When to start playing gig?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by energyj, Dec 5, 2005.

  1. energyj


    Nov 20, 2005
    I know there isn't a 'right' or 'wrong' answer to this but i have to ask. I been playing for roughly 12 days, practicing a solid 4 hours each day playing the bass plus countless hours learning music theory.

    So I want to join a band and play gigs? What level of proficiently do I need to acquire before I start doing it? Is there a check list of some sort or when I 'know'.

    I look on the web for local bands who want to play gigs and who are looking for a bassist and I'm just ITCHING to join.

    BTW, I might need to upgrade from my 10 watts practice amp :p
  2. hah, reminds me of an old joke...

    Kid wants to learn Bass, parents buy him a bass, amp, and some lesssons.

    After 1st lesson:
    Dad: So son, what did you learn today?
    Kid: I learned what the 4 strings on the bass are!

    After 2nd lesson:
    Dad: So son, what did you learn today?
    Kid: I learned the first 4 notes on my E string!

    After 3rd lesson:
    Dad: So son, what did you learn today?
    Kid: No time to talk Dad, i've got a gig to play.

    Sadly, this child was Mark Hoppus. And that gig was the Warped Tour.

    annnnnnnyways, 12 days sure seems like the early start if you ask me. Most bands will probably reject you for lack of expierience, most bands i've applied to want at least a year or 2 of expierience underneath your belt. If you feel comfortable playing gigs and taking part in writing songs with a band, go ahead, otherwise, you might want to hold off.

    Edit: Also, depending on the band you join, you might want to learn different techniques. Ex. Jazz requires knowledge of a large amount of scales when it comes to improv, some Funk bands might want you to focus mainly on slapping and popping, but in most bands, you want to LOCK IN WITH THE DRUMS. If the bass and the drums can't work together, the band's going to sound like crap. If they flow nicely, even the worst band can hit it big.
  3. Find other beginner musicians and jam with them. There's no magic formula. Just get with other guys in a garage and play bad music really loud.

    That's a starting point.
  4. purfektstranger


    Apr 10, 2003
    +1 for previous comments. Find like minded musicians and start jamming. Get down at least 10 songs, throw a party and play.
  5. Thats the way to go

    And gig when you are comfortable and happy with your bands musical output
  6. Turock


    Apr 30, 2000
    I would wait for at least 17 days.
  7. Pcocobass


    Jun 16, 2005
    New York
    In my experience the fastest way to get better is to play with people who are better than you. I don't think you should box yourself into a timetable because you'll always find an excuse not to play. Just get out there and play as often as possible!

    Also, find yourself a good teacher and start taking lessons if you're not yet - this will make you progress MUCH faster...
  8. mmg


    Nov 7, 2005
    Boston, MA
    i had the same question as you a few weeks ago, except i have been playing for 2 months or so. here is what i came up with...

    ~if you can play fast without losing time or missing chord/note changes.
    ~if you can lock in with the drums.
    ~if you can learn a song quickly, like in less than a half hour with the band. this is still slow if you are only playing root notes.
    ~if you have the fretboard memorized.*
    ~if you have the equipment. 10w practice amp obviously isn't enough to play with a drummer, you're gonna wanna upgrade to atleast 100w or so.

    *jazz bands and orchestras will have higher standards.

    i was far beyond all that stuff when i started playing with a band, but that seems to be like the bear minimum a serious musician will put up with. most bands are so desperate for a bass player they have low standards.

    but also you have to keep in mind even after joining a band you probably aren't goign to be gigging with them until you have a full set list(if its a new band) or until you know enough of their songs flawlessly.

    good luck man, playing with a band is always more fun than playing alone and you learn a lot, and faster too. bands will always appreciate a serious musician no matter what your skill level, 4 hours a day is definately serious and it will show in your improvement.

    have fun.
  9. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    I'm trying to decide if that was a serious question or not....

    How long should you practice karate before you get into your first fight?
  10. At least 12 days. :smug:
  11. Scot


    Mar 20, 2004
    Pacifica, CA, USA
    I would say that if a band that has gigs is willing to have you join the band and play the gigs after hearing you play/auditioning/whatever, go for it. Getting in over your head a little is always a good thing if you can take the stress and accept the critisism you might get from the more experienced players. Sink or swim, says I! :)

    Of course, there may be certain points in your career where it could be damaging to have other musicians hear you play in a situation where you don't sound as good as you could, etc. If some players in your scene hear you play and remember you as that guy/gal that blew the gig that reputation could haunt you for longer than what is fair. But I think at your stage of the game I would just jump in and go for it. As long as you're honest and upfront with everyone involved you should be OK. Let them know that you haven't been playing very long but would like to give the band a shot and that they can decide if it's working.


    Jan 25, 2005
    Gilbert, AZ
    12 days, huh......unless you have played other instruments or you're a prodigy, you might need a little more time in "the woodshed", learning more about this wonderful instrument....but I tell ya what. For a reality check (and a pretty good gauge of your abilities and on-stage presence), find a local blues jam in your area, (a jazz jam might be musical suicide at this point) go on stage when they call your name and HAVE FUN...you'll know very quickly where you stand, and you can then go from there.
  13. 12 days, no, I dont think a band will let you in with only 12 days of experience, I'd say after 1 year... I've been playing for 2 years and I still do not want to gig, I wanna gig when I'm really realy ready.
  14. Scot


    Mar 20, 2004
    Pacifica, CA, USA
    Well, he has 30 days under his belt now so maybe he's out there gigging now and too busy to come back and reply to the thread.
  15. irjason

    irjason In Memoriam

    Nov 17, 2001
    Louisville, KY
    I joined my first band after about 6 months. I was a pretty crappy player back then, but I was also the only bassist in town that wasn't in a band. I grew up in a pretty small town so there were only 3 including me.
    Needless to say joining the band really kicked my learning into high gear. I used to spend hours every day practicing the songs for the band. I would tape practices and play along with them at home.
    There was a downfall to this. I never got around to learning anything about theory, or develop any sight reading skills until later. Even now, many years later I'm not that great at it. I sort of wish I would have held off for a while and developed a good foundation first. But I had a lot of fun doing it. I would suggest for now just playing with some other people for fun.
  16. jimbob


    Dec 26, 2001
    Charlotte NC
    Endorsing Artist: Acoustica Mixcraft; Endorsing Artist: DR Strings
  17. iv been jamming and playing with other people since about 2 1/2 months. as long as the people that you are playing with can put up with your bad playing it is a great thing to do. it moves you along at a faster paice and helps you learn more about music. because people were good to me and put up with my bad playing at first i can now put up with other peoples bad playing now that i am one of the more experianced players

  18. jimbob


    Dec 26, 2001
    Charlotte NC
    Endorsing Artist: Acoustica Mixcraft; Endorsing Artist: DR Strings
    This is how I started...Find a friend or aquantance who is just learning to play drums, or guitar, and jam with them as often as you can with the Goal of learning a cover tune or writing a song every time you get together. It's fun and a great way to learn from each other.
  19. quallabone


    Aug 2, 2003
    You should never get into a fight. You learn karate to not use it.

    But I would say at least 21 days. (working days)
  20. You're ready when you're feeling confident in your abilities.