Hey, I have a lvl 73 Bard on Odin so I thought I would give you some suggestions.
A bard is a support job...there are really no ifs ands or buts about it. Its in our nature and it is what we do best. Generally PUP is not a very good subjob. As a bard you need to focus on supporting your party, pulling, sleeping, debuffing the mob, etc. I don't know much about pups but if you subbed /pup I'm pretty sure that will drastically reduce the puppets performance as with subing alot of other jobs.
You can melee if you want and if your party is ok with it. With melee buffs (mineut madrigal/att & acc) i was actually able to melee quite well early on 1-55ish. While this is highly frowned upon by some people, I actually never had a problem with it nor the people I partied with. If you sing your songs, debuff mob, and pull etc, most people won't care, unless your doing like 1 dmg. (I did 20-30 dmg with sword, and 10-20 with dagger) That is if you have time to melee anyway...and TIME is a big issue with bard. I'm pretty glad i kept up with my sword and dagger because it helps later if you want to be able to farm and kill sh*t. (I just got evisceration yay!) Though after 55ish you will have no time to melee if you wanted to, and the mobs will be alot stronger, and the parties will be more...efficient and focused.
That being said.. the best sub for bard is whitemage. Because it greatly increases our innate ability to support in battle. With a /whm sub you can cure, cure statises, erase, etc. It really helps the healer in your party whenever you guys are in a pinch and later on when you get double ballads, your really never find yourself out of mp if your in a pretty good party.
Later on like post 60. On and off you may be asked to sub ninja for pulling using utsusemi to protect you. Besides pulling, subbing ninja really does not add anything to the bard job. It mainly keeps you alive while you pulling. Because later on, you will be asked to pull in most if not all parties you are in, and you will be pulling quite fast. There really isnt any rest until after the last chain so you will have to keep the mobs coming, such as pulling when the current mob is low on health, or pulling when the mob is around half and sleeping it at the camp, etc. Later on in merit parties, you will probably asked to go /nin also because you have to pull and sleep very fast. I have never had a problem pulling with /whm however. I just kept stoneskin and blink up (wasnt hard with ballads). I don't understand bards that won't pull as a whm.
Also for the most part, you want to concentrate on CHR and MP for /whm sub. Later on you want to focus on +skills. Evasion also helps for dodging attacks while pulling.
I love bard alot. It is very different job if your used to like playing melee classes or mage classes. Sometimes I feel like im not carrying my weight in the party lol because im just running around and singing but in fact you are helping tremendously. Being able to buff melees such as giving them attack and acc helps them hit and hit harder like they are several levels above the current mob. Giving mages ballads lets them be more efficient and not run out of mp so fast. Elegy (your primary pulling song) slows the mobs attacks (this helps your tank alot and reduces how much dmg the mob does overall). Not to mention it is one of the most sought after jobs for an xp party...and thats what I like! I get invites within minutes of logging in and invites when I'm not seeking.
I don't claim to be a bard guru so if you really want to persue bard check out bard guides!
Hope this helps.
Edited, Jan 7th 2009 2:05pm by BeaverFeverBoy