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Question about when joining new bands
by Tombolino on 2011-08-09 20:26:34.6210

Hi friends,

I am looking to join an original band that plays a mix of straight forward not complicated rock, punk, funk. I have music training and have been playing guitar for a while. They let go of their guitarist because he wasnt good enough. They have about 9 original songs that I would have to learn the chords, structure and also write new guitar parts for. How much time do you think is reasonable for me to require specially when it involves writing guitar parts?. For me writing quality guitar parts is not a couple of weeks things, probably 2-3 months or about 6-8 rehearsals, is that too long? In one band I tried out for in an identical situation, they got pissy at rehearsal 3 for not knowing all their songs and writing some new parts. They also got frustrated with my for experimenting with the sounds on the POD. I was trying to give them sonic options. When I have been on cover bands I can learn about 5+ new songs a week but for some reason learning and writing for original projects takes me longer as I try several ideas and also explore my various patches on the POD

What do you think is best in order to make this work?



Re: Question about when joining new bands
by phil_m on 2011-08-10 08:07:40.2850

Well, I do think 6-8 rehearsals is probably too long to spend on working out specific guitar parts, unless you're writing songs akin to Bohemian Rapsody or something. Basically, I consider the purpose of rehearsal more to be about working things out together as a band - timing, songs structure, order - things like that. If someone has to work on a specific part every now and then during a rehearsal, that's not a big deal. But it's not fair to take everyone's time working on a single part.

I would try to come up with a few different options for guitar parts on my own, play them for people at rehearsal, and go from there. Also, rehearsal isn't really the time to be experimenting with new guitar sounds, per se. I don't see a problem with saying something like, "hey guys, I came up with the sound earlier this week. What do you think of it?" But don't spend time at rehearsal trying to dial in new sounds.

Basically, just treat people the way you'd want to be treated and you should be fine. I wouldn't want to spend time at a rehearsal waiting for the drummer to tune his heads, and I assume he doesn't want to listen to me tweaking all me pedals all the time.

Re: Question about when joining new bands
by DarthHollis on 2011-08-11 06:18:50.8910

I agree with Phil but would add a few things. 

Your guitar parts may change with time.  You might learn some new technique and incorporate that into a song you have been playing for months or years.  Be a decision maker.  Don't worry about giving them options.  Play what you want to play.  If they don't like something, go back to the drawing board.  They picked you because of your style and playing ability. 

Don't worry about futzing around with different guitar sounds at practice.  Have a few basic patches that will fit different situations.  If you feel the need to tweak during a song you should only have to tap on a switch with your foot, not mess with knobs. 

My experience with original bands is that the songs are usually simple in structure and chords/riffs.  Take your time to learn them before you start embelishing - 9 songs should take you a week or two.  I once learned every song on the band's CD in the time it took to listen to the CD (25 minutes). At our first rehearsal, we played 3 of those songs and I learned the rest of the new songs on the spot watching the other guitar player.  It was easy music, usually just a verse and chorus and the solo was over either a verse or chorus.  But I learned a lot from that band.  Remember, when you are in rehearsal, they are practicing too. 

I can't stress enough to be a decision maker, they don't want to hold your hand and ask them "do you like this?" for every little thing you do.  Play something awesome and wait for them to say "That f-ing rocked!"  If they don't then play something else next time.  If there is another guitarist in the band, get together with them on the side and have them show you nuances in the songs.  The bass player can also do the same and you'll get more of feeling for what they want to acomplish as a band.  You'll also become friends with them, which is almost just as important since you'll be hanging out with them alot.

Re: Question about when joining new bands
by phil_m on 2011-08-11 06:57:03.9500

Yeah, of course I don't recommend asking for everyone's opinion on every single part. I guess I was thinking more along the lines of if someone wrote a song and asked me to come up with a part. If it's more of a collaborative writing environment where the whole band is involved in writing, I'd think a more organic approach would probably be better.

Honestly, in the bands I've been in, there's very rarely been that many songs where I'm really spending hours and hours working out parts. There are times when I want to nail a solo or whatever, so I'll spend a bit more time on it.

Re: Question about when joining new bands
by spaceatl on 2011-08-11 07:48:22.6960

I will keep it short...I tend to agree with phil and hollis...great tips I think...

Go to rehearsal with your parts and tones worked out for the songs you are expected to know...

Don't experiment at rehearsal unless you are asked to...

Don't noodle too much between songs...

Also, since this is an original band...I suggest you get your song credit percentage IN WRITTING for each song you collaborate on...Does not matter if it is on bar napkin or whatever...A semi-formal royalty agreement is best done up front BEFORE you collaborate...If the band works as even split regardless which is an easy way to work...just get something in writting...If you don't do this, then you are a hired gun...Just thought I would mention some biz...

