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  • Should I Cancel A Gig for a Better Opportunity?

    Should I Cancel A Gig for a Better Opportunity?

    Q: Have you ever been put into a situation where you have booked yourself for a gig in one place (even months in advance) but had a even greater opportunity come calling after? How have you handled bowing out of the prior engagement for a greater one? A: This is a tough but all-too-common quandary... »

  • When Personal Beliefs Conflict with The Gig

    When Personal Beliefs Conflict with The Gig

    Q: I spent this past Saturday marching the streets of Austin, TX with about 50,000 like-minded fellow Americans. Felt great… both humbling and inspiring! The next morning, I was playing my regular church gig – a place with a very different worldview and some decidedly harsh perspectives regarding my fellow marchers. I kept my mouth... »

  • How Much Should I Get Paid for Gigs?

    How Much Should I Get Paid for Gigs?

    Q: I gig about 10-16 times a month on double bass and electric and live in a rural part of the UK. Some gigs involve a drive of 50-100 miles for about £50-75. Do you have a minimum fee for local work, and a max distance you will drive for small bar type gigs? I... »

  • Starting Out: Getting Work

    Starting Out: Getting Work

    Photo by Alan Levine Q: I recently saw a video that talked about going to music school. After watching it I got the impression that maybe school wasn’t such a good idea. At the same time it seemed like the only way to get work as a musician, was to go to school and use... »

  • Surviving the Holidays as a Freelance Bassist

    Surviving the Holidays as a Freelance Bassist

    For non-musicians the winter holidays can be a time for rest, relaxation and extra time with family. For many freelance musicians, however, it is a time of early mornings, late nights, long hours playing, coffee, and lots of time in the car going from gig to gig. The upside is, of course, that it can... »

  • Learning Lots of Songs Quickly

    Learning Lots of Songs Quickly

    Q: I have a dep gig in 5 days and need to learn 23 songs. Any tips? I’m quite a good reader and have all the songs transcribed so I can probably read the music as I play but it’s for a rock gig and wouldn’t look particularly cool. A: For those who don’t know... »

  • How To Transition to Pro Level?

    How To Transition to Pro Level?

    Q: My question is this: how did you transition to a pro level and play concerts vs. playing bars and functions? I have been playing for quite a few years and have played with some very good musicians out of Berklee and local players, but I always dream of stepping up to the next level.... »

  • Jam Session Etiquette

    Jam Session Etiquette

    Q: I have never been to a random, strangers-in-the-night jazz jam as a bass player and a lot of jams tend to have their set bass player (ahem – often the organizer of said jam – ahem). What’s the etiquette if you just want to walk a few tunes with everybody? A: First of all,... »

  • The Lightbulb Moment: Learn Lots of Songs

    The Lightbulb Moment: Learn Lots of Songs

    Here I am, once again, on the bandstand with a bass in hand. Two sets down, one to go. It’s a free for all… no official set list and a handful of requests. A guy with a twenty in his hand walks up to the stage and says, “Do ya’ll know ‘Whipping Post’?” The guitar... »

  • Cutting Through a Big Band: A Discussion for Bass Players

    Cutting Through a Big Band: A Discussion for Bass Players

    Q: I’m playing in a jazz band of over 40 people in a song featuring bass guitar. I’m looking for a pedal that will make my sound distinct and rise above the band but not distort it. Any recommendations? Thanks. A: Personally, I wouldn’t change my sound much at all. You might leave yourself a... »