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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So you find a band to join and they send links to their songs. What do you do about arrangements? Isn't it the band Leader's job to provide charts arrangements for the band?
 

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What kind of band?Amateur?
Do they read music to start with?
If it is coverband of some sort you end up transcribing chart from recordings ( in my experience).
On cruise ships they -company-supply you with arrangements that you sightread.
But that's completely different gig from yours I guess...
 

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Blues, R&B, and the occasional pick-up gig for me in a variety of genres - rarely do I get music. If I'm lucky I get links to past performances or rehearsal files. The blues cats that can play usually expect you to show up and know the language.

Ask for more info - don't be upset if you don't get it. Many bands encourage you to add your own interpretation to the music. I dig that. Learning note for note is a very good starting point, but I wouldn't really want to play it that way if I can get away with putting my own spin on it. In the end it depends on the music and the band leader.

You might be replacing a guy who's playing the band didn't like.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yes it's just a amateur bar band. I've done theatre gigs and cruise lines and kinda like the read it down aspect of those gigs.
I'm not sure they can read music. But I guess I can ask. They didn't like to just chase vocals and solo method I usually do with bands like this. They seem to want a specific part for each song and it would be up to me to create one. However I'm not sure if they would approve what I write either.
 

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It's usually helpful to have a few rehearsals where the arrangements are worked out and, where necessary, charts of the chord changes are provided. Usually charts aren't needed if the tunes are mostly 12 bar blues or something similar. They might tell you the turnaround is a ii-V rather than V-IV or something like that.

As to creating a part, if the tune is a cover with a horn part or head arrangement, just learn it. Otherwise add a tasteful backing line or riff that fits the genre. And as a general rule, you don't need to play on every verse or chorus. Sounds like the type of band where you won't need, or want, charts on stage, so use your ear and your memory. Communication on the bandstand is also important, so stay alert.

Hard to advise though, without knowing the type of music or tunes this band plays.
 

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No. There are lots of working cover bands that have jack **** in the way of music for people. You need to do the leg work here. So if they cover say What You Need by INXS, you need to figure out the sax part. Or if they do Man Eater by Hall & Oats, you need to know where you go in that song. Or if the song has no sax, and there are LOTS of songs that don't, you need to figure out how to put one in.....tastefully. Sometimes this means NOT PLAYING on a song. Or playing Flute. Or clarinet. Like my arrangement of Summer Breeze has clarinet on it. Sax was a little too much.

I'd recommend starting a little library of arrangements you do for songs. I have one that is about 150 songs right now that I've played with bands, and it's great to have. It was a lot of work to do, but well worth it.
 

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JL and ericdano covered it pretty well. If you're adding a horn part to an original tune, make sure it sounds like a horn part and not just fills. Play the same thing every time, and give it some "punch", like you're playing with a horn section. One other thing, if nobody else is using a music stand, you probably want to ditch yours as soon as possible, or at least have it off to the side rather than right out in front.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Probably be like a band I once was involved with. I created sax parts for their original songs and we only had one gig.
I think I made less than 50 bucks.
 

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Blues, R&B, and the occasional pick-up gig for me in a variety of genres - rarely do I get music. If I'm lucky I get links to past performances or rehearsal files. The blues cats that can play usually expect you to show up and know the language.

Ask for more info - don't be upset if you don't get it. Many bands encourage you to add your own interpretation to the music. I dig that. Learning note for note is a very good starting point, but I wouldn't really want to play it that way if I can get away with putting my own spin on it. In the end it depends on the music and the band leader.

You might be replacing a guy who's playing the band didn't like.
Pretty much my same experience. I did play in a four-horn R&B band once that had an ex-full-time musician who did our horn arrangements, so it was easy when I first stated playing with them, but it was more like a hobby for him. OF course, with multiple horns you need to know their arrangement. But other than that band, nada. I agree that with most blues, R&B, funk, soul bands I've played or sat in with, you kind of get to know what to play even if you don't know the tune.

I don't play in bands that want a solo covered note for note. Not my thing. I play in a jam band, and we were rehearsing last night with a guitarist who is going to sub in on a gig this weekend. We were trying to nail some arrangements on a few of our original tunes, when the band leader stopped us and said, wait - isn't the whole point of this band never to play a tune the same way twice? That's the fun of it.

