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Question For Part-Timers On $$$$

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by BayStateBass, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. Okay, here's something I'd like to hear opinions on, and it is mostly targeted at "weekend warriors", or part-timers.

    I'm going to try to communicate this as well as I can. This is becoming a minor issue in our band with a couple of the members.

    First of all, we are a pretty big band for a bar band. Our BL always had this vision in his head of a big, heavily instrumented band doing Country music. As it stands now, we have three guitars, bass, drums, and a vocal-only singer. So when we hit the stage there's already six of us.

    One of the guitarists was asked to leave yesterday due to his lack of commitment, attitude, and general work ethic. He was the main rhythm player. We had worked with him for months and he has been playing shows right along with us, but he continued to show a lack of interest and his reliability was questionable. He started having trouble at shows and generally seemed to lose interest overall.

    We have the opportunity to get a keyboard player who is very good but is burned out on the whole tribute band thing and wants to come play for us. In addition to that, the BL has already lined up a replacement rhythm player who he has been feeding our music to for about a month preparing him to come in and replace the one who was let go.

    So if we get the keyboard player there will be seven of us.

    Needless to say, when we do work the pay split will be even worse than it is now.

    However, having a good keyboard player would really improve our sound and make us better as a group.

    So what's your view on this? I'm kinda torn. I'm excited about having a nice sound, but seven people is ridiculous unless you're some kind of touring band.

    As far as cutting guitars, BL is one of them but he rarely plays or sings, he acts more as an agent and promoter than anything, so that's not going to happen, lead player is really good, a nice guy, and one of the hardest workers in the band.

    This is a part-time thing for us, we're typical weekenders, the money isn't the driving force behind what we do....but it is nice to have and getting paid reinforces our feelings that we are actually a decent band and that for as hard as we work it's at least somewhat worth it.
  2. obimark


    Sep 1, 2011
    IME_ The ideal band setup is 2 guitars, bass and drums, vocals
    OR 1 guitar, keys, bass drum and vocal.

    Anything else and you will have no space to do anything on your bass (particualrly with 3 guitars,keys, etc.)
  3. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008
    Man, I wouldn't want to be in a band with more than 5 members unless the core group (the original 5) were already playing on huge stages and were making enough money to hire backing musicians.
  4. Phantasm

    Phantasm I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For.

    Sep 16, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Generally speaking - the key doesn't go in the ignition unless the gig pays $100 per member or higher.

    Over 45 minute drive - $125+

    If I can't make that much I'd do better running sound in town - with less effort.

    Naturally this assumes that I'm in a cover band - original music projects I just accept will never make any money. They are "Labors of Love."
  5. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Soundwise and economically, you would have been a lot better off replacing the departing guitarist with the keyboard player and leaving it at that. A good keyboard player would expand your band's sound (and repertoire) much more than a 3rd guitarist, especially in the Country genre. Unfortunately, your BL made the opposite decision and now you're stuck with it.

    I remember you saying in a previous thread what your band averages for pay a night and if I had to split that amount yet another way I'd be upset too. Not to be blunt but your band can't afford that many players. 3 guitars AND keys is overkill big-time unless you are the backing band for a major touring artist who wants all of his/her songs reproduced exactly as they were recorded.
  6. JoeWPgh


    Dec 21, 2012
    I wouldn't want anything to do with 3 guitars, let alone 3 guitars and a piano. I think you'd be more versatile with a guitar and piano, with your BL chipping in as the 2nd guitar
  7. JohnMCA72


    Feb 4, 2009
    Even better if 1 guy can double on guitar AND keyboards, as needed. I'm in a very part-time 4-piece with a guy that can do that & it smokes! Great 2-guitar sound when that's needed, or great keyboard/1 guitar when that's needed. Best of both worlds, & only 4 to have to deal with!
  8. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    If you can charge more to cover the loss on the split for the members it's fine.

    I'm in a 4 piece 4 way split $400.00 a night bar band.We would love to ad keys.It would really ad to our sound.

    The reality, we can't aford it.

  9. Winfred


    Oct 21, 2011
    3 guitar players is 2 too many. If the keys player is good, you only need one guitar. And since you say your lead player is great, let'em play.
  10. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
    My band has 2 guitars, Bass, Keys, and Drums. Guitarists and Bass all do vocals. There is plenty of room for my bass. Of course, every band is different.

    Three guitars sounds like overkill, and I dont think Ive seen a band that did have 3 guitars where all three were necessary.

    In the OPs situation, this is exactly what I would have done.
  11. None of us are phenomenal singers, I sing a few songs and do most of the backups/harmonies, but I couldn't carry the night for vocals. The BL sings some here and there. Drummer can sing really well for our more rock-oriented modern country but for some reason the BL won't allow him to do so. Lead player can't sing at all, and he admits it. So we have a singer, which honestly is okay, Steve is a good front man and a very versatile/powerful voice plus his work ethic is very good.

    MY ideal setup here, with what I have to work with, would be keys, lead guitar, bass, drums, singer. The BL can play a little or sing a little when he needs/wants to. But he's got this whole thing in his head about two or three guitars trading off duties and having a whole "dueling guitars" theme going on.

    He has already offered to sacrifice most of his cut if money is an issue.
  12. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    You guys can jump all over me for this;

    Sacrifice most of his cut? Something doesn't sound right here.

  13. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    7? Ha! Try being in a salsa band or even worse, a big band.

  14. I questioned it, too.

    This came up before with our original lead player when the guy felt like he wasn't getting enough money. The BL gave up his money and divided it up among the others to shut up the guitarist.

    Just so you understand who our BL is;

    70 year old retired career military, two tours in Vietnam, back in his younger days played on stage with Charlie Pride a couple times when he was stationed in Germany (according to him). At 17 he had a recording contract as a singer but somehow lost it and he has never told me why other than he "screwed up" (and joined the military shortly after). Wife is a nurse and is well paid. He collects a reasonable retirement having retired as a first sergeant in the 1st Cavalry. Money is not an issue. He purchased all of the PA equipment (with the exception of the monitors, which I own) and would not take any money from anyone toward the PA. House is paid for, kids are long grown and gone, and has always been upfront with the fact that he is doing this for enjoyment and in the hopes that he can get back up on a "big stage" at least one more time before he dies. Money was never a motivating factor for him and he would give every gig away if we didn't tell him we wanted to get some money.
  15. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    Ok Got it,

    He's 70 and retired,. I guess I can see that money isn't an issue.


    Dang, will I still be playing 10 years from now? :p

  16. Stewie26

    Stewie26 Supporting Member

    One thing no one mentioned here. A lot of stages at smaller and even medium size venues just can't handle 7 players. Keyboards take up a lot of floor space. This might cut down on your gig options.
  17. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
    Ive played a lot of places in and around LA that can barely fit our 5 piece band on stage.
    One good thing about a keyboard is that you can put them up against a wall in a position that wouldnt make sense for another musician, since theyre just keyboardists.

    kidding, kind of
  18. bigswifty1


    Dec 8, 2011
  19. bigswifty1


    Dec 8, 2011
    As a general principle I believe your chances of success are inversely proportional to the number of personnel involved in almost any band.

    I'd shed some guitarists :)
  20. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    No band NEEDS three guitars if the lead and rhythm players are competent. Keys add a LOT to a country band, and are worth the share. Tie your keys players hands behind his back to keep him/her out of YOUR sonic space (grin!). And there's a LOT to be said for "fewer moving parts". Our country band is five ... lead, rhythm, bass, drums, keys. Works for us. We're fortunate that everyone but the drummer sings very well, and we share lead and harmonies.

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