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Advice for composing a Craigslist ad for musicians

Discussion in 'Music to Your Ears' started by Doctorx33, May 16, 2018.

  1. Doctorx33

    Doctorx33 Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    63
    Jun 8, 2014
    Atlanta
    I'd like advice on placing a Craigslist ad to find a bass player and drummer for a band. I know that's difficult under the best circumstances, but here's the thing with me.

    I am really out of practice but overall I am an above average guitarist, and the rust would go once I start playing regularly. I'd like to play with people of the same ability. People that can keep it in the pocket but also be able to cut loose and jam, or add their own touch to a cover tune. I'm not a prolific song writer but I have a few and will do some new writing too. I just want to play with people that are at my level, however that is defined.

    The problem is that folks like that are already working, or will want to work, and I can't do that. I have a medical condition that prevents me from standing beyond a certain length of time. I can do about twenty-twenty five minutes then I have to sit down, lean back and let my back recover before continuing. It usually takes about ten minutes then I can go again. If I overdo it past a certain point, sitting down doesnt help and pain keeps me from going any further. Moving heavy gear is also very difficult. I won't go into the medical stuff but I can if you ask.

    So for the most part it will be a basement band, but I have a great basement to play in. Full drum kit, good bass rig, PA, 16 track recording rig, comfortable chairs and a refrigerator for cold beer.

    For a long time I've felt I've been losing my music. I'm growing old and it frightens me to think a time will come when I can't play up to the level I have been. I've got to get playing again. So how to I phrase the craigslist ad to attract the people I need? Or do I just say I want a bass player and drummer and wade throught the rejects? I'm determined to do something, even if it's wrong.
     

  2. Nubs

    Nubs Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    43
    Aug 16, 2014
    Houston, TX
    Sounds to me like you'll be hosting others to play/practice. Is that accurate? I would definitely put that in the ad. I would also describe your skill level to the best of your ability and detail what you're looking for, much like you did in this post. I would leave out the medical stuff as it doesn't sound like that will affect your ability to play with others whether it be sitting or standing. You could bring it up when you meet people from the ad if you feel there is potential to move forward with them.

    Having a reliable place to practice is a big plus in my opinion. I would quote a famous saying...something about catching flies with honey...but I don't know it well enough.

    Good luck!
     
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  3. regularslinky

    regularslinky Tele-Holic

    771
    Jul 22, 2004
    NEPA USA
    I agree with Nubs. Having a practice space is a good thing to mention.

    Don't be shy about saying that you're not looking to gig, just to play for fun. I'll bet there are others looking for the same thing.

    If all else fails, offer to buy the beer. You'll have to beat them off with your Tele!

    Cue my favorite video:
     
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  4. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Fort Collins, CO
    Have you thought about going to open mics? You'll meet people and get to hear them play. If you hear someone you like, buy 'em a beer and tell them what you're trying to do. Human contact is good.
     
    Whatizitman, Dennyf and 2blue2 like this.

  5. 2blue2

    2blue2 Friend of Leo's

    Jul 20, 2013
    Island of Oahu
    Don't have any good advice but I love this video.
     

  6. Doctorx33

    Doctorx33 Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    63
    Jun 8, 2014
    Atlanta
    Sounds to me like you'll be hosting others to play/practice. Is that accurate?

    Yes, I have a pretty good setup. Something I've discovered in the past doing this is when you say you have a bass rig and drum kit, you get guys that don't have their own amp or kit: "Yeah I used to play but sold my gear and want to get back into it" kind of stuff. I have the gear for convenience, not for people that have gear deficiencies. I suppose it its a good idea to state in in the ad though, and add the caveat I just stated.


    If all else fails, offer to buy the beer.

    I always have beer.


    Have you thought about going to open mics?

    Atlanta has open mikes, but all the ones I know of are blues oriented. I need to look into it more in depth tho. I do know a couple of guys that are big in the blues community here, I'll talk to them.

    Thanks for the advice guys.
     

  7. noah330

    noah330 Friend of Leo's

    Feb 10, 2009
    Maryland
    1- Insists that whoever you are going to meet with sends you clips of their playing
    2- Make sure you have clips of your playing to send first.

    It's 2018 and everyone can record themselves, even if it's with an iPhone.

    A friend of mine was looking for people and got all kinds of clowns. Once he sent clips of himself and asked for them in return he got less people coming over to play but a better pool to draw from.
     
    Doctorx33, Preacher and Teleterr like this.

  8. Preacher

    Preacher Friend of Leo's

    Apr 17, 2007
    Big D
    Be upfront, I agree with Noah that you will get all sorts of weirdos who just want to drink free beer if you leave it open to all comers. And the second thing I would do is meet these people at a neutral location as an interview type of thing. that will also show you who is a flake and who knows their stuff. Heck my brother who hasn't played bass in thirty years might show up for the free beer. All he played was open note Iron Maiden songs but he still calls himself a bass player. Meet them for coffee, or lunch or a beer in the evening. If they pass mustard, then invite them over at a later time. If they show up tweaking, no show, look like they might rob you at any moment then buy their coffee and get our of Dodge!

    I wish I was in ATL, I would bang around with you. You need to find someone like me that can play a little, but that wants to get better with others that want to get better. Have a flexible schedule and be chill about it.

    I would also put a set list together of what you want to play, that will let people know if your genre matches up.
     
    Doctorx33 and Dennyf like this.

  9. danadig

    danadig TDPRI Member

    Age:
    26
    9
    Aug 17, 2017
    Baltimore
    My band was formed from Craigslist, so it is possible! Just be upfront with what you want, mention that you have a practice space (that's important!) and be clear about skill level and the type of music you want to play.

    From there, it should be pretty easy to weed out the weirdos and you can always tell who they are because they can't put together a sentence over email. After we all connected on craigslist, we met up for happy hour first to see if the vibe was there, and it worked out well!
     

  10. toomuch

    toomuch Tele-Meister

    110
    Mar 22, 2017
    Chicago
    "Big, juicy" basement practice space...
     

  11. Knowcaster

    Knowcaster Tele-Holic

    Age:
    54
    529
    Jun 30, 2007
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I think the key is to be specific, but not too specific. I have both posted ads and responded to ads, and this is just my opinion.

    If you are too general, people will pass because it sounds like you don't really know what you want to do and may be wasting everyone's time. I have seen ads that just say "Guitar Player Wanted". I would never bother responding to one of those

    If you post a long rant-like ad specifying some overly narrow type of music you want to play (or even worse, a long list of seemingly unrelated "influences"), what equipment you expect them to have, prohibiting (or requiring) certain substance use, religious persuasion, political views, etc., people will think you are a nut or a jerk and not want to work with you.

    I think you would do best to focus the ad on the general type of music you are interested in playing, your approximate skill and experience level, and your goals. Also, you would want to be clear that you do not conceive of this being a gigging band so there are no misunderstandings down the road.

    As you get responses, I would then try to have a brief phone conversation to flesh out the details of the candidate's interest and capabilities before meeting in person. That way you hopefully screen out the total flakes. And I agree that if you can get videos of people playing that can help screen out people who are way above or below your skill level.

    You will still likely end up with a mixed bag of folks. I remember auditioning a drummer who said he could play the genre of music we wanted to do (early rock and roll and British Invasion type stuff). He came over to audition using the drums set we had in our practice space. It turned out that he did not even own a set himself, but was taking lessons on a practice pad. He could only play from sheet music, but he assured us he could acquire the necessary music and learn it in a few months. That was a short audition, let me tell you. We auditioned and brought on a bass player who seemed at first to be great, and had a good voice. After awhile and we were starting to talk about booking some gigs he admitted he had stage fright and would not be able to continue if we wanted to gig. The more you can find out in advance the better!

    One more thing - say "wanted" or "looking for" in your ad title. I have seen a lot of ads that have a title something like "Guitarist for Band" or "Blues Guitar", and the reader has no idea if that is a player looking for a gig or a band looking for a player.
     
    Doctorx33 likes this.

  12. scottser

    scottser Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 6, 2009
    dublin
    if i had your set up, i'd be concentrating on setting up as a recording project; getting together with other musicians who need a pool of musicians to record their stuff as well as them doing yours. you might find this option provides more longevity than playing gigs. you might also find it pushes you in ways you hadn't expected. either way, best of luck.
     
    Doctorx33 likes this.

  13. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Tele-Holic

    605
    Feb 18, 2018
    WV
    Keep in mind that Craigslist, as easy and free as it is, is also easy and free. You are more likely to get better results through networking and word-of-mouth.

    That said...

    This is an ongoing debate on TalkBass. What is appreciated most, at least by that crop of bassists, is being focused and direct. Say exactly what you are looking for. Even if it sounds Michael Jackson crazy, it will get better response than if it's vague and non-committal. Avoid making ridiculous rock star claims or negative crap about other bands/musicians, etc... Keep it short, direct, and professional. And (my pet peeve), use decent grammar. Avoid run-on sentences, internet lingo, ALL CAPS, and wall of texts. Be honest about both your limitations and your strengths. And just put it out there.

    Expect to get tons of crazy replies. It's Craiglist. It's free and easy. Keep that in mind.
     
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  14. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Tele-Holic

    605
    Feb 18, 2018
    WV
    That sounds like open jams, not open mics. I'd be very surprised if Atlanta doesn't have run-of-the-mill, singer/songwriter style open mics. Try the hip coffee shops, and restaurants with bars.
     

  15. tfarny

    tfarny Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 4, 2008
    Hudson Valley, NY
    Good advice - I would just suggest that nobody is going to perfectly fit your ideal - same ability level as you, likes the same tunes, ok with not playing out, etc. If you end up playing with folks you'll need to be as flexible to their needs as they are to yours unless you plan to pay them for their time. A semi-beginner bassist can play roots and fifths for a while as they get better, you might need to say yes to playing at the drummer's house party, whatever. I'm just saying - if they're not getting what they need out of it too, it's not going to work, so flexibility is king.
     

  16. Wallo Tweed

    Wallo Tweed Friend of Leo's

    Dec 6, 2011
    Penn's Woods
    I think the second paragraph of your op would be a good start.
    I would think that in a city the size of Atlanta you should be able to find experienced players that don't want to play gigs anymore, but would like to be able to get together with other players every other week or so.

    Having a drum set is a big plus IMO. Maybe a drummer would like to check you out, but doesn't want to go through the hassle of breaking down his kit and setting it up at your place, only to find that it's not a good match.
     
    Doctorx33 likes this.

  17. Doctorx33

    Doctorx33 Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    63
    Jun 8, 2014
    Atlanta
    Thanks for all the comments, there are many good ideas here!

    What I'd like to do at first is just play some basic rock and roll. Early ZZ Top, Stones, Georgia Sattelites kind of stuff just to have fun. Eventually move on to some Rush or fusion, things with a little more complexity. Vocals might be an issue, I'll have to state that in the ad.

    I'll try to compose something over the weekend and run it by you all when I do.
     

  18. Doctorx33

    Doctorx33 Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    63
    Jun 8, 2014
    Atlanta
    Ok guys here is what I've come up with, give me edits if it needs it:

    I want to start a rock band. I am a bit out of practice because I haven’t been playing all that much but overall I am an above average guitarist, and the rust would go once I start playing regularly. I'd like to play with people of the same ability. People that can keep it in the pocket but also be able to cut loose and jam, or add their own touch to a cover tune. I'm not a prolific song writer but I have a few and will do some new writing too. I just want to play with people that are at my level, however that is defined. I have always loved playing in power trios and that’s what I’m looking for here.

    Not looking to gig, just to play for fun. This will be a basement band, but I have a great basement to play in. Full drum kit, good bass rig, PA, 16 track recording rig, comfortable chairs and a refrigerator for cold beer. Despite being a basement band I still want to be crisp and tight, I’m a bit tired of sloppy casual jamming.

    I want to make it clear that the drums and bass rig are there for convenience, not for people that have gear deficiencies. It just saves hassle and time for people to come over and play without the hassle of moving your rig.

    Material: Simple rock to start out, and depending how we gel more complex stuff later. Early ZZ Top, Stones, Georgia Satellites, Jeff Beck, Hendrix, Cream, etc. Eventually maybe something more challenging like Rush.

    Bands are social constructs, so I don’t want any drama. I’m a middle aged man that has been playing all my life. We don’t all have to be the same age group but I do want want to be on the same page as far as music is concerned.
     
    Nubs likes this.

  19. Nubs

    Nubs Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    43
    Aug 16, 2014
    Houston, TX
    Very well written! I might snag this for my CL ad :twisted:
     

  20. Stringbanger

    Stringbanger Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Jan 18, 2013
    West O' Philly, PA
    This^^^^^^^^.

    The last feeble attempt I made to put a part time band together was a Craigslist ad. A guy answered it, and he invited me to an open-mic. I was put off at first, but the more I thought about it, it makes sense. Why would complete strangers want to come to your house to find out that you suck.

    At an open-mic, you are meeting on neutral ground, and you get to see and hear each other perform in a public venue, which is where you will end up playing anyway, unless you’re looking to do private parties, etc.

    Plus, you are showing some commitment by getting your butt out of the house.

    Finding a drummer and bass player could be more problematic at an open-mic, but...you are mingling with other musicians at that point that might know some drummers or bass players. Or, you could arrange for prospective musicians to meet you at an open-mic.

    I agree with Paul.
     

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