Advice please...? Do's and don't's when trying to meet up with other musicians

Although I hadn’t expected it to come this soon, I’m close to realizing the main goal I set for myself when I started out learning about 3 1/2 years ago, which was to be able to get up on stage and jam/hold my own with a working band. I posted a listing on the bulletin board of my local guitar shop and also Craig’s List for a jam buddy or non-pro just-for-fun band to expand my range and was approached by the bass player and drummer a local working band with paying gigs who needs a guitarist. The thing is that, I’ve never, ever played with anyone outside my imaginary mind, let alone with a band, on stage doing four one-hour sets per gig. Frankly I’m petrified, but resolved to see the audition through.
I’m appealing to those who may be more experienced in this and who may be able to give me advice. Is there band etiquette or are there certain protocols I should be aware of? Also, I’m thinking of what extras to bring to the audition as well, like extra strings, cords, batteries pedals, etc, All advice is welcomed and appreciated. Many thanks in advance. :slightly_smiling_face:


Can’t give you any advice on your question but I would advise you to make your question more specific - Advice please……? Tells the potential viewer nothing about what you want advice on and would probably get missed out.

1 Like

I can’t be any help other than putting a link to my thread lately where some people who are actually performing live in bands gave some interesting feedback on what to expect out of it. I know you are seeking advice as to what you need to bring in but at least there will be some wisdom you find useful:

Performing live - why?

1 Like

Having just had the vast experience of playing one song in public to ‘friendly fire’, I have no technical advice that could help. On the other hand, I think your mindset is going to be the most important thing to get sorted. As long as you are honest and open with yourself as well as the band, it should be a positive experience.
Remember, you asked for a fun band and they approached you. If it works out- great. If not, you’ll just have gained a load of experience. As long as you don’t over-promise what you think you can deliver and are reasonable polite, Bob’s you Uncle. It’s not as if your career is riding on this or anything.
Enjoy it.
Oh yeah, I’d bring a tuner. I’ve seen performers use those on stage :wink:

Ask for a their play list. 4 hour gigs will be 50 to 80 songs. Who is doing the singing. If this is a 3 piece band you will need to cover rhythm and lead.
These are the things you need to know before you even go to the audition.

One thing to leave behind is ego. :slight_smile:

There are some great little short videos here. Some relate to live performance. Justin’s quick tips

Excellent Advice - thank you

Thank you - yes, I’ve been working their (long & overwhelming) list to choose some tunes when we meet.

Great observations, thank you. I usually rise to the occasion under pressure. I can say that I have a clear conscience about representing my skill level (such as it is) truthfully. But I also addressed and am concerned about my confidence level, which is nearly non-existent; and as you say, mindset, which is a critical component.
I see this as an opportunity to realize a long term goal set some years ago so it’s it’s a big thing for me. I’ll prepare in all ways possible - mentally, spiritually, emotionally etc. to improve the chances that it will be a positive experience for all. btw Got a tuner :ok_hand:

adi_mrok; [DarrellW]
You can never have enough wise council - good stuff - thank you!

(Profile - DarrellW - JustinGuitar Community)
Yes, you are right - I should have phrased the title clearer. Sorry for the confusion.

It’s a test for what kind of a bandmate you would be. Instead of going to the band and asking them what songs they play and what gear you should bring to the audition, you went on a message board and asked. Are you gonna really show up without talking to them about what to expect? You really need to work on the communication and relationships with your potential bandmates.

You gotta love the music, the people and the process to do this. Otherwise it kind of sounds like working for free.

I’m rooting for you, you can do this, just reach out and get more details.

Wow. That’s really jumping into the deep end. You’re far braver than I am.

Perfect -thanks!

I don’t expect much from it, except a fun learning experience and maybe meet some fellow musicians.

Hi Gary,
You probably won’t have to learn all those songs by heart right away…so a laptop/tablet and a stand for the sheet music…certainly useful if you have a lot of nerves and suddenly forget things,
This is going to give a huge boost to your music journey… have fun with it :sunglasses:

Thank you for your words of encouragement, CT.

