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how to gig?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Frugle, Sep 7, 2005.

  1. Frugle


    Sep 4, 2005
    Atlanta GA
    The term gig is used really loosely on these forums.. and talked about as if it was an easy thing to do....

    and I was just curious... how do you do it? how do you start gigging? how do you get good enough to gig?

    right now.. I play in like a church band... but i"m talking about a real gig...

    I know right now I'm not at the stage where I can gig... but in a couple of years I feel I'll be able to....

    I mean, you look at all these peoples profiles.. and it says they've play with all kinds of famous bands... how did they get that position?

    I live in the big ATL.. It seems it should be easy to get a gig here.. quite often.. but how?

    just curious..

  2. FunkSlap89


    Apr 26, 2005
    Albany, NY
    You have to start out small. Get together with a few people and jam at parties and stuff. You'll get experience points and once you get a stable band together, you call up a small local venue and ask when they have an empy spot. Tell a bunch of your friends and advertise all over the web about it. Practice your butt off, and play one heck of a show! :D
  3. Frugle


    Sep 4, 2005
    Atlanta GA
    I guess i'm just trying to find another way to make money... right now I'm a contract videographer... and that pays really really well....expecially for my age.. I also am an audio engineer, so between the two I have almost every weekend filled....I guess i'm just curious if gigging would be another thing icould try.

    now I know gigging doesn't pay well... if it pays at all.. but it just looks fun...
  4. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    How do you do it? Talk a bar or restuarant into hiring you, rent out a VFW hall and promote your own show, talk your cousin into hiring you for her wedding, whatever.

    How do you start? See above...pound the pavement, knock on doors and talk fast.

    How do you get good enough? You are good enough NOW. There are really bad bands gigging 365 days of the year all over the world.
  5. Osprey


    Jun 20, 2005
    now I know gigging doesn't pay well... if it pays at all.. but it just looks fun

    When you've been gigging for 40 years and your band doesn't want to try any different numbers it will probably be fun: meanwhile it will be the best kick you'll find with your pants on.

    Give it a go: if they pay you just in beer you'll be ahead of the game.
  6. kansas666


    Sep 20, 2004
    I am a videographer and an audio engineer. Every time I videotaped a band I wished I were up on stage instead of running the camera. Every time I mixed a band I wished I were up on stage instead of FOH.

    Pay is commenserate with experience/ability/attitude like most jobs. Don't underestimate the value of attitude.

    Go for it.
  7. ebladeboi123


    Jul 11, 2005
    Oberlin, Oh
    How do you do it? Get some guys together. Record something in a basement or something, and mix it well, so it sounds decent. Send out your recording to small venues,restrauntes, bars, anywhere that plays music. Give them a number with the cd. Wait 2 weeks. Call them back in 2 weeks if they haven't done anything and ask if they'd like to schedule a show. If they say no- just move onto the next part.

    Pay: The pay is pretty horrible honestly. I play ALOT of smaller gigs at bars, restrauntes ect. My band only makes 150 a night for about 3 hours. And theres 5 of us (really 4, but 1 sound tech.). It's really all about having fun. Over the summer we gigged the hell outta our originals, and now we're all sick of them. So we've moved onto writing new stuff. We now have about 1.5 hours of orignals, which I guess is good for 15 year olds. If you really wana hear our stuff (i know you do!) its www.purevolume.com/eclyptic . I think we have some of our basement stuff on it- you'll be able to tell sound quality differences. But that demo landed us a show a "big" local club, which led to more clubs, which eventually led to opening for the Moody blues. So i guess we turned out ok.
  8. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Maybe this isn't what you want to hear but, right now, your church band is your gig. Maybe put something together with the better musicians in that group. Round up some folks from your school. Make it known you are a bass player looking for a gig. Once you've gotten four players or so together, rehearse at least once a week with plenty of homework, then play some parties for free to get your name out there.

    There will be plenty of personnel changes, but get used to it. Avoid egomaniacs and psychos. Kick them out at the first sign of psychosis. As time goes on, your group will gel, and you'll reach a level where people will pay money to hear you. You'll be playing one of the free parties, and someone will come up to you and ask, "How much do you guys charge for a party?" Tell them $300. As your reputation grows, that number will go up. Make sure you've got at least 40 songs well-prepared and rehearsed before go for the bucks.

