Two Fundamentals to Becoming the Guy Everyone Wants in Their Band

Image courtesy of Scragz via Flickr
Image courtesy of Scragz via Flickr

There is a tendency among musicians to value technical facility when discussing favourite players. Outrageous, difficult and esoteric passages often played at stupidly fast tempos and sometimes in unusual time signatures are fun to discuss, but it’s largely an intellectual exercise. The folks who are the most fun and the most valuable to have in your band have a good ear and a great sense of time.

There’s an old joke about bass players (my tribe) that goes,

A father bought his son a bass, an amp and four weekly bass lessons to get him started. On the day of the first lesson the son comes home and his dad asks him, “How was the lesson?”
“Not bad dad. I learnt to play the first five frets on the E string.”
Next week the son comes home and the dad asks, “How was the lesson?”
“Not bad dad. I learnt to play the first five frets on the A string.”
The next week the son doesn’t come back until the early hours of the morning and he smells of beer and cigarettes. Dad doesn’t want to make too much of a fuss so he simply asks, “How was the lesson?”
The son replies, “Sorry dad, I couldn’t make it. I had a gig.”

Bassists are often derided for simple technique and an easy life in the context of a rock band, but the truth of the joke is that if you can play a single octave range well you can be a bass player. OK, not quite, but if you can play in time and with sensitivity to the rest of the group you can be a useful player. Continue reading Two Fundamentals to Becoming the Guy Everyone Wants in Their Band