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Playing songs in a covers band you dont always like.?


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2 minutes ago, skankdelvar said:

 

A Motor Torpedo Boat?

 

You'll have to tell us that story one day.

 

Y'know what it was like back in those days? You would go out for a quiet pint on a Friday and then... 

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39 minutes ago, Raymondo said:

We have been having fun tonight commenting on the fact that "we should all be able to play most songs on one hearing" and although on first glance this appears to give credence to that opinion in fact twice during the video he cites occasions where that may not be so true.

 

" the Beatles had 27 number 1's but only used the "common chord progression on one of them ...

 

The guy that's wrote all the hit songs lately( never heard of him and can't be bothered to watch it again) wrote 22 number 1's and only one of them used the famous chords....

That's 47 very popular songs that don't follow a standard pattern!

 

He also tells us to look out for the chord progression in the choruses of many songs ...what about the verses?

 

 I believe it's possible to play a semblance of a lot of pop songs on one hearing, but that's a long way from having "learned to play them," and I think it's disingenuous to dismiss people on here as not right for a covers band if they can't play it after one hearing. (Although I quoted your post Skank, my latter statement here is in fact aimed at Tim who espoused the opinion referred to).

And then there’s the actual performance of the song. Yes, it might be a well worn, even clichéd

chord sequence,  but that doesn’t take into consideration note placement or dynamics, for example. There was/is an SBL video of Michael League playing the same 3 or 4 note riff over and over, but it starts on different 8th notes, giving it a totally different feel. Then there’s altered chords (the pointing out of which is much beloved by Mr Beato) where the bass doesn’t necessarily follow the root progression, but it isn’t always obvious that it is different.

 

We’ve gone a fair bit OT and I think it needed doing, so to drag the thread back kicking and screaming to its origin… playing cover songs you don’t like is almost an occupational hazard for those who play covers. However, one shouldn’t dismiss these tunes, or just knock out something passable. If time allows, have a good listen and give it your best, especially if playing for an audience (they might not necessarily be paying you, but they’re giving you their time, even if they might be inebriated/not care about the complexities of the song you’re playing, or lack thereof), you might just learn something and if you don’t, it’s just good, musical discipline. Finally, if you have any say in the song choice and absolutely hate something in particular, for whatever reason, see if the band wouldn’t mind dropping it, you can only ask.

 

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14 minutes ago, Bridgehouse said:

 

There's a significant difference between the complexity of a songs chord structure, it's rhythm, and what makes it unique/memorable - even from a Bass point of view.

 

There are songs with complex bass lines which are rhythmically straight forward, some with simple bass lines in verses and choruses but complex bridges or solos, some with simple bass lines that are made unique by complex fills or runs in places, and then there are many songs that rely on an accurate and very well timed bass rhythm

 

For me (and I'm a mere landlubber when it comes to some of the experts on here) bass is a subtle but complex mix of notes, rhythms, timing, fills, runs, and note placement. 

 

Adam Clayton - oft maligned, oft derided - (and liking the song or not is irrelevant) - With or Without You is a perfect example of a simple bass line that is executed with such precision that it carries the song and gives it most of it's uniqueness. Where he places notes, when he chooses to slide between notes, the driving force of the rhythmic playing.

 

Colin Greenwood (for it is he) - Fake Plastic Trees. I learned the notes to it in one listen. And that was about 10% of the work required to make it sound authentic. Another masterclass in Bass note placement. Once again, a song that is made by the bassline - without it, it would fall. Harmonic perfection, rhythmic excellence, subtle, well placed and executed beautifully. 

 

Again, for me,  bass playing is about that heady combination of note, rhythm, subtlety and emphasis, and where you place your notes. 

 

I've written a few bass lines I'm really proud of. I've even recorded them and felt a reasonable satisfaction with my playing. However, I've also played some of them live and on occasion felt horrified by how bad they sounded when one of those elements listed above wasn't right. 

 

The actual notes are just the beginning of the bass player's story.

Ah, whilst I was typing, my esteemed colleague above appears to have made much the same point. He obviously can type faster than I can.

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1 minute ago, ezbass said:

Ah, whilst I was typing, my esteemed colleague above appears to have made much the same point. He obviously can type faster than I can.

