A thought on the old saying "Guitarist are a dime a dozen"

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by LiquidMidnight, Jun 19, 2003.

  1. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    If you think this would do better in band mangement, feel free to move it. I just thought it would get a better general response here. ;)

    I just read Makaroni + Cheese's thread about not being able to find a suitable drummer, and it got me thinking of the process of finding musicians for a band. The last band I was in went through hell trying to find a suitable lead guitarist. Of course, I'm reminded of the old saying I've heard ever since I started playing "Guitarist are a dime a dozen".

    I find that statement to be half true. People say guitarist are a dime a dozen, but 85% of those guitarist I find are just hacks and the cream of the crop are just as difficult to find as the cream of the crop of bass players. It's difficult to find a guitarist that plays well, can improvise, is tasteful, is versatile, works well within the group, and most importantly, has a good personality. Case in point, the process I was speaking of. We were looking to form a Blues/Classic Rock type of outfit. Our plan was to have a 4 piece with singer/occasional acoutic guitar, drummer, bassist and then lead guitarist. Though there are a few simlar styled bands in the area, we were going to pick some less cliche songs to cover plus do some orginals. The drummer and singer we're seasoned pros from the LA music scene, so I was pretty excited to be playing with muso's of that caliber. So after getting aquainted, we begin the audition process. The 1st guitarist that came to audition, we loved. He wasn't overly fancy, but he was very tasteful, he had a beautiful Les Paul tone (which was very considerate of my tone), very easy to get along with, he already had a large repitiore of songs and he could improvise very well over the stuff he didn't know. We decide it would be a waste of time to audition anyone else since we felt very strongly about him, so we give him the phone call. Unforunatley he declines. Turns out, he has one of those wives who isn't very keen on him being a musician. Our 2nd audition is a former bassist who recently decided to take up guitar. He's not a bad guitarist but not strong enough to play in a 3 piece. He seemed to rely on his effects to much. The main problem is, is that since he just took up the guitar, he didn't have a very big repitiore and we would have to wait for him to learn every song. The 3rd guy that walked in was a total hack (and waste of time). First, I think he was stoned. And while I have no problem with people smoking the green, it's not very professional to show up for a band audition while under the influence. His rythm playing was VERY substandard and his leads were just mindless "doodling". Worst of all, he used this gimmicky tremelo effect on everything. The 4th guy was a pretty good guitarist, though he couldn't really improvise all that well. (We wanted to do Alleman Bros. style jamming) Though the main factor was his personality was a little to pushy for us. We thought he had to much of a "Pro" attitude, and he seemed to be more of a "My way, and only my way" type of guy, so we really weren't into him. The 5th person who walked in was younger. I think he was a year older than me. Very nice kid. He really never played our style of music before though. He really didn't understand enough about music to play well over our stuff and a lot of him solos were out of key. Still, he had lots of creativey, and if I were playing in an all orginal project, I would definatley be into jamming with him. Still, we had fun playing with him and he was a very cool cat to talk to. He was also cool enough to realize that he really wasn't working out with us. The last guy we auditioned was a very nice guy. He had a great blues style of lead playing to him, but his rythm playing just wasn't there. It mainly consisted of barre chords, and chuck berry style 5/6 riffs. We played Gimme Three Steps and Little Wing and he couldn't play the fills in the songs.

    Sorry, if I sound whiny, cause that wasn't my point. My point is I think that guitarist aren't a dime a dozen and there are just as difficult to find as any other musician. Just how lots of people have taken years of piano lessons, but it doesn't mean that they can sit in and play keyboards in a professional band. Or how lots of people can sing well, but it doesn't mean they can do it for 3 hours straight, have stage presence, and be able to write songs, ect.

    Anyways, what are your thoughts, expierences, ect?
  2. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    I knew someone would complain about how long it was. :D :p

    Actually, the whole anecdote about my band going through the audition process was probaly pretty pointless anyways, but I like to share my expierences when I'm discussing a point.
  3. Yeah,it always helps...

    I'm just messing around,you know that right?

  4. it's REALLY hard to find a guitarist who meets your musical requirements AS WELL AS your personality requirements. there are plenty of nice-enough guitarists. and plenty of talented guitarists. they just aren't always the same guys.
  5. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    That's another question entirely, Would you sacrifice some personality traits for the perfect guitarist in every other sense?

    and likewise would you take on a guitarist that wasn't all that great musically but is a totally awesome person and really is enthusiastic, but he just never gets it?

    tough questions
  6. Are you kidding me?

    that'd be basically using him...I think a crappy band thats a buncha friends is better then Metallica;)

    hehe,but really...how can you have any fun,when you're not w/ your friends?

  7. ConU


    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    Put up an ad for auditions that has $$(gigs)in it,and watch the competent ones come a runnin'...I would bet the first guy bailed not because of the wife,but because you guys are'nt booked yet...:)
  8. But dude, isnt Metallica a crappy band thats a bunch of friends?
  9. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    I agree that a good guitarist formatted to a certain style of band is VERY hard to find.

    We have a classic rock outfit that does paying gigs. One guitar player is pretty good and writes good originals that mesh very well with the covers.
    The second guitar player, while being technically acomplished, (been through music school and all that) hasn't played enough, and (more importantly) hasn't LISTENED to enough music. He's developing, and it'll get there.

    But the most annoying aspect of all is turning rehearsals into Practice!

    I end up figuring out the guitar parts to most of the covers we do, the bass lines, and nuances in the arrangenments. then, I have to teach it to these guys!

    I was the least experienced member of my band instrument-wise. that was then.
  10. Wow.
    Makes me think of the guitar player I jammed with a few times on my floor in the dorms. Hotel. Thing.

    Anyway, he only had his acoustic with him, and he was really good, and he's also a really cool guy to be around with. He would complain about not having his electric guitar with him every once in a while, but I can understand that, since acoustic and electric guitars feel very different. Or at least they do to me.

    Next year he's likely to have his electric with him, and I hope to get some more jamming in with him. If he's still as tasteful and generous (he likes to have the bass as the main focus in a lot of the stuff he writes! :D) on an electric, we just might have to start looking for a drummer, and possibly a singer/2nd guitarist.

    Damn. Now I feel spoiled to know this guy. :p
  11. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    Yeah, but it's kind of hard to book yourself when you don't even have your band put together. We were clear when speaking to these guys about how many times we were planning on playing a month, how much we were planning on making ect.