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Played in front of a group for the first time and.... I stunk haha

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by Matt33, Sep 7, 2017.

  1. Matt33

    Matt33 Strat-Talk Member

    Apr 24, 2017
    Hi all,

    Just a story from my guitar journey. First, a bit of background... I have been playing guitar for around a year and a half and I wanted to actually play with others. I live in Chicago, so I took a class at a community music school here (old town school of folk music). The class is called "blues band live!" where you are placed into a band and you get to play a show at a local blues club at the end of the 8 week session.

    The first class, the teacher asks you to play in a Jam so he can judge your playing and place you in a band to make them balanced I guess. Jam begins, these other guitar players are 10x better than me cranking out hendrix and clapton sounding licks with ease... so that makes me nervous because at my best I can't even play like that... So when it gets to me to solo in the Jam, I can't lie, I froze up, like i could barely hit a note, fingers felt like I was wearing gloves I couldn't feel the strings, and I cranked out some of the worst improv I've ever played. Hard not to think all the good players are thinking "welp this guy sucks"... I am staying positive and think the class will be good for me because clearly I have some issues playing in front of others. Just wanted to share because thought it was sort of a funny, embarrassing experience and I want hear about all of yours. I looked way worse than I am and I was embarrassed because I think no one wants me in their band haha (oh shoot)!

    Anyone have advice as I move forward with this experience, or maybe anyone else have any similar experiences they'd like to share (Also feel free to tell me about how you played for others for the first time and killed it haha)? Or... maybe my experience just gave you a good chuckle haha
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2017
  2. Mansonienne

    Mansonienne Stratocrastinator Extraordinaire Strat-Talk Supporter

    Dec 2, 2015
    Paris suburbs, France
    Well done to you for getting up there and doing it! It'll get better. Playing with others is the best!
    altar, Fettmajik117, Tomas83 and 13 others like this.
  3. Ebidis

    Ebidis Providing the world with flat bends since 1985 Strat-Talk Supporter

    Nov 14, 2013
    Sounds like you just had a case of the nerves. Try to do whatever you can to relax. As you become more familiar with your bandmates, and the situation you should become more relaxed, and you will flow better.

    At least, if you start at the bottom, you have nowhere to go but up. ;)
  4. AncientAx

    AncientAx Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Nov 24, 2010
    I've stunk by myself , in front of people ,every possible way but I struggle on as should you !
  5. john lavelle

    john lavelle Senior Stratmaster

    Aug 25, 2012
    North Carolina
    I say hats off to you. It takes kahonas to do what you did, and I would view it not as a failure, but a learning experience. Keep playing my friend, and thanks for sharing.
  6. amstratnut

    amstratnut Peace thru Music. Strat-Talk Supporter

    Dec 1, 2009
    My house.
    I "competed" in my first triathlon last weekend. Literaly choked on the swim. As in, I sucked in a bunch of water first thing. I stopped and tried again. And again I sucked in water. After the 3rd time I turned around and swam back. Total humiliation!

    Well the sting has worn off so Im just gonna work on open water swimming more.

    So based on your parallel music experience, just work on what you can and keep trying. There is no magic bullet. Lick your wounds, laugh at yourself and try again.

    Thats my plan.

    Good luck!
  7. Eardoc

    Eardoc Strat-Talker

    Jan 29, 2017
    New York
    I agree with the comments above. It takes a pair onions to get up there and play like that. I'm coming up one year of playing guitar. I only started playing the electric three months ago. I took a video of myself playing about three months back and promised myself not to do that again for a long time. So for now it's just me up in the attic practicing until I actually sound like a guitarist.
  8. Jimi Lightning

    Jimi Lightning Senior Stratmaster

    Dec 21, 2016
    Ontario, Canada
    Awesome for telling this and even better that you tried. Keep it up. Its hard for most to get out and be in the spotlight but have faith in your ability....:)
    PS all those " better players" had to start somewhere.....
  9. jpjr50

    jpjr50 Strat-O-Master

    Jun 3, 2016
    I have advice for you. Start a YouTube Channel and play on camera.

    So I started playing guitar in May of 2015 and in December 2015 I decided to document my journey by making YouTube videos.

    Two years later I'm now comfortable enough to play in front of others. My first video was cringe worthy and my latest was a cover of "Here I Go Again" by Whitesnake that I totally improved.

    My YouTube Channel link is below in my sig. You'll be fine.
    Chief_Nobody, amstratnut and Ebidis like this.
  10. Groovey

    Groovey Most Honored Senior Member

    Nov 17, 2016
    NC. USA
    Yep. Just do your best to get past it. You know you can play a basic lead. You've done it. You just have to keep at it. And, at this point, I mean you must keep playing in front of people. Also keep playing with other musicians. Soon, it will just be forgotten.

