12/15/2011-BAND PRIMER-Being a 1 Person Band-Pt.3-Guitarists

-Last month I started going into specifics in regards to being a “1 man (or woman BTW…) band”-which I started 2 months ago. Last month I focused on singers. This month I’ll tackle guitarists.

-In many ways, the guitarist without a band has the opposite problems of the singer. Most guitarists know how to write music (at least the guitar parts)-and/or write riffs (and no, just because you can come up w/ riffs doesn’t mean you can write songs per say) but draw a blank when it comes to writing lyrics and/ or vocal melodies. Learning how to do this is a good step in making you more than just “a guitar player.” The more you can do-and do well-the more valuable you become.

-One thing to note w/ guitarists-many have to learn how to “reign” things in a little bit. What do I mean? Many guitarists-especially in the jazz and/or hard rock/heavy metal field- seem to just play to impress other players. That’s nice and it has it’s place.If that’s what you want to do, fine. Realize though that just showing off one’s virtuosity can at times be very limiting in terms of who wants to hear it and/or which place is going to let you perform like that. In addition, how do you think the rest of the band will feel if you keep going into 5 minute (or longer) guitar solos-or solo anytime there’s an open space in a song? You might end up on stage just playing along to backing tracks like a karaoke player. Don’t forsake your technique though. There will be times when excessive playing will be needed for a situation (maybe in a studio session the producers wants a totally rippin’ guitar solo or a guitar clinic that showcases that type of playing).

-I would suggest guitarists 1st work on their singing. If the most you achieved is becoming a good backing vocalist, that still puts you further along the pack-plus you can get some possible recording gigs just doing b.vocals. Of course-solo acoustic gigs now open up as well. Then work on songwriting-where you learn that all the instruments have their place and it’s best to have everyone “pick their shots” instead of one person blowing their load constantly in an attempt to impress. This will also help when you do co-writing and/or writing for hire.As you progress, having a home studio & writing/recording/releasing your own songs now becomes viable. If your guitar playing is good, teaching others is another possibility. Also-try bass playing. Don’t be fooled though-many guitarists play bass like a low end rhythm guitar. They’re missing the point. While you can do that, playing bass is a whole different animal & approach. And w/ that (plus I’m out of space) we’ll get to bassist next month. Happy Holidays!


About Wayne W. Johnson

Hiya-this is Wayne W. Johnson (WWJ) & thanks for dropping by to my site! I hope you enjoy your visit to my home away from home online. If you have any questions, comments and /or concerns about this site, please let me know via the CONTACT page. Thanks & best wishes to you & yours!
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