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Bluewine

Productive Rehearsals

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58 minutes ago, peteb said:

 

Once you have got to the point where it is gig tight then I don’t really see the point of additional rehearsals for the sake of it (unless you haven’t played a gig for quite a while).

I saw an ad for a bass player recently indicating they rehearse 3 times a week.

 

Why?

 

Blue

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I'm guessing they can at no cost and want to get to gigging level very very quickly :laugh1:

Dave

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14 hours ago, oldslapper said:

Rehearsing new songs at high volume levels is unproductive IMHO.......

If you are working on your "sound" low volume levels are misleading, at least with all tube amps when you want to use the distortion from the amp itself.

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15 hours ago, Henrythe8 said:

I auditionned for a few bands, and everytime there was more beer and smoking than playing, I just said goodbye. 

I agree but if reharsals are mostly for the writing you'll end up making breaks, it's almost unavoidable. Because when ideas don't come, they don't come, and you better disconnect from what you are doing for a while and then try again when you're "fresh".

(that's why we reharse often and usually around 3-4 hours)

Edited by oZZma

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1 hour ago, oZZma said:

If you are working on your "sound" low volume levels are misleading, at least with all tube amps when you want to use the distortion from the amp itself.

Fair enough.

I don’t know much about valve amps, but I guess if they only distort at high volumes then you have no choice. 

Just as an aside, do people here use rehearsals to find their sound? Perhaps you would if you’ve got new gear? 

I’m not officially in a band, just what seems to be a dep position that’s gone on for years 😂 but we don’t rehearse, so no one has to suffer my grumpy face when the guitarist goes to 11 on his talent dial. 🥳

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8 minutes ago, oldslapper said:

Just as an aside, do people here use rehearsals to find their sound? Perhaps you would if you’ve got new gear? 

I mostly work on sound on my own but it often needs some tweaking with my bandmate. Especially when I play on the lowest register his kickdrum eats my frequencies and we need to play at "almost-gig" volume to truly understand if we are ok or we are only producing a muddy mess.

Edited by oZZma

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A productive rehearsal is one where you turn someone's idea for a new song into a finished fully arranged number and can play it well enough to be able to gig it that weekend.

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10 hours ago, peteb said:

What I hate (and I have been in a few bands that do this) are rehearsals where everyone learns their parts, you go through a song and if you all start and finish at the same time you go onto the next song / run through the set. As far as I am concerned that is a waste of time and you might as well not bother rehearsing and just do the gig.

I would take it as read that everyone is gonna turn up knowing their basic parts. But what I want to do is pull the first performance of a new song apart and work on anything that could be better, transitions between parts of songs, etc. The devil is always in the detail. Maybe I have learnt a part but the drummer or keys player has heard it slightly differently. A rehearsal is to sort out issues like that rather than just banging through songs and thinking if it’s sort of OK then that’s good enough.

Once you have got to the point where it is gig tight then I don’t really see the point of additional rehearsals for the sake of it (unless you haven’t played a gig for quite a while).

completely agree

For some forms of music having a loose arrangement can work, but for a lot it doesn't.  I once went to a rehearsal for a mate's covers band who had asked me to dep for a gig.  They went through exactly that "we all started and stopped at the same time so it's fine" routine for all the songs and he was astonished when at the end I told him that I thought they actually needed to work on playing the songs better and that i was happy to help out for a gig but I wasn't interested in joining (as he had hoped)

I actually quite enjoy playing the songs just to work on getting the playing tighter...well, I enjoy playing the bass so playing songs is always fun

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43 minutes ago, BigRedX said:

A productive rehearsal is one where you turn someone's idea for a new song into a finished fully arranged number and can play it well enough to be able to gig it that weekend.

wow in one single reharsal? I would never let you do that in my band :laugh1:

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9 hours ago, Bluewine said:

I saw an ad for a bass player recently indicating they rehearse 3 times a week.

 

Why?

