Going from Hobbyist to Open Mic/Jam player

Dik Ellis

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Not sure if you can find one, but a Fender GDEC amp is a great practice tool for any level player. Also lots of jamming vids on You Tube.
 

Stringbanger

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I would not go with 3-4 songs. First I would get a full repertoire of 40 songs, and be able to play them all fairly well. This will take time, but it will give you a better foundation and more versatility. It doesn’t matter if they are just strummed.

During the time you are building your repertoire, teach yourself to sing, or take voice lessons. Playing guitar without singing limits your possibilities.

Next, try to find at least one guitar player who is better than you to jam with. You
won’t get better playing with people who are not as good as you. You need a guitar buddy, man or woman.

Use all of the tools at your disposal: Craigslist, Facebook (some towns have their own FB page). See if any local businesses like grocery stores etc., have bulletin boards where you can hang a poster seeking other musicians to jam with.

Honestly, I don’t think you are ready to play at an open mic, but you could start attending them (as someone else mentioned), just to see what goes on. I’m not trying to discourage you here, but I’m trying to be candid.

The reasons that I don’t think you are ready:

1. You have been playing for 16 months and don’t know any songs all the way through.

2 The mindless noodling.

Use the time you mindlessly noodle to work on learning new songs. My two cents.
 

ndcaster

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I have been playing guitar for 16 months now and think I need to start making some goals for my playing beyond mindless noodling and learning parts of songs.

Now the world is opening up I am looking to start playing out with others but have no clue how to do it. I suspect my goal should be an open mic or jam setting but I have no idea if I am good enough yet or when I'll be good enough.

My plan of action is:
1) Learn some songs all the way through
2) Find people to play with
3) Book or arrange to play at a venue to motivate practice and give reason to playing.

Any words or wisdom on how to achieve the above is very much welcome as I have never done this before.
solid plan

record yourself playing the songs all the way through

play with the metronome as if it were a snare on 2 and 4

to find people, you have to be findable yourself

make this your mantra: "if it isn't scheduled, it doesn't exist"

get yourself signed up for mic nights: people don't want to go hear someone rehearse
 

swarfrat

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I'm on this journey too which is why I've been hijacking the thread after the OP dropped out. I knew about recording yourself. I didn't necessarily think about video though.
 

telestratosonic

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Got a tip off last night of a new bar/music venue being opened in a few weeks looking to host a weekly open mic and band night. Girlfriend knows the owner and staff so may be a good place to check out and then see if I feel confident enough to put my name down for one night.

I cannot sing (unless I get 6 months of vocal coaching) so it's a struggle to think of how to do an open mic (I don't like playing to a backing track). Do I need to find a singer or do I try doing one guitar instrumental music?
Don't sell yourself short.
The best and only way I know of to learn to sing is to start singing. You 'will' improve with repetition.
I'd start with 'Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star' and 'Jingle Bells'.
Seriously.
Good luck.
 

Skyhook

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Hell, I've been playing over 54 years making money at it, and I still cringe watching myself on video!

(It's not my playing, it's just that I'm UGLY!)
Dude... if this guy could front a big metal band in the beauty conscious 80's and later his solo act,
then you can refrain from cringing at yourself!

maxresdefault.jpg

Pictured: Fell out of the ugly tree and hit most of the branches on his way down... and still rocking!
 

Skyhook

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but I have no idea if I am good enough yet or when I'll be good enough.

My plan of action is:
1) Learn some songs all the way through
2) Find people to play with
3) Book or arrange to play at a venue to motivate practice and give reason to playing.

Any words or wisdom on how to achieve the above is very much welcome as I have never done this before.
All righty... let's do this thing...
I'll answer all your numbered points and the un-numbered one I'll put a zero on... 'k?

0) Don't sweat it. The sad(and sobering) truth is that you won't be ready when you hit that stage.
Ever heard the saying "Fake it 'til you make it"? Well... this is it. When you have a few gigs under your
belt you might start to be "ready". "You're doing it wrong! ... Yeah, but I'm doing it!", should be your guideline.
Nobody ever learned to swim on dry land, let alone got "good enough" at it there.

1) This is good! The "all the way through" is key here! I'm very much guilty of the "main riff and then what?" style of playing.
Just make sure you pick songs you want to play. Life is way too short to play songs which make you physically ill to hear
unless you're getting paid really well for that particular gig. Oh... side note... as soon as you're even nearing the
ready/good-enough -mark... stop playing for "exposure". If you're doing your buddy a favor and you want to do it,
then sure but you can't even buy a milk shake with "exposure". So make sure you get paid in something that can.

exposure-1q8gczz.jpg

1375152455-musicians.jpeg


2) That's the trick, isn't it... Most likely, most people who play an instrument know of some other guy somewhere who
also plays an instrument. Friend of a friend of a friend plays bass? Great! Bring him along! I've also trolled music shops for peeps.
Is someone trying out an instrument? Well... you know that guy can play. Go ask him! Skill is great of course,
but even more important is chemistry. If you know a great guy who's not so great at playing though... well... skills
can be honed and leveled up. Much better to have the right guy in the spot than some skilled rear orifice who
will make everyone miserable.

3) Yeah... nothing accelerates band practice like an actual deadline. True. However, make sure you can actually get through
your setlist, warts and all, before you book though. Then you can start honing.
 

chulaivet1966

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Nov 17, 2011
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Location
The Heartland.....Kansas
Hell, I've been playing over 54 years making money at it, and I still cringe watching myself on video!

(It's not my playing, it's just that I'm UGLY!)
Ha....I hear you.
It was very difficult for me to get beyond my self perception of doing any videos.

Regarding uploading YT videos....I started uploading some of my originals and copy tune play-alongs about a year or so ago and still have apprehension about putting my aged countenance out there.

Back to it....
 




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