This is a lengthy post. I apologize for that - lots of background. Background... About a year ago, I played briefly with a drummer and guitarist. Shortly after getting started, the guitarist started going through some personal drama. I told them, at the time, that I was not into dealing with a lot of drama, and respectfully requested that we look at getting back together once the drama has passed. At the time, I was the 'newbie' to the group, and didn't really think about bringing the drummer with me. Well, time passed, I kind of forgot about it, but recently, I was contacted - first by the drummer, then the guitarist. They were starting a new project, was I interested? Sure, I said. I was frustrated by my current project, and looking to do something different anyhow. They had a singer, they said, and she was good (this was a problem for us the first go 'round). So, I after some logistical hassles, we finally play together. They provided a small set list, which I got down, and so I walked in prepared. First hint of trouble.... Guitarist is far more shakey on the set list than I. Watches me closely, and is trying to follow what I'm doing. Singer is good, but has been working with another band, and says she's a bit iffy on leaving them behind, particularly one of the guitarist. Drummer has worked with her band, and knows the guitarist, and asks her to bring him to next practice. Next practice, second guitarist shows up. Comes in knowing most of the set list already, and for elements he's unsure of, watches me play through once, and plays them back. He's good, we invite him to join. First guitarist is still shakey.. Muffs some of the leads he has 'claimed', some worse than others, and is making excuses related to being really busy. Singer and guitarist decide to leave old project, and join us. We work together to identify a set list, and set a learning schedule. A couple more rehearsals go by. First guitarist is still shakey, and some songs are skipped because he hasn't even had time to listen to them. First guitarist misses fifth rehearsal. He has notified us that he will likely be missing the next two rehearsals as well. We talk about it during rehearsal, and agree that we need to talk to him about the situation. By this point, I am doing all of the work of settling the set list to everyone's satisfaction, and everyone turns to me to call next song, and watch me when they forget a change. So I volunteer to discuss the situation with first guitarist. Drummer says he'll join me. So last night, we go to first guitarist's house. We talk about changes to the set list, and discuss rate of learning and advancement. I find myself doing most of the talking, while the drummer kind of lurks, and gets fidgety. I finally get to the point, that he needs to keep up, or we will have to replace him. It is very difficult, because the guy is going through a pretty rough time of things, and music is his solace - but the rest of the band wants badly for the project to be successful, and we learned quickly that things sounded a lot tighter without the first guitarist. So, for the talk, I was pretty roundabout. I felt bad, I hate being the bad guy, and it was hard on me as well. I didn't exactly deliver the message straight, but emphasized how important it was to everyone to keep up on learning the material, and how important it was to meet our goals. We talked about our previous discussions about practice vs. rehearsal, and reminded him that practice is on your own, where you learn the material, and rehearsal is where we work on arrangements. We don't want to spend a lot of rehearsal time practicing - it will do nothing but bog the project down. All of us should be good enough, have enough experience, to learn things without needing to have someone show us how to play them. I finally suggested that for some of the songs that feature a guitar intro, we'd have to drop them if he continued to play them as he was, and as the picture became clear to him, he said he might be able to find a way to make it to next rehearsal. I basically told him that, unless he could show up knowing the latest material, and the previous material we had skipped due to his not having time to review, his time may be better spent reviewing the material, and getting up to speed for the next rehearsal he could make it to. So, my question is.... Was I too roundabout? Could I have made the same point in a way that was somehow less hurtful (he looked pretty hurt when I mentioned dropping the intro parts, and more so when I told him to take the time and practice)? Should I have just gone the complete hard *** route, and directly told him to get his parts together within X amount of time, or we're replacing him? The galling thing about this is that this guitarist also teaches guitar. He should know better. We all feel he should be the most professional, and to have him flaking is frustrating to say the least. He shouldn't have to look at me to transcribe and transpose all the material. Oh well. Thanks for listening to me vent. Reassurances, rebuttals, constructive criticisms, and any other feedback are more than welcome. Thanks people.