Can You Play a Simple Song?

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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davekear
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Location: California

Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by davekear » Tue Dec 19, 2017 6:57 pm

Well I feel very fortunate to have been a working musician all of my life. One great thing about the guitar is that if you learn to play it right, you can play solo gigs just about anywhere. It really helps to have a wide repertoire that's filled with tunes people want to hear. I always had a good following wherever I went. I owe a lot of that to that great song era of the 60's and 70's.

Rognvald
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Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by Rognvald » Tue Dec 19, 2017 9:15 pm

Want to play in a restaurant?
Start calling restaurants. . . Work doesn't always find you. You have to go out and get it.
davekear

This is the most difficult thing to do for most musicians. I found the best way was to go to the restaurant, wine bar, etc. and bring a tape(am I dating myself???) for them to hear what I will be performing. I played a mixed bag of Bossa, Jazz, and Classical but purposely kept the pieces SIMPLE with easily recognizable melodies: Jobim, Jazz Standards, Bach as an example. If your repertoire is too "heady," you'll never get in the front door. I also found that wearing tuxedo pants and shirt impressed most of the owners since they felt it gave their venue a classy look and I also brought photos from previous performances for them to see. These jobs can be a mixed bag of blessings as they will lead to future jobs(weddings, private parties, etc.) and many times the tips will exceed your agreed pay. Sorry for the thread drift but it brought back some good memories . . . and it does involve playing simple songs. Playing again . . . Rognvald
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

davekear
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Location: California

Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by davekear » Tue Dec 19, 2017 9:52 pm

That's right Rognvald. I wore a tuxedo in most of the restaurants I played in. I never had a hard time finding a place to play. I'd just use the Yellow pages. If I got the audition, I usually got the gig. And yea, you got to play the right "Simple Songs". I played everything from Bach to the Beatles. But you definitely need to play lots of the popular tunes, whether it be Frank Sinatra, Bee Gees, Blondie (am I dating myself) Eagles tunes, a little Stevie Wonder, some James Taylor, etc etc etc. And then you intermingle some Bach and some Spanish classical and whatever else you want. But if you want the gigs, and the TIPS!, play popular tunes. And play em straight. I made some good $ at some of those places. Plus a lot of good food. Not a bad way to make a buck. And by the way, a great way to get your chops down; 4 hours a night, 6 nights a week couldn't hurt.

kmurdick
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Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by kmurdick » Wed Dec 20, 2017 1:36 pm

Rognvald, I used to do what you did. I had a demo tape and a small player and would bring that in to the restaurant. Still, the classical guitar is a tough instrument to sell. If you don't sing, you are automatically dismissed by more than 75% of the venues. It all depends on the you, the location and luck. If you are good, and I was pretty good at that time, and are willing to travel, you can probably get a job. Let me say this, I have walked into a thousand venues all over the country and seen many more musicians performing and only once have I seen a classical guitarist playing. I have, however, seen a lot of harpists

Rognvald
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Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by Rognvald » Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:38 pm

kmurdick wrote:
Wed Dec 20, 2017 1:36 pm
Rognvald, I used to do what you did. I had a demo tape and a small player and would bring that in to the restaurant. Still, the classical guitar is a tough instrument to sell. If you don't sing, you are automatically dismissed by more than 75% of the venues. It all depends on the you, the location and luck. If you are good, and I was pretty good at that time, and are willing to travel, you can probably get a job. Let me say this, I have walked into a thousand venues all over the country and seen many more musicians performing and only once have I seen a classical guitarist playing. I have, however, seen a lot of harpists
You're absolutely right, K. And, Dave's approach with the mixed bag, similar to mine, gives you a much better opportunity than playing strictly Classical. However, if you go to very "posh" restaurants(ie; similar to the Buckingham Room at the Chicago Hilton, select country clubs, bistros, and trattorias) you'll have a much better chance of playing a strictly classical repertoire as long as your music is not too "academic." The reality is that only a few people are really listening and for the most part you're just part of the ambiance--ergo the tuxedo apparel. Sadly, this is why it is so difficult for most musicians to work regularly and why many of us bailed from music as a vocation at some time in our lives. Also, I never contract for more than 2 hours(45 play/15 minute break) since, for me, the gig loses its special nature over a longer time period. As a final remark, your longevity in any gig is directly related to the owner being able to see that your music is bringing in extra dollars and that translates into receipts at the end of the night. Also, customer feedback is equally important when a customer says to the owner: "Wow, this was really great tonight with the guitarist, etc.,etc., etc.."-- and, I have been known to have friends show up to my gigs. So, it's not easy . . . perhaps even more difficult today since the Herd's perception of "Music" would be similar to preferring a Salisbury Steak over Chateaubriand . . . and a Bud Light to a fine Bordeaux. . . anyone for a Blue Plate Special????? Playing again . . . Rognvald
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

kmurdick
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Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by kmurdick » Thu Dec 21, 2017 3:04 pm

