#1
So I've been in this punk/post-grunge band now for 2 months. I play guitar and sing and I am the only guitarist (I've been looking for someone else who can play lead, no luck yet though).We played our first two shows last week and in both shows I made some pretty dumb mistakes. I practice religiously every day and 8/10 times never make a mistake when I am practicing by myself or at band practice. Our stuff is not complicated at all...it's as easy as Nirvana's stuff. My major issue is I just got a pedal board with 5 pedals on, and it's difficult in some songs to hit the right pedal without looking (and I cannot look because I am singing). Anyway, I feel really down and can't understand why I making so many basic mistakes in my playing and stomping. Any advice other than to practice, practice, practice?
#2
Question: Were these mistakes that you recovered from? Or were they mistakes that you freaked out about (and therefore stopped the momentum of the song or whatever)?
#3
Playing live poses a certain level of stress for everyone. I can relate, when I first played live I kept doing small mistakes in my playing despite getting the songs down perfectly. And I didn't have the added problem of the pedals . Sure, practice helps, but it's important to get through the first few shows and "toughen up". So if you can play then flawlessly in your room, some shows later you'll do that at the show too.
#4
You might try setting your microphone about an inch lower from where you have it now. I get the impression that you have it set now so that your head is tilted slightly upward. Set it up so that when you face directly forward, your mouth is lined up with the diaphragm of the mic (center).

You should be able to look down (with your eyes. Not moving from singing) and see your pedal board. If you can't, than you have the mic angled too high. Remembering the order of your pedals and where to stomp is kind of a 'feel' sort of thing and you'll get it just by using your board more and getting used to it.

That should fix your 'I can't see my board cause I'm singing' problem.

As far as making mistakes? We all make them. Professionals even make them. I would advise practicing until you're getting these songs right 10/10 times at home, though. Just make it a routine, at least for a few weeks. Go through the set top to bottom like 3-4 times every single day and you'll get to 10/10 in no time. You have to make it so you don't have to think about what you're doing anymore. You just do it automatically.

Good luck man We've all been through exactly what you're going through. It sucks and it's embarrassing, but you'll make it through no problem.
#5
There's a big difference from playing at home to practicing with a band. And it's an equally big difference between practicing and gigging. Only way to get used to gigging and cut back on mistakes is to gig more.
Also, as noted above, you need to have the mic at an angle where you can see your feet and pedalboard if that's what's tripping you up. Make sure you go over the parts that require pedal changes extensively in practice, and use that as an opportunity to get used to the new mic position. It's amazing how such small things can make such a big difference, and that they can be easily overlooked.
#6
Remember that you may be the only one that notices the mistakes. Mistakes are part of playing live. You usually don't play perfectly. Even professionals make mistakes all the time. If stomping on the right pedals is causing a problem, practice it. Play and sing and stomp on the pedals at the same time. And if you play a couple of wrong notes or stomp on the wrong effect, don't freak out and stop playing - that's the worst thing to do.

Playing wrong notes is the most common and least serious mistake. There are a lot of worse things that could happen, like accidentally skipping a verse or some part of the song (which isn't that serious if the band members can listen to each other - for example we accidentally skipped half of the verse of "I Wish" but nobody noticed anything) or forgetting how a part goes. For example when we were playing a wedding gig, our guitarist forgot the rhythm for "Rock You Like a Hurricane" riff. He just played it wrong but our drummer helped him to find the right rhythm by accenting the notes guitar should play with his ride cymbal's bell. Once our singer started singing the wrong song. The band played an intro to one song and the singer started singing another song. Luckily both songs were tangos in Dm and the band could follow the singer.

But things like these happen all the time. They are nothing serious, unless you have to stop playing. And most likely the audience won't notice anything. So if you play wrong notes, wrong rhythms or sing the wrong lyrics or use the wrong pedals, just don't get confused. Keep playing like nothing happened.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#7
TS try experimenting with setting up the mic stand in different ways and moving around the mic as you play. Obviously if you place the mic in between your head and the pedal, you should be able to look at the pedal while singing.

Also two months playing the band's songs isn't very long at all. Over time you'll play less mistakes live.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#8
We all make mistakes, and live music creates more opportunities than practice. Singing and playing alone keeps you busy enough, but now you have an audience and other band members to add to the mix.

Can you simplify your pedals, could you make do with something pre programmed so you only have to change from clean to lead within any one song? Would it sound better to have a more restricted tone palette but to make fewer mistakes? The old guys round here are trading in their old valve combo's and pedal boards for modern modelling amps for just that reason.
#9
Also, you say that you don't make mistakes at home, but are you practicing with a mike and your pedals?

If you practice without a mike, and let yourself look down in a way that you don't let yourself do when performing, then you're not really practicing the important things.
#10
Quote by HotspurJr
Also, you say that you don't make mistakes at home, but are you practicing with a mike and your pedals?

If you practice without a mike, and let yourself look down in a way that you don't let yourself do when performing, then you're not really practicing the important things.

Yeah, this. Focus on your mistakes and why you are doing them. Practice so that you don't make those mistakes any more. If you can play your parts perfectly, there's no need to focus on playing your parts - you can already do it. If your problem is stomping on wrong pedals, you need to practice stomping on the right pedals while you are playing and singing. If you only make mistakes when you need to do these three things at once (sing, play, stomp on pedals), practice doing all of them at the same time.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#12
All good suggestions. Yep, we all make mistakes, even the guys who have been playing world stages for 5 decades. It happens.

Things I do to minimize the clumsy stuff:

-Set up and rehearse just exactly the way I play live. I even try to get the lighting and shadows close.

- Make room for tricky transitions. Even if it means laying out for a beat or two so I get the transition right, and then practice it that way.

- Keep it simple. This is a punk band not Dream Theater so avoid creating those pressure situations where you start writing checks you can't cash live.

- If I can't see the pedals while singing I make the change earlier or later.

- If I do miss an entrance or transition, I just blow it off and keep playing. It's live music after all.

I played a reunion 2 weeks ago and we were doing a song I wrote. I know every part of this song backwards and forwards. I took off on a solo but couldn't hear myself so I went back and turned up the lead channel. I dug into the solo again but lost the "one". I came out of the solo 2 beats early and started the next vocal line early. Oops!. Luckily my band mate covered for me by getting the next vocal line back in sync. Having players you can trust to save your bacon helps a lot.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY