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

MaryO2

Member
Since I've spent at least the last 10 months trying to get a final lineup for our band set up, I'd be interested to know what you think the hardest position to fill is?

For example, in our area, it seems that the capable guitarist has been the most difficult to find. We spent a lot of time looking for a 2nd guitarist for our band so we would be a 5 piece only to end up deciding to go with just one guitartist because we couldn't find decent enough talent to fill that second slot. Or if we did, they would come in completely wanting to do something different than the direction we were going, even though we made that perfectly clear prior to the audition. (In the end, however, our 4 piece has worked out wonderfully for us and has probably turned out to be the best decision anways).

Now we seem to have a plethora of drummers in our area. Of course, finding a good solid drummer whose main goal isn't just to make as much noise as they possibly can is another thing. We finally stumbled on one that is awesome and knows the meaning of dynamics, appropriate fills, and timing. So thankful to have him especially after the others we have seen. My favorite being the drummer who stormed out after the 3rd rehearsal because he was sick of being the one responsible for maintaining the tempo of the music...no, seriously, he said that. And gosh forbid, we asked him to count off a song. <insert eye roll here>.

Anyways, it's been an interesting journey so I'm curious as to what others experiences have been.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I'd be interested to know what you think the hardest position to fill is?
The simple answer is - the one you can't find :)

Really, there's no such thing as a default "most difficult" musician to find. To get a quality player of any discipline is difficult enough.

There is one huge exception however, & that's the lead vocalist. Most musicians these days are yet to realise that, with very few exceptions in modern music forms, the band is a backing band. Many players fail to come to terms with that simple fact. The lead singer is the act.

So, if you had to pin me down on one band member, it's absolutely the lead vocalist.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
There are TONS of drummers in my area, but very, very few good ones.

Guitarists aren't plentiful, but I am lucky enough to work with a couple of the good ones.

Bass players. I have the hardest time finding bass players. Again, there are a couple of good ones here, but they are already involved in other projects. I am extremely picky about bass players, and there are fewer of them around than other instrumentalists, so it makes for slim pickings.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I've always found that genuinely good singers with a relatively full range are incredibly difficult to find. There's tons out there who can sing in a particular way or style or tone, but can't really hold up when they try anything outside that comfort zone.

Also, I think there's a bit of a ceiling that isn't there with instruments... If a persons voice isn't up to a note, it's really difficult or impossible to force their voice to be different.
 

drummerjims

Senior Member
I find it the hardest to find a killer didgeridoo player or someone to play the theremin.

But on a serious note bass players are almost impossible. Nobody wants to be the guy who plays the bass. A lot of bass players don't have decent equipment, and the good ones are already in multiple projects.
 

MaryO2

Member
I was lucky in that I didn't have to find a good bass player, I already live with an excellent one :). Lucky me.

As for the singer, you're probably correct Watso but being one myself now, it's hard to look as objectively on that. There's not many out there that can sing just anything (me included), it definitely takes work to find that perfect marriage of music you want to play in your band AND songs that fit the singers voice. That's why it's always nice to have at least one other person who can take over a lead or two.
 

Seafroggys

Silver Member
It depends on the town.

Key players are damn hard, or at least key players that can solo and improv like a guitar player typically can.

Good singers are easy to find but it depends on the project. Found a ton for my rock musical.
 

Skitch

Pioneer Member
My initial, “shoot-from-the-hip” reaction is usually finding a lead vocalist because singers are usually born and not made. What I mean by this is that an Ann Wilson or a Steve Perry was not taught to have their range; they were born with it. The 95% of the population who aren’t dedicated musicians (or honestly know that much about music) only related to the words and vocals as evidenced by all of TV Talent shows.

A couple of other opinions were also good as far as “the one you’re looking for” or” depending on the area that you are in”. Some cities are guitar player laden whereas other towns are virtual desert, void of serious guitar players but have more than plenty drummers. Keyboards players with good attitudes seem to be difficult to find most anywhere.

The big media outlet cities (Los Angeles, New York, Nashville) will always have plenty of musicians but it really doesn’t do you much good if you’re located in Des Moines.


