BBb Bass position in band

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by premacyblue, Mar 26, 2006.

  1. premacyblue

    premacyblue Member

    I have joined a first class band since last september and although I was a better player than the 1st BBb Bass player who had been there a long time i sat in the 2nd BBb bass seat even though I play all the solo parts in the music pieces. Recently we have lost our 2nd EEb bass player and the !st BBb Bass has moved up to the lighter instrument due to his age. A new BBb Bass player (Ex Championship band) recently came in and went straight to the 1st Bbb Bass position as he was @a far better player than me' to qoute the other bass players. Incesed by this I instantly resigned and walked out. Do other band have these problems and do you think I did the right thing? (I have since been apologised to by the bandmaster but I still don't want to return)
  2. madsaz

    madsaz Member

    I think it is difficult. We all have our pride and want to improve and have our moment of "fame". The MD has to think of what is best for the band. Its kind of easy if you step down for someone miles ahead of you.

    Last year I stepped down from front row because Jimmy Shepherd helped us out on Whit Friday..... that was easy. I then stayed on back row for another player who wasn't so far ahead of me. I felt irritated, but I now really enjoy back row and realise that I had to do what is best for the band.

    Sometimes, making an instant decision isn't the right thing to do - you need to give yourself time to reflect. What if this guy is a great player? Time served and commitment to the band is great, but playing ability also matters.

    I sympathise with you because we all know how it feels to be "put down". You might be happier elsewhere, it would probably take more bottle to back down and go back - but only you can know what will make you fell happy. It would be a shame to burn some bridges.
  3. zak

    zak Member

    That's probably the best advice I have ever seen given on this forum, well said that person!!!!!!!!!!!!:clap: :clap: :clap:
  4. horn__blower

    horn__blower Member

    Blimey, is there that much difference btwn the bass players parts anyway?
    like, its not nice to be unappreciated, i know that from bitter experience, but i really didnt realise there was a hierarchy in bass section?
    is it across the whole bass sec, or are Eb and Bb seperate hierarchys?
  5. Matthew

    Matthew Active Member

    It can depend on the music (piece), the band/ethos and the section the band is in. :) This was recently debated here if memory serves me right. :D

    Mark - I can appreciate your frustration over this. For any player to say to you the other BBb is a "far better player" than you is insensitive and uncalled for at the very least. A little diplomacy wouldn't have gone amiss and I can understand why your feelings have been hurt.

    Have you discussed this with the MD on a 1-1 basis? Sometimes, when another player is clearly technically and musically more proficient it can make sense that they take a more leading role. However, that doesn't mean that other players shouldn't also have the chance to develop and learn from more experienced or proficient players. Sometimes it is better to share a role as much as possible within the bass section, as long as this doesn't have overall negative effects/consequences for the rest of the band playing, quality-wise. Only then, do all players have a chance to improve for the good of the whole band.

    Maybe after reflecting on this, you might return? However, that decision must be yours and whether you feel you can be comfortable again with your former band.

    Did you have the chance of discussing this on a personal level with the newer BBb player out of interest? If not, I wonder if doing so would be beneficial? Even if you don't return, you have then at least 'closed' the episode for yourself on a personal level and hopefully won't be left with feelings of bitterness or resentment?

    A good bass section should work as a team - all have their strengths and all players should (ideally) be able to play each others parts (who knows when you may be called on to do so!).

    In a world where good BBb Tuba players seem to be relatively scarce, you may decide to use this to strengthen your determination to improve even more or even move on to a band of your choosing where you will hopefully feel you are valued.

    Let us know how you get on anyway. Good luck. :D
  6. Pythagoras

    Pythagoras Active Member

    Have moved from solo Eflat bass to 2nd Bflat bass over the last 2 years due to better players arriving, but usually play the higher note on splits as the other player is better at pedals than me. Didn't bother me as surely good players coming to the band is something good, and I feel that my own playing has improved and now much prefer Bflat to Eflat. Bass playing is about the team. Worrying about what seat people sit on should be left to cornets.
  7. Chunky

    Chunky Active Member

    Could not agree more. Myself and Big Phat Bass Boy are equals on the BBb bass part. Invariably because he has played smaller instruments he will take they higher parts and splits and myself the lower.

    Also in parts written for 1 only we usually take them in turns, unless it suits one of us better than the other due to the ranges we are more comfortable at.

    However its a shame when anybody stops playing, at times we all get frustrated but certainly it pays to keep quiet and see how these situations develop in the long term.

    Hope you are back playing again soon.
  8. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    A snap decision is sometimes a bit too precipitious.

    Proper handling of changes like this by the MD and/or chairman or whoever is making said decisions is crucial. The key element is to let the existing players know when such a change is to be made.

    Several years ago, I had been playing 2nd euph, having moved from baritone because of a medical issue with the 2nd euph player. We don't rehearse during the summer, and we always kick off our season with a rehearsal weekend. I was asked to bring a baritone to the weekend, ostensibly because the two persons playing baritone the season before would be unable to attend the weekend. I was quite surprised when I discovered that a new 2nd euph was present, and that my switch back to baritone was permanent.

    My problem with this wasn't that I was switched (actually, I'm a far better bari player than a euph player), it was that the switch was not communicated in advance. In this case, I had spent most of the summer concentrating on practicing euph, when a simple phone call or an email from the MD (who had known for at least a few weeks that the switch was going to take place) would have at least let me brush up on my rusty baritone skills.

    In premacyblue's case, his anger and frustration might have been mitigated if the MD, chairman, whoever had come to him BEFORE announcing that a new player had been signed and explained the situation. I'm not saying that his reaction was altogether proper, but this type of resentment is often stilled by a little simple communication.