Is not having a bass player in touring bands becoming a thing?

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
I don't want to get into a discussion about how much you hate the new country music. It's ok if you don't like it. We can still be friends!

Here's the point of my post: Seems like I read a small article, or blurb, or something about how bands were starting to not have bass players go on tour. I read it in passing, and I thought it was crazy...foolish even. That was until I went and saw a somewhat-famous country band this weekend. The headliner and the opener both used tracks along with live musicians (which is ok with me b/c they put on a good show), BUT neither band had a bass player. They just had the bass lines in the track already. So each band had a lead singer that sometimes played acoustic, a drummer, and two electric guitar players who played all of the rhythm and leads. During the concert I was reminded of the article that said that bass players are starting to be in decline for touring bands...primarily in those bands who use any sort of tracks.

While I really had a good time and was able to blow off some steam (Lord knows I needed it), I never thought I'd see the day where bands are starting to go on the road without a bass player. I understand that by putting the bass in the tracks they are eliminating one income from the road musicians, but still, I don't think I'm a fan of that. I would have never guessed this would happen.

Just throwing this out there too...I told my worship leaders today to be on the lookout to see if some of the big worship bands (e.g. Bethel, Hillsong, Vertical Church, etc.) stop showing a bass player in their live videos. Christian/Worship bands have always been followers in trends as opposed to leaders, and they tend to follow what others are already doing. I'm curious to see if this trend of no bass player starts to bleed over into other genres (or heck, it may already be there and I'm not paying enough attention to see it).

Just an observation.
 

KEEF

Senior Member
Worrying......where does it end? How many musicians missing still constitute 'a live band'?
 

Woolwich

Silver Member
Who will do the bookings and set up the PA?
I'm being facetious.
I hope this doesn’t become a thing. Is there something about Country bands and music that make this possible ? I ask because I can’t imagine a Rock (multiple genres) or Metal band doing this.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
After I posted this last night, I remembered watching a Kid Rock video from Woodstock ‘99. He didn’t have a bass player either.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Usually it’s the bass players I most connect with in a group -without one makes you wonder if you are next with prerecorded drum tracks. Yikes! I suggest we rebel with just real bass and drums only then everything else prerecorded-suck on that awhile trends. Lol. Seems a slippery slope to drop anyone, which a sax friend of mine did. He got tired of splitting earnings so went solo with prerecorded backup. He’s doing fantastic but he’s an excellent player. And you could see anyone super proficient doing the same for any instrument. Heck one of my old professors is retired and does a solo jazz singing gig with prerecorded backup and locally he’s popular.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Drummers will be the last ones besides singers to be tracked. Drummers are fun to watch.
You know that's true Push Pull-even a bad drummer is fun to watch. I've had people watching me during some small jazz gigs proof in point. I've been wanting to find a band-why bother I can just make backing tracks without drums and play to songs-rather than watching my crappy videos people can actually watch me play crappy in person LOL. I'll call it the GetAgrippa Virtual Band since it's not a real band with any real musicians. I could call it the Buddy Rich Band Without Buddy Rich or his band. That's pretty catchy.
 

Woolwich

Silver Member
Usually it’s the bass players I most connect with in a group -without one makes you wonder if you are next with prerecorded drum tracks. Yikes! I suggest we rebel with just real bass and drums only then everything else prerecorded-suck on that awhile trends. Lol. Seems a slippery slope to drop anyone, which a sax friend of mine did. He got tired of splitting earnings so went solo with prerecorded backup. He’s doing fantastic but he’s an excellent player. And you could see anyone super proficient doing the same for any instrument. Heck one of my old professors is retired and does a solo jazz singing gig with prerecorded backup and locally he’s popular.
I think a vocalist or vocalist/instrumentalist can do this easily, there's a couple of guys in my neck of the woods who we've dubbed as Guitaraoke. Two people, where one typically sings and perhaps plays an instrument can do it too. But once you get to a three piece you're less in "performer" territory and more in "band" territory so the mindset is about sharing the load and the money. The whole point of backing tracks at least in pub territory is to enable one or two people to give a performance, earn more than they would in a band and perhaps still do this while charging less than a band.
 

Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
Last jazz gig I played with was a trio backing up a singer and we didn't have a bass player. Just jazz guitar, keys, and me on drums. They keys replaced the parts done by bass player, except when keys took a solo break. I was surprised, but we didn't miss the bass player.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Ditto on the keys. I have seen bands with a keyboard player either playing bass parts or having them preprogrammed on the synth or sequentier
 

Chollyred

Senior Member
I have seen several bands that used keys instead of bass and it didn't effect the overall sound much. Many of YES' keyboard players covered bass parts.

A lot of worship bands use tracks, so it doesn't matter if any one particular musician is not there. they just crank up that portion of the backing track. It does mean that there can be no deviation from the recorded version. Drummer calls out sick? Just turn up that part of the track. Got rhythm guitarists, but no lead? Just crank up that track. Got a lead player that wants an extra long solo? Ain't going to happen.
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
This is what happens when most people "listen to music" on little devices instead of proper systems. They just don't care. All they want is something to sing along to and do their goofy little dance. Then of course when they get to a concert it's going to sound like a big deal compared to the tunes on their stupid phones, even without the bass, so they're thrilled even though they're missing out on just how good it could have actually sounded.
So sad, but, better them than me.

There are a couple of metal bands who's music I like but will not give them a second listen until they complete their bands. I don't care if you have an 8 string guitar, it's not a bass. There's more to bass than simply providing bottom end.
No bass = none of my money.

@ PorkPieGuy , I've listened to this New Country. It's like calling pine "New Bubinga" :p
 
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NouveauCliche

Senior Member
Who will do the bookings and set up the PA?
I'm being facetious.
I hope this doesn’t become a thing. Is there something about Country bands and music that make this possible ? I ask because I can’t imagine a Rock (multiple genres) or Metal band doing this.
I wish our bass player set up the PA or booked us.

He does neither.
 

NouveauCliche

Senior Member
Yeah, mine neither. He IS good at playing the wrong bass lines to the wrong song, though. Oh, and getting really, really drunk at gigs. He's great at that.
Oh so we both play with the same guy haha.

I'm like "Dude - we have two albums we tour with right now for three years...how do you NOT KNOW THE KEY OF THE SONGS YET" haha.
 
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