New band problems

eric_B

Senior Member
I've played a couple of times with 3 male musicians and 2-3 female singers (I use these words as they don't seem to be a tight band yet) who want me to join and I've run into a couple of issues and a bigger problem.

I went 3 times and could not hear my bass drum, just the bass player who kept turning up the volume on request of the others. I could hear a syncing problem but not what was causing it.
So last time I brought a small mixer, a bass drum mic, a Zoom recorder and my in ears so I could mix my bass drum and the others to my taste. I also recorded some tracks so I could double check at home what I was suspecting: the bass player seems to be playing in his own world, not syncing with me. Not a bad player at all but not tight and not listening to me.

So I sent the band leader (guitar player) and bass player the recording and asked their opinion. Answer: sounds nice and clear but we can't hear your bass drum. (Yeah, I knew that...). So I asked again if they could hear a timing problem. Answer: no, we can hear the snare on 2 and 4 so what do you mean?

To put this in perspective: they are around 50-60 years old, have probably been playing a long time, no beginners. The bass player has been recovering from a double paraplegia and is over excited to be able to play again. So I don't feel very good telling him he needs to work on his timing.

I decided to call them and talk about the problem. They are easy going guys and the talk was not bad but they still don't seem to notice the timing problem. I think that might be an ever bigger problem.

A cause could be that their previous drummer (and also the keyboard player) didn't have great timing so they stopped listening and the bass player became the (unsteady) metronome.

Another problem is it seems to be the guitar and bass player vs the keyboard player and singers. The latter don't really practice their parts (are in other bands as well), seem to forget a lot of stuff and don't really take their responsibility.

After my previous band with timing and social problems I'm not overly excited to join a new band and go through the same again.

However, I do like a lot of the songs they play and, if everyone does their best, it can sound good. And also, bands are hard to find in my area, this is the first serious one in 2,5 years.

OK, so it turned out quite a long story...what would you do?
 

opentune

Platinum Member
Ask yourself if liking the songs they play trumps the mediocrity of the way they are played.
You could just wait it out until something more of a fit for you comes around, or they eventually up their game (at your urging).
 

Skyking

Senior Member
There has got to be more going on here. You say they can hear the snare on 2 and 4 so how far off can they wander on one beat followed by yet another snare beat ? And as for the bass drum...just mic it. I think you are going overboard calling everyone at home after only a few practices expecting them to get "tight" with you.

So chill out, stay off of the phone, mic the bass and worry about your parts. Give the bass player a bit of time to get it back together and your group might just have a chance. The politics of a band can't be overlooked or you won't be a band for long.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
Practice is the key. Get the bass player to angle his cab so he can hear what he is playing and stand so he can hear the bass drum, not just the snare. If you try and sync the BD with what he is playing and record it. Play it back and both listen to how it sounds. If its out suggest you both work on the BD/ bass sync. Even if its all his fault its better if you work as a unit.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
OK, so it turned out quite a long story...what would you do?
I'd post a sound clip of the recording demonstrating the issue so that other members could give well informed opinions on the cause and how to go about resolving it. Otherwise, we're just empathizing and bass-payer bashing.

Speaking of which...

Did you hear the joke about the drummer who locked his keys in the car? The bass player was trapped inside for hours!
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I'd post a sound clip of the recording demonstrating the issue so that other members could give well informed opinions on the cause and how to go about resolving it.
This is a good idea Eric. Difficult to advise without fully appreciating the issue.
 

eric_B

Senior Member
OK, thanks for the replies and I really don't like quoting all replies because of the overly long posts that may follow but it might shine a light on my issues:

There has got to be more going on here. You say they can hear the snare on 2 and 4 so how far off can they wander on one beat followed by yet another snare beat ? And as for the bass drum...just mic it. I think you are going overboard calling everyone at home after only a few practices expecting them to get "tight" with you.

So chill out, stay off of the phone, mic the bass and worry about your parts. Give the bass player a bit of time to get it back together and your group might just have a chance. The politics of a band can't be overlooked or you won't be a band for long.
I sent a recording of a Bon Jovi - Living on a prayer cover we did (pretty straight b-s-b-s beat and you can probably imagine the bass part). The bass player is pushing the entire song, each and every 1st note is way before my 1st. I won't call myself Mr Metronome but I've worked pretty hard on my timing and can say without issues it is not me causing the problems. My other issue is that they don't seem to care if they can hear my bass drum.

Maybe if they keep practicing together then the timing will tighten up.
Yes, maybe, but they are not beginners, they should hear timing problems.

Ask yourself if liking the songs they play trumps the mediocrity of the way they are played.
You could just wait it out until something more of a fit for you comes around, or they eventually up their game (at your urging).
Yep, I asked myself that. But I noticed that being without a band for 2,5 years keeps motivation down. So what's the balance: prefer not playing great with a band or fall down to not playing much at all?

Practice is the key. Get the bass player to angle his cab so he can hear what he is playing and stand so he can hear the bass drum, not just the snare. If you try and sync the BD with what he is playing and record it. Play it back and both listen to how it sounds. If its out suggest you both work on the BD/ bass sync. Even if its all his fault its better if you work as a unit.
This goes back to a comment above: they don't consider the bass drum a part of the metronome. I did record both my bass drum and the bass cabinet, and according to him, it sounds fine.

I'd post a sound clip of the recording demonstrating the issue so that other members could give well informed opinions on the cause and how to go about resolving it. Otherwise, we're just empathizing and bass-payer bashing.
As said: there are #1 guitar player (bandleader), #2 bass player, #3 keyboard/guitar player, #4-#6 the 3 'Pointer sisters' singers. #1 & #2 are (more or less) the leaders, #3 to #6 don't care very much. And #1 & #2 don't hear any problem.
I'm not bashing anyone but I think I can point out a problem and it confuses me the others can not.

This is a good idea Eric. Difficult to advise without fully appreciating the issue.
You should have been there to hear it. Thinking about it, you probably would prefer not to ;-).
 
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