Re: Question about when joining new bands
by DarkZenGuitar on 2011-08-15 16:46:01.8370

I'm at the other end of this situation.  I'm in an established band, with lots of pre-written material. We have a new singer, bass player and drummer. Well, maybe new isn't the best word. We've had about 15 practices over 5 months or so.

Our music is realitively simple, but there are some complex rhythms and the music is behind the beat and it's got to groove. We have about 15 songs, dozens of parts and ideas and have played dozens of shows. 

When we get someone new, we have discussions of what we expect, nicely and about being professional.

We say "listen to the demo and learn what you can and we'll help you out with any parts you have trouble with."  We mean exactly that. Next practice, come in with this song ready to go. I do NOT want to teach you how to play it. You should have listened to the song at least 20 times while learning it and just getting into the music. You should know the lyrics, and be able to hum along with it.

I also don't expect it to take months to learn songs. If your writing parts, write them at home, come in with more than one idea btw, and play them with the band. Record them-refine them. Every practice should be a significant improvement from the last.  If it takes too long to get locked in with the band, they're going to get frustrated. And that leads to apathy and the band going nowhere. If everyone comes in with the songs down, every week and plays well everyone will have more motivation and the improvement will be amazing.

If these guys have said "Hey, can you listen to this song for practice?" you should learn that song before practice.

If they said "We have 5 songs we want you to learn." learn those 5 songs immediately. Walk in confident, knowing the songs.

Tape every practice. Listen to every practice. Learn from your mistakes.

If you practice at home, which every band member should be doing, you should have those 5 songs down in 2 weeks.

It's all part of being professional. If you're going to do it, do it to the best of your ability. Bring the music to a higher level instead of being the problem.

With our members, we've had a couple of discussions about it already. "Do you want to do it? It will require some sacrifice on your part." I spend a few hours a week at home doing music, working on stuff. We're expecting the same effort on everybodies part.

If no one puts in this effort, the band will suck. It will suck to be in and the music will be mediocre.

So, if you want this band to make some great music, you need to learn the material quickly, be able to make decisions (great advice, guys!-be confident in attitude and playing) and be useful. Play guitar, sing, setup or carry gear, create the webpage, be and artist whatever...make yourself useful.

Understand that if you're asked to learn an original song, learn it without t

rying to change it.  If the band has a specific style, learn that style-listen to other bands in it and absorb the nuances associated with it. Immerse yourself in the style until you get it.

Uh...sorry, it's a subject very close to my heart right now.

Figure out how serious you want to be about this band, and devote a respectful amount of time. That's the best advice I can give you.

Re: Question about when joining new bands
by Tombolino on 2011-08-18 18:18:51.7560

great advice guys, thank you much!

Re: Question about when joining new bands
by Ax3M4n on 2011-08-31 10:48:56.1560

I don't want to sound snotty to the OP... but from what you've written, I would concentrate outside of the band on honing some very basic guitar skills, even employ a teacher if necessary... they've already sacked one guitarist.

1) get all the bands songs written down in BASIC CHORD charts - arranged in musical BARs, get the bassist or keyboardist to TELL YOU what the chords are, or at least what ROOT they are playing. If they tell you you need to figure it out by ear say bo**ox to them and leave - you aint being paid as a sessioner. e.g.


/ D  D  D  D / G G A A / x 2


/ G G A  A / D  D G G / x3

/ A A Am G/


/ Am G  F  F / Am  G  F  F/


2) Learn all your basic chord shapes and be able to play them anywhere on the fret board and KNOW what chord you are playing...  I hear people saying "Oh its an E Major shape on the 6th Fret"...  you should at least know that its a A# Major.  Basic chords shapes are C A G E D - then the Minors Am Em Dm, Then the 7th, and finally Major 7ths. You could do this in under a week. Loads of books, loads of stuff on the web.

3) Learn to play in time and remember the changes - get a metronome or drum pattern generator.   Practice going through the basic chords for each song in time.

4) Sort out 2 useable tones - clean and dirty  - maybe a 3rd "inbetween" tone - overdriven - but you can get this by digging in harder if you set your amp right on the edge of clean - or using the volume on the guitar  Stick with these until you've got your foot in the door - don't go OTT on the dirty sound - you'll get lost in the band mix - stay with a heavy growl, back off the gain until you can hear "all the notes" in the chord - you did say you were doing punk...  have a liston to Steve Jones from the Sex Pistols - God Save the Queen - Gibson Humbuckers and a Fender Twin on full tilt - no heavy metal pedals.

You'll find you'll end up noodling on the chords - throwing in extra notes like sus2, 9th, 7ths although you may not know it, or changing up the rhythm - that's where YOUR own influence starts to come in.

If you already know all this - then my apologies for sounding like a twunt.

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