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Advanced Member
Username: 5a_quilt_top

Post Number: 264
Registered: 6-2012
Posted on Monday, March 10, 2014 - 12:57 pm:   Edit Post

This past Saturday, a local bass player called the small guitar store where I work part-time and asked if I would be able to take one of his gigs that night because he double-booked himself.

I contacted the client and was told that it would be a four-hour classic rock gig with a guitarist / singer and a drummer. I knew about 2/3 of their set list, so I accepted.

I left the store at 4 and had to be set up and ready to play by 6.

Since I'd never met the people involved and had never played at the venue, I decided against taking an Alembic and used my Fender Stu Hamm Urge II (my go-to 4-string "beater") instead. My rig consisted of my humble pedal board with Sans Amp DI, tuner, volume pedal, wah and chorus. I also brought my QSC K-12 powered monitor in case I needed a speaker on stage.

When I arrived at 5:30, the other two guys were already set up and the PA - consisting of an Allen&Heath board, two powered QSC K-12's for mains and two small Fishman column monitors (placed behind the band) - was ready to go.

It was suggested that I take an XLR line out from the Sans Amp and go direct into the board without my powered monitor. I was a bit skeptical, but, when in Rome...

Needless to say, I was a just bit nervous before we started because I'd never played with these guys or in this venue before and now I would be trusting my tone to two unimpressive-looking stage monitors and two monitors masquerading as mains.

We kicked it off and - D*MN - it sounded pretty durn good. I eased into it and intentionally avoided any thump slaps or finger pops for the first several songs not knowing how the "mini-PA" would react. Eventually, my curiosity got the better of me so I leaned into it a bit and was surprised by the result. Those little Fishmans handled everything I dished out and continued to deliver a clear, articulate and balanced mix.

Stage volume was quite low so I could hear everything very clearly and this went a long way toward helping me to successfully navigate through the material that I'd never played (and, in some cases, had never heard) before.

Bottom line: I played really well and was offered the job as their permanent bassist.

Moral: small rigs can be deceiving and sometimes you just gotta throw caution to the wind and go for it using what's available at the moment.

Next step: introducing an Alembic into the mix!
Senior Member
Username: pauldo

Post Number: 1116
Registered: 6-2006
Posted on Monday, March 10, 2014 - 5:18 pm:   Edit Post

David, that is a great accomplishment. Nothing like the adrenaline rush of stepping into a situation that is outside of your comfort zone and then NAILING it!

I got $5 that says when you pull out your Alembic that before you tell them what it is (which they will respond: an Olympic?) that they will guess it is either a Ken Smith or a Fodera.
Advanced Member
Username: 5a_quilt_top

Post Number: 265
Registered: 6-2012
Posted on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - 9:21 am:   Edit Post

Thanks, Paul.

It's even money on that "Olympic" wager - ;-)

However, the guitarist is a bit of a gear whore and has been around the block a few times, played with a lot of people and was also a pro sound man, so he's probably seen a few Alembics.

Whether or not he'll remember the name and associate it with the instrument is another issue...

But, he liked my tone on the Stu Hamm a lot, so he'll love my tone on the Alembic - it's similar only much, MUCH better.

To be continued...
Username: artswork99

Post Number: 1969
Registered: 7-2007
Posted on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - 9:33 am:   Edit Post

David, congrats on a job well done and getting a new "permanent" gig! Art
Senior Member
Username: rustyg61

Post Number: 1146
Registered: 2-2011
Posted on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - 10:44 am:   Edit Post

It's always great when a temp job becomes a permanent job! Congratulations! Think how much funner the gigs will get as you have time to actually learn the material!
Advanced Member
Username: 5a_quilt_top

Post Number: 266
Registered: 6-2012
Posted on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - 11:57 am:   Edit Post

Thanks, Art. As they say, whatever doesn't kill ya makes ya stronger (and I'll add, more confident).

For sure, Rusty - funner & much LESS stressful! Looking forward to being more relaxed for the next one on March 22.
Senior Member
Username: rustyg61

Post Number: 1150
Registered: 2-2011
Posted on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - 1:03 pm:   Edit Post

My next gig is March 22 also. It will be my 1st gig after seeing my Europa under construction in person, hope I can concentrate on my playing!

Good luck at your next gig & have fun!
Senior Member
Username: gtrguy

Post Number: 714
Registered: 9-2004
Posted on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - 5:08 pm:   Edit Post

It's funny, but I can play a gig in front of 10,000 people doing material we have well rehearsed and feel as comfortable as a cat in front of a fireplace, but then I can go to a local bluse jam with 35 people and sweat bullets faking it. It is so annoying and I don't know why it happens that way.
Username: growlypants

Post Number: 76
Registered: 3-2011
Posted on Wednesday, March 12, 2014 - 7:07 am:   Edit Post

It's because you care!
Advanced Member
Username: 5a_quilt_top

Post Number: 268
Registered: 6-2012
Posted on Wednesday, March 12, 2014 - 8:59 am:   Edit Post

I've been nervous prior to playing three times over the last 30 + years.

The first time was with a country band where I was the new lead guitarist. When I joined 10 days before their first gig, I knew a handful of their songs. The only "rehearsal" prior to the gig consisted of playing selected portions of about half of their songs - nothing all the way through and nothing polished enough for a public performance. Needless to say, this did not inspire confidence and I was very sweaty prior to taking the stage for the first time.

The second time was also with a country band, this time as the bass player. When I joined, I knew none of their material and had less than a week to learn it (and then transpose most of it to different keys). We had one rehearsal similar to the one mentioned above. Needless to say, this did not inspire confidence and I was very sweaty prior to taking the stage for the first time.

The third time was last Saturday night. No rehearsal, didn't know the people and wasn't able to use my rig. Unlike the other two times, I wasn't sweaty prior to playing because I showed up 30 minutes prior to starting and spent most of that time setting up = no time to dwell on potential looming disaster.

Oddly enough, rough as they were, these performances were not as horrible as some others I've played where the band was well-rehearsed. Go figure.
Advanced Member
Username: jcdlc72

Post Number: 314
Registered: 11-2009
Posted on Wednesday, March 12, 2014 - 9:36 am:   Edit Post

It happens. Last year there was planned some kind of educational show where I would be playing bass and keyboards along with a drummer friend of mine. It was supposed to be a tribute to certain famous Canadian Prog Rock band, and we had rehearsed with every technical detail, including a fairly complex setup, but... the guitar player who was intended to play there newer showed up for rehearsals. A week before the show date, my friend found a guitar player (there were several restrictions, as in at least two thirds of the band had to be teaching at the music school my drummer friend teaches), BUT, the guy was absolutely unable of playing the part. Then we changed -last minute- the intention of the show, and decided on some kind of historic rock trip, passing through several "ages" of Rock music. Well, it was fairly disastrous, and the guitar guy seemed the least nervous or worried of all of us, yet he was who did the most mistakes. Curiously enough, the second date of that show, for which we even had an additional rehearsal, went WORSE, again this guitar guy, with a smile on his face, but with absolutely no idea of what he was supposed to do. So... maybe sweat is not a determining factor on the final results ;)
Senior Member
Username: jacko

Post Number: 3500
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Monday, March 17, 2014 - 6:56 am:   Edit Post

In one of my earliest student bands, you could almost guarantee that if we had a great rehearsal just before a gig, the gig would be pretty dire.

Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 2128
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Monday, March 17, 2014 - 10:38 am:   Edit Post

In my playing days, for quite a while I fell into these situations where a usually good, steadily gigging band would lose their bassist, and I'd get called, usually a 'can you start TONIGHT?'. No rehearsals, and often not even a set list. Back then, we knew all the selections were straight off the Top 40, so I always listened to the radio constantly to have an inventory mentally as to what was going on.

It became my favorite scenario. They'd been playing together for quite a while, so all I had to do was listen, don't re-invent the wheel, and fit in.

Admittedly, I wasn't walking into a serious jazz gig with a stack of unfamiliar charts and a well-worn Fake Book, but it really did put some steel in my backbone as I had to get it right Right Now. And then I got to skip a bunch of usually-less-than-productive rehearsals. Plus, after a while I built up a rep that kept me working, that I could just walk in and go.

I often wonder what it would be like these days with radio and the Top-whatever charts are so fragmented. . . .

J o e y
Senior Member
Username: sonicus

Post Number: 3275
Registered: 5-2009
Posted on Monday, March 17, 2014 - 11:37 am:   Edit Post

In the mid nineties I got a call one day from a guitar player that I had done a few gigs with who told me that he knew another bass player who needed a substitute for one night at the Berkeley Hilton at the Marina .I was told that it was a simple Blues and R&B gig. I responded , OK , thanks so much for the referral ___ . When I got there the band leader greeted me with a half smile and a hand shake and then handed me " The Real Book" Fake Book, and spoke thus ; " lets hope that you can play at least 30 tunes in here to make it through the night" ! " Right" , I responded . I had been playing some tunes from that one a while back, __ Yes , a while___ back . I had to clear my mind and take a DEEEEP Breath , as I started to sweat . I picked a bunch of tunes that I felt good about; " Song for my father" , "All Blues ", " So what " , " Foot Prints " etc .. ... Those kind of simple Jazz tunes . After three long sets , I barely just about made it through when the Piano Player/ Band leader introduced the band , One of the musicians was introduced as Mr. ___ formerly of " The Yellow Jackets" . ___ O___ , Man, ___ I thought . I just played with these guys ?

In retrospect, that was a scary gig ___ But I got through it without playing like a totally BIG BUFFOON __ lol .. ... ... ( only a little buffoon ____:-) )
Advanced Member
Username: 5a_quilt_top

Post Number: 271
Registered: 6-2012
Posted on Monday, March 17, 2014 - 12:40 pm:   Edit Post

Great story!

Probably for the best that you didn't know who they were prior to playing with them. Had I been in your shoes, I would've much preferred being uniformed.
Senior Member
Username: sonicus

Post Number: 3277
Registered: 5-2009
Posted on Monday, March 17, 2014 - 12:59 pm:   Edit Post

Thanks David , __I think the Piano player band leader helped me with his suggestions ; Watch my count for tempo/ listen/ when I point " up " take it out(jam)/ when I point at my head , take the tune home to the theme and watch and listen to my cues. ___Simple enough __ it got me through the night.

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