Starting A Band

A guide to starting a band ;). For noobs and anyone having difficulty.

Ultimate Guitar

Being in a band is a great way to get to play your instrument. You can enjoy the full range of sounds offered by an ensemble of instruments, and performing live is always good fun. I'm a fairly new member, tho' I've been using this site as a guest for some time now, but I thought I would put together some useful advice about starting and running a band. Firstly, Who To Get:

  • You want people who are a similar age to you. If you are under 18 look at maximum 3 years age difference, if you are 18 - 25 maximum 5 years and 25+... well, anyone over 25 I guess.

  • Find people who enjoy the same music as you. If you all want to play different styles it could become very tricky. Having said that, it is nice to have some variety - you don't want to sound too samey - so you can be flexible.

  • Find people with the same musical talent as you. That way you can develop at the same rate - you don't want to be a pro stuck with a bunch of noobs, or visa-versa (I never worked out how to spell that).

  • At least two of you should be able to read and write music (this can include tab) and should be confident songwriters.

  • If you go for a large band make sure everyone is going to be needed. There is probably no point in having 3 guitarists, for example.

  • Try to find people who live nearby or who have easy access to transport. This makes things a lot easier.

  • Finally, try to find people who are not too busy. It can be extremely frustrating having, say, a keyboardist who can never make the practises because he has work or exams or whatever.

    Now you have your band members, You Need To Decide:

  • Who is going to be your lead man (or woman). It is useful to have someone who takes charge a little bit. This does not have to be the singer. It could be the sax player, the drummer, the tambourineist if you want. The lead man should be someone who is organised and fairly confident as well as talented.

  • Who will write your songs. It is actually best if everyone contributes to song writing - it helps to bring in variety and if you ever sell a record it's the only way you'll all make some money - but sometimes only one or two people do. Song writing sessions should be seperate from practises - don't try to cram practising and song writing together because it will go horribly wrong.

  • Who will organise your gigs. This should be a seperate person to the lead man, and should be confident, organised and a good communicator. You won't need to worry about this immediately, however - gigs normally won't start coming until at least 6 months of practise.

  • Where you will practise. If someone has a fairly large house and a drum kit that will do fine, but if not try recording/rehearsal studios. Normally you should get a good deal - in Bristol, where I come from, Drumbank studios have some great practise rooms. If you go to a school/college with good music facilities then try them, but don't do lunchtime rehearsals. These will be rushed and normally disasterous, especially for a newly-born band. Oh yeah, practise times should never exceed two hours without a break until you have been together a long while or unless you are all very focused. Otherwise you will get very sick and tired of one another and of your music.

  • What your band will be called. Try to avoid anything lame (words like dark, thunder, flash etc. make you sound like a bunch of... muppets).

    Now get together for a trial run and see how it goes. For the first practise maybe play some covers that everyone knows instead of your own stuff. Make sure that your balance is good (very often singers are too quiet) and that everyone is fairly involved. A word of advice to all you "hardcore" rockers out there: it is not a good idea to bring alcohol to your band practises. Don't do it. If all goes well, try to meet up every 2-3 weeks and you will soon begin to sound great. Good luck!

