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Tips for Up-and-Coming Bassists with Carl Dawkins: Image

Meet Carl Dawkins –

So this is going to be the last article for a while in this series of tips for the up and coming bass player. Don’t worry there will still be the odd article referring back to it but for the coming few months we will be focusing on performance and stage presence.

For this last article I would like to keep it brief, this is such a wide-spread topic that I could spend days going into detail about everything. So I have tried to give a brief over-view of the subject and for any extra info or just for a chat about any one of my other articles you can email me at

I do hope the advice I have given out over these article have been useful, even if every aspect was not relevant to you. For this last article however we will be having a closer look at a topic we touched on a few months ago – Image.

Now in every case image is different, but the main point that we will be discussing today is that of a plain image compared to that of a more edgy image – both of which I have strived to go for at some point or another in the last 4 years.

Now image is something that very often gets overlooked , sometimes through ignorance or sometimes through the shear fact that one may be very lucky to naturally have his own image and never has to worry about it or morph his image into something else that may be required. From my experience thus far, if your playing live, whether it be in a band, or on TV or striving to be a session player, your image will come into play and may be that deciding factor on getting that gig or not.

I have friends in London who have walked into auditions and before even playing a note been told ‘sorry your not right for this’. Just because of the way they looked. Now I’m not saying its time to go re-evaluate your image, but its just something to take into consideration when applying for a gig…. You wouldn’t turn up for pop act dressed in full gothic clothing…or you might, and you might get the gig…in which case email me! However in the majority of cases its good to try and filter into the sort of image you think they may be after.

If you are looking to join a band or looking to session for artists live, you have to view yourself as a business, as you will be paid for your services. I for one would feel a bit uneasy if you went to walk into a classy restaurant, and found all the waiters were dressed in hot pants…for Hooters it’s acceptable (I love hooters) but if you were greeted with this unexpected welcome as you walked in, you would probably go eat elsewhere.

Now as I said before, a lot of us will have our own style, what we like and don’t like. There is no need to change it just a need to learn how to adapt it. For example I have my lip pierced (it looks very fetching I might add). But for some auditions or gigs I would not wear it, to make myself seem almost a bit normal. For certain types of work it could be required for you to not stand out – where as for other acts (notably Rhianna’s backing band on her tour a few years ago) it may be a good thing to have a more diverse ‘edgy look’. These little changes could be an advantage – after all they say first impressions are everything.

Skip to 8.00 minutes and you get a clear view of members of her backing band – take note that their all different and have there own unique style while still fitting in….looking at that video though I think I may of stolen the keyboard players haircut…

There is no right or wrong image to go for, you just have to be yourself, and the main thing is that you’re comfortable unless you’re working for Lady Gaga and your wearing doll’s house on your head. At the end of the day you are a package, and you may never know why you did or didn’t get the gig, but if you can walk in to any audition knowing you have done all you can then eventually you will find the right band/session for you.

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