#1
So, I've been out looking for a new job now. I used to mow, and all my customers moved our of range, so I've been sustaining myself on the money I made in previous years and it's really dwindling.

I was applying to a lot of local stores like Ace Hardware and such, but then my mom came and told me about a recording studio downtown that might be looking for a session bassist.

When I weigh my option: playing bass for money > working in the hardware store

So I figured, if the guy lets me come down and audition for him to see if he likes my playing ability and style then I may have a shot.

Heres a few problem though:

First off, I've never recorded proffesionally, so that will all be a way new experience. Any advice?

Second, what kind of equipment do I need to provide to make a good recording? Like do I need a compression pedal or an EQ pedal. Should I provide my own amps, or will the studio?

And if he likes me and I get the job what sort of things should I bring with me, like extra strings, etc..
Quote by Sonicxlover
I once told a Metallica fan I liked Megadeth, and he stabbed me 42 times.
#2
err i presume they will have a mixer for eq stuff and purposes, otherwise you should contact them and ask about their equipment and also book an audition at the same time
#3
Whatever you do, make sure you have agreements (better written) for the work you undertake. If you are playing what the producer wants, that's fair enough. But once you are contributing a major part of the track, then depending on who you deal with, you may want to negogiate for royalities or a bigger paycheck. Though bare in mind at you're starting from the bottom of the ladder, so your bargaining power is low. Just be careful not to get screwed over hardcore.

If the studio is decent enough, all you'll need is a bass. Realistically, they should house backline, and if not, a decent DI. I've been doing quite a bit of session work pro bono as well as recording for my band these past couple of weeks. I usually bring in a bass, and use my trusty EBS MicroBass II DI. I tell you, it is without doubt on of the best purchases I have made. A real swiss army knife for the bass world. If you can afford one, get one!

Just go in, respect the producer's space, and have fun! Let us know how it all goes.
#4
Quote by shut_up_you_***
Whatever you do, make sure you have agreements (better written) for the work you undertake. If you are playing what the producer wants, that's fair enough. But once you are contributing a major part of the track, then depending on who you deal with, you may want to negogiate for royalities or a bigger paycheck. Though bare in mind at you're starting from the bottom of the ladder, so your bargaining power is low. Just be careful not to get screwed over hardcore.

If the studio is decent enough, all you'll need is a bass. Realistically, they should house backline, and if not, a decent DI. I've been doing quite a bit of session work pro bono as well as recording for my band these past couple of weeks. I usually bring in a bass, and use my trusty EBS MicroBass II DI. I tell you, it is without doubt on of the best purchases I have made. A real swiss army knife for the bass world. If you can afford one, get one!

Just go in, respect the producer's space, and have fun! Let us know how it all goes.


Thanks for the advice about not getting taken advantage and screwed over. I have a friend locally who was about to put out a big R&B album in the mid-90's and sorta got screwed over on the deal (he wrotes songs and they gave them to other artists I think), so he can sorta watch over me and make sure I don't make any big mistakes.
Quote by Sonicxlover
I once told a Metallica fan I liked Megadeth, and he stabbed me 42 times.
#5
You'll have to check with them. If it's a picky producer he will know what tone he wants for the bass so he might just give you a setup and say play something fancy.

i'd say pack some strings and your bass, call them and ask what else you should bring. most of the time they will have a nice amp to play through that will be mic'd or they will have a DI unit, it all depends on them, just call and ask it's no big deal.

O yeah, and expect him to say play something like james jamerson or like 'sings bassline' and then he'll probably tell you how to think about playing and such. The producer I play with is also my good friend and distant relative so he doesn't have a problem telling me what I should do differently, plus keep in mind it's their music so you have to play whatever they want.

Get your chops up to par, be able to play anything and everything and even keep up on the big bass names and players so incase he name drops you know what he's talking about.
#6
I hope you can read sheet music. It's normally expected of a session musician. It would very much suprise me if he didn't give you a piece of music, and expect you to either sight-read a bassline or to improvise one along to, say, a piano or guitar part.
It's supposed to be quite hard work being a session musician if you're not very talented indeed-they're not going to want to hold a recording session and someone potentially famous up for long because you're not playing a good enough part.

Good luck, though. Take your bass and some spare strings, definitely.
#9
Quote by Deliriumbassist
I'm gonna wish good luck, but don't get your hopes up. I don't think there are many 17 year old sessions musicians about the place. It's very much a "who you know" as opposed to "what you know" as well.


+1.

