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Old 02-15-2015, 09:53 PM   #1
Crazyedd123
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Busking

I'm considering doing some busking, mostly for the experience and just getting out.
Has anybody here done any busking before, or does it on a regular basis? Would you care to share some of your experiences? Plus, any general tips.

I'm just going with an acoustic guitar and my voice, no electronics or amplification.
I have a bit of a repertoire of songs to sing, some modern, some old, some obscure.
This is something I've been considering for a while, but I'm an overthinker, so I'm building it up to be something incredibly huge
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Old 02-15-2015, 10:00 PM   #2
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My wife did it here in Austin one day. She played violin, made $56 in a couple of hours.

That said, I think she did pretty well because:

1. She's a young attractive female.
2. She wasn't playing guitar (in fact, one person who tipped her told her "thank you for not playing guitar).
3. She's a young female.
4. She was playing Violin which I don't see nearly as many people doing.
5. She's a female.
6. She doesn't have a penis.

My wife is an amazing musician, but she'll even admit girl musicians get way more attention.
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Old 02-15-2015, 10:01 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Crazyedd123
Plus, any general tips.

Classic busker, always asking for tips.

I thought about doing this a while back, but I figure I'd rather play a show at a club or something where I'm guaranteed a certain amount of money and know that I won't be questioned by cops or have my equipment/money nicked.
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Old 02-15-2015, 10:05 PM   #4
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Let me add that I wasn't trying to discourage you. If you don't get tips (which is largely based just on the people of your area), it's still some experience and you'll get some stage confidence. Plus you might do really well, too. I'd just try to have something unique about yourself as opposed to being just another vocalist singing with a dreadnought guitar.

I'm thinking of busking with my friend this summer, too. I've been building a collection on Latin guitars lately and wanna do something with them.
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Old 02-15-2015, 10:16 PM   #5
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I don't really think there's much unique about me, to be honest. I've got a really good falsetto, so I'm thinking of doing some Radiohead songs. But I like to sing anything.

I'm just hoping to do this for some experience, because I've been feeling down lately, and I want to do something that will excite me
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Old 02-15-2015, 10:16 PM   #6
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We have done it plenty and it's pretty fun. For best results:

1. Location location location
2. Talent helps but showmanship and connecting with your audience are paramount.
3. If a cop asks you to leave, leave.
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Old 02-15-2015, 10:18 PM   #7
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I'm also interesting in busking with a bass.

show
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Old 02-15-2015, 10:23 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Cajundaddy
3. If a cop asks you to leave, leave.

Has that actually happened to you?
I'm thinking it's been because of a noise complaint, or a business wants you away from their premises.
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Old 02-15-2015, 10:48 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Crazyedd123
Has that actually happened to you?
I'm thinking it's been because of a noise complaint, or a business wants you away from their premises.


Yes, a crowded Newport pier entrance in July. The good officer was clearly violating our 1st amendment rights to freedom of expression but he had the gun sooo.... We ask him what would be legal and he suggested busking on private property.

We found some nearby vacationers partying out on their boardwalk patio and asked if they would like some free acoustic entertainment for the afternoon. They agreed and we jammed for about 2 hours and made $80 from generous passers-by. Our hosts also supplied cocktails and BBQ and asked if we could come back tomorrow. A good day!
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Old 02-15-2015, 10:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cajundaddy
Yes, a crowded Newport pier entrance in July. The good officer was clearly violating our 1st amendment rights to freedom of expression but he had the gun sooo.... We ask him what would be legal and he suggested busking on private property.

We found some nearby vacationers partying out on their boardwalk patio and asked if they would like some free acoustic entertainment for the afternoon. They agreed and we jammed for about 2 hours and made $80 from generous passers-by. Our hosts also supplied cocktails and BBQ and asked if we could come back tomorrow. A good day!

This is why I'm happy to live in the UK, the police don't carry guns. However, it seems like the policeman did you a service by asking you to leave.
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Old 02-15-2015, 11:08 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazyedd123
This is why I'm happy to live in the UK, the police don't carry guns. However, it seems like the policeman did you a service by asking you to leave.




When handed a bucket of lemons, make lemonade!
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Old 02-16-2015, 06:24 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zgr0826
I'm also interesting in busking with a bass.

show



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Old 02-16-2015, 06:44 AM   #13
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I used to busk a bit 15 years ago while travelling France and Spain.

the things I remember:

A crowded location is almost never the best location. I guess it is some kind of mass psychology thing, but in crowded places you get less money and people just walk on. Try finding a spot where there aren't too many people, you will get more (strange but true)

Most importantly, enjoy what you're doing, smile, look at people etc. It rubs off on people. A happy busker gets more than an unhappy one.
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Old 02-16-2015, 06:51 AM   #14
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In the Netherlands I heard you need a permit for it. so it's a no go here.

That being said. just go for it. find a crowded location and play play play
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Old 02-16-2015, 06:54 AM   #15
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I think in the UK you need a permit. You audition (to prove you aren't just making noise) and pay a small fee, and they allocate you a place to busk.
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Old 02-16-2015, 07:06 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tofret
I used to busk a bit 15 years ago while travelling France and Spain.

the things I remember:

A crowded location is almost never the best location. I guess it is some kind of mass psychology thing, but in crowded places you get less money and people just walk on. Try finding a spot where there aren't too many people, you will get more (strange but true)

Most importantly, enjoy what you're doing, smile, look at people etc. It rubs off on people. A happy busker gets more than an unhappy one.

It probably also depends on what exactly the crowded place is. If it's near a train station or something, there's bound to be a lot of people/locals who are in a hurry/stressed and who aren't really in the mood to listen to music, and there's also going to be tourists who are in a busy/hectic place and are wondering where the hell to go.
Whereas on a promenade, there's happy tourists casually wandering around enjoying their holiday.
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Old 02-16-2015, 07:13 AM   #17
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some places need a permit.
I was a "professional busker" for a year. every single weekday, I was in Melbourne, busking.
having some form of amplification helps, as in the city trams and everything easily overpower you. take your time to find what locations work for you, and at what times. don't be afraid to play the 'quiet' areas, as you can still make quite alot of cash.

mix it up. play different styles.

tell the drunks and the homeless to **** off.
if you get told by police to move, move. (in Melbourne the busking scene is actually quite large, so the city council actually employs a few staff whose sole job is to make sure buskers are complying with their permit, such as volumes, or amplification past certain times)

don't set up within audible distance of another musician, and if setting up near a street artist, ask them if they don't mind.

also, get used to finding lots of foreign currency in your guitar case/hat. people are arseholes.

sell CDs. you make a shit load of money. (if you're good that is)

play different songs. the regulars who pass through the area you play every morning at 11am get used to your songs and stop throwing money.


that's my 2 bob.
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Well, technically it could be done, but only in the same way that you could change a cat into a hamburger. It's an unpleasant process, and nobody is happy with the result.
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Old 02-16-2015, 07:15 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rocknroll93
some places need a permit.
I was a "professional busker" for a year. every single weekday, I was in Melbourne, busking.
having some form of amplification helps, as in the city trams and everything easily overpower you. take your time to find what locations work for you, and at what times. don't be afraid to play the 'quiet' areas, as you can still make quite alot of cash.

mix it up. play different styles.

tell the drunks and the homeless to **** off.
if you get told by police to move, move. (in Melbourne the busking scene is actually quite large, so the city council actually employs a few staff whose sole job is to make sure buskers are complying with their permit, such as volumes, or amplification past certain times)

don't set up within audible distance of another musician, and if setting up near a street artist, ask them if they don't mind.

also, get used to finding lots of foreign currency in your guitar case/hat. people are arseholes.

sell CDs. you make a shit load of money. (if you're good that is)

play different songs. the regulars who pass through the area you play every morning at 11am get used to your songs and stop throwing money.


that's my 2 bob.


how can you be a professional busker?
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Old 02-16-2015, 07:18 AM   #19
rocknroll93
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BjarnedeGraaf
how can you be a professional busker?

professional = profession = what you do for a job.

simple. it was my income.
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Well, technically it could be done, but only in the same way that you could change a cat into a hamburger. It's an unpleasant process, and nobody is happy with the result.
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Old 02-16-2015, 07:32 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by rocknroll93
also, get used to finding lots of foreign currency in your guitar case/hat. people are arseholes.

It's a bit unfair to call them arseholes for that. It may not be of use to you, but they still gave away their money, even though they didn't owe you anything.
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