The Gigging Guitarist, Not For the Faint of Heart

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Rockinvet, Dec 5, 2019.

  1. Rockinvet

    Rockinvet Tele-Meister

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    Many of us live in our niche and are comfortable playing the styles we are familiar with, but being versatile is a challenge. To play in more situations requires knowing lots of different styles. The true freelance player has to have a good handle of all the rock basic repertoire, country, r and b, soul, funk, standards and all the variations of each one of those genres. Your expected to play from Brown eyed Girl to a Journey tune, Alan Jackson tunes Luke Bryant, Brad Paisely, then switch gears to George Benson Breezin maybe some KC, Unforgettable by Nat king Cole, Frank Sinatra, some old Doobies, Van Halen. Let’s not forget some jazz standards for that cocktail hour in the corporate gig or wedding you’ve been hired for. I mean the list goes on and on. Please feel free to chime in on your experiences.

    Reading music is a plus too to be able to play shows whether it’s a broadway type show or just an oldies act coming through town with a music director hiring locals as a back up band or that church gig on a Sunday morning after you’ve been out til 3 am. Truthfully for me the reading gigs are the easiest. Once you learn how to read all you have to do is show up read your part and go home. unless of course they send you this ungodly long show of 50 pages of stuff with a series of road maps a modern Gps couldn’t figure out.

    Let’s not forget that solo gig at the local restaurant and the ability to cover requests on demand. That brings up another point, singing. If you can’t sing that narrows down the chances of landing that local band gig looking for a guitar player that sings.

    There’s just more to it than meets the eye. These are just a few examples of different scenarios. Didn’t even mention classical. That’s a whole other bag in itself. What are your experiences?
     
  2. FenderGuy53

    FenderGuy53 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Apart from having played electric rhythm guitar for our church band many years ago, I now mainly play my Martin acoustic guitars, playing by myself, or with rhythm tracks, through my new Fishman Loudbox Mini BT (great amp, by the way). While I do enjoy it (it keeps callouses on my fingertips, too), I do miss the camaraderie and learning that I got when playing in a band setting.
     
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  3. Togman

    Togman Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Most of my free-lance work is playing in pit bands for stage musicals. Some of the more modern shows are insanely difficult to play. The last I did was 'Legally Blonde'. A good show - but a very challenging guitar part. I find the most difficult thing to be are of is the kind of effects required for each show. They never seem to have a list at the front saying you will need Chorus, Wah etc. You usually find out when you get to something like bar 74 and there is a little note that says 'Flanger'! I have recently purchased a Helix Floor to ensure that I can quickly call up any effects that are required.

    But all in all I love this work. It's a challenge and very often stretches me - which is a good thing.
     
  4. Rasmuth

    Rasmuth Tele-Afflicted

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    I gig regularly, but the songs end up being how I interpret them and much influenced by my style of playing, such as it is.
     
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  5. getbent

    getbent Telefied Silver Supporter

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  6. Tim G

    Tim G Tele-Meister

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    Back when I gigged a lot, when I was between bands I did freelance a lot. Being able to read music saved me many times. You have to be able to play a lot of styles. Back then I did rock, oldies, old country, new country, polkas, square dances, and stage shows.

    One night a was a fill in for this country band, when we ready to start he said "This one is in the key of A, you won't know the song, I wrote it."
     
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  7. Joshiquad

    Joshiquad TDPRI Member

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    This thread reminds me of how much of a musician I am not.
     
  8. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    That’s me.
    I’m a pro ho.
    And it cuts all kinds of ways.
    I’m a jack of all trades, and master of none.
    I play with people so bad I can’t believe they get gigs, and with people that are so much better I cannot believe they tolerate me.
    I try to learn from all of em’.
    I do solo, duo and trio gigs, C&W, R&B, R&R, lounge jazz (not real jazz, I ain’t that smart), and songwriter gigs.
    I live to play.
    I’ll quit when I literally, physically can’t do it anymore.
     
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  9. Northern Tele

    Northern Tele Tele-Meister

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    Eh, The problem with this kind of mentality is that it breeds mediocrity. Most musicians really aren't that expert in mutiple styles..passable yes but not really convincing.

