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Hey all. I tried something new today. Opened up in front of the liquor store and started stroking. Opened my guitar case and started playing that is... I made $11.01 before my fingers froze. More profit than my last gig, and better than minimum wage. Judge Mills Lane says all work is digified. How many have busked (raise your hands) - any good stories? Onward and sideways.... Dave (unemployed telecom software genius)
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No, I haven't but I understand that there are people that earn very good incomes busking, which I recently learned means "street performing." Hopefully, some will reply to you. Somebody on this forum recently posted something about doing well at it.

> > > [ Live! ] < < <

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Busking seems to be a time honored art in some places. I've heard some buskers just strumming some chord pattern on street corners...that to me seems like cheating, just strumming a couple of chords to get tips. But, I've heard some good buskers, too. The best ones I've heard (and I'm sure there are good ones elsewhere) were in San Francisco...a really good Latin jazz band...etc. Here in KC there are a couple of regulars. One guy had a sitar. I tipped him rather well, just for the uniqueness of doing his Ravi Shankar impersonation on the street. Not something you hear every day. Our group went out and busked in Westport (KC's party district) last summer. It was fun. But, I've found that street noise in busier areas (where you want to be anyway) can really cut down on audibility. To that end, one of Westport's prominent buskers has a little battery-powered amp he uses. I've seen some small battery powered PAs...that might be a good thing to have if you plan on making a regular habit of it...just something to cut through the street noise a bit.
"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
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There's a guy in Nashville who looks like George Clintons 300 lb. Grandfather that's pretty faithful to it. In fact if you don't see him somethings pretty wrong. I'm sure he does quite well. A couple of these guy's are such recognisable figures they've made it in the movies. I saw a guy last Summer in Seatle with no more than a comb, piece of paper, empty Coke can with a few rocks in it and a McDonalds cup that entertained me for almost an hour. What fun.
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Best busking I've seen is in the subway stairways of London. Everything's represented, blues guitarists, classical violin duets, reggae, etc. Simply amazing, and much better than canned Muzac (I'm betting many music majors get thru college, er, University, this way!)

Botch

"Eccentric language often is symptomatic of peculiar thinking" - George Will

www.puddlestone.net

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There's a great little movie called "The Underground Orchestra" about a micro culture of buskers who ply the Paris Metro. Many of these people were refugees from Eastern European and African countries. Lots didn't have immigrant status, like our green card. I inadevertently busked in Paris the summer of '69. I was a college student there for a special Cours d'Ete and spent lots of time sitting along the Seine in a number of parks that border the banks of the river. There were buskers all over the city, from classical string trios to blues guitarists. I knew a lot of Bob Dylan songs then and occasionly, someone would share a guitar. Those Dylan songs got a lot of tips in the case, which I gave to the guy who owned the guitar. The Underground Orchestra is truly a musicians' movie. It's in French (and I think some other languages) with subtitles. There were entire families that would do shifts in the subway stations, exchanging instruments on the street in front of the stairs. Carvin has a really interesting battery PA.

He not busy being born

Is busy dyin'.

 

...Bob Dylan

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[quote]Originally posted by Tedster: [b]Just got my new Carvin catalog...I'll check it out...[/b][/quote]Ted, That Stage Mate is a great unit. It's has plenty of power & inputs for a solo or duo. The darned thing sounds pretty good too. It's on my to-buy list, when I have a couple of extra bucks.

 

Our Joint

 

"When you come slam bang up against trouble, it never looks half as bad if you face up to it." The Duke...

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Buskers are great! There are some excellent ones here-heard a grey-haired guy with a guitar with one of the finest country high-baritones I've ever heard, dixieland trio, all kinds of music. There was a classical guitar recital on the streets, my hard still pounds when I think of one lady player....oh mama. And she was beautiful too. :) About ten years ago in SF there was a big crowd around a guy with a sax who had found a sweet spot in the echoes of the financial district and was just going off. I suspect he was somebody known on a lark. Some Hare Krishna groups rock hard, but most I've heard don't. You know, some guy drops out of Philosophy 101 and tries to sport a fatback when the rest of the gang is going doon-doon-CHING, it just doesn't make me want to buy a book. -CB
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Street performing is the quickest test of your true ability to entertain people. You don't have to be a virtuoso, just immensely entertaining and "on" all the time. Its not as easy as it seems but I know quite a few people who make a viable living at it. One of them needed to rent a car for a few days to make a trip but owned no credit cards (never needed or used them before). The car rental place was very surprised to see him show up with a big brown paper bag full of crumpled one's and five's which he calmly payed the $500 cash deposit with. Cash is king with street performers.
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[quote]Originally posted by daklander: [b]Ted, That Stage Mate is a great unit. It's has plenty of power & inputs for a solo or duo. The darned thing sounds pretty good too.[/b][/quote]I bought it two years ago and I'm really happy with it. Our regular PA broke down so we've been using it for practice. One time it zonked out and we didn't know what was going on. We finally realized it wasn't plugged in to an electrical outlet so the battery just ran out. We had been practicing for four hours! Pretty impressive.

