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bass_dinger

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  1. I was not going to post this, below. However, having read DMC79's righteous indignation, I wanted to share how things can be, with a little discipline. Here goes . . . I too appreciate my own church, and am grateful for the support that I am given by the leaders. I am also pleased to see that things can change. Five years ago, the band in my church was one paid worship leader, and whoever turned up on the morning. That paid leader was necessary, because, otherwise, the quality would have been too variable. And now? Songs are sent out over a week in advance - we got next Sunday's songs last Saturday morning. On Sunday afternoon, the Worship Collective attended an in-house teaching session, in which the band covered rhythm, and a separate group looked at harmony. One of the team took us through some vocal exercises. We are currently quite blessed by personnel too - a professional opera singer, and guitarist and recording artist; a Worship Leader who was trained in music at college; a family of musicians that could be a band all by themselves; a young vocalist who takes regular singing lessons; another vocalist was a member of a prize-winning barbershop quartet; another of the vocalists used to dance on stage, on concert tours with Michael Jackson, and is now a skilled choir leader. At the last baptism, one of the candidate's sister came to sing for her sister - but the singer is one of Eric Clapton's backing vocalists and a former finalist in The Voice. The sound system and broadcast studio was set up by the previous worship leader - a sound engineer with a national TV broadcaster, and a recording artist in his own right. This week, four of the band are taking time off of work to play at a midweek funeral. Apart from the barbershop mum, the sound engineer, and Eric's backing singer, all of these people have joined the church band within the last two years - half of them during lockdown. There has been an influx of people who like to make music, and have the commitment to make it work. However, the initial seed of that change, was having someone say "we want it to be better" - and that meant the personnel needed to change (which was easier during Lockdown, when only 2 or 3 people were able to play in the group). It seems to me that the size and make up of church bands change as the years go by - sometimes lots of improvers, sometimes a more experienced band. At two different times, we lost two worship leaders, as they both migrated to different churches. Be encouraged - things can change, and improve.
  2. This principle is perhaps why church music is as it is - that many of us came up via the route of playing with a band, and not being very good, at least for a while. Thus, when the next generation of musicians emerges, we too want to be kind and patient with them. Thus, we allow them to sit in with the band, to make mistakes, and to allow them to learn by making mistakes. Add to that EZBass's wise comment: "The only reason I can think of for the practices experienced in this thread is due to the performance coming from a different headspace than a conventional gig. Rather than a form of entertainment for paying punters, it’s an accompaniment for the worshippers and is provided on a voluntary basis and, therefore, the usual stringency (for want of a better word) of a gigging band is negated." Thus, a church is more likely to entertain beginners and amateurs. In my experience, that only works to a certain extent - new players need to be coached, each week, so that they can continue to improve. Instead, they might be left to play with no coaching or guidance.
  3. Ha! My Leader is more honest (and more random) in rehearsals: "we might do the chorus twice here, depends how we feel". And it is not uncommon to only play the first verse and chorus in the run-through. "Is the key okay? Yes? Onto the next one . . . " I treat the practice as a warm-up, rather than a definitive guide. Faster? Slower? Extra repeats? Start on the chorus rather than the verse? Miss out the whole of the last three bridges in The Blessing, and instead sing the chorus six times? Change key in the service (with a misplaced capo). Different leaders have different requirements - from music, play by ear, follow the leader. It used to make me very grumpy, as it used to spotlight my lack of ability. Now, I can manage a little better, and realised that most of the congregation can't hear my bum notes. I am more relaxed about my own short-comings. Playing with different leaders with different styles, is akin to a musical work out - it makes one sweat at the time, but one gets stronger for subsequent sessions!
  4. On Sunday, the service included participation from the girls' and boys' brigade. One minute prior to the start, one of the singers realised that their ceremonial flag needed to slot into a bracket, which was behind my amplifier. So, I needed to move my kit, and so did not realise that the leader, and the whole congregation, were waiting for me to respond to his question "are we all ready?". Five years ago, I would have been mortified by this issue. 25 years ago, my hands would be sweating even before I started playing! Now, I am less bothered by this sort of hiccup - and, indeed, was able to chat to the Flag Bearer as he walked onto the stage, while I played bass.
  5. Recently, the Under-Pastor and sound team have been working on the sound in the room. They have realised that all of the sound comes from the stage, and they can't turn the band down in the room. They start the process about 10 minutes before the service starts - 80 minutes after the rehearsal began. The sound has been like this since August 2020. So far, their experiments have not interfered with how and what we play. We have managed to smile and nod during their 10 minute "Window of Puzzlement". 10 minutes is not enough time to even explain stage monitoring, and sound leakage. I am hopeful that they will find other things to occupy themselves prior to the service.
