Long story short, I used to mess about with bass but then switched to guitar, and I've been guitarring for two years now. However, I picked up my bass for the first time in a while today and was hooked and I'm thinking of playing bass in an indie/rock/alt/blues band (think Modest Mouse, Black Keys, Brand New, Audioslave).

I've got a few questions though:
1. What sort of skill level is acceptable? I can play things like Hysteria (Muse) and Can't Stop (RHCP) and I know roots/intervals from guitar so I can manage a bit of improvisation, but obviously I'm not an expert on four strings.

2. How do I develop my skills further from here? The sort of songs I feel like playing generally have a decent, developed bassline that stands out (Florida by Modest Mouse for example) but aren't that hard to play. In that case, any links/advice that can help me improve improv and developing original basslines?

3. What sort of gear do I need to gig? At the moment I'm playing an Ibanez BTB200 through a Roland Cube 30.

- Ibanez RGR465M
- Ibanez S770FM
- PRS SE Custom
- Blackstar HT-5 Mini Stack
1. Any skill level is acceptable. If I was auditioning a bass player for my band, IMO as long he had decent technique and understood the workings of being in a band, he's in.

2. Remember that playing bass is a whole different world from most other instruments, so learn how to lock in with the drummer and form a tight rhythm section. This is perhaps the most important thing when playing in a band. A rhythm section can make or break a band. There are obviously exceptions to this rule, so don't be afraid to branch out and play more melodically when the song calls for it.

3. If you're gigging you need to have a powerful enough amp to be heard. For most smaller gigs 200 watts or a little more would be enough. Anything larger than that and there should be a PA system, so you can use that to boost your volume for the audience. With a PA you only really need an amp that's loud enough for stage volume.
Quote by skater dan0
Damn you and your ninja-like modding
3) the bass you use won't make a difference to it's giggability except tone wise. That's a personal thing anyway so only replace that if you want to. The cube 30 is probably too small to gig with as it'll barely be heard over a drummer. That said if they have a decent PA system you'll be DI'd anyway so you could be perfectly loud enough FoH as you'd be boosted by the main system.

2) See sig.

1) depends on what you're playing/whether you need to be original etc.
- Can you comfortably play those parts without thinking at above normal tempo while still making them sound good?
- Are you playing covers?
- do you know how to write a bassline? Think whether you would just follow root notes (which is a perfectly legitimate way of writing a bassline) or whether you would be able to do anything more exciting at points? would you know how to add fills etc.?
- - Good example of this take metallica on ...and justice for all and Black album. On AJFA the bassist was new and stuck to root notes as he didn't want to rock the boat. result: bass followed rhythm really close and was almost indistinguishable. Black - had been in the band a while and had own identity. result: added some fills, experiemented with not being on root notes all the time, better album (from a bass perspective)
The only 6 words that can make you a better guitarist:

Learn theory
Practice better
Practice more
Won't get hold of a decent bass amp for a fair while due to me being a jobless student. Thanks for the rest of the advice though, seems like I've got a fair bit to learn about where bass fits into a band and I'll need to work on my bassline writing too. With respect to playing, yes I can play what I currently know more than comfortably.

- Ibanez RGR465M
- Ibanez S770FM
- PRS SE Custom
- Blackstar HT-5 Mini Stack
Can you hold down frets? Can you strum a string? You're ready to be in a band.
You need to be lvl 35.

Or able to play a full song. Either, either.
Fender Precision Bass
Fender Jazz Bass
1967 Fender Coronado Bass II
Warwick Star Bass
Squier Precision Bass TB
your time is way more important than the notes you play or how you play them.