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  1. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by jonesmanjones
    I used to play instrumental solo guitar full-time as a cruise ship musician but recently had to stop due to covid and don't plan on going back. I've really enjoyed reading this thread and was wondering if anyone has any tips for getting solo gigs. I realize this isn't directly related to what OP asked and sorry if this has been covered somewhere else on this forum. I'm just starting from scratch and am trying to find some weekly gigs and any advice would be helpful. Thanks!
    Have your promo package ready. Get used to cold-calling, and rejection. Persevere. Good luck.

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  3. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by jonesmanjones
    I used to play instrumental solo guitar full-time as a cruise ship musician but recently had to stop due to covid and don't plan on going back. I've really enjoyed reading this thread and was wondering if anyone has any tips for getting solo gigs. I realize this isn't directly related to what OP asked and sorry if this has been covered somewhere else on this forum. I'm just starting from scratch and am trying to find some weekly gigs and any advice would be helpful. Thanks!
    I think it takes some investigating in the areas where you want to book gigs. I find artists who do something similar to what I do and check out the places where they are booking gigs. You just have to feel out what places book live music and figure out if the place would be open to the music you are offering. I really get a lot of mileage from having sample videos ...for my solo gigs, I purposefully link people to videos where you can hear people talking over the music to sell the idea that I am a good 'addition to the environment' as much as a 'performer' ...ymmv cheers!

  4. #53

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    Quote Originally Posted by basscadet
    I think it takes some investigating in the areas where you want to book gigs. I find artists who do something similar to what I do and check out the places where they are booking gigs. You just have to feel out what places book live music and figure out if the place would be open to the music you are offering. I really get a lot of mileage from having sample videos ...for my solo gigs, I purposefully link people to videos where you can hear people talking over the music to sell the idea that I am a good 'addition to the environment' as much as a 'performer' ...ymmv cheers!
    Book a lesson with a busy player or two who do what you want to do.

    That will get you heard. Sooner or later, the teacher will need a sub.

    And, even if that doesn't work, you might learn something interesting in the lesson.

  5. #54

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    I think you can make solo jazz guitar lively. It's probably a good idea to steer away from too many rubato ballads, although even they can have lively highlights. I agree that incorporating some known, or "pop" tunes is a good idea. Everyone feels the blues, even if they don't know the tune. I'd stay away from loop stations, pre-recorded stuff, and effects altogether. Looking at your set list, it strikes me that some of those songs might not lend themselves to solo playing. So choosing songs rich in harmonic movement and simple melodies might help. Pulse is important. There has to be a swing feel so bass lines need to be strong. Percussive playing is effective if you can get that down. Single note flourishes, fast runs up and down the neck can liven up a ballad. It's one helluva job to pull off a solo gig without boring your audience. If jazz is your thing, then you need to bend your audience to you.

  6. #55

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    Ever since the advent of covid (which was pretty soon after I made this thread) I had to stop playing gigs and jamming out with others. Next time eventually the setlist will be comprised of tunes that most people will know but still pretty jazzy. Regardless I was in way over my head in trying to get gigs anyways last year since it was clear to me that I still don't have a pulse or a good sense of time (whatever that is). I'll most likely get a teacher this year should a vaccine come out hopefully. Until then I'm just working on my major scales in 12 keys, no hurry whatsoever

  7. #56

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    I've done a string of solo gigs (about 7 or 8) in the restaurant of a golf club nearby. Friday from 18.00 to 22.00h , with a few 15 minute breaks in between my sets. At the time I more or less took it on as a challenge , to see if I could pull it off and to brush up on some of the tunes in my repertoire. With the help of a looper I did pull it off but man, it was hard.... not something I really enjoy and I'd only do it again for a considerable amount of €€€€ more.
    As per the material : I mixed some classical pieces in with every set (I used a nylonstring guitar all along) , some Pop Evergreens, Beatles etc., TV Themes, Ragtime/Country Blues, just to make it more interesting for everybody. Since it was a long gig the audience changed in the course of the evening and I did not get the impression that they got bored. I was there to create a specific athmosphere, not as a concert musician.

  8. #57

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    If going after solo gigs, invest in a good promo, make a video or two and have them online, so you can show potential employers and managers. It does make a difference, especially with those not familiar with your work.

  9. #58

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    [QUOTE=joelf;1003144]Charlie Parker said: 'Find one person in the audience and play to him'. If I reach one person I'm not window dressing.

    And b/c people don't react in a directly demonstrative way doesn't mean they're not listening.

    And I feel like you, or worse, many days. I may be in a crap mood, or my nerves are acting up to begin with---andI have to go out and play for the money, including the street. Yeah, I still do that, to not raid my savings account. People may ignore me all day, and drool into the hated digital toys---which has cut down my earnings substantially. I feel on those days like 'why bother?' Or 'how come so-and-so is more successful, though I'm just as good, and I'm still doing this s&*t for pennies w/o anyone even listening?' Or I'm on auto-pilot, playing by rote w/no feeling, just for the little bread. It's depressing those days, but later I realize I may have made someone's day better who never told me. Then tomorrow I'm ready to do it again, and hope it'll be better. I'm a guitar player. What else am I gonna do?[/QUOTE
    Then tomorrow I'm ready to do it again, and hope it'll be better. I'm a guitar player. What else am I gonna do?[/QUOTE


    Hi, J,
    I know by your above comments you are a good soul and die hard musician. Art for Art's sake? We're playing to the pigs. Make it count for you. In an age of Materialism, play for yourself and get the money . . . in one generation, no one will remember our names.
    Play live . . . Marinero

  10. #59

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    did some body suggest adding flaminco.Wow.the strumming hand is for me a big challenge.i incorporate a tiny bit to give the illusion.That a music that is lead by the dancer or the singer from what i understand you are feeding off what they are doing and imitating the emotion.Man i love it!!Ben Woods is impressive as are others.

  11. #60

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    did some body suggest adding flaminco.Wow.the strumming hand is for me a big challenge.i incorporate a tiny bit to give the illusion.That a music that is lead by the dancer or the singer from what i understand you are feeding off what they are doing and imitating the emotion.Man i love it!!Ben Woods is impressive as are others.Dangerous territory if you are trying what i attempt.they take it very seriously lol

  12. #61

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    I studied enough Flamenco to be able to to a fairly decent selection of what I call quasi-flamenco improvisations. (I will never be Paco de Lucia).

    I will probably get flamed for this, but I also have a selection of quality backing tracks that are especially useful for the up tempo stuff. I have no hesitation to use them as I am not replacing a band. The places I play would never hire a full band so I am not putting anybody out of work. If some here think it is a cop out or cheesy, well I am sorry but it is working. (or at least it was before covid)

  13. #62

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    No flaming the backing tracks, although, I find that making your own really gives you a sense of creative input and control over the changes and tempi, etc. Anything from a basic rhythm guitar track to a building of loops starting with a bass line or rhythm pattern played on small percussion or even a keyboard mapped to drum sounds, as well as perhaps some harmonic content from acoustic guitar or string and horn parts. Once an arrangement is finished, it will be available to you to edit (short versions for senior audiences, longer versions where dancing might happen) and even to change to different keys if working with another player or singer. Survival is paramount for those of us who are professionals; only the amateurs and semi-pros can afford to turn up their noses at canned accompaniment. And it looks like we still have several months to go before regular gigging with live ensembles will return. Even at that, most venues have taken such a financial hit that they may not be able to pay a band until year or more down the road.

  14. #63

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    One thing often overlooked in discussions of playing with tracks is the high level of skill required.


    The musicians playing on BIAB’s RealTracks are swingin’ and rockin’ like crazy <in perfect time>.


    Can we do the same? If so, it will sound spectacular. If not…


    I would rather listen to good musicians or singers perform to tracks than listen to mediocre ones perform without.

  15. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alter
    If going after solo gigs, invest in a good promo, make a video or two and have them online, so you can show potential employers and managers. It does make a difference, especially with those not familiar with your work.
    Hi, A,
    You're right in the YTK plus. . . and, especially if you're new to an area and people don't know your name. And, it saves time when a potential employer asks "Can you play something for me?" I also provide a list of clubs, patrons for whom I've played in the past and that can be a big incentive for hiring. However, it's my opinion that you're on the same level as the new bay window and chemise curtains--atmosphere. Play live . . . when???? . . . Marinero

    P.S. The last gig that asked for my music was in Illinois. I provided a cassette tape of my playing . . . guess how long ago that happened? Once your name's around, the gigs will follow. M

  16. #65

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah
    I tried to do things woth looper (I used small TC Ditto) and also freeze... but I still could not manage conventional stuff...
    The things what Alter does are very cool and the way he does it is just fantastic!

    it was fun for me to explore but still I felt awkward ... I liked more to do with looper things like 'layer' - sort of plyohony but I could not work out how to use it for self-comping... I mean I understand how but I do not like it... maybe later I will come back to it

    Like everything else, working with a looper demands practice on a regular basis. If you think that it may be useful in the future, you probably should devote 10-15 minutes of your practice sessions to using it; like playing, it needs to become second nature, and it will in only a couple of weeks if you stick with it.

