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How to motivate a guitar player


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As very very few of you know (since i just joined yesterdayish) i am in a three peice rock band. Me on bass, a guitar/vocalist, and a drummer. The drummer we'll call him Dan who is phenominal and always willing and ready to practice. I also am almost always available for practice. The guitar/vocalist, we'll call him Ben, is a very talented musician able to play proficiantly on the guitar while sing with a rather wide range. The problem is that Ben is in the "popular" crowd at school and often blows practice off to go out and party or whatever. Because of him we have had to cancel a good 75% of our practices. If Ben was just another musician we would first confront him with the problem and if he made no effort to make more time for the band he would be out. However me, Ben, and Dan have been very close friends for at least 5 years and I don't want that to change. If any of you have had similar experiences where you were able to succsessfully get the band onto regular or at the very least semi-regular practices, it would be very appreciated if you explained the methods you used to fix the madness.

Thanks much in advance :)



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Goodness, I feel your drift. My band is all made of good friends, and the guitar/vocalist is also kinda sorta popular. It's more him cancelling because he couldn't make it for what not reason.


I've talked to him a million times, and each time only helps slightly. Personally, I've grown a lot less uptight about things and that helps things out.


Talk with him and see where that takes you. Make sure he knows he's good, but the band as a whole is very important too.


Good luck with it!


... the trouble with friends...

In Skynyrd We Trust
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How to motivate a guitar player? I find a stun gun or cattle prod to help. :thu:


Seriously, I don't see a lot of hope, but if he is really your good buddy, sit him down and have a good talk.


It appears to me that he doesn't have the same goals as you guys. If that is true, you are wasting your time and need to replace him as soon as possible. Every minute he spends jacking you off is another minute that you dedicated guys don't progress. His talent is immaterial if he is not driven to use it.



"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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I suggest that you keep THIS band as your "friendly" band, and also find another more motivated band in your area who can help you move toward your musical aspirations. The pros that I have known over the years ALWAYS have more than one thing going on, because the HAVE TO MAKE MONEY and can't wait for someone ELSE to decide to get serious.


Don't rock the boat. They sound like cool guys. Have fun with this band in whatever form that it takes. Don't get into a "we have to fire your friend" pissing match. That's not going to help.


Get another thing rolling on the side. If the guys cop an attitude, say that you enjoy playing with them and would like to continue but that you want to jam with other bands, too, as long as you guys aren't totally committed to a full-time gig.

The Black Knight always triumphs!


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Well you got a lot of different opinions to choose from here, haven't you? Typical of this forum :D


I'd say think it all over:


- are you dead serious about this band?

=> Fire him


- are you not so dead serious about this band?

=> talk to him some more, then fire him :D


- do you wanna have fun playing?

=> keep him, find another guitarist and a

singer and you and the drummer can fill in

that 75% of practice with a second band!

"I'm a work in progress." Micky Barnes


The Ross Brown Shirt World Tour

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Don't make a band with long time friends. That's what I have. And at times, it's hard to get things done. Though I do believe these were the best candidates to put together. So I believe.

75% of not showing up constitutes firing with no explanation except " you know what you did". This guy must know how much you value him. Takes advantage of it. Well, you've got him in your band. But do you really? If he's hardly there, he doesn't sound like he's really in the band. More like, he's this guy who plays with a band. If you know what I mean. Good luck though. If you have fun, like suggested above, keep the band that way. Otherwise, fire has azz. He'll get over it. Maybe get fired from 3 other bands before he figures it out. Good Luck!

Mike Bear




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Tell your friend that you two want to play more often, so you're starting a side project. Let him know that you want to continue to play with him but that this other guitarist is looking for some folks to play with too, and this way everyone will get to play as much as they want. Mention that this other guy plays a killer version of your hottest tune. The first guy will show up for practice. Nothing motivates a guitar player like jealousy. Don't forget that they're everywhere.





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I agree with Dan South. If you're frustrated, start looking for other playing situations that you can fill in the 75% time off you have. Join the jazz band (if there is one) or the orchestra...it'll give you a great chance to learn string bass and/or learn the ins and outs of jazz playing...plus you'll meet tons of new people to play with and broaden your horizons.
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Howdy :thu: Guitar forum lurker here.


Ask your guitar player if he wants the thing to be a real band with real goals, or just a jam situation. If he says he wants a band, have a meeting with no playing scheduled (like go for pizza or something) and discuss the real goals you all have, and get on the same page.


If he just wants to jam, find another player to make a band with, and if Mr. 75% wants to jam once in a while, let him sit in on a rehearsal and help keep things fresh for the real bandies.


And if all else fails, use the cattle prod. :D

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Good advice above, and I agree with Dan/Ben.


Originally posted by Mike Bear:

Don't make a band with long time friends.

This may or may not be good advice, but I can't accept it in my life. If they aren't friends when we start, they seem to become friends. Maybe no "best friends who I see socially every week", but they seem to become people I care about no matter what happens....




Acoustic Color


Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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First of all, welcome to a fellow KCer...




