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FDP Forum / Performer's Corner / Acoustic Gigs are Easier to Get?

Previous 20 Messages  
Tony Wright
Contributing Member

Stillwater, OK

I never met a calorie I didn't like.
Feb 25th, 2017 10:33 AM   Edit   Profile  

I think you need to ask yourself a couple of questions...

1: Why do you want to do acoustic electric music? Is it because you have a message in your songs you want/NEED to share? Is it financial? (Which is certainly as valid as any other motivation.) Do you enjoy putting smiles on people's faces by performing?

2: Do you have a target audience? Not just specific venues, but that is a start. I mean are you trying to reach a specific culture or age group to share your own life stories and experiences? Are there other acoustic performers doing material that you like? Do those performers play all original or do they play all covers, or a blend of both?

While there are legions of singer-songwriter acoustic performers, there are equal numbers of acoustic performers who do nothing but cover tunes.

My current "ensemble" is a two piece, occasionally three pieces. Acoustic/electric guitarist who sings and me on bass...and I kind of grunt into the mic on random songs. The third person shows up occasionally with cajon and djembe. We do covers...and it is a little bit of everything. I like playing with Mark because there is NO expectations. "It is what it is." And both of us are on the short side of 60, thus our skills at singing and playing are not as sharp as they used to be. So this project lets us continue to perform for fun...and occasionally for modest profit.

We did a show recently with two singer/songwriter performers. (much younger than us) I am certain we were included because I own a PA system. That's OK by me. It was a freebie performance...and that is also OK by me. We made a few new friends.

Each of the three "acts" played one song each in rotation...something I was not used to but it was their party. At the end of 90 minutes, I discovered that we held our own quite well. The audience appreciated the life stories in song that the two songwriters shared. The vocals were very good. The melodies were very well thought out.

But our applause was just as loud and just as long...because we were playing memories. There probably was not 5 people in the audience under 40-45 yrs old. We played songs they grew up listening to. Mark was having some issues with the weather (building was under renovations, thus no heat...it was cool, 60s, and damp as it was raining cats and dogs). Mark's arthritis was killing his single note picking, so strictly songs he would sing (getting hoarse from damp cool weather) while strumming chords.

It probably was not our talent that got us the applause. I believe they liked our song selection and the memories we brought them that prompted acceptance of our performance.

Beyond the "memories" and the "why do you want to play acoustic" questions, I have one more observation that works for us...

We are a team. We entertain by engaging the audience. We talk to them like friends and tell stories...about ourselves, about the songs, and about the "ensemble." (Hey, two people do NOT make a band.)

Conclusion...from my perspective, in most cases, acoustic electric solo performers (and sometimes ensembles with 2, 3 or 4 or more) are often treated as biological Muzak, background music until the "real performers" come on stage after they stop serving food...and the night grows darker...

So, where do you expect to play? What style of music will you select? And what are your goals in this project?

My goal? To put a smile on one more face today. If I get paid to do that, then there is a smile on TWO people's faces.

Contributing Member


Feb 25th, 2017 03:53 PM   Edit   Profile  

Play 50% covers

Most people wouldn't recognise that every other song is one of yours,(especially if you dont tell them ;) ), particularly with a bit of judicous song ordering of songs with similiar feel, rhythm or structure.

Give it a go and good luck


(This message was last edited by windmill at 05:54 PM, Feb 25th, 2017)

Contributing Member


Axe Victim
Feb 26th, 2017 06:22 AM   Edit   Profile  

Windmill - Thanks, 50% covers doesn't sound too bad.

Tony - I could play an entire set of instrumental original music that is folk, classical, blues and jazz oriented. I'm not looking to sell memories, but rather just play music that will please the listener. If people can't stomach original instrumental music then I guess I just don't "fit."

I'm an alright singer, but I don't "have" to sing. I'm best at playing guitar (lead and rhythm). I don't need a looper and can play lead and rhythm together going back and forth.

Tony Wright
Contributing Member

Stillwater, OK

I never met a calorie I didn't like.
Feb 26th, 2017 10:10 AM   Edit   Profile  

Well, most of us think of the "guitarist who sings and plays acoustic music" (...and so do venue owners) when this topic comes up and do not think of guys like Edgar Cruz (OKC regular, I assume you have seen him perform, although most of his work is classical).

Instrumental music works just fine in most venues...

Contributing Member


Axe Victim
Feb 26th, 2017 11:57 AM   Edit   Profile  

I've seen Edgar Cruz several times, he's great.


Arkansas, USA

Feb 26th, 2017 07:35 PM   Edit   Profile  

Acoustic duo gigs are keeping me busy. I play full electric 5 piece but the acoustic gigs are great!

Previous 20 Messages  

FDP Forum / Performer's Corner / Acoustic Gigs are Easier to Get?

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