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Recruiting quality guitarists

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by WoundFlat, Nov 14, 2012.

  1. WoundFlat


    Mar 11, 2012
    Seattle, WA
    So my guitarist friend and I are trying to get a band started here in Seattle. We were fortunate enough to have an excellent drummer as an acquaintance, but we are running into some difficulty in finding a good lead guitarist (aforementioned guitarist friend is looking to sing and play rhythm in this project). We've posted on craigslist and only found two flakes and a handfull of metal-heads (which nothing against them, but this is more alt-rock and blues). Flyers posted at local guitar shops haven't yielded any results after a few weeks. Posting on Band Mix only got one response from a guy twice our age. I've attached the flyer we're using for feedback. Any advice for finding the right guitarist? Strategies you've used in the past? Is it all blind luck?

    Attached Files:

  2. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
    Its all about persistence. My band took a year to find a singer. We wanted to make sure we found the right person. Don't worry about age. The most important things are whether or not the guy can play and gets along with everyone. Many of today's most successful pop stars have musicians who are in their 40s, 50s and 60s in the band. Quality is what matters not age.
  3. matante


    Nov 3, 2003
    Los Angeles
    Consider that you don't need a lead guitarist. One guitar is enough and you don't need cheesy guitar solos to make music.

    Second, consider that starting a band happens naturally when you make friends who happen to be musicians. You sound like you're under 21 or so. At that age I suggest you just go about your life and you'll likely at some point become friends with someone who happens to be a lead guitarist. Until then, don't let a lack of lead guitar stop you from making music.
  4. BryanM


    Dec 15, 2007
    Pittsburgh, PA
    My band actually didn't find our second guitarist until we decided that we're fine as a three piece. Get things started and maybe even get out and play a little bit, you might come across someone.
  5. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    I don't see that the process of recruiting a qualified guitarist is any different from the process of recruiting any other qualified musician... :eyebrow:

  6. Peepaleep

    Peepaleep Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2010
    Las Cruces, NM
    That's why everything that became popular in the 90's absolutely sucked. Hendrix never gets old.
  7. Audition the 40 year old.
  8. morgansterne

    morgansterne Geek U.S.A.

    Oct 25, 2011
    Cleveland Ohio
    I bet that part of the issue is that you're adding a second guitarist. This is exponentially harder than finding your first guitarist as #2 has to create parts around an existing guitar part without getting in the way.
    Also usually one guitar player will end up with bruised ego syndrome and quit anyway. That's my experience.
  9. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    It's going to take time.

    Thing is, most guitarist that are seasoned and have band experience are not looking at start up projects.

  10. JohnMCA72


    Feb 4, 2009
    My theory on the matter is that it's best to get out & gigging ASAP, with the personnel you have. Once you've got something established, you're going to attract a better-quality 2nd guitar player (or singer, or keyboard player, etc.) than if you're just another basement/garage band.
  11. AltGrendel

    AltGrendel Squire Jag SS fan. Supporting Member

    May 21, 2009
    Mid-Atlantic USA.
    Yea, give the guy a chance.
  12. From a graphics/logistics perspective, I might consider increasing the opacity on your background image. That 'what we are looking for' portion in particular is difficult to read given the prominent red guitar in the background.
  13. Both of these are good points. Persistence helps, not only with the way that you've been looking, but with some other suggestions that I'll give you and others in this thread.

    Older players don't always mean better, but beggars can't be choosers. Get a good band together, and then you may have options later.

    Finding a good guitarist on Craigslist or Band Mix is usually not the best place. While you might be able to find a good player who happens to be new in town and doesn't know anyone, most good guitarists don't need to search the internet for bands or work. Bands and work come to them through contacts. I'm assuming that you don't have many and you've asked around to your musician friends, so here's a a few suggestions:

    • Jams. There should be some around Seattle. Find the good ones. Don't spend your time at jams where the guitars are typically too loud or the jams that don't gather the better players. Open mics may work, but jams are better network places, and the guitarists there may know people they can recommend, too.
    • Have something to offer. If you're a killer player, and the rest of the band are great, then other good musicians will find you. Be able to show that by having a few decent recordings that you may need to even hire out a professional guitarist to play on, and post them up somewhere on the internet.
    • Go to local shows with bands that have guitarists that you like. They may know someone.
    • Local colleges and/or universities. Put up fliers there. Better yet, take a night class, like a basic music theory class. If you haven't taken a college music class, I guarantee that you will learn something. Even take a choir class. Most colleges have a choir open to the public for entry level singers. Most of them have students in them, many of whom are guitarists, or at least know guitarists.

