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  • Bassist woes

    Hey folks.  I would appreciate your point of views on my situation.

    I'm in an original 3 piece band.  We are playing shows and trying to get a crowd going.  The trouble that I'm having is with the bassist.  He is a good bass player and an okay guy but there are a couple of things I'm not happy with.  The first thing is that he tends to overplay sometimes.  This sometimes results in him being a bit out of time.  Not all the time, but just a particular parts of the song where he overplays. 

    Another thing is that he uses a beginners bass and the pickups buzz.  I told him there might be something wrong with the wiring and he should get it checked out.  He hasn't had it checked and when I mention it he replies "We'll see". 

    Another thing is that he just stands still on stage.  He doesn't look at the drummer or me.  He doesn't move.  He just stands there playing the bass.  I want him to show more energy on stage.

    The final thing is his songs and singing are terrible.  We play one of his songs but his singing is terrible.  The song itself is not that great.  The drummer and I told him about it so he changed the key but he's still out of tune.


    I would like to replace him but where we live is very difficult to find a suitable bassist.  What do you guys think?

     


  • #2

    I think theres a lot of variables in your situation. 

     

    Im not sure what level you're at. You sound like you're interested in stepping it up a notch, but your current bass player can't sing, owns a cheap bass, and lacks self awareness (both in his sound and his songs). 

    Yeah you probably should replace him if you want the band to step up. It can't be that hard to find someone better than you describe if you're heading in a professional direction, but if the band is just some mates hoping for a few free beers, thats obviously going to be hard. 

    Comment


    • Gonkboy
      Gonkboy commented
      Editing a comment

      Thanks for the reply.  You raised some things that I hadn't considered.  We all have full time jobs but I'm quite ambitious regarding the band.  I know we won't become famous but I'd like to be as good a band as possible.  I'd also like to record sometime in the future. 

      I think I will wait and see what happens at the next two gigs we have lined up.  If nothing improves then I'll say to him how I feel and if he is unable to change then we'll have to part ways.  I think that's fair.


  • #3

    How about bringing him to a music store? Try out some other bass amp rigs and see if that causes a stir for an upgrade? Maybe bring his in and plug it in for a little comparison to other guitars?

    Comment


    • #4

      Gonkboy wrote:

      Hey folks.  I would appreciate your point of views on my situation.

      I'm in an original 3 piece band.  We are playing shows and trying to get a crowd going.  The trouble that I'm having is with the bassist.  He is a good bass player and an okay guy but there are a couple of things I'm not happy with.  The first thing is that he tends to overplay sometimes.  This sometimes results in him being a bit out of time.  Not all the time, but just a particular parts of the song where he overplays. 

      Another thing is that he uses a beginners bass and the pickups buzz.  I told him there might be something wrong with the wiring and he should get it checked out.  He hasn't had it checked and when I mention it he replies "We'll see". 

      Another thing is that he just stands still on stage.  He doesn't look at the drummer or me.  He doesn't move.  He just stands there playing the bass.  I want him to show more energy on stage.

      The final thing is his songs and singing are terrible.  We play one of his songs but his singing is terrible.  The song itself is not that great.  The drummer and I told him about it so he changed the key but he's still out of tune.


      I would like to replace him but where we live is very difficult to find a suitable bassist.  What do you guys think?

       


      Ok, I gotta break this down:

       

      Pros:

      Decent player

      Decent guy

       

      Cons:

      Overplays at times

      Loses timing

      Stiff on stage

      Cheap gear

      Can't sing well

      Can't write well

       

      Clearly, the cons mathematiclaly outweigh the pros.  But digging further-

      I've found personally that many of those cons you just can't fix.  For instance, overplaying.  Only when HE realizes what temperment means and why it's valuable will he stop doing that.  And he will never realize that until he hears and deduces it for himself.  You may be able to light that fire by introducing a spark- for instance, record a practice or show and point out his overplaying and timing issues because of that overplaying.  Maybe he will be able to draw the conclusion, but in my experience, this has a low probability of success.

      Stiff on stage:  That's something so many of us struggle with.  When playing, we tend to concentrate on the song and forget (or sacrafice) the "show" part of it.  Again, this is something he needs to be aware of and willing to address.  Fixes include video of practice/shows, and he should also rehearse in front of a full-length mirror.. It's another thing he needs to personally acknowledge and resolve to fix himself.  

