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Late to the Technology game, and struggling...

IamMark
Posts: 979
3 months ago
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I've been playing as part of a duo now for a little over a year. The list of songs continues to grow; however, because of my pathetic memory, I rely on notes to help get me through songs I don't normally play very often.

My guitarist is old school… I mean OLD SCHOOL and gave me a 3-ring binder with all these loose pages of his lyrics with his chords that he plays and where he capo's his guitar to try to help me. SIDE NOTE: I hate capos.

While the binder is useful in helping me know where we are in the songs with the lyrics, it doesn't really help me with my bass lines other than telling me the root notes I could play along with his chords.

I want to get away from dragging this bulky 3-ring binder around with me to gigs. It's a pain to try to find a place to set it in small venues, so I can follow along while I play. A lot of guitarists I know are using their iPads with music apps that catalog their song lists and some use Bluetooth pedals to advance pages of their music. Pretty slick.

It also seems that there are apps that integrate with some of the more popular music sites, where the uploaded tabs, sheet music, chords/lyrics import directly into these apps with all the tempo and key settings all figured out already.

So I have an old Samsung Galaxy tab that I've stripped of everything and re-purposed for me to try and see if this will help me with my bass playing and reducing the amount of stuff I have to carry in and out of a venue.

I'm currently testing an app called “Setlist Helper” which is very nice. A lot of features on it, and you can customize it to your playing style, you can set song tempo's so the sheets auto scroll while you play, or you can incorporate bluetooth pedals. This app also allows you to use your Dropbox to upload and pull songs off during gigs when someone requests something you don't have in your setlist already. You can use the internet to pull the music from a site save it in your dropbox, and the app pulls it in to your setlist for you to follow along with.

All pretty sexy stuff, and I'm sure there's a ton of similar applications and tools for this. But it seems that they are ALL suited for guitarists.

I don't know how anyone else does this, but I just can't memorize 40+ songs for each gig, and have to rely on crude notes to get me through.

I'd like to use my tablet and an app like this, but loading it up with the tabs as they're configured on here doesn't work very well. The text becomes either too small for me to read, or it becomes a screen full of dashes and lines crammed in with lyrics. I know I can format and work around this problem, but it's very time consuming and a frustrating process.

Is anyone using technology like this for their gigs, or know (or empathize) with the issues I'm having and have some tricks they'd like to share?

Does anyone know of a similar app more suited for bass players?
LoudLon [moderator]
Posts: 1646
Tell your buddy from now on, you want a set list. You don't need to memorize every song in that binder if you know ahead of time what songs you're going to be playing on the day. I get that there are some musicians who don't like working from a set list, preferring to let the mood determine what song to play next. But not everybody works like that. Tell him you want a set list, at least a couple days before each gig, so you'll have time to familiarize yourself with the songs beforehand and so you won't have to lug that pain-in-the ass binder around.

Incidentally, I also hate capos. I've used them on guitar in the past but always felt like they were just in my way. I prefer simply barring with my index finger. Fortunately there is no need at all for a capo on a bass. If you ever see a bassist using a capo, he's just being pretentious.
MotorMog
Posts: 586
Quote:
I don't know how anyone else does this, but I just can't memorize 40+ songs for each gig

We're at 35ish songs for a full 2 x 45 min set punk rock gig ( Our catalogue is in the 50+ range )

set list is set in stone two rehearsals before and we will go into a studio twice and bash out the full set a week before the gig and iron out any problems

If your not rehearsing with your partner in your duo enough pre gig I think that's the problem not your memory

BTW I'm pretty crap musician but will put in the time to learn the songs , all that time I could be learning scales and theory ( th boring stuff ) is better spent drinking and going to gigs

Punk n Roll
IamMark
Posts: 979
I've asked for a set list. Isn't going to happen with this guy for exactly the reason you mentioned, Lon. He lets the room's energy dictate which songs he's going to play next, or allows people to request from his massive song list.

In the year+ I've been playing with him, I've never rehearsed with him. I learn the songs on my own, show up to the gig, and then discover he plays the song with a goddamn capo on and in a completely different key than the song was recorded. So I have to make quick adjustments and try to keep up. Not ideal. But he owns a company, and I have a day job, so our only available time is on weekends, when he'd rather book a gig than use up 2 or 3 hour rehearsing.

I'm just looking for a way to keep the library more accessible and tailored more to me and how I'm learning his songs.
MotorMog
Posts: 586
Sounds to me ( I apologise if I'm wrong ) that your not really enjoying it and your being kind of taken advantage

If its not fun I'd be moving on



IamMark
Posts: 979
Couldn't be farther from right. I'm having a blast. I just don't like my horrible memory and carting a big binder around.
MotorMog
Posts: 586
Quote:
Couldn't be farther from right. I'm having a blast. I just don't like my horrible memory and carting a big binder around.

Glad to be wrong matey


LoudLon [moderator]
Posts: 1646
Glad you're enjoying yourself but if you're truly a duo, you need as much as say as he has, and your say should be “I need a set list and to know when you're going to be using a capo, ahead of time.” It's neither realistic nor fair of him to expect you to know every song in HIS library.

It's different if you're just a gun for hire in this situation, in which case yeah, it's all on you to learn all those songs and be able to adjust to his capo whims. But if you're an actual duo, a partnership, you need to have your say.
IamMark
Posts: 979
It's not a true partnership. He had quite a following as a solo act. I've come along and added to his sound, but I'm not a participant in 100% of the gigs he books.

So I guess I'm a hired gun when I play with him.
2nick3
Posts: 318
Quote:
So I guess I'm a hired gun when I play with him.

Charge him extra for every capo use, double if he modulates during the song!
LP
Posts: 148
Quote:
I've asked for a set list. Isn't going to happen with this guy for exactly the reason you mentioned, Lon. He lets the room's energy dictate which songs he's going to play next, or allows people to request from his massive song list.In the year+ I've been playing with him, I've never rehearsed with him. I learn the songs on my own, show up to the gig, and then discover he plays the song with a goddamn capo on and in a completely different key than the song was recorded. So I have to make quick adjustments and try to keep up. Not ideal. But he owns a company, and I have a day job, so our only available time is on weekends, when he'd rather book a gig than use up 2 or 3 hour rehearsing.I'm just looking for a way to keep the library more accessible and tailored more to me and how I'm learning his songs.

My apologies but It sounds quite an odd set up if you ask me. I'm not an expert at being in a band type setting but surely working together, being on the same page to make things easier is the key to a good performance.
You may be the “hired help” in the duo but if you don't know 100% what is going on when you play, does that make for a great performance?
I'm really glad you enjoy doing it, that is the main thing, but surely the stress levels at each gig can't be good.

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