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paddy109

Changing genres and trying out in originals band - advice needed

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I'm trying out in a start up band next week that are playing all original songs.

My dilemma is;

I am relatively inexperienced in playing bass guitar although fairly experience upright bass player and could work out bass lines that were quite reasonable on the fly

The band is a very different genre than I am used to - 'dark melodic rock' and I am used to country based genres

I have played bass guitar with others before but been able to learn the songs prior to meeting up and this won't be an option this time

I do want to give this a go and stretch myself with a different kind of music. The band seem really welcoming and giving me the message of 'just turn up and give it a go' which is reassuring. Any tips how I can survive the night and make my bass playing fit in? Is it acceptable to ask the band for a breakdown of the structure of the songs before attempting them or just try it on the fly?

Paddy.

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They're not being fair to you, at all. I'd want mp3's of what they wanted me to play at the audition so I can give it my best shot.

"Just turn up and give it a go" doesn't sound like a very polished or professional outfit.

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If they don't have actual recordings of the songs they are playing for you to listen to (and as a new band there's a good chance that they won't have anything recorded), then I would suggest that ask them for a list of similar bands that they consider to be their influences and spend the week impressing yourself in the music so that you can get a feel for how the bass guitar works in that particular genre.

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I would let them know that is not the best aproach, and probably things won´t sound great as you don´t know any of their songs.
Anyway, if they insist, you´ve got to put them in the same situation you´re in. Play one of your own grooves a let the band andle it ... or just sugest a jam session to see how you´ll get along. :)

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Ask for influences and make sure you're up for the general feel. Keep it simple and focus on fitting the songs.

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I've done a couple of auditions in the last few months, and although I have been sent lists of songs they expect me to learn, on both occasions I have turned up without listening to them and just busked it, which has made a favourable impression. I know that I'll never have the patience or interest to learn other people's basslines, so play what I would play if accepted to join them. They have appreciated the honesty of the approach and on both occasions, I have been offered the gig. One I rehearsed with a few times before realising it wasn't really for me, the other I made that decision before starting rehearsals.

I don't think you can go far wrong by just turning up and playing whatever comes to you when the music starts, unless it's hopelessly complicated. All you really need is for them to outline the changes, and just play.

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I'm more with Charic in terms of how I read this (& Finn Dave who cropped up as I was typing). I suspect they are probably easy going and laid back. An audition cuts both ways so if it isn't for you, you can say no. Go there with an open mind, relax, have a laugh and if it isn't for you chalk it up as experience. I didn't *necessarily* read this as they are unorganised but that may be the case. Listening to some bands in the style is bound to help.

Auditions are as much about "can we get on" as "can they play"!

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Bring pen and paper to jut down the song structure, ask guitar for a run through before playing a whole song. Have fun :)

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If you can't get recordings of the songs to listen to before the audition, make sure that you take something along with you to record the session.
Personally, I'd ask them to let you record a guitar and vocal demo of each song - the recording should come out better without drums if you're just using your phone, and should give you the basic song structure and chords. This also allows you to listen to each song before you even pick up your bass, which should hopefully give you a chance to come up with some ideas.

As always, the three golden rules are:
1. Listen
2. Less is more
3. Have fun!

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At first glance(it's still early here in Canada)I thought the subject started with "changing genders",now that might be a real challenge!

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Hopefully they are looking for a bassist that can bring something to the band. If you were all steeped in the same genre you would probably produce the same old same old. Be honest and interpret the songs the way you see them, and the way you want to play them. They are originals so there is no right or wrong way to play them. If you play what the songs suggest to you then you are using your creativity, If you try to second guess what they might "Want" to hear, given that the genre is not what you are used to, you could dig a big hole for yourself.

The best bands are a blend of the musicians and there styles, and we all bend, just a little, to make it work. If you have to bend too much something will have to give. Just be honest and go for it. Good luck.

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Posted (edited)
I had an audition where I was expected to do the same recently and the description and standard of their music was somewhat different to what was advertised. Hopefully you will fair better and it's just a case seeing how you all get on with them.
Go into it with an open mind and at the very worst you've had an experience. Edited by Low End Bee

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I'd genuinely ask them what let each song is in, then just play riot notes to get you through. Then make notes of each song. Then each time you play add a bit more to fit with the drums and then build on that.
That way you won't sound as if you're doing nothing, it will add to what the band had previously and you've got room to build, without confusing yourself.

