After seeing and answering many posts on different forums about how to start a band I have decided to write Band Starting 101.
So you want to start a band eh? Been playing for a little while and you want to find a group of talented musicians who will play with you? Well look no further. Here I will explain some simple ideas to help start a band.
Find players who play the same things you do. And I played bass for a while and wrote songs then I played drums for a while and wrote songs now I sing and play lead guitar and write songs. My point, anyone in your band can write them as long as the lead singer can sing them. Your best bet is to write with you and your lead vocalist together (and your lead guitarist if its a difficult song).
Next, write some quick and easy songs and chord progressions. Find local bands in the area and offer to open for them. Play these a lot. Soon you'll find that people are offering to open for you and then you just go to the places you played before. Establish a good relationship with your stages and don't treat them like your a god, your not quite famous, yet.
As for the band, invest in some good quality microphones a mixer amp and monitors. These days you can get a good PA system with monitors for around 300 bucks. Those will do for practice and small stages. At bigger stages they should have stuff for you to plug into. Get your band together and sit down and discuss where your going to go with the band. Make a living or play some shows? Work that all out. Find local festivals and such that you can play for. Look around. Find a real popular local band and ask if they have any equipment for sale. If they don't, there is always eBay.com.
As for recording, You need either a media center PC or a USB-RCA cable or a mixer with USB output. All of which run 70 and up. Your best bet would be the media center PC (quality is better. See the end of this article for prices, links and other things that are helpful for starting bands).
Other then that, make it a point to practice every week or every month. Make sure that some place has a drum set (its a real hassle to move the drum set. In my band we have 3 different drum sets at three different houses, that way we have flexibility.) If your lead singer cant make it, have a chord writing practice, if your guitarist cant make it, work on new songs with your vocalist. If your drummer can't make it work on some new songs with the guitarist and vocalist. Just keep getting together as often as you can.
Making The Contract
I don't have much experience on actually writing up the contract for a recording company other then make sure that you read it. But as for getting companies to notice you, just play locally. Invite some more local companies to watch you and record a demo tape or two. (See the article: Recording, For The Not So Technical Geniuses for more information.) And keep trying different companies. If you get denied find out why, or how you can improve. Next, write a letter to the company. Make it grammoricly correct!! Please! Save us all the time and headache. I don't know how many times I've seen someone make posts or emails like,
Dear (company), Hi! My names jimmy! I re4lly like ur bands that u recccord 4. its super duper cool! My bands name is (insert random emo band name here) and weerre really cool guys. We cant afford anything and haventt played anywhere but w3re sooooo cool!!!! PLZZZ!!!!!!!????? Thanks Jimmy and friend.
Please don't do something like this, it just bugs the living crap out of everyone there. Write respectfully, again, your not some famous rock star like Bon Jovi or Nirvana, you're a band starting out. Keep it neat.
Next, establish a band budget. Make sure your all serious though! Because you don't want to have the problem of the band breaking up and dividing the money and the equipment. So if your band is serious, establish a budget. There are two ways you can do this, make it so that everyone pays for their instrument and then pool for other necessities or pay for everything for everyone. Example of the first: Drumsticks, cymbals, microphones, guitar strings, bass strings. Some of that sort. Or have everyone buy their own stuff and then go in together on things like monitors, mixers, (I would say microphones and stands go here, personal preference.) cables and other things like that. Make sure that everyone pays the same amount.
Follow these steps with advice from other bands and you should do pretty well. Just keep your ego small until you get big. Then you can say that we got you there.
Prices, Links, Etc
You have seen me put in some things that you might need. Well I have to back that up. First off, I love this website. Their inexpensive and back their products. That's where majority of what my band bought came from.
Honestly, if you have the money get a Shure SM58. Their expensive but excellent. However, many company's have copied the design such as Nady, Peavey, AKG. These are all great microphones and company's. I'm going to list reference numbers so all you have to do is go to musiciansfriend.com and in the search bar copy and paste these numbers in.
It's a good idea to get a mixer for your band! Most bands start out with a PA system. This is a mixer that also is a power amp. As you get into big stuff an amp isn't that little thing with a guitar jack and tone and distortion, an amp powers monitors. Monitors are what give you the sound.
I'm going to be posting the deals that come with monitors just to save new bands some time.
If your looking to record though, your going to need a flat mixer, not a rack-mounted. That means that you have to buy a mixer, a power amp, and monitors. Now the way I recommend going about is getting the Alesis multimix 8USB mixer. This has a USB cable right in it, you get excellent quality. It's a 8 input mixer, with sliders and effects! (like one of those digitech pedals that does it all but this can go vocals as well.) Get what size you need. 8 is probably best because that's one microphone for the drums, two vocalists, two guitars, bass, and two vocalists. As always you can double-plug them, (you can plug a microphone [XLR cable] and a guitar [1/4 inch jack] in the same thing, I wouldn't recommend it as a regular thing though.)
So pick and choose what you want and why, its all up to you and your band. These are just some basic guidelines for what you can do.