Welcome!
Just a few a ground rules first...

Promotion, advertising and link building is not permitted.

If you are keen to learn, get to grips with something with the willing help of one of the net's original musician forums
or possess a genuine willingness to contribute knowledge - you've come to the right place!

Register >

- Close -
Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: joining a band

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    4

    Unhappy joining a band

    I've never been in a band before, and really really want to. The problem is, I have no idea what a band is looking for. That is, I know guys with high skill levels that couldn't name and a play a scale if you asked them to. On the other hand, I have this expectation that if I showed up somewhere expecting to join a band and didn't know my basics I'd be laughed right out of there. I also have this expectation of myself to eventually know everything (ha!), which doesn't help.

    So for those of you with more experience, what are bands looking for/what should a guitarist know at an absolute minimum? I'm sure it really depends on genre and professional level and personal opinion, but I have no idea, so I'd be interested to hear.

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    863
    if you wanted to join a band with me, i'd require that we mesh well, have similar likes, i'd love it if you inspired me or impressed me.

    i'd want you to know basics like what a bar is and 16th and stuff, and basic chords, the key, and that's about it.

    as long as we don't spend forever trying to get on the same page.

    if i can show you something, and right away you can follow along and it sounds good, i'm good to go.

    i don't really care how you do it.

    but others probably have other expectations, and certainly the style of music you want to play i think really matters here.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    116
    Hehe, I have that same exact problem. Problem is I don't know anyone in a band who's looking for guitar. I also judge myself too harshly, and usually tend to think I wouldn't be good enough to join a band, even though that's probably not the case. I have gone and jammed with people however, so all I can tell you is don't think about it. Chances are, nobody is gonna laugh and send you away. And if they do, I wouldn't want to be in a band with those types of people anyway.

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    146
    What I look for when auditioning someone who:

    Can play the songs they should know and pick up others fast.
    Can follow visual and musical cues (eye contact to signal change, solo climax to signal change, dynamic changes, raise guitar neck to signal end etc etc)
    Understands basic 'music speak' : bridge, middle eight, half time, key change, know all 'non jazz' chords etc etc
    Can write appropriate parts
    Can remember structures and repeat them consistently.
    Can Jam (cohesive group improvisation)
    Has a personality that fits with the rest of the band.

    Of course the list will be determined by the particular band/band members/ambition level/skill level/band goals/pay rate/cover etc etc
    I've been called up a few hours before (covers) gigs, turn up and get told the song and key before each song and expected to know or wing the rest

  5. #5
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Deep East Texas Piney Woods
    Posts
    3,145
    Ditto borge's post. Let's talk about a start up band some of your friends have. There is rhythm guitar, lead guitar and bass guitar and here is what each does in the band.

    Rhythm guitar - if you can play chord accompaniment from fake chord sheet music to the 25 to 30 songs the band will use and can get along with the other band members, show up on time and play the songs the director wants played you'll probably do all right as a rhythm guitarist.

    Lead guitar - if you can play melody (improvisation or the established tune)for 24 measures and rhythm guitar during the time someone else has the lead (vocalist, keyboard, drums, whatever) and get along with the other band members, show up on time and play the songs the director wants played you'll probably do all right as a lead guitarist. Now the band will probably already have a lead, your best chance of connecting will be as a rhythm guitar.

    Bass guitar - if you can lay down a bass line to the songs the band plays, keep the beat going, get along with the other band members, show up on time and play the songs the director wants played you'll probably make it as a bass guitarist. Here again most bands will already have a bass, back to the rhythm section.

    Did you pick up on getting along is much more important than talent. If the band likes you they will teach you all you need.

    You can start by sitting in on rehearsals and making yourself useful. If you can play the songs the band plays you don't need to understand the theory involved in the song. Your job is to play the song, augment the efforts of the other band members and don't compete or step on your band mates toes.

    If you can cover the 25 to 30 songs the band plays you probably know enough to function in a start up band. If you can sing and play at the same time and your voice is "OK" that will be a plus. IMHO.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by Malcolm; 08-24-2009 at 02:42 AM.

  6. #6
    Mod
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Maryland USA
    Posts
    1,334
    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood
    if you wanted to join a band with me, i'd require that we mesh well, have similar likes, i'd love it if you inspired me or impressed me.

    i'd want you to know basics like what a bar is and 16th and stuff, and basic chords, the key, and that's about it.

    as long as we don't spend forever trying to get on the same page.

    if i can show you something, and right away you can follow along and it sounds good, i'm good to go.

    i don't really care how you do it.

    but others probably have other expectations, and certainly the style of music you want to play i think really matters here.

    This is great advice. Personality is what I find to be the biggest deal. If you have the basics down enough to be able to learn, then if they are worth playing with they will typically want you. If you are in the same ballpark. Otherwise ask em what you need to do to be up to speed. Thats the only way your going to know what you need to do. Or plan out ask them what is the minimum they are looking for.



    P.S. welcome to ibreathe guys you don't have many posts, so I'm glad to see you here being involved.

  7. #7
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Twickenham, UK
    Posts
    4,959
    Quote Originally Posted by grrlwitgumption
    I've never been in a band before, and really really want to. The problem is, I have no idea what a band is looking for. That is, I know guys with high skill levels that couldn't name and a play a scale if you asked them to. On the other hand, I have this expectation that if I showed up somewhere expecting to join a band and didn't know my basics I'd be laughed right out of there. I also have this expectation of myself to eventually know everything (ha!), which doesn't help.

