1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

What not to do

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by wcnewby, Nov 7, 2012.

  1. I've been playing for about a year now, taking lessons for six months or so. (so I can read notes and play scales) I have not played with a band yet. I feel that I need to do this in order to progress. Since god hates a coward I started looking for a group that was local. I am meeting with a group in a week. They play country western, but not the "woman dun left me the dog got run over and my beer is warm" type. It has a nice classic rock sound... Naturally, I have spent my life listening to rock, and have never heard the songs on their list, though I do like what I am hearing.

    Now here is the tricky bit. I don't really know what I am going to play yet, but I do know I'll figure it out. I have the "what am I going to do" grappled with. I've accepted that I don't know. What I'm scared of is what not to do. I've never played with a band before and I don't really want to be part of a band horror story as the causative agent... if you know what I mean.

    What are the worst things you have seen new players doing? I ask in the interest of never doing them.
  2. Frohman


    Nov 24, 2009
    Let's get this straight right away: You're going to f*** up. And that's not a bad thing. That is as simple as it is going to be. Playing with other people is just a completely different dimension of music, you're going to be feeling like you've just started the instrument.

    Keep it simple, and groove. Don't try to impress anyone, just lock in and get in a flow-state of mind. Don't start doing scale runs and ad libs all over the place, because that's when you fall off the wagon.

    Don't be nervous. I know this is much to ask, and it's hard. But overthinking and trying to remember what the instructor told you, is not going to help you when you're thinking on your feet. If you mess up, don't stop playing and don't let it kick you in the head. If you drive forward, people will forget the mistakes you made when you've reached the end of the song. Besides, nervosity is going to tense you up, and it will affect both your technique and concentration.

    Don't be negative to creative and constructive input. If you don't love the idea someone shoots at you, grasp it and use your own creative mind to help it evolve into something that you like.

    Don't forget to LISTEN to what everyone else is doing. If you truly listen, much of the work, the articulations and the groove will come by it self.

    And lastly, don't be shy. When you pick up that bass, you play those notes like they are the last notes that you're ever going to play. You don't have no girlfriend, no overdue bills, no parents you got to make a phone call to, no bathroom that needs to be cleaned. There's no one scrutinizing you, it's just you and the music. You will not think about anything else than the flow you feel, for the duration of the song. Concerns, worries and stuff like that can come inbetween songs, not during.

  3. iiipopes


    May 4, 2009
    Everything said above +1. When you play a wrong note, grin like you mean it. Don't apologize. Have confidence. When you play the rest of the notes correctly, grin even broader. Enjoy. Welcome to bass.
  4. geoff_in_nc

    geoff_in_nc Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 2008
    Raleigh, NC
    All of the above, plus remember that you're auditioning them just as much as they should be auditioning you. Are they what you're looking for?

    What are your goals for getting into a band? Playing gigs? Making new friends? Recording? Getting better as a musician? (you kind of gave us that one....). All of those are perfectly valid reasons to join a band for various people. Figure out if this band is going to help you meet those goals. Don't assume that just because these folks maybe have played together for a while that they're necessarily any better than you at musicianship, at being a good human, anything...

    Look out for warning signs (wives/girlfriends involved in the band for one!).

    Its good you want to do the right things, but they need to be doing the things that are right for you too. Don't be afraid to say "no" or "I'm not sure" to them if you're not fully convinced... there's lots of bands out there. This won't be your last band, I can almost guarantee it.
  5. Tommy504


    Jun 25, 2012
    Saginaw, MI
    Did you mention that you are a new player up front? That you don't know a lot of country songs? If so, relax. They should be able to provide you with the lyrics with the chords above them, just like the rhythm guitarist would follow. Someone will tell you how the bass line goes..."This is a walking bass" -which is basically playing the "boogie woogie" blues pattern (which would be in 4/4 time.) or "It's 2/4 time." which is that 1st and 5th thing you hear on a lot of country. So don't sweat it. It's easy. Playing with others is the thing to do. You'll be fine. I would say the worst thing you could do is not be up front about your interests and abilities.
  6. I, V, I, V, I, V, :bag: If you don't know what I IV V is you're gpoing to find out real soon. "Nashville number system".

    The less you play the better, until you get a chance for a little one count fill here and there, with the drummer. If you don't mess those up somewhere along the line he'll give you two counts to do something with.

    You are going to mess up, when you do, don't stop! Stay with the groove, don't even hestitate. Mess up some more if you have to.

