Guitars101 - Guitar Forums banner
1 - 20 of 70 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
162 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I think we could use a thread like this. Could we get this pinned? Some people on this forum have either been in a band, or started a band. There are also some people on here that dont have a band yet or arent in one. Could you guys give us advice about starting a band or being in one and about what to expect?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
652 Posts
It is ABSOLUTELY essential that everyone in your band enjoys the same kind of music and is generally open minded. Anyone that will potentially cause conflicts in your band should be excluded immediately. It's amazing how inefficient a band can be if even one person isn't enthusiastic about it, or if one person starts disagreeing about something.
 

·
Incognito Wanderer
Joined
·
104 Posts
Being in a band isn't for everyone. Sure, it would be nice to find the ideal, like-minded people that share a creative chemistry with you--but it's rarely ever the case. It will be trial and error; hit or miss, but the key is to never give up. A band doesn't have to be 4 people or more. You might find out you work very well with at least one person. That's always a solid start. Work on songwriting, first and foremost. That will eventually determine whether someone will even want to pay attention to your creative work.

Having a few decent songs might even inspire other musicians to contribute their expertise on some instrument(s), and thus forming what you'd call a band.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,505 Posts
the easiest is to be in a cover band. i know it would be nice to do all origionals but it is tough to get people to come and see you and pay money unless you are the next van halen. i have been playing in the bars for 34 years. it took me a while to realize it and accept it but your job is to sell beer and thats the bottom line. whatever music will bring in the most women and get them to dance is what you need to play. formula: many women dancing= many men watching= many men and women drinking= many dollars in the till= happy owner= many dollars in your pocket= getting re-booked= many return gigs and a following= getting invited to many partys= getting laid. follow this formula and you will find it is true. sorry but it is not about you and your guitar so much as it is about you selling drinks and making the bar owner money. yes you can still have your origionals and you can scatter them through out your song list and eventually add more but to get started learn a bunch of classic rock and big hair band music and have some fun because that is what it is all about. 3 piece is an easy way to start and you can always add another rhythm guitarist if needed but start out 3 piece first and learn the songs. it is so much easier that way and keeps the 2 guitar players from fighting for controll. all must be able to sing. remember anybody can play guitar but you need to be able to sing too. brain cells, owning your own equipment and a car are manditory requirements for all members. the hardest part of being in a band is getting along. the music part is the easiest
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,993 Posts
You bring up a lot of good points Eamon. You first have to decide what your goals are..and work from there. If you want to play Vai covers and book bar gigs.....it will simply not work. I used to play in a small time bar band and we did some VH, AC\DC, Aerosmith etc, but that was 20 years ago.

I was at a popular night club last weekend and a band hit the stage about 10:00. They were all these long haired metal heads wearing Metallica shirts with Jackson guitars and Marshall stacks and I thought "Cool" Then they started out playing disco hits from the 70's, Wild Cherry, Rick James, Word Up etc. The crowd loved it. All the girls were dancing, all the guys were drooling, the beer was flowing, and the bar owners were happy. The guys in the band looked miserable, but they were getting paid. The place was packed!

The whole scene was downright pathetic to me.

I sometimes work up in Oklahoma where they have a blues bar downtown with live music every night. I'll see some really amazing guitar players at that place, but it's usually only me and the bartender in the crowd.

Sad but true!

If you want to start a bar band to make money.....repeat after me...."She's a Brick House...Owww"
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
279 Posts
eamon7 said:
the easiest is to be in a cover band. i know it would be nice to do all origionals but it is tough to get people to come and see you and pay money unless you are the next van halen. i have been playing in the bars for 34 years. it took me a while to realize it and accept it but your job is to sell beer and thats the bottom line. whatever music will bring in the most women and get them to dance is what you need to play. formula: many women dancing= many men watching= many men and women drinking= many dollars in the till= happy owner= many dollars in your pocket= getting re-booked= many return gigs and a following= getting invited to many partys= getting laid. follow this formula and you will find it is true. sorry but it is not about you and your guitar so much as it is about you selling drinks and making the bar owner money. yes you can still have your origionals and you can scatter them through out your song list and eventually add more but to get started learn a bunch of classic rock and big hair band music and have some fun because that is what it is all about. 3 piece is an easy way to start and you can always add another rhythm guitarist if needed but start out 3 piece first and learn the songs. it is so much easier that way and keeps the 2 guitar players from fighting for controll. all must be able to sing. remember anybody can play guitar but you need to be able to sing too. brain cells, owning your own equipment and a car are manditory requirements for all members. the hardest part of being in a band is getting along. the music part is the easiest
I 100% agree. I used to be all about the originals. When I finally gave into the three chord rockers the band scene exploded. But, that got old after about 15 years & I eventually quit. Now you get to hear me trying to sing cover tunes on here. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
350 Posts
A Few Thoughts

