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Senior Member
Username: glocke

Post Number: 898
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Tuesday, August 09, 2011 - 4:11 pm:   Edit Post

Really don't know what to think about this one, so I figured I'd throw it out there to see what others have to say.

I have an acquaintance who is in a band that kind of has a rotating lineup of players depending on who is available, it is a mix of covers and originals.

I just received an email from him asking me if I can fill in on a few nights for one of their other bass players who isn't able to make this particular gig, there are no rehearsals ( first question I asked), just an email list with 30-40 tunes, and I only know about half of them...

My reservations stem from the following:

1) No rehearsals!

2) I've seen these guys play before, and while individually they were all good players, you could really tell that it is just something that was thrown together (lack of tightness, lack of chemistry, etc).

I've filled in before for other bands and other situations, and there was always a chance to get at least one rehearsal in just to make sure that everyone was comfortable with each other, but my really comfort level really rests with a band that rehearses on a regular basis..
Senior Member
Username: pace

Post Number: 759
Registered: 4-2004
Posted on Tuesday, August 09, 2011 - 4:33 pm:   Edit Post

I say go for it, Greg.

I enjoy sitting with bands, or doing open jams... It's sometimes fun when a player doesn't know the groove, dynamics, or hits of a particular tune, and you come out with a unique and fresh arrangement. If you feel that there's a lack of tightness or chemistry in this ensemble, I'm sure there is SOMETHING that you can contribute in both departments.....
Senior Member
Username: sonicus

Post Number: 1987
Registered: 5-2009
Posted on Tuesday, August 09, 2011 - 4:44 pm:   Edit Post

Get their charts and if they have them ,get them to email you Mp3 's
of their recordings so you know how they " deliver " the tunes . Maybe you can "tighten up their sound !"
Advanced Member
Username: thumbsup

Post Number: 364
Registered: 7-2008
Posted on Tuesday, August 09, 2011 - 6:57 pm:   Edit Post

Hey Greg,
If the gig is a local or small/med venue ,then hell yes do it!
That's the majority of my gigs and I simply love it that way. Cram Rehearse what you consider the tougher tunes at home.
Talk to the guitar player before the gig and use the number system if possibly. Other wise just get with the drummer and let your bass lead the melody! Let them follow you! Ask the leader to do a few ( 5 or so ) standard familar songs before going to the twilight zone. This way everyone's loosened up a bit! It works for me anyway.
Goodluck ....uhh I mean break a leg!
Senior Member
Username: pauldo

Post Number: 657
Registered: 6-2006
Posted on Tuesday, August 09, 2011 - 7:53 pm:   Edit Post

Greg -
I think you and I are very similar. I absolutely HATE to not be prepared for a gig.

However this sounds like it should be relaxed enough and FUN! If all else fails turn your tone down really low and just try to keep a pulse to the songs that you don't know.
Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 1750
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Tuesday, August 09, 2011 - 9:59 pm:   Edit Post

When I was doing lots of club dates when I was very current in terms of what people were playing, I got called / fell in to lots of these.

Granted, they were generally with bands I probably would not have wanted to work with full time, and usually they were in places somewhat off the beaten track for the big local bands. I was known to be a non-drinker / non-drugger and I always seemed to follow someone who was too indulged to carry on and the band had just had enough.

So, in that case, I was instantly a hero since I showed up on time and had bathed recently, could play in tune and knew all the tunes, and could remember where I parked.

The thing is, you never exactly know how any given band is going to play a given tune. So it was a great education of having to play it right / right now, and I developed a serious set of radar between my ears. You learn how to listen real fast, how to read other players, and how to find your spot in it all right now. And of course if the rest of the band was happening, once they had a bassist that would fit in and go with their flow, it would tighten up really quick.

Of course I'd prefer some preparation and rehearsals or charts of gig tapes, but this sort of thing really built some backbone and helped my playing a lot. I came to really prefer joining an established band, as they were already doing what they do: All I had to do was fit in. Plus I really took some satisfaction that as much crap as I took for not drinking and doping, I'd ultimately have the last laugh.

