How do you prepare for a gig?

Discussion in 'Lessons & Techniques' started by Layne Matz, Feb 1, 2019.

  1. Layne Matz

    Layne Matz Well-Known Member

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    What items must you bring to every gig? How many guitars/instruments do you lug along? Amps? Backups?

    What do you do to prepare yourself and or your band for a gig, or multiple gigs?


    What are some of the biggest mistakes you have made before during or after a gig?

    What do you think the most crucial thing you have learned is?

    I'll say there is a big difference between playing one night versus multiple nights at the same location consecutively- especially if its the same crowd.

    The 'How did you learn' thread is very successful and im glad its there for anyone to refrence and learn from. Help spread the knowledge. This thread can help anyone who might come across it. Can you rememeber all those mistakes you made early on? Lets dredge those up and discuss them so someone who hasnt thought of that can be prepared for it. How you learned from your mistakes probably plays into your future preparation, so do someone a favor and bring those troublesome things to their attention before something goes wrong at their gig.

    Ever had the wiring go bad on a bass mid performance? Had that happen, but it wasnt too much of a problem- bassist also plays rythm buitar and had an octaver at the time. Problem temporarily solved. The wiring and pots were all rusted out, he had never opened the cavity so the failure was unexpected- it had been working alright beofre then, if only a bit crackly. Thats in the past.

    Ever had the you SG break in two on the way home from the gig? Had that happen recently.

    Ever pissed off people in the crowd? Been there, done that.
     
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  2. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Well-Known Member

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    Backup strings, cables, one other guitar, and a backup signal path -- modeler in case my amp fails.

    Know thy material; that is the truth, the way, and the light. You and your band should be able to play through any mistakes without dropping a beat. Knowledge is power; know your material inside-out. Know your gear inside-out. Know how to play your material without your favorite gear, too. Just because you don't have that chorus, you should still be able to finish the song.

    Hands down, for me, the biggest mistake was having more than two beers before a show. Two's fine, I loosen up without losing a step, but beyond that my playing suffers.

    Another biggie is not getting the gig in writing. It's a great way to get shafted by the owner -- "Man, we just didn't pull enough customers, can't pay you full." BS and apple-butter, we saw the folks drinking.

    Not bringing spares will almost always bite you in the ass one day. Bring a spare.
     
  3. myluxhome.sg

    myluxhome.sg New Member

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    The way I would go to approach this is to listen to the song on my Spotify and try to chill before a gig. During the gig, just play like how you would play during your practice. If you're in a bar, that's even better because not many people actually pay attention to the key. :)
     
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  4. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Well-Known Member

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    Where can I sign up for a one-song gig?
     
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  5. Layne Matz

    Layne Matz Well-Known Member

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    I dont usually use the term LOL but I would here, I struggle to fill the 4-5 hours expected of us. I used to plan the set but it didnt work past keeping track of what I wanted to play. By 2 and a 1/2 to 3 hours Im usually doing a most stuff on the fly and getting into a very interesting mental state where I can really tune in with the instrument. To be able to play everything different every time in a unique and enthralling way is mainly my goal for learning. Theres a lot more to it than that obviously but its a key feature of some of the greatest musicians- THEY DONT PLAY ANYTHING EXACTLY THE SAME WAY TWICE. It pissed my bassist off to no end, he saw it as a weakness to play the same song with different licks and solos everytime. Who the hell plays a solo note for note a certain way every time? That isnt very fun or entertaining, ehich is probably why lots of players won't even try to jam in any unorganized freeform way.

    If I only had one song, like at some open mic nights, it would probably be a jam based one so we can still get 15 minutes in before they pull the plug- 25 if we're lucky.

    There is no we anymore however, as my bassist exposed himself as a racist and we all parted ways on bad terms. I wont be associated with racism, just the opposite becuas I will furiously attack racism and any other form of unjust oppression.

    Edit: sorry to ramble, theres lots of ways to play but I'd rather try to play it the best way I can everytime rather than using the same old every time. Thats not to say you need to reinvent the wheel, to me it seems like a fundamental part of live music- roots American music in particualr- that its always a unique performance that will only happen that way once.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2019
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  6. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Well-Known Member

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    Kidding aside, I'm a very improvisational musician myself, and agree with your outlook. It's not limited to Americana, either.

    It's a good goal you've set for yourself. Like any other set of chops, improv in the genre of your choice is a skill-set that can be honed with practice.

    I see music as a language. I think that comparison goes beyond the obvious communication between the musician and listener; we refer to "vocabulary" as players, and "phrasing" as well -- both linguistic concepts we've borrwed to describe what we do as well.

    Another part of that borrowing, it seems to me, is also in "phonemes" -- these are the basic sounds from which a language is constructed. And just as our spoken language consists of forty or so sounds that we use to build over 800.000 words in English, so too our musical vocabularies, I think, are built on musical phonemes -- except that we each construct our own set, based on influences, playing goals, and the like.

    There's no replacement for songs, and knowing tons of them, because that's how you're going to get gigs. But what's really important about learning all those songs is in picking up the phonemes, so to speak. You learn which chords work with which, learn little licks that you end up incorporating into your own, personal vocabulary.

    When you think about it, every one of us improvise every day -- indeed, every time we talk to another human we improvise our spoken language. We each learned that language.

    Learning how to improvise in musical language is just as trainable. We just have to want to learn it, yannow?

    TL/DR: I think you've got your head on right about it.
     
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  7. Layne Matz

    Layne Matz Well-Known Member

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    Excellent post! None are too long for me. When i started learnign guitar I was using a slide and an acoustic in an attempt to replicate sounds i heard from early blues recordings. I had read a bit about the subject online and learned a few things from random guitarists at the GC in downtown Nashville- no one is really random I just didnt know their names. Anyways, it had been made very clear to me that i was supposed to try and sing using the slide, i learned no theory till much later on. I now know that the blues slide guitar that people are accustomed to consists of certain vocal phrasings that can be put in different contexts, set to different rhythms, etc. The same way words would in a sentance or lyrics in song. I struggle to utilize fully fingered chords, I know I play lots of chord tones but when i solo I lose track of the notes and theory and mainly just know what key I'm in, where the root notes and blue notes are, what sounds I want, etc. I know the notes however and do think of them at times. I struggle to utilize the chords because i dont know how to fit them togetherthe way i want based on the sounds in my head. Playing single note lead is much simpler in that aspect. I didnt use my fingers on a guitar until i got an electric after 2 years or so of playing acoustic. I found i could not apply the same methods I used for open tuning slide to fingerstyle. With slide I dont even have to try most of the timeband it just sounds how i want it or better, i can even improvise without applying much attention which makes it an excellent platform for me to practice my aweful vocals. Some people like my voice but a lot of people are wondering why the hell I'm trying to sing... No one else has wanted to or knows so many lyrics. Open tuning slide guitar is harder to make a mistake in once you know it bawards and forwards, the blues aspect of it seems limited but there arenother venues that have been explored ala Ry Cooder, Dereck Trucks, etc. Fingerstlye on the otherhand is much more dependant on theory in order to function properly, its like a vast ocean if complexities. Slide may be too but its much more fluid and natural feeling in my opinion. Im not satisfied with knowing that I dont understand so I keep learning. I may not be concipusly applyign theory while playing live or at practice but by learning and practising it alone I subconsciously implement it into my toolbox of techniques.

    First song I learned for the most part was Light My Fire, the live version off the Alive She Cried album not the studio version. Theres a big difference. Your post was spot on, I think we are in agreement. Glad to hear from you, always look forward to the insight to get me further outside my own mental box.
     
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