This might be unusual for this forum, as I'm not talking about solo a la Victor Wooten, but as a singer/songwriter, on guitar or piano.
I've been writing and recording since the early 90's, but have only recently felt "good enough" to present my material in and of itself. I've always played bass and etc. in everyone else's band, which I love, but - it's time.
So I'm just opening the floor to any comments and advice geared towards solo acts.
My thinking is that starting an original band (and ive played in several) is the wrong way to go. I'm looking at small venues I can play, and even considering playing for gourmet dinner + tips + merch.
I don't necessarily see this as devaluation. Right now, I need as much exposure as possible. Basically like brand building, word of mouth,etc.
Posting some sound clips here would be a start in exposure.
Here are some recent efforts, definitely demos, but not too bad -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bs-bzbDRIcU ( I love my bass playing on this. Vocal is a bit rough and high in the mix...was the first decent take at 11pm on a work night . . . . . .....)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jnj4E_3OQZs (crosby-esque simon & garfunkelly, maybe too much wave fx. )
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ge_kwwcEEAQ ( Pure weirdness here... )
I've just put SoundCloud on the iPad, just haven't messed with it yet. Looks like a good way to put a few tracks up also. I have no web mojo whatsoever, so obviously that's something to work on or get help with.
Well, first solo gig in waaaay too long was pretty dead, but went great. I felt bad for the venue, a small cafe thats just starting out as well. They can never predict how many customers they'll have.
But I was there for the chops, to stretch a bit. Also to test out the voice full bore - been nursing a slight vocal injury caused by vomiting repeatedly. Good times.
Knocked out a lot of Paul Simon material, since they liked it, Beatles, various folk, originals, also Bowie in celebration of the new album. Even pulled off an Orbison tune, "You've got It", with a good ringing high A.
I feel confident to chase down some bigger/better gigs now, so mission accomplished. I'll still do the cafe on an off night, tuesdays or something.
They say starting is the hardest part... and you're now past that point. Congrats.
I think that’s awesome.
I tend to most enjoy doing things with others, but sometimes it’s cool to not have to depend on others.
I kinda want to do the solo sing/guitar thing someday, and I’ve been working on that for a little while now. Not just strumming, but also some nice finger-picking that I’m just not good enough on yet, nor have enough songs down yet. I’ve got some originals, but I’ve been focusing on covers.
At least one band member mentioned “Every time I see Marko he’s practicing the damn guitar”, haha.
Well, we came up with a couple new songs for this coming rehearsal, so I’m back busy on the bass.
I've done the same thing, it's not easy doing everything by yourself but it is ultimately rewarding.
It took time, but i'm comfortable and confident in my writing abilities which are growing by leaps and bounds now by sheer will of pushing forward.
I dove hard into multimedia performance centered around the bass- I find people really react very well to a visual presentation that can provide the movement and energy that a full band usually puts out plus more... and it's a great outlet for my visual art side. I also collaborate a lot, and bring a few people on stage with me from time to time and it broadens the fan base nicely.
Technology has made so much available to the individual, it's amazing what can be done for little dollars these days...
the hardest part is there is no one to pick up any slack so you've gotta be on top of it every day.
^ thats awesome, I love that kind of stuff. Electric Bass Acid Test : )
I haven't checked the links yet but good and bad points....
The bad: If the audience hates it, it's all YOUR fault.
The good: If the audience loves it, it's all you baby!
Ha ha, have fun and yes you have done the hardest part of any stunt: convincing yourself to try do it in the first place.
I never went completely solo, but the music in the video below is entirely me. I got some friends to jump in for the filming, and a gig. I've got lots of stuff I've recorded on my own, but performing I like to do with a group.
The 2 most important things I think u need to run your own show is time (its tough to do if you're putting 50 hrs a week into a day job), and comitment. It's got to be a priority, and sticktoitiveness is essential. My endeavor fell by the wayside because I was lacking both, but I intend to pick it up again.
Good luck and congratulations.
I appreciate the technology thing (we're using some in my new band), but I want to go naked (not physically, that’d be gross)- just some reverb on guitar and vocal- no harmonizer, no backtracks, nothing. Of course they’re all listening-type songs.
I won’t go acoustic guitar, as electric is just so much more easy for me, but I’ve got two nice semi-hollow bodies, 1-3/4” at the nut, and a couple sweet-sounding little amps, a little VOX and a Roland Cube 30.
I’ll get my X (an LPN) to get me a gig in the nursing home… of course she’ll make me use another last name and deny she knows me, but that’d be a good place to test my guitar chops.
^ thats a nice sound no doubt. I have a Rick 6-string I use for recording, and sometimes gigs. For the cafe, I used a Guild 12-string, which is detuned a full step and then capoed - due to some top bowing - only way to get it playable -
For truly small PA needs, nothing beats the Roland Street Cube. Unbelievable sound from 2x2.5 watt speakers. I've used it busking in Saratoga, where it paid for itself one summer and then some.
What's next - demo making and pavement pounding. Hard to do on top of full time work, and that's always the equation. I'm already blowing it this week, missing open mics, not prepared to go into that straight out of work. I have a logistics problem and need to move. I'm a bit out into the hills. Dedication isn't the question, its hours and minutes.
When i was in college for music they were having a coffee house sort of thing and i had been working on playing a ballad by myself. Pulling a lot of inspiration form Ron Carters solo on willow weep for me.
Just trying to outline the chords with open strings or if the melody was a cord tone I’d flesh it out with lower notes or hitting harmonics. Almost like a Guitar chord solo by more idiomatic of upright bass. Anyways they asked us to tell them what we were playing and the other instruments required. When it came to me i just called out, "oh I’m going to do a ballad on solo bass, when sunny gets blue". I didn't really think of it as a big deal; until i was there and was having to follow all these full bands. I still remember walking up to the stage by myself and getting plugged in.
I have always had an easy time being in front of crowds because- as a bass player- very few ppl are focused on me. But turning around to the lone spotlight on me with a crowed watching was when it hit me i was alone on stage. It was very thrilling. I played the song and got off stage and the tune went pretty good but I think it was more the, I don’t know if respect is the right word for it but I’ll use it, shown after that for having the balls to go onstage alone was neat to see.
Good on you for going out there.
As far as the stripped down thing goes, i've been interested in getting an abg and transposing my tenor guitar pieces.
Not sure why I haven't seen more of that, I feel the abg would be such a nice compliment to voice.
^ that is an awesome idea. I know because I thought of it also : )
My 2 cents also is to lose the low E on ABG, and go A D G C. I haven't tried it yet myself, but imagine it would make an interesting alternative for solo play -
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