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[quote name='chris_b' timestamp='1489747904' post='3259386']
They're not being fair to you, at all. I'd want mp3's of what they wanted me to play at the audition so I can give it my best shot.

"Just turn up and give it a go" doesn't sound like a very polished or professional outfit.
[/quote]

Spot on

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Posted (edited)
[quote name='A.G.E.N.T.E.' timestamp='1489749813' post='3259408'][b] I would let them know that is not the best aproach, and probably things won´t sound great as you don´t know any of their songs[/b]. Anyway, if they insist, you´ve got to put them in the same situation you´re in. Play one of your own grooves a let the band andle it ... or just sugest a jam session to see how you´ll get along. :) [/quote]

I would not tell them that. I am pretty sure they are aware of it, and I would not want to sound too nervous or lacking confidence or even demanding. There's time to figure out how the band runs afterwards.

If you asked and they said "don't worry just turn up" then I'd do just that. It's an originals band not a wedding band where you have a very clear goal (to get X, Y and Z ready to play live at a high standard)... there will presumably be a certain degree of jamming, trying things for various songs, creating new stuff, even changing old ones (songs evolve in a band)... so it doesn't sound like a crazy first contact to me. Personally I'd send the new person maybe 2-3 songs of ours so that we have at least a common something to start with, but it's not 100% necessary.

Go for it and have fun! Edited by mcnach

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[quote name='Burrito' timestamp='1489750823' post='3259424']
I'm more with Charic in terms of how I read this (& Finn Dave who cropped up as I was typing). I suspect they are probably easy going and laid back. An audition cuts both ways so if it isn't for you, you can say no. Go there with an open mind, relax, have a laugh and if it isn't for you chalk it up as experience. I didn't *necessarily* read this as they are unorganised but that may be the case. Listening to some bands in the style is bound to help.

Auditions are as much about "can we get on" as "can they play"!
[/quote]

You said it so much better than I! :)

this, exactly this! All of it.

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[quote name='Bolo' timestamp='1489750920' post='3259426']
Bring pen and paper to jut down the song structure, ask guitar for a run through before playing a whole song. Have fun :)
[/quote]

I have a little Zoom H2 recorder I always bring to situations like that. Ask first if it's ok to record, just in case.

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[quote name='la bam' timestamp='1489758753' post='3259547']
I'd genuinely ask them what let each song is in, then just play riot notes to get you through.
[/quote]

I know what you mean, but I do like the idea of playing riot notes! (Preferably in the correct let signature, of course!)

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[quote name='FinnDave' timestamp='1489759567' post='3259569']
I know what you mean, but I do like the idea of playing riot notes! (Preferably in the correct let signature, of course!)
[/quote]

The Riot Notes, they were a punk band were they not? Whatever, I like the sound of it. Next time I make a mistake I shall simply state It was a Riot note.

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Just turn up and see what comes out, our lead singer lands us with a new song every couple of weeks "hey, this is great" and starts playing, no key offered or anything, I love just coming up with something on the fly and 9 times out of 10 the eventual bassline I settle with will be based very closely on that initial jam.

Just go and enjoy it

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Great advice - thanks.

The band are going to send me tracks from their most recent practice! I think the 'come and get be it a go' is more about not trying to put the pressure on and the emails I have had from them seem nice and friendly.

Love the 'less is more' comment and I will remember this.

I will take my Zoom recorder next week and will do my best to 'enjoy myself'.

I will ask for influences as well.

I feel much more up for it now. My last audition didn't go great - the singer went completely off script playing songs I hadn't learnt and acted a bit of a knob!!

Thanks again.

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Haha! Yes, this phone spelling auto correct doesn't half come up with some interesting corrections!

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Or you could always turn up with your upright bass if you wanted to something "different" into the mix, especially if you're more comfortable playing it than a bass guitar. If they are playing "dark, melodic rock", then it could well fit in quite nicely (and be something novel at a gig - people will remember the rock band with the upright bass).

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The upright has gone 😭 - sold as she was sat in the corner gathering dust! It was a tough decision but it funded a new Jazz.

I was sent a couple of recordings that I have played along to at home, nothing fancy and just keeping it simple.

I was all set to join in practice this week for the first time and was struck down with dreaded kidney stones and spent the day in A&E and on a surgical ward. Eventually sent home on loads of pain relief and fingers crossed they will pass naturally (although the Dr didn't look hopeful). Anyway I had to make my excuse for not turning up this week to what would have been my first practice!!

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