 

Blue

I depped with a band last year who rehearse three times a week.  They're a semi pro name band (in their field) doing originals, releasing albums, playing festivals and doing tours

In practice "three times a week" tended to be two times most weeks, and sometimes just once.  But it was a good discipline for them - two week nights after work to run through a set and work in tightening up their playing, one longer, more relaxed rehearsal at the weekend to work on stuff, whether new songs, teaching me the stuff in the set that I wasn't up to speed on, etc. 

If nothing else, it's fun playing music - far better use of an evening than snoozing on the sofa in front of the TV.  The lead guitarist would happily rehearse every day of the week, and when there isn't a practice he will play guitar on his own at home

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10 hours ago, Bluewine said:

I saw an ad for a bass player recently indicating they rehearse 3 times a week.

 

Why?

 

That's our pace too. Some weeks it's 2, sometimes it's 3, depending on my bandmate's shifts at work. We try to have 3 reharsals when possible.

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17 minutes ago, oZZma said:

wow in one single reharsal? I would never let you do that in my band :laugh1:

If the band is good and the musicians all on the same musical wavelength, it's dead easy. It also helps if your singer has a bookful of lyrical ideas, and just needs to find the right ones to fit the music.

The song may well develop over the course of the next few gigs and rehearsals but the recorded version will be 90%+ the same as the one we played at the first gig.

Edited by BigRedX

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Our rehearsals follow a very different format to a lot of yours I think.

We 'rehearse' every other week for 3 hrs normally, if we have a big gig coming up we extend that to 4 hrs.

Rehearsals are usually not related to a gig though, we are almost always working on new material. There are 7 people who have creative input in the band, a lot of time is spent working on new ideas for grooves and fitting old ideas together with new ideas in different ways experimenting with them to get something we feel is really really good. We've worked this way for a very long time (7 years) and this is a huge part of the reason everyone enjoys the band.

Gigs are really good fun and all, but if you are creating music for a 7 piece band with no singer and average track lengths of 9 minutes you have to work on the material in a different way or pay everyone to turn up to rehearsals, the opportunity to be creative together is what the band is about. You see most punters on seeing us for the first time are (even if I say so myself) pretty bloody impressed, because its good music, lots of layers and interesting interactions/dynamics and plenty of hooks that reappear all over the place in different forms, even without the 'normal' front person role. Yet a lot of what is going appears to be highly improvised. If they see us again they start to 'get' that there is definite improvisational stuff, but maybe less than they thought, I get asked about this quite often (from musos and civvies equally strangely).

The first 45 minutes we play is a single suite with no breaks at all. Most punters truly think its written as a single track (its not its 5 pieces that interweave and hang together really beautifully). We have tracks that took just a couple of months to get sorted, others that we refined for years to get where they are now. There are motifs in the first fifteen minutes of the set that occur literally an hour later again in subtly shifted forms, the upshot is punters think they've heard this track before from the first time they catch an entire set.

Our only problem at the moment is we have finally got to the point where we have this all nailed down. And we are rather bored of the 'same' 2 sets. So we are taking a break from all gigging until November, when we will play the old sets as they stand one last time, then in December we have a gig where I hope we will be replacing at least one entire set with a new suite, with just one break in it. Cos that's how we roll :D

So we don't really rehearse, we just collaboratively write. Rehearsal per se is just where we top and tail tracks and transitions and go over anything particularly tricksy (like the 9/4 break, its a beach, I regularly have to work that in my own time or I am going to look the proper fool and train wreck everything). It only happens in the last rehearsal before a gig, and we only gig a few times a year.

I have done cover bands before and find them so tedious, not enough creativity for me, each to their own....

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1 minute ago, BigRedX said:

If the band is good and the musicians all on the same musical wavelength, it's dead easy.

well I don't think it could work in any genre that isn't heavily standardized, and I am strongly convinced that in any case even pros need to refine (and refine... and refine...) for long if they are after higher quality levels. Meaning no offense mate, I hope I don't sound conceited... but I don't believe in "great records written in 10 days" :lol:

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1 hour ago, oldslapper said:

Just as an aside, do people here use rehearsals to find their sound? Perhaps you would if you’ve got new gear? 

I use rehearsals to learn how to adjust my EQ so that it complements the full band sound.

I don't spend much time fiddling with EQ at home, because what's the point? A great sound on your own might sound like damp bum sweat in the context of the full band.

I also don't consider myself to have a "my sound". If the band sounds good and I can hear myself clearly, then job done. And to be honest, whenever I hear someone talking about "their" sound, I instantly think "oooh, precious."

S.P.

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1 hour ago, oldslapper said:

Just as an aside, do people here use rehearsals to find their sound? Perhaps you would if you’ve got new gear? 

I'll get as close as I possibly can to the right sound(s) for each song on my Helix, but it won't be until I'm in rehearsal with the rest of the band playing that I can make the appropriate fine tunings. 

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1 hour ago, BigRedX said:

A productive rehearsal is one where you turn someone's idea for a new song into a finished fully arranged number and can play it well enough to be able to gig it that weekend.

Only if you are playing 3 minute 'standard-ish' toons with nominally trivial structures in my experience...

Which is not having a go at that at all, its just if you are writing more complex stuff this can't be done I think, unless someone turns up with all the parts written out and you have a band prepared to work from charts a lot.

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2 minutes ago, 51m0n said:

Only if you are playing 3 minute 'standard-ish' toons with nominally trivial structures in my experience...

Which is not having a go at that at all, its just if you are writing more complex stuff this can't be done I think, unless someone turns up with all the parts written out and you have a band prepared to work from charts a lot.

exactly... The less you are willing to use overused solutions, the longer it will take to arrange a song, IMO

Edited by oZZma

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1 hour ago, 51m0n said:

Only if you are playing 3 minute 'standard-ish' toons with nominally trivial structures in my experience...

Which is not having a go at that at all, its just if you are writing more complex stuff this can't be done I think, unless someone turns up with all the parts written out and you have a band prepared to work from charts a lot.

 

1 hour ago, oZZma said:

exactly... The less you are willing to use overused solutions, the longer it will take to arrange a song, IMO

Of course you do run the risk of killing the song by over arranging it (I've been in bands that have been guilty of doing that). 

Sometimes a light(ish) touch with arrangements is what you need to make the song work. 

Edited by peteb

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1 hour ago, 51m0n said:

Only if you are playing 3 minute 'standard-ish' toons with nominally trivial structures in my experience...

Which is not having a go at that at all, its just if you are writing more complex stuff this can't be done I think, unless someone turns up with all the parts written out and you have a band prepared to work from charts a lot.

No,

Bu if you are a 4-piece band playing sub three minute pop punk songs, then you should be able to take most songs from the initial idea to something that is close to being ready to gig within the space of an average three hour rehearsal.

The trick is to come prepared. I have a load of musical ideas that are always ready to be the starting point for a new song or used in conjunction with someone else's idea to turn a simple riff or tune into a close to finished piece of music. If the rest of your band is like this writing and arranging new material should be quick and easy.

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20 hours ago, dmccombe7 said:

3hr rehearsal is the standard time slot over here. Typically £30-£35 for 3 hrs per band.

I would say 2.5 hours to 3 is the standard here, although I have rarely paid for a rehearsal (directly!) and when I have it has been a tenner - and it better be a nice place for that!

 

20 hours ago, dmccombe7 said:

If you want to be good and stand out from the average bands you need to put the work in.

Or be different in some way.

 

20 hours ago, Leonard Smalls said:

I like a rehearsal where the drummer turns up in a foul mood cos he's had an argument with his Mrs, then the guitarist turns up drunk with no leads.

We save that for the gigs. Although to be fair, the guitarist never turns up drunk.

20 hours ago, Leonard Smalls said:

After I've helped the drummer set up and lent Mr Guitar some leads  I'm then most gratified when the drummer starts taking out his frustration by hitting every drum as hard as he can, with GuitarMan playing his best Hendrix impersonation at a different speed at absolute full volume.

