New bass player fired after 2 rehearsals

Jazzcaster21

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I agree 100% with what you said, but I WILL add I played some with a bass player who had toured with some hot Nashville star, and his ability and encyclopedic knowledge of music was astounding. He was mostly known as a country player, but he knew rock and jazz songs, (note-for-note bass lines) perfectly. We got together for a High School reunion band, and without first seeing a song list to prepare, he NAILED every song. I was gobsmacked. I threw in Robben Ford's version of Talk To Your Daughter (which has some very specific bass changes) and this guy knew the whole enchilada.
Point is, every once in a while a prodigy comes along. ;)
That what is called a professional musician. They may be known for one type of music but are able to play other types, given the situation.
 

viking

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This didnt sound to me like professional musicians , or ?
If you dont do this for a living , you are not a professional.
Under that level are a whole lot of " Hobby levels "
The bass player was obviously a step too far down the ladder.
 

dconeill

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... Recently we tried out a new bass player ... It was clear that he thought he was auditioning as a full band member which was weird as that was never discussed ... it’s not going to work. ... So the message was delivered ... and he reacted very badly ... But he still seems to think we owe him more of an explanation. My view is that if he doesn’t know why, that is part of the problem. ...

It sounds to me like the OP's communication style is one that incorporates many assumptions. The bassist's communication style seems to be one where he/she wants everything laid out and doesn't make the intuitive leaps that the OP appears to expect. Two very different styles.

So give it one shot - that won't hurt anything. Tell the bassist that the combination of not learning the songs, apparently not putting in woodshedding time, and following-the-guitarist style of playing all combined for the other bandmembers to conclude that the bassist was not a good match for the band's collective requirements. Express regret that it turned out that way.

Then stop.

The bassist will probably continue to ask questions, but stop and disengage once you've delivered what you had to say. Decline to pursue the questions any further. Bid the bassist adieu. It would help if you did this at a place where you can leave, neither your place nor the bassist's.

As in all such interactions, try to:
- say only what's true
- say only what's necessary
- say only what's kind
 

Jim_in_PA

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A band is like any small business...everyone on the team needs to be able to work together effectively to get the job done, working as one and given music is so subjective, to please the audience because of that close team work. If a prospective member, even for temporary service, can't fit in, then it's absolutely correct to move on to a different solution.
 

Wrighty

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I play in an alt country band. About half original music and half covers. There are 3 core members and we all get along pretty well (lead singer, lap steel player and me on guitar) . We all have day jobs of course but take it pretty seriously, and try to play decent paying gigs but not all that frequently. We have got into the habit of working with a roster of different bass players and drummers from time to time who like working with us but without committing to any one - they always get paid and it’s just easier that way.

Recently we tried out a new bass player - friend of the lap player- who is more of a casual bass player. As a sub for some of our more low paying pwyc casual gigs (we always take equal shares) if he learned the material it might be good to have a good back up. We were told he was really excited about working with us and looking forward to it etc. has been a friend of the band for years and always said if we had an opportunity he would love to play with us. It was clear that he thought he was auditioning as a full band member which was weird as that was never discussed and he knows we work with lots of other people.

Anyways 2 rehearsals in and it’s clear it’s not going to work. He doesn’t use charts, doesn’t take any notes during practice, hasn’t “had time” to listen to any of the material (he has copies of our 2 cds plus YouTube links and charts i sent on Dropbox), keeps talking about how busy he is and says he will try to find time to learn the material. He watches my left hand and plays about half a beat behind. My response is WTF!!!We have a gig coming up in a few weeks and are running out of time and patience to work on it with him. After the last rehearsal, our drummer came up to me after and pleaded with me to get someone else and sent a follow up email. That clinched it. I was able to convince our lap player that personal relationship aside this was NOT going to work.

