Back in a band


maggior
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maggior
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08/27/2014 1:44 pm
Hey Razzelmacher -

Thanks so much for your kind words on the video!! Part of the reason I post these is to try to inspire others on their journey.

What you see me stomping on is a guitar processor - a Zoom G5. The reason I brought it was I was having problems with my solos being heard so I needed a way to boost my volume during my solos. There were also times while playing some rhythm parts that I was too low, so I hit the boost. Watching, I think there were times I seemed to be too focused on my pedal board. I'm not sure what effects I'll eventually use or need, so I'm using this in the meantime to try different things out.

I also used it for the delay effect at the beginning of China Grove, though I didn't have the delay time set correctly.

Great questions!! Mainly the cues are taken from the singer. If he comes in early on a verse, or extends a chorus, we just follow him along. That happened during Start Me Up, though even there we got out of sync with the singer. For endings, we'll take an initial cue from the singer and then our drummer. For endings, we discuss that ahead of time.

The key thing is to just keep playing through, not matter how bad it gets. This video has a perfect example of that during "Your Momma Don't Dance". Our singer hadn't practiced that song with us much and for some reason I seemed to be the only one that was comfortable with the song form. At the start of my solo, it almost came to a complete halt, but I kept going and everybody followed me at that point. It wasn't the most elegant recovery, but it was certainly far better than just stopping.

With this example, the singer got totally lost and rather than follow him, I had to "take the lead" and everybody followed me. So, if you know your part, keep playing through even if EVERYBODY else stops. They will then pick up with you and you move on.

Somewhere during this performance, our drummer dropped a stick! You just keep playing.

The more you rehearse, this will come naturally as long as you adopt the "no stopping until the end of the song" philosophy during your rehearsals.

What's the name of your band? What songs are you playing?
# 1
Kasperow
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Kasperow
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08/27/2014 2:47 pm
Sounds pretty good. Aside from the singer coming in too early on "Your Momma Don't Dance", I didn't really notice any major mistakes (and even that error added a little bit of charm). I'm glad you wrote the names of everyone in the band under the video, 'cause I could have sworn your singer said one of the other guitarists's name was Steven Tyler (as in Aerosmith's lead singer), instead of Stephen Taylor as you wrote in the description :)

Originally Posted by: maggiorThanks so much for your kind words on the video!! Part of the reason I post these is to try to inspire others on their journey.

Well, you're certainly doing a good job in that area :)
"Commit yourself to what you love, and things will happen."
- Mika Vandborg, Electric Guitars, "Follow Your Heart"
---
Gear:
Chateau PS-10 Cherry Power-Strat
Epiphone G-400 LTD 1966 Faded Worn Cherry
Epiphone Les Paul 100 Ebony (w/ Oil City Pickups Scrapyard Dog PLUS pickups)
Epiphone ES-345 Cherry
Fender 2014 Standard Stratocaster Sunburst
Martin DX1K Acoustic
Fender Mustang II Amplifier
Jet City Amplification JCA22H Tube-head and JCA12S+ cabinet
Pedals...
# 2
maggior
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maggior
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08/27/2014 3:09 pm
Thanks Kasperow! Knowing how tightly we've played all of these songs before, all of the misses jump out at me. It's the nature of the business...and fortunately the audience many times doesn't notice much.

Glad you find this stuff inspiring!
# 3
fretsmith
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fretsmith
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08/27/2014 3:30 pm
Bravo Rich! Great job. Whatever nerve demons you may have been fighting sure didn't show. Really nice playing, it's clear you are the glue that binds that project. Best thread in the forum - keep it coming :)
# 4
maggior
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maggior
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08/27/2014 5:15 pm
Originally Posted by: fretsmithBravo Rich! Great job. Whatever nerve demons you may have been fighting sure didn't show. Really nice playing, it's clear you are the glue that binds that project. Best thread in the forum - keep it coming :)


Thanks!!! :-) That means a lot...

Nerve demons have been defeated surprisingly enough. We'll see if they resurface as we play for larger audiences in different settings. I need to keep that in check because I also don't want to become complacent in my playing and it becomes routine...I can see how that can happen.

