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what's more important to you..gigs or musicianship.

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by glocke1, Jun 9, 2019.

  1. rufus.K


    Oct 18, 2015
    Yeah. Its surely subjective.
    In my twenties I did zero studio work and did all manner of crummy gigs constantly. I guess the Lens of Time romanticizes those memories, that period in my life.
    vvvmmm likes this.
  2. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg , Conquest Sound
    Musicianship is most important to me. I expect people I play with to have a high level of ability as well. Otherwise, it's not fun.
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  3. John Coltrane would lock himself away in the carriage house on his property for weeks at a time playing music all by himself. During one of his musical sequesters he wrote A Love Supreme. He was not the only great composer and innovator who used this kind of wood-shedding to break through to a new place. A Love Supreme probably would never have happened if he had been doing shows or playing the NYC Jazz clubs. He played for months all by himself but ended up creating something that millions of people would listen to for decades and be held in almost mystical esteem.
    Passinwind and DJ Bebop like this.
  4. smogg


    Mar 27, 2007
    NPR, Florida
    I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell
    I want both. I will no longer do the dad band scene however. Skilled players doing quality tunes is where I'm at. Less gigs per month but no more Mustang Sally in dive bars with drunks for band mates. Enjoying the challenge.
    jbassjosh, Liam Wald and thehindteet like this.
  5. I think bragging about who plays the most gigs in 2019 is for the birds. I love playing gigs but I love spending time with my family also. And to be honest when I play a show that sucks for whatever reason I immediately regret not spending that time with my kids or doing something more productive with the band. By more productive I mean a lot of things; writing a new song, recording new music, making a music video. All of those those are more productive to me than some of the gigs I’ve played. That said I don’t know if I’d ever want to get to a point where I didn’t gig at all. I could see myself being a part of projects that didn’t gig as long as I had another project that did. I do genuinely enjoy playing gigs Im just less willing to play crap gigs in order to play more gigs.
    Moosehead1966 and Bruiser Stone like this.
  6. dbsfgyd1


    Jun 11, 2012
    Richmond , Va
    This is a really good thread starter, and thank you.

    Generally, I look at the three things you mention, working on your craft, studio work, and live performance as being apart of the musical life of a musician.

    For me, there is a certain magic that occurs in a live performance that can’t be duplicated in a studio or rehearsal. Which is not to say I’ve not experience magic in the studio, or working on my chops. It’s just different.

    When I’m on stage the search is on for the perfect interaction between all players, the risk reward stretching your limits, and knowing full well that most will not remember the details, but how much the effort moved the audience.

    While I don’t play a whole lot of original music live, I do play a lot of what was once known a “B” sides. Here, you need to know your genre well, and since there you don’t need to cover note for note, you can have a fair amount of latitude for creativity.

    Over my career, and being totally honest, I’ve done a lot of practice and working on my chops on the gig, and have found out that’s where the quantum leap in capabilities have come from most of the time.

    As for the recording, and I also add in recording your gigs, this is your feedback as a bassist. It’s really hard to get a handle of your skills without it. There is no way you can possible remember what you played, and how you part interacted with all players.

    $75 for a digital recorder is the best investment in your future as a musician you can make. Keep in mind, it’s not going to sound like finished master recording. Secondly, make sure you give yourself an atta boy(or girl) for things you are playing well to prevent getting discouraged.
    Moosehead1966 likes this.
  7. zubrycky


    Aug 22, 2011
    Both things are important. And I think it's possible to have both. I wouldn't sacrifice any of these things to become better in the other one.

    You see, every opportunity is a chance to learn something. And, sounding a little bit like Captain Obvious, I think there's no better way to learn to play than to actually playing an instrument and no better way to learn to play live than actually playing live.
  8. thehindteet


    Jan 15, 2013
    whether we like it or not, we play music for attention; you only have to look at birds to understand that. Birds invest heavily in their performances, for the satisfaction of their audiences, and they are rewarded for that investment.

    It's good, therefore, to respect musicianship, and to strive for perfection in your playing. But it's also true that if the audiences that are available to you find joy in your playing, it behooves you to play for them. You don't need to spend all your time striving for some idyllic goal if you can bring joy to people with the skills that you already have.

    So in other words, there's no point in working to be amazing unless you're going to play for people, and there's no use playing for people if you aren't trying to be the best you can be. The two things can't be disentangled and there's no sense trying to.
    smogg likes this.
  9. 2F/2F


    May 26, 2009
    Los Angeles, CA
    They are one and the same to me – no conflict or exclusivity between them whatsoever. Any time you pick up the instrument, you are becoming "better" at your "craft."