J o e y
Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 2547
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Tuesday, August 09, 2011 - 11:42 pm:   Edit Post

I've done a few of these sessions and I think it's much more difficult to drop in as a bass player when you don't know or hardly know any of the tracks if it is a reggae gig.

As in many case the bass is what identifies the tune so without the bass line being correct the track just ain't gonna happen and the crowd will know it.

Glocke, you could treat it like a jam session for the ones you don't know and in reality the band can't criticise you if they don't give you the materials you need to grasp at least the unknown tracks. No consolation for you as a musician to play a gig and know you are not happy with your performance regardless of who is at fault.

It will be an experience to learn from for next time you are asked.

Senior Member
Username: terryc

Post Number: 1659
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - 2:22 am:   Edit Post

well I have stood in for bass players in the past without rehearsals, it is a good bit of fun really, what I do is e mail/call and ask;-

Do you do the song in the same key
Is the arrangement the same or near enough
Okay to bring chord/music charts.

Once I got a call and had two days to learn the thru' the gig and they asked me back the following week.
I was in a jazz quartet where we had more fake books and music than gear!, one of us would say
'Shall we do this one, right count it in' and off we would go.
As Pauldo says, just keep the pulse going on a root note and you should be big deal really, I think we can get too critical of ourselves especially if it is a one off and playing covers, besides I bet the band are appreciative that you are helping out.
Senior Member
Username: 811952

Post Number: 1976
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - 8:00 am:   Edit Post

Go for it. Sounds like fun. If it's not fun, at least you're not wasting a rehearsal on it.

Senior Member
Username: benson_murrensun

Post Number: 494
Registered: 5-2007
Posted on Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - 8:16 am:   Edit Post

While I try to maintain a go-for-it-and-go-with-the-flow attitude, if I am going to get paid for playing live I would much rather be as prepared as possible. I feel I am prepared when I can play the tunes one by one, all alone, on my bass, from start to finish. I always feel a bit like a fish out of water if I am on the bandstand and all I have to go on is a key and a count. Maybe it's because, as a listener I can always tell if the band is rehearsed or fakin' it.
That said, I might take the gig anyway just for fun; but it wouldn't be my first choice of how to do things.
Senior Member
Username: alembic76407

Post Number: 671
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - 10:15 am:   Edit Post

I do it all the time, It puts hair on your chest
unless it's a horn band, then you'll be playing between the dot all night long, that makes the hair fall out of your head HA HA!
Senior Member
Username: terryc

Post Number: 1660
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - 11:36 am:   Edit Post the attitude!!!! Go for it
Advanced Member
Username: afrobeat_fool

Post Number: 360
Registered: 7-2009
Posted on Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - 12:00 pm:   Edit Post

Sorry to hijack the thread, but Alembic 76407, do you have a pic/post of your bass. I just got 76405 and would like to see the comparisons of the two instruments.Thanks
Ps. Do the Gig!!!

Senior Member
Username: briant

Post Number: 588
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - 12:11 pm:   Edit Post

Why not? It'll get your name in the hat to do it some more and potentially lead to other gigs as well.

The only time this sort of thing gets edgy is when no one is driving. As long as there is one person who everyone can look to and figure out "where are we?" - you're sorted. People knowing different versions of the song or whatever just need to watch and keep up. If it is a free for all... yikes. This is also assuming that all the players are accomplished. If someone(s) can't follow along when things get dicey or are too oblivious to do so that can also get really painful really quick.
Senior Member
Username: alembic76407

Post Number: 672
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - 1:01 pm:   Edit Post

Nick I sent you an E-mail
Senior Member
Username: glocke

Post Number: 899
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - 5:10 pm:   Edit Post

@Paul: Definitely like being prepared, and having had the good fortune of playing in a band for several years that had a dedicated lineup of people I have an appreciation for the tightness that kind of situation brings.

I think the gigs are supposed to be fairly high profile, hence my apprehension.

Anyway, should be interesting. I don't get that many opportunities to play these days so it should be fun!
Senior Member
Username: 811952

Post Number: 1977
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Thursday, August 11, 2011 - 7:22 am:   Edit Post

Some of the tightest bands I've gigged with were unrehearsed. As Briant stated, if everyone knows who is driving, knows their instrument and listens, you're good to go..


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