More cowbell is a matter of taste, but a band can’t go without a bass player. Providing the rhythmic backbone of your music, playing bass may not always be the most glamorous role, but there’s no question that it’s essential. If you’re having trouble finding a great bass player to join your ensemble, we have some tips to help improve your search.
Look within your circles
Your first step should always be to ask around among the people you know. You’ll never know what random friend of a friend might be a low-key killer bass player who’s been trying to find a band to join. Post on social media and make sure the word gets out that you’re looking, and see what kinds of responses you get back.
Beyond using your immediate social group to find musicians, network in your local music scene. If you don’t already have relationships with many different bands in your area, start going to more shows and making an effort to get to know the musicians. Identifying people with a similar musical styles to yours makes it more likely that any potential bandmates you audition will be a good fit from the start.
Word of mouth might only get you so far; it’s a wise bet to cast a wide net and get the word out in as many ways as possible. A vast number of platforms currently exist for placing personal ads, and you might as well take advantage of as many as you can. Obviously, Craigslist and local message boards are great to place your “musicians wanted” ad, as well as the location-specific sections of bigger boards like Reddit.
However, tried and true methods can still be successful too — putting musician classifieds in the newspaper, hanging up flyers on telephone poles, or posting on bulletin boards in apartment buildings or cafes. If you live on a college campus or in a neighborhood home to many creative people, this can get you a surprising amount of visibility.
Whatever media you choose to advertise on, aim to make your ads as specific and intriguing as possible. Be detailed in describing your sound and the type of person you’re looking for, or just use the design and presentation of your ad to evoke a sense of your band’s personality and style. You want your ad to be seen by as many people as possible, but you don’t want to waste time with anyone who isn’t a good fit. With online ads, post a link to samples of your music so that people know exactly what they’re trying out for.
Finding a short-term bassist
If you need someone to play bass with you for a specific tour or project but aren’t necessarily interested in bringing on a permanent band member, there are plenty of musician finder resources to accomplish that too. GigSalad and musicianspage.com are two examples of sites that professional musicians can advertise their skills and their rates on. You can browse through profiles and find someone that fits your needs as well as your budget.