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Author Topic: Sharing the Position  (Read 5765 times)
JazzV
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« on: April 13, 2008, 08:34:02 PM »

One big thing I've struggled with while playing in church is being willing (or maybe I should say, comfortable) with the idea of sharing the bass duties with another player.  Given we only have one service (smaller church), and as bass is about the only thing we have more than one of (other than singers), I find it very difficult to split time.  I find I feel like I'm not really part of the group under those circumstances.  I know it's the wrong attitude, both in my heart and my head, but I really find it hard.  It doesn't help that I'm in my 40's, only having played for about eight years now, and even though I've made lots of progress, I know that the other bassists (we have two others) are ahead of me.  One in fact seems very competitive about it (at least that's my perception, maybe just paranoia) while I just try to have fun, play well, and work with the band. 

I need to find some gigs outside the church, though it's hard for a middle-ager who's into progressive music, but who doesn't have enough chops to play it in a band situation. 

I might feel different about it if some of the other members had to split time, but to be the only one is not a great situation.  Anyone else go through this?
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2bhumble (Dave)
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« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2008, 10:54:00 PM »

I can understand you feeling the way you do. There are a lot of churchs that would be thankful to have 1 bass player and yet your in a church that is blessed with several bass players.
I really dont see where there is a lot you can do about the situation at church. If you ask the worship leader to let you play more you will most likely offend the other bass players by trying to cut into there time.
You can go to Band Mix.com and punch in your zip code and it will list bands in your area looking for members, the style of music they play and what instruments they are looking for.
You might see if you can find places in the area where you live that offer open jam sessions. Around here we have a few coffee shops that do this and I have went to several of them and have had a lot of fun.
You might try and find a few guys that would just want to get together in garage and jam once in a while.
Most of all, dont sell yourself short. You are probably better then you think. DO NOT let the fear of thinking you are not good enough stop you from trying other options outside of church. I am not saying to quit playing at church when you can but also dont limit yourself to just church.
I hope this helps you and encourages you to get out and have some fun with your bass. You never know until you try. 
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No Jesus--No Peace
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Satan doesn't really care if you are a Christian,
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chrisfbass
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« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2008, 05:16:39 AM »


      Funny isn’t it!   I must confess to the opposite problem: we have two core bands and a group of ad-hoc musicians, in all totalling 30 – yet I am the only full time bass player. Three other guys can double up on bass (a guitarist, cellist and keyboard player) yet I find my self frustrated that they may have the “gig” for 3 weeks in a row whilst I don’t !!!   I  know  I’m wrong, I know  I should not judge the quality of their playing, I  know  I am at church to worship Him – but as a mere mortal, I do !!!!

      Anyways, with that off my chest; I assume that if there are two other bass players, you only get to play once in 3 weeks? As Dave said, other churches struggle to find even one bass player. How about checking around other local churches and offer your services?

. . . .  and I  know  it's not a "gig"  Embarrassed

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Chris
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« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2008, 09:16:27 AM »

I have mixed feelings about the weeks I'm not playing.

Since my 16 year-old daughter is the only other bass player at church and since my bone spurs on my cervical spine cause some discomfort in my right hand when I play a lot, I am happy to not play every Sunday.  And it does change my worship, since when I'm playing I am so focused on the music that I don't often pay that much attention to the message.  I am frankly running through the songs in my head most of the time during the sermon.

On the other hand, I too do feel like I'm not as much part of the music team and I do miss that camaraderie.

Gordon
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rfclef
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« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2008, 10:11:46 AM »

Go for the outside gig.  I posted a CL ad.  Just be honest:  This is the ad I posted to find my band:

Playing along with the CD player is fine, but nothing matches playing with live people.  I am relatively new to bass…    I have done a fair share of gigging in the “legit” world (primarily as a tuba player).  I am no Geddy Lee, Will Lee, nor Paul McCartney, nor even a Floyd Pepper (all bass heroes of mine).  I have been playing at church and jazz with a group of students at my school (I am a teacher).   I’d like to get together and play some, and would like to do some performing, even if it is at the ol’ church basement (Rush used to play there, you know) or free gig in the park (though pay gigs would be ubercool)…  My musical tastes are pretty eclectic, so I will play about anything.  I do have a voice, and have done some singing, mostly in a Southern Gospel Quartet setting, though (as a brass player) I am still working on the “play and sing at the same time” thing…  I am getting better.  I am a Christian, which does not mean I am looking for exclusively “Christian Music” (though I could definitely do that too), but just means I have some behavioral standards.  I am not drug friendly, and would rather keep me & my rig from smelling like cigarettes, so if you smoke, would rather not be in it while we jam.  I have a pretty good sense of humor, too, and not a huge ego.  I want to enjoy the music… monetary gain is just icing on the cake.   Oh, and I gots axes and amps, but live in an apartment, so I can’t host.
Some (but not all) of the stuff you will find in my CD case:
Beatles,  Newsboys (really big on them lately), Apologetix(ditto), Rush(fave), Police, BNL, Inspirations (OLD southern gospel), Styx, Monkeys, Weird Al, David Bowie, CCR, Talking Heads, Beach Boys, Roy Orbison, The Who, Blues Brothers, Warren Zevon, Boston, Elvis,  They Might be Giants, Rusted Root, Elton John, Kansas,  Various Oldies and Classic rock stuff,  Holst, John Williams…  This does not mean I can play everything here, or want to play what is only here…  I’ll play about anything. 
If you think I’d be a fit for your situation, or you’d be a fit for mine, shoot me an email so we can talk.
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Bobby
My other Bass is a Tuba...
Bassist for "Cry of Stones"
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Basses do not "gently weep"... they will rattle the walls, lay the foundation, soothe the body and the mind, or bellow in fury as they strike you down with a bat'leth, but they do not "gently weep"...
JazzV
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« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2008, 04:34:38 PM »

Thank you all for the very kind replies.  I guess I should have been clearer about the situation.  Eight years ago, I started playing in our church.  We had no bassists, and the worship leader thought it would be worth a shot for me to try.  Well, it kind of came somewhat naturally, and I improved quickly.  Within about a year, in steps Bassist A, who had several years more experience and lots more licks.  Of course, I got insecure with the situation pretty quickly, as it became "obvious" which way the wind was blowing.  I ended up sharing the spot for a couple of years.  During this time, we had lots of band friction, as parts of the band went on and did their own thing outside of church, using church facilities, etc.  Needless to say, I wasn't included in that stuff. 

Then things change...Bassist A gets a job in another city and leaves.  I'm back in again on Sundays.  But in many ways, the situation was still cold. 

Fast forward another year...Bassist B visits.  Luckily, Bassist B has not pursued the Sunday playing, as he doesn't read and is lacking on the theory side.  He's a good ear player, however, with good playing skills.  He played once while I was on vacation.  About six months ago, Bassist A returns to town.  I haven't been asked (yet) to split time, but it seems to me like it's inevitable.  I've also not offered.  It's not my call, since I'm not the worship leader, but given that we have no one else in this situation, I'm struggling with the best way of handling it.

Thanks for your help once again.
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2bhumble (Dave)
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« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2008, 06:56:53 PM »

Your 2nd post does shine an entirely different light on your situation.
If you have been there as there bassist for 8 years while the other bassist have come and gone, in my opinion you should be given number one consideration as the bass player. If you are thinking the worship leader might ace you out just because the other guy is a better bassist, well I dont think that is right by anyones standards especially the church. Has the worship leader ever heard of (DO Unto Others). I wonder if the worship leader has ever thought how he might feel if another worship leader came along that was a little better then him.
If you have been a dedicated member of the band for 8 years and then they want to kind of push you to the side because they feel this other guy is better, I honestly believe I might consider going to another church. That would be a hard think to decide because of friendships that have been made but I would strongly think about doing just that if it were me.
I will Pray for you.
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No Jesus--No Peace
Know Jesus--Know Peace

Satan doesn't really care if you are a Christian,
as long as you don't act like one.
1954bassman
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« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2008, 09:17:17 PM »

JazzV

I reccomend prayer first. I personally would never leave the church that God had directed me to, unless He lead me out. Which He could.

I have been playing bass for over forty years. I also admire Sir Paul, Wooten, Geddy, on and on. I will never reach their level of fame or ability. Fact is, here in NC, there are many great bassists, and many of them play in church.

In my case, I enjoy worshipping in the congregation. I am actually the 'fill-in' at the church I attend. The A-Team picker is a monster, and I love hearing him play.

Here is my suggestion:
1 - Pray for God's leading
2 - Dedicate your talent to the service of the Lord only - no secular music
3 - Start or join a viable music ministry outside of your church
4 - Begin a personal woodshed regiment to improve your chops - good solid playing will hide your lack of talent
5 - Become the model citizen in the band at your church;
     a - always be on time
     b - learn the songs before practice, not at practice
     c - compliment / encourage the other musicians (even the other bassists)
     d - be a helping hand
     e - express your apreciation to the worship leader for all their hard work

I could go on and on, but you get the idea.

