New City, New Problems, New Solutions

This summer has been a tumultuous one! I’ve moved three times, I went to New York and played Off-Broadway, and I went on an extensive tour of the northwest. Only just last month did I finally land in the city I’ll be living in for the next little while. As much fun as it’s been living out of a suitcase, I’m ready to settle down for a little while. The biggest letdown of moving has been that all of my music connections are now gone. All the people I knew and the network I had exists only in Idaho and Utah, and now that I live in San Diego, I feel like I’ll have to start all the way over. It’s a bit daunting, but I’ve been hunting down opportunities in studios, guitar stores, and on Craigslist. Surprisingly, I’ve had a decent amount of success online, and I’ve joined a band called Selfish Giant with other auditions and opportunities in the works. It’s going to be a struggle building a fresh network in a new city, but I feel confident that the right doors will open to me as I seek them out.

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Marrying into the Band

So I Married a Bass Player

Most musicians’ first bands are, well, pretty much shit. Every musician has to start somewhere, and you have to start with dirt to get blossoms. At least, that’s usually the case. For me, though, it wasn’t. I got lucky—meaning, I married an already-blossomed musician. My husband’s been playing in bands for a decade, and his first band definitely fit in the dirt category. Over time, he’s worked his way up to being a great musician and, therefore, plays with other great musicians, forming brilliant bands.

His most recently formed band, Fempire, happened to need a bass player. Enter wife. Suddenly, I’m in my first real band (the term “real” implies we have multiple original songs, consistent practices, and gigs lined up). Don’t get me wrong—I’m not a completely incapable musician who’s never played and performed with others. I’ve played on stage before, but with spontaneous, intermittent bands with just…

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What We’ve Learned From Sammy’s

It was recently announced that local hangout, music venue, and proprietor of pie shakes, Sammy’s, is now under new management. This news comes on the heels of some bad press concerning Sammy’s eponymous bungler, and as such comes as a welcome change. While I’m sure the quality of the burgers will improve and employees will actually get paid, I’m far more concerned with what will happen to the venue. Initially, Sammy’s stage was a magical place and the room was packed almost every weekend. Two years later and things aren’t quite as good. What changed and what can we learn as a community of musicians from the past couple years at Sammy’s? Here are my thoughts.

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Road Widow vs. Roadie

So I Married a Bass Player

A few hours ago, I greeted my husband with open arms and a long, hard smooch. I had missed him, as he’d been on the road. He was playing bass for Deep Love: A Ghostly Rock Opera (it’s an incredible show—you should definitely check it out). He was home for a couple hours, and then he left again for yet another gig with his bar band, Rooke. I hardly got to see him at all, and now I’m home alone on a Saturday night, once again, waiting for my gigging musician to return.

Now, I’m not writing this to be a sad-sap who you feel obligated to pity. I’m writing this because this is the truth about being married to a musician. Yes, being with a musician sounds sexy, and I’m sure you’ve fantasized about it at least once in your life. It sounds pretty dreamy to be with…

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My Guide to Online Forums

I’m sorry if this comes off a bit like a rant, but as an active member of online bass communities like TalkBass and Reddit’s Bassit, I feel like some housekeeping is in order. First, let’s identify the different kinds of people on these sites. By my count, there are three:

1. People who have no experience and know how (Newbies)

2. People who have no experience and know how but think they do (Dummies)

3. People who do have experience and know how (Smarties)

So let’s start with the Newbies. You’re new to the instrument and you’re looking for information and that’s great. However, recognize that every question that you could ever ask has been asked a thousand times before. Protip: there is no such thing as a best bass. It does not exist. That being the case, your best bet for good information is to search for your question or thoroughly read the FAQ which stands for “Frequently Asked Questions”. I can guarantee with 90% certainty that you will find your answer there. Also, be sure to read the rules. You’ll avoid a lot of heartache that way.

Secondly, I want to talk to the Dummies. You are the people I hate the most. You don’t know what you’re talking about so just shut up. Don’t ever start a response with “I think” because unless you know for sure, then you have nothing to add to the conversation. Just watch and learn. Don’t just parrot things you’ve read because if you’ve just seen it somewhere else, then repeating it doesn’t really have value. The best thing you can do is refer the simple questions to the FAQ and leave the tough questions to the pros.

And now, I’d like to speak to the Smarties, the online version of pros. First of all, thank you for making online bass communities great. However, I do have one suggestion: Ignore questions that can be easily answered by the FAQ. I know it’s fun to have the answer but if there’s anything I’ve learned as a teacher it’s this: people do not appreciate information they haven’t had to work a little bit for. The best thing you can do for new players is ignore the obvious questions or just refer them to a place where they can get the info. If you see that someone has already done that, then up vote their response and move on.

Why should we do this? This will improve our online communities. The Internet is a great place for information and it benefits everyone including the lurkers when the best answers are easy to find and results aren’t inundated with repeats of the same “Which [piece of equipment] is best for [genre]” questions.

TL;DR:

-Don’t ask simple questions without trying to find the answer first; Google search is your best friend.

-Don’t answer questions you don’t absolutely have an answer for. There is no need to spread misinformation and your opinion isn’t nearly as valuable as you might think.

-Don’t answer simple questions. Make new players value the answer by helping them work for it.

Alright, that’s all I’ve got. So go forth and make the internet great. Thanks for hearing me out.