Page 1 of 2
#1
Hey everybody, I have been playing guitar for a couple of months and just turned 17. I want to be able to start a band some time when I'm at university. Apparently though, you have to be absolutely crazy good at your instrument (and be able to get by with others) and know a lot of theory.

All of the people I know who play instruments exceptionally well started at like, 2 weeks old and were at grade 8 by 6 months. All my favourite musicians seemed to come out of the womb with a guitar in hand. I just picked up a guitar in May cause...I was bored I guess. I've never heard of any great singer-songwriter (at least who was a professional in their 20's) who started in their (late) adolescence.

Are my goals feasible? How much will I have to practise a day to realise them?
#2
^I started playing seriously when I was 16 (November), practiced my butt off and played my first show with a jazz big band in June.

Yep.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#3
Quote by Jet Penguin
^I started playing seriously when I was 16 (November), practiced my butt off and played my first show with a jazz big band in June.

Yep.


Nice job man! And good luck in future.

How much did you practise? Like...abandon all academic studies levels of practise or just an efficient hour a day or something?
#4
Yes.
Like JP, I started learning guitar at 16 (one December), joined my first band the following September, did my first gig with them in October.

It wasn't a great band, mind. But it was a band, we all played well enough (and had enough songs) to gig. They were a little more experienced than me, but only by a couple of years at most.

To actually start a band yourself, you need more than what it takes to just to join a band, because you need to impress more people; you need to be a natural leader - it's more a personality thing than a musical skill thing. To join a band, you just have to meet some like minds, or some musician friends who need an extra member. You can have plenty of fun just bashing through a few 3-chord songs.

You're quite right that starting young is the way to get really good, but you can still get good enough starting at your age, if you have the enthusiasm and commitment.
Last edited by jongtr at Jul 14, 2015,
#5
So is it possible to get really good without starting so young? I just look at amazing musicians and think "HOW?"

And yeah I'd like to start a band myself for a few reasons, primarily because it means I probably get the final say on the name
#6
^Yep. Don't lock yourself in with feeling like you aren't good enough. If you turn down the opportunity, then you blew it either way.

i.e., don't worry about being in a band with people above you in level. That's how you get better.

But if your'e gonna start one its much harder, because you need leadership skills and the ability to whip a band into playing shape. You're also gonna need to write songs, more than likely.

OP: Thanks!

I was practicing 3 hours a day at the time, which was excessive but it worked for me. That was in 2008 though (Man I'm getting old). I'm sitting on probably 8000-ish hours now (for those who believe in that 10k crap), and I find I get worse if I don't play at least 20 hours a week.

The trick is routine. If you can practice for 7 hours one week, don't play 7 hours Saturday. Play one hour a day. I can't even BEGIN to tell you how important consistency like that is.

I knew very little about the options available to a guitar player at the time, so I spent most of that learning and memorizing barre chords, and couple fingerings for the major and pentatonic scale in different keys. And learning songs. Lots of classic rock and jazz at the time.

I don't even play barre chords now and I don't use most of those fingerings anymore either. Man, times have changed
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#7
I started playing guitar at 19 (Im 20 now) and i feel that i have made great progress. I started playing July of 2014 so i have been playing for a full year. If you want to take guitar serious you have to play a TON. There hasn't been one day over the past year that i didn't pick up my guitar. I would usually play 3 hours before school and 3 hours after school on the weekdays and 7-10 hours on weekends. Along with this im taking music theory classes. It's a lot to handle, but the progress is definitely being made. I knew by me being 19 i couldn't play for only an hour a day and expect to get good by the time i was 21 or 22. I started at 19 so i have no choice but to play ridiculous hours everyday if i want to get good while im still young. I feel that you are probably in the same boat. It is possible to get good enough for a band in 3 years. I would even say you could do it in 1 year if you work hard enough. Work hard now and by this time next year you won't believe good you will get, trust me.
#9
I see people playing for like 2 years that are waaaaaaaaaay better than me all the time, and I feel like I'm a pretty solid rhythm guitarist. Some people are also natural drummers too that really bust their butt to get great in a short period of time.

I've seen bands with 3 of the 4 members have less than 2 years experience playing gigs, and it made me both jealous and cranky.
#10
That's cuz time has nothing to do with it as much as efficient application of discipline does.

In my experience anyways.

I've been in bands with people who have been playing guitar their whole lives (OP, DON'T be afraid to play with the older crowd you'll learn tons!) and they've said things to me about how it doesn't make sense to them how I can play what I do when they've been playing 30 years. So they ask what my deal is.

And I just tell them that I PRACTICE guitar 3 hours a day. And afterwards, I PLAY guitar.

Playing and practicing aren't the same thing. Look at every athlete ever.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#11
Quote by Jet Penguin
That's cuz time has nothing to do with it as much as efficient application of discipline does.

In my experience anyways.

I've been in bands with people who have been playing guitar their whole lives (OP, DON'T be afraid to play with the older crowd you'll learn tons!) and they've said things to me about how it doesn't make sense to them how I can play what I do when they've been playing 30 years. So they ask what my deal is.

And I just tell them that I PRACTICE guitar 3 hours a day. And afterwards, I PLAY guitar.

Playing and practicing aren't the same thing. Look at every athlete ever.

Indeed.

Thing is, though...