Ready to Gig? How to know, what to do...

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by OmegaWoods, Sep 24, 2021.

  1. OmegaWoods

    OmegaWoods Tele-Holic

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    I'd be grateful for some wisdom and advice from the TDPRI hive mind.

    Once a guy knows a bunch of chords, pentatonic scales, some blues riffs, a dozen time-honored solos, a bunch of strumming pattern and other guitarish knowledge, then what?

    I've been playing (again) for a year. I know more than I can do, if you know what I mean, but I can take a lead sheet/chord chart and play rhythm along with the band on YouTube for most songs. The problem is making the leap from that to feeling like I can play with others without embarrassing myself.

    How do I know when I'm ready? Different answer for different people, I guess.

    How did you know when you were ready? How good were you when you started getting up with others? What do you wish you had known or done before you took the leap?

    Sorry for the open-ended question but I want to be ready but not wait too long, if you get my meaning.

    Thanks!!
     
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  2. teleforumnoob

    teleforumnoob Friend of Leo's

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    Learn some songs all the way thru and then find some people to play them with you.
    Thats how you start no matter how "good" you are.
     
  3. superjam144

    superjam144 Tele-Afflicted

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    Iron sharpens iron. Practice with the band and you'll get that thing called confidence. Don't forget to have fun!
     
  4. corbo

    corbo Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    A drummer I work with, one of the greats in NYC, likes to say, "A gig is better than 10 rehearsals". Not saying that practice is unimportant -- it's CRUCIAL, but I think "waiting to be ready" can turn into an open-ended proposition which your fear can grab onto, and it could lead to your not gigging for months or even YEARS. I know, because it's happened to me. At some point, if you want to gig, you're going to have to just do it, even if you're scared stiff, whether you think you're ready or not. You may well embarrass yourself. In fact, you can count on it. But you will grow more in those moments than you can imagine. And two minutes later, you may pull off something good enough to get a cheer or a thumbs up, which will feel like a billion dollars. You just have to keep falling off the bike until you learn how to ride it. Each time, it will be a little easier. When you gig, it's being vulnerable...you're putting yourself out there, which means the negatives hurt like crazy. But it also means the positives can push you through. One of the highlights of my playing life came just after I'd played a gig at The Rockwood in NYC, maybe 14 years ago...as we were leaving the stage, in the dark, a tall man with dark glasses standing in the shadows smiled and gave me an enthusiastic thumbs up and said, "nice job!" We were in a hurry to get out of the way for the next band, so I said thanks and we left the club. As we were getting into the car, my lead guitarist said, "You know who that was, right?" I shook my head, as it happened so fast. He said, "Richie Havens." :)
     
  5. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    @corbo above summed it up perfectly. You have to practice and practice until you have "some" confidence that it won't be a TOTAL disaster, but in the end the only thing that will prepare you for gigging is gigging.
    I can almost promise you there will be times you feel embarrassed, but you WILL get over it. Plus, often the mistakes you're embarrassed by aren't even noticed by others. Almost two weeks ago, I played a gig and we did Tom Petty's Mary Jane's Last Dance, which our drummer sings. I had some kind of brain f**t, and went into the guitar break after the first verse instead of the second. I realized what I did half a measure in, recovered, and we picked up the second verse right away. I was really embarrassed, cause it was a stupid mistake, but nobody died or asked for their money back, and the rest of the set went fine.
    Go out and play, and you'll start to realize, with time, you make fewer and fewer errors. And there's NOTHING like the rush of getting on that tight rope, without a net, and performing for people.
     
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  6. 4 Cat Slim

    4 Cat Slim Friend of Leo's

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    Everything listed so far sounds like excellent advice.
    I would add that once you start playing, you continue to try to improve by learning from
    people when the opportunity is there. Especially another guitar player who offers to
    help you or show you something you might not know. I've actually played with somebody who
    didn't want to learn from tab or videos because he wanted his music to be ALL his and
    ALL original (unfortunately, his playing wasn't especially unique or original).
    So be open to help, wherever its source.
     
  7. naveed211

    naveed211 Friend of Leo's

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    I started gigging when I was 17. Our drummer was 14. Our songs were terrible, but we didn’t really know any better. We just wanted to write songs and play.

    If you can channel that youthful exuberance and drive and combine it with some decent chops and tone that is at least listenable, you’re ready.
     
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  8. SmokinJoe992

    SmokinJoe992 TDPRI Member

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    Playing with others will improve your playing faster than just about anything else you can do. Not only is the experience of playing with others valuable, but the motivation to not embarass yourself really makes you focus harder when practicing on your own, especially if there are gigs coming up.