So the message was delivered that it just wasn’t working out and he reacted very badly and said all sorts of fairly juvenile and nasty stuff. But he still seems to think we owe him more of an explanation. My view is that if he doesn’t know why, that is part of the problem. I really liked him as a person but talking about this further is pointless. Anyways I am frustratedly and just ranting here. Anyone had similar experiences and is there a different approach or is it better to just rip off the bandaid in one pull and move on?
Been there, done that. As a drummer of some 50 years experience, 1/2 dozen rehearsals in it was clear that my mate, the keyboard players, best mate drummer was honestly useless. I have a lot of patience when bringing new band members into the band but this guy just had nothing to offer. Trouble was my best mate wanted to tell his best mate he wasn’t wanted but never got around to it. Just before it got really messy, Mr drummer must have twigged he had a problem and left in a cloud of abusive comments. Not wishing to cause a rift between me and my mate, it would honestly have gotten to the point where I woukd have left the band rather than play with that drummer. I was stamping my foot so hard to keep him in time on the offbeat and, sometimes, even four to the bar, that a couple of months later I was in hospital having a hernia operated on!
 
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Leonardocoate

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I was asked to audition for a band (bass) and was sent the material to practice the night before the rehearsal. It was ten songs I did not know or cared for. I fired myself on the grounds that I knew I wasn't going to practice music I didn't care for. I realize that I am not going to like some songs but that was too many right off the bat. They eventually found a bass player on about the 5th try. The music was still hard to even listen to. It was all cool and no hard feelings
 

Spooky88

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Building relationships in your musical neck of the woods is always a good thing. It’s your call on how you deal with terminating this bass players connection within the band. Be upfront and honest, you never know what the future will hold. Good luck
 

chris m.

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I was asked to audition for a band (bass) and was sent the material to practice the night before the rehearsal. It was ten songs I did not know or cared for. I fired myself on the grounds that I knew I wasn't going to practice music I didn't care for. I realize that I am not going to like some songs but that was too many right off the bat. They eventually found a bass player on about the 5th try. The music was still hard to even listen to. It was all cool and no hard feelings
Auditions, like job interviews, go both directions. The band is deciding whether they want you in it. But you are also deciding whether you want to be in the band. In this case you got an early decision based on the song list and saved everyone's time.
 

Fiesta Red

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You're lucky. I met a bassist who, in the last 4 years got better. Problems?
He is about 5'5" so he can only play a short scale bass. I made the mistake of giving him a chorus pedal to try. Now he has one on his pedal board and loves the sound. I've told him repeatedly that it DOES NOT FIT in a blues band. He tried to use it with the surf band so I dissolved that band and the country band as well. He said that " the songs need a different flavor added."
I'm trying to kick him out of the blues band as well, but with gigs lined up it's impossible to bring a new guy in to learn all three sets.

If he learns proper technique he can play on any bass. I've played with a couple of bass players with short, stubby fingers who can fly on a precision. Ever watch a really good string bass player? String basses have a 41" scale. It has nothing to do with scale and everything to do with technique, barring an actual medical condition.
Dusty Hill is a good example of this;

Only 5’8” and stubby fingers (one of which was deformed from a football injury and nick-named “The Pleaser”)…yet, he played (mostly) Precision-style basses for most of his career.
 

Fiesta Red

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I agree with the need to rehearse, but with the music my band plays, if you haven’t “gotten it” it after a rehearsal or three, you really can’t play the instrument. That may sound arrogant, but it’s true—we play simple songs (many of which I wrote) that any decent-to-good musician should be able to pick up after a few run-throughs.

We rehearse the ones that have weird chord changes, weird breaks or more than three chords more intensely…but if the guy/girl can’t intuitively play a shuffle in G or a stomp in A, they aren’t gonna be playing with us very long.
 

teletail

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It’s not Show Friends, it’s Show Business.
+1

It’s one of the reasons I rarely play with friends. Too many people get butt hurt over honest feedback no matter how diplomatically you convey it. I always say, “We’re not playing this the same way, what are you playing?” Some people still get offended.
 

Alex_C

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I was asked to audition for a band (bass) and was sent the material to practice the night before the rehearsal. It was ten songs I did not know or cared for. I fired myself on the grounds that I knew I wasn't going to practice music I didn't care for. I realize that I am not going to like some songs but that was too many right off the bat. They eventually found a bass player on about the 5th try. The music was still hard to even listen to. It was all cool and no hard feelings
I had a similar situation as a guitar player. First, they sent me three songs to learn for an audition. I learned the basics, contacted them and asked if they wanted note-for-note. No answer to that. Next day they send me a 40 song list of with 75% were not what I ever wanted to hear, let alone play. I fired myself before the audition. Maybe that was their weeding out technique? At this point in my life, I just want to learn EZ-Drummer 3 and Band in a Box so I can play by myself.
 

