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Playing in a covers band with an ERB

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I played a 6 string bass for over ten years. I used it on hundreds of gigs, everything from country and western to weddings receptions to jazz. Nobody cared, all they were bothered about was the playing.

It mostly seems to be other bassists who are finicky about how many strings someone has. There was one particular tutor at uni who kept on about me playing a 6 string, he was a d**k though.

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6 hours ago, Woodinblack said:

In a folk group? Aren't most instruments in a folk group a lot more stringy, like mandolins etc. And hurdy-gurdies!

Har, sadly not this group. Aside from me it's guitar, flute, 3 vocals and a very occasionally banjo.

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12 hours ago, Stub Mandrel said:

Our drummer takes the fosters out of me for always turn up to practice with a different bass (OK I rotate through five, but I like the way each feels and sounds different).

I still haven't had the guts to turn up with my 5-string.

You should worry - I switched to a new-to-me 12-string at a rehearsal once and nobody in the band noticed. Really. 😕🙂

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Would we tell anyone else what instruments or sounds they should be using? I'm surprised at the stories about people who feel it's appropriate to tell the bass player how to do their job? If someone you respect offers constructive criticism then take notice but don't wast your time listening to negative nonsense from people who don't know a bar of music from a bar of soap.

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To paraphrase Billy Connolly: "Don't tell me how to do my job, or what with...do I come to where you work and tell you how to sweep up?" 🙂

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On 10/07/2019 at 09:58, Drax said:

I know a few bassists on the function circuit who will rock up with a 6 string to a wedding gig. Generally miserable sods bitter about playing function music and not much fun to be around, usually not first choice call. 

Edit - after reading the other posts here wanted to clarify this was about the random '6 string deps' I've come across (sample of 3) who've generally taken themselves a little too seriously,  been snobby about the well paid gig they're on and were keen to signal this to the rest of the band.

There does also exist some inverse snobbery from other instrumentalists when a 6 string is pulled out. I'm not one of those but I've seen it happen, and like others have said here - so what. It's your playing, and mainly your personality that gets you gigs - not your gear. 

So for the record most 6 string players are not miserable sods, and certainly not those of this parish. Some of my best friends are 6 string players etc.. 

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5 string is perfect for those dep gigs where they change the key on you. It''s amazing how pants Eb can sound when you are an octave higher than you should be... and no, you haven't got time to tune between songs.

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On 12/07/2019 at 10:36, chris_b said:

Would we tell anyone else what instruments or sounds they should be using? I'm surprised at the stories about people who feel it's appropriate to tell the bass player how to do their job? If someone you respect offers constructive criticism then take notice but don't wast your time listening to negative nonsense from people who don't know a bar of music from a bar of soap.

I also play drums, and I’m often told I have ‘too many’ drums or cymbals*. I usually retort with I wouldn’t tell the guitarist they have too many strings or keys player he has too many patches, so don’t tell me what I should be playing! Usually works. 

 

 

 

 

 

*I’m not Neil Peart. Thank god. It’s two rack toms and two floor toms. 

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3 hours ago, Jakester said:

*I’m not Neil Peart. Thank god. It’s two rack toms and two floor toms.

Go on, admit that it's a skiffle group 🙂

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I am lucky that I get to play with all sorts of musicians from complete beginners to well-known seasoned professionals. I recall on one occasion, a musician from the the latter mentioned, seemed somewhat displeased when I turned up to a show rehearsal with a multi-effects and made noises about not wanting it on stage at the gig the following day. Until I used it expertly to reproduce the sounds on his album. He seemed very pleased with his session bassist and drummer from that point on. We nailed it :) 

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In my experience, everyone who Richards around how many strings a player is using doesn't deserve to be heard.

Take those useless sods, put them on headphones, three recordings of the same song and ask them to identify where you're playing the 5/6/34 stringed instrument. Mah.

Like A LOT of people, they're the ones who listen with their eyes.

You know Lee Sklar? Have you heard of his 'producer switch'? It's an unsoldered, disconnected switch that is the only 'custom' thing on his signature instrument.

What is it for, you may ask? After all, it literally does nothing. Well, in a recording session, if the producer tells him he doesn't like his tone, he MAKES SURE HE SEES HIM toggle the switch, then he slightly shifts his right hand position. Everyone loved the tone after that.

So, yes, everyone, if given the chance, listens with their eyes. I just don't care and enjoy pissing those people off, playing my lines on 1 of the 6 strings I usually bring. I've ALWAYS played 6 strings since I've moved to electric, fortunately being 'judged' by what instrument I own or play doesn't happen often. When it does, I treat it like encountering a flat earther :) 

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Not quite a ERB in covers, but I did see a bloke on a Hofner Violin in a Heavy Metal band.......!

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I’ve just had to Google ERB!

Took me a while to suss out it wasn’t Epic Rap Battles, Edgar Rice Burroughs or Executive Review Board.... 😅

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I saw a guy play a sixer in a covers band once. He was awesome, playing jamiroquai and some funky stuff really nicely. I see lots more fours and fives, few fretless. I'm happy with it. I don't go round judging guitarists or drummers by what instruments they play, it's their choice, I care more about how they sound. One of my guitarists loves a Squier Bullit guitar he has, they're peanuts on eBay but he sounds awesome with it, why should anyone knock it?

Edited by uk_lefty

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5 hours ago, uk_lefty said:

I saw a guy play a sixer in a covers band once. He was awesome, playing jamiroquai and some funky stuff really nicely. I see lots more fours and fives, few fretless. I'm happy with it. I don't go round judging guitarists or drummers by what instruments they play, it's their choice, I care more about how they sound. One of my guitarists loves a Squier Bullit guitar he has, they're peanuts on eBay but he sounds awesome with it, why should anyone knock it?

It's daft isn't it? I mean, my keyboard player uses an "88 key Piano weighted controller" for every gig along with a second synth on top. I don't think anyone has ever complained because she wasn't using the high notes all the time or has too many keys!

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