    If you respond to ads for guitar players, you are probably going to find a lot of musicians that aren’t much more advanced than you are, and unfortunately a lot of flakes. If you respond to 3-4 ads you should be able to find a situation that works for you. Just remember your first band will not be your last band, so have fun, and try to learn something from everyone you play with.
     
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  9. Jakedog

    Jakedog Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I never gave it much thought. I just did it. There is no way to get better like playing with other people. It’s the best thing you can do for yourself. Especially if you can get yourself into a situation where you can play with people that are much better and much more advanced than you are.

    When I was teenager I started playing with guys in their 40’s who had been gigging for decades. They were patient with me, and I paid attention. I learned more in the first month than I had learned in the first five years of playing by myself or with people my own age.

    Just go do it.
     
  10. Cali Dude

    Cali Dude Tele-Afflicted

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    It sounds like you've got some of the basics down. Now it's time to build up a few set lists. Once you can get to practice regularly with a band, you will quickly find out where you are on the journey. Have fun, enjoy practicing with others, and you will be on your way. It does take a serious commitment though.
     
  11. Old Deaf Roadie

    Old Deaf Roadie Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    The way to find out if you are ready or not is to book & play a gig. If they book you back, you're ready. If not, change the name of the band, go practice some more, & try it again later.
     
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  12. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    You won't know until you try.

    It sounds like you have the basic building blocks.

    Can you listen? Really listen. And adjust to what is happening in real time.

    More and more I think rhythm/time is the key to it all. People who hear what is going on and innately adjust do really well in bands. Even better if they can sense the tempo needs to be moved slower or faster and can bring the band along. People who can keep time if time is consistent, but can't adjust to what is happening on the fly, don't.

    The other advice is - don't get sucked into thinking more is more. Or that you have to be playing SOMETHING constantly to, I don't know, justify your spot on stage or something? Listen. Add what needs to be added, when it needs to be added, and nothing more
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2021
  13. SRHmusic

    SRHmusic Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Any local blues or other jams in your area?
    I had played out a few times in my life over the years, but a regular weekly blues jam with a variety of musicians helped me focus more on specifics for improvisation and getting comfortable with playing in front of others. Be sure to focus on the better musicians, of course. The specific type of music is not that critical, but it helps to be somewhat interested in it. Also, be sure to find the helpful, encouraging people (and don't bother with the others much!). The best thing is that you can find prospective band mates or openings at these.

    Other thoughts- It may be easiest to start playing out at parties or picnics with a friendly audience.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2021
  14. loopfinding

    loopfinding Friend of Leo's

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    practice material first with people who are on your level to get comfortable. but don't be afraid about asking people above your level now and then once you're comfortable. they'll push you harder.

    i'm an anxious guy, but i never really thought about it, just did it. but i had the push of starting out just trying to get through covers with friends in the basement or playing in the school jazz band. part of the only social skills i ever had were through music, so bluntly asking people to jam stood in for anything else. it's a hell of a lot easier than asking for a girl's number and jamming is way less pressure than a date.

    worth mentioning, there's times in practice (solo or in a band) for honing material, and then there's times in practice where you just have to suck it up and push through, mistakes and all...make pretend like you're playing in front of people, a dress rehearsal basically. you need that contingency plan so as to know how to not fall on your ass.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2021
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  15. magicfingers99

    magicfingers99 Friend of Leo's

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    you either have to learn to play out,or figure out how to get a couple hundred people in your bedroom to hear you play....
     
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  16. OmegaWoods

    OmegaWoods Tele-Holic

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    Thanks to everyone for the great advice. My grandfather always said there are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going and I know that playing out is no exception. I have a friend who plays out some and he's willing to spend some time with me (just found that out) so I'll tap him as a resource and see if I can find a local jam night.

    It's so strange to be an old beginner but I guess everyone starts somewhere.

    Again, THANKS for the encouragement and wisdom!
     
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  17. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Brilliant!

    Here's another angle. When practicing improvising, do it for a long enough time that you have run out of ideas.THEN, is when you'll improve.
     
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  18. magicfingers99

    magicfingers99 Friend of Leo's

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    THEN, is when you'll improve.

    or you'll get hungry and want to take a break......
     
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  19. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Tele-Holic

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    Be able to play at least 30 songs or so. Probably more.
    I started out with a binder of a ton of songs, chords and lyrics. Eventually you narrow it down.

    you just gotta take the step out to do it. Come prepared though. Have as big a catalog as you can. Do your thing. Some people will (hopefully) love it. Some won’t.

    big piece of advice.. if you’re going to play covers, do mostly well known songs. An unknown cover might as well be an original.
     
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  20. Timbresmith1

    Timbresmith1 Tele-Afflicted

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    Just do it. You may wet yourself the first time out. Learning under pressure has multiple benefits.
     
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