I also recommend something else I did long ago. Get all your instruments out, anoint them with oil, and dedicate them and you talent to the Lord's work.

If you only do that last suggestion, I garantee you will be playing more. Christain music.


I am not that great of a picker, but I probably get to play about 20 nights a month, more if you count personal practice time. God will give you the desires of your heart. Give it all to Him, watch the blessings come down.
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Bass with Grace
OldBassDude
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« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2008, 01:43:09 PM »

Whoa Nelly!  I think some of these suggestions are jumping the gun! 

This situation would seem to fall under the "go and show" principle of Matthew 18:15-17 in dealing with someone who sins against you.  [Although in this case, it's not yet clear that a sin has actually been committed against you in this instance.]

No offense Jazz, but it seems from your posts that you are making a lot of assumptions.  Biblically, I think the first thing you do is to meet with the Worship Leader and express exactly what your concerns are.  There may in fact be nothing to this.  Your fears may be completely unfounded (though understandable, given your past experiences).  If there is indeed something going on, at least you know what the Worship Leader is thinking and where you stand in the mix of the music team.   

And you also go and speak to the other bassist, who you originally described as competitive, and clear the air there.

Gordon
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embellisher
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« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2008, 12:39:47 AM »

That is something that I have struggled with in the past as well.

I went to one church for several years, and there was a guy who was really persistent about being the only one to play the bass. I would fill in when he wasn't there, which was once or twice a month.

He quit coming, and I was the only other person who could play bass full time. The pastor's son played bass (better than me, one of my early influences), but also played drums, guitar, piano, organ, keyboards, sax, and about a dozen other instruments, so he was happy to let me play bass.

Fast forward six months, I walk in on a Sunday morning, and the guy who hasn't been to church in six months is sitting on the platform, holding the bass. Me being a non confrontational guy, I put up with it. He continued to show up on occasion, and when he did, he would get there early and get on the bass.

Something the pastor should have dealt with, but didn't, IMHO.

Most other churches where I have played, I was the only faithful person who played.

At my current church, we have probably 5 or 6 guys who can play. Two of them will not play in front of me, because they think that they aren't good enough, and the others are not faithful.

So, by default, for now, I am the guy.

It helps that I have my own amp on the platform, and I bring my bass back and forth with me. There is an old Washburn on the platform, but the guy who owns it never plays it.

I hope I am not selfish about this Undecided, but I have not tried to push anybody out. And when I am there, which is 95% of the time, the pastor and worship leader want me on the bass.
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2bhumble (Dave)
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« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2008, 07:44:40 AM »

It seems to me that a simple solution would be to get with the worship leader, explain how you feel and ask if he could start making a schedule as to who is to play and when.
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No Jesus--No Peace
Know Jesus--Know Peace

Satan doesn't really care if you are a Christian,
as long as you don't act like one.
Brim
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« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2008, 06:32:30 PM »

Before I started playing at my church (less than a year now), the only bass player (Rodney) played every Sunday for 3 years just about. I had the chance to befriend him for several months before we started sharing the bass spot. He actually was excited to be sharing the spot and getting some breaks. He also wants to be more active in the sound / FOH ministry (his career involves video and audio) creating a more polished sound and helping to train others to run sound intelligently (his wife also runs sound and she rocks). So, we both are on the same page. In my life now, I have 3 small kids and attend a Master of Architecture program part-time, so I'm also glad that he's around and able to swap the bass chair often. Leading up to Easter, I played6 weeks in a row and it was starting to strain my wife a bit (try getting to church on time with 3 kids under 6 years old!!) So now, we're back to every two weeks rotation - and I'm thankful for that.

Anyhow, pray about God giving you the right servant's heart. Remember that you represent the worship ministry whether you are playing that week or not and most important we are to serve God in eveything we do (playing grooves or sitting in the pew)! God bless you brother.
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living in grace

/// Interested in a TRex FT Jr. modded PT Mini pedal board? I can build it for you! ///
Brim
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« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2008, 06:39:05 PM »

Sweet! That was my 100th post!  Tongue
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living in grace

/// Interested in a TRex FT Jr. modded PT Mini pedal board? I can build it for you! ///
embellisher
Holy Ghost filled Bass Player
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« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2008, 07:42:19 PM »

Sweet! That was my 100th post!  Tongue

Cool!

101 for me. Smiley
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Brim
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« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2008, 08:09:45 PM »

We're full members now! (full of joy!!)
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living in grace

/// Interested in a TRex FT Jr. modded PT Mini pedal board? I can build it for you! ///
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