    The most important rule for any band, new or experienced is: Everyone must own a digital tuner, except the drummer. If anyone disagrees with me on that, shut up. Oh yeah, you'll make more money sooner if you play covers. Nobody wants to hear songs written by teenagers.
  9. Eh? - in my band we've got one tuner between us, the guitarist uses it when the rest of us just tune to the piano (to get our pitch better, ya know) You may not have good enough pitch to tell if your in tune or not, but that doesn't mean EVERYONE needs to use a tuner - people who refuse to play unless they've used a tuner need to buck up their act a bit and try doing a gig using a pitch pipe or something instead, they may be surprised... :rolleyes: :D
  10. popinfresh


    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    Our band started with heaps of BOTB's (we never lost one) and because of that, we started getting interest and gigs.
    We're now in the largest BOTB's in Australia (hard rock cafe) and we're through to the semi finals.. Hopefully all goes well!!
  11. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Shut up.
  12. We couldn't get more money for our band until we started listing the number of digital tuners we had right in our contracts. Opened a lot of doors for us. People see tuners, they think you're SERIOUS!

  13. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Now you're catching on.
  14. Sturge


    Sep 10, 2005
    Liverpool, England
    Munji's right, y'know. You may or may not be able to tune perfectly to a piano, a pitch pipe or a squirrel, but you should remove any margin for error by using a tuner between songs - bear in mind the bashing your ears get from playing live, and then consider that you'll be trying to listen to a note over background chatter and potential crappy mixes in a live setting. Using an electronic tuner takes away that element of doubt and makes you look and sound more professional in an instant.
  15. willgroove2


    Aug 16, 2003
    chicago IL
    Endorsing Artist;Essential sound products,Dunlop, Ergo Instruments
    one of the ways i can tell if im listening to pro musicians very quickly is if their in tune,nothing sounds worse buy a tuner ok?and another thing;what if the piano is out of tune? even synths go out of tune sometimes
  16. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    I know a band who is so anal about tuning that they insist on everyone using the same tuner, even on stage, and in between every song.

    They don't get many gigs :)
  17. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    Ahh, the joys of the inexperienced. Let me elaborate on Munji's "shut up".

    I'd be willing to bet my ears are as good or better than most anyones here. I can come VERY close to perfect tuning from zilch using no reference sound, can learn any song by ear...blah, blah. And I STILL insist on using a tuner.


    From regular use, ALL strings will go sharp or flat to some degree, even be it a cent or two either way, it will make a difference. Since you are probably using ONE of the strings as a reference point, if it is a few cents off, now your whole instrument, when "tuned to itself" is now +/- a few cents.....from the whole freaking band. gui****s are notorious for this....nothing pisses me off more than having to bend notes to make the band in tune, because someone doesn't care to spend a couple bucks on a decent tuner, or simply cannot understand that the string they used for reference wasn't in perfect tune to begin with.

    Secondly, if you see no problem screwing around between songs playing the "tuning song", whether it be with referencing your own tones, or God forbid a freaking tuning fork audibly over the PA, you're not ready, good enough, or professional enough to even have the better gigs.

    Buy the damn tuner, WITH SILENT MODE!
  18. ireidt


    Mar 6, 2005
    yea, make sure you have a tuner that mutes the sound so that you can tune with out the crowd going "Oh man, they suck! they don't even know how to tune right!"

    Also, another way to get a gig, is to host one yourself. My band's first show was in my frieds backyard with three to four other bands, free concert, 150 people showed up :eek:
  19. Rat


    Mar 15, 2005
    Boston Sewers
    I agree with the Tuner topic above..

    this is how we did it..

    1. get at least 4 sets of music (40 ish songs)
    2. Build your set lists (take the time to make the music work together i.e. similar styles, mood)
    3. Practice them just like yer at a Gig. (avoid guitar/drum noodling between songs, and mute while tuning!!)
    4. Book some Parties, or in My case thow some (we placticed in an empty wearhouse)
    5. we also had people haging out at our rehersals.

    once you have got a few friends that like your music then book a bar or club and promote promote promote....the more people you get there the more the club/bar will like you (you don't think the bar wants to hear ya play)..and you will move up the ladder to eventually headline..

    6. Be proffesional show up early for sound check, have all yer gear ready tuned up and ready to go, have back up gear if possible.

    7. I would suggest Video taping you shows in order to clean up the proformance,,i.e. nothing helps shut up the nooding guitarist than seen how crappy and time consumming his over playing is between songs..

    the best bands I have seen or played with have sets that flow from one song into the next with little or no time in between..

    don't forget to network with other bands...go see them, chat with them promote your next gig ask them come by etc. Musicians tend to support each other...

    gebuz that turned into a rant :rolleyes:
  20. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Dude: I gigged on BORROWED equipment at first, and within six months had built-up $1600-or-so worth of gear - bought from ONLY gig-money!

    I don't mean to say that's all-so-much or anything, but... Well it's not nothing!

    **Of course, I'm talking COVERS! If you want nothing but heartache and poverty, then start an original band.


    (edit) Oh - I should definatly mention... that six-months of money-making I'm talking about was AFTER A YEAR of basement rehearsals, AND after we'd made a high-quality demo CD!