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WILL PLAYING W/ BAD MUSICIANS MAKE YOU WORSE??

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by lowphatbass, Jul 26, 2005.


  1. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    I often have great musicians to play with @ church, but they aren't always there and lately...............
    I have been struggling with a tastlessly busy drummer and a loud, footpedal heavy organist. You should understand up-front that these players cannot and/or will not change the way they play so talking to them is out of the question, they are also "donating" their time, which I am sure is part of the problem.
    Drummer- BUSY, BUSY, BUSY, I have seen Speedo's with bigger pockets!! On top of all that he's running Reason and MPC tracks that he programs himself, sometimes the tracks alone are way to busy!!
    Organist- MUD CITY, he likes to play "bass" on the footpedals sometimes or use his left hand on the upper manual with the bottom four draw-bars wide open. I can live with bieng tied down to the bassline he wants to hear, but he often subs thirds and tri-tones as leading tones into the next chord(without altering his chords mind you) and misses his footpedal by a whole step too often, so I am not exactly able to play "flat-footed".
    ....So you get the point that I am not a happy camper.......
    I have very high standards and everybody else seems to think that the music sounds fantastic(except other skilled musicians).

    My problem is how to fit-in to this mess. My instinct tells me to stay at home and be solid and oversimplify, but with no pocket to sit in it sounds very out of context and makes things sound worse. I usually find myself playing very simple at the beginning of the song, digging my toe nails in deep, and then only when it starts to sound un-musical do I start building the note count to compliment the mess around me.

    I always looked at challenges like this as a positive, every musical experience should make you better, or at least more experienced, right? Well after a three weeks of these guys solid(no other gigs on the calendar)I hooked-up with some other cats (and a drummer that actually favours his Kick, Hat and Snare over his toms and cymbols) and it took me almost a whole song to feel cozy in the pocket!!
    This is scary for me! I am considering limiting my playing time with these guys. What do you think? Anybody have any similar experiences or advise?
     
  2. NJL

    NJL

    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    yeah, bad musicians will mess with you...

    :(
     
  3. RicPlaya

    RicPlaya

    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    Yeah I'm surrounded by bad musicians. I seek out better players all the time so I can push myself and improve. Bad musicians don't know they sound bad, and lack the openmindedness to acknowledge they need work to progress. It's a dead end!
     
  4. I'm not sure they will make you worse, but they will drive you crazy. I lose interest quickly with poor quality musicians. They don't have to have the greatest chops for me, but they have to be musically interesting, know their limitations and be interested in the overall sonic effect of what we are doing. I would beg off playing.
     
  5. Kelly Coyle

    Kelly Coyle Supporting Member

    Nov 16, 2004
    Mankato, MN
    It's good practice for when you start playing pickup gigs.
     
  6. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    No... it'll just make you bitter.
     
  7. Groundloop

    Groundloop

    Jun 21, 2005
    Toronto
    "WILL PLAYING W/ BAD MUSICIANS MAKE YOU WORSE??"

    Probably not, but you sure won't get any better. Since you've found the cool cats I think you'll be all right. Just limit the amount of time you play with the Mr. Busy and Mr. Mud.
     
  8. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
    I totally see where your coming from on this one. Church musicians can be a tough bunch to handle. Our church has a pretty new drummer and he frankly isn't very good. Anytime that I try to make a suggestion on his playing he gets very defensive and takes a "what do you know about drums" attitude. Very Frustrating. Our church is also very new to the whole Band idea in general, but I have been playing in church worship gigs for four years or so. It is very frustrating to go from a group of extremely talented musicians to a less experienced group. I don't have any real good advice for you. All i can say is roll with it the best that you can.

    Will playing with bad musicians make you worse? Nah, not unless you play with them exclusively for a long period of time. Playing with good musicians will make you better though.
     
  9. *Off topic a bit ..*

    I am totally surprised about the amount of Church bands people talk about around here. Sounds like a much better time than any chruch I ever went to. It might have even made me keep going to church.

    *Now back to your regularily scheduled topic ..*
     
  10. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Alexandria,VA
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    What does the worship leader / music director think of all this? That person would be in the best position to tell the others what would improve the sound.

    What does the congregation think of it? At my church, if people are too loud or busy, the soundman or pastor gets e-mails or phone calls. Which in turn, gets commincated to the musicians.
     
  11. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    I think bad musicians can absolutely make you a BETTER player, but I wouldn't want to do it on a regular basis. I've always grown more by playing with musicians who were better, not worse than me - but also reaped lots of benefits from the dudes who didn't know what they were doing. Especially bad drummers. I got thrown out of a band a while back that had an incredibly busy drummer who changed his beats everytime we played. What I was beginning to learn was what you already pretty much said, to work at being as simple and tasteful as possible. It was a tough challenge and it stretched me in many ways. I also fought and argued with the guy and I was more easily replaced than him, so I learned to also keep my mouth shut.

    I also think I honed my listeneing skills a whole lot playing with other drummers who had bad timing or were sloppy or just couldn't play. I had to work EXTRA hard at really staying on top of them and I know it developed my sensitivity and feel. It's also a lot harder keeping it all together and trying to make it sound good, and it does wonders for ego deflation (or humiliation, still not sure). If the drummer can't play - bass player looks bad. Period.
     
  12. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Alexandria,VA
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    +1
     
  13. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    I find when playing with similar players (and we all have), that I play less. I find myself feeling squeezed, and reduce my parts to minimum. No room means no freedom to play what you need to.

    While it won't make you a worse player (in some cases it may improve your playing to have to work with adversity), it will take all the fun out of it after a while.

    Good luck in solving the situation.
     
  14. Once in a while its good to get a drummer with bad time to see if you can hold him to a steady tempo. Its too easy to just follow a drummer with good meter all the time. I think you end up learning to follow instead of holding steady on your own. My opinion.

    Play with him too much and he'll likely mess up your meter after a while, unless you're working extra hard with a metronome as an antidote.



    Randy
     
  15. I think it can teach you things like improvisation, and maybe even get you "back to basics" sometimes, but it's not like it's better than playing with, you know, GOOD musicians.

    Sounds like you need to have a talk with the band, or at least the band leader and try to solve the band's problems before you go nuts ;)
     
  16. pointbass

    pointbass Semi-Retired Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    LowPhat,

    Bad players will eat up your spirit and drain your creativity if they're the only guys you play with. I've gotten to the point that, even for the Praise band (a volunteer deal), I can't stand to be around cats with bad time or intonation ..... I'm always looking for guys that play better than me :cool:

    Guess I'm getting old and grumpy (or grumpier) .......
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher

    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Drummer + MPC + Reason = One man band. There's no reason for the rest of you to be there.
     
  18. I think that playing with a bad drummer has got to be the worst thing period. If there is not even a Speedo sized pocket it is nothing but frustrating. Plus you have an organist with big o'l floppy feet stepping all over your bass lines. If it where just a band I would skate when the next best offer came about. Church is a different situation I presume. I would try taking to the band leader, see if you share the same opinion. If so you may be able to work things out with something as simple as a band meeting. If not it's time to move on.
     
  19. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Ask the organist to stop playing bass, period. If he will not, tell the music director that you will not be playing bass when the organist is playing, period.

    I actually quit playing bass at church and switched to 100% singing because I couldn't deal with playing with the other "musicians" in the praise band any more.
     
  20. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    That's the bottom line. The organist has no business using his pedals, and should be very light with his left hand if he uses it much at all.