  • 64 comments sorted by best / new / date

      good job pointing out common sense. kinda sucked because i knew all of this . . . good article though! i swear! sry
      nice article im not starting a band, i was just bord so i read it dont make war make pie
      Haha, good call splinta: commies. But the artical is very good. Everything he said is true, even tho some of this doesn't apply to us younger guy, it's somthin to take into consideration.
      BTW, muffin man is right on. Basketball's a girls game. They should play sumthin more manly... like hopscotch. Rugby Hopscotch. Good shit.
      Aussie rules football is the best, we dont need padding and we kick the ball forwards more than once every 30 seconds or so. That said, American football is awesome to watch and play. Rugby is also good and soccer is for pansies On a philosophical note, I think these comments got so far out of hand because the article really leaves little to discuss.
      "Just so some of you guys know, in England 'practice' is spelled with an 's.'" No its not, its spelt 'practice', i'm from england I would know.
      good artical brits are funny why so much hatred makes me cry
      tru tru man
      "What your band will be called. Try to avoid anything lame (words like dark, thunder, flash etc. make you sound like a bunch of... muppets)". This article is great but could be even better if you specifify in more detail what "lame" is. actually *** that who the hell says lame anymore.
      orcutt989: Great article, but theres about 4 other articles that say the exact same thing.
      No, there isn't. RETARD. Thanx for the stars, keep 'em coming. And what did I say about spelling? It's fine - I've seen far worse in other articles out there. Give me a break.
      good article, but i'm sill going to call my band Dark Thunder Flash, lol
      I dont think point 3 is really necesary, you can learn from the others in the band. The ideal band is: 2 Gtrs, 1 Bass, 1 drum set. and maybe 1 synth, just try no to make something like chicago(i mean a very big band). I think the principal objective in a band is to have fun... Good article anyway
      good article, except everyone in a band really should read music, it makes it easier on everyone and really is not all that difficult to learn
      Ember Ellusion
      lol nice article our band broke up because we din really follow sum of the things on that list lol
      first good article i read this day thx ! U make very much good points but some points i think arent that neccesary.. but still good job pls make more articles !
      good advice mate. just getting together with a band so the cover song thing is useful...though most cover bands are pretty crap. no offence to anyone.
      nice stuff ... just 1 quiestion.... wtf m i sepouse 2 do if every person in the band insists of being the leader.... kida prob i would say ....
      Tha_slughy your band oasis and you' ll skyrocket to the top of the charts in no time
      hm.....does anybody know any other tips like these...i think i read an article like this but it was longer and it was really good...i just forgot what it was called
      thanks band is falling apart i really needed the help xD
      You didn't mention anything about HOW to go about starting a band - just who should be in it! Well presented, though.
      Thank you for stating the obvious times 13509135092385235234524352523512352354236582579284 679246524 9657245252352435245. The finger to you. But it was well written ;
      u really pointed out the obvious shit, but thanks alot for your work and article
      good article... bad spelling mistakes but it's all good how can u write perfectly and rock at the same time? mofo'S?
      ok.... first of all.... spam deleted. second.... O_o... this is a warning. you only get one. same with IntlManofMisery... one warning for you as well. third of all.... whoever that ******* was that said the brits discovered america.... yeah, um about that..... nevermind. i dont talk with idiots. KEEP THE SPAM DOWN. THIS ARTICLE HAS BEEN REDUCED TO HALF IT'S SIZE BECAUSE OF ALL THE SPAM I DELETED.
      Great article, but theres about 4 other articles that say the exact same thing.
      exactly...good job on pointing out common sense, although, your spelling is FUCKING HORRIBLE! AND ITS practiCE!! WITH AN F-ING C NOT AN S! some kids...
      yeah good job, mr spell. um, i'm like 16ish and my bandmembers are all 20-21, but we still click. And, (i know yer puttin up with a whole latta crap but owell)different music styles are a GOOD THING.... i am a born again metalhead, our lead vocalist sounds like matt redman and we have a keyboardist who can play everything from chopin to linkin park without a hitch. and our former drummer was a flake so we kinda dumped him. so if you like demon hunter and live in savannah ga let me know (if you play drums, that is)
      ya football or soccer for u americans is way better than the other football because it goes on theres a time limit too but we have injery time no like hockey(ok) football(sucks) and baseball(pansy sport)
      "now football, that's a man's sport. it teaches you good wholesome american values, like stealing other peoples land by force, and wearing tight pants while you do it." Doesn't anyone think WarriorXT might be kidding, sounds more like good sarcasm, harsh hatred towards soccer and the UK, but hey, maybe i'm misinterpreting it.
      put a "not" between "sarcasm," and "harsh". small but important mistakes can ruin an entire post
      that soccer thing is so true i went to one here in L.A. it was boring as hell, they tried to do a few chants but fell in like a minute, so then i went to one when in england, and i thought it was gonna be boring, but no it was amazing the game is hardly the CENTRE of attention they all just yell chants during the game and have a great time. Unlike all american sports where its only fun if you win.
      Doesn't anyone think WarriorXT might be kidding, sounds more like good sarcasm
      i agree with daoist_8... some ppl take things far 2 seriously. Keep up the gd reviews guys
      oh yeah, you may find this very samearticle posted in the "A guide to..." section - stupid mistake on my part. and to hell with u critics - i got 98% on a spelling test a couple of years ago
      Pretty good.. But the whole three guitarist thing is gay.. It sound awesome with three guitars in your band, because we have three and it rocks.. Oh yea, Soccer is a awesome sport but everybody runs it down and they barely know anything about it.. I have played for six years and i love it.. Soccer rules but so does football..
      I think this was a very good article.Good structure and everything,a few spelling errors,but those can be overlooked.There were several good points made.Nice job alltogether.
      and whats with them callin soccer football? have you ever watched soccer? that's a boring game, man. I'll tell you what soccer is, soccer's a girls game, man. now football, that's a man's sport. it teaches you good wholesome american values, like stealing other peoples land by force, and wearing tight pants while you do it
      listen to the chatterbox radio station in the game Grand theft auto. (thats where he got that paragraph from). Good article, its basicaly another summary of alot of past 'making a band' articles, which is good i guess, but you should try and find some points that haven't already been touched on if you want your article to be unique. btw your even though it doesn't bother me you should check your spelling before submitting articles (not that it matters but its more professional and it pleases the bums who like to complain about it).
      just a note - if there are any bassists / drummers or anything in Vancouver that want to start up a band - drop me a line
      not with my band its not we usally will have 1 if we have any,i think it helps u keep calm on those days when people refuse to play certain parts and some times are going thought trying to teach band memebers to play something
      i read that and said to myself.....golly gee i wish i had taken common sense lessons from this guy