Mike

http://www.mikemccraw.com
http://www.dominoretroplate.com
http://www.patentcoachmike.com
http://www.youtube.com/drummermikemccraw
http://www.myspace.com/drummermikemccraw
http://www.linkedin.com/in/mikemccraw
http://twitter.com/mikemccraw
http://www.skillpages.com/mike.mccraw
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Every band I've been in has had that ONE problem position that was difficult to fill.

The exact position changes from band to band, but there always seemed to be one spot.

One band went through guitar players. Finding a guitar player is easy, but finding one that fit and would stick was difficult. Other bands it's been the bass player that was a revolving door that seemed impossible to find one.

And then in my last band, again, it was the guitar player position. Guitar players came and went, which actually motivated me to start playing the guitar in the studio.

But overall, the lead singer. If you don't start a band with a singer, it is impossible to find one to come into an established band.
 
Last edited:

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
I've had more trouble finding good keyboard players than any other spot, over the years. Most definitely the hardest position to fill in the bands I've worked with.

Never had too much of an issue finding vocally capable lead singers. Good vocalists with the ability to also engage and entertain were a little harder to come by. I can recall a couple of occasions where the more technically precise vocalist missed out in favour of the guy who had the better stage personality.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
Keys and vocals in my area. I mean any keys and any vocals. Loads of drummers, guitarists and bass players. Oh and horn players, they are thin on the ground.
 

JustJames

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!
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Key players are damn hard, or at least key players that can solo and improv like a guitar player typically can.
Keyboards players with good attitudes seem to be difficult to find most anywhere.
I've had more trouble finding good keyboard players than any other spot
Seems to be slim pickings on keyboard players in my area.
Keys and vocals in my area.
That's my experience as well with keys, and the "good attitude" comment in particular hits home. Unlike other players who know they're good and might be a little arrogant, keyboardists tend to be the most demonstrative in that regard.

Of all the spots in a band that need to be filled, I'd have the hardest time with keys.

Bermuda
 

The Black Page Dude

Senior Member
IMO .. keys are very hard to fill. Especially really great piano players. Probably because if they are talented, then they are already working. In general I also think it very difficult to find any player (guitar, bass etc) that has great harmony skills.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Re: Keyboard players:

Yes, I've had frustration with keyboard players in the past.

That's why MIDI was invented! lol.
 

MaryO2

Member
Honestly I wasn't even thinking keys when I started this thread because we knew it would be near impossible to find so we didn't even go there. So I guess that in itself proves the point that keys are the hardest in this area, at least.
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
Much of the time the challenge is not finding talent but finding someone who's style is what you're looking for. Unless it's a cover band I suppose.
 

Skitch

Pioneer Member
Much of the time the challenge is not finding talent but finding someone who's style is what you're looking for. Unless it's a cover band I suppose.
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!

I had a fill in guitar player on a gig last spring who was supposed to be this incredible talent and said the he knew all of the songs we played. On gig night, between every song, I would call out the song and he would ask me, "How does that go?"

It became a night of drums, bass and lead vox. I almost quit until a guitar player who knew the material cold came in to play.

Mike

http://www.mikemccraw.com
http://www.dominoretroplate.com
http://www.patentcoachmike.com
http://www.youtube.com/drummermikemccraw
http://www.myspace.com/drummermikemccraw
http://www.linkedin.com/in/mikemccraw
http://twitter.com/mikemccraw
http://www.skillpages.com/mike.mccraw
 

Skitch

Pioneer Member
IMO .. keys are very hard to fill. Especially really great piano players. Probably because if they are talented, then they are already working. In general I also think it very difficult to find any player (guitar, bass etc) that has great harmony skills.
In Nashville, there are keyboard player whom you never meet because they are in their house, constantly editing music post-production. It's isn't worth their time to go out and sit in, network and shake hands.

The harmony skills are definitely hard to find.

Mike

http://www.mikemccraw.com
http://www.dominoretroplate.com
http://www.patentcoachmike.com
http://www.youtube.com/drummermikemccraw
http://www.myspace.com/drummermikemccraw
http://www.linkedin.com/in/mikemccraw
http://twitter.com/mikemccraw
http://www.skillpages.com/mike.mccraw
 
Top