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When you know there's a good bassist in the audience

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Bluesbreaker5, Apr 16, 2006.

  1. Bluesbreaker5


    Mar 24, 2006
    To get more gigs we are trying to befriend other local bands. We go see them and visa-versa. Occassinally some other band members will show up to our gig that have been gigging longer and are very good musicians. Now it doesn't bother me if they are guitarists, drummers, singers, keys, etc...but if I know there's a bassist in the crowd I tend to tense up. Surely he is sizing me up, so I tend to either overplay or try things I shouldn't try. I would consider myself a solid intermediate bass player, certainly no pro. It's the same stupid feeling I had during Little League try-outs decades ago. Trying too hard. Any suggestions?
  2. I shouldnt me offering u any advice, because im no way better at keeping calm in a situation like that. And all i can say really is try not to worry about it, i know its not gonna help. But who cares if hes sizing u up, ur the one on stage, ur moment, so enjoy it, doesnt matter if hes better because hes not up there. Just pretend hes not there or imagine him in his underwear hahaha oh that wont help:p. Sorry i cant offer u anymore suggestions.
  3. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    Just have a good time. What's funny is that people seem to respect stage presence more than anything. If you are big into musicianship, add a tapping part or two to some songs and they'll think you are the bomb.

    I dont stress when there are other talented bassist out there. I just play like I usually do and fantasize that they are secretly critiqueing some aspect of my technique or are severely impressed at how aggressively I play.
  4. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    The funniest thing is this - you see the guy out in the crowd that you were amazed with last weekend? He's looking up at you being amazed right now. And the next time you see their show, he'll be the one feeling insecure. That's part of the game, friends.

    Have confidence that you know your parts and sell it. Let it flow.
  5. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    Believe it or not, sometimes they're checking you out to see what they can use. Me, Khari, Marq, Preston, etc. We check each other out, and after the set, we say to each other, "You know I'm gonna steal that, right?" Don't get me wrong, some bassists do go to "size others up", but you'd be surprised at the number that go to check techniques and learn from them. That's one of the reasons I LOVE bassplayers!
  6. I have often thought the same thing. And to be honest I do it as well. A friend of mine is a amazing player. I stand there and watch him thinking about how I could play (steal?) a lick of his but add my own signature to it. I am also thinking how jealous I am because he is "up there" playing and having fun, while I am just watching from the floor. More times than not, I bet they are thinking that as well.
  7. knarleybass

    knarleybass Commercial User

    Apr 6, 2005
    Tustin, CA
    Owner of Ulyate Instruments
    I don't worry about the bass player in the croud... It's the other musicians that I think about. Bass players generally don't hire other bass players for their bands.
  8. haujobb


    Dec 16, 2004
    Yep, or just throw in some chords and quick double stops :p


    Or do what I did, keep practising so that in a few years your the one that makes other bass players tense up.

  9. You will find most bass players are not particularly competitive. As a matter of fact they are usually helpfull and supportive of one another, and it seems that the better player they are, the more helpful they are. Just be yourself and you will be fine.

  10. barthanatos

    barthanatos Insert witty comment here

    Feb 8, 2006
    South Carolina
    Kenny Werner talks about performance anxiety extensively in his book, "Effortless Mastery (Liberating the Master Musician Within)".

    Killer book. A must-read, even. Seriously. I mean this so much, I will even provide a link:
    this is the link to the book, you should click on this

    Okay, really... I can't recommend this book enough.
  11. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Same here.

    The main thing that impresses me is how well a bassist fits into the band structure. Nothing sadder than groove-killing wanking. I've yet to be impressed by someone who can alledgedly play their ass off who sounds like they're playing in another room. That's a problem IMO.

    Bottom line... do what you do (and I guess if killing grooves is your thing and you're cool with that, work it. Everything isn't for everybody;)). And if you want to do more, work on it.

    The bass fellowship is a real thing around here in the DC area. I can't think of anyone who isn't willing to share what they know... happily. Most of us realize that if there is "competition" for gigs, the competition is based on the whole package and not a couple of cool licks. I was laughing with another musician last night about an agency gig I didn't get last year. Oh well.

