advice

A live shot of the Producer Mondays jam session, at New York’s NuBlu.

Jamming is an essential part of American musical tradition, and should be part of yours. Here are some bass-centric tips.

Jam sessions have been an essential part of the history of American music, going back at least 120 years, to a time when “live in person” was the only way audiences could experience music. In those days, one might attend informal house parties, social clubs, or basement speakeasies, where liquor flowed plentifully as musicians provided entertainment. Sometimes, musicians would arrive with a preset show. But quite often, and especially in the case of jazz, the music would be completely spontaneous, and that was the whole point. There might be a house band, but what they’d play, how long they’d play for, how they’d play it, and who might show up and join would be completely unscripted. This gave birth to what many now regard as the beginnings of jazz.

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Wondering how to join a band and get some sweet gigs? Then this episode is for you. Rhett and Zach share their advice, from how to get in front of audiences and make more connections—if it’s all about who you know, how do you get to know the right people? And how do you impress them enough to hire you?—to the skills you’ll need to hone to get the job done. Sure, knowing your way around your instrument is really important, but it’s not just about scales, arpeggios, and chord voicings. And different gigs—cover bands, wedding bands, singer/songwriters—require different skills. (Hint: Know how to get a good sound out of the gear you already have!)

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Sanding blocks are just one of the many things you should probably be keeping organized.

The stereotype of the messy artist is a tired old meme. Get it together and get organized.

It’s hard to admit that you’re a slob. Lack of organization is pretty much looked down upon in most professional arenas. It’s also hard to imagine successful people waking up on stained futons and stumbling through a minefield of snack wrappers while looking for their cleanest dirty shirt. That is unless that wealthy schlump is a famous rock star. Is it the artist’s way, or letting go of the illusion of control? Either way I think it’s a stereotype—and one that cuts both ways.

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