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getting a band together/playing out?


blitzkrieg bop

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I know this is a general topic, but I have had a lot of trouble getting people together to play or start a band. What are some tips from you experience players? I want to play out, but can't do it alone. I thought about doing coffee shops, but can't sing. and the stuff I play needs a singer. I ultimately would like to play original power pop songs, and I have some written, getting sick of playing them for myself.

 

I guess this can be a common sense question, just network or post ads. But was wondering if the experienced players had any info they could share. Especially about getting gigs or how detailed a plan I would need before even getting people together.

 

I appreciate it! Thanks.

"When learned men begin to use their reason, then I generally discover that they haven't got any." -GK Chesterton
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I've found that there are very few guys that I get along with enough (musically) to play in a band with. In fact, there's one guy that was a roommate 12 years ago that taught me guitar...we both improved a lot through playing together for about 2 years...we became like brothers. We got to the point where we knew exactly what the other guy was gonna do whether it be solo, chord change, speed up, slow down, etc. etc. that it was weird. To this day I haven't found anyone that I enjoy playing with like that. In fact, we only get together about once a year or even less now but those weekends are amazing, like old times.

 

Not to discourage you, but for me anyway, it's very hard to find folks to play with that I enjoy enough to play out with. Of course you can post ads and get the word out, but it is providence when you find a guy or two where you just enjoy playing together like that.

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if i'm looking to start a project, i'll go out and see all the bands in town with a similar sound and start up conversations with the guys playing. everyone's looking for the next best thing, so it's a good way to network.

 

open jams and bulletin boards are occasionally successful, but they have never worked for me.

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It's a tough thing to find people if you can't sing. Chances are, the people who are good musicians and singers couldn't be bothered with non-singing musicians because they crave the choiral effect of 3 part harmonies that change chords in every bar.

 

I would say that, first,...you've got to find another musician that you get along with, work out some tunes and then move on from there and find the next person. And you should be accumulating equipment along the way. Besides your own equipment for your instrument, PA is important stuff. A good cheap mixer and some Shure SM57's or SM58's. A good clean guitar amp will fill the bill for a temporary PA at practice sessions.

Learn how to sing! Get over your shyness. Nobody's going to beat you up or throw you in jail if you're bad. They'll just leave. (which is probably worse in the ego dept,)

Tape yourselves. That is probably the hardest on your ego. The tape doesn't lie. You'll hear your mistakes. Being a wannabe guitarist/rockstar, I'm sure you have fairly good taste in musicianship, pitch and execution. You'll know when it's good or bad on playback.

The good tapes will be your calling card.

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Busking isn't for everyone, but I found it improved my playing , as well as my confidence, and it was good way to meet other musicians. A lot of great players honed their skills playing on the street. Kaki King comes to mind.

I occasionally play in church and other little community based projects, but these yield a mixed bag of results. The only time I feel I really get a chance to express myself is through solo playing and lately I've been hearing the street calling me back.

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Originally posted by 's mel gibson:

It's a tough thing to find people if you can't sing. Chances are, the people who are good musicians and singers couldn't be bothered with non-singing musicians because they crave the choiral effect of 3 part harmonies that change chords in every bar.

 

I would say that, first,...you've got to find another musician that you get along with, work out some tunes and then move on from there and find the next person.

I'm really not sure about that. I've never had problems finding singers. Some have suggested working out harmonies, some haven't.

 

And I'd find a singer first off. You can work out songs with other musicians, but you really should write songs with the singer, who will presumably be doing most of the song's melody. You should write the song with the singer in mind and it helps a lot if they're there during the creative process.

 

You CAN whack a melody on a bunch of chords after all the music has been worked out, but it can often sound pinned on. And you can often wind up with a situation where you wanted the song to sound one way but unfortunately your singer doesn't have the range (or is a guy and not a chick, or can't do a good Bono or whatever). Songs are often built around the melody so it's good to build it into the song from the word go.

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Ever notice how the heart of a band tends to be the singer and guitar player? Get a partner, learn some songs, and the rest should fall together. When it looks like you have something going on (not just an idea) it is easier to get others aboard.

 

Bill

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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Yes, it's true that singers are vitally important if you are going to perform songs! (Yes, this may seem ridiculously obvious, but it's just as silly for guitar players to take singers for granted as vice versa!)

 

Sunday I was playing mandolin with two guitarists at a church in the Village, and the usual singer/song leader wasn't there. We decided that either we were going to do our best to sing the songs, or it just wasn't going to happen! Now none of us pickers there are good singers, but we went for the gusto anyway! And the people sang along and seemed to enjoy it!

 

It helped me appreciate GOOD singers!

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Originally posted by Eric Iverson:

Yes, it's true that singers are vitally important if you are going to perform songs! (Yes, this may seem ridiculously obvious, but it's just as silly for guitar players to take singers for granted as vice versa!)

There is, nonetheless, a pretty ingrained mentality among instrumentalists that goes something like, "let's get some music together and then we'll find someone to sing over the top of it", as if they talking about what sort of plastic crap to put on top of a birthday cake.

 

"Shall we have the horsie or the batmobile?"

:P

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Originally posted by Kramer Ferrington III.:

There is, nonetheless, a pretty ingrained mentality among instrumentalists that goes something like, "let's get some music together and then we'll find someone to sing over the top of it", ...

 

 

:P

Maybe so, but if I'm going to put together a band, it is easier to get others on board when I have a guitar player and a singer.

 

 

Bill

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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Originally posted by Bill@Welcome Home Studios:

Maybe so, but if I'm going to put together a band, it is easier to get others on board when I have a guitar player and a singer.

Same here. I was just describing an attitude I've encountered when going to see people that want to form a band. In no way am I advocating such an attitude.
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good luck - I spent YEARS trying to keep guys together and focused... Most of em' are weekend wannabes and practice is not big on their list. What separates you from "The Superband" is practice (and of course something original). Back "in the day" drugs were a big problem for most rock musicians and trying to get a band together. Everyone wants to be a Rock Star but nobody wants to practice - serious musicians, who have the love for "sound" (that's done right) are hard to find even today I'm sure...

 

loads of youngsters become guitarists cause they wanna "make it" and get chicks and be popular. I guess one or more of those was my motivation too - hehe... but it was so hard to find AND KEEP real musicians cause we're all basically "flakey" :freak::freak:

"well fellas... there's 1 other thing yer gonna need to make it in Rock & Roll besides all them guitars and amps and drums and things. They call it A SONG..."
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In addition to the flaky part, those with wives and kids often find it hard to make practices and even performances consistently.

 

I think there are MANY people who love music and are willing to practice. Sometimes we are very opinionated about what we want to play.. and if you can't come to some kind of reasonable consensus then why do it? It's just begging for trouble, and since the purpose of music is enjoyment, that seems to defeat the porpoise, doesn't it?

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