Overall Rating: 2.5 (of 5)
Your First Band
So ya wanna make a band eh? Of course you do! Unless of course your a creepy hermit folk mucisian. A lot of very inexpirienced guitarists like to get their friends together and play in what they call a band. Truth be told however that you are probably far from ready for a true band. However, this shouldn't stop you from trying. Playing in a band is a completly new area for a musician and is great at pointing out your strengths and weaknesses allowing you to further yourself as a musician. I recently made the attempt to create a band and I learned some important stuff and being the sage that I am ( =] ) I decided to share something with a few of you newbies.
KEEP IT MANAGEABLE
When I first went out hunting for band members I had a mind to play my favorite music style, psudoska/punk. A small eincy problem arose however. I realized that finding 7 musicians, was a dadgum hard process especialy for the ever pragmatic highschool student. I wanted: Singer, 2 guitars, bass, trumpet, trombone, drums. I got: Guitar, drums, trumpet. Thus a problem arises. While the trumpet is a fine instrument, without harmony from other horns its useless. And a ska band without a bass is just plain silly. Luckily our ever lauded trumpet played borrowed a bass (he dabbled in acoustic guitar) and proceeded to stumble through some of our choice music. One thing that didn't come up that would have if we had more people was practice time. Juggling school and a band is hard enough for three people, but finding time for 7 people to meet together, much less get something done, is nearly impossible. Keep it in scope. You arn't going to be on MTV anytime soon so don't worry about having your dream band. Someday...
Sorry to tell you but someone has to. Your band sucks. I don't really have to be there to hear it if you are at the skil level this lesson is geared to (intermediate) and you surround yourself with equaly inexpirienced musicians, it aint the Rolling Stones. If your band sucks, why frustrate yourself writing your own music. Remember your first band is mostely a fun, laid back, learning expirience. You dont need to rack your brains (which lack the theorettical melodic and harmonic knowledge to form a coherent peice of music anyway) on writing songs that will suck. Play easy songs that everyone can get down well, and come together easily on. This gives a feeling of accomplishment and doesn't create silly disagreements.
GET A DADGUM NAME
Well ya want to have something to tell the chics don't you? I tried the line "Oh I play guitar in a nameless band" and it doesn't work Buck-0. You arn't going for poetry, or absurdity, or a masturpeice. Just a functional, safe, not entirly off the wall (unless you simply must name yourselves the "Flaming gelitan Monkeys of the west indies") name. Choose it quick and to dont rack your brain on a triffle that will NEVER appear on any marquee.
Like I said before, your band blows hard. But don't fret little kiddies, it will get better. It wont be good, but it will get better. Its just a matter a time. The first thing you will notice when you try to play a song is that you dont play at the same time. This is called feel. Building the feel will take at least three practices to create in your first band and you will be astounded how much better you sound when you play the same tempo. Patience also applies to other band members. You may be the best person in your band (which doesn't say much in your case now does it?) but don't yell at them telling them they suck or blow or both. The band is only as good as the worst member. Encourage and just keep playing. One final thing in informal bands people tend to stop playing or thinking about the bands music and play solo durring the interludes. Relax Mr. mature its not a bad thing. The band is first and foremost about fun, don't forget that.
I GOTS BEEF WITH THE STRINGS
Alright this is for guitarists personaly. A few things you need to do BEFORE the band to prepare. GET A RYTHM, play with songs, just cause you can play a song alone doesn't mean it will sound good with a steady drum beat. Learn the basic rythms of your chosen genre and how to count them. Always count/tap/bob/headbang to the beat to keep track of where you are. Its one of the most important things most guitarists dont think about when they practice alone. A metronome can help too. PLAY STANDING UP. Spend a portion of all practice time playing standing. I know personaly when I sit I hold the guitar much farther up the body then I do when i stand, because of this I'm not used to the reach to play at the top of the neck. practicing can help ease the transition, and adjusting your shoulder strap can help too.
Alrighty then Buckaroos thats it for today. Just remember this lesson does not apply to good guitarists (in case you are feeling insulted). Always be honest about your ability, dont downplay it, don't brag. Stay in school, drink your milk, and get 8 hours of sleep a night. I Pitty da fool who doesn't get 8 hours of sleep per night. Peace Bros.