Yep, sounds about right.

20 hours ago, Leonard Smalls said:

b) the drummer thinks it should be slower

ok - that is a new one on me!

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2 hours ago, peteb said:

 

Of course you do run the risk of killing the song by over arranging it (I've been in bands that have been guilty of doing that). 

Sometimes a light(ish) touch with arrangements is what you need to make the song work. 

Yes I'm very well aware of that, it happened to me too, and I have learned the lesson (somewhat).
IME the most difficult thing is to keep it fresh and visceral, and making it interesting and complex at the same time. Not easy to keep the balance.
I try to listen back to things the day after with objectivity, and when I see it's becoming the self-indulgent/masturbatory kind of "complexity"... I have no problems to throw in the trash one week or even one month of work. It has already happened.

Edited by oZZma

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19 hours ago, oZZma said:

Yes I'm very well aware of that, it happened to me too, and I have learned the lesson (somewhat).
IME the most difficult thing is to keep it fresh and visceral, and making it interesting and complex at the same time. Not easy to keep the balance.
I try to listen back to things the day after with objectivity, and when I see it's becoming the self-indulgent/masturbatory kind of "complexity"... I have no problems to throw in the trash one week or even one month of work. It has already happened.

We endlessly prune ideas. Last year we worked on a track for 8 months on and off, in the end it just became boring. In some ways that is a great reason to be spending a long time on a track, you see, in my experience, you cant tell what is truly fantastic in a couple of hours, or weeks even.

The best stuff we have written we have played for years and years, and its still fun and intriguing to play, although the makeup of the sets have led me in particular to want to add a new set so we can swap things about better. Variety etc etc. Fact is, its good enough material to last.

Sometimes you work really hard on something but you lose that initially visceral quality of it that felt so good day 1, or you realise its just a bit obvious. I record every single rehearsal, in full, chop out the best parts and they get saved, everyone is sent every single piece, its a huge huge library of variations and ideas and jamming - literally weeks of it now - that we refer back to and use when thinking about new parts.

Again its to be noted that gigs are not necessarily our number 1 purpose, creating music to play at gigs is. So we can spend for ever on a track, before anyone hears it, and if it lasts the course it will be good enough for our audience to enjoy, because its something we are enjoying playing.

Having said all of that one of my favourite structures we have goes:-

aABABCABCDABCDEBB

The track in question is almost 8 minutes long. Too complex? Or clever because it means people get to hear section A 5 times, section B 6 times, section D and E once each and so have an idea whats coming but it keeps changing at the same time. The punters seem to dig it whatever :D

It sounds like this:-
https://mistersuperjuice.bandcamp.com/track/frisking-the-whiskers

 

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20 minutes ago, 51m0n said:

We endlessly prune ideas. Last year we worked on a track for 8 months on and off, in the end it just became boring. In some ways that is a great reason to be spending a long time on a track, you see, in my experience, you cant tell what is truly fantastic in a couple of hours, or weeks even.

Sometimes you work really hard on something but you lose that initially visceral quality of it that felt so good day 1, or you realise its just a bit obvious.

Again its to be noted that gigs are not necessarily our number 1 purpose, creating music to play at gigs is.

We work more or less in the same way. We are becoming more effective with time but the very first track we wrote (that was the very first track I wrote EVER)  took like 18 months and in the end I'm rewriting most of it AGAIN because it felt soooo naive and obvious, and now that my writing skills (and my technique) have improved, my expectations are higher too... Am I losing my time? I don't think so. I'm after quality, not after gigging at all cost. If making this EP requires 4 years, then be it. That's my point of view.

Edited by oZZma

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2.5 hours once a week, which slips if we have a good run of gigs.

Productive rehearsal is one where we iron out the drummer's mental block on a song part, or one where he's actually listened to a new tune all the way through (usually as background music while he's cooking his tea), that the rest of have learned.

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