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Not really a beginner player, but I have a question about


(@runswithscissors)
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Joined: 15 years ago
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putting songs together. @ other people and I have been playing together for about a year. Kind of a "dad's night out" if you will. We typically just jam every week for about 3 hours. Fortunately we have recorded everything on an old Tascam and have found some really good stuff mixed in with a lot of...uhhh less than music ;-)

My question is about taking parts (usually3-5 solid minutes) and building songs around them. None of us have any song writing experience and we are kind of floundering with this. Any help would be appreciated.

Also...we play with a drum machine (ugh) but it provides a solid back for our jams. Our Bass player is really not that good and seems to wander, get lost and lose volume. I am the most experienced in the group and usually have to try to anchor the song with strong rythm 'till the bass player comes back around.
Bass player doesn't really put a bunch into learning the instrument and we are getting a bit frustrated with his progress. We are all friends, so this is a bit of a touchy situation. The odd thing is that there are times when he is very strong...and this is when we sound better than average.

What can we do to get him motivated?

How can you tell the stage is level?

The drummer drools from both sides of his mouth!


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 cnev
(@cnev)
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That's a tough one. I'm in a similar situation although I'm not the anchor. I jam with two different groups, one group is more acoustically oriented and plays nothing but covers and the other is very loud electric that mostly just jams with a few covers thrown in.

We don't necessarily have an issue wth a weak link( other than me) but trying to get either group to practice songs or to try and write a song has been like pulling teeth.

Personally I think I'd rather play with friends that might not be great musicians rather than a stranger that's a virtuoso. (Now that may be because I'm not totally comfortable with my playing). But I think with friends you can grow together as a band. No if someone doesn't want to put the time in to advance then you might want to start bringing in other players in a non competitive way.

Maybe you can just start inviting other bass players to join you. It doesn't mean you're gonna kick the other guy out but it may inspire him to practice more.

Good luck, if you live in CT your welcome to join us.

Chris

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


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(@runswithscissors)
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cnev...I'm in Va, but if I am ever in CT, I'll look you up!

I appreciate the feedbace re:bass player. We aren't "really" looking for another, but the other guitar player and I have been discussing it. Problem is we are all very busy and have our Thurs night thing as sacred dad time ;-) Finding another block of time with another bass player might be doeable, but is doubtful on a regular basis. He is a good guy, so we are reluctant to bee too forcefull; however, we really think we can produce some quality music with a REAL drumer and bass player.

Any insight into taking the clips of music and adding structure to make repeatable tunes?

THANKS!

How can you tell the stage is level?

The drummer drools from both sides of his mouth!


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 cnev
(@cnev)
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Maybe I'll look you up some day my wife is from Roanoke and we get down there fairly often.

I didn't mean to start another jam night just invite other musicians whether they are guitarists, bass players etc., the more the merrier.

As for structuring songs I can't help that much as I haven't been able to get either group to try to do anything like that.

we are thinking about playing out some day with the electric group but we would most likely play some covers. The big problem is finding someone that can really sing.

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


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(@runswithscissors)
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cool. I am in C'ville and get to Roanoke often for business. I think your suggestion about invites is a good one. I'll bring it up to my bud.

Not a singer---->RWS ;-)

How can you tell the stage is level?

The drummer drools from both sides of his mouth!


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 cnev
(@cnev)
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RWS,

I guess one thing you all have to agree on is how serious you want to make it. Both the groups I play with really just did this to have fun, but once we got together it actually sounded better than any of us really imagined and there is a desire to play out, at least open mics.

With that said it's still been difficult getting a set list together. All of us are at different skill levels and if we played out we would have to actually all learn the same songs...that becomes work and then everyone isn't as enthusiastic about doing it. They just want to do what we do and have fun.

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


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(@jerboa)
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I might be in the minority here....but I would suggest taking some time and sitting down with your Bass player. He's a friend, and I'd hate to see you risk that. The three of you need to figure out what you're trying to accomplish. And it would be best to talk about it over dinner/game than sitting with the amps humming.

Just be honest with him, explain where you're coming from, and what you are hoping to do. Try to figure out what is holding him back. Why is he playing? Is he interested in the music, or just the getting together? does he like the music you are playing? does he want to get better? does he even like bass, or is he doing it to fill a hole for you? is he practicing, what is he practicing...etc...

Basically, just an honest talk between the three of you on what you all want to get out of it. Just make sure you don't make it seem like the two of you are ganging up on him. Make it more of a three-way. Out of that might be him improving, the three of you agreeing you have different/incompatible goals, or something else.

I think the worst thing you can do is just talk about him with your other guitar player.

There are two kinds of people in this world:
Those who think there are two kinds of people in this world, and those who don't


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 geoo
(@geoo)
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I might be in the minority here

I dont think you are. But to add, I would also be sure to point out the great points about him. We had a similar thing happen recently. We ended up with no band, but we're all still pretty good friends and even jam now and then.

Jim

“The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn” - David Russell (Scottish classical Guitarist. b.1942)


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(@demoetc)
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My question is, when your bass player sounds strong and seems inspired, is there some common link? Like is it a certain drum pattern that seems to bring him alive? A certain key or tempo, or are the guitars doing something similar during the songs that he seems to find strength in - certain type of riff, chord pattern?

Being a bassist I can see how the mind can wander when things aren't hitting my mood, but a BIG part of playing the bass is getting into a mindset where, even if you're given just the note G to play for ten minutes straight, you can grove into it with no complaints. I mean it's not the number of notes the bassist plays, but how he treats each note.

Other than that, if you start putting the pieces together to create songs and start recording them, you could always dub the bass line in yourself or have one of the other guys do it. Dads, I know, sometimes have lots of things on their mind, and sometimes those get in the way of making music. You could still have the jam sessions with this guy, but 'as a side project' put the tunes together and overdub a bass from one of the other guys.

Best


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(@danlasley)
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My question is, when your bass player sounds strong and seems inspired, is there some common link? Like is it a certain drum pattern that seems to bring him alive? A certain key or tempo, or are the guitars doing something similar during the songs that he seems to find strength in - certain type of riff, chord pattern?

Being a bassist I can see how the mind can wander when things aren't hitting my mood, but a BIG part of playing the bass is getting into a mindset where, even if you're given just the note G to play for ten minutes straight, you can grove into it with no complaints. I mean it's not the number of notes the bassist plays, but how he treats each note.

Other than that, if you start putting the pieces together to create songs and start recording them, you could always dub the bass line in yourself or have one of the other guys do it. Dads, I know, sometimes have lots of things on their mind, and sometimes those get in the way of making music. You could still have the jam sessions with this guy, but 'as a side project' put the tunes together and overdub a bass from one of the other guys.

I'll echo this. On the good side, at least he plays softer when he gets lost - I do that too. Lost and loud is a lot worse.

Also, there are some songs that you just have trouble with. I don't like to play "Brown Eyed Girl", "Margaritaville", or "Dreams", but I really like "Wild Night", "Only the Good Die Young", and "Watchtower". Go figure.

If it's a jam, then everyone should have the choice/chance to sit one out. If it's a performance or rehearsal, then everyone should do their best on every song. Talk it over with your bass player, perhaps make a suggestion for a bassline that is more interesting.


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 Taso
(@taso)
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Also, I'd definitly recommend finding a real drummer. The drum track machine is nice, but it can't change based on where the song is going. So much of jamming is a contribution from the drummer, or a dialogue with the drummer, and that is being lost here. Just think of Cream with Ginger Baker, the way his drumming was like a conversation with its self, Clapton and Bruce.

The real drummer will also help out the bass player I'm sure. Okay- I'm not REALLY sure, but it might.

http://taso.dmusic.com/music/


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(@runswithscissors)
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Also, I'd definitly recommend finding a real drummer. The drum track machine is nice, but it can't change based on where the song is going. So much of jamming is a contribution from the drummer, or a dialogue with the drummer, and that is being lost here. Just think of Cream with Ginger Baker, the way his drumming was like a conversation with its self, Clapton and Bruce.

The real drummer will also help out the bass player I'm sure. Okay- I'm not REALLY sure, but it might.

I suppose that a real drummer will help in a big way. With the machine, there is no punctuation, but we hoped he would feel the changes in real time like we do. He is not of the creative ilk and likes tab, but we can't get him to pick anything to play...at all. We are not holding him back and have said we will try anything he wants to play. In reference to another reply, I think he is just happy hanging out.

We all are friends, and I don't feel like like we are talking behind his back. We have both individually and collectivly tried to find out what inspires him, tried to work on songs where he is inspired, and the reply was "what...are we working on a grammy?"
I lol at that
Good guy-not a good bass player.

I have to say. I am very glad I found this forum. Not many people can provide the insight and personal experience I seek
in a musical context. I really appreciate the candor and the willingness to communicate. You folks are great!

How can you tell the stage is level?

The drummer drools from both sides of his mouth!


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(@rahul)
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RWS, you just about ran into the best forum on the earth.

Now get the drummer fast and see the smile that puts on your bassist's face. I believe he is fed up of jamming with a machine. :D (This big smile.)


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 Rune
(@rune)
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I too recommend having a one on one conversation with him, just casual like.

Maybe something like: "Hey bob, me and the guys are thinking of getting a side project going, a little more serious, get some recordings in, maybe even find a drummer for our tracks. We need a solid, steady base line for it. Are you interested in getting a little more involved with your bass? If not, no sweat, we can hunt something up." And take it from there.

I also echo DemoEtc about trying to find a common link regarding the times when he's stronger. Maybe he's more familiar with that material, has more fun playing it, or likes the sound better, etc. There could be any number of reasons. Finding the reason and working on it could bring the whole thing around.

Good luck!

It's a dry heat!


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(@runswithscissors)
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Topic starter  

Thanks for all of the feedback, friends.

This Thurs, I will start the discussion. BTW he was a no show-no call last thurs...that doesn't help.

How can you tell the stage is level?

The drummer drools from both sides of his mouth!


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