aka riffing

 

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i use to busk up in portland maine and in boston in the 1980s. havard square and underground harvard ,government center were my favorite pitches. it becomes an addiction. it depends where you busk. you can allways make money. its just not accepted as well in cities that dont have a history of steet players. portland was wierd but i did it there the whole time that i lived there in my micro bus.i remember one politition at the time telling me that they wanted to just keep their streets clean.when i ended up back in cleveland i busked for about 6 years. not an easy place to play street music..i could make about the same 50 to70 bucks that i would be making in a bar but i could come and go with only a fiddle and small battery powerd peavy amp solo. any way it was a good thing to do in my early 20s. there was never good support in cleveland. being a blue collar city people have a get a job attitude here they want you to be miserable like they are.
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There's this black acapella quartet that is always in the SF Montgomery St. BART station. They are really good - but they only know ONE DAMN SONG "Down by the river side". They rearrange it ivery so often, but it is allways "down by the river side". I spoke to the shoe shine guy and asked him if he ever gets tired of the same song. He just rolled his eyes. There is another old guy who plays clarinet, but again, he only seems know "Rhaposdy in Blue" and then only the part that was used in the United Airlines commercial. The sax guy shows up in an alcove of the Wells Fargo Building on Montgomery street every couple of weeks. He's actually not bad and the reverberant space makes the tone phat. San Francisco has some seriously talented buskers (Seattle does too) but unfortunately, they get lost in the sea of bums, pan handlers and hacks. There are so many people on the streets askin for money. When ever I see someone who is really good, I always listen for a while, give them a good tip and thank them for entertaining me.
Our country is not the only thing to which we owe our allegiance. It is also owed to justice and to humanity. Patriotism consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that our country shall be righteous as well as strong: James Bryce
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[quote]Originally posted by Botch: [b]Best busking I've seen is in the subway stairways of London. Everything's represented, blues guitarists, classical violin duets, reggae, etc. Simply amazing, and much better than canned Muzac (I'm betting many music majors get thru college, er, University, this way!)[/b][/quote]hey Botch, how long ago was this?!! since i've been in London (3yrs) it has been illegal to busk on the tube, you still get solo guys giving it a go, most are not that great but they are set up so they can just pick up their gear and run when the police show up, (there's a fine), recently i saw a trumpet player in a furry cat suit who was very entertaining perfoming at the botton of a very long escalator, but he bolted before i got to him..... but most times in the central london tube stations the managers put a recorded message accross the station PA "busking on the London underground is illegal, please do not give any money or encourage these buskers" at full volume...... also I think it is illegal to busk in the streets of central London, the only two central spots I know of where it is ok are Covent Garden & Leicester Square, but you need to apply for a "busker's permit". these city squares are very touristy and generally have millions of people wandering around, so it is posible to make some good money, but all of the buskers seem to be professional buskers with systems and a guy who goes into the crowds to hustle for the tips... the last time i went thru Leicester square there was a PA war between a Brazilian group and a church group :eek: peace, natty [img]http://www.theunholytrinity.org/cracks_smileys/contrib/fk/butterfly.gif[/img]
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Me! Me! I've busked! Most of the time, this was just for fun, though it was nice making a few extra bucks (supplementing my high income as a rock musician, you see :D ). I'd play in parks, at bus stops...anywhere that I could make people guilty for listening to me play for free. But one time, I had to busk for my life. I was (don't laugh) at a Dead show, and suddenly (after coming "back" from an extended drug-induced haze) we realized that we didn't have any money...at all...and were about 350 miles from home. So, being an especially bad beggar, I turned to the only source of income I had: my guitar. I opened it, left the case next to me, and started doing Dead tunes. Sugar Magnolia. St. Stephen. Jack Straw. Friend of the Devil. Whipped out everything in my repetoire. Started taking requests. Anyway, after three hours, I'd brought in about $50, which got us gas money and some leftover for something to eat on the way headed south. Those were the days. - Jeff
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