    That is unless your friends insist on live recordings. Then it could turn into a point of reoccurring laughter.
  11. Ebidis

    Ebidis Providing the world with flat bends since 1985 Strat-Talk Supporter

    Nov 14, 2013
    Another thing, if you're having trouble with something, ask your bandmates for help. Most people are willing to help, and it gets them involved and invested. It will help you build a bit of camaraderie and ease tension.
  12. Kester

    Kester Strat-O-Master

    Feb 17, 2012
    Halesowen, England
    My advice is not to take it too seriously and play with humour, you'll get away with a lot -I should know. The more experience you have, the better your playing will be so you've begun a great journey - have fun.
    BallisticSquid and Ebidis like this.
  13. Yves

    Yves Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 2, 2016
    Well done ! And you take it very well I find. What matters above all is to share the love for music.
  14. liltimmy

    liltimmy Senior Stratmaster

    So what?

    I appreciate good guitar chops as much as anyone, but the fact of the matter is blues is not about guitar olympics unless you're more of a rock n roller than a bluesman at heart. That has been a failing of blues players post 60's as it became more prevalent among white folk who were coming from rock n roll first and then moving towards blues. It's about feeling. Note choice>note count. And note choice is a more difficult subject matter than just building note count. So, build on soul not on shred. Why are Albert King and BB King licks more memorable and accessible than some million note march through the blues? Feeling.

    And rhythm. Nice, solid, no-frills rhythm playing. Lock in with the snare. You will leave some somber faces behind if you head in that direction. No, probably not in 8 weeks, but we are talking about a lifetime endeavor to "master" blues (and it's never really mastered).

    Consider the songwriting aspect. The greatest blues songwriters are people you never heard of. None of them were guitar olympians but they had the blues deep in their soul. I cannot shred like a lot of guys, so I like to focus on exploring other parts of blues. Vocals, note choice, swinging licks, songwriting, entertainment aspects. Sure, there will be a few dudes who look down their nose at you because you aren't a gold medalist blues shredder or are "cliche" (hate to say it but blues is made from cliche), but the audience doesn't care about their dumb guitar player opinions, because, the audience is not guitar players. Cliche's are entertaining especially cliche-ing behind your head or on your knees haha.

    Sounds like a really cool class for sure. Definitely do your best and make the most of it. It will be of great benefit if you pay your dues.
    T Guitar Floyd and hornpiper like this.
  15. CigBurn

    CigBurn Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jun 22, 2014
    Same Shed Different Day
    When I was young and going out to do my first public stuff, a musician friend of mine gave me some advice that I found very useful then and to others later.

    If you find yourself freaking out about an upcoming solo or any other part that makes you nervous, turn away from the audience and focus on one of the other players. It can really help alleviate some of the performance issues because it pulls you closer to your practice session experience with the others and feels like a bit of relief.

    Performing is tough and nerves are normal.. just keep punching away. :)
  16. liltimmy

    liltimmy Senior Stratmaster

    Gonna disagree here. If there is an audience there and you turn your back to them, not good at all. Face the audience, and no damned slouching trying to make yourself look small (I have struggled with that in the past on the occasions things weren't going well) because it becomes a hard to break habit. Close your eyes and focus on the music. But never, ever, turn your back to the audience. That is a very quick way to lose their attention. Blues is house party music. It is entertainment first, art second. You are there to entertain and don't nobody entertain by turning away from the audience. I can't emphasize how important it is to maintain that personal contact with them. Engage them. This is how a rank amateur can outshine a blues shredder because while the blues shredder stares at his pedals and his hands the rank amateur can showboat and keep the attention drawn towards them, even if their eyes are closed. Nights I fail to engage, or forget to engage, affect my bottom line. It's a matter of economic survival for me.
  17. CigBurn

    CigBurn Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jun 22, 2014
    Same Shed Different Day
    Don't really disagree in general, but the suggestion is for getting oneself under control from nerves and not meant to be a new performance style. Turning briefly to other players is common as dirt in nearly every performance I've ever seen and done for a minute to get your Sh*t together would be basically invisible to the audience. And I'm not talking about turning your back to the audience, just turning enough to give yourself some mental space. You probably turn right or left and look at the other band members a hundred times a night without thinking about it, this just uses it to calm someones nerves.
    liltimmy and BallisticSquid like this.
  18. Stormy Monday

    Stormy Monday Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jan 19, 2011
    Congrats! Just jump back in. You'll do fine
    JustABluesGuy likes this.
  19. rudos1

    rudos1 Senior Stratmaster

    Aug 16, 2013
    It's never as bad as you think, we are all our own worst critics. Give it some attitude and let it rip!
  20. Nick in Seattle

    Nick in Seattle Strat-Talker

    Apr 7, 2016
    If you have played live you have done more with music than most of the people in this world. My advice is simple... never compare yourself to anyone but yourself. For me music is a personal journey. And while playing for an audience can be part of it there is much more to it.
    Never Never Never give up.
    Just my 2 cents. Best of luck on your journey and congrats on your courage to play live.
    RobZ69, artgtr, Mr. Grabby and 4 others like this.