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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. BallisticSquid

    BallisticSquid Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 12, 2016
    First off...props to @Matt33!! Not everybody takes this step on their guitar journey. Personally I think playing in a group setting makes you a better player. I can be a nerve wracking experience and you are truly putting yourself out there. It gets better and easier. I participated in a similar program in a local music store. Making my way through that gave me the courage to join a couple of bands and get out and gig...that was 4 years ago. You may be at the start of an amazing journey :). I hope you keeps us posted.

    I agree that when you feel it starting to come off the rails, it's good to have a way of refocusing and pulling it together. Looking at your bandmates may make it worse as they glare at you for messing up :p. (If that happens, time for new bandmates). Joking aside, I find looking up helps. I can remember very vivid situations where I was playing something tricky and I was starting to mess up. When this would happen, I would look up, sometimes I'd close my eyes. Inevitably, I would get things back on track. To the audience, I look like I'm just really getting into it...if they only knew LOL.
    liltimmy and Mansonienne like this.
  2. Stratoskater

    Stratoskater Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 8, 2011
    Raleigh NC
    Bravo man, you have taken the first step and guess what, you survived so next time you know everything will be okay and likely you won't be as nervous. I applaud you too for your attitude that "hey I got 8 weeks and I'm going to improve". With that type of mindset I bet you will improve more than you expect. Watch the better players, listen to the instructor/leader and learn all you can. Then practice what you learned and soon enough you'll be the guy ripping the Hendrix/Clapton style licks in someone else's story on Strat Talk.
  3. wildhawk

    wildhawk Most Honored Senior Member

    Feb 12, 2014
    First thought...... what are Hendrix and Clapton clones doing in that class?


    Second thought....

    Playing with others that are better is a surefire way to improve faster than sitting at home.

    Keep at it, try to find a patient mentor in the group to help you on your journey and remember even the best have had meltdowns more than once.

  4. BallisticSquid

    BallisticSquid Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 12, 2016

    I mentioned that I was in a similar program here. There was another guitar player that was in our group and he was pretty green like the rest of us. He did not do as @Stratoskater suggests (which is great advice) and, well, it wasn't good. He was a "lead guy". He wanted to play blues jams and only play lead. He had no interest in the songs that the instructor was selecting for us. In short, he was not being a team player and was just out for himself. With that attitude, he quite frankly didn't do well in the group. It was a shame, but he just didn't get it.

    A large part of what you learn in this situation is how to participate in a group, which can be as important as learning scales and chords IMHO.
    Stratoskater and JustABluesGuy like this.
  5. hornpiper

    hornpiper Senior Stratmaster

    Apr 23, 2014
    Portland, OR
    I agree with liltimmy, might as well start off right or with good info. for future performance. Virtually every gig for decades I've said to myself sometime during the night, "get your eyes off yer guitar, or band member" whatever, and keep 'em forward in the audience's direction at least, even if closed a little now and then, and try yer best to look happy to be there. This was drilled into me by old school older guys I was fortunate to play with, be around, and learn from early on. If you do that, it's hard for the audience to tell that you might be scared to death inside. I used to concentrate on and practice this to the point where at my advanced age I rarely have to look at my guitar when playing. Just some pointers that may help in the future.

    P.S. limtimmy mentioned disregarding speed in favor of more note choice, and placement, I agree and want to add, to me another more important thing than speed is also tone, tone, and more tone.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2017
    liltimmy likes this.
  6. Tim S

    Tim S Strat-Talker

    Dec 31, 2015
    I guess someone should have told Miles Davis that.
  7. Green Craig

    Green Craig Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 15, 2012
    You got up on stage. You got on stage and played. That alone puts you miles ahead of thousands of users of this very website.

    Take your experience and learn from it... roll with it. Come out a stronger person, and a better performer.
  8. Dougeryb

    Dougeryb Strat-Talker

    Apr 18, 2017
    Just get back on the horse.

    My first live performance was in high school in front of the entire lunch crowd (talent show try outs). I was playing bass at the time. First song, the drummer shouts "My Generation! One, two, three!..." only problem was we were still working on the song and I barely knew the bass solo! I improvised the best I could, but totally sucked. People were throwing pennies and their lunch at me (mostly produce, nobody wanted to waste pizza day on me).

    Total humiliation! To top it off, a girl I liked was front and center in the audience.

    The next band did a mind blowing cover of Judas Priest "Electric Eye". Even more humiliation ha ha!

    Didn't want to do the talent show after that, and I was pissed as hell at the drummer. The only saving grace was it wasnt my high school, but the drummers.

    Long story short, drummer never went outside of the song list after that. I stuck with it and we had a successful couple of years playing parties and gigs and recorded a single.

    Youve got to start somewhere, and things dont always go your way, but like the saying goes: "What doesnt kill you only makes you stronger" (and in my case, .36 cents richer and 1/2 lb of produce heavier).

    Your going to have some "hide your head in the sand" moments, but dont dwell on it. Youre on the right course and I pat you on the back for getting out there and trying.
  9. JustABluesGuy

    JustABluesGuy Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 3, 2016
    Houston, TX
    You are putting yourself out there and facing your fears, and that's more than many players ever do!

    It gets easier every time, and you've already done the hardest part, of just putting yourself out there for the very first time!
    Nick in Seattle and Mansonienne like this.
  10. DeadCircuits

    DeadCircuits Strat-Talker

    Aug 25, 2016
    1. You probably didn't suck as bad as you think.

