Professional Bassist

Freelance Musician, Potential Session Player, Lesson Teacher

What a Freelance Bassist Can Expect

A freelance bassist, or any musician for that matter, is one who fills in for bands regular member for one gig* or for an extended period of time. They might even work out a way to stay with a certain band if they especially like playing with them. Bassists play an important role in every style and form of music, therefore a skilled one is always in need, as opposed to a euphonium player. Being comfortable in and knowing how to play in all styles will help you get the most jobs, even if you don't necessarily like that genre of music. This is the key to making money and gaining recognition as a freelance bassists. However, if you can master one style, the chances of being a session bassist or even first call bassist for that type of music increase dramatically. Session bassists are hired by other freelance musicians or vocalists to play in recording studios for their albums and will make money based on record sales. Another way to supplement income is by giving private lessons to aspiring young bassists.


Gig: any performance



Requirements to be a Freelance Bassist

While a proper degree is not completely necessary, a Bachelor's Degree for your instrument or in music is the easiest and most beneficial way to become successful in the music scene. A college music program helps you put in time on the bandstand, teaches you things you wouldn't learn anywhere else, and gets you connections.


Playing clubs and on albums is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to being a musician. The rest of the iceberg is devoted to practicing, five or more focused hours a day. Technique, working advanced theory into your playing, and learning parts for gigs you have accepted is most definitely required. Promoting yourself to get jobs in the first place is also important.


The music community for any scene is tightly knit with news traveling fast about who can play and who can't, who is reliable, and who is professional. So, professionalism is a big part of being a professional musician. Showing up on time, bringing the right equipment, and not smelling bad can make a relationship with a band. Smell good and look legit if anything. Also, nobody wants to work with someone who is rude, complains about the pay, and is hard to work with. Nobody said it was easy, but if you really do love it, this will be no problem.

Great Bassists

Typical Day for a Freelance Bassist

Wake up at 10 am. Check internet and social networks for who is playing where, reviews of any recent shows you played, and messages about gigs. 11 am begin practicing with scales, exercises, and rhythm. 1 pm take a break to eat, go to music store to pick up charts that were ordered, and buy some CDs. Start practicing again until 4 pm, take a short break. If a you have a gig planned for that night, call bandleader to make sure everything is set up for later. Start practicing music for that night. Leave at 6 pm with all the equipment you will need and head to the club or venue you will be playing at. Grab a meal and listen to the bands before you while working out set list, variations, and other things with band members. 10 pm warm up, sound check, and start the set. 11:30 pm leave after getting paid, packing up, and discussing the performance. Check out any other bands in the area that are still playing. 1 or 2 am head home.




More Great Bassists

Works cited

Zimmerman, Lee. "M Music & Musicians Magazine » VICTOR WOOTEN." M Music Musicians Magazine RSS. M Music Magazine, 2013. Web. 08 Jan. 2014.

Bassist Carlitos Del Puerto. Digital image. Www.chipboaz.com. Latin Jazz This Weel, 21 May 2013. Web. 8 Jan. 2014.

Jslick07, John. "Surviving As A Freelance Musician." ULTIMATE GUITAR TABS. 800,000 Songs Catalog with Free Chords, Guitar Tabs, Bass Tabs, Ukulele Chords and Guitar Pro Tabs!Ultimate Guitar, 5 Oct. 2010. Web. 08 Jan. 2014.

Patitucci, John. "Aguilar Amplification: Bass Pedals, Bass Pickups, Bass Preamps, Bass Amplifiers, and Bass Speaker Cabinets." Aguilar Amplification: Bass Pedals, Bass Pickups, Bass Preamps, Bass Amplifiers, and Bass Speaker Cabinets. Aguilar Amplification, 2011. Web. 08 Jan. 2014.

Yarborough, Chuck. "Marcus Miller: Grammy-winning Bassist and Producer at Nighttown for Two Shows on Thursday." The Plain Dealer. The Plain Dealer, 21 Sept. 2012. Web. 08 Jan. 2014.

Brown, Corey. "Robert Trujillo Financing Jaco Pastorius Documentary Film." No Treble RSS. No Treble, Nothing But Bass, 27 May 2012. Web. 08 Jan. 2014.