    BTW, if you do post up the flyer at colleges or elsewhere, I'd suggest simplifying it. While I know that you have specifics that you're looking for, more stuff on the flier will probably push more guitarists away.
  14. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Intergalactic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon sofware
    Call the old guy back and give a listen. He may be the experienced musician (not just a guitar player) to help you turn your group into a gigging band. Hey, he may even sing some lead/backup and know all kinds of tunes. He may even be a former pro and play at a higher level than you guys but wants to get back into playing right now.

    Who knows until you start looking for quality musicians and stop prejudging people because their age. :)

    Good luck.
  15. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Your flyer lists your ages as late 20s to mid 30s. That would make this guy somewhere between mid 50s and early 70s, correct? Can you narrow that down for us a little? Just curious.
  16. pklima


    May 2, 2003
    Kraków, Polska
    Gigging with what you got is probably the best way to make your band appealing to decent musicians.

    As for the old guy, alt-rock is over 20 years old at this point anyway and it's hardly teenager music, so the old guy might work too. I'm "the old guy" in a couple of bands at 37, and it seems to work, but I can rap and I'm a big fan of Sean Paul and Nicki Minaj, so if anything I complain about my bandmates having old-fashioned tastes.
  17. Marko 1

    Marko 1 Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2009
    N.E. Ohio
    And would probably want to play out more than “once a quarter” while rehearsing once per week, not to mention original material, laying tracks...

    sounds like a lot of time and effort for no-to-little pay.

    A good guitarist who can sing, with all the qualities asked for can do, and is probably already doing better.
  18. lavaxtris


    Feb 3, 2009

    Smash Mouth was a fantastic band.
    Sugar Ray wasnt bad either
    in fact, a lot of 90s bands were very good, and the 90s helped to popularize the ska, punk, and indie genres. It was a very diverse. nows its just pop.

    the 80s was worse... and the 00s sucked big time. whats left now? Black Keys and TCV... and you can tell the Black Keys are selling out big time with their cheezy radio hits.
  19. Flyingfrets


    Dec 25, 2011
    Our band is on hiatus right now (drummer recovering from shoulder injuries/surgery in August). One of our guitar players gave his notice the first week of September (travel issues & not happy about the down-time).

    We were about to begin auditioning for his replacement when our contact with the booking agency mentioned another band they'd repped was kaput, and one of their guitar players was looking for a band.

    Met with the guy informally (supposed to be an hour, went almost 5). Nailed the actual audition. Needless to say, he's in.

    Might also be worth mentioning, the age span of the group was 42 - 61. New guy is 24 and fits like a glove. Why age might be relevant escapes me.
  20. WoundFlat


    Mar 11, 2012
    Seattle, WA
    Thank you guys for all the feedback, and ubersheist in particular for your specific suggestions.

    I probably should have been a bit more clear on a few points: I'm 30 and new to the Seattle area, and the guitarist I befriended and started playing with is 35, which would indeed place the ad responder in his 60s. I am also newer to playing - picked up the bass about three years ago and this is my first time playing with others. Additionally, I am pretty busy with work (night shift RN doing frequent overtime) as is the guitarist, so this band is more of a hobby/project with minimum expected or needed pay. Guitarist friend and the drummer are also busy professionals but also excellent musicians with ten plus years of band experience each, and I had hoped we could find one more person with similar serious hobbyist aspirations.

    A few people mentioned that we should audition the older guitarist, and you're right, we were probably being a little prejudicial. Age was more of a factor in my mind because I'm also hoping to make some friends around my age to hang out with outside of band time. We're going to audition him and also press on as a three piece looking for a fourth. Persistance is key as many mentioned, but it's the corollary patience that I struggle with. ;)