Yea, the music has changed. It's now old baby boomers who are musically illiterate. When I played back in the 80s, I played nothing but pop tunes either by myself or with a violin or flute. I developed a few interesting styles that that I wrote up as books for Mel Bay. One of them is still kicking around This book teaches you how to back other instruments and is also and intro to the Joe Pass style.

https://www.melbay.com/AdvancedSearch/D ... nt+murdick

PeteJ
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Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by PeteJ » Fri Dec 22, 2017 1:10 pm

Your books look very good kmurdick. I might even splash out for one.

A while back I felt I needed to get in front of an audience after years of not playing. I wandered in to a wine bar and asked if they needed some music a got three gigs on the spot. Sometimes bar owners are glad to see you.

kmurdick
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Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by kmurdick » Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:27 pm

I quit playing guitar thirty years ago when I started teaching mathematics. When I turned 60, I took up the saxophone and now play sax in small bars and restaurants. I also busk downtown which keeps me in pocket money. So I've gone full circle with music. BTW, Whole Foods stores have a small bar/restaurant that hire musicians. I play at Whole Foods one or twice a month. It's a good place to break into playing out.

Rognvald
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Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by Rognvald » Fri Dec 22, 2017 11:44 pm

kmurdick wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:27 pm
I quit playing guitar thirty years ago when I started teaching mathematics. When I turned 60, I took up the saxophone and now play sax in small bars and restaurants. I also busk downtown which keeps me in pocket money. So I've gone full circle with music. BTW, Whole Foods stores have a small bar/restaurant that hire musicians. I play at Whole Foods one or twice a month. It's a good place to break into playing out.
K,
Do you play tenor or alto? What kind of horn, mouthpiece, reed strength do you play? This was my primary instrument for over 30 years. I also played flute. I still have my Selmer Mark VI Tenor and a Gemeinhardt silver flute. I used a Meyer #5 hard rubber mouthpiece with 3 1/2 Rico Royal reeds. It was always my first instrument of choice and it is still painful to look at it sleeping in its case. If only that horn could talk . . . . hmmmm . . . Sorry for the thread drift, guys! Playing again . . . Rognvald
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

Smudger5150
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Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by Smudger5150 » Sat Dec 23, 2017 12:49 am

kmurdick wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:27 pm
I quit playing guitar thirty years ago when I started teaching mathematics. When I turned 60, I took up the saxophone and now play sax in small bars and restaurants. I also busk downtown which keeps me in pocket money. So I've gone full circle with music. BTW, Whole Foods stores have a small bar/restaurant that hire musicians. I play at Whole Foods one or twice a month. It's a good place to break into playing out.
Another thread drift...kind of interesting that you started teaching mathematics. Andrew York is/was into some heavy cryptology mathematics I believe. And I was a joint honours in maths and computer science for my degree. Just wondered if guitar attracts people who like that kind of area....
I've heard people say aspects of music and maths are not dissimilar.

And yes, your Mel Bay books look worth a look. Well the comping for fingerstyle one in particular.
"Music washes away the dust of every day life." Art Blakey

"If I don’t practice for a day, I know it. If I don’t practice for two days, the critics know it. And if I don’t practice for three days, the public knows it." Louis Armstrong

Rognvald
Posts: 343
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Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by Rognvald » Sat Dec 23, 2017 5:21 pm

Just wondered if guitar attracts people who like that kind of area....
I've heard people say aspects of music and maths are not dissimilar. Smudger
It was a kind of a joke among my Classical musician friends in the 70's and 80's that if they failed in Music, they could fall back on Computer Science or Math . . . and many of them did. However, the Jazzers and R and B guys were cut from a different piece of cloth and many of us followed very diverse and, sometimes, non-traditional careers. There's definitely a difference in personality types that translates to Music preferences and in the way in which they play Music. Playing again . . . Rognvald
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

kmurdick
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Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by kmurdick » Mon Dec 25, 2017 8:18 pm

