#1
So heres the deal

I'm getting the feeling my band is a lullaby to watch in a live setting, all because of our rhythm guitar player.

Me (vocalist/bass) and the lead guitarist move around, headbang etc. but he just stands there, staring at the fretboard. We've all tried to get him, at least to look away from the fretboard, but he always evades the questions we ask..

How do I make him more exciting live? I don't want to kick him, he is a great contributor to the band, he is just utterly boring live...
#2
Does he do it at practice too? He might just have stage fright. I've played with guys who are just absolutely crazy during band practice, like early Eddie Van Halen, slam-yourself-into-your-stack kind of crazy, but as soon as we hit the stage they froze like a statue
#5
Quote by Tracii Lee
Does he do it at practice too? He might just have stage fright. I've played with guys who are just absolutely crazy during band practice, like early Eddie Van Halen, slam-yourself-into-your-stack kind of crazy, but as soon as we hit the stage they froze like a statue

we are all kinda inanimate at practice actually
#6
Well being inanimate and focusing on playing should be done when going through new stuff, but when you have the song down pat and are rehearsing for a gig, have everyone jump around as they would at the real thing. Maybe being that comfortable setting will have the guitarist join in and work it into the real show.
#7
Quote by You Ruined It
Well being inanimate and focusing on playing should be done when going through new stuff, but when you have the song down pat and are rehearsing for a gig, have everyone jump around as they would at the real thing. Maybe being that comfortable setting will have the guitarist join in and work it into the real show.

Thats a good point..

We never had room to jump around in our old rehearsal room, so now it just seems weird to start doing it. I'll try doing it and see if people join in
#8
I see, so your entire show is ruined just because your guitarist looks at the fretboard.

How do you feel about the drummer? I'd totally drop that dude, he just sits there! At least the guitarist stands.

It sounds more like to me that your ENTIRE show isn't that great, and you're looking for a scapegoat. Stage performance, you practice it at practice. If you want him to stop looking at the fretboard, ask him to practice infront of a mirror (easiest way). Or you could simply not care, a lot of guitarists look at the fretboard.


And after pointing out how bad this rhythm guitarist is, you say:
Quote by destroy_techno
we are all kinda inanimate at practice actually


Well gee whiz.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#9
Wait, so you are complaining that he is making sure he is playing correctly by paying attention to what he is playing rather than jumping around like a loon? MY lead guitarist isn't animated (or our bass player for that matter), myself and our front lady are more so on the other hand. It doesn't affect our live show at all. Why worry about something as trivial as this?
-Mithaearon-
"Just because you can, doesn't mean you should."
#10
It's fine for a band to have one guy who isn't as daft as the others: the anchor can be the cool guy while others dick around. Thinking of John Entwistle in The Who.
#11
Quote by rollertoaster
Get him to watch live videos of Story of the Year. He'll be doing backflips in no time


Along the same lines, maybe ask him who his favorite guitarists/musicians are, then find some videos of their most exciting performances and show them to him. Ask a friend to come to your next show and video tape your guitarist performing, so he can see how he looks compared to his favorite musicians. Maybe he doesn't realize how boring he looks onstage- he could think he's coming off as really cool and mysterious, or focused and intense.

I'd also encourage you and your bandmates to move around during rehearsal, to get comfortable with it and get into the habit, and maybe help your guitarist break outta his shell too.
#12
I have to say, as has been mentioned, it can't be just your rhythm guitarist letting you down if you feel that way. Get other people's opinions on the matter and see what you can do to improve as a band.

On the stage presence thing, one thing I'd heavily suggest you do is start getting a bit more active when you practice. Practice like you're gigging, discuss stage presence, etc etc.

As well as this, I heavily suggest integrating a bit of interaction with each-other into this stage presence. I've always found the best bands to watch are ones who seem to have a good connection with each-other on stage.

So even while you think this guy is the reason you're getting let down, maybe try to interact with him during shows to bring him out a bit. (Well, probably best that you leave this to your lead player if you're doing the vocals! =))
#13
Quote by AlanHB
I see, so your entire show is ruined just because your guitarist looks at the fretboard.

How do you feel about the drummer? I'd totally drop that dude, he just sits there! At least the guitarist stands.

