Gig without a bassist!


Senior Member
The "band" I drum for 'The Best of Us' has been gigging since early 2011. Our original bassist left us in January to move away and seek a career in music with a different band. The guitarist / vocalist has kept the project alive on hopes and dreams simply because the two of us work well together. When he started a new job, a fellow he works with turns out to be a pretty handy bass man.

Our gig is tomorrow night. So a week or so ago we all meet up at my apartment to prepare. And after the first practice, the bassist has been a no-show for every gathering. Earlier tonight (or yesterday - whatever you wanna' call it) was our final rehearsal before the gig, and he claimed he'd be at my place in a half an hour... Two hours later, it became 10:00 P.M, at which time it would be illegal for us to practice. He ignored phone calls and texts. So in short, this bass guy has proven that he cannot be depended on.

So rather than cancel our gig, tomorrow night it will be just the front man and myself. Even if the bass guy does decide to come, he hasn't practice the songs enough to pull them off. It'd just make things worse if he even tried.

I guess I don't really expect a reply - I'm really just venting here. But if you have any advice, or have faced a similar situation, I'd love to hear about it.


Platinum Member
I played my very first two gigs without a bassist. Didn't matter though. I played death metal so it wasn't that big of a deal.

The White Stripes had no bassist. I wouldn't sweat it, just go and have fun.


Platinum Member
That's a bummer, but in the words of the song, Two out of three ain't bad.

Best of luck - at least you two know what you're doing :)


Senior Member
Just go ahead and enjoy yourself; it'll be a new experience which can only help you grow as a musician.

My band doesn't have a bassist; it means we need to be careful about the songs we want to play, but otherwise it doesn't diminish the music. We just sound a bit different.

Have fun and let us know how it goes.


Red Menace

Platinum Member
My main band is a 3 piece of me , horns and piano. I don't miss a bass player. We have a joke a gigs where I call out our bassist and hold up the piano player's left hand.

I'd keep it a little heavier on the right foot. I like a big bass drum with a constant rhythm that fills in a good part of that missing low end. My other trick in smaller groups is to dip the volume a little when the vocals start up. The singers love it.


Staff member
Unreliability, don't you just hate that! I've never been in that particular situation, although we do rehearse sometimes without our bass player. I usually just keep more happening at the bottom end of the kit.

Good luck!


Platinum Member
This is a side garage rock project Ive got going on 2 guitar & me on drums no bass.

It's not everybody's cup of tea but I enjoy it & have fun.




Platinum Member
I have played many times without a bass player. Luckily there was always a keyboard player to take up some of the slack. I have many jazz CD's on which an organ plays the bass. I really like that sound sometimes. In much of the metal I have heard, the bass is barely audible, so it would not be that different without it. Peace and goodwill.
Nothing worse than relying on an unreliable musician. I've had a similar thing happen recently where a guy ignored calls and everything, however we didn't have a gig, just practice. Anyways, I figure, why not just let us know if you aren't into it. It's much easier that way and you wont make us mad. Anyways, good luck on your gig, I hope it works out in the end.


Low-fi/two-piece bands are quite the thing at the moment. Depends what kind of music you play/what kind of sound you need but no bass player doesn't necessarily mean no band. The Doors/Cramps/Black Keys/Yeah Yeah Yeahs and others all seemed to manage...


Platinum Member
Welcome to my world! My band has operated as a 2-piece (guitar/vocals and drums) for the better of the last decade or so. I think it can work well but you pretty much gotta chuck the guitar solos and rely on the basic songwriting. The upshot is that your bass drum will have a lot more room so despite that it's going to stand out a lot more, you get more room to really set the groove. Your bass drum becomes the new bass player. Embrace that and enjoy it!