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Al Krow

What do audiences really want from the bass player?

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2 hours ago, jazzmanb said:

Unless its a muso type gig they won't expect anything from you and at the end they may not know they've had anything but if you do a good job they will have a good time ,providing the singer isn't a Richard

I would think a bassist in a jazz trio would be noticed and understood more than a bass guitarist in a rock band.

Blue

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Try alright now or dancing in the moonlight or roundabout without bass and I reckon the audience would notice.  Lol. Songs are made of the sum of parts...  All contribute to the overall sound. Just my opinion.   😎

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Oh well in for a penny.......

I think the average punter who is not that into music nor a musician doesn't know what bass is let alone be concerned by it in anyway. We musicians really are a little bit up ourselves........aren't we?

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1 hour ago, Bluewine said:

I would think a bassist in a jazz trio would be noticed and understood more than a bass guitarist in a rock band.

Blue

Mrs Krow was saying exactly the same thing to me the other night! :) 

57 minutes ago, aDx said:

Try alright now or dancing in the moonlight or roundabout without bass and I reckon the audience would notice.  Lol. Songs are made of the sum of parts...  All contribute to the overall sound. Just my opinion.   😎

Spot on

Edited by Al Krow

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On 08/10/2018 at 14:32, Count Bassy said:

I think you overestimate the typical audience.

So it would seem and apparently nowhere more so than Deptford SE London, from the reliable comments I've received from my fellow BCers 😁

Edited by Al Krow

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13 hours ago, aDx said:

Try alright now or dancing in the moonlight or roundabout without bass and I reckon the audience would notice.  Lol. Songs are made of the sum of parts...  All contribute to the overall sound. Just my opinion.   😎

Punters probably think those are guitar parts.😂

Blue

Edited by Bluewine

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I think that some people may actually be underestimating their audience here (hard as that is to believe). I would say that the vast majority of the members of the audience that I play to are quite aware of what a bass guitar is and also have a fair idea of its role in the band. They might not know much beyond that, but then again, why should they? 

I have always got a fair amount of attention , but that is more down to a little bit of stagecraft than anything else!  Punters want to be entertained, so entertain them... 

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I should act that most audiences know enough to work out if a band is any good or not, so it does help to get the music right as well as making sure that you are being 'entertaining'... 

Edited by peteb

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Perhaps part of it is relevance. 

By that I mean that in a typical audience,  some people will have played guitar themselves , or sung a song, or tapped out a rhythm before - even if it's just on the "steering-wheel bongos" in their car.

But few if any will have played bass before or even made an effort to follow what the bass is doing when listening to their favourite music.

Then add that popular misconception that bass must be "easier" than guitar by virtue of the fact that basses mostly have fewer strings and the scene is set for why singers, guitarists or drummers tend to attract more post-gig compliments from audience members than the bassist. 

It's just how it is.  But the fact that I've been playing bass for over 35 years hopefully indicates how little it bothers me. 😎

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I still believe that some people have no idea what a Bass is...I often have to describe what parts the bass plays.

My ex GF (not the brightest bulb in the box) checked that those tri-pod stands was suitable for a bass because there was an acoustic guitar in the display model.

Elevation: Universal Guitar Stand  | Guitar

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22 hours ago, Krysbass said:

Perhaps part of it is relevance. 

By that I mean that in a typical audience,  some people will have played guitar themselves , or sung a song, or tapped out a rhythm before - even if it's just on the "steering-wheel bongos" in their car.

But few if any will have played bass before or even made an effort to follow what the bass is doing when listening to their favourite music.

Then add that popular misconception that bass must be "easier" than guitar by virtue of the fact that basses mostly have fewer strings and the scene is set for why singers, guitarists or drummers tend to attract more post-gig compliments from audience members than the bassist. 

It's just how it is.  But the fact that I've been playing bass for over 35 years hopefully indicates how little it bothers me. 😎

Maybe it's me, we can walk off stage after a great set and everyone in the band is approached by punters except me.

The only thing I can come up with is they think I'm famous or I'm some sort of Star and they know better than to try to engage me in conversation.😂

Blue

IMG_20180914_154329_01.jpg

Edited by Bluewine
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7 hours ago, Bluewine said:

Maybe it's me, we can walk off stage after a great set and everyone in the band is approached by punters except me.