    I'm not timid about playing in front of anyone, not because I have monster chops, just because I know I do what I do. If people like it, cool. If not, cool. Got suggestions? Cool. Need some help? Fire away.
  12. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    Although having those monster chops doesn't hurt... :D
  13. I tend to stick to what I know because when I see another bassist play, I am much more impressed by seeing them enjoying themselves, holding the groove, not showing off, not trying to be flashy or impress.

    Being tight and supportive of the band is more important and enjoyable to listen to than sloppy fanciness that is only half learned to impress. Talent is fun to see, but you ALWAYS need the fundimentals behind it, and a few cool lines will stick in my head and make me think "cool" much more than wanking all night.
  14. bassbully43


    Jul 1, 2005
    I played my second show last week in front of the bassist from the band we opened for. He has plyed for 20years me 3...I latter found out from our guitarist a long time well known local bassist was in the crowd and he was tappen his foot enjoying us from what he could see.Did I care i was playing in front of a better bassist..NO never will dont give 2 seconds of care i play in a cover band and enjoy what i do im not out there to impress no one just to support my band and do my job...i dont care if the next guy gets up and slaps like a friggin monkry,...it aint me im a bassist and i carry the bottom not wanking and want to steal the show. If i wanted that i would of stuck to guitar...all in all ignore them and play for the crowd.By the way the 20 year bassist ...he was ok.
  15. tappingtrance

    tappingtrance Cooke Harvey Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2005
    My own advice to myself - just lay it down - think Lee Sklar and listen to the full extent of your notes - lock it in and then afterwards talk to the guy and let him/her talk first - see what they say - most bass players are self-effacing anyway and will offer encouragement.

    Now having said that I was on a gig recently with a singer songwriter and i had figured out all this cool stuff - she was totally into it and loved what i had done for her tunes and a bassist whom i did not know emailed her and said i destroyed her music - but you know he has been the only, I repeat the only person to offere negative attitude about my accompianment - so i think it is his issue.
  16. popinfresh


    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    I also find it helps to really get to know the guys off stage. That way, it's more playing in front of a friend. Aposed to playing in front of this really good bass player from another band.
  17. Bassist4Life


    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
    I agree. Bass players tend to be cool with each other. When I am watching a bass player perform, I am not looking for anything flashy. That's not really the bassists job description; however, it can be in certain (rare) situations. After a performance, my wife will ask me if I thought the bass player was good. My response is usually, "Yea, he did his job." ;)

  18. +10 with oak leaf cluster on that.

    When I go see another bassist I respond to tone, timing, and how well the bassist works with the drummer (if there is one). That and the few odd unique fills you'll hear if you're really listening.
  19. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    All you can sound like is what you sound like. It doesn't matter who is or isn't in the audience. And if what you are trying to sound like is YOURSELF and not a bad copy of some other bassplayer(s), then you are pretty much the best version of what that can sound like. There's gonna be small town, "crabs in a basket" , but you can rise above that.

    The only thing that changes how you sound is focused, consistent and progressive work in the shed. It's slow but it's the only way. In some way, knowing that you are working at getting deeper in a consistent way helps too.
  20. Kronos


    Dec 28, 2005
    Philadelphia, PA
    When I'm watching a bassist with a band, I look to see how well the music is composed, and how the bassist fits in with the composition.

    There was a band that had 2 bassists, 1 guitarist and 1 drummer. Both bassists had very good talent, and were very good bookwise, but to me it seemed like they really didn't know what to do with themselves when writing. There was no real movement to the songs. The changes in the songs were herky-jerky..kind of like switching gears without hitting the clutch... One of the bassists actually looked like he was enjoying what he was doing, and sad to say, the other bassist was like rain man. I thought maybe he was just counting to himself while playing, but when talking to him, even then he seemed like rain man...

    On the other hand, there's a really technical band where the bass player was very well taught...he totally fits into the band that he's in, but once again, I think the music is too over the top technical for people to follow.

    Long story short, think about what you think about when watching another bassist. Then, realize that this is most likely what other bassists are thinking while your playing. They look at your gear, they hear your sound, and see how well you fit into the band.

    It only seems to me that guitarists look at eachother and gauge themselves.

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