  6. Are we all back playing at church? Are we preparing for Christmas? Working on the basslines for the hymns? Working out how to see the sheet music when Carols by Candlelight really does mean, candles!
  7. Different instruments ?? I don't even have a different setting on the bass's tone, volume and balance knobs! The amp is set flat too. I thought that it was all in the fingers, muting, note length, and where and how one plucks.
  8. And the same physique . . . ? Where's my Yorkie Bar? I am 58, married, white guy. I have looked at the stats, and see that the largest tranche of members is in the two segments, 46 to 55 and 56 to 65. My reading of this data is that it takes time to become a bassist (in the same way that it take time to become the Pope, or a 10th Dan karate expert, or someone who trains airline pilots).
  9. Shaggy and the Beatles - Let it Be Me
  10. My guess is that you learnt them all correctly - the keys, the bass runs, the fills, the interplay between the drummer and the bassist. Sadly, the rest of the band then learnt them wrongly, or simplified the arrangements, or decided that every song should be in G. If it's any consolation, my church band regularly used to send out the sheet music in one key, a chord chart in another key, and a YouTube video in a third key. We would then rehearse it in a fourth key, before changing it to a 5th key to suit the vocalists.
  11. There can't be many gigs where you can speak directly to management about the number of songs . . .
  12. No keys? No chord charts? No YouTube videos as a point of reference? In that case, I can see why you won't be taking it further. I play in a church band, and I would struggle with 83 songs with no help given.
  13. Good grief - she went from New Seekers to Punk Rock in the space of 43 seconds. Great fun, thanks for sharing.
  14. I had a gig! Proper stage, PA, foldback, audience who could choose whether to listen or walk away, new songs to learn, and some great vocalists. This was my first time on a proper raised stage and it was was hard work, for sure. I struggled to hear the other musicians a little, and until yesterday I had no real concept of how long it would take to set up the kit - an 8 hour day for 90 minutes of playing. I have a new respect for people who play on stage, hats off to you all! It was fun. I want to do it again - but better!
  15. I see that I was unclear - apologies. So, I have two gigs. The panto gig, with PA at both ends of the room, and lots of inexperienced musicians, aiming to put on a show with 10 weeks of rehearsals. This gig has now been cancelled - just two people turned up to the rehearsal in the second week, I am told. However, I have been asked to work with the same band leader to play in a smaller group. On Sunday, I am playing at an open-air event, at the Orpington Food Fair. The band is made up of a number of churches in Orpington - so, a choir of 30, and musicians from different churches. Hence, we are learning to play together, in new keys. Somehow, this feels like an easier gig - the musicians have a track-record of delivering good music, and we were able to get through 20 songs in 2 hours, taking time to refine the arrangements.
  16. I am just the bassist. I do what I am told. It's a church gig. Different churches sing the same standards in different keys. I have played some songs in four different keys in one rehearsal to assist the vocalists to find their happy place.
  17. I got a message from the band leader. It had not quite worked out as he expected, and the plan is to do something smaller (fewer people) in the new year. He likes my playing style, and wants me to be part of it. So, it looks like the Panto is not now happening. I can't say that I mind. In the meantime, I have the first proper run through of the Orpington Food Fair band tonight - we play two 45 minute sets, on Sunday. I know about 70 percent of the songs (church stuff), but a lot of them are in new keys. The songs that are new to me (pop songs) I have chord charts for. Only Dancing Queen, and Crazy Little Thing Called Love, are in the right key, and familiar to me. The guitarist is good, and the vocalist are strong. We have PA, and a stage, all on the back of a low-loader. I am hoping that the audience will all be eating burgers and ignoring the band! This is my biggest gig to date. And I am still not getting paid for it!!
  18. Come on JapanAxe - don't beat around the bush, don't hold back. Stop sitting on the fence and tell us how you really feel about that song...
  19. Oooh yeah! Listening to Signed Sealed Delivered - that bassline is very much in the style of Gone At Last. And I have a new favourite bassist.
  20. Yes!! My band played Goin' Up Country - the bassline was manageable at the right speed. But they always sped up when we played it live. So, I refused to play it live. Silly of me, I know. But it made me feel important . . . :-)
  21. Gone at Last I recall hearing this as a teenager, on my aunt's radiogram. I was blown away by the energy of the track. I went back to it, as an adult bass player. I was blown away by the bass line, and wanted to play it. It feels like a musically simply line, but the speed and accuracy required make it difficult to replicate - even Paul Simon's band do not play that bassline in live concerts! It feels like a root-5th, with the occasional third as a passing note. How would I go about working out the bassline? Slow it down, for sure. Write down the notes (rather than rely on memory). Any other tips? For some reason, it reminds me of the bassline to Aretha Franklin's Blues Brother version of "Think!" - it has the same use of chord tones, and passing notes.
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