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Old 08-10-2013, 09:02 PM   #1
wombiscuit
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How much is too much?

Hey guys, I'm new here.

Okay, so I'm in a pretty new band (we're still in the process of writing our first songs). It's going good, for the circumstances. Our lead guitarist is in basic training, but we're dealing without him. I'm the singer/songwriter. Here's the problem: our bassist. I'm having to write ALL of our bassist's parts. To be honest, I'm completely fine with that. But his writing is decent at best, and he can't keep time AT ALL. Like, I wrote a very basic line for the intro of one of our songs. It's four whole notes, followed by two eighth notes. The frets (I don't know the note names on bass) are 7-5-3-33-2. Basic, right? He's early on EVERY single note. When I talked to him about it, he said "I'm only early by like a second, it's not a big deal. I only need to be in time for recording, because you can barely even hear the bass live." There's problem number one. Problem number two: when I talked to him about subdividing the beat in his head to help him keep time, he said "I don't understand what you mean by 'counting in my head'". And, he refuses to tap his foot because it "messes him up". And it's not just this song, he does it in a lot. So, how much is too much when it comes to booting someone from the band?

I want to boot him, because I feel we need to (and the drummer feels the same way). The only problem is that we JUST kicked our rhythm guitarist last week, because he never showed up to practice. Would it be smart to kick someone else this fast?

Also, what's a good way to kick him without ruining friendships? He's one of my best friends.


TL;DR: Our bassist can't write or keep time, and we kicked someone last week. Is it smart to kick someone else this early, and how do I do it without ruining the friendship?
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Old 08-10-2013, 09:15 PM   #2
AlanHB
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Look what happens when you don't have an audition process. Kick the guy on bass, apologise and explain that you need someone with a bit more experience.
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Old 08-11-2013, 09:27 AM   #3
MaggaraMarine
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Not being able to write isn't a problem (not every member needs to write songs, or even their own parts - that's what the song writer does). But not keeping time is. Bass needs to be tight because it sounds terrible if bass plays out of tempo. Even if individual notes can't be heard that well, you can still hear if it's not in synch with the drums.

So yeah, just kick him. It's better to do it now than when you are more famous and have more original songs.

And you don't need to be rude and kick him out. You can just tell him, as Alan said, that you need somebody with a bit more experience.
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Old 09-07-2013, 06:07 PM   #4
innovine
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record the session. let him hear how he sounds.
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Old 09-07-2013, 07:35 PM   #5
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I'd say being unable to play your instrument is an excellent reason to get kicked out of a band.
Explain why you're doing it, and hope he's not a bastard about it. But accept the fact that he very well might take it personally.
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Old 09-08-2013, 10:41 PM   #6
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boot. boot right now. just dont be a dick, and like koslack said, be ready for him to take it personally
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Old 09-08-2013, 10:44 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by innovine
record the session. let him hear how he sounds.

yea bitch
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Old 09-09-2013, 04:52 AM   #8
Phil Starr
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OK, reading between the lines here you are all beginners right? I'm assuming you are running down from B on the E string or from E on the A but if you are songwriting you really ought to be aware of this if you want to communicate and play with other musicians.

Honestly I'm not criticising just trying to get to where you are at. But, it looks to me like you are all beginning and some of you are just a bit ahead of the others. Maybe you have more natural flair or a better developed ear or just more commitment so you are progressing faster.

Your mate isn't a bass player, well not yet. Some people pick it up fairly quickly but others can take months before they can play an eight beat smoothly, what you've written is either a heavily syncopated 16 beat pattern or it is in 5/4 time. Tricky stuff for someone who struggles to count and play at the same time. He will acquire those skills if he is committed but you pressurising him in front of the rest of the band isn't settling his nerves.

Sack him now and you will destroy any confidence he has ever had, you'll probably lose a friend. Keep him and you can't play as a band until he catches up to at least the point where he can keep time with the drums. I don't envy you your decision.

Talk to him. Just the two of you. Is he committed and does he know what he has to go away and work on? Can you work together to help him? Are you prepared to wait two or three months whilst he acquires a few more basic skills? If he isn't committed or you can't wait then you have to be honest with each other but it might be a situation which two friends can rescue.

Good Luck
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Old 09-09-2013, 05:00 PM   #9
MoreThanGuitar
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It's not so much that he's having trouble with timing, but that your bass player refuses to improve. I worked with a singer once who was good when we started, but got left behind when the band improved and he didn't. Same prob; he was a great guy and we'd known him for a long time. We lucked out and he moved. Good luck.
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Old 10-04-2013, 02:12 PM   #10
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A bass player who can't count? *insert the joke here*

If he can be on time when you're recording, he can be on time when you play live. Not to mention that being good with timing will GREATLY reduce the number of takes per track and if you're recording in a studio that's charging by the hour you will save time. Personally, anyone who isn't willing to explore, expand, adapt or improve in a band sin't worth having them there. There are tons of people who want to play music and give it 110%, find someone like that.
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Old 10-09-2013, 05:33 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanHB
Look what happens when you don't have an audition process. Kick the guy on bass, apologise and explain that you need someone with a bit more experience.


+1

Quote:
Originally Posted by innovine
record the session. let him hear how he sounds.


+1

Quote:
Originally Posted by pAWNlol
boot. boot right now. just dont be a dick, and like koslack said, be ready for him to take it personally


+1

band 101: be able to play your instrument.
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