I'm not in a band, not a gigging artist. Just a guy with a guitar, I play mostly for myself , friends and family. Now something I've noticed with time I've been practicing. The importance of "looking cool". Obviously it's important to play through a mess up, keep the rhythm. For some reason I've found if I exaggerate movements, or strums, basically pretend I'm a rock God , friends "non-musicians" are impressed. Play the same simple songs, struggle in the same spots, but crank the showmanship to 11. Everyone's all oooh and ahhh. Anybody notice anything similar? Out of curiosity, to the gigging axe weilders , how has showmanship affected your stage performance?
As long as it doesn´t affect your performance in any negative way, i am all for some showmanship. I mean, musicians are entertainers, so we are supposed to entertain.

I do believe though that certain styles come with their own versions of showmanship. As you said, rock is very much a visual performance, the same can be said for gospel, funk, soul etc. I do however still believe you should not sacrifice ability to play in favor of showmanship. I know many people who play in metalbands for instance that keep their guitars too low for it to feel comfortable to play, and are having problems with their necks because of headbanging. That is the wrong type of showmanship.

Now i have played with many local acts and in many styles, and i always do a little showoff when i can to entertain the audience, but i don´t do it when it makes me play worse than normally. The musician side always come first, the showman comes second.
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That's why most bands don't stand still when they perform live. Regular people are more interested in a good show than hearing you playing your songs perfectly. If you don't show that you mess up, people may not even notice your mistakes. I remember when I hadn't been playing for that long time and I was impressed by some Youtube covers that today don't sound anything special. Back then I didn't have that good ear for mistakes. Of course everybody can recognize the most obvious mistakes. But most of the time regular people don't pay attention to them. Especially if they are your friends, they want to be supportive so of course they don't say that you played a wrong note there and your playing was a bit sloppy there. They are just impressed by the fact that their friend can play the guitar well.
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Yeah, definitely playing through mistakes was the biggest battle. But I mean say a note needs to ring out a bit, maybe has a bend on it. I kinda find it humorous that exaggerating the bend, maybe move the guitar out and up. Really captivates people. Same note, same sound. Oh yeah and when you get into the bend, don't forget to make a good I gotta poop face.
I remember I was playing piano at a school concert, and one page of the sheet music fell off, so I kept playing with my right hand, trying to play both parts as best I could, while I used my left hand to catch the sheet music. After the concert, no one commented on the song I played (which was a really pretty song as well, so that's a shame), but everyone complimented my ability to catch sheet music.

Yeah, there's a huge advantage to having stage presence.
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offcourse, good show is good fun.

But there are many kind of gigs. Some are more for listening, some for dancing, some for drinking beer like folk metal.

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I'd rather see a person that sucks at playing the guitar moving, and grooving around stage than a person who's great that just stands still. When it comes to playing on a record that's another thing, but being entertaining is one of the most important things.

Just my 2 cents

Last edited by Black_devils at Sep 1, 2014,
I've seen people sit in a seat and entertain.

I've seen people stand completely still barely even moving anything other than their mouth and fingers keep an entire theatre full of people completely mesmerized.

Confidence and sincerity is they key. Stand still or bounce around the stage - just do it like you mean it. People can smell a phoney a mile away. You might play a character when you're on stage but when you do it you have to fully commit and become that character until the show is over.