As far as me being the glue...we all play our role in the band. For instance, the guitar player next to me keeps us moving forward off the stage. We'll rehearse a song, he'll say "we all good???, OK, now what??? Nobody?...I suggest this....". Without him driving it that way, we had a tendency to flounder and it would get frustrating. He also happens to be a talented player! Getting him on board was like the missing piece to the puzzle.

However, on stage I seem to be the one that needs to sometimes drive things and keep them moving and on track. The example that jumped out at me was "Start Me Up" where I went around trying to figure out what was going on and brought us to and end...otherwise we'd probably still be playing it! I forgot that happned and it was interesting to me to watch.

As we move into our next phase, I'll probably create another thread. I'm humbled that there continues to be interest in my endeavors. This open mic performance is definitely the close of a chapter, leading right into another one.
# 5
razzlemacher
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razzlemacher
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08/27/2014 5:46 pm
Hey maggior -

A couple more questions ....

1) In order to get a boost in sound I use my guitar volume knob. I keep it half way the vast majority of the time and then turn it to 8 or 9 during a solo. I'm sure you tried this before you went to the Zoom processor. What do you think is the drawback of using guitar volume knob?

2) You have 3 guitarists (excluding bass!) in your band. How do you divide responsibilities? My band has 2 guitarists (excluding bass) and it works out well. We often thought about a third player, but then backed off the idea because it would cause band drama if both wanted to play lead. Very curious how your band has assigned or divided responsibilities between the players.

Yes, you have much to teach us!
# 6
maggior
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maggior
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08/27/2014 6:24 pm
Hey Razzlemacher -

Good questions!!!

You are a better guitar player for manipulating the volume knob rather than relying on a footswitch for a volume boost! I find it awkward to adjust my volume on my guitar while I'm playing. The knob on my strat is stiff and on my LP, the adjustment dives down once you get past a certain point. I perfer the crutch of a footswitch.

The disadvantage of turning down your guitar volume knob is that if you are playing with a high gain tone and are drving the amp into distortion, you will get less gain and distortion when you adjust your guitar's volume knob down. In certain situations, that can work to your advantage since it gives you a way of adding or removing "dirt" from you tone. If you are playing clean, it shouldn't matter much, though even there the "punchiness" of the amp will be less with the guitar volume down.


I don't recommend 3 guitar players, 2 works really well. If you watch the video closely, you'll find the player on the far right of the screen isn't doing much. He perfers to only play lead (grrrr), so he would turn his guitar down when playing rhythm and mime playing and turn it up when his solo would come up. Way to be a team player, right?

For 3 guitars to work, you have to carefully specify who is playing what and divide it up. You have to do that with 2 also, but it's more important with 3. We tried that, but he just didn't seem to be interested.


A sidebar since you are probably confused at this point :-). What happened was we all signed up for an "adult rock band" program at a local music store. So we all got thrown together this way, except for the lead singer - he's from our drummer's husband's band and sat in to do us a favor. All of us except for that 3rd guitar player are continuing on as a different band called Radio Gap. Fortunately the singer we "borrowed" really likes what we are doing and is sticking with us. We have a rehearsal studio booked for 2 hours a week to rehearse and build up our setlist.

Feel free to fire any other questions you have my way. There are certainly more experienced folks on this forum; I'm learning just like everybody else here. I'll help as I can though...sometimes it's helpful to get insight from somebody in the trenches alongside you.
# 7
ThorfinnFrisken
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ThorfinnFrisken
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08/27/2014 9:22 pm
I've been away for a bit and just came back. I just got done watching your video. Hats Off!! It was great!
------------------------------------
Learning guitar, one chord at a time...
# 8
haghj500
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haghj500
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08/28/2014 3:47 am
Look into a good volume pedal, like a gas pedal. You can keep the guitar cranked to get the tone you’re looking for and have way more control over your volume. I still have my old AC powered MORLEY volume/waw waw pedal. You will want more than two volume settings real fast.

Another idea would be to build a box to put under your amp so the knobs would be handier to use. I don’t know how hard it is to find an old pallet laying around where you live, but one or two of them would have more than enough wood to build a sturdy box to lift your amp and make a storage area to hall your chords and peddles.

For as few hours as of time spent practicing as a band I think it sounded good. Too bad this part is over thanks for bringing us along. Looks like a flat slower part is coming up, just hang on, you never know what might be around the next corner.
# 9
maggior
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maggior
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08/28/2014 1:36 pm
Hey Haghj500 -

The guitar processor I'm using has a volume pedal also. I used the boost capability as a last minute thing because I was really stressing out over being heard for my solos but not overpowering the band the rest of the time. As I figure out which effects I like, I'll be buy individual pedals...just so much easier to deal with.

I have a stand for my amp at home for exactly the reason you point out. The amps with the controls on top of the amp are smart designs IMO. When I bring that amp out to gig, I'll be taking the stand along too!

Yes, this is the "flat slower part" that got us into trouble before. It's different this time though...we already have 3 songs identified to work on and have a dedicated space to rehearse in.

I'm actually glad this part is over. Being tied to the store was starting to become a drag with the issues with the 3rd guitar player and trying to have 2 bands going at the same time. It was a crunch getting ready for the concert in the park the week before and then the open mic.

Thanks for watching, listening, and reading!! You always have good suggestions, insight, and I appreciate your honest opinions!
# 10
Kasperow
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Kasperow
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08/28/2014 7:32 pm
Good luck with Radio Gap. Hopefully you'll be around by the time I go touring the US with the band I'm trying to put together, which actually looks like it might happen somewhat soon now (if you're still around and we hit New Jersey, please make sure to play at an open mic while I'm there. I wanna see you Live :) ). I've talked to a drummer, who might have access to a rehearsal space at a school (complete with PA, Drum kit and keyboards, just for starters), and one of the (way too) many bassists. Since I had somewhere between 5 and 10 bassists to choose from (some of whom I had better success with than others), I obviously chose my favorite out of my options. Yes, there are better bassists than the one I chose to go with to start with, but I would much rather go with a mediocre bassist with lots of potential, and whom I can play really well with and whose musical interests, tastes and goals are close to my own and the drummer's, than I would go with a very good bassist whose musical tastes and interests are far from my own and who's just an arrogant bastard (yes, that was one of my options. I'm not exaggerating... sadly...).

All that's left for the three of us (Bassist, Drummer and myself as Lead Guitarist and Lead Vocalist for the time being) to get together, play something cool and see if this is really the start of something big (hopefully, it is). We're all ambitious, we all love Arena Rock, we all like similar bands (and the drummer and I even have 5 "influences" in common! Gn'R, Deep Purple, Aerosmith, Alter Bridge and Pretty Maids. What are the odds of that?), and we're all willing to work as hard as it takes to reach our goals.

Now, I'm not an expert on anything, but in my opinion, it would seem that if things go well and we decide to continue on, this band would have the potential and drive to go anywhere. Will it be hard? Probably. Will it potentially be worth the hard work? Hell yeah! There may be some song-choices that I'll be bound to disagree with, but let's face it. What we're going to be starting is a band, and that means I'll have to leave the ego outside the practice space. Better to put up with playing one song I don't like and getting to play with a great band, than causing the band to break up because people have different opinions on what songs to play.

When I know more about how this goes, and if the band gets off the ground (even though our first few times might be without the Bassist since he's on vacation in the next two weeks), I'll create a thread so you can keep up with what's going on. IF the band gets off the ground, that is.
"Commit yourself to what you love, and things will happen."
- Mika Vandborg, Electric Guitars, "Follow Your Heart"
---
Gear:
Chateau PS-10 Cherry Power-Strat
Epiphone G-400 LTD 1966 Faded Worn Cherry
Epiphone Les Paul 100 Ebony (w/ Oil City Pickups Scrapyard Dog PLUS pickups)
Epiphone ES-345 Cherry
Fender 2014 Standard Stratocaster Sunburst
Martin DX1K Acoustic
Fender Mustang II Amplifier
Jet City Amplification JCA22H Tube-head and JCA12S+ cabinet
Pedals...
# 11
maggior
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maggior
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08/28/2014 8:17 pm
Thanks Kasperow! We don't plan on playing open mics forever. If you came to NJ one day, hopefully we'd have our own gig playing in a park or similar venue.

Wow, you've really got things rolling!! Good for you! Bass is one of the harder positions to fill, so it's good that you have choices. I agree that personality and musical taste compatability is more important than playing skills at this point. Having a place allocated to rehearse is big too.

Best of luck and keep us posted on where things lead.
# 12
Steve Barrow
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Steve Barrow
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08/28/2014 9:03 pm
Hey Rich, I don't think I'll be touring the States any time soon but I'd still like to add my congratulations to the band. I especially liked your terrific lead on China Grove and Whole Lotta Love - as well as your excellent singer (what a great Robert Plant impersonation, even though he couldn't remember his name!). I think you'll be getting some paid gigs in the not-too-distant future - for sure. But one thing I'm curious about - does the third guitarist know he's leaving? How does he feel about that? It must be difficult to manage the personalities in a band.....Anyway, great stuff! Steve
# 13
maggior
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maggior
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08/28/2014 9:34 pm
Hi Steve - thanks for chiming in!!! I worked hard on those solos, so it was good to be able to "bring it" at the performance. Our singer is FANTASTIC and a fun guy to work with. We are so lucky to have him. You can't hear it on the recording, but when he says "I'm no Robert Plant", I said "Uh, yeah you are!". He didn't hear me unfotunately - it could have made for some fun banter. He's self concious about singing that song for some reason. I think it is right at the top end of his range. We left it up in the air if he would do the accopella "Way down inside....woman...." or if I would just play it. He opted to have me play it, which was cool. It was good to take some pressure off him.

Regarding the 3rd guitarist, is not that he's leaving or being asked to leave, he's not being included. This open mic was the end of the "music store" thing. We all signed up at the store independantly and they put us all together. It's pure coincidence that it was mostly the same crew as when we did it over the winter. Once the 8 weeks or so is up with that, it's totally up to us if we want to continue on is some form. When we played outside of the store while the program was still going (the park gig), it had the potential to get awkward, but fortunately that didn't happen.

He plans on signing up again, which will be good for him. I think he recognizes that that is the best option for him now. He is improving. What he needs is to be the sole or more skilled guitar player. Otherwise, he finds it too easy to sit back and just pick out little bits he wants to do. In a band, you really don't have that option, the burden should be shared on a more equal basis. He also needs to show up :-).

Part of me feels bad, but we really don't need 3 guitar players in Radio Gap. It will be a challenge for 2 guitars in some songs we are doing because many only need one. That's easier to figure out though...

Right now we have a great mix of personalities that complement eachother well. For now, I'd be happy for some unpaid gigs - benefits, that sort of thing. Once we have some pics and a logo, we'll get a presence out on Facebook. For now though, we are focusing mainly on building up the setlist.

Thanks!!
# 14
Kasperow
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Kasperow
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08/29/2014 11:28 am
Originally Posted by: maggiorThanks Kasperow! We don't plan on playing open mics forever. If you came to NJ one day, hopefully we'd have our own gig playing in a park or similar venue.

Wow, you've really got things rolling!! Good for you! Bass is one of the harder positions to fill, so it's good that you have choices. I agree that personality and musical taste compatability is more important than playing skills at this point. Having a place allocated to rehearse is big too.

Best of luck and keep us posted on where things lead.

Thanks. I'm pretty optimistic about it this time around. We may have to start out without the Bassist, since he's going on vacation for the next two weeks, but that shouldn't stop the drummer and myself from meeting, agreeing on a few songs to learn and practicing until he comes back. I'm still waiting for the drummer to find out if we can use the practice space or not. If we can, cool. If not, we'll have to look at some other options.

I'd still prefer to have a proper singer, but that's something we can find once we are playing well together. We're still only at step one: getting the band together. Step two is to build up a repertoire and step three is to start gigging. On the bright side, step two is gonna be easier. After all, with at least 5 "influences" in common, finding something we all like should be pretty possible (even if most songs require two guitars. Some can be played well enough with one, though).
"Commit yourself to what you love, and things will happen."
- Mika Vandborg, Electric Guitars, "Follow Your Heart"
---
Gear:
Chateau PS-10 Cherry Power-Strat
Epiphone G-400 LTD 1966 Faded Worn Cherry
Epiphone Les Paul 100 Ebony (w/ Oil City Pickups Scrapyard Dog PLUS pickups)
Epiphone ES-345 Cherry
Fender 2014 Standard Stratocaster Sunburst
Martin DX1K Acoustic
Fender Mustang II Amplifier
Jet City Amplification JCA22H Tube-head and JCA12S+ cabinet
Pedals...
# 15

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