    2. If you did most people probably didn't notice it as much as you did.

    3. Getting on stage and sucking is more than a lot of people ever do. Good on you for doing it.

    4. It will get better the more you do it

    5. If people really did think you sucked, ultimately so what? I doubt they even remember it let alone think about it now

    6. Again I doubt anyone cared or judged you as much as you judge yourself. I bet actually you did ok.
    Stratoskater and brians like this.
  11. Silverman

    Silverman Strat-Talker

    Feb 28, 2016

    I too live in Chicago, have been playing for little over a year, and suck. In fact, I also have been tempted to sign up at old town get some exposure therapy. I'm waiting till November in order to get things situated with my job hunt post grad-school.

    Bravo for pushing your comfort zone. I know how it feels to bomb. A few years back, I went to a symposium to give a presentation on research that I was working on and I completely froze. Once I started panicking, the only thing I could think of was the fact that I was panicking. I just remember hearing the blood pumping in my ear as time went on longer and longer and I tried to remember a cue to jump back into my presentation. I never did recover and ended up bombing my way through the remaining material. As I walked down from the podium, I wasn't able to look my research group in the eyes. To make matters worse, we all went out to a dinner that night to celebrate and I had to sit through it knowing the I was an object of pity and probably resentment.

    It was a learning experience though. I was able to use it in order to become better. If you don't push yourself and do things that you are afraid of, you never get better.

    Anyhow, If you want a partner to jam with, send me a message. I doubt you are any worse than me so perhaps you could habituate yourself to jamming with someone who has no room to judge.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2017
  12. AngelDeVille

    AngelDeVille Strat-Talker

    Jul 25, 2017
    Believe it or not, playing to your expectations and entertaining your audience aren't always the same thing.

    I know players that can tear it up in their parents basement but would never have the balls to go on stage.
    s5tuart, liltimmy and Mansonienne like this.
  13. Vjerilood

    Vjerilood Senior Stratmaster

    Jul 30, 2017
    You did the best possible thing for your playing, jamming with people who are better than you. Keep challenging yourself and learn from everybody you hear, whether they are worse or better than you. Soon your own style will begin to emerge. Don't feel bad if you can't play like some great player you just heard. Maybe how they play doesn't suit your style. Maybe they can't play some stuff you can. In fact that's likely.

    The other guitarist in my garage band is so good it's dizzying. He has that melodic way of playing chords that made Hendrix so great. I'm quite intimidated by him...Until it's my turn to show him something. Then nine times out of ten he's flummoxed. We both have stuff the other can't play. This will kick butt if we get this thing off the ground.
    liltimmy and Matt33 like this.
  14. brians

    brians Senior Stratmaster

    Nov 28, 2016
    Just my two pence, I think to play live with a band , after only18 months since starting to learn guitar , is a very short time. Heaven knows many of us here have been learning for decades and the thing is you never ever stop learning, so as you said, it's just part of the journey, enjoy the ride. If you have passion it will work out for you
    4SEVEN3, liltimmy and Matt33 like this.
  15. aiabx

    aiabx Strat-O-Master

    Nov 27, 2013
    I tell my kids that every time they do something, no matter how bad, they've left behind the 99% of humanity who have never even tried it. Well done you!
  16. Hippieway

    Hippieway Strat-Talker

    Mar 16, 2009
    Slow down, breath. When I first played with people, I threw every lick I knew, both of them, into it. I rushed everything, I couldn't wait for it to be over. It wasn't until I started to slow down, find the core of what is being played that it started to work, less embarrassing. Don't need a dozen notes if one or two would do. Players play, everybody else stashes their guitar under the bed and sells it five years later as vintage.
  17. heltershelton

    heltershelton ASKED TO LEAVE THE STAGE Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jun 5, 2013
    Not Florida
    look, i havent read any of the responses, so this is what i have to say to you. quit thinking about yourself. just play. i know it seems hard but who in that crowd has the balls to do what you are doing? a year and a half isnt a long practice your arse off.
    Ronnie12460 likes this.
  18. liltimmy

    liltimmy Senior Stratmaster

    By the time Miles Davis was front and center as a bandleader we were in a post-bebop world, basically musician's music, not audience music. More art, less entertainment. So I don't feel it applies. You didn't see Louis Armstrong turning his back to the audience.

    Agreed. Stage, studio, rehearsal room, and bedroom are places that require some differing sets of skills. I have also known bedroom guys that could rip it up but in a live setting were ineffectual. What works in a bedroom doesn't automatically translate to a stage.

    I judge players all the time. If someone is there to learn, to develop, and shows that openness in their attitude, well, that is what it is all about. If someone just gets up on stage for a jam and stomps all over everyone's toes and acts like no one else is there, they deserve to be ostracized.

    I dealt with someone who had never played blues before last week. They had good feel, which helped overcome their inexperience. And they were ready and willing to listen to people with more experience. Was it great? No, but it was obvious this person could easily surpass those who are already doing it. Good feel, good meter, good attitude. You can have good feel and good meter but if your attitude sucks, you ain't going nowhere. That's the danger sometimes of guys who have been doing it a long time; they already know everything.

    Gotta agree with some of the posts though, great on the OP for giving it a solid shot. That is more than most people will ever do. Experience is cumulative. This is all part of the dues paying. I have played blues for 25+ years, I am still paying my dues.
  19. stratnutz

    stratnutz Senior Stratmaster

    Apr 10, 2011
    Dallas TX
    If you know the songs ahead of time you have it under control, I could just blank out the audience and just concentrate on the song.
    Once when I coached a soccer team and we won a big tournament I had to do a speech in front of 50 teams and their families,
    now that was ruff, but I just talked slow and carefully and pulled it off.
    s5tuart likes this.
  20. baconjerky

    baconjerky Strat-Talk Member

    Jun 25, 2015
    I haven't been in a band or played a show in many years but I remember that the more warmup time I had the better the gig was. Ignore the crowds and just play as much as you can beforehand. The looser and faster you are the more you don't think about things.

    My body used to get the shakes right before go time and the extra warmup made me more confident which helped.