I’ve spoken with the band’s founder about half a dozen times over the course of a week; either by phone, text or e-mail, that included lengthy discussions about expectations vs.realities - on both sides. I also sent some audio samples of my playing (same ones that are posted on JG) and asked a lot (I mean a lot) of questions. I spoke candidly and honestly. He did remark about the need of personality ‘fit’, as you said, which I found curious because I thought it would be less important than skill, but I can see its importance.

I tried to convey to the community in my initial post where I was in the process, but after re-reading it I see that I fell way short of explaining the situation clearly, and apologize to you and the community for any confusion due to this shortcoming. My intent was to tap into the collective wisdom of my peers in case there’s any band etiquette, subtleties or dynamics I should be aware of. These are seasoned musicians (bass & drums), who have been together about 7 years. I’m an amateur at best that, in a trio, will have to do a lot of heavy lifting, musically. This is pretty intimidating to me. Having said that, I may be delusional, but something tells me I can pull it off and, for better or worse, should see it through. From this perspective, I want to be as prepared as possible so it will be a positive experience for everybody.

Anyway, an opportunity to realize a major musical milestone unexpectedly (maybe prematurely) presented itself and it’s either crawl under a rock or face the fire. I’m no stranger to facing down daunting challenges (or going down in flames), and as in anything else of importance I take on, If I do go down it won’t be for a lack of effort or preparation. This is why I come to you all. I’ve already gotten some excellent advice which is very, very useful.

Thanks again!

1 Like

Thanks for the PMA (positive mental attitude), Roger :slightly_smiling_face:. It’s been a full time effort to learn even the dozen or so songs we will be covering. I plan to bring a binder with the print outs of lyrics and chords, among other things. At any rate, it will be a milestone event for me, and I think that it will be a blast - I’ll let you know how it goes!

1 Like

I play in a band and we gig regularly although nowhere near what it sounds like this band does. I’ll be honest and say I find it a bit strange they are entertaining you (I’m saying that clearly without understanding how good you are…so apologies up front) as a possible band member. If they have paying gigs and are doing 4 one hour sets that’s a hefty load for someone inexperienced to take on PLUS they have a paying customer who is going to expect a decent standard of playing.

I do understand their comments on needing someone who can “fit”. Don’t underestimate how important it is for people in a band to have the same ideas and views on songs and how to approach things. You can spend a lot of time debating stuff if you all have different ideas on direction. Getting on with people is key if you are spending a chunk of time with them.

Others have already made some good comments like asking up front for a songlist (or at least the songs they want you to go through with them). Ideally you want a recording of them playing the song they want you to perform. That way you’ll be able to practice “with the band” in advance. Do you have experience playing along to a drum track? that would be pretty essential for playing in the band.

I wouldn’t overly worry about needing to learn all of the songs straight away it’s pretty normal to have your music on paper/ipad nowadays (if for not other reason than a backup). If you’re not standing up front with the singer no one will focus on you too much. I think remembering 50-80 songs without a reference is pretty hard…I’m sure the other band members will have exactly the same.

Are they expecting you do any lead playing alongside your rhythm? Are they happy for that to develop (if you haven’t got that experience yet) and potentially change songs a little?

In terms of kit I’m assuming they’ll expect you to bring your amp plus any pedals/mfx you use. They’ll mic it up for you OR just plug it straight into the mixer so it can go through the PA. It’s worth taking a couple of long 3-4m 1/4 inch cables although they and the studio probably has them anyway. A powerstrip is often useful if you have got stuff that needs power.

Make sure you take (or can get) a drink! you’ll soon get thirsty.

I would imagine it’ll be a relatively relaxed affair with them just looking to play through the songs a few times and see how it goes. The harder part is if they say okay and then it’s important just to understand the expectations.