    So for those of you with more experience, what are bands looking for/what should a guitarist know at an absolute minimum? I'm sure it really depends on genre and professional level and personal opinion, but I have no idea, so I'd be interested to hear.
    I guess I should know what I'm talking about as I've been in countless bands over the last 43 years. I was asked to joined my first one before I could actually play anything, so had to leave for a while...
    The following is probably echoing the above advice, but anyway...

    It depends partly on the things you mention, of course, but also on the level of the band themselves. Are they kids jamming in their bedroom or dad's garage? Or a bunch of pros with tours or recording lined up? Or (much more likely) any one of countless levels in between?
    Naturally, whatever level they're at, they're going to want you to be at a similar level - ideally a little better, but not too much better; or maybe not necessarily quite as good, as long as you can keep up and you're a cool guy.

    The most important essential in any band is that you can get on with the others as people: share their tastes, sense of humour, etc., to a reasonable degree. They should be the kind of people you'd normally like to hang out with, outside of music. (There are exceptions to this in the professional world, where commercial necessity often means working with people you'd never want to know outside of music...)
    If you get on with them as friends, a wide variation in musical ability can be acceptable. As long as you're having fun - and producing music other people enjoy - it needn't be technically demanding.

    Still, this option isn't always available! Most of us don't have friends who are musicians, or - if we do - don't feel at a suitable level to join them, even if they were looking for someone (which they probably aren't, or they would have asked you...).

    So you answer ads... go to auditions...

    So, some tips for auditions:

    1. Do some homework before turning up. Does the band have a website? With audio? Listen and learn some of the songs (even if they don't ask you to). Or ask them if there's any covers they do, so you can learn those. (This process of prior contact will also help you decide if it seems like a band you really want to be part of anyhow... do you get a sense of excitement? or dread? or just a creeping sense of boredom...?)

    2. Be confident in what you know, but don't pretend to know what you don't. You can't be expected to know all the songs they know. But - if they are doing covers - you should at least have heard of some of them (otherwise why do you want to join THIS band??). You will not be "laughed out" for not knowing certain things. And if you are, you should be glad to leave anyway. You don't want to be in the kind of band that treats people like that...

    3. If they say "let's just jam", ask them what key it's in, or what the chords are. (Even a pro band will not expect you to have perfect pitch - tho they will be impressed if you CAN pick it up without being told...)

    4. Don't show off your party piece licks - not all the time anyhow! Try to play in a way you think suits what they're trying to do. Try to fit in, IOW.

    5. Listen to the drummer, and slot in rhythmically. Assuming you're a guitarist, the most valuable skill is being able to set up a solid groove. If you can do that, you WILL be a good lead player, if that's what they want. (Good lead players are not necessarily fast, but they always have good tight rhythmic skills.)

    6. There are too many guitarists out there! Ten a penny. But a hell of a lot of them are wankers... You know the sort, the ones who show off in music shops. Bands don't want that kind (even tho that kind think they do). Bands want colleagues: people they get on with, people who will fill a role, play their part. Be one of those.

    7. Can you sing? You needn't be great, but backing vocals are always welcome. It will give you an edge. Anything additional you can do is always worth mentioning. (Can you write songs? Do you know some cool songs in their style that they don't know? Could you design a website for them? Or a better one than they've got? Do you know places they could get gigs? Can you drive the van??? Do you know where to score cheaper/better drugs than they're using?????? Remember the reason Bill Wyman was asked to join the Rolling Stones was because he had an impressively big amp...)

    8. Be cool, but not too self-effacing. The band will probably be auditioning lots of other players. You want them to remember you, but for the right reasons! ("Oh yeah, that guy knew what he was doing and fitted in well. Seemed a nice guy too." NOT: "Jeez, we don't want that wanker who played 3 zillion notes all over that slow blues we did..." NOR: "Er, what was that 4th guy like, I don't remember him at all??")

    9. It's a tricky balance to strike. You need to show respect for what they're doing - but not be too obsequious or shy. You need to be confident and capable - but not arrogant. You need to fit in with them - but still be yourself.

    10. "Don't ring us, we'll ring you". This is a cliche brush-off, but needn't always be read as a blank rejection. But if they DON'T contact you afterwards, leave it. Look for the next one. But depending on the sense of organisation you get from them - if they seem a bit untogether or overwhelmed by the process themselves - it would do no harm to call them and check. Maybe they lost your number? You should get a sense at the audition of how well it's going... or not.

    11. Lastly, if you don't get a sense of chemistry from them, if you don't feel it's a band you want to be part of after all - nothing is lost. If they seem keen on you, but you're not keen on them, be polite. You could say you have other bands you're trying for (even if you haven't), but will let them know, that's a classic get-out. There are a million people out there looking for bands. But there are a million bands too...

Similar Threads

  1. Band problems
    By marson in forum Mental Stuff
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 09-02-2007, 08:12 AM
  2. Leaving my band
    By Romp in forum Mental Stuff
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 12-08-2006, 09:32 AM
  3. joining another band?
    By Sage in forum iBreathe Cafe
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 05-06-2005, 08:05 PM
  4. Band Leader OR all members are equaly entitled
    By whopwooper in forum Mental Stuff
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 04-10-2005, 04:51 PM
  5. joining a band
    By E. Lusive in forum Guitar Technique
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 04-08-2005, 05:03 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •