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NFT: BBI Guitarists - live gigging

DC Gmen Fan : 5/14/2018 12:32 pm
One of my bucket list items is to play acoustic guitar live in front of an audience. I bought my Gibson J-45 6 years ago with that goal in mind. I don't care where or how big - even to 5 people in a dive bar. I can play a little harmonica too (Piano Man and Heart of Gold)

I'm decent, not great by any stretch but I don't care. Anyone here ever live gig? What kind of equipment do you need besides your guitar? Do you supply your own amp or just into a PA?

How do you choose your setlist and practice? Do you play each song every day a few times? Some songs I play over and over and still can't get it right.

Any suggestions?

Thanks guys!
Is your  
dorgan : 5/14/2018 1:39 pm : link
goal to play for an audience or get paid for playing for an audience?
Build skills and confidence in open mic nights.  
x meadowlander : 5/14/2018 1:45 pm : link
Go to one as an audience member - check the PA setup. If they can provide mics', just mic the acoustic and sing. Old school - make sure you practice with a mic over the guitar soundhole at home. Can't move when using a mic!

That's where beginners cut there teeth. Great way to build relationships and meet people too.

As for pickups - if you don't want to butcher your Gibson, LR Baggs makes a great soundhole pickup, and multiple amp manufacturers make amplifiers specifically built to handle acoustic singer / songwriters. Fishman is probably the best known, but also a little on the expensive side. For mics, you can't beat a Shure SM57/58 for value. They're great, indestructible. Last a lifetime.
DC  
Mike in Marin : 5/14/2018 2:28 pm : link
I have done a fair amount of open mics using my acoustic. I mainly play lead in a grateful dead tribute band now. I typically practice with a Fishman mini Loudbox using an Shure SM-57 for vox and plug directly from my Taylor into it. This good practice for playing live.

I suggest a few things:

1. Video yourself and see how consistently you can get through the songs. Then watch and see how you sound/look.

2. Micing an acoustic is OK, but you really need a pick-up installed or at least some kind of temporary one that fits in the soundhole, as suggested above. There are a bunch of options.

3. Most places, you can plug directly into the PA and you do not need an amp, as you will hear yourself through the monitor(s)/speakers.

4. If you end up needing more control and options over your sound and volume, you can get a DI Box of some kind down the road. I don't use one.

And finally, Open Mics are your best options for getting started. You can go and play 1-3 or so songs in front of a smaller/more-forgiving audience (usually mostly other people in the same boat as you and not a large crowd).

Good luck !
FYI my J-45 is an acoustic/electric  
DC Gmen Fan : 5/14/2018 2:45 pm : link
.
Open mic is a great idea  
DC Gmen Fan : 5/14/2018 2:46 pm : link
thanks guys. BBI is great for this type of info!
An Open Mic is the way to go to start...  
Vinny from Danbury : 5/14/2018 2:57 pm : link
You'll only play a handful of songs, and won't get paid, but everything else will be supplied for you (PA, Amps, Mics, etc...), and if nothing else, there will be an audience of other musicians there, and maybe even some non-musicians. In my area there are open mics somewhere pretty much every single night of the week. Not so much on weekends, as those places tend to have paid entertainment on the weekends for their patrons. But their open mics can be good places to get to know and meet other area musicians.

On the other hand, if you want to try to book your own solo gigs you will most likely need to provide your own PA, Amp, mics, cables, etc... You will get paid for your efforts, but most venues that have paid solo and/or duo acoustic acts don't supply anything. It is up to the performer to provide everything, set it all up, Play, then break it all down when done.

I just played a heck'uva fun gig this past Saturday night with my 4 piece band here in CT. We bring everything ourselves. Our instruments, PA, Lights, etc... Many thousands of dollars worth of equipment.

It's a lot of work setting up and breaking down for a gig. But it's worth it to have fun like we did. Though a day and half later, and my 56 year old body is still sore. But I'd do it again tonight if the opportunity arose. :)
RE: FYI my J-45 is an acoustic/electric  
x meadowlander : 5/14/2018 3:01 pm : link
In comment 13963438 DC Gmen Fan said:
Quote:
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Take your guitar to an acoustic amp showroom of choice (most Guitar Centers have decent acoustic rooms with several amps to choose from), plug in and play.

If you're not confident in using an amp, bring someone along who is OR ask if any of the salespeople would play your guitar through a few amps - you'll be able to hear which sounds best without having to worry about settings that way.

Following...  
Dnew15 : 5/14/2018 3:13 pm : link
I play in an Irish band and feel pretty comfortable in that situation. We can play pretty much whatever we want as long as we play the few (Wild Rover, Irish Eyes, Danny Boy, etc) that people want to hear...but I HAVE to have music in order to play.
I'm interested in branching out and doing some folk rock kind of stuff, but I feel like those guys can play anything and they seem to be able to do it by ear.
I could pull it off and play 30-40 songs with music in front of me, but the really good guys can play anything and I get intimidated.
Curious to read about how people practice, set up a play list and what songs they chose to play.
I was  
dorgan : 5/14/2018 3:18 pm : link
going to suggest open mics to start but wanted to know your goals.

If your goal is to get paid at this, you're going to be able to have 30-40 songs performance ready (at minimum) for a 3 hour gig. 40 songs won't guarantee that you'll be able to satisfy all or even most requests.
Plus, you have to supply and hump the equipment.

For an open mic, 3-4 songs at most and the equipment will be provided.

Get your feet wet first before you dive into something headfirst that might be more work than you're imagining.
I've been playing solo for 35 years (off and on) and it's more work that it looks like.

Good luck and have fun.


Good advice all around.  
Britt in VA : 5/14/2018 3:20 pm : link
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Dorgan  
DC Gmen Fan : 5/14/2018 3:24 pm : link
I'm nowhere near good enough to get paid. I just want to get out of my comfort zone and go play and hopefully entertain (for good or for bad) an audience. Maybe down the road another story if I continue to improve.
Scout out some local open mics....  
Britt in VA : 5/14/2018 3:27 pm : link
find a scene you're comfortable with. Hit up the guy running the open mic, ask him if he has a direct box. If he does, plug your acoustic in the DI and let him mix your guitar and vocals. That way you don't have to worry about standing still in front of a mic.

Secondly, this sounds a little funny, but practice in a bathroom. The acoustics in your bathroom will really boom your guitar and voice and you'll get a good idea of how you'll sound amplified.

If you have the means, practice at home on a PA or something (if you can borrow one or buy a really inexpensive one). Sometimes it's weird to hear your voice/guitar come out of the monitor for the first time.

Most importantly, have fun!
Practice until you can play and sing confidently....  
Britt in VA : 5/14/2018 3:29 pm : link
belt it out.
DC  
dorgan : 5/14/2018 3:30 pm : link
open mics will give you the experience of playing in front of people and satisfy that itch.

I don't know if anyone suggested that you should practice in
front of a mirror or not, but do it! The best performers make contact with the audience. They don't stare at the floor or at a sheet music, they make eye contact with the audience. Practice that.

Record yourself and make note of all the rough spots in the songs you choose to perform and iron those out before you go out in public.

Go get em.
If you've never played in a performance setting  
schabadoo : 5/14/2018 3:39 pm : link
I would try it at least once in front of a few people--family, friends, etc. Try to simulate a gig: set up a mic if possible, stand up on a step, etc. Because honestly the hardest part at first is stepping onto the stage and not being a nervous wreck.

And totally open mic it. They do all the work, probably just hand you an instrument cable from the pa and get your guitar level set.
A couple of things:  
Jimmy Brown : 5/14/2018 4:41 pm : link
Learn the songs...donít use a book and music stand. It is so unprofessional looking. You need to look at the audience you are playing to...even when nobody is paying attention to you, which happens a lot!!
When you start gigging for money, you will find that you play for free and get paid for setting up and breaking down!
RE: A couple of things:  
schabadoo : 5/14/2018 4:52 pm : link
In comment 13963534 Jimmy Brown said:
Quote:
Learn the songs...donít use a book and music stand. It is so unprofessional looking. You need to look at the audience you are playing to...even when nobody is paying attention to you, which happens a lot!!
When you start gigging for money, you will find that you play for free and get paid for setting up and breaking down!



I agree.
I play with 2 singers that basically read from their iPads. It's a terrible look.
RE: An Open Mic is the way to go to start...  
short lease : 5/14/2018 5:47 pm : link
In comment 13963448 Vinny from Danbury said:
Quote:
You'll only play a handful of songs, and won't get paid, but everything else will be supplied for you (PA, Amps, Mics, etc...), and if nothing else, there will be an audience of other musicians there, and maybe even some non-musicians. In my area there are open mics somewhere pretty much every single night of the week. Not so much on weekends, as those places tend to have paid entertainment on the weekends for their patrons. But their open mics can be good places to get to know and meet other area musicians.


This right here ... and usually the crowds are much smaller on "open mike" nights (less intimidating?). Make sure you stop by after work or get there early. Usually there is a sign-up sheet with slots and it is a "first come first serve basis". If they run out of slots you will be out of luck for that night.

If you stop by early, you can always sign up and then leave .... and comeback later (obviously).
Yeah -  
Rick5 : 5/14/2018 7:21 pm : link
All kinds of stuff for most of my life. I started playing in front of family and friends as a teenager, then parties and roller rinks in a heavy metal band (gotta love being a teenager in the 80s). Then I shifted to jazz and classical in my 20s and early 30s. Played in a classical guitar orchestra for a few years in a number of venues. Mostly though, my first love is jazz, so that's all I have been doing for the last 20 years or so. Coffee shops, weddings, recitals in college music departments, restaurants, solo stuff in a church once, local jazz jams at bars, etc. I never did an open mic before. Although I have done some solo gigs, I prefer playing with at least one other musician. I can get a little stage fright solo, but I am not the least bit nervous if there is at least one other person playing. Just something to think about.
If I had to  
Rick5 : 5/14/2018 7:32 pm : link
pick a place to start, it would be friends and family followed by some low-key event like bringing a guitar to a neighborhood block party or something.
Congrats on getting to this point!  
wigs in nyc : 5/14/2018 8:00 pm : link
As a few have mentioned, get a couple tunes to the point where you van play em in your sleep, and then go have fun. Nerves will come i front of strangers at first, so make sure you know em inside and out!

I wanted to share a great resource for finding local open mics below. Good luck!
https://openmikes.org - ( New Window )
THanks wigs  
DC Gmen Fan : 5/14/2018 9:01 pm : link
helpful site!
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