I sit in with a bunch of lounge bands down on the island (because unfortunately that's about the only music scene going down there) usually as a last minute thing - mostly 1980-2000 cover tunes - many of which I don't know. So I'll lay out for the first verse/chorus and then it's pretty easy to find some lines and fills that work but aren't too overdone, and a solo that fits the genre. As the only horn, you have a lot of latitude to play whatever you like as long as it fits the music. On the very rate occasion that I get a set list before hand (last time was an hour before the gig), I'll try to listen to the tunes I'm not familiar with and make some brief notes on the changes, tune structure, and some tasteful lines and fills or where a solo might fit. Some folks find this to be a PITA, but I find it kind of an interesting and even fun challenge. One lounge band I sit with a bit makes it a point not even to tell me what tune they are playing next or the key, just for laughs. It's actually a good exercise.
 

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I've quit bands like this scenario. If it's original material and they don't have written arrangements, obviously rehearsal takes FOREVER, and the horn line for a single horn player in the group becomes a process by committee, with input from people who I don't generally consider qualified to judge. Besides, I don't really like playing the same old simple stuff over and over. Plus, I like to write myself, and if the band can't read, it either doesn't get played or rehearsal takes FOREVER. If it's covers of material, I still don't want to play the recorded lines, because it's boring, and because I don't get to bring anything new. Stuff like that is for players who feel they're part of the venue staff, I never feel that way.

No offense intended, really. If I were still young and needed the gig, I'd probably just suck it up -- but I wouldn't really like it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I've quit bands like this scenario. If it's original material and they don't have written arrangements, obviously rehearsal takes FOREVER, and the horn line for a single horn player in the group becomes a process by committee, with input from people who I don't generally consider qualified to judge. Besides, I don't really like playing the same old simple stuff over and over. Plus, I like to write myself, and if the band can't read, it either doesn't get played or rehearsal takes FOREVER. If it's covers of material, I still don't want to play the recorded lines, because it's boring, and because I don't get to bring anything new. Stuff like that is for players who feel they're part of the venue staff, I never feel that way.

No offense intended, really. If I were still young and needed the gig, I'd probably just suck it up -- but I wouldn't really like it.

Well it turned out like I thought it would. Learn lots of bad original songs and 4 hour rehearsal and they never used me on the gig. A year later they broke up. It’s not a matter of what to play it’s just a matter of effective use of time.
 

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Well it turned out like I thought it would. Learn lots of bad original songs and 4 hour rehearsal and they never used me on the gig. A year later they broke up. It’s not a matter of what to play it’s just a matter of effective use of time.
Yeah, life is too short to play a bunch of lousy 'original songs' that aren't remotely linked to the genre you enjoy playing. If otoh, it is music that speaks to you and you enjoy, that's a different matter. For me, it better be at least 70% blues in a variety of blues styles (including 'jazz blues'), with the other 30% being funky jazz or old school R&B. That's just my preference; everyone has to go with whatever they like.
 

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Yeah, life is too short to play a bunch of lousy 'original songs' that aren't remotely linked to the genre you enjoy playing. If otoh, it is music that speaks to you and you enjoy, that's a different matter.
I had a good experience with such a group for a time. It was an original ska band and the guitarist/singer wrote the tunes. When I joined them, it was just me with bass, drums and that one guitarist. There were absolutely no written parts for anything and I was given free range to add mine. So what we'd do is get together for practice. The guitarist would play his new tune one time through. Then we'd join him the second go round, and then record the third or fourth time through, keeping it as a sort of record to remember the arrangement and use it as a template for gigs. The last line of my signature (that I don't always include in my posts) has some of those rehearsal recordings, and some turned out rather well even though we were mostly just feeling the songs out. Almost coherent even: https://soundcloud.com/akagrumps/sets/dream-grenades.

Sad though, that they were kids who didn't know how to work a gig. The singer/guitarist would come up with a snappy tune, but after a month wouldn't want to play it anymore in favor of something newer; not caring that people would dig the tune. Getting them to inject covers to carry us on a gig was like pulling teeth as well. When the drummer left town, it all fell apart.
 

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I had a good experience with such a group for a time. It was an original ska band and the guitarist/singer wrote the tunes. When I joined them, it was just me with bass, drums and that one guitarist. There were absolutely no written parts for anything and I was given free range to add mine. So what we'd do is get together for practice. The guitarist would play his new tune one time through. Then we'd join him the second go round, and then record the third or fourth time through, keeping it as a sort of record to remember the arrangement and use it as a template for gigs..
Yeah, that can certainly work out well, again assuming you're into the style of the music. And I definitely like a certain amount of variety. But, as I said, I need a healthy dose of the blues...
 

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Depends on how much they're paying you.
If you're not into the music, they're not paying much, and they start telling you what to do I'd be out of there.
 
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