    Better to be really great at 1 or 2 things then okay at a bunch of things. The reason why live music is taking a beating is because just getting by and passable is the standard now. A lot ringers and jobbers but no entertainment...
     
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  10. dswo

    dswo Tele-Holic

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    I've never sought paid employment as a musician, but I am always impressed by how many different things music majors -- and even minors -- have to learn outside of their main interest or instrument. I'm an English professor and some, I know from talking with them, don't see the point when they're doing it. ("I'm here to play clarinet. Why do I have to learn piano?") The same, I've seen, is true for art majors. ("I want to be a videographer. Why do I have to learn how to draw?") But a lot of that seemingly irrelevant stuff becomes relevant faster than you expect, once you start working in complex environments. More on this and the like in a book that came out this summer:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2019
  11. twangjeff

    twangjeff Tele-Afflicted

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    I think it's true to an extent, when you are starting your musical career. I play all of the styles you mentioned, and when I first started I would do a top 40 gig, a musical, a r&B gig, gospel, country, etc. Based on the type of players where I live, I quickly got lots of call for country gigs (You'd think in Houston there would be country guitar players right?). Then the word started to spread, "Oh you need somebody that can play all the 90's record licks? Call Jeff." After not too long, my schedule was full of country gigs and I didn't do any jazz gigs. Now most people around Southeast Texas know that I'm one of the top country players in the region, but they don't know that I play jazz, or neo soul, or that I read, etc.
     
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  12. regularslinky

    regularslinky Tele-Afflicted

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    Togman - color me impressed! My kid does community theatre and they often have a live pit. As a semi-retired three-chord bar band guitarist, the pit musicians amaze me. They perform 2+ hours of unfamiliar music, from sheets, with little or no rehearsal. Total pros. I don't know what they get paid, but considering that the actors and staff are volunteers and the theatre companies are non-profits, I'm sure it isn't what they deserve.
     
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  13. twangking

    twangking Tele-Afflicted

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    You mean cover guitarist. I don't play any covers. All originals and will continue to keep it that way.
     
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  14. Rockinvet

    Rockinvet Tele-Meister

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    Well that got some good responses. Many I’d love to quote just too many. There are some great musicians on this site and I’m glad to see your input.
     
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  15. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I was part of a Celtic group that gigged around these parts. Totally not my thing, but I learned a heck of a lot about weird time signatures and playing along with a bevy of odd instruments. I had to revert back to my violin days of reading music too. It helped leapfrog my finger picking, so just that right there made it all worthwhile. It was a great learning experience and had fun with it.

    I'm currently putting together an eccentric blues solo act project for the road and using some of that Celtic group experience to help me prepare. Where "requests" need to be dealt with in a clever way.:cry:
     
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  16. DekeDog

    DekeDog Tele-Meister

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    This thread reminds me about how often I kick myself for putting down the guitar for the twenty-five years of my life that I could have been using to learn it.
     
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  17. Area51

    Area51 Tele-Holic

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    I'm just a garage band kind of guy. I do have friends who are, or were touring musicians that come by to have jam sessions when they're in town. They range from Berkeley, Musicians Institute or GIT (depending on their vintage), to just well rounded very experienced players. They always make me feel good by saying the difference between me and them is experience and when they started gigging they were like me:)

    What always amazes me is the fluidity these guys all have. You start playing something and they just jump in and go with it. Whereas it usually takes me a few to learn and review before starting with the band. Trying to throw them off I threw in an old jazz/swing standard when I had several of them together (what a great night). They jumped in each playing a different horn part and the bass player just followed my progression. Now I know they never learned these songs. I can get the bass player jumping in quickly, but the other guys were playing the horns based on just having heard the songs before (and more than likely, not recently).

    This is one of the reasons I don't like the guitarist bashing that goes on on this site at times...
     
  18. String Tree

    String Tree Doctor of Teleocity

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    Pretty much like everything you mentioned in your original post.
    YEP!!!
     
  19. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Tele-Afflicted

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    Same and same. Only myself to blame.

    I don’t cover other people’s songs. Because I can’t…
     
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  20. Rockinvet

    Rockinvet Tele-Meister

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    To those guys who say oh I’m not a pro or I’m not that great what you have to do is have in your heart that you like what you do at the level you are at. That is what it’s all about. We’re all in this together, no matter what. Nuff said
     
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