The only thing I can come up with is they think I'm famous or I'm some sort of Star and they know better than to try engage me in conversation.😂

Blue

IMG_20180914_154329_01.jpg

Maybe you look more like Security than a band member Blue. :laugh1:

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11 hours ago, Krysbass said:

Perhaps part of it is relevance. 

By that I mean that in a typical audience,  some people will have played guitar themselves , or sung a song, or tapped out a rhythm before - even if it's just on the "steering-wheel bongos" in their car.

But few if any will have played bass before or even made an effort to follow what the bass is doing when listening to their favourite music.

Then add that popular misconception that bass must be "easier" than guitar by virtue of the fact that basses mostly have fewer strings and the scene is set for why singers, guitarists or drummers tend to attract more post-gig compliments from audience members than the bassist. 

It's just how it is.  But the fact that I've been playing bass for over 35 years hopefully indicates how little it bothers me. 😎

Not just punters. I auditioned for a band, and afterwards they confessed to being 'amazed' how much they missed the bass when it wasn't there.

Evidently they had run the audition songs before I arrived and couldn't believe how empty and gutless they sounded with no bass guitar. 

You will struggle to believe this my friends: the band is a three piece.

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Best way to get punters to know what the bass does is write arrangements where you drop out for a section, it doesn't matter one jot how tight the rest of the band is, how powerful it sounds without you, or how musically illiterate or not the audience is, when you come back in the lift in intensity is absolutely palpable. You are suddenly noticeable, a tiny bit of showmanship and you can make this obvious without for a second being a tosser about it. I promise this works, its a killer way to make the point that the bassist dude is the one making you boogie more than anyone else.

Do not underestimate your audience, I get approached after every set, always. But then I make it my business to go mingle with the crowd, because that is super important for the whole band to do. Someone out there is a tuba afficianado who wants to speak to our trumpet player about how she switches from trumpet to tuba so readily. Someone else is having a great night having heard us from the street and come in for some fun and would love to tell us we made their evening. Another group of people see us every time we play that venue and rightfully want a bit of time with some of us to say how they are enjoying it and how much fun they are having, and we get to keep them happy. Someone would rather they were left alone completely by the sweaty fat git who just waddled off stage :D

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12 hours ago, Krysbass said:

But few if any will have played bass before or even made an effort to follow what the bass is doing when listening to their favourite music.😎

I humbly beg to differ...

 

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55 minutes ago, 51m0n said:

Best way to get punters to know what the bass does is write arrangements where you drop out for a section, it doesn't matter one jot how tight the rest of the band is, how powerful it sounds without you, or how musically illiterate or not the audience is, when you come back in the lift in intensity is absolutely palpable. You are suddenly noticeable, a tiny bit of showmanship and you can make this obvious without for a second being a tosser about it. I promise this works, its a killer way to make the point that the bassist dude is the one making you boogie more than anyone else.

Do not underestimate your audience, I get approached after every set, always. But then I make it my business to go mingle with the crowd, because that is super important for the whole band to do. Someone out there is a tuba afficianado who wants to speak to our trumpet player about how she switches from trumpet to tuba so readily. Someone else is having a great night having heard us from the street and come in for some fun and would love to tell us we made their evening. Another group of people see us every time we play that venue and rightfully want a bit of time with some of us to say how they are enjoying it and how much fun they are having, and we get to keep them happy. Someone would rather they were left alone completely by the sweaty fat git who just waddled off stage :D

^^This!

Hooray! - Some real positivity starting to come through on this thread from a number of us at last, I see :) 

No apologies from me for not wanting to take the brow-beaten "believe me I've been doing this for 350 years now and no one gives a sh*it about the bass player or the bass lines we play" sentiment that was being spouted, lying down. It doesn't have to be thus.

Let's not go gentle into that good night. 

Old age should burn and rave at close of day.

We can make that happen by the way we play.

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Not being famous or rich enough to employ roadies, the drummer and I were breaking down our gear at the end of the night when two audience members came up to us and said, 'They were great, weren't they, the band?' That's how much attention they'd been paying to us, they thought we were the road crew. I'd only been stood, facing them, making eye contact for the past two hours. As soon as the singer entered the room (to pack up his mic), they immediately turned with a, 'Here is is, you were fantastic mate'. I rest my case 

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4 hours ago, stewblack said:

Not just punters. I auditioned for a band, and afterwards they confessed to being 'amazed' how much they missed the bass when it wasn't there.