I have been in bands for about 30 years!!!!... damm that makes me old. lol
Well I am 38 and had my first band when I was 8 and luckily I had a father who use to play in country bands so he got involved right from the beginning helping to guide my bands always in my favor of course lol. My father died when I was pretty young but he was one cool old dude ...imagine a 66 year old man sitting through rock rehearsals.
Here is some advice:
First you have to establish your goals ( do you want to be a rock star or a guy having fun with the boys on Saturday nite? What type of music do you really want to play? Are you the kind of person who really stick with things etc.
Once you have established who you are and what you would like to achieve you have a chance of finding others who have the same goals and then you can put together a band that may stick and be successful.
Finding musicians: First rule is character comes before talent: if you find an amazing musician who has problems like: Drug or Alcohol Addiction, girlfriends issues, a serious attitude, or a history of jumping from band to band or any other major flaw then right him off .......you are far better off with a guy who has potential and very few problems then a guy who is amazing but a pain in the ass and lacks sticktoitiveness. Building a band is like building a house you need a strong foundation and any member who leaves will weaken your foundation and over time your house will likely fall unless you make great choices to start off with. Its also important to note that you will probably go through many players before finding the right combination and to find a
magical combination like a Led Zeppelin or a Beatles goes beyond any logical steps anyone of us can suggest and gets into the extremely good luck department.
Like alot of the others here have mentioned you all have to want similar things. For example what is your definition of success? Most beginners think that you get together "right some originals" get a record deal and hit the big time! Well I hate to be the one to break the news to you but that is about as likely as finding a winning lottery ticket. There are a million labels out there but they are usually not real labels. I get really sick of hearing every local bands story of how they are now signed and when I ask them the name of the label and its always some non label label I eagerly wait to hear the rediculous name they are about to tell me and its usually something like "FlintstoneRecords" haha. There are three major labels left and then
their subsiduaries and it is important to know who they are so do your research and it is also important to know that very few actual deals get given out.... sometimes only one or two real deals are given out in a year (development deals and so forth are more probable). Almost all of the independent labels are a joke and will not be able to do a thing for you with the exception of the ones who have a proven track record of course. When you walk into there office you should see atleast one gold record on their wall or just turn around and walk right back out.
Alot of people believe that with the internet indie bands have a much better chance of being heard. Its very important to realize that there are 10000000 times as many bands as there were ten years ago and a rediculous amount of my spaces and websites and all sorts of other net stuff that not many people will look at besides your mother and your best friend. So you have to find away to make yourself stand out..think outside of the box. Just using the net
will likely get you no where!
Once you have a band and a rehearsal space (remember who ever has the rehearsal space and the practise PA etc tends to have the most power) you have to rehearse continuously. Back in the 80's and 90's you had to really be able to play covers amazingly to be able to get your first gigs. It is sad
that the old rules are changed and some 2 week old band in diapers can gig because learning to play other peoples music is crutial and you cannot do that in two weeks or even two years! If you decided to become a home builder you will apprentice for many years before you will be able to go
out and start your own business because you have to learn your trade. Same thing applies to song writing, playing an instrument or singing and preforming. YOU HAVE TOO learn the good stuff that has come before and alot of it with alot of variation in order to be able to right great songs that are actually ORIGINAL and not just a rehash of some Nirvana tune. Even Mozzart had to take this step and none of us are above a Mozzart.
If you are young, you have a huge advantage when starting your first band because you can take the time to get really good at what you do. And when someone quits and they will, don't give up just keep pounding the pavement until you get the band of your dreams and this will likely take years. And when you are young you have the years and the parents to back you...so go for it!
Personally I started playing at 8 and played my first gig at 10 with a two piece band. After that I went through countless changes while sticking with the same drummer. We had small success stages at various ages like at 16 before it fell apart then 19 before that combo fell apart then at the age of 21 we made the mistake of revisiting our best combination of players from the past which included a flawed singer (character wise). We then developed a big following and had the attention of major labels, radio, television and great paying gigs. Just when it really felt like we were getting somewhere the flawed singer walked (over a girl) (A quick point about youth the younger
you are the less likely a girl will effect a band member the older you get the more likely this will happen and girls often ruin bands!) After this happened I felt like totally giving up but I decided to find a solution. There was another local band that had achieved similar success but was of a more heavey style then we were and frankly were a little more with the times (at the time lol). So I went on a hunting expedition to find the singer and bass player from this band and it was quite a task because they were living without much of anything in a hotel in another city without a phone. After a few days of research I located them and they were very excited to join are band. We wrote and rehearsed our first record for about three weeks....then went into a local studio and tracked it...we had a small time manufactering and Canadian distribution deal within a month of its indie release (and there was a very tiny indie scene in 92 when we did this so it took alot of persistance)...we then went out and toured with some fairly serious success. We were on all the Canadian radio stations, sponsered by Labats Blue and touring all of Canada's best venues as well as some of the Major cities in the
United States best venues...this all happened in a matter of 6 months. I am telling this story for two reasons. First it demonstrates that sticking to a band can really work out even when it seems like there is no hope and it also demonstrates that the foundations of professionalism and musicianship we had all built in our seperate bands, through hard work and sticktoitivness paid off very quickly with that last combination of players.
But in the end we still failed lol. Partly because I quit the band to take care of my sick parents and partly because the grunge seen had taken over. I got back into the live scene a few years later and did even better
in some ways but those stories have nothing to do with starting a band so I will not mention them.
So how do we all define success. Did I have it? By my definition yes because I had the rock star experience.......the same one Zep or the Crue or Nickleback YUKKK!!! has had or has but on a very small scale in comparison. Remember you can only sleep with so many girls sign so many autographs
and play to so many people before it all becomes the same. But you can never make to much money and although we did well I am not rich for it so that could be defined as a failure.
I hope that story is of some help as part of my how to start and stick with a band explanation and hopefully it will help you define what success is for you.
Throughout my career I have had the opportunity of working with and for the largest managment and booking agencies in Canada and a few of the mini major labels......while doing this I learned a few things about the industry.
For example alot of the famous bands that we think of as rich are actually in huge dept with their labels and have very short lived careers. I was shocked to hear the tales of failures for bands that we all think of as being successful and unaproachable. Alot of them are now driving cabs etc.
Personally I got into the studio scene (engineering, producing and doing session guitar work and small tours as a sub guitarist for bands that are not mine and I now enjoy that alot more than touring in my own bands. This is because I am older now and do not have the drive to start a new band and go through all the painful steps all over again. So if you are young do it now because you will not have the same type of drive when you are older and you will not be able to tolerate not having a nice car, house etc. Do it well it suits you! I consider myself very fortunate because unlike alot of my colleges I found my neech in music and I am able to carry on making a living doing what I love. So another good thing to remember is keep your eyes and ears open during your band years and try and learn as many things as possible so that when your touring days are over you have something in music to fall back on.
Success as a musician can be defined in various ways. I define it as being able to make a living working with or playing music that you enjoy, like many of the older guys out here on guitars 101 are doing. That includes everything from playing disco to being a guitar luthier. Its all one in the same.
Sorry for seemingly getting off topic but I believe the info, opinions and experiences I have given here will help the beginners while giving the veterans some comradery.
In conclusion and in point form I am going to list some do's and dont's:

