#1
The Backstory
So, last night I was jamming with a friend and we started talking about forming a band. I play guitar, he plays bass, he knows a guy who he thinks could be our singer, that leaves us without a drummer, though. This friend has been trying for years to form bands, and has never had any luck finding a drummer, they're pretty scarce in this area. I have another friend who is interested, but has no experience.

The Point
Is it a bad idea to bring someone into a band, and have them learn the instrument as they go?
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#3
We did that first with our drummer (who is now allready an awesome drummer after like a year) and with our second bassist, who started learning bass a couple of months ago, but is also playing really good right now.

It depends on the people I guess, the drummer and bassist in my band are both very dedicated to the band, and to playing their instrument in general, probably also because I tried helping them master everything they want to master.
The people you want to bring into the band will need help of course, but being in a band can also help them master the instrument faster because they're actually learning to play with a very good reason to play.

So my advice is, if the guy really wants to do it and is willing to put some work for it, do it, but don't forget that it might take a while for him to master it, so patience is required.
#4
Good points from both of you, thanks for the input.
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#5
Quote by ultimate-slash
We did that first with our drummer (who is now allready an awesome drummer after like a year) and with our second bassist, who started learning bass a couple of months ago, but is also playing really good right now.

It depends on the people I guess, the drummer and bassist in my band are both very dedicated to the band, and to playing their instrument in general, probably also because I tried helping them master everything they want to master.
The people you want to bring into the band will need help of course, but being in a band can also help them master the instrument faster because they're actually learning to play with a very good reason to play.

So my advice is, if the guy really wants to do it and is willing to put some work for it, do it, but don't forget that it might take a while for him to master it, so patience is required.


This is exactly the same case as my band, and I agree entirely.
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#6
Character is the number 1 most important thing in finding a band. As mentioned earlier, as long as they have a STRONG drive to practice really hard and work at it, it's awesome to have someone learn by being in a band. I'd rather have to teach a drummer than have a drummer who never shows up, shows up too hammered to play, etc.
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#7
I can see that. This guy is pretty dependable, it's rare that he'll flake out on anything unless he has a good reason, he doesn't do drugs, he doesn't drink excessively, etc. There are a couple other people I know who have a bit of experience, they played drums in grade school orchestra or something like that, but one is notorious for losing interest in something after 2 weeks, one is my bassist's younger brother who I don't know that well and he doesn't want to rely on, and the 3rd is a guy I've been trying to get for a long time, but he decided that having a job and a girlfriend who he sees once every 2 or 3 weeks leaves him no time to be in a band. So, reliability has definitely trumped known skill in this case.
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#8
Usually it's a good idea. Just make sure that you all (especially the new drummer) take practicing together very seriously. It's great having someone learn an instrument mainly around your band because their style is directly influenced by everyone else, it usually makes for better musical chemistry. At the same time, maybe the drummer should take lessons to catch up with you guys quicker (and diversify his style).

As long as you don't play some extremely technical genre of music, and take it a little cautiously at first: don't write anything to hard/fast rhythmically, also give it a while before your first show. It will be their first time playing live, with the least experience in the band, and the drums are pretty crucial if they drop out.

I say try it out and be patient and it will be worth it; it's easier to turn someone into a drummer rather than a reliable person. My band started off with 3 people whom (me being one of them) couldn't even play a 3 chord progression. Now we're finishing our first record!
Last edited by morrock at Jul 1, 2010,
#9
I can see why it may be ok in High School, or in situations where you have low standards for quality of your band. I wouldn't personally hire someone who didn't know how to do the job though.
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#10
Quote by AlanHB
I can see why it may be ok in High School, or in situations where you have low standards for quality of your band. I wouldn't personally hire someone who didn't know how to do the job though.

Bit harsh. I mean, if you're desperate and nobody plays the instrument, but you have a good friend who loves the sort of music you're playing and is keen to learn / commited to learning and being in the band, then I don't see why not. Obviously if you're a tech metal band then it probably wouldn't work out. But say you wanted a bassist or a rhythm guitarist for a punk band. It wouldn't be the end of the world to wait a couple of months for them to be at a standard where they can be in the band. Especially if you already have gear they can use til they get their own. Considering you'd probably end up waiting longer for some non existant virtuoso to show up, since it's taken so long anyway. I wouldn't call that low standards.
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#11
Quote by asator
I wouldn't call that low standards.


Really. Settling for a musician who can't play an instrument. That's pretty low
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#12
Quote by AlanHB
Really. Settling for a musician who can't play an instrument. That's pretty low

Like I said, unless the music is overly complicated, you can easily teach somebody commited to be proficient on an instrument like bass or rhythm guitar in a few months. It can make a lot more sense than waiting years to find somebody who plays the instrument and is compatable with the band.
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#13
Well, we haven't sat down and talked priorities, but my goals out of this band are to improve my own playing, have fun, and maybe play live at a bar or something every once in a while. I don't expect to hit it big with this band, I don't think anyone does, so I'd say enjoyment > performance in this case.

Also, at the moment, it looks like we're mostly going to be playing covers of punk songs from the 70s to the 90s. Anything that's too complicated for him we can simplify, and steer ourselves around songs that are too intensive.
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#14
Quote by Mephysteaux
Well, we haven't sat down and talked priorities, but my goals out of this band are to improve my own playing, have fun, and maybe play live at a bar or something every once in a while. I don't expect to hit it big with this band, I don't think anyone does, so I'd say enjoyment > performance in this case.


Yeah doesn't sound like anything too serious at this point. Considering you have nothing to loose you can do anything you want.
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#15
When I told my friend I was learning guitar and my brother bought a drum he decided to buy a bass guitar so we could start a band. He started playing in january and in june we played together for the first time. Another band from my area couldn't find a bassist and then a guitarist bought a bass and played it, which is done a lot . It's better if you have someone who can learn how to play and is a friend of you than to wait for someone else to show up.
Just make sure he wants to learn it and doesn't quit after a month or so, then you'll be allright.
#16
Dude, the Pixies. Kim Deal never touched a bass before she started. Now a bass is a hell of a lot easier to cover up when someone is learning, but if this guy has a decent sense of rhythm and a strong drive to learn drums I'd say give em a chance
#17
lol umm so id say take someone and teach them. Just make sure they have drive to practice.

On a side note, choosing someone who doesnt even play a related instrument is reaching pretty low lol
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#21
Jared Followill (bassist) of Kings of Leon taught himself to play bass within a month before they recorded their debut album. So ya its not impossible
#22
Homegrowing a bandmate from scratch CAN work, depending on the person. But different people have different talent levels. Some people can pick up an instrument in no time, while others will never become good no matter how much they practice. Just because the Kings of Leon bassist was able to teach himself his instrument in a month, doesn't mean just anyone and everyone can.