Rognvald wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 11:44 pm
kmurdick wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:27 pm
I quit playing guitar thirty years ago when I started teaching mathematics. When I turned 60, I took up the saxophone and now play sax in small bars and restaurants. I also busk downtown which keeps me in pocket money. So I've gone full circle with music. BTW, Whole Foods stores have a small bar/restaurant that hire musicians. I play at Whole Foods one or twice a month. It's a good place to break into playing out.
K,
Do you play tenor or alto? What kind of horn, mouthpiece, reed strength do you play? This was my primary instrument for over 30 years. I also played flute. I still have my Selmer Mark VI Tenor and a Gemeinhardt silver flute. I used a Meyer #5 hard rubber mouthpiece with 3 1/2 Rico Royal reeds. It was always my first instrument of choice and it is still painful to look at it sleeping in its case. If only that horn could talk . . . . hmmmm . . . Sorry for the thread drift, guys! Playing again . . . Rognvald
I play a YAS 62. I also have a YAS 23 as a backup. I use Selmer MPC which makes me sound a bit classical, but I don't care; it gives me a sweet tone which people seem to respond to. I use Rigotti #3 (strong) reeds, but I use a Legere synthetic when I practice - it saves the cane reeds. Advice to guitarist from a horn player: play long tones. Just play open strings slowly and listen. Try to make the 2nd string sound like the first string, etc. Do this for at least 10 minutes a day. Also, practice vibrato at various speeds and depths.

Rognvald
Posts: 343
Joined: Sat Jul 08, 2017 1:21 am

Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by Rognvald » Mon Dec 25, 2017 9:29 pm

Just play open strings slowly and listen. Try to make the 2nd string sound like the first string, etc. Do this for at least 10 minutes a day. Also, practice vibrato at various speeds and depths. Kmurdick

Now, K . . . if you can tell me how to reproduce sub-tones, grunts and growls on the CG, we might be able to start a new school of CG. Here's Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis on Tenor with Count Basie's Orchestra performing the Jazz standard "Cherokee." Nothing better . . . . . .
https://youtu.be/sPmsYkJc5ow
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

kmurdick
Posts: 531
Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2014 7:48 pm

Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by kmurdick » Wed Dec 27, 2017 2:36 pm

BTW, there is no reason why some guitarist can't do the same thing on guitar that Kenny G did on the soprano saxophone. Just develop a very sappy tone and play highly romantic pop sounding pieces to a pop comp. The piles of money are out there waiting to be collected.

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AndreiKrylov
Posts: 1886
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Location: Canada

Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by AndreiKrylov » Wed Dec 27, 2017 3:14 pm

Smudger5150 wrote:
Sat Dec 23, 2017 12:49 am
kmurdick wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:27 pm
I quit playing guitar thirty years ago when I started teaching mathematics. When I turned 60, I took up the saxophone and now play sax in small bars and restaurants. I also busk downtown which keeps me in pocket money. So I've gone full circle with music. BTW, Whole Foods stores have a small bar/restaurant that hire musicians. I play at Whole Foods one or twice a month. It's a good place to break into playing out.
Another thread drift...kind of interesting that you started teaching mathematics. Andrew York is/was into some heavy cryptology mathematics I believe. And I was a joint honours in maths and computer science for my degree. Just wondered if guitar attracts people who like that kind of area....
I've heard people say aspects of music and maths are not dissimilar.

And yes, your Mel Bay books look worth a look. Well the comping for fingerstyle one in particular.
Interesting... why music supposed to be connected in us with mathematics? I am absolutely indifferent to mathematics... even probably more than that - I dislike it.. I never ever been interested in it...
and all my life I worked as a guitarist... Guitar attracted me because... probably because I was exposed to it from my birth and even before that, probably because my ancestors played it and or were in Arts as artists, painters etc.
From the moment I played it first time, when I was around 3 years old I felt in love with it .. and just played all my life.
Maths? Computer Science? NO NO NO !!!! to the degree that I would be very unhappy if life will force me to do it...
And when I play or create music I calculate nothing... No math at all ... I just play, express myself, having fun, satisfaction, it is all.
I'd better speak by music...Please listen my guitar at Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, etc.

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