Walking bass notes can be a fun way to accompany playing chords with your right hand. The usual way to do this is simply to walk the low piano notes up and down the scale of the chords of your right hand. This can work particularly well on blues songs, which is perhaps no surprise. However this method of playing piano usually works well while playing on your own. When playing with a band it is often a good idea to stay away from bass lines on the piano and let the bass player handle them. Because they are in the same range, the piano bass notes tend to clash the the bass guitar notes. It’s often better to vamp on mi-range chords and play fills as the music calls for it with your right hand.
The exception to this is when you are playing a solo. During a solo, you can go crazy with both hands. The rest of the time you are one player in the band. The overall goal is to compliment the unit as a whole which can be an amazing experience when it happens. You may find that playing with a band can be an intensely frustrating experience as well and you do not want to be the source of the frustration!
So bear this tip from the experts and let the bass player handle the bass lines when you are on stage.
Another issue that affects onstage musicians is the matter of sound monitors. These are an amplified speaker system that is usually placed at the front of the stage in the direction of the band. Instruments can be piped through each musician’s individual monitor speaker at whichever level they choose to help the bland stay in touch with the other members of the bend. Quite often it is just vocals that are needed to be heard, especially when a musician is on the far end of the stage from the lead singer.
While sound monitors are great in theory, when individual musicians turn up the volume level too loud, the whole thing can spiral out of control. Usually the next guy cannot hear himself, so he turns his up and the rest of the band follows suite to the dismay of the poor mixer who loses control of his ability to mix sound due to the excessive volume coming from the stage.
A band’s musical energy tends to feed the audience, which in turn feeds the band. which is why it’s important to work out your piano chords and scales and riffs in other keys using step patterns and note relationships. This also goes for getting your right hand bass notes in order so that they do not clash with the bass guitar. Doing so ahead of time makes for a more polished and successful performance.