Solo gigs

TeetonetalTeetonetal Frets: 4637
edited May 18 in Live
Who here is cutting it as a solo artist?

What are you doing, what gear are you using. What's worked and what hasn't?

I think I'm done with bands...
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  • StuckfastStuckfast Frets: 130
    I dunno if I'm cutting it, but I mainly play on my own.

    My preference by far is to play and sing completely unamplified, without a PA, but if needs be I have a Sunrise pickup for the guitar.

    Many years ago I used to run a songwriters night. My experience was that most people who tried to introduce clever stuff like loop pedals and whatnot into their performances were usually interesting for about 30 seconds and then got boring really fast. The performers who did best were the ones with good songs and an engaging manner on stage.

    One thing you really notice in this format is that any shortcomings in people's songwriting are exposed. When there's a band involved you might not notice that all the songs are in the same key, or at the same tempo, or using the same strumming pattern -- but that's really obvious when there's nothing else going on.
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  • TeetonetalTeetonetal Frets: 4637
    @Stuckfast Interesting. I must say, I 'm thinking of doing covers rather than original material. I just think there is so little appetite for originals music right now. I haven't believed in my own material for years, recently I've been a paid musician doing someone else' shows, but response is mixed to say the least and I'm not sure I'm enjoying it much these days. 

    I think I have enough energy to try one more thing before I hang up my guitar for good and all that's left for me to try is the solo show.... 

    Of course I'd been thinking of loopers, triggers, synths, keyboards etc.... but I suspected that what you wrote would be true. It's really, really hard to be good at live looping (which is why Ed should not be mocked in my opinion.) and I think people rely on it. 

    But 2 hrs of just me and a guitar would also be a challenge to listen too...

    hmmm
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  • modellistamodellista Frets: 350
    If you're doing a solo show a looper is very handy.  Fair enough it shouldn't be used as a crutch of just widdling over the same chords for ten minutes, but just for playing solos in songs it's invaluable, otherwise you have to choose between chords or solo, when you really want both. 
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  • ESBlondeESBlonde Frets: 1955
    There are many acts doing the solo or due thing to tracks with the guitar removed so to Joe Public it sounds like a live band, it can be at any sensible volume so choice of venues is vast. A few moving lights and you have a show of which you are the star.
    Downside, you arrange all the gigs, you load and hump and set up all the gear, you do all the lead singing, you can't socialise with the band in that waiting to go on period, you can't remenis with your mates about gigs that went well/badly!

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  • TeetonetalTeetonetal Frets: 4637
    @ESBlonde The social downside is certainly something to consider - Ideally I'd like to find a really, really good singer to work with that can play... just in all my years fo being in bands, it's always been the singing where I've struggled to find good people. 
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  • StuckfastStuckfast Frets: 130
    I'm not saying that loop pedals and so on can't work well, but I think you have to put a lot of time and effort into figuring out how to get the best from them. If your music was already interesting enough to entertain an audience for two hours, judicious use of effects and loop pedals and so on might well enhance that. If it wasn't, then no amount of technology is going to cover up its flaws.

    One other point is that in most small venues, even if there is a PA, a significant part of what the audience hears is actually the direct sound from the performer and guitar. This makes it harder to use some kinds of effect because the audience will always hear the 'dry' sound on top of it.
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  • firepaulmusicfirepaulmusic Frets: 181
    edited May 18
    I've been in bands and done solo gigs as well for the last 20 odd years. I made my own tracks originally with a Boss DR5 keeping them quite sparce so it sounds like a 4-piece band. I play mainly classic rock stuff with a decent PA including bass bins for bottom end weight and I usually have some volume behind it which I find makes a lot of difference for feel. If you want to see the solo master at work search Al Hodge Hotel California on YouTube, he really knew how to do it...
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  • Jimbro66Jimbro66 Frets: 405
    edited May 18
    As a solo performer the choice is really either 'troubadour' -  guy with acoustic guitar -  or 'one man band' -  guy with electric guitar and pre-recorded backings. It depends which route appeals to you.

    Probably the one-man-band approach will result in more gigs and better pay but it needs a lot more preparation time and has the disadvantage of lugging around loads of gear. I think that is where a duo works better as you can share the load.

    As a 'troubadour' you travel light but it is harder to get decently paid gigs and you can find yourself performing with minimal amplification against background hubbub, depending on the venue.

    For anyone who has played in bands for a long time going solo is very different -  there's none of the camaraderie and banter that make bands fun to be in. Being alone in the spotlight and missing that power behind you of a band at full tilt can be unsettling at first. To do popular covers you need a good voice with decent range too. That's more important as a solo performer whereas a band can get away with an average singer but good musicianship to win over the audience.

    The upside is that you get to choose all the material to suit you and have sole choice in what gigs you do. No unreliable band members or prima-donnas to suffer And usually better pay as there's no-one else to share it with. But it's something you have to really want to do as it is not an easy option.

    Edit: no endless rehearsals either. Just sit down at home and work on your songs :)
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