Yeah and he can do it in one pass. 😉

 

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9 minutes ago, ezbass said:

And then there’s the actual performance of the song. Yes, it might be a well worn, even clichéd

chord sequence,  but that doesn’t take into consideration note placement or dynamics, for example. There was/is an SBL video of Michael League playing the same 3 or 4 note riff over and over, but it starts on different 8th notes, giving it a totally different feel. Then there’s altered chords (the pointing out of which is much beloved by Mr Beato) where the bass doesn’t necessarily follow the root progression, but it isn’t always obvious that it is different.

 

We’ve gone a fair bit OT and I think it needed doing, so to drag the thread back kicking and screaming to its origin… playing cover songs you don’t like is almost an occupational hazard for those who play covers. However, one shouldn’t dismiss these tunes, or just knock out something passable. If time allows, have a good listen and give it your best, especially if playing for an audience (they might not necessarily be paying you, but they’re giving you their time, even if they might be inebriated/not care about the complexities of the song you’re playing, or lack thereof), you might just learn something and if you don’t, it’s just good, musical discipline. Finally, if you have any say in the song choice and absolutely hate something in particular, for whatever reason, see if the band wouldn’t mind dropping it, you can only ask.

 

 

I'm not much of an ABBA fan. Some stuff was alright I guess. 

 

I make those comments from an "in passing" point of view. 

 

However, when you actually listen to the songs with a view to playing them, you realise just how complex and utterly genius they are musically. The bassline to Dancing Queen, the metal pins in the hammers on the piano to create the unique sound. The innovative (for the time) production to achieve the sound and separation it has.. 

 

In fact, I dare anyone to do a good job of playing the bassline to any ABBA song after one listen....

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9 hours ago, Geek99 said:

Like I said you’re there to keep punters happy, help beer to sell and go home with some cash. If you want to play Rush for your own satisfaction then rent a rehearsal room because given a choice between Rush and Mustang Sally / S3x on fire most punters will vote for the former option with their feet 

 

Know your audience! 

 

Some friends of mine played in a pretty successful Rush tribute band for a few years. Not really my thing, but there is certainly an audience out there. 

 

In some pubs, Mustang Sally will be the highlight of the set, but in others you will hear an audible groan and see everybody heading for the bar!  

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4 minutes ago, Bridgehouse said:

In fact, I dare anyone to do a good job of playing the bassline to any ABBA song after one listen....

 

That isn't going to happen, just as it is unlikely that you will be able to play many Beatles songs after one listen. However, there are loads of great songs that you definitely can! 

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2 minutes ago, peteb said:

 

That isn't going to happen, just as it is unlikely that you will be able to play many Beatles songs after one listen. However, there are loads of great songs that you definitely can! 

 

But that wasn't my point. 

 

I'm sure there are loads of songs that you can play the bass notes to after one listen - but to get the rhythm, subtlety, note placement and feel for the bassline for any given song requires far more than one listen through. It needs more than one play though let alone one listen through

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3 minutes ago, Bridgehouse said:

 

But that wasn't my point. 

 

I'm sure there are loads of songs that you can play the bass notes to after one listen - but to get the rhythm, subtlety, note placement and feel for the bassline for any given song requires far more than one listen through. It needs more than one play though let along one listen through

 

That my friend, depends on how good you are! That's one of the big differences between the not bad bass player you hear in a pub on a Saturday night and the really good pro...  

 

Edited by peteb
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1 minute ago, peteb said:

 

That my friend, depends on how good you are! That's one of the big differences between the not bad bass player you hear in a pub on a Saturday night and the really good pro...  

 

 

Well, I'm certainly no pro - but I do like to make the effort to get as close as I can, call it amateur pride if you like - pushing yourself to try to cover off those bases is a great way to improve. 

 

If I didn't improve, learn more, push myself a bit, then I'd quickly start to wonder why I was playing. 

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3 minutes ago, Bridgehouse said:

the rhythm, subtlety, note placement and feel 

 

Yeah, well if you want to obsess about girly swot stuff like 'subtlety'. Real men just hammer it out, collect the money and give the landlady a seeing to on the way out the door.

 

I bet you that half the pop hits you know, the session bass player was sat there playing along and thinking 'So, dinner tonight. Burger? Pizza? Something healthy? No, f__k it, I'll have a burger'.

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Just now, skankdelvar said:

 

Yeah, well if you want to obsess about girly swot stuff like 'subtlety'. Real men just hammer it out, collect the money and give the landlady a seeing to on the way out the door.

 

I bet you that half the pop hits you know, the session bass player was sat there playing along and thinking 'So, dinner tonight. Burger? Pizza? Something healthy? No, f__k it, I'll have a burger'.

 

Session bass player? SESSION BASS PLAYER?

