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What a Difference a New Guitar Player Makes


DanL

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We recently had to make the hard decision to replace our guitar player. It was hard because he was a great guy. He showed up on time, learned his parts for the most part, and fit in well with the band personality wise. He had some problems that we finally decided we'd had enough of. His gear was unreliable- but I don't think it was the gear, I think he didn't understand how to work it- what order to chain effects together, things like that. He'd always say "I'm having power problems", when in reality, if there were power problems in the venue, I'd be the one most effected, with my keys.

 

He could not remember song names. We had to give songs nicknames for him, like Chicken song for Chaka Khan's "You Got the Love". Even with that, he'd draw blanks on them, which was not good at a gig when the drummer would start a song and he would come in next, and stand there with his deer in the headlights look, not having a clue as to what song it was. We had figured that once we started gigging, this would go away, as the repetition of playing them would ingrain them in his head. Wrong. 3 gigs in a row, he blew the intro to "Who Knew" by Pink. Instead of vamping on the 1st 2 changes until the singer came in, he got it fixed in his mind that he had to go thru the whole chord progression. So when she came in singing where she should, he'd be onto the 2nd part of the song, not adjust, and just plow thru, causing her to stop, which is very noticeable to the crowd. Keep in mind, we have played that song EVERY gig for the last year. Then, on the 4th gig, he did it right, like a switch clicked.

 

He'd forget where his solos were, and then he'd solo where he wasn't supposed to- usually on a bass/drum breakdown so he'd start a solo and then stop, making an obvious mistake.

 

We finally got tired of babysitting him- always worrying about what he was doing was causing the rest of us to start making errors in our own parts, and it had to stop.

 

Our singer had her tonsils out at the beginning of June, and we had a 3 weeek break, so we decided to make a move. I made some calls, did the Craigslist thing, and we had some responses but nothing great. I made a call to a bass player I knew, he said, yeah, I know a guy- even if he can't do the gig, he probably knows someone. So I call the guy up, we hit it off on the phone, I tell him what we're doing, he says sure, I'll give it a try. He's done pretty much everything- session work, toured all over the place, been on stage with some pretty big names, can play everything from jazz to shred, classical to country. We have him down for an interview, he fits in well with the band personality wise. We give him the set list, and say, learn as much as you can by next Wednesday.

 

He comes in and has the entire list learned. We did 2 rehearsals, and played a gig last night that was the best we ever sounded. I can't imagine how good it's going to be in another 2 months when he's really dialed in to the arrangements and the subtle things the band does that makes it sound really tight.

 

It was hard to get rid of the other guy but he had so many issues and shortcomings, as good of a person he was, he was holding the band down. I was a pleasure to share the stage with someone who is a consummate pro last night!

Live: Korg Kronos 2 88, Nord Electro 5d Nord Lead A1

Toys: Roland FA08, Novation Ultranova, Moog LP, Roland SP-404SX, Roland JX10,Emu MK6

www.bksband.com

www.echoesrocks.com

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Oh, happened to me on multiple occasions - having to replace a bandmember for lack of skill, despite good personal relashionship, even friendship. People gotta understand - busyness is busyness.

Stage: MOX6, V-machine, and Roland AX7

Rolls PM351 for IEMs.

Home/recording: Roland FP4, a few guitars

 

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Im not sure in this case if it's entirely a lack of skill. This smacks of some type of cognitive processing deficit (e.g., a learning disability) that may be beyond his control. The good news is that these things are mostly treatable, often dealing with the way the brain "encodes" information. Similarly, some of his "executive brain functions" (e.g., the ability of the brain to organize information) may be compromised.

 

Many folks with learning disabilities/ADD/ADHD (and the anxiety and/or depression that often runs with these) have gone on to attain advanced degrees; I know of one person that fits this description, a former colleague at Purdue University. I believe Albert Einstein is even rumored to have had an LD.

 

The first step would be for your friend to participate in a comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation (i.e., not a psychological evaluation, a neuropsychological evaluation) to rule out the possibility of a cognitive processing deficit, or conversely, to determine exactly where (i.e., what part of the brain) the problem resides. Once reliably identified, this information/diagnosis will then "drive" subsequent treatment/intervention.

 

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."

- George Bernard Shaw

 

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Makes my thought about "maybe he just never practiced" seem kinda dumb now.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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I had to replace a bass player who was a sweetheart and had great intentions. He just wasn't cutting it. Lemme tell you, there's NOTHING worse than a bass player who has trouble learning his parts, and ends up playing WAY behind the pocket because he's hesitant on every single change.

 

We really didn't want to let him go; he was, as I said, a super nice guy and liked being in the band. But ultimately, the rest of us were miserable in having this car with three high performance wheels... along with a flat tire. It was certainly nothing personal, but of course he took it badly and was upset, which made it even harder.

 

But his replacement was amazingly good and also was cool. It happens. Not fun, but any long-term musician has dealt with it.

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hey DanL, what boards are you using in your avatar picture, i believe you have a yamaha, electro and nord lead. also, your 3 tier stand seems comfortable to play on from a seated position, what make and model is it?

 

I have a very similar setup to yours, roland rd300sx, nord stage compact, and nord lead 3, however not comfortable with the "L" configuration.

 

way OT. sorry.

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Moonglow- we really did think he could have some kind of neuro issue, like Alzheimer's or something. Our bass player is very close to him, they have known each other since our bass player was a kid. Maybe he can talk to his family about getting him checked out.

 

Cloud9= I use a standard double tier X stand, with a home made pvc 3rd tier that slips into the back of the 2nd tier and rests on the Electro. Cost me about 4 bucks to make and it works very well. The top board is a bit of a stretch but I use that board for certain parts in certain songs, so it's not like I'm reaching up there all night.

Live: Korg Kronos 2 88, Nord Electro 5d Nord Lead A1

Toys: Roland FA08, Novation Ultranova, Moog LP, Roland SP-404SX, Roland JX10,Emu MK6

www.bksband.com

www.echoesrocks.com

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Lemme tell you, there's NOTHING worse than a bass player who has trouble learning his parts, and ends up playing WAY behind the pocket because he's hesitant on every single change.

Oh yes there is: a bass player who has trouble learning his parts, and therefore comes in confidently with a strong, well-placed, utterly wrong note on the downbeat at the top of a section change -- consistently, every night, in the same spots, about once per tune, after having rehearsed and played the material for six months; and who is unable or unwilling to do anything about it, and freaks out anytime anyone confronts him about it even in the most gentle and professional manner; and who is the one guy who's consistently on his cell phone causing delays at rehearsals, including those that are being held specifically and solely for his benefit, which wouldn't even have been necessary if he'd gotten his shit together.

 

Something else that sucks: being the nominal "musical director" of the aggregation, but without having the power to actually fire and replace said bass player, because that power lies with the producer -- who would rather rehearse the band for seven to ten hours a day* in search of miniscule, glacially slow signs of improvement, than just replace the weak elements with guys who were as competent as the rest of us and could do the job.

 

Additional level of suckiness: similar to the OP, the bass player in question was a really good guy. Based on hearing him with his own band, and having worked a few one-offs with him, I had thought he was a reasonably together, diligent professional. Wow, could I not have been more wrong.

 

Moral of the story: Kids, don't do coke.

 

 

*Not an exaggeration

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