with my sansamp and my bass...
  17. In Toronto here doing socials and charity events, I use my MTD 6 fretless and Ashbory bass through an EA iAmp350 (or Hartke 3500) going through an EA CXL-112... We have our own sound company that services us, so I never need a big rig - they just put a Meyer System in wherever we're playing and I mainly use the rig for hearing myself. If I end up playing a venue without the sound company, sometimes I'll add an SWR 2x10+horn for a little more oomph.

    We do dance/disco/Top 40 dance music, including some pop-jazz (basically pop music with an upright - hence the Ashbory).

    We have our own books of tunes, along with another custom book of about 600 songs written out in a specific format all transcribed by hand by a number of people who act as arrangers for myself and other musicians in our groups - although as of about two weeks ago I've begun teaching myself sight-reading (as Herbie Flowers would say: "Learn to read the dots!") for some extra versatility.
  18. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    Around here you can't go wrong with a J or clone. Some use what I call "Fancy Five" boutique 5 strings. Amps seem to be all over the map.

    I use my AMP BH-420 or Eden WT-400 and a 4-ohm 1x15. I carry a DI in case it's needed.

    I've been wanting to use my old Ashbory and can't find strings that don't spontaneously break (G and sometimes D) what are you using for strings?
  19. Reuben


    Aug 8, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    Lately I've been playing a lot of weddings and there are two items I always keep in my bag now:

    A long extension cord.

    A yarmulke.

    I play a 4-string P-bass through an EA head and a 1x15. No one cares at all what my gear is. As long as you show up on time, play great, and don't act inappropriately you'll be fine.
  20. Tom Howland

    Tom Howland

    Feb 11, 2003

    For those gigs.

    I use a B100R combo, or a 300 watt Head, and 2x10 cab.

    For basses.
    I always take two basses. ( In double gig bag)
    I chose between?

    1-fretted P-bass
    2-fretless 4-string. (for cocktail set)
    3- MTD 535, or MTD J5
    When 5-string is needed.

    I also use hand cart.(one trip in, and out)