JustABluesGuy

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Never be held hostage by a band member. Either do the gigs without him or cancel them. He is of the belief that you need him more than he needs you.

I was thinking the same thing. Bass players aren’t that plentiful. Really good bass players tend to be rare.

Trying to use fill ins doesn’t seem very doable. This friend of the band surely wasn’t good enough to just jump in with a working band.

They should definitely be seeking a permanent bass player who is already up to their level.
 
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Matt Sarad

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The new bassist we found to restart the three projects I canceled hasn't played in awhile.
I watched him play while he was looking away from it. He said he memorized the fretboard and no longer had to look or think about it..

Better than the guy he's replacing who suggested we play a song in A#.
 

FaithNicole

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I still have to think about position. I also tend to watch my fingers even though I don't if the song is new to me and I'm looking at my tablet. my self-confidence is low.

I tend to apologize and get yelled at (not literally) and told that I'm better than I think that I am.

I'll stick with feeling undeserving, it makes me practice more 😊
 

teletail

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I’ve already commented on the thread, but reading the replies, I have to ask, “Why the hell would anyone audition for a band without seeing the song list??? (Unless the only objective is to make money.)

I’m amazed at the crappy job most people do screening bands. I have a short list of questions that takes less than five minutes to go through and let’s me know if it’s a good fit before I waste my time.
 

Mindthebull

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Thanks everyone for the thoughts and feedback. Lots of interesting points. To finish out the story and update: the weekend we fired him - massive storm in our area -the power lines and cell phone towers were all down so my band mate fired him by text which was not ideal of course. The fired player sent both of us a really weird angry rambling email basically making a bunch of excuses and suggesting we misled him in terms of expecting note for note performances and we didn’t give him enough time (which was not the case and frankly not the issue). And then ended off by telling me he didn’t really like our music anyways and how he was too busy and was only doing this as a favour. Lol.

So as a courtesy to my band mate who is the friend, and having some emotional distance from this guy, I took the high road, sent a fairly short reply explaining it was a trial and the band all agreed it wasn’t working out in the time we had available, we felt it was better not to lead him on, sorry he felt that way and it was just as well considering it sounded like he wasn’t enjoying it anyways. No hard feelings here, best of luck and take care. The end. He sent me a very short reply saying thanks for the message and that was it.

So sigh…. never again. Friendships and band do not mix!!! Unless they have some emotional maturity and are known players. Honestly this was just a strange situation and we should have known better.

So to answer one other interesting point running through this thread— are we technically professional or is it a hobby? Well, I guess you would call it a professional hobby but I would never admit that when we are pitching for gigs to presenters. Yes I need money to pay for living expenses for a family of 4 and I have another job that pays the bills, so no we are not making a living. But we self financed 2 cds of mostly original music, have had some radio airplay, played at folk festivals now and again, gigged regularly at a few clubs and small theatres before Cvd and hustle summer concert series with municipal presenters. It’s a hustle and we don’t have the momentum to really build it up into a career and that probably isn’t happening anyways at my age but I am happy with the way it works. We get paid to play unless it’s a charity thing, and those hiring us are expecting us to sound tight and together and in tune. Is that professional or not? I guess I don’t care what you call it. For now we have a few young jazz session guys around here who know us and will play with us if we can pay them decently. They won’t commit to permanent status for obvious reasons.

At the end of the day if you are getting paid you should meet the expectations of whoever’s hiring you. Sadly music is a highly undervalued profession. But that’s another thread I guess.
 

Teleguy61

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He showed up for a rehearsal/audition with a new band, and he was unprepared.
No good.
Buh-bye.
I sub with bands on bass and guitar, and even though they are friends, good friends, I prepare by
listening to what they will be doing, and run over tunes if I need to.
It ain't rocket science. And it's just courteous.
 




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