On the other hand, we were playing Dani California at a pub last year, and the guitarist broke a string just after the start. We just carried on because me and the drummer were already past V1, and we did almost the whole song without him. I am not sure the audience noticed much, they danced and sung and applauded.

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29 minutes ago, MoJo said:

Not being famous or rich enough to employ roadies, the drummer and I were breaking down our gear at the end of the night when two audience members came up to us and said, 'They were great, weren't they, the band?' That's how much attention they'd been paying to us, they thought we were the road crew. I'd only been stood, facing them, making eye contact for the past two hours. As soon as the singer entered the room (to pack up his mic), they immediately turned with a, 'Here is is, you were fantastic mate'. I rest my case 

I`ve actually been asked - when I was in a covers band - at half-time if I went to see the band much as the guy asking thought they were great. I found it very amusing.

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6 minutes ago, Lozz196 said:

I`ve actually been asked - when I was in a covers band - at half-time if I went to see the band much as the guy asking thought they were great. I found it very amusing.

Very similar experience for me too (back in the day). 

Chatting, all four of us, to punters immediately after we'd finished one lady says to me, "Have you seen them before?"

I said I'd never seen them.

 

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9 minutes ago, Lozz196 said:

I`ve actually been asked - when I was in a covers band - at half-time if I went to see the band much as the guy asking thought they were great. I found it very amusing.

Not me, but a drummer I used to play with used to get this happening quite regularly 

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18 minutes ago, peteb said:

Not me, but a drummer I used to play with used to get this happening quite regularly 

I am pleased to say that this no longer happens to me, but to the drummer - even to the point where he gets people asking him to take photos of them with the band (me & the singer/guitarist). It does make us chuckle.

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22 hours ago, Bluewine said:

I would think a bassist in a jazz trio would be noticed and understood more than a bass guitarist in a rock band.

Blue

Thats another question,what does a jazz trio audience expect? and i'd argue the understood bit .As a rule i think punters go and expect a band rather than expecting certain things of its parts

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6 hours ago, Al Krow said:

^^This!

Hooray! - Some real positivity starting to come through on this thread from a number of us at last, I see :) 

No apologies from me for not wanting to take the brow-beaten "believe me I've been doing this for 350 years now and no one gives a sh*it about the bass player or the bass lines we play" sentiment that was being spouted, lying down. It doesn't have to be thus.

Let's not go gentle into that good night. 

Old age should burn and rave at close of day.

We can make that happen by the way we play.

An understanding that many people don't pay that much attention to the bass doesn't really bother me that much as I'm happy to play and not get approached by the drunks asking for Don't Look Back IN Anger! Don't get me wrong I love gigging, I thoroughly enjoy it, I'll chat with punters who approach and have a wee groove to myself on stage, reacting to and with the crowd. I don't personally think folks are heading to see a band and gleefully hoping the bass player uses a fuzz or tremolo or that they'll bust out a future impact or compression. I was simply replying that the 9 points in the initial post all those years ago were about stuff that the 'average non-playing punter (ANPP)' may not notice. I recall seeing a wedding band and the bassist had a 6 string Spector - I'm sure there were a fe folks who noticed and a whole lot more who could see three guitarists. He played the songs pretty straight and kept it tasteful. He played for the band, the songs and the occasion. I bet he was a tremendous player but from that gig he proved he was a great musician.

Dead time and the colour of your bass are the two things the "ANPP' might notice. The drummer and I may find a groove hiding in a pub standard to make it more fun for the whole room but often just for the band - if they're dancing then they've noticed on sme level. We'll rework a song to suit our line-up and the venue or again just cause we want to play something different and unexpected - the sing along parts have the audience singing along either to the fiddle parts or the chorus - they're noticing something! I understand the weight a Low D or C can add to a tune, I've played funky little runs which may or may not get heard but it keeps us grooving!

I not saying your original post contained the wrong question(s) but it feels like you've noticed a difference when you're interacting with the audience and employing stage craft - you're getting a better overall experience, as do the crowd because they feel the band have engaged with them, be that the songs, the singer or the guy in shades playing the funny looking guitar dancing while playing. Irrespective of the amount of strings or the brand of bass, the effects used or not, people want the experience even if they're too drunk to remember it.

 

 

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