Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Posts 1 to 34 of 34
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    Kind of a fun, corny question. I've been doing gigs for 40 years, but in my first few rock/blues bands, we called public performing "playing out". How quaint. Even my own children starting in middle school jazz band called performances gigs....

    So, quite often I see the term "playing out" used in the forum, and it brings back memories of rock bands and amateur status, no snobbiness intended at all. As so many guitarists start without jazz leanings, I actually think there is big tendency to use the term.

    What do you call it??


    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    To me, and I freely admit it's a very limited sample size, as well as experience, a gig is a paid job. I've done a few, but it was a long, long time ago. Playing out is playing somewhere outside home for fun, not for profit. I may be the only person in the world, or at least on the forum, with this opinion, and that's all it is.

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    Looks like Steve Herron, in an article on George Benson, favored the term "playing out." Maybe he can chime in...

    (Look down towards the bottom of the page where he gives a short biography)

    Learn To Play Guitar With George Benson

  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    My first jazz group was while I was in the Army. To military people, a "gig" is not a good thing--we always called them bookings, appearances, or performances.

    I say "playing out" to include rehearsals. Since we do formal concerts, dances, outdoor shows, and performances backing other entertainers, I tend to be specific about what we're doing if someone asks. On our weekly band email the leader calls them all "events."

    Once the word "gig" referred any sort of job, it seems to have lost its meaning for players, jazz or otherwise.

    Danny W.

  6. #5

    User Info Menu


  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    In my way of thinking of it,

    - a gig is a commitment to perform, it is on the schedule as an event, and it holds a high level of responsibility to the rest of the band and the venue... "the show must go on"... you can't skip without repercussions. It typically means a paid event but may occasionally be a charitable function.

    - playing out includes everything public played outside your self practice and band rehearsals, so it includes gigs, but also includes shows that "don't have to go on" - street performance busking and dropping into open mics playing with the host band or others who show up, neither of which requires you to be there for any particular time or occurrence.
    "Bent my ear to hear the tune and closed my eyes to see."

  8. #7

    User Info Menu

    The more contact and association I had with reading, working union musicians, the more universal the term gig was. Perhaps it's also a regional thing, I'm from the northeast.

  9. #8

    User Info Menu

    Slightly off topic...but I find it odd and somewhat unprofessional when a musician announces their upcoming “gigs” to their audience. It’s a gig to the musician, but to the audience it’s a performance. Calling it a gig makes it seem more like a job than a pleasure.

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard the term “playing out.” As an amateur, I often choose the word “performance” rather than “gig” because if playing for an audience ever feels more like work than fun, I’ll just stick to the rehearsal room.
    Last edited by KirkP; 08-28-2019 at 08:17 AM.

  10. #9

    User Info Menu

    In my opinion, ”gig” is the real word for a music performance. ”Playing out” sounds like someone’s playing dissonant or actually playing out in nature.

    It’s a good topic. I’ve never thought about this before. Maybe a poll?
    Last edited by Bbmaj7#5#9; 08-28-2019 at 04:01 AM.
    Have I found it yet? I said that but I didn’t knew it. Did I knew that I had found it yet? No, it wasn’t what I was looking for. Nevermind. Ok.

    -Pataphysical monologue based on Cartesian theory

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    I did a google search and the term "playing out" has been used a lot. Of course, there is the term of playing out of key, but it seems a lot of older authors use it when describing anytime someone puts on a performance, whether it be on a street corner, for charity, in a club, paid or unpaid.

    "Gig" seems to mainly refer to a paid performance with defined time, just as someone mentioned earlier.

    So if I play on a street corner with some other forum members, it appears I am "playing out" (in public). This is my conclusion. It will be interesting, going forward to pay attention to how my musician friends use the two terms, if indeed they even use the term "playing out."

  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    Another use of gig is as in "steady gig", such as, every Thursday night at this place and every Sunday afternoon at that one. A lot of hotel gigs seem to be this way.

    And there's also the sense of being picked up by a band going on tour. I remember Donald Fagen talking in an interivew about a music teacher at Bard college who left because "he got a gig." Fagen didn't go into specifics but in context it seemed obvious that the teacher was heading out on the road and wouldn't be back before the semeste ended.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  13. #12

    User Info Menu

    Ime, "playing out" is often, and only used by recently formed bands (often young people), who are rehearsing and working toward the goal of being good enough to perform in public.

