Gerard Zappa Cincinnati

Nailing the Audition as A Bass Guitar Player

Gerard Zappa discusses a brief checklist of the most important ways to ensure a successful bass guitar player audition.

No matter if someone has been auditioning for 2 weeks or 20 years, the moment when they stand onstage in front of a potential band or group is always nerve-wracking. There are plenty of ways an audition can go wrong for a potential bass guitarist – but just as many ways it can go right. Gerard Zappa provides below a brief checklist for nailing the audition.

The most important way to have a successful audition is to first gather what will make the audition go smoothly. Practicing may seem like an obvious answer, but its importance cannot be understated. Finally, arrive early and be prepared for anything and everything.

Gather Information

Begin any audition by doing research, and compiling information on the audition itself, the band or group, and the venue. It’s an easy step, and one that can make a huge difference. 

Will the guitarist need to bring their own amp, or is one provided? It’s suggested to always bring your own – providing the proper equipment on your own does away with not having the proper hookups for a different type of amp, and it makes the musician appear more professional.

Will the audition require an original song, or would it be best to play something classic, or that showcases the bassist’s talents? 


It is an old adage, but the concept of ‘practice makes perfect’ has never been a foolish one. Working on transitions, where to drop out or enter, or learning to play a set in a different key may help a bassist stand out from the crowd. 

Any song played for a bass guitar audition should be memorized verbatim, note-for-note. Flubbing on the chorus or difficult bridge will not give a great impression and will take some work to overcome. 

Arrive Early

There’s no need to arrive at the audition hours beforehand, but having the time to set up equipment, get in some last-minute practice, and troubleshoot any potential technical issues will make it easier to hop right into the audition itself. Being punctual also imparts a good impression on the band.

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Be Prepared 

Anything and everything could potentially go wrong at an audition. Be prepared for sudden changes, late arrivals by other band members, technical issues, and the like. It’s also best to steel oneself for questions or requests that are out of the ordinary.

It’s impossible to know what is going to happen at an audition but by being prepared, and ready will avoid any unforeseen surprises.


Practice and preparedness are the perfect combo for succeeding at a bass guitar audition. Arriving early creates a good impression and knowing all of the details will ensure a smooth audition without outside forces keeping the bassist from doing what they do best.

By Gerard Zappa

Gerard Zappa Cincinnati