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Being the weakest member of a band


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Yep, turn up on Monday morning literally playing like Victor Wooten and all of a sudden you probably won't fit 🤔😉

In terms of input I would say you have correctly avoided the cardinal sin. Walking in the door and telling everyone that they should now do it a different way. Let's call it Yngwie-itis 😊

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I've virtually always been the weakest/least experienced in the bands I've been in.

Two things have stood out for me. Quite a few more experienced players that I've played with have been truly awful. This has actually made me feel uneasy as I've had no confidence in them. In the 'other' bands I've learnt a lot. The band I was in with the best guitarist I've played with, my playing came on a lot. I'd say I played better then then I do now.

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19 hours ago, Lozz196 said:

In my first “real” band I was def the weakest member. But not for long. I wouldn’t say I overtook anyone but I soon caught up. Was a good learning experience, and I’d recommend it to anyone, it soon pushes your limits further than you thought and makes you more proficient on

your instrument of choice.

This 👆 and this 👇 

19 hours ago, DiMarco said:

You worry too much. Making music should be about having fun and entertaining. Don't overthink it.

 

 

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My first band the drummer and I were the least experienced/talented, and me more so than him. Fast forward 5 years and I was the most successful, then 5 years later the drummer was. 

As said upstream, I've been the least and most experienced in bands and I'd take the least any day of the week. I'd suggest you should be very thankful, and make sure the other bands members know it. 

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They know I'm pleased to be there and I'm excited about the music and that I respect their experience and ability. They also know I'll work on anything I'm having trouble with and it'll be improved at the next rehearsal. 

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5 minutes ago, SteveXFR said:

They know I'm pleased to be there and I'm excited about the music and that I respect their experience and ability. They also know I'll work on anything I'm having trouble with and it'll be improved at the next rehearsal. 

Sounds like a perfect bandmate, if you ask me. 

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55 minutes ago, SteveXFR said:

I am quite ugly and have questionable fashion sense

So the bass is the perfect instrument for you.

The drummer and I refer to ourselves as 'the 2 ugly blokes at the back'

I'm like you, the least experienced but, as has been written above by several posters, I make sure I know the songs.  Our guitarist is handsome, has over 20 years experience and has a Wikipedia page about him...but he relies on his experience and sometimes tries to wing it instead of putting the time in to learn songs before rehearsals. 

I've often taken days off work to make sure I have nailed songs before rehearsals (being self employed I am able to do that) I will admit this is partly due to awareness of my lack of experience.

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Sounds like things will improve Steve .  Your attitude and willing to learn is spot on,, and you seem to get on with the rest of the band members anyway . 
I've been the Anne Robinson of the band in most bands I've been in . 
In my situations ( and looking back in hindsight ) , it came down to me just not having the time due to constant work, different shifts , socialising , going to loads of gigs and buying new albums etc.  That's the excuses out of the way ..

I don't know if you play covers or not, but it helps imho

Back in the day, there was no you tube and hot licks videos were expensive . Finding a music teacher and having the confidence to do so helps . Learning BEAD tuning is very helpful also incase you get band members who want to tune down in rehearsals and stops you feeling anxious and way out of your depth . It's not a big deal for me anymore .

I suppose my last band that I was in ( I stopped playing now ) was possibly my biggest achievement .  4 of us met up  to an ad which I placed in loot magazine . The singer was a nice guy who had grear notions about how we could become a regular pub covers band . The drummer was down to earth and laid back but was fed up of band politics and would walk if any started . The guitarist was very good , but his personality was strange . Nice guy but he used to play bass and never really had patience for me . Fair enough. Anyway,  the singer kept cancelling rehearsals at short notice which annoyed us. We all went to see other bands in pubs often comparing them to what we could be .  Our idea was to get to do our first gig, and take it from there . 
When we got to the first gig ( the grey horse in Kingston wow!😸) the drummer was late, the singer was awful. The guitarist was his usually good self and I was just " me" doing rock poses out of nervousness like I always did and kept time with everybody else . 
The guitarist told me I did the best . 


The next rehearsal we met up, and the drummmer told me I sounded much better ( I put in a shedload of practice in the xmas break ). The singer commented also about my improvement 

The singer then announced that ne couldn't make it to the next rehearsal ..the guitarist quit .He tried to take the drummer with him but surprisingly the drummer stuck with me and we changed the band name and found a friend of mine who was a singer plus 2 guitarists . That was fun , but most importantly proved with had work and  the righ attitude I was co founder of a covers band which I thought nigh on impossible . 
 

Anyway ,I'm waffling but hope there's something above that helps 

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On 14/06/2021 at 18:49, SteveXFR said:

I am quite ugly and have questionable fashion sense

There's nothing wrong with being the weakest link in the band but the others will probably get sick of this kind of bragging

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There are times I think too much, and this is one of them.  But I'd say there's a difference between being the most rubbish person in the band and thinking you're the most rubbish person in the band. I have always thought myself to be the most rubbish until it slowly became clear to me that I was at least on a par with the others. But as others have said, thinking you're the most rubbish is an excellent strategy to have.

Edited by lownote12
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On 13/06/2021 at 22:18, SteveXFR said:

I've been with a band for a few months now and come to terms with my place as the least experienced and weakest member of the band. I don't feel that I'm at risk of getting the boot, we all get on well and I can play my parts but I do need guidance from other band members because I don't have their experience to immediately know what will work. During discussions around song writing I tend to keep quiet and listen to their ideas so maybe I come across as not being as interested or not wanting to contribute. 

I'm putting in the practice time to work on my weaknesses. But I just wondered whether anyone else here has been in a similar position? Any advice?

Some great advice already. Keep going, if in doubt keep it simple and be solid, it can take a lot of experience to just pump out root notes! 

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On 14/06/2021 at 15:14, la bam said:

Being the weakest member is a real good thing imo as long as your attitude is correct.

It encourages you to drive, work and strive to be better. To enjoy it more and see the chance you've got. To be enthusiastic and really want it.

When it's the opposite end of the scale it's easy to become complacent, irritable and dismissive and potentially throw away a good thing.

Exactly this. Being the weakest is the best reason and opportunity to improve. Being the best is also great, but only for about 10 minutes when the frustration sets in.

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I am definitely the least talented member in my band, the other members have been playing since they were kids totalling around 150 years between them, they are all very good musicians with plenty of experience, and when they talk in musical terms, I struggle to know what they are on about sometimes because I am self-taught and only starting playing about ten years ago, but when it comes to rehearsals, they turn to me to lead them through any new songs because I know the arrangements and structures because I put the work in, whereas, they don't.

Yes, they are much better musicians than me, but I think that I am probably a better team player, and it sounds like you are too! 

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I think it's a matter of perspective - Just like you don't want to be the strongest person in the gym, you don't want to be the most knowledgeable player in the band. This way you get to learn from them in a practical setting, which is where music matters most. Don't be afraid to voice opinions because opinions in art are as valid as any other, and shouldn't be qualified, otherwise critics and music historians would be making the most interesting things. Plus, getting stuck in and learning the diplomacy of writing sections as a group, if you think a section could be stronger, transfers to other areas of life. 

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