Advice on playing in a band.

So the audition yesterday went pretty well, they asked me to join, just playing rhythm guitar, which is fine with me. But they seem to do the same thing that other bands I have played with in the past in that they run through their playlist playing each song one time and then moving on to the next one, regardless of how it sounds.

It’s a very informal get together with no real plans on doing any gigs, which is fine with me also. But even with a situation like that, is it an unrealistic expectation on my part to think time should be spent working on getting the song down as well as you can before moving on to something else. Or should it be more a matter of just some people getting together and having a good time rather than worrying about what it sounds like?


If it helps, here’s the band. The first 14 songs were from yesterday. I’m old bald fart in the blue shirt.

[Disclaimer- these are opinions of course but I’ll refrain from putting “imo” everywhere and say it here instead]

You could record the practice session and play it back just before the next session as you’re tuning up etc. Unless you old guys are still using tuning forks haha just kidding.

Generally you don’t want wives, girlfriends or any other audience for that matter at the rehearsal session, makes it problematic to experiment or do repetitions to improve certain sections. And honest critique is somewhat stifled.

An audience turns it into a performance.

In rehearsal it’s good to be adventurous but it risks sounding bad so the section might be left sounding a bit bland if risks are avoided.

And adventure is to be encouraged as long as it’s not to the detriment of the main natural focus of the song, usually the lead vocal.

So when e.g a bass gtr or gtr fill is attempted but doesn’t sound good the automatic response should be that the band stops for a moment to establish exactly why. Could be using a wrong scale or losing track of what chord was going on at the time. It can be an enjoyable time figuring out how to remedy what went wrong, like a puzzle or a game and then the reward of a power up follows and something has been learned usually.

I’d never reject something that sounded bad out of hand, I’d always try to make it sound good, after all if a player has a natural whim to play an embellishment at a certain point then probably that’s what should happen.

Thanks Morgo, good points.

I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that most of what I’ve done musically is sitting by myself recording things over and over again until I get them right. I’m not sure that’s a realistic approach to something like this.

Being the new guy, I need to go with the flow at first though, see how things shake out. It looks like it’ll be a pretty good time. His wife always prepares something to eat when we take a break, and just myself and female singer were new, the rest of them have been playing together for over a year now. The only reason they were looking for a rhythm guitar player is their guy had to move back to the mainland.

I need to work on just relaxing and trying to enjoy myself instead of sweating the details.

They seem pretty chill, I watched a bit of the video about the lead guitarist not knowing Wonderful Tonight and just jamming over the top with nobody batting an eye. It’s a very bright room you’re playing in there too, not like your typical window-less rehearsal studio.

I’ll put this here generally for anyone who may get some benefit from it.

The rhythm gtr has a lot of flexibility as Hendrix demonstrated to the max.

You’re generally playing either Major or Minor chords in one way or another at any given point in a song. If you’re playing the ubiquitous two types of barre chords i.e the ones that have the tonic bass note on the E or A strings, and you know the Major pentatonic and minor pentatonic shapes that overlay those chords, you can do a lot with that without risk of playing bad notes.

That’s because the notes in those pentatonic shapes will always be in key. For example an Em chord could be the second chord of a song that’s in the key of D Major or it could be the third chord of C Major or it could be the sixth chord of G Major. But if you play the pentatonic minor shape over the Em chord it will be in key no matter what the parent chord scale it is, C, D or G.

It’s in the math, so the pentatonics are extremely useful for improvising without playing sour notes, so once a player knows the chord progression well enough then lots of harmonious variation is possible.

Even if using the open chord types at the nut end of the gtr, it’s possible to visualise those chords as barre chords higher up along the neck to easily locate pentatonic positions for fills etc.

Just now checked out the band on Youtube. The real deal, sound really good [recording method notwithstanding]

So it’s pretty much up to you to maintain that high standard, Tol. No pressure! :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

It’s not a room, it’s his carport. He has to move his Corvette and Harley 3 wheeler out of the way when we play. Surprisingly enough though, he plays a Squire bass. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but with those kinds of toys in his driveway, you’d think he’d have a different bass.