  14. #13

    User Info Menu

    I've always considered "playing out" as an intermediate phase between "rehearsing" (sequestration in the rehearsal space to get your act together) and "gigging", where you get paid and are performing on a regular basis. The "playing out" phase includes some paying jobs towards the end, but a lot of "exposure" stuff at the beginning (playing parties for friends, benefits, opening for more established artists, etc). Getting out of the garage or the basement or whatever takes some doing, to say the least.

    Of course letting people attend your rehearsals moots the process as the whole thing instantly turns into a time-wasting unpaid "performance".
    Best regards, k

  15. #14
    the young players in this area - Oregon- use the term" shows" instead of gig or playing out , I have always thought the two terms synonymous

  16. #15

    User Info Menu

    I've always understood the two terms to be synonyms.


  17. #16

    User Info Menu

    Dictionary definition of the term gig seems to be a musical performance without a requirement that it's a paid work.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 09-07-2019 at 10:23 AM.

  18. #17

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    Dictionary definition of the term gig seems to be a musical performance without a requirement that it's paid work.
    Curiously, "gig work" and "gig economy" are now terms unrelated to music. (Though a musician could get such work.) Uber is perhaps the most familiar example.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  19. #18

    User Info Menu

    gigs preferred here. But the kids call them shows. I hate that term.

  20. #19

    User Info Menu

    Anytime I try playing out I get fired.

    I keep within the changes now.

  21. #20

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by A. Kingstone View Post
    Anytime I try playing out I get fired.

    I keep within the changes now.
    That's the gig, man.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  22. #21

    User Info Menu

    I practice to play a “show”. If I have ongoing work with a leader, I call it a “gig”. No particular reason for this word choice.

  23. #22

    User Info Menu

    My trio usually has younger bassist and drummer, and they play "shows", I play "gigs". Apparently shows and gigs are compatible.

  24. #23

    User Info Menu

    I don’t know that I’ve ever heard “playing out”. It’s always been gig to me and the cats.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  25. #24

    User Info Menu

    95% of audiences I know know the term gig and seem to find nothing objectionable about it.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  26. #25

    User Info Menu


  27. #26

    User Info Menu

    musical engagement....that's where the word gig originated from

  28. #27

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    musical engagement....that's where the word gig originated from
    Really? Is that the derivation? I had no idea. Thank you.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  29. #28

    User Info Menu

    Playing out does not imply making money. To me a gig is one that makes money and you might not be playing to many at all. I use the word gig and playing out just does not make sense other than you are playing in some public venue. A gig implies work and getting paid.

    Around these parts of midwest there is little money in playing gigs from what I can see. The best paying things tend to be weddings and possible some corporate show sponsored event. I took up guitar repair way back in the early 1990's although I could do things before then just did not try anything commercial. I can easily say the the repair " gig" is way more profitable and these days I enjoy it much more than playing almost any gig.

    Finally as I always say I had a full time gig 34 years in Human Services. The past 13 years as permenent Deacon.....that is not a all.......
    specializing in repair and setup, does your guitar play like it should?

  30. #29

    User Info Menu

    I dont think I've heard the term playing out used much since I was in a garage band in my teens. Like a guy would walk by and say "hey, you guys sound great, do you play out?"Which meant "in public," I guess, paid or not.A gig is a job. It pays money.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:

    "Jazz is like goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  31. #30

    User Info Menu

    I have always used the term gig to connote a paid performance, though "playing out," in my opinion, can refer to either paid or unpaid events. My daughter-in-law, who is a classically trained musician, always uses the term performances. Another clasically trained friend uses the same terminology. Does anyone know the origin of the term "gig?"

  32. #31

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by FredH View Post
    Does anyone know the origin of the term "gig?"

    Gig is slang for a live musical performance, recording session, or other (usually paid) engagement of a musician or ensemble. Originally coined in the 1920s by jazz musicians, the term, short for the word "engagement"

  33. #32

    User Info Menu

    Thanks. That what I always suspected.

  34. #33

    User Info Menu

    I've used the word "show". Rarely do I use the word "gig". Even though I have I always felt uncomfortable about it saying it. Don't know why really.

    I also say something as simple as, "We are 'playing' at so & so club tonight." Or, "We are 'playing' this weekend, you should drop in."

    I agree though, gig seems like it's more of a paid situation that playing out might be.

  35. #34

    User Info Menu

    If it's unpaid we call it a giglet.
    How many brushes should an artist have?