It's common, especially when you're in high school, to want to start a band with your best friends. Thing is...many times, your friends, although probably sharing your passion for music, may not share your passion for PLAYING music. Right now, you're starting a band. Sounds like you've found yourself a good drummer to stick with. But, you need to find someone who's more committed on guitar. Doesn't mean Ben's a bad guy, doesn't mean he can't still be your friend. Just means that he doesn't share your passion for playing. So, find someone else.


Trust me. I went through it all when I was your age.

"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
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My advice is very similar that that of Dan South, great minds apparently do think a like.


The good thing is that you and the drummer get along and respect each other and can practice together. I suggest you and the drummer jam with as many people as you can as a rythmn section and if the guitarist works out, fine if not no big loss.

check out some comedy I've done:


My Unitarian Jihad Name: Brother Broadsword of Enlightened Compassion.

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It's often said that being in a band is like being in a marriage, but there IS one important difference.


Unlike spouses, no law says you can only have one band.


Like many others have said, you don't have to go to divorce court in order to pick up somebody else who might want to play more. And if you find somebody dedicated, you might find they blow your current guy out of the water after a little time.

band link: bluepearlband.com

music, lessons, gig schedules at dennyf.com


STURGEON'S LAW --98% of everything is bullshit.


My Unitarian Jihad Name is: The Jackhammer of Love and Mercy.

Get yours.

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i'd have to agree, if he misses 75% of practices then it's time to can him. there are thousands of firggin guitar players out there, most of them talented, and a lot of them can sing as well.


if that's not an option then burn down his house and offer him living space in the rehearsal studio.

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I think it's a good idea at this point to paraphrase some words of wisdom from King's X guitarist Ty Tabor:


If you have a choice between two players, one who is an excellent player but difficult to see eye to eye with...and another who's an okay player but is really cool...always go with the guy who's really cool.

"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
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If he finds a reason not to practice with you, 75% of the time, the writing is on the wall. It doesn't mean he's a bad person. It means that, for whatever reason, this isn't going to happen with him, right now, at least not to the degree that you want it to happen. People may have the best excuses, even the best reasons in the world for not doing practices. That doesn't change the fact that they're not doing practices.


So you have a choice to make. I see three basic options.


(1) You get this guy committed, & get the best of both worlds--a band working at the level you want, & being in a band with your friend. My guess, though, is that getting this guy to commit at the level you want probably isn't going to happen. My guess is that he'll always have a good reason for not practicing. Add all those good reasons up, & you're still nowhere. Unrealistic, imo.


(2) You can accept that sometimes you'll practice, most of the time you won't, & you'll adjust your expectations so that you're OK with doing whatever comes from that. (Tip: once you're older, with lots of commitments, this will probably be all you can manage. Don't you want to do more now, while you still can?)


(3) You can decide that the way things are is not enough for you, & start looking at other options. This doesn't mean you "dump" him; there's absolutely no reason for this to end in an ugly way. You're friends, so just explain what you're doing, be matter of fact about it, & be cool with it.


Again, I think you're kidding yourself with (1). Both (2) and (3) are perfectly fine. The choice depends on what you're looking for. (But I think you can see that I favor (3).)


So what do you want out of it?


Good luck & keep us posted.

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I agree with the majority of the posts here...based on what your intentions and level of seriousness are, either talk to him about it or roll with it. Treat him the way you'd like to be treated. Maybe he realizes he's impacting you and the drummer, maybe he doesn't.


Let me interject one new thought:


Practice: This is what you do at home or in your studio by yourself.


Rehearsal: This is what you do with the other musicians after you've practiced by yourself.


Not trying to be a prick ;) , I've just always had a considerable issue with folks who "practice" while at rehearsal :evil:




Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006


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Nothing motivates a guitar player like jealousy.
I agree with alot of the commentary here, but I think the fat man nailed it with the above statement. My guitarist and I about equal in skill level, we both contribute evenly to creative process. When I want to motivate him, I hit the wood shed then come to practice and show him up or bring some new songs to the table. That really pisses him off, but he'll come back the next time with even more chops, and piss me off.

Seriously if this guy thinks he's better than everyone else, then you have a choice; you can prove to him he's not or you can just let him go to live in his little fantasy world. Try coming up with some grooves with just your drummer when he doesn't show. Then tell him you wrote a bunch of new songs and need him to work out his parts, if he isn't willing, ditch him. I'm sure there's bunch guitarists looking for a bass player and drummer in your neck of the woods.

Together all sing their different songs in union - the Uni-verse.

My Current Project

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Just decide what you want (sounds like you have) and go from there.


Some great advice here so take it and use what you can.


He wants to come play with the band fine, but I would get another project together with that same drummer and not let his schedule interfer with yours.


You should let him know you want to play more, so your getting together with some others to enjoy more music.


Don't let somebody less dedicated dictate your envolvement with music. You should be your own person and not worry about him. He don't wanna play, fine, find some people who do. They are out there.

Check out my work in progress.
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