It's verrrry hard to be a session musician unless you really REALLY know what you're doing. Most expect you to site read and play almost perfectly =\

Depending on how big this guy is in the studio, I'm sure you'll have very tough competition from people who've been playing for longer than you've been alive.

But good luck, it's not easy. Give him a call and see what you should bring, and hope you have it.
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#10
I've found in the studio, you need to make sure your bass is properly set up. Most bass players just LOVE the whole concept of super-low action, and that results is a harsh CLACK every time you hit a note. If you're Fieldy you might say "so sick, guy" but for engineers I've worked with, they go a bit nuts. Clacks record horribly and in the end might hurt your tone since they have to EQ it and compress it to work well. Also, playing nearer to the bridge avoids clacks as well.

Generally, I think medium high action with a dime's thickness of relief should do it.
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#11
Quote by Deliriumbassist
I'm gonna wish good luck, but don't get your hopes up. I don't think there are many 17 year old sessions musicians about the place. It's very much a "who you know" as opposed to "what you know" as well.


Not only that, the what you know has to spot on.

You'll be expected to have flawless timing to be able to play in any style at the drop of a hat, have numerous basses, effects and potentially amps to have the sound they are looking for. An indepth knowledge of the recording process (which you've already admitted you don't have), a superb sightreading ability, experience playing with other musicians, dedication, perfect chops, and god knows what else.

Not to be a cynic, but chances are it aint happening. Suck it up and get a real job.

having said that, I teach bass for my income, so y'know.

EDIT: I know Jaquo X-III is a somewhat of a session bassist so maybe if he sees this thread he can share some wisdom.
Gear

Fender Geddy Lee Jazz
Fender MIA Precision
Musicman Bongo
Boss TU-2
EBS TD650
EBS ProLine 2x10 x 2
Last edited by Forcemaster at Mar 5, 2008,
#12
You should practice a lot of sight reading right about now.
and not tabs*
#13
Quote by Deliriumbassist
I'm gonna wish good luck, but don't get your hopes up. I don't think there are many 17 year old sessions musicians about the place. It's very much a "who you know" as opposed to "what you know" as well.


Well, that's the attitude I had about it too. I told my mom something along the lines of "Are you sure there's an opportunity for me, most session musicians are the old guys in town that have playin for 20 years or so." Mom just said she new someone who knew the owner. I also understood from her that he was in need of a bassist on quick notice (like his main guys just left or sumthin). So I figured I'd give it a shot. I called the guy tonight. He said he'd be willing to look into me....but.....I needed to give him a demo of 10-20 recordings I've been on in the past. So in my case, I may have the skills just not the experience to prove it. Also my moms assertion that he was in need of a bassist was wrong, he already has 8, if I had known that, I probably wouldn't have even called


So nothing really worked out , but thanks for all the responses everyone.

EDIT: just to clarify, my hopes never were too high in the beginning, but if on some odd chance it actually did work out I wanted a little advice on what is expected.
Quote by Sonicxlover
I once told a Metallica fan I liked Megadeth, and he stabbed me 42 times.
Last edited by bigwilly at Mar 5, 2008,
#14
I'll be honest, Your awfully young for Session bass work.

I have been doing it for a couple of years now, the work is VERY infrequent, But well paying. You usually have to sign all rights away to the music and you cant even claim you played on the track.

You also have to realise that what the producer or band/artist says goes. You dont usually have room for any expression, you play what your told to play, Also many sessions players dont get very far without being able to read music (Though there are exceptions to the rules) You also have to be REALLY tight and be able to wing it and record in one take. And considering you have never recorded before i really dont think you'll be able to manage it. I have made a few mistakes in the past where i didnt get the song in one or two takes and was told that i was dropped for someone else. Playing in a studio is far far more different then live or in your bedroom.

If they actively advertising for a session bass player, Unless you are insanely good they would probably automatically look at someone older.

Personally i would get some experience in the studio before you start looking into becoming a session bassist, If somehow you did get the job and you put on a poor showing at actual work then your spending the producers money not yours. Thats NOT a good position to be in.

Spend your own money in a studio first with a band and then see how you feel.

Sorry for the discouraging words but thems the truth!

Rob.
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#15
Asomodai is correct. My better half sat on the other side of the recording studio as an engineer assistant. Time is literally money and the studio is not a place where they are going let you learn as you go. If you aren't literally brilliant at your age, its not likely to happen. Any fault in playing or your personality is not going to be tolerated. Period. As a friend of his who was a studio keyboard player once put it: "it's show up, shut up, play it right and go home".