It sounds more like to me that your ENTIRE show isn't that great, and you're looking for a scapegoat. Stage performance, you practice it at practice. If you want him to stop looking at the fretboard, ask him to practice infront of a mirror (easiest way). Or you could simply not care, a lot of guitarists look at the fretboard.


And after pointing out how bad this rhythm guitarist is, you say:


Well gee whiz.

and they are all boring to look at the thing is, it's all he does. At least get a bit into it, look at the crowd or something.. Is that too much to ask?

I probably worded it a bit strongly in the OP though, but I do feel he pulls the rest of the band down

Thanks for tips guys
#14
Staring at the fretboard is a habit that's hard to break. I took guitar lessons for a while after I had been playing for years. I just sorta hit a plateau where I wasn't improving on my own. One of the first things my teacher told me was to stop looking at the fretboard. It really makes you a better guitarist when you can play (especially rhythm) without even looking at the neck.

But this is something he needs to practice both at rehearsal, and on his own. He'll never break the habit without practicing it, and a gig is the last place he should be trying it out. It should already be down rock solid by then.

But I agree with Alan. It seems like one guy who stares at the neck is not what kills a performance. Adam Jones is notoriously locked on to the neck, but TOOL still has an amazing live show. Maybe there are other things that can be improved as well, but only you can decide what needs to change. Maybe have somebody video your next gig, and watch tape to see what could be better? It works for football players
Quote by tubetime86
He's obviously pretty young, and I'd guess he's being raised by wolves, or at least humans with the intellectual capacity and compassion of wolves.


You finally made it home, draped in the flag that you fell for.
And so it goes
Last edited by jpatan at Apr 14, 2012,
#15
Already done so

What needs to happen is that the band should seem like a unit. Get the crowd going by being in sync with eachother, and working together on stage. This is why I feel one guy can break the performance.

Tool partially had amazing shows because of lasers and all sorts of attire which we can't afford
#16
Quote by destroy_techno
Already done so

What needs to happen is that the band should seem like a unit. Get the crowd going by being in sync with eachother, and working together on stage. This is why I feel one guy can break the performance.

Tool partially had amazing shows because of lasers and all sorts of attire which we can't afford


I say focus on the music. If the music is good then let that do the talking.
#17
First of all, make sure he is absolutely expert at playing the music. Loosening up on stage comes easier when you know the material so well you can play it in your sleep.

I assume, tho, that you guys play some kind of higher energy music.

Does it really matter if he is spazzing out like he just got tazed? Not really. He can look at his fretboard all night long, but he could convey a lot with facial expression and body posture. If he plays like he is on the brink of a near-tantric sexual experience from the audio orgasm flowing from his guitar, then the crowd will get it.

Have him strike a couple bad-a$$ poses with a wide stance, one leg forward, chest out and head back. Non-verbal cues are very important, and should project confidence and absolute conviction in what you are doing.

Standing like a scarecrow eloped from a cornfield is lame. You know the look - feet together, pick hand and fret hands are the only body parts moving, and the non-verbal message is "I am absolutely terrified and having a crappy time, and I am on the verge of completely F'ing up this song". Patiently help him overcome any insecurities, and let him see video of himself.

And practice like you are doing the real thing. Every time.
#18
Quote by cheapr2keepr
First of all, make sure he is absolutely expert at playing the music. Loosening up on stage comes easier when you know the material so well you can play it in your sleep.

I assume, tho, that you guys play some kind of higher energy music.

Does it really matter if he is spazzing out like he just got tazed? Not really. He can look at his fretboard all night long, but he could convey a lot with facial expression and body posture. If he plays like he is on the brink of a near-tantric sexual experience from the audio orgasm flowing from his guitar, then the crowd will get it.

Have him strike a couple bad-a$$ poses with a wide stance, one leg forward, chest out and head back. Non-verbal cues are very important, and should project confidence and absolute conviction in what you are doing.

Standing like a scarecrow eloped from a cornfield is lame. You know the look - feet together, pick hand and fret hands are the only body parts moving, and the non-verbal message is "I am absolutely terrified and having a crappy time, and I am on the verge of completely F'ing up this song". Patiently help him overcome any insecurities, and let him see video of himself.

And practice like you are doing the real thing. Every time.

Thanks for some great tips this was pretty much all I was looking for