Treat your band like a business in every way keeping records and being organized
Read the book "Everything you need to know about the music industry"
Never ever bring girlfriends to a band practise!
Do not bring friends to practise unless you are doing a final rehearsal for a gig and you have the okay from the other members a head of time
Set goals for yourselves and right them down and keep track of how well you are achieving them
Advertize yourself in every way possible
Get an image
Be original and remember you cannot be original until you have learned alot of other peoples music and try and learn the old stuff ignoring the over produced rehashed garbage of today
Always be writing music and making demos even if its on a boom box!
Be hard on yourselves yet supportive of yourselves
Avoid playing in the battle of the bands type gigs (because they are money makers for others and you are letting yourself be judged by people who often do not know what they are talking about and if you get placed as a number 3 you will always be thought of as the guys who lost.
If you are going to get in a battle of the bands or radio competition make sure that it is very legit and that the prize is worth the risk!
Avoid having girls in your band they are often trouble unless you have found a very special one ( think of how many bands with girls there are that have made it compared to all guy bands. And the ones that do like No Doubt end up losing there success so that there singer can become a deva) (I am not a male chauvinist...but girls and guys are very different as we all know and if you choose to have a girl in your band it changes the dynamics immensely and also effects the the girl fan base that you will have)
Be a band that attracks girls as much as possible because where there are girls the guys will go and that adds up to a big crowd!
Get your name out there any chance you get on T shirts, on the net, do it yourself Graffiti, stickers or any way that you can think of
Remember a name is something that has credibility so you do not want to
have to change it because after 2 years you find out that someone else
has already had it for 10. Also if you cannot get the .com pick another
name! Do not forget to renew it. Own it as a business name in your
country as well. Mostly make sure that you and others love your name
because it could be with you for years. And if your band is not a democratic
one get it in your own name! If your band is democratic find out away to
ensure that the name stays with the core of the band!
Remember a band is like a relationship so have meetings and communicate and make sure that the quite guy gets heard or he will harber ill will and miseriously quit one day!
Best of luck to all of you beginners and veterans and I hope that this very very long post will be helpful. Ron Horton (Golden Ears)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
77 Posts
each member needs to be dedicated and wanting to do it just as badly as you do.it's fun being in a band because you become like a brotherhood with your bandmates...but the main thing is you need to practice i mean im in a band now and were playing as much as we can and it is helping out in the end trust me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
I can't agree more! It is so important to all be on the same page. what kind of music to play, how important is making money, how much do you want to play out, to what lengths are you willing to go to be successfull? Remember this is supposed to be fulfilling and fun. If it become a chore you are not doing right!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
98 Posts
One important thing to establish is how things are done. For instance, some people subscribe to the thoery "Practice is for learning." Our band doesn't work that way. We pick songs, then everyone goes home and learns their parts thru the week playing along with the songs. When we get together the following week, it only takes a few times thru and we've got the songs locked. This way, we're not spending an hour or two hours learning "Train Kept A Rollin'." We also do drills where everyone but the drummer stands back to back and we play the song. That way we know who's been doing their homework and who's not. That may not sound fun, but it actually is. You wanna prove to the rest that you're as dedicated as they are so you make sure you have your parts down pat. It's a real confidence booster when we do the "back 2 back" drill and the songs sound good.
I see alot of threads here about covers vs. originals. Our band had a really interesting experience. After we formed for about 2 months, we decided just FOR FUN to write some originals. Before we knew it, we churned out 11 decent songs. People in the neighborhood were stopping by to listen (someone said no friends at practice but when you got the garage door open it's kinda hard to keep everyone out) and they were saying "hey, these are good." So we decided again FOR FUN to chuck out a little money and go to a recording studio and put them to CD. We made copies for our families and friends and pretty soon it was "hey, can you burn one for my friend and his friend," and so on.
The whole cool thing about it was we didn't even try hard to get these CD's spread around. We really wanted them for ourselves to say "Hey, look what we did" and just put them away for something to remember 30 years down the road. But the CD actually got us a few gigs and we weren't even trying yet...we're still coming together as a group. When we feel confident enough with each other, we're thinking of doing another CD just to see what comes out of it. But bottom line: it's all for fun.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
500 Posts
Playing in a band with the right ppl is one of trhe most rewarding experiences...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
I am from a small town and there are quite a few guitarists, no bassists and no drummers. not to mention there are a lot of people who dont like country in some way. so when i listen to my rock music i get some crazy looks. Oh well, i would love to be in a band but no one around here would put down their axe for a band. I am young and not very experienced so how could i start a band? that is the question that has been on my mind too.Thanks for the helpful advice.
 

