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What It Takes To Be A 1st Call Bassist

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Buogon, Mar 30, 2009.

  1. Buogon


    Feb 2, 2009
    New Jersey
    If anyone would like to add to the mix on what it takes.
    Here is some of my Advice:

    Have a good Attitude
    Be a good Listener
    Have good techincal skills
    Have a good sound
    Have good equipment

    I will leave the rest for you to fill in.
  2. Good oral hygiene.
  3. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I noticed you did not fill out much of your profile. Give us an idea of what you have done. Your posts seem to indicate that you have had some success as a player.:)
  4. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    Knowing the right people in the right places, reliability and lack of overall flakiness, and mastering the "hang" before and after the gig.
  5. TrevorOfDoom

    TrevorOfDoom Supporting Member

    Jun 17, 2007
    Austin, TX
    luck and timing seem to be much more important than anything else, IMO
  6. enjoy telling jokes
  7. zachbass02

    zachbass02 One Hairy....squatch.

    Jan 3, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    having a producer that calls you first...thus being his "first call bassist".
  8. DanielleMuscato


    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    I'd put a good reputation for being reliable near the top of the list. In my experience, good technical skills and good equipment come far below having a good attitude, a good reputation, and having a sense of humor & being easy to work with. If you have a Fender bass and pretty much any working amp, you really have all you *need* to be a bassist. Nobody I know gets session calls because of his/her $3k bass; you get calls because you show up on time, nail your parts, don't overplay, and are respectful of other people's opinions and time. You have to know how to play, of course, but (no offense intended) playing bass is not as hard as people think it is, most of the time. The way you get calls is by being reliable and a good person, and more importantly, having a reputation for those things.
  9. though I'm comfortable in a pop/rock environment, I wouldn't consider myself a first call player to people that don't know me, because I'm not able to...

    -create a swinging walking line in jazz, from charts
    - read from notation well
    - really play convincing latin, samba, socca

    Perhaps I'm wrong in what "first call" means. Again, totally comfortable in my own world, but I'm not a well rounded player as far as genres of music.
  10. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Make the band (or song) better with you than it is with anybody else.
  11. buckminster

    buckminster Banned

    Apr 29, 2006
    Sacramento, CA
    I've been asked to "overplay"...I wasn't comfortable with it, so I told them to find another bassist.
  12. good networking skills and social skills.
    a good ear,
    good timing, tone and feel.

    Nathan East's "Business of bass" video looks interesting.
  13. willgroove2


    Aug 16, 2003
    chicago IL
    Endorsing Artist;Essential sound products,Dunlop, Ergo Instruments
    there's no such thing as luck in this circumstance,luck is opportunity and preparation meeting at the same time.
  14. While I can definitely see how being asked to "overplay" could be uncomfortable as we all play more of a support role (for the most part) and are conditioned to use our sense of good taste in most situations.
    I don't really see a difference between a bandleader asking you to to play that way or asking you to play a shuffle or transpose the key etc.
    If it's right for the particular gig and what they will pay you to do then it would seem just as valuable a skill to have as playing supportive.
    How about overplaying tastefully :D
  15. Buogon


    Feb 2, 2009
    New Jersey
    Interesting quotes, i think that what is being said will in some way help bass players ,
    with their approach on going from gig to gig and other genres outside of their norm.
  16. perfektspace6


    May 9, 2006
    I agree with the luck aspect or right place, right time which isn't so much about luck as being prepared.

    Not that I actually know what it takes but I would imagine networking has a lot to do with it. Knowing who is important, developing a rep. with those people, and being able to deliver on everything you claim to be (e.g., honesty).

    Who turns down a gig for being asked to overplay? If he wants busy, give him busy! No different than being asked to play conservatively as the previous poster pointed out.
  17. J. Crawford

    J. Crawford

    Feb 15, 2008
    Wow, thats odd.

    Im going to say:
    Have a Fender bass.

    Sad but true. I hear so many older bassists talking about how the part they got was highly influenced by them playing a Fender.
  18. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    Have lots of creativity in reserve. I remember when I was a young bassist in the 70's and would go to the NYC clubs at night to hear cats like Will Lee, Anthony Jackson, Marcus Miller play gigs after they were in the studio all day and they still sounded fresh and killed, not easy to do.
  19. mrkreuzschlitz


    Jun 30, 2008
    Dacula, GA
    Be better than all the other guys.

    'Nuff said.
  20. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    Make the group sound better.

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