If you’ve been learning how to play bass and you’re starting to play with bands – whether at gigs or in rehearsals – this series of gig tips will help you overcome some of the common problems encountered when playing live and let you focus on the art of how to play bass. Gig Tip number 8 looks at what to do when you make a mistake in a live environment.
Now when you’re playing at a gig – or in a rehearsal – I can absolutely 100 per cent guarantee you that you are going to make mistakes. You’re human right? It’s going to happen.
Here’s what you have to do in this situation:
Let me repeat that: Keep Playing.
That’s what professionals do, if they make a mistake they keep on playing. Amateurs stop and stare around them, and wish that either the ground would open up in front of them or that the song will magically begin again so they can get another chance. In gigs – as in life – you get very few second chances.
You can practice to overcome this. I always recommend to my students that they play along with the original Cds and Records when they’re learning tunes. Once they’ve gone through the various parts of the song, worked out what notes are played where on the fretboard, and started putting the parts of the tune together then I tell them to practice along with the original. If they make a mistake I tell them to keep going. Don’t stop playing and go back to the start and begin all over again. If you do that, you’ll be training yourself to do that.
And that’s what amateurs do.
So don’t do it.
Play through the song. All the way to the end. Irrespective of how many mistakes you make. If you find that there’s one or more sections that you can’t play, then isolate those sections and practice them until you’re ready to play them at the original tempo.
We all make mistakes at gigs. No matter what level we’re at. I’ve done gigs with musicians who are far better than me and you know what? They make mistakes too. All it takes is a momentary lapse of concentration and voila, you’ve made a mistake. Just don’t let it throw you off completely.
The more you practice with songs – mistakes and all – the more you’ll get used to being able to ignore it and carry on playing. So if you can always play to the end of the song!
If you want more bass related info, head over to my how to play bass website where you’ll find video lessons, articles, reviews and much more. There’s also a weekly ezine you can sign up for – in return for signing up you’ll get a PDF file with 5 cool bass lines in – and each week’s ezine features a bass line in music notation and bass tab.