July 28, 2023
Assuming you already know how to play and you’re either just getting started gigging or you’ve been out a while – there are a few key things you might want to know in order to get your best results on stage. Here are our top five.
It may seem basic, but staying in key is essential for any live performance, and it’s not always done well. This is partly about simply playing the right notes at the right time and it’s partly about tuning right, maintaining your guitar properly, and knowing when your strings have had it. Simple, yes, but often overlooked.
Playing in a band requires you to work as a team. As a guitarist, you need to make sure that you're balancing your sound with the rest of the band. Listen carefully to what the other musicians are playing and adjust your playing accordingly. Basic stuff again, but something beginners and experts alike often lack or forget. Loud is great, but you want to be loud with a purpose, which means working with your bandmates.
It’s no secret that guitarists sometimes clash with house sound engineers – usually around amp volume. Just remember that rather than an annoying hindrance to your desire to blast the roof off the place, the engineer is your teammate in blasting not only the roof, but doors, floors, hearts, minds, and souls. Make this person your friend, communicate, take their advice, and trust them to make you sound good, and you’ll see faster success and have more energy to play.
Speaking of stage volume, it’s imperative that you master how to manage it, both for your individual playing and with the band. You may not actually be the sound person, but if you and your band are experts at locking in the volume appropriate for the venue, you’ll be able to clean up your live mixes whether you’ve got a dedicated front-of-house engineer or not. This will work wonders for how your sets go over, how many people stay in the room, and how well your guitar skills are heard.
Finally - you’re not a jukebox, and you don’t want to be ignored, but that’s what tends to happen to bands that simply play songs. If you want to keep your audience engaged throughout your show, you’ll need to learn to build compelling sets. This means managing show flow, picking the songs that showcase your various skills, and a few well-placed thank yous, introductions, and pitches. The more you know about show craft, the more valuable you are to your band.
Gigging is a skill of its own, separate from the skill of playing, and although the most important part of your overall routine is always practice, locking in these five basic show skills can make your gigs a lot more fun and effective and get you a lot more future gigs. So, master these simple things – they’ll make a big difference.
September 15, 2023
August 18, 2023
It’s not like the guitar is ever boring. But sometimes you just want to branch out and see what else you can accomplish. This is true if you’re in a noise band or hyper-experimental act, but it’s also true if you’re in a straight-ahead rock band looking to add a few crazy moments to your show or record. So, let’s look at a few advanced effects you can try for that experimental vibe.
July 31, 2023
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"Make a joyful noise unto the Lord all of the earth; make a loud noise and rejoice and sing praises. Sing to the Lord with the harp and the voice of the psalm." - Psalm 98:4-5