Maybe he spent all his money on the Vette and Harley. :grinning:

Check out the lead the kid did on Sundown. Doesn’t really work for me, but they seem to like it.

He’s only 15, but he’s a better lead guitar player than I’ll ever be, plus he’s already got a couple of groupies. The little bastard!!

His Dad brings him to the rehearsals and shoots the video.

They’ve got the mics plugged into a mixer. Next rehearsal I was going to check the make and model see if they have Windows drivers for it.

I’ve got Reaper on a laptop, might see if I can record on the laptop, tweak the mix a bit, then sync the Reaper audio with the phone video.

Thinking I might need around 14 inputs, but I’m not sure if the mixer has that many channels or if my laptop could handle that many inputs.

All 15 yr old lead gtr players tend to overplay a bit at times but I’m liking that he’s not afraid to go for it, he can always consciously dial back the hyperactivity slightly and focus more toward nailing the tone notes [1st, 3rd and 5ths] in the chords which he’s already doing quite well from natural ability and feel and probably not so much as a deliberate ‘tactic’ for want of a better word.

Yep, he’s pretty awesome for his age, just needs to rein things in a bit at times.

He loved my strat. Started playing a little Cliffs of Dover on it, sounded really good.

Again, the little bastard!!

I was slightly reminded of this vid lol. Not in the ‘overqualified’ [title of video] sense as the/your band is quality also, but rather in the sense of a talented instrumentalist overplaying somewhat in the context of a given song. If you watch until the end, both impressive and hilarious!

I’ve watched this vid 3 or 4 times over the last couple of years, A1 entertainment .

This video performance is really overstating the overstated though haha

Aahh, that explains it thanks. He clearly needs to build walls, put carpet on them, spill beer everywhere and exclude light! Seriously though it must be nice jamming almost outside as a full band like that in the Hawaiin weather. The outsideyness might explain why you go through the whole set instead of noodling around with 16 tricky bars over and over. Gig for the neighbourhood and all that…

‘The Kid’ takes a lot of pressure off the Rhythm guitarist but you can explore harmony guitar set pieces also, another possible string to the bow.

That’s too funny.

If that’s a guy playing, he’s gotta be sweating his nads off!!

Actually, the plan is to do something like that on Hotel California. Swap off on the leads and then do the harmony on the outro.

But that’s gonna take awhile.

Yep, really nice place to play. His wife is a good cook too!!

He said I could leave an amp at his place so I don’t have to haul so much gear.

I have to go up and down two flights of stairs and walk a couple hundred feet to get to my truck where I live.

Really hard on my arthritic knees and bad back.

Average cover bands are typically, learn on the fly, play what you know, fill in the rest. Things tend to get tighter over time. There is usually so many songs that there isn’t time to work them all out as you hear on the recordings, i.e., 50 songs is a good start to get out gigging local bars and small clubs. Even getting down loose and dirty renditions of 50 songs is a lot of time.

If it’s really all just for fun, some people like working on songs to iron things out and some people not so much. It should be fun either way. I would try to get a feel for what the people you are playing with are like and try to have fun with it either way. And after a little time, if obvious things are standing out that should be worked on, bring them up in a constructive way.

The guitar player you pointed out, he’s one of those guys. Personally, I would rather hear someone underplay but melodically than wildly play out of context. But it is what it is. And yea, he is very young and yet to to settle down some.

I guess my only advice is to make sure that your playing situation is personally satisfying.

Thanks Brainio.

You hit on something that I’ve been thinking about, especially since this morning I got an email with 5 new songs for our next session.

These guys have no plans to do gigs, which is fine with me. But if they want to cram in as many songs as they can in the limited time they have to play together, that’s going to be little difficult for me.

I replied to this mornings email asking if adding 4 or 5 new songs for each session is how they do things. If it turns out it is, then I guess I’ll have to make a decision.

It may just be me, but sitting around strumming open chords gets boring pretty quickly.

Boredom = Overfamiliarity with the material, which is a good platform from which to substitute chords for any of all the possible options.

As an example I recommend listening to the ‘2nd’ rhythm gtr on Van Morrison’s ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ studio track. Whoever played that never played a standard chord. When I played it I melded the standard chords [4 chrd song] with that 2nd gtr.