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Discussion in 'Band Wagon' started by Oldgitplayer, Jul 9, 2018.
Had my share of "lead Bass players when I was younger... I feel your pain.
I have been lucky to play with a good number of very good bass players. The best of the bunch subscribed to Bootsy Collins' edict that one is the most important number. Hit the one, stay in the groove and you're good to go. Having a bass player and a drummer who can lock in is the best thing ever for a guitar player. One or the other goes off the reservation and the train starts heading off the rails.
Our bassist joined his other band when he was 15, 60 years later they are still playing together. They have not added a new number to their repertoire in over 30 years. He enjoys playing with us because we play different stuff. His timing is great, rarely plays the original baseline but always plays something simple that fits, he would not know what "slap" was, has never played a solo, cannot sing, he is enthusiastic, quick to praise and always brings a pack of beers to rehearsal. I'm happy with that.
Can you please have him cloned - and name your price........
My joke I always tell, but is too often true -- What happens to the worst guitar player in a band? He buys a bass.
Point being, most of the time, especially in younger, college age bands, everybody always needs a bass player, so whoever is the guitar player that they can do without becomes the bass player. And all the "real" bass players seem to all just end up playing Widespread Panic and Grateful Dead bands.
My drummer and I looked for so long, we finally went in a different direction. Instead of a power trio, I grabbed my acoustic, he scaled back to a 4-piece kit, and we are playing like that for now. Mic his kick heavy, I'm used to playing solo acoustic for years, so I have my own style of rhythm/fills/slide that works good for solo, but great with a drummer. It's not ideal, but we're gigging like that and the most common comment we here is "Man, you don't even miss the bass with what yall are doing!"
He just dropped round a basket of veg from his allotment!
At 75, with the rest of us between 34 and 61, I think that we need to clone him for ourselves.
We do have a back up bassist. Easy going guy, sings great harmonies, picks up the original bassline on a single listen, but he is about to retire near his wife's family a couple of hours drive away. There is only one other local bassist I would be interested in, and his band is out of our league so I don't suppose that would ever happen. Better start developing cloning techniques.
My band had a gig while our bass player was on vacation. We played as a trio, acoustic guitar, pedal steel and drums. It worked better then expected. Yes, there were a few "Do we really need a bass player?" moments. But he's a brother and not only is he a great bass player, he sings harmony!
I've been lucky to almost always have excellent bass players in my bands.
So I had an audition at a new church we were attending (I had never auditioned at church in my life). They gave us four songs to learn and I had them down pretty well. I get there and it is just me and another guy playing acoustic. I struggled with the set up with no drums or other instruments. I played OK but not what I am used to. I was also nervous as all get out by having to audition. Guy finishes up with me and says that wasn't great but it wasn't bad. He said he usually figures that those that audition would be 25% better than their audition and are never more than 5% worse than when they auditioned once the nerves settle. So at the point that I played I was in.
There were a number of others who did not make the cut at the same auditions.
So maybe give him another audition if this next guy doesn't blow your socks off. If he is better and improving, then great. If he is the same or worse cut him loose.
In my 45 years of playing guitar in various bands, 'finding a good bass player' seemed to be a constant issue. We found a really good one once but conflicts with our egomaniac lead singer caused him to quit. (we fired the singer right after that). A few years ago I took up playing bass and consider myself a solid bassist. I'm playing bass for a band now and am regularly requested for jams and fill-ins. I guess I wanted to be the bass player I could never find.
That might be a good thing most guitarist can't get it right either.
Oh, it's impossible finding good bass players. And it takes a certain personality.
I have always...since the 70s...respected our bass player(s) more than anyone else in the band.
Do you hear that, Jack Hering? I MISS you!
Yeah, it's a hell finding a good but tasty and simple bass player for sure. Overplayers abound but they are often too lazy to learn signature tasty licks which WOULD give them opportunity to stand out. Good luck. I'm dealing with two now. Then the next problem is commitment to the gigs. Summer is the best gigs... so what does our #1 bassist do? Decides to do a bunch of sound gigs with his buddy.... Leaving us to spend a ton of time trying to teach our intricate song list to a temporary bassist.
So then is this a lead bass player or a locked in keeping the bottom support bassist? Yeah that's 16th note through the whole song using alternating fingers no pick?
she's all over the neck but locked in tight.
How about this one? Too melodic? Sounds in the pocket and he's where he needs to be when he needs to be there.
Of course, every guitarists wants to find another James Jamerson
Jamerson's isolated Bernadette track:
Back in the day I was backing a singer doing this song on a last minute call in. At practice the night before the gig (played this song countless times before so I did the bass line almost identical). We're into the the first 8 bars and he stops the band, turns to me, and says its too busy. I need to play it more like the original. I look at the guitarist and give him a look "is this guy for real?" The guitarists looks down and shrugs his shoulders (he's the one who called me). I say to the singer, "OK, I understand."
He starts out the count off again but he hears no bass. That's because I'm putting my bass in the case getting ready to leave. I say "Thank you, but I think we would be wasting each other's time." Good bassist or a good musician in general doesn't need to put up with such nonsense. "Its only 4 strings anyone can play it". Its like those who think anyone can be a good teacher because we all attended school when we were younger. The truth is much different.
Doesn't it just depend on your band, and how many guitars you have?
Maybe there are a lot of one guitar bands these days, which not only leaves a lot of room for bass, but almost necessitates it. If I played bass, this would seem a great atmosphere, not necessarily to overplay, but to add to the mix.
Mike Mills comes to mind.
Flea is a different animal altogether as he is in a mofo uplift party plan funk band, so you kind of have to toss that obviousness out as being atypical.
The best to deal with is "It's just 3 or 4 chords. This is boring." I've yet to find one that could play the real Marshall Tucker "Live" bass lines to Can't You See. "It's just D, C, and G." "Yeah, well when you can play it like Tommy Caldwell get back to me."
It's about the song. Try having Geddy Lee play on JJ Cale's "After Midnite"... That ain't gonna work!
At my age I've thought about switching to Bass, There are younger and faster guitar players out there, and due to the "smart" bass player drought... played bass on two songs on our current album we just finished. But I dont think my hands can handle 3 hours of playing even a short scale bass.
Thanks all for the input - I feel clearer in my head about the qualities to expect in a bass player.
It may take weeks or months, but I think it's the way to go.
One guy who has his own band has offered to play with us as a transition player until we find the ONE who plays on the ONE............
Playing just decent bass means guaranteed playing time! I tried it for a while and had no trouble finding people to play with, even though I’m NOT and never have been what I consider a real bass player by any means.
If you can thump the root, stay with the kick, and play with feeling, not flash and you WILL get recruited to play in a band of some kind. I was invited to join two bands (and lots of jams) in the year or so I picked it up!
Good bass players are more valuable (rarer) than good drummers, and far more valuable than guitar players.
A buddy and I played with a trio last week, the guitar player and drummer were terrible (both very loud and overpaying). I couldn’t even hear the bass player, so later I invited him to come play with us and it went well.
He’s only been playing a couple of years but he seems like a nice guy AND he showed potential that the other two didn’t (once I was able to hear him play).
He seems excited to come play with us again, so we’ll see if we jell.
Actually I think Geddy Lee would do just what that song needed.
Not necessarily Rush licks,but what the song dictates.That's the difference.
You may be correct, I should have said "Geddy Lee style" maybe!