  17. #66

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    If there's one tricky thing about using loopers live it is having a good tempo. If by the time you finish your track the tempo has shifted it's going to sound bad. The rest is easier than it looks. I always practice or play with a metronome, or some other reference of steady time.

  18. #67

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    One of the most interesting "solo" guitar sets I've seen was in Berlin (Germany) about 5 years back (or maybe it was Prague in the Czech Republic. The guitarist had an ols Hofner Senator and had built his set with full BIAB backing. Some numbers were sparse, othrrs more full in terms of instruments, and one only had piano. He also played a couple of numbers totally solo which gave some nice contrast. He had a wide repertoire in his ppc 200+ songs so was also zble to adjust and respond.
    Not saying this is the"right" way for solo sets, and I'm sure there must be venues somewhere that will want a set of principally introspective concencentration from player and audience.
    I think the lesson is to understand expectations and adapt to what is expected.

  19. #68

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    As far as timing with a looper goes, I've played many thousands of gigs with live bands; most produce tempo variations during performance. The art of looping a backing track doesn't need metronomic time, it needs your foot to hit the switch at the right time. You'll then be playing over a typically imperfect, human backing. Unless your time is really atrocious, even you as the player won't really notice.

    This all changes if you're looping with other players, all of whom will have his or her own time interpretations. The only way I've found to make that work is hire a drummer used to playing with a click, yet still able to groove. A rare bird, indeed. I've had a few situations where the leader (usually a singer) has hired a rhythm section but has canned horn or string tracks; usually, a separate track with small percussion or a click is sent to the drums and bass; this usually works well if the rhythm team listens well.

  20. #69

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    The problem with time fluctuations is exactly at the point the loop ends. If say you're looping a chorus of a standard and the time has changed by the end, you are going to have a big difference between the last and the first bar of the new loop, and it's going to sound awful at that point every time, possibly throwing your timing off too. Imagine soloing and the rhythm section suddenly drops the tempo in a single bar..

  21. #70

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alter
    The problem with time fluctuations is exactly at the point the loop ends. If say you're looping a chorus of a standard and the time has changed by the end, you are going to have a big difference between the last and the first bar of the new loop, and it's going to sound awful at that point every time, possibly throwing your timing off too. Imagine soloing and the rhythm section suddenly drops the tempo in a single bar..
    Good point, but covered in my post as "unless your time is atrocious"! That's where working with a metronome may help, or even the "robotic" iRealPro tracks.

  22. #71

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    Not a big fan of loopers, I prefer to hear just the instrument and the fact that it ISNT a whole band. It's part of the beauty. This is a good example of some excellent solo guitar playing. Mr Kleijn from The Netherlands. Just listen to the masters and learn!


  23. #72

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jforman273 View Post
    Not a big fan of loopers, I prefer to hear just the instrument and the fact that it ISNT a whole band. It's part of the beauty. This is a good example of some excellent solo guitar playing. Mr Kleijn from The Netherlands. Just listen to the masters and learn!

    As fine as that is for us on this site, it would not go well in non-jazz situations. I consider Bill Frisell to be one of the "masters", and his use of loopers and other technology is brilliant.

  24. #73

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jake Reichbart View Post
    Just had to, haha... :-)
    And I have to say this: WELL PLAYED, Jake! The ability to take a tune like this one and make it cool is an elusive skill. Some tunes are easy for me to "jazz up" but making something like TMOTTBP or Jingle Bells "cool" is often more challenging for me than playing any of the true jazz standards... The thing is, that is how so many tunes became "jazz standards": talented players working recognizable pop melodies into gigs while still expressing themselves artistically. I really don't think I'd have thought to play this tune in this way in a million years. Loved it, Jake! Thanks for posting.

    And yeah, I know this thread is super old, but someone posted to it just recently, causing it to pop up to the top of the forum, where I stumbled across it. The never-ending richness of JGBE :-)

  25. #74

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazznylon View Post
    Interesting responses here ! I have another solo gig at another venue coming up tommorow. Hopefully all goes well and it may become a regular thing! Who knows
    It’s nice to hear live music is coming back. I really miss it.

  26. #75

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    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz View Post
    As fine as that is for us on this site, it would not go well in non-jazz situations. I consider Bill Frisell to be one of the "masters", and his use of loopers and other technology is brilliant.
    Yes I agree but his use of loopers is usually in a way that it functions as an extra instrument or sound. Not as a backing track kind of deal. My favourites of bill are still the videos where it's just him and an acoustic Waterloo guitar!