    If you are asking if some gigs are less productive than just putting the same amount of time and effort into practicing at home or with your band, then the answer is yes. But it doesn't mean said gig is detrimental...and it's not always about what's "productive" and what's not.

    I am happy whether I am gigging for no money, gigging for enough money to make a living, or just playing at home. I just love playing music. Each one of these has their own drawbacks and benefits, but they are all playing music, so I can always get something from any one of them.
  10. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    Musicianship on gigs is most important to me.
    Need Gigs and jamro217 like this.
  11. Turbo Sparky

    Turbo Sparky Supporting Member

    May 14, 2018
    South Eastern U.S.
    I may have said this before, but I'll say it again:
    If you plant a $5 plant in a $50 hole, it'll flourish and be fruitful...
    If you plant a $50 plant in a $5 hole, it'll only produce for a single season...bunk.
    Dig the hole, fertilize the soil, nurture the habitat, and give the seedling/infant plant a leg-up, it'll become the dream we've only seen in Victory Gardens.
    I'd rather practice 50 hours of better musicianship and have one killer performance than have innumerable paying gigs with garbage.
    Glory is forever.
  12. fabubass


    Jan 13, 2006

    I was waiting for this answer RustyAxe!! I, also have been playing over 50 years, have played 1000's a gigs (as I am sure you have too) over the years. The only way to get better is to regularly play gigs with other people and the better you get, the better opportunities you get and the better gigs you get. You can only improve so much ( In my opinion) playing at home by yourself along with youtube.
    Moosehead1966 and Skillet like this.
  13. Skillet

    Skillet Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2011
    It's the spontaneity of live music that is the thrill. I've referred to it before with a guitarist I was close with, we'd call it "catching air", as in, "yeah, that was great, we really caught air on that one". When you do that, with an appreciative crowd watching, even if it's playing for peanuts, it makes it all worthwhile.
    The more musicianship you and your mates bring to the table, the better chance to find those moments. I don't see the point of playing only in your room at home, unless you're composing or it's practice that leads you to get the chance to "catch air".
  14. smogg


    Mar 27, 2007
    NPR, Florida
    I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell
    IMO that's just logistics. A band with an average bassist, a drummer with decent meter, a solid guitarist and a strong vocalist will go farther than a flashy rhythm sec with so so guitar and sketchy vocals.
  15. Rip Van Dan

    Rip Van Dan Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2009
    Duvall, WA
    Doubt that's an either/or situation on my part. I became a decent bassist because I played a crazy amount of gigs when I first went on the road in 1971. My guess is ~750 gigs in 3 years, and played a wide variety of music because there were 4 lead singers in the band.

    Currently playing almost every Friday and about 2 Saturdays per month. The Friday gigs, where we host an open mic night, are a great place to try out new songs and also to polish them. The Saturday gigs are usually the ones where we make some decent money. We have 3 lead vocalists in this group, so again we are playing a wide range of music.

    In all these cases, I learn the new music and required techniques at home and polish them up at the gigs. Since I am an old retired fart basically living on my Social Security that I paid into for 50+ years, paying gigs are a big help to me. I am also revitalized by playing on stage to a live audience. That "live" energy just carries me along with it.

    After the gig is over, I absolutely pull out the ibuprofen because these old bones will ache after a 3 or 4-hour gig. It always hits me after the last song.
    Need Gigs likes this.
  16. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    The two are intertwined. I don’t play any gigs at this point where anyone is phoning it in. I need all my musicianship for every gig I do.
  17. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Musicianship so I can get better gigs :roflmao:
  18. OptimalOptimus


    Jan 4, 2019
    I never felt playing a gig made me a better musician. It just made me better at dealing with not hearing well the whole band or myself, poopie that break at the worst moment or do a show.

    When I'm by myself I learn music. I push myself past what I can play. I learn music theory ( and there is so much stuff never talked about or used in most music ). I read music too.
  19. Rogatien


    Mar 18, 2019
    I'll be 50 in october. I view myself as an entertainer. I make people dance and have a good time. I consider myself lucky to be able to do that, lucky to put a smile on people's faces. I don't gig 4 times a month, I have the luxury of choosing what kind of gig I wanna play. I'm not gonna play those gigs with a band that sounds/acts like poop. The projects I'm in involve drug free, alcohol free musicians, who show up prepared, on time and ready to give the crowd what they want. These musicians are expecting the same on my end, and I deliver each time.

    So to me, those 2 are closely related.
    Moosehead1966 and DJ Bebop like this.
  20. So, you don't play out much anymore? :D

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