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Thread: Please share your live bass playing tips

  1. #1

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    Please share your live bass playing tips

    The thought came to me today about how lucky I feel to be part of this forum and the amount of knowledge I've gleaned here. The forum has helped me not only get the most out of my Bongo, but actually become a better band member and musician.

    I further thought, why not start a thread where people share tips that work for them when playing live?

    To keep things focused, lets keep this centered around sound quality and musicianship/professionalism.

    Here are some things I've found in my experience:

    0) The soundman is arguably the most important member of the band. Be his friend and keep him happy. Ask for his feedback and help when necessary.
    1) Give the soundman the cleanest signal you can. Let him do the job of mixing for the room, you focus on making your stage signal the way you want
    1a) Try going out into the room to hear the room sound.
    2) Don't drown others out on stage. Ask for confirmation that your volume is ok.
    3) Get to the gig on time and be pleasant, even if the situation isn't.
    4) What works at home may not work on the gig in terms of tone. The changes usually revolve around too much bass and not enough mids when playing live.
    5) Set the amp flat and adjust the bass eq to taste.
    6) If your tone will change drastically from song to song, give the soundman advanced notice.
    7) Make the singer and band sound good.
    7a) Don't upstage the lead guitarist during his lead. Support him and make him sound amazing.
    8) With a Bongo, tone shifts can be had simply by changing right hand technique and where you pluck. So start there and *then* adjust pickup blend. If necessary, then adjust eq on the bass. But do so sparingly.
    8a) Just because you can eq drastically doesn't mean you should

    2004 Saphire Black/White Pearloid Bongo 5HHp
    Bongo + Genz Benz Shuttle 6.0 + Epifani UL2-112 = Tone
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  2. #2

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    Make people dance and buy drinks.

  3. #3

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    bring extra patch chords (for when your guitarist who doesn't take care of his has one pack it in) I have my little magic suitcase with lots of random stuff, fuses, electrical tape etc (capo, picks, again, the guitarist)

    I love tube amps, I play through either an SVT-CL or a pignose B100V (if you ever see one buy it!, one of the better $300 I ever spent) I understand most sound guys like a DI before the amp, but I'm thinking I should make it my policy to buy the sound guy a beer if he'll mic my cab in addition to the DI.

  4. #4

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    Make sure you use the bathroom before you hit the stage.

  5. #5

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    Eye contact! Engage the audience. Make them feel like they're part of the show instead of just spectators. ENTERTAIN them!

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by toomanyslurpees View Post
    bring extra patch chords (for when your guitarist who doesn't take care of his has one pack it in) I have my little magic suitcase with lots of random stuff, fuses, electrical tape etc (capo, picks, again, the guitarist)
    Totally agree with that carry lots of spare everything.
    An to just have fun, give it all you got, and dont let nerves get the better of you (been there done that bit) relax as much as you can. I try to get there as early as possible to get a feel for the place and just enjoy yourself, the audience see you having a good time an will join in.

    StingRay 4HH. SapphireBlack.2006
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  7. #7

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    Always carry at a minimum 1-2 new 9 volt batteries depending on what your preamp requires. While i have only broken 1 string in my life it was when i didn't have spares on hand so keep some extra strings with you to. JOSH
    SBMM STINGRAY 4H (Short Scale)
    Former owner of...
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  8. #8

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    - When you screw up (and you WILL screw up, at least once, in every gig), never ever apologize or even worry about it. Just play through it. Chances are nobody but you and your bandmates noticed anyway. The moment the sound leaves the speaker it's a done deal... there is no going back.

    - Don't obsess over tone. It matters during recording, but not so much live. The performance and energy are much, much more important.

    - Don't stand there like a statue. It's okay if you've got a hugely flamboyant front man/woman (think The Who... John E could get away with being boring to look at because everyone was paying attention to the other three), but generally speaking you should project that you're having a good time.

    - Look sharp. Dress appropriately for the band. You're projecting an image.


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  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by 57fenderjazz View Post
    Make people dance and buy drinks.
    Man, in a thread chock full of great advice this is really the prime directive IMHO.. This is the easiest one to lose track of as well. We are doing a job, but it's so easy to get lost in the fun we have or our other concerns to focus on this. ..

    My adds: Bring a backup for everything. Everything. I use tube heads, but I keep one of the new light hi-power heads on hand. The FOH person can be difficult at times, but keep in mind the fact that they are working too. Help them do their job well and they will remember you. Great folks to have in your corner.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by shakinbacon View Post
    7a) Don't upstage the lead guitarist during his lead. Support him and make him sound amazing.
    As a guitar player, I like the sentiment, but what I really want you to do is give me a groove so deep you can lose your change in there. Then, AND ONLY THEN, I will sound my best.

  11. #11

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    * Always have a small (LED) flashlight on you cause it wil help you a great deal when plugging in things on the back of your amp or in other dark places on stage.

    * Bring lots of rubbers to gigs. Your singer and the guitar player will need them.

    Soory. No time now to write more tips. But that is the most important ones anyway so.....


    -Mobilis in mobil-

    Fretted and fretless 4-string 30th Anniversary Stingray´s. Fretted and fretless 5-string 20th Anniversary Stingray´s. Fretted 5-string Trans Black 20th Anniversary Stingray. Fretted 4-string Silver Sparkle -01 Stingray.

  12. #12

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    All that is written above is worth and useful!

    In my case I must add that my band play mostly small private party stuff, weddings (100-500 people)...etc.
    So we give lot of attention to the set list and sound quality!

    We spend lot of time for a sound check, but we are lucky that have two sound quys in the band me and my new singer, he's also my young fellow worker from a regular job!

    Well, we are always attempt to make mighty modern wide sound on the dance floor, but at the other side to keep quiet, almost Hi-Fi sound around the dance floor, so people sitting at the tables could make some conversations!

    Exception is just few times in a year, when we play huge fiesta gigs on open space for 1000 or more people, ...than we push it hard!

    To keep this standards, first class instruments and other gear, rigs, Pa support...etc. must be high quality!

    We also try to keep good human relationship and friendship of all members in the band, visit each other with families, make sometimes a BBQ ...etc.

    Sorry to make this thread little wider, I know it's "Please share your live bass playing tips", most important for me as a Bass player is good communication with a drummer! There's nothing to be shamed sometimes to talk and make some compromise arrangement with drummer, especially according to kick drum!

    Uhhh...., I can write about this matter until tomorrow...

    Se ya!

  13. #13

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    If something does not work as you expect, you have two options:

    A) complain loudly and find someone to take the blame
    B) complain silently and find a creative solution

    Go for option B). It's more professional.
    Have bass. Will play.
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  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
    A) complain loudly and find someone to take the blame
    Hmm, I've made a few enemies by doing exactly this. Think 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'

    Maybe time for plan B.
    1994 Sterling The INVADER Bass
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  15. #15

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    and for us "aging" rockers, glasses.

    I was out listening to my son's band last night, and was surprised to see they tune by ear. Haven't they heard of tuners?


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