What's the Hardest Position to Fill in a Band?

mikel

Platinum Member
Is this thread not a mahoosive case of selection bias?

We're asking a bunch of drummers to identify the hardest position to fill...and I think it's likely to be the drummer. But none of us will say that 'cause we each know where to find a drummer!
Not at all. Even a quick look at musicians available sites in my area will flag up lots of drummers, guitars and bass, but no keys players and only a couple of wannabe Metal vocalists.

If we were talking about the hardes position to play in a band the I would say singer/front man/woman, then drummer.
 

MaryO2

Member
Cover band especially - you're looking for someone to play all of the trademark licks of songs so that the songs will be familiar to the audience. I have a hard time finding players who can grasp this concept!

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+1! It's exactly the struggle we've been having.
 

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
Our current (I say that loosely) keys player only jams with us because we have a Hammond at the studio. He's a pro and has even played a gig with Stevie Wonder. He is very busy with other projects too, so he is not a full fledged member of the band. Right now he is in Brazil for a couple months busy with another project down there. Then we have another keys player who will only play gigs with us if we need him to, but that doesn't allow us to develop a sound with him. So yeah, keys is a tough position to fill. Good players are busy busy.
 

steadypocket

Gold Member
You're only as good as your lead singer and they're darn near impossible to find where I live. Next would be keys. The good ones are in demand and want work and money immediately. They have no interest in building anything from the ground up. Drummers are plentiful here and always looking.
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
Creative leader, there are any number of role players available for any position, even singers, there loads of talented singers church choirs, rhythm rappers, punk metal screamers, karaoke you name it. In fact singing is one of the easiest skills to acquire. That's why they never win in those talent shows singing cover songs. Now someone that can string together something new even pioneer new roles in a band that is rare.
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
I'd say it depends on the level you're looking for. Plenty of hacks that don't get playing together out there. And if you can afford it, there are plenty of A-list, first call pro's who can do it all. The hardest thing is finding a decent anything without a huge ego who will put the music and band first. Bass players who will groove. Guitarists who will learn the parts, play rhythm with groove and don't need to solo on every song. You can often find some folks who can sing at a karaoke bar, but they're lost with a band and any arrangement that isn't just like the record. People who learned to play keys when young and can play parts usually aren't too hard to find, but finding one who can play a meaningful solo pushes you in the A-list folks real quick.
 

bigiainw

Gold Member
In my last band, the big issue was always bass players. We did have a number of excellent players go through the band, but they never stayed for any great length of time. Auditioning them was another thing, there were loads of mediocre players who thought that was good enough, when we were looking for something else that added to the band.

The other thing that is difficult to find is a front man/woman. There are lots of decent singers out there. I dep for a soul band that have a great female singer, but she has less personality than a carrot, which is fine in context as they do mainly weddings and that works fine in that genre and leaves the focus on the married couple, but in a bar band setting, a lead who can engage with an audience is really important, more important in my opinion than the absolute quality of the voice. Of course, if you can find a great singer who can do that too, you've won a watch!
 

veggo32

Silver Member
There are varied opinions so I'll just add mine. In the genre I play and where I'm from singers and keyboardists are hard to find.
 

Three

Senior Member
Another vote for those bloody keys players and singers.

Also: string players to accompany a rock/pop band. I found a lot of cello, viola, violinists etc quite snobby about popular music and to be like "I'm classically trained and play in orchestras, don't you know" yet totally suck at playing the basic 4 chord pop track they've been hired for. I'm sat there thinking: "if this is so easy, why are you playing it so badly!?"

No feeling, no sense of locking in with the other musicians and next to no listening skills! They also need EVERYTHING written down for them before they can even play a single note which can be rather time consuming. If it's not on the page, they won't play it!

A lot of them just come from a completely different musical world so that could explain some of it. They're also not the kind of musicians you'd find in an every day band so perhaps it's something you're not too worried about.
 

SlitYourDrums

Senior Member
I'm having trouble finding a singer.
Also, I'm having trouble finding a bassist, which I thought were the most plentiful. At least they were two years ago.
 

steadypocket

Gold Member
In my last band, the big issue was always bass players. We did have a number of excellent players go through the band, but they never stayed for any great length of time. Auditioning them was another thing, there were loads of mediocre players who thought that was good enough, when we were looking for something else that added to the band.

The other thing that is difficult to find is a front man/woman. There are lots of decent singers out there. I dep for a soul band that have a great female singer, but she has less personality than a carrot, which is fine in context as they do mainly weddings and that works fine in that genre and leaves the focus on the married couple, but in a bar band setting, a lead who can engage with an audience is really important, more important in my opinion than the absolute quality of the voice. Of course, if you can find a great singer who can do that too, you've won a watch!
Agree wholeheartedly that singing and fronting a band are two different skill sets. Been in bands where the singer couldn't work a crowd at all. Once played with a guy who could sing all the Journey/Styx high octave stuff but had the personality of a wet fish.

Harmonizing is also another skill set. Played with very talented non-musician singers who could not stray from the main melody line if their lives depended on it.
 

MaryO2

Member
The whole fronting the band thing is pretty scary for me as well. I'm just not experienced at it so I'm sure the first few gigs as a lead singer will be interesting to say the least. Engaging the audience is more scary for me right now than the actual singing. I'm sure, like everything else, it's a learned skill. I'll miss having the kit to hide behind...lol
 

mikel

Platinum Member
In my last band, the big issue was always bass players. We did have a number of excellent players go through the band, but they never stayed for any great length of time. Auditioning them was another thing, there were loads of mediocre players who thought that was good enough, when we were looking for something else that added to the band.

The other thing that is difficult to find is a front man/woman. There are lots of decent singers out there. I dep for a soul band that have a great female singer, but she has less personality than a carrot, which is fine in context as they do mainly weddings and that works fine in that genre and leaves the focus on the married couple, but in a bar band setting, a lead who can engage with an audience is really important, more important in my opinion than the absolute quality of the voice. Of course, if you can find a great singer who can do that too, you've won a watch!
Agreed, just because you are an amateur does not mean you dont practice, prepare and play like a pro.
 

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
The whole fronting the band thing is pretty scary for me as well. I'm just not experienced at it so I'm sure the first few gigs as a lead singer will be interesting to say the least. Engaging the audience is more scary for me right now than the actual singing. I'm sure, like everything else, it's a learned skill. I'll miss having the kit to hide behind...lol
Take out the word scary and put in thrilling.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Take out the word scary and put in thrilling.
That's a great way to think of it. No place for shyness either, out front.

I think really worthwhile musicians, in any spot, are hard to find. Statistically, there are more guitarists and drummers than everyone else combined I bet, so naturally bass players, keys, and wind players are less in numbers. But dang, finding a really good player...you could have technical ability all over the place but if you use it distastefully you aren't considered a good player. It takes the rare combination of technical ability and a really deep seated conviction to the particular music you are playing...play with the others as part of a team, plus be easy to get along with, who is reliable, and pulls their weight in other areas...

I go for the playing first. If a person can play, and is reliable, the rest I'm extremely tolerant of. Really good players are hard to find.
 
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