 

You come back here, still late, still no tie, still a messy jacket, still reeking of brandy, and now with a dubious stain on your trouser leg, and give me all this session bass player claptrap?

 

But seriously..

 

Basslines can make or break songs. They very often do. Yeah - even on "pop songs" where the session bass player has been picking his lottery numbers in his head and wondering if it will be chips tonight (they hope it's chips.. it's chips) - that's why they are session players. Day in, day out, pretty much second nature to get those bass lines down - if on the mix the bass doesn't do the job spot on, then they won't be getting much more work. 

 

Most of the covers I hear in pubs and clubs aren't just manufactured pop. It's a heady mix of 90's shoe gazing, britpop, Foos, Muse, and even a bit of Radiohead in those posh trendy wine bars. That's proper bass players in a band, none of your too-good-for-their-own-good session players. 

 

It's not obsessing anyway. It's just a desire to do a decent job when performing in public. Spending a bit of time and effort to get something nailed, and well practised. 

 

Any gigging cover band musician will know that the practise and machine-like recall of a song isn't "so the band is tight" - it's so they can all carry on seamlessly when massively distracted by Tracey from Accounts who having had a few too many, slips up and crashes into the speaker left of stage, falls over and shows the whole pub her M&S knickers, all followed by her mates from HR laughing and pointing at her. Or Steve who stumbles up onto the stage and starts a vice like grip around the singers neck and insists his rendition of "If You Tolerate This" is much better. 

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15 minutes ago, Bridgehouse said:

 

Well, I'm certainly no pro - but I do like to make the effort to get as close as I can, call it amateur pride if you like - pushing yourself to try to cover off those bases is a great way to improve. 

 

If I didn't improve, learn more, push myself a bit, then I'd quickly start to wonder why I was playing. 

 

That's great, you are trying to improve as a musician. The difference between someone like me, who's quite experienced and not a bad player, and the top session guys is mainly about their ears (rather than just technique, etc). I like to think that I've got a pretty good ear, but I had a lesson with a guy who plays one live with a world famous band and has done loads of session work and it's a different world. He hears nuances on the first listen that it would take me weeks to work out, if I ever did (and I'm better than most on these types of things). 

 

We are all trying to play at a higher level, which takes work and requires experience. But some guys are already there and they can nail things first time that we would take ages to get. 

 

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Just now, peteb said:

 

That's great, you are trying to improve as a musician. The difference between someone like me, who's quite experienced and not a bad player, and the top session guys is mainly about their ears (rather than just technique, etc). I like to think that I've got a pretty good ear, but I had a lesson with a guy who plays one live with a world famous band and has done loads of session work and it's a different world. He hears nuances on the first listen that it would take me weeks to work out, if I ever did (and I'm better than most on these types of things). 

 

We are all trying to play at a higher level, which takes work and requires experience. But some guys are already there and they can do things first time that we would take ages to get. 

 

And those guys aren't going to be 

 

a) in your average covers band playing in the Dog and Duck

b) asking for support and advice on an Bass Forum

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13 minutes ago, skankdelvar said:

 

Yeah, well if you want to obsess about girly swot stuff like 'subtlety'. Real men just hammer it out, collect the money and give the landlady a seeing to on the way out the door.

 

I bet you that half the pop hits you know, the session bass player was sat there playing along and thinking 'So, dinner tonight. Burger? Pizza? Something healthy? No, f__k it, I'll have a burger'.

 

I can believe that. When I played in the function band, I was usually wondering whether the kebab shop would still be open while playing the 7th verse of Mustang Sally while raising my eyebrows at the keys player on the other side of the stage.

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5 minutes ago, Bridgehouse said:

 

And those guys aren't going to be 

 

a) in your average covers band playing in the Dog and Duck

b) asking for support and advice on an Bass Forum

 

Lee Sklar plays small gigs with his friends in local bars when he's not on the road with big acts. Probably the same sort of gigs that you and I do! 

 

We have had a few sign up to Basschat, but they don't tend to stick around (although Guy Pratt & Neil Murray occasionally post). 

 

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2 minutes ago, Bridgehouse said:

It's not obsessing anyway. It's just a desire to do a decent job when performing in public.

 

Horses for courses,YMMV, one man's roof is another man's floor, etc.

 

Me, I'll practice just enough to do a sub-standard job that nobody notices. Anyone who comes up afterwards and says that I didn't play the bass line like it is on the record I tell them 'Well, f__k off home and listen to it there, then'.

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