Open letter to bands look for a bass player on craigslist

If you are a “serious” band who is looking for a “pro” bass player… but you’re posting “no hired guns” type ads, here’s a few thoughts.

1-Get someone to write the advertisements who can use punctuation, the shift key, and who knows grammar. That will give you a more polished look and appeal.

2-If you’d like to know where the “pro” bass players are who need NO practice and who have 80 songs memorized, go check out a band because they are already playing. No bass player at that level stays jobless for long.

3-If the player is that good and not in a full time band, he/she is a “hired gun” who takes gigs first come, first serve and who will sooner or later already be booked for a day you want to have a gig. This will lead to infighting, and the hired gun will probably move on because they have already dealt with drama before and know that it rarely leads to anything great.

4-There are good sober and straight bass players out there who are bandless but who will have a bit of rust and need a few rehearsals. Even if it’s just to check starts and stops, keys, style, tempo, *some* form of rehearsal is going to be needed. This doesn’t mean you’ll be rehearsing for 3 months before a gig, but you may need to have 4 or 5 runthroughs or you may need to let the player have a cheat book on stage for a few months. However, they’re not going to answer your ad if you post that you only want ready to go bass players.

5. Consider that the time spent looking for the “ready to go” person, could be used to be rehearsing with the not-quite-as-ready person.

6. Those of you posting “must have transportation”…. How on earth do people without transportation plan on being in a band? I’m with you on that one… This is a definite requirement.

7. Posting age ranges severely limits your available pool. Not to mention, are you going to demand a birth certificate for them to prove it? Describe the bands’ ages/interests/music genre and let the players decide for themselves if an audition might be a good idea. Saying “We are a group of teenagers looking to play emodeathpunkshredrock” gives potential people a better idea versus “We only want the coolest 18 year old bass players in town to apply”. There are indeed ads like that out there….

8. Any requests for a specific brand of bass guitar only is just…well, snobbery. “You must play a Fender”. That’s like demanding what strings someone must use…. Unless you are willing to buy that bass player that particular brand/look, this does not belong in a “serious” band. “We all use acoustic hand built unamplified instruments” is be a legit request, although for a bass player unamplified usually results in unheard.

9. Moral of the story, leave your options open and you will receive a better response rate and not be posting “Where are all the bass players” two weeks later.

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