All of the above might sound a bit negative but it’ll be good experience regardless and even if they are ultra experienced I suspect they’ll treat you kindly no matter how you play. If nothing else you get an idea of what it’s like to practice/play in a studio environment.

So far I think you’ve done everything right in terms of sharing with them where you are and your current standard etc. They must be okay with that if they still want you to try out with them…so I’d go in positive and just play the best that you can. Hopefully you’ll have a good experience either way.

1 Like

Your response - all of it - is pure gold to me and exactly what I was looking for :ok_hand:. Thank you so much for sussing out the situation and sketching out a likely scenario. Having some idea of what I might expect will reduce anxiety and help me relax. Also I’ll be better prepared, which is really the goal. Hopefully, this will show through in my playing. I’ll let you know how it goes - and thanks again for the thoughtful response!

1 Like
I wanted to post a follow-up to this topic to let all those who were so kind to respond to my request as to how things went with this 'experiment'.

Since posting here, I’ve gotten 7 responses to my Craig’s List, Next Door and music shop posts for jam buddies. I’ve played four times - once with an individual, twice with one band and once with another band. I’ve been talking with the other respondents and making plans to get together with them as well - and I’m still getting calls.
The short of it is that, it was an overwhelmingly positive experience in that allowed me to get out of my comfort zone, learn songs I might not normally wanted to learn and meet other musicians. Having said that, I was prepared for, and got, a mixed bag of results.
The first band, the one I played twice with, was not my cup of tea in terms of song material or energy level, and for this lacked the ‘fun factor’ - the crucial ingredient. While I was invited to join, I just could not see the point and passed.
I thoroughly enjoyed playing with the second (working) band, and if not for the fact that they want to do regular gigs would have joined. While I’d like to do an occasional open mic, I cannot see myself, at 70, in that kind of lifestyle hauling gear, driving and keeping late hours :expressionless:
I did play with a single guitarist and that was ‘meh’.
But there were some really good take-a-ways, too. In exchanging song lists to prepare for the jam, I learned a lot of new songs (about 25) that might not have normally appealed to me, but found challenging and fun. Also, playing with others in a live setting gave me a sense of playing in a ‘real world setting’ and also how to ‘dance’ with others musically. It also helped (somewhat) with building self-confidence. In all fairness, playing with others is like learning to dance together - you step on each others toes at first, but with familiarity movement becomes seamless and fluid. This takes time.
Being prepared helped a lot too, and in addition to the suggestions received here, brought things like guitar and music stands, water, snacks, power strips, some tools, strings, note pad and things like extra cords, extra picks, capo etc. I packed everything for travel, either strapped to my gig bag or into a briefcase. I made a checklist to help me remember things, both coming and going. When playing, I talked little, listened carefully, kept my volume balanced, my ego in check and stayed respectful.
Without exception, all those I met were friendly and accommodating. I learned that joining an existing band may have a place for me, but it may be hard to find the right fit. I may try to form my own for-fun band, but now thinking of doing an occasional solo (acoustic) open mic night at one of the many venues in my area. I don’t know, maybe I’ll pursue both.
Once again, thanks to all who had a word of encouragement or suggestion - It really helped!


Sound like you have gained a lot experience in this whole process Gary. Really pleased for you as I suspect you have grown considerably as a playa, as Clint would say ! Thanks for the share.


1 Like

Nice one, Papa G.

I’m impressed with your cojones, having taken on a mighty task, listened to a mountain of advice, and come through the experience older (69+1?) and wiser.

What amused most was how your eyes appeared to have been opened to the concept of “fit”, which you appeared to think wasn’t a big factor, at the beginning of your experience.

In the end, the first band band was not for you, as the energy did not fit.

The second band’s itinerant schedule did not fit, and
playing with a single guitarist did not fit (was “meh”).

It sounds like you have gained a ton of experience, and once you find the schedule and personality fit that suits you, there will be no stopping that old dog from learning new tricks.