    Time before note selection, every time. You can drop out on the odd note if you catch yourself being late on the note in your head but never play it late.
  7. Winfred


    Oct 21, 2011
    You seem like a nice, humble guy. Just asking the questions you've asked here shows that you're on the right track.

    Make sure they know you're new, and looking to learn. Once you get a song list, and they decide if they want you in the band, go straight to the woodshed and put in the work.

    After that, do these 3 things, and you will be in bands for as long as you like:

    1. Show up
    2. Know your parts
    3. Don't be an @sshole
  8. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I can't remember which Jazz sax player said the original quote but it goes something like this.....
    "If you hit a wrong note, hit it again about 5 more times and everyone will think you are in the ZONE!"
  9. bkbirge


    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    Since you've been working on scales this will be a cakewalk for you. Listen to the kick drum and put the root note of the chord on beat 1 and 5th on beat 3. Don't be afraid to ask what the chords are or even for a chord chart! There you go, you're a country player. Just remember if you have more than 4 strings or play above the 5th fret the Brotherhood of Country will be forced to field dress you as a warning to other bass players.
  10. Thanks for this, really. It shouldn't be making me nervous as everything I have learned about musicians has them kind of patient and supportive. Unless you piss them off... I was up front with my skill level. Our goals seem the same, though I have not yet met them I can tell that they aren't going to be the lay around and jam once a month type.

    Still, I'm nervous as hell... It's almost as bad as a first date.
  11. JaamE

    JaamE Owner of the GK Angry Bird amp

    Apr 13, 2011
    Olympia, WA
    My bandmates always tell me, (when i'm not sure if i'm ready to play whatever we've just added the first time), "Just don't STOP". Meaning if i hit the wrong note, keep going until i either find it or they find me. The last time we played we derailed one song, and the only reason anyone might have known was because we were all kinda giving each other weird glances trying to figure out what to do. I can't even tell on the recording.
  12. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    Don't pick your nose or scratch your crotch or butt onstage. The rest is easy. Relax and have a good time.
  13. AuntieBeeb


    Dec 12, 2010
    Yep. I can't second this hard enough. You don't have to prove anything straight away.

    And as for whether you stay with them, come away from the rehearsal and ask yourself: "would I be happy to go for a beer with these guys?"

    Best of luck!
  14. I can add only one thing...
    get a list of "audition songs" from them.

    If they are a cover band, download those songs and LEARN THEM... you don't have to know them note for note, but just well enough to get through the song.

    If they are an original band then it's a different ball game, if they have recordings of the songs, ask for them so you can get familiar with them... if no recordings then you have it a bit easier because your going to be adding your ideas to their songs.. all you need is the key of the song and the changes and you're golden! rock on!:bassist:
  15. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    The worse thing you can do IMO is not to try. Go for it! Playing with other people will only make you better.
  16. almightycrunch


    Apr 21, 2011
    Just make sure you are listening to the rest of the band, please dont sit and play "by yourself" You will most certainly stand out like a sore dick, especially if you've never played with a band before. It is not like playing along with a cd, there is ebb and flow, and you have to move with it.
  17. iiipopes


    May 4, 2009
    Dizzie Gillespie

    Oh - and if you can get a set list, or at least get them to tell you a day or two in advance some of the songs they are going to be playing - then YouTube and Spotify are your friends.
  18. Factor88


    Jun 21, 2011
    Playing out of tune, playing with no sense of rythym, playing with no sense of the harmony of the song.

    In other words, the worst I've seen new players doing is totally sucking because they were..well, new...and not yet up to the level it takes to be in a serious band...yet.

    I say this not to scare you, I say it just because you asked. It's an honest answer. It just might not apply to your situation.
  19. Shinbone


    Dec 21, 2006
    Orange Park, FL
    This. Best piece of advice I ever got when I started playing in a band. Someone told me "If you play something wrong, that's one mistake. If you stop, that's two mistakes."
    Just get back on track and keep going. Most people won't even notice you're clunker.
  20. BryanM


    Dec 15, 2007
    Pittsburgh, PA
    When I first joined a band I had been playing bass for 2 months, and had some theory under my belt. The band was so happy to have a bassist that they just dragged me on stage at an open jam I had started going to and I became part of the house band. The keyboardist used to yell the chords back to me and I just had to remember to keep playing no matter what. That keyboardist has gone on to become one of my best friends and my roommate, and though I've been playing for about 8 years now he'll still catch himself yelling chords to me without thinking, unless he needs me to yell the chords to him.