Anyone can make a living performing on the guitar.

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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ronjazz
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Re: Anyone can make a living performing on the guitar.

Post by ronjazz » Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:59 am

Yes, Hotel California is a big hit, but so are flamenco pieces like Sevillanas and Farruca, classical warhorses (Albeniz, Villa-Lobos, Tarrega) and lush pop ballads from the Elvis-Orbison era, along with versions of Feliciano's Light My Fire or And I love Her or Malaguena. The thing is, once you learn a few tunes, it becomes really easy to learn many more, and do quickie arrangements in "guitar" keys that use open strings, etc. I don't know how many songs I have in my head, but it seems like many hundreds, I rarely get stumped by requests unless they are contemporary pop tunes, which I am unfamiliar with and rarely tempted by. The looper is an interesting item: even setting up a 4-bar rhythm pattern by playing across the dampened strings like flamencos do can add a nice energy to a solo rendition of a tune.
Lester Devoe Flamenco Negra
Lester Devoe Flamenco Blanca
Aparicio Flamenco Blanca with RMC pickup
Bartolex 7-string with RMC pickup
Giannini 7-string with Shadow pickup
Sal Pace 7-string archtop

kmurdick
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Re: Anyone can make a living performing on the guitar.

Post by kmurdick » Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:46 pm

I use backing tracks with my sax (old version of band in the box). I works pretty well, but I'm sort of interested in the looper.

CactusWren
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Re: Anyone can make a living performing on the guitar.

Post by CactusWren » Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:35 pm

ronjazz wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 1:36 pm
I just secured a solo gig at a Spanish/Italian tapas restaurant, the owners want Spanish classical and flamenco-style music, but the customers like to here favorite tunes as well, so I've developed a "Gipsy Kings" approach to pop tunes, and have employed a looper with some backing tracks I've made at home stored in the looper. Since I have a jazz as well as classical/flamenco background, this is a really fun gig, and I'm now booking this act in other places, from restaurants to country clubs and senior facilities. Some weeks I have 10 gigs, most an hour long.
Most of the guys in my area (Phoenix) use backing tracks and play Spanishy stuff over them. There are a couple websites where they get them (although some make their own tracks). I haven't managed to do this yet... I just dread it it. One time someone saw me using a looper and made fun of me, and it was a horrendous experience!

simonm
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Re: Anyone can make a living performing on the guitar.

Post by simonm » Sun Jan 28, 2018 12:03 am

As a listener, I cannot stand backing tracks. The most obnoxious versions are the guys doing the pan pipes stuff with full orchestra backing tracks.

kmurdick
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Re: Anyone can make a living performing on the guitar.

Post by kmurdick » Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:35 pm

Oh I love the pan pipes! Just kidding. The backing tracks I use are pretty good, not obnoxious.

simonm
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Re: Anyone can make a living performing on the guitar.

Post by simonm » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:27 am

kmurdick wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:35 pm
Oh I love the pan pipes! Just kidding. The backing tracks I use are pretty good, not obnoxious.
The problem with baking tracks is that as a listener you are expecting acoustic aka analogue music and expect it to vary a bit too. Backing tracks are almost certainly digital, being played back through a digital medium and the player has to follow the backing track exactly every time. It is karaoke with a guitar or other instrument. I want to listen either to a live performance or to karaoke. Not one masquerading as the other. If the backing tack machine is karaoke quality then the whole thing is cringeworthy.

I saw a guy in a nice park in Munich some years ago playing classical music on a cor anglais. I assume he was a professional or semi-professional in any case. He was very good. However, I simply could not sit and listen. He had a full orchestra backing track. But a real orchestra at 10 feet away is very loud. Obviously in a public park (at least in Germany) you can't crank up your playback system to concert hall level so he had it turned down to quiet living room level. It was incongruous and intrusive. Not too far away there was a 7-piece group playing light classical as well with a real a double bass included. That was lovely. All acoustic, no amps no electronics and no backing tracks.

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magie
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Re: Anyone can make a living performing on the guitar.

Post by magie » Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:43 am

simonm wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 12:03 am
As a listener, I cannot stand backing tracks. The most obnoxious versions are the guys doing the pan pipes stuff with full orchestra backing tracks.
Image
I fully sympathize with you.
Best wishes from magie!

kmurdick
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Re: Anyone can make a living performing on the guitar.