·
Shredding it up!!!
Joined
·
1,181 Posts
You've got to take your time and make sure the people you find are definately the right people you wanna play with. I'm starting up a band right now with my dad, and a local drummer, we're trying out a couple of different bassists, and so far we haven't found a singer at all.

But the point is that one of the bassists we tried out, we jammed with him and everything was such a good time, really laid back and there was no pressure from anyone about their playing. But the other guy we tried on bass was pushing us into songs we didn't wanna do, you could tell he wasn't really into the style we wanted to do, and he was just a bit of an anorack if ya know what i mean, he just knew everything about anything BUT the stuff we wanted him to know. Which was kinda crap, but at that point we realised that the other guy would have been perfect almost for us.

So you gotta make sure they're the right people, not just people that are good enough to pull it off. :Sylvia:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
160 Posts
Amen on THIS brother...I do admit i have no band yet, but i know one thing for sure...After 30 years of playing, i STILL learn....every day something new pops-up....and thats a fact...Just the other day i found out i played, believe it or not, Knocking on Heavens Door with an Am instead on an Am7th ( intro )...lol
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
In my personal experience, alot of people look at bands the wrong way. it is ALOT of work, it is not easy at all. If you are not serious going into it you will get nothing done. it does not matter how good you are at guitar or whatever, your band will break up in days if you are not serious. Be sure your band mates are cooperative and have positive attitudes, be the guy that says A: "work harder at it, you will get it" instead of B: "you suck" because if you fall in the letter B category, i will guarantee no one will like you. Dont be a screwoff at practices, if everyone else is working hard thats kind of a given that you should do the same. Basically, its going to be alot of work and its going to be stressful but if you listen to each other and cooperate i think you will surprised with what you can create and accomplish. :Sylvia:
 
1 - 20 of 70 Posts
Top