#1
I've been in one band before and it was with friends. Having taught myself bass from tabs I just sat down with the guitarist and tabbed all the originals they had written into guitar pro to learn them.

I've moved since then and have been scouting craigslist for band opportunities. I've recently picked up a teacher and have started on my scales, ear training etc.

Having no experience playing with strangers, my question is this. What is the general song learning process expectations from an established band for a new player? I consider myself a good player but have many areas to work on. I know quite well I can't walk into an audition and tell them "if you tab out all your songs in guitar pro I can learn no problem!" What if the band has no recorded material?

This might seem silly to some of you, but I would like to have confidence going into auditions and know what to expect. Thanks
#2
Ask them about covers to learn, since its always a good idea to have something to start playing right away. Also if they can play their music for you, thats better than any recording. You can learn their songs and put your own input into it right away, this will show if you have compatability with the other band members.
#3
First it depends on what they want you doing as a bassist. If your stuff is mostly going to be root notes and such, then it should be no problem to just ask "Hey, could we run through the chord progression of your songs so I know what to do?"
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#4
Sorry, I should have mentioned genres. Primarily death metal/stoner metal, although I would love to hear advice from people of all genres. No covers, all original.
#5
from my experience, the guitarist shows you what he plays and expects you to play the same thing (and pick it up fairly quickly) until you know all the songs, which is when you can start getting a little more creative. This is so you can jam and stuff almost straight away without having to worry about writing bass parts until a bit later.

EDIT: I'm in a stoner/doom kinda band atm
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#6
I'd like to think that a band with zero recorded material, won't expect you to jump right in to one of thier orginal songs. If they do have some recorded material - listen, try to work something out. Ask about songs structure and chords if you need too.

As a backup, talk to them about thier influences, pick a few well know songs from that realm and be fimilar with them. If they say one of thier major influences Metallica - learn a few well known Metallica songs.
Last edited by Captain Insano at Jan 9, 2010,
#7
It varies hugely band to band.
Assuming you're past the audition stage and having a first practice/jam then cover songs are often the way to, gives you a common ground till you get used to how the ret of the band play. Every band knows a few covers hat they jam on, whether or not they play them at gigs.

In your first practice ask them to write down what their playing if you can, then you've got it to practice at home. If they don't (for some sttrange reason) then write it down yourself. Don;t forget to add notes about feel/tempo changes and extra fills too. They can be easy to forget.

Finally don't be afraid to ask! If you're not sure what you're playing is right then say "hey, does this *bum dum bum* work here?" if it doe great, if not see if they have suggestions (epecially if they have had a previous bassist)

Don't be worried if it doesn't sound amazing session one either, it often takes a while for thee things to slot together.
#8
my experience has been that knowing the chord charts for the bands songs is good and knowing common covers is very usefull. the common covers are nice because they give you a chance to show that you can learn a song a perticular way (though, you always have a bit of leeway being a bassist. you have less identifiable parts then a guitarist, use this luxury). the bands own chord charts let you know the bare minimum you can play so at least you can play something with them. they will not be expecting (if they are, run) you to know their stuff perfectly and to have awesome basslines on day one (hell, they might just be happy if you can play at all!), so just being able to play along is a good start. after that, you can add your own feel, just make sure to talk to the other members about what they want the song to be like so you dont take your lines in the wrong direction. new bassist dont have creative control for at least a little while
#9
There's a million and one answers to this because no band is the same. I was given the 45 minute set to learn before the audition in recorded form with chord sheets. Juan Alderete simply jammed with The Mars Volta, told he got the job, and was then told to learn the set for a gig the next night from recordings. Other bands will have you jam straight off the songs at the audition, others will do covers. There's absolutely no way to be completely sure what their "protocol" is unless you ask them.
#10
When I joined a band, I went round to the drummer's, where he and the keyboardist showed me the songs slowly, just in basic chord form. I learnt those, then practiced with the guitarist who showed me all the riffs.

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#11
Well find a band that looks interesting first. But make sure you can make band practices that you can show up and be committed. Make sure first if you need to you can transport your gear to wherever it is. In my last band we used rehearsal studio's so i just had to bring bass and pedals but if thats not the case then make sure you can move your rig. Travel as i said if you cant make it see if you can come to something but if not don't bother signing up, in same last band i had to travel 2 hours once a week and we might have gigs during the week, it was too much and too expensive so i had to leave.

See if you can meet with the band and have a chat first, see were they are first what they want to do and tell them how you can add to it. Discuss everything that needs to be discussed. This is a commitment so make sure you can fulfill it.
Tell them were you are with your playing and im sure you and them together can sort something.
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#13
Each band is going to be different so always ask ahead of time what to expect if they don't already tell you first. Sounds like this is a pretty new band with not much material so you may get asked to learn some covers so you can all play together and see how it goes. Or they may ask you to come in and just jam on the spot.

What we generally do for our auditions for our melodeath metal band is give the player 2-3 cover songs to learn that are in the style of music you will be playing, nothing too crazy hard or obscure. We also send them one of our recorded songs to listen to (we also always write all our songs down in a computer tab program which is available). We want them to at least be able to play the gist of the song, not necessarily get every single note right. We give them a week to learn the material and host 2 auditions - one inital to meet and see if they can play and a second one that actually determines if they're in.

The sessions last about 30-45 min. We paly through the song list and let them join in. Then we teach them a new song to see how they can learn and improvise on the spot (they know they are going to have to do this ahead of time too). The second one is the same but no new song, just to give them a chance now that they are more familar with us and the songs and then we have a last Q&A time.
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