Post by kmurdick » Tue Jan 30, 2018 2:59 am

simonm, backing tracks might not be good for a classical guitar, but they work well for horn. The reason is that the horn has a big sound and can really stand on its own without backing tracks. The tracks just let you be more effective on the solos.

ronjazz
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Re: Anyone can make a living performing on the guitar.

Post by ronjazz » Tue Jan 30, 2018 11:02 am

backing tracks that you make yourself can be very creative and can vary from chorus to chorus. I create drum tracks with a variety of fills and textures, play the bass into the track as if I were playing a gig, so it's "through-composed", and occasionally add some 2nd guitar or keys if warranted. Having played with a trio with bass and drums for many years, I use a minimalistic approach, and mine have much more swing and life to them than most commercial tracks. I consider them part of my creative process for low-budget situations, and they enable me to continue playing the guitar for a living. I've seen Ableton Live at work, where you can actually choose different sections "on the fly", but it seems rather more work than I find necessary, even though it works well. I can just as easily change my recorded arrangements every few weeks and reload them.
Lester Devoe Flamenco Negra
Lester Devoe Flamenco Blanca
Aparicio Flamenco Blanca with RMC pickup
Bartolex 7-string with RMC pickup
Giannini 7-string with Shadow pickup
Sal Pace 7-string archtop

simonm
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Re: Anyone can make a living performing on the guitar.

Post by simonm » Tue Jan 30, 2018 2:43 pm

magie wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:43 am
simonm wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 12:03 am
As a listener, I cannot stand backing tracks. The most obnoxious versions are the guys doing the pan pipes stuff with full orchestra backing tracks.
Image
I fully sympathize with you.
We may have seen the same guy(s). On Zeil (main fashion shopping street) in Frankfurt in busking weather you sometimes see the guy (often just the one) in Peruvian gear with an enormous sound systems - look big enough for a football pitch - and the basically have a karaoke system and play a few notes here and there up against the sound track. He (they) mainly stand around and try and sell the CDs.

Tangent: One day there was a "one-man band" playing. I think he called himself "Rambing Conrad" and for some reason I think he was a Canadian. He played guitar but also the bass drum on his back, little cymbals some where (knees? elbows?) a kazoo, a mouth organ and maybe some other stuff and of course sang as well. That was a lot more fun.

In fact he is on you tube. Search for "rambling conrad one man band" - I won't put a link in as I assume much of what he plays is under copyright.

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prawnheed
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Re: Anyone can make a living performing on the guitar.

Post by prawnheed » Tue Jan 30, 2018 2:59 pm

simonm wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 12:03 am
As a listener, I cannot stand backing tracks. The most obnoxious versions are the guys doing the pan pipes stuff with full orchestra backing tracks.
I agree on the backing track problem.

Pan pipes on the other hand can be very interesting both musically and culturally once you get past the El Cóndor Pasa. There are several Andean tribes that play pipes which are paired. Each set of pipes can only play half of a scale and two people have to play together to make a melody. In some groups still, the pair start learning together from a very early age and will always play together and never with anyone else. An interesting form of musical monogamy.

doog
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Re: Anyone can make a living performing on the guitar.

Post by doog » Sat Mar 03, 2018 3:31 pm

What really opened my eyes to the possibility of making a living off of solo guitar playing was incorporating marketing studies into my syllabus at university, and through my own personal reading. It was an amazing discovery, that I could devise a way to make a comfortable income gigging and didn't have to resort to three chord strumming and vocals, or using backing tracks, just by applying the right context of applying it as a creative venture. My downfall with backing tracks, which coming from my slightly stubborn and ambitious personality, I just don't find it rewarding enough! I couldn't appreciate a backing track player more than someone who has put the time in to make perform authentic solo guitar. I get they have their place though, and fair play if that's your game.

I'm working on a mixture of popular music arrangements, and easy listening/melodic classical pieces, and as soon as I can cover a few hours I'm taking to wine bars, hotels and nice restaurants and appealing to their demand for increasing quality of service and making a memorable impression - what better way than to have a quiet solo guitar, playing beautiful music live? I don't need to be a nice amazing virtuoso; just good enough to play clean and well, and enjoy what I play. Trying not to lose sight of the pleasure I take from playing my instrument over the prospect of making money.

So yes, in answer to the title of this thread, I absolutely agree! Interesting point on the Sor studies, I think I'll buy a copy of them and work through them, thanks

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