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Getting Gigs

I was lucky enough to meet up with this great Blues Guitarist Vince Esquire and he was kind enough to write not one... but two killer articles on Getting Gigs. I remember when I first started out trying to get gigs. I really didn't know the first thing about it. Guitarz is here once again bringing you a great lesson on real life experiences from a guitarist that does it for a living. Let me introduce you to one hell of a guitarist Vince Esquire - Riffmaster

Firstly, I want to point out that I would really like this article to assist both professional and novice musicians who are interested in getting exposure to bigger crowds and landing higher quality gigs. Whether you’ve been doing a regular, weekly club gig week in and week out and feel you are stuck in a rut, or you are just beginning to get your feet wet, this article will cover the steps it takes to take your musical career to the next level.

In the past 5 years, I went from playing small, smoky, hole-in-the-wall dive clubs and community benefits to doing tours opening for artists like Eric Johnson, Derek Trucks and Little Feat and sharing the stage with Los Lonely Boys, Pat Simmons of the Doobie Brothers, and Willie Nelson. How did I accomplish so much in such a short amount of time? Well, I’ll let you in on the secrets to doing it step by step:

Guitar Tab

1. Don’t Get Discouraged. Every little coffee shop and open mic you do, although it may not seem like it, are just preparing you and giving you more and more experience for further on down the road. Have patience. It takes time.

2. Play or Perform As Much As You Can. If you live in a location that has a music directory, pick one up and locate every jam session you can find. If not, just go out to clubs and start mingling with fellow musicians. Make friends with everyone. The truly great ones will want to help you out as much as possible. Get out and get as much exposure as you can get. I can’t stress enough how important exposure is going to be to succeeding.

3. Have Some Sort of Demo Recording. This is crucial. You will need to have something to give the club owners and bookers to hear. It doesn’t have to be some heavily produced LP, just something with 2 or 3 songs maximum so that they can get a sense of what you sound like.

4. Have Good People and Business Skills. A lot of your time is going to be spent on the phone with clubs owners and bookers negotiating gigs, wages, start times, etc. Always be friendly and reasonable. If it’s a new venue, and you know you may not be a good draw at first, don’t be too demanding. Be willing to take whatever it is they are willing to give you. Always remember, “a gig’s a gig”. Go into every situation as a learning experience.

5. Always Keep Your Word. If you tell someone you’ll call at a certain time, do whatever it takes to make sure you call on time. If you tell someone you’ll mail your demo out by a certain date, make sure you mail it on that date. Nothing is more unprofessional than not keeping your word.

6. Promote Promote Promote!!! This is another critical aspect. Make up flyers, posters, business cards and small handouts to post up anywhere that’ll let you. Tell all your friends to tell their friends to tell their friends about your shows to bring in as many people as possible. The main objective is to get the word out about you.

Blues Shuffle In E

What To Play

Let's play along with a blues shuffle in the key of E. Let's use the E pentatonic minor scale to play along with. Below is the scales most popular fretboard pattern tabbed out in the key of E:

Blues Shuffle In E

Kanekoa Video for the Doorsʻ Peace Frog shot at Charleys in Paia, Maui. Featuring Kaulana Kanekoa, Travis Rice, Brett Nelson, Shawn Michael and Vince Esquire

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"Many ways to improve your playing"

"If you really believe you want to play guitar and play it well, don't give up. Never let a number or the ax get the best of you. If you walk away from it totally, you lose. If you grind away at the problems you're having, and yourself in the process, without timing out and cutting yourself a bit of slack, you'll still lose. If you're just getting started with guitar, remember that it takes years to get where you want to be, no matter what sort of music you're into. Try not to worry over it... you'll get there. Meanwhile, have fun playing and enjoy the ride." -Riffmaster

Getting Gigs Part II

Performance and Gigs


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Updated 3/3/07