      Gear:  It's astonishing to me that people cannot be more prepared with replacement strings/backups of everything.  I carry an entire case of crap to every gig, several packs of strings, cables, and other accessories.  I even have a backup capo.  But excessive buzzing on a bass is a mega-fail and I'd personally ride his ass to buy a better bass or get his fixed.  And here's my rant on this one (pet peeve).  I can fully understand that someone may not have the financial means to go out and buy replacement gear on a whim, but if someone doesn't at least have a reasonable setup (with reasonable backup gear), and cannot afford to replace bad gear- well.. they shouldn't be in a band, then.  They might be a great person and a fabulous player, but the band absolutely cannot afford to "fix" their gear issues any more than the band can afford to be held back by failure to fix those gear issues.  Sounds mean, but it's the band that suffers when people don't have their crap together.

      Bad vocals/songwriting:  If he can't sing, then he shouldn't have a mic.  If he cannot write well, then he should be excluded, or at least limited greatly in his input.  If you can write a better bass line, then do it and set his boundaries of creative freedom.  If hurting his feelings is your greatest concern, then your band is already failed by it.

      Reading between the lines- it's clear to me that the guy just doesn't have a good "ear", and while it's possible for him to improve (we all did, and still do, right?), it's also going to be a long and challenging road.  I'd regretfully say that you are far more likely to find a better player, and sooner, than you are to reform all his shortcomings.

      Sucks, yeah, but that's my forthcoming point of view

      Epihpone LP and Dot.
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      Comment


      • #5

        Did you say how old you guys are? I think a lot of it would have to do with how much potential he has for change. If you're in your late teens that bodes well for him. As you start getting into your 20s it becomes less likely this is going to change in any satisfactory way.

        But there's something else too. Are his playing issues truly an issue? Sometimes from the inside we read things in such an inaccurate way. Have you recorded and sat down and listened and still heard the issues musically?

        I had a guitarist I wanted to fire for a year. When I now listen to the recordings I scratch my head and wonder what got up my ass. I was fixating on tiny details and didn't realize it. I'm not saying that is the case here, but it is something to be aware of.

        But it sounds to me like you don't like him for many reasons. Justified reasons. And with that you are probably going to have to make the choice to get rid of him.

        People only change if they want to change and even then it's a pretty tough road. But for someone to change on your request, have fun with that! :-)

        __________
        Ain't no sacrilege to call Elvis king
        Dad is great and all but he never could sing -
        Jesus

        Comment


        • Gonkboy
          Gonkboy commented
          Editing a comment

          Thank you all for the replies.  It's good to get some other opinions.  We are all in our late 20s so we are not young pups anymore.  I kept in mind that perhaps my idea of overplaying would not be the same as someone elses and it did help.  There were a couple of times I thought the song would be better if he simplified some parts.  This week he did seem to try to move a little bit more.  Still not much though, but better than nothing.  The drummer and I went out for a drink after the practice but the bassist didn't come because "His girlfriend is making steak." 

          I spoke to the drummer and she said she felt uncomfortable with the bassist.  He is not a very outgoing person and tends to be pretty reserved.  She also felt his basslines were to busy.  Basically she wanted him out.  I can understand, and agree with, her point of view.  Ideally we would find a bassist who can keep it simple, has good timing, and can sing.  But that's a very rare combo.  We are taking a break for a couple of weeks after two shows this weekend so we will have a think about what our next move will be.

          Thanks again for the advice.


        • SpaceNorman
          SpaceNorman commented
          Editing a comment

          Lee Knight wrote:

          I had a guitarist I wanted to fire for a year. When I now listen to the recordings I scratch my head and wonder what got up my ass. I was fixating on Tiny details and didn't realize it.

          I think this is an all too common phenomonen.  I've seen in bands that I know ... and know that it's happened in bands I've been a part of as well.  Sadly, once a player is put in the crosshairs - all to often the rest of the band simply peck the poor bastard to death.

          To me - the "take away" from Lee's comments is that we need to try to be as objective as we possibly can when it comes to being critical of a band mate's performance.   There ARE times when something a band mate does and/or doesn't do that are truly issues that need to be address.   There are however, also lots of times when there's really nothing wrong with what a band mate is doing / not doing. 

          A little introspection may be in order.   If you're a guy who always seems to be in a band in which one band member (never you!) is getting pecked on .... the root problem may be the guy in the mirror. 


      • #6
        Fire the bass player, use quality subs/studio pros until you find a permanent bass player. I might also keep an ear out for a new drummer. How long until she gives you another ultimatum?

        Comment


        • Gonkboy
          Gonkboy commented
          Editing a comment

          I sent the bassist an email and he replied.  We worked out that perhaps he would be happier in a more experimental proggy band where he is given free riegn to play elaborate basslines and the opportunity to play his songs.  It was a mutual decision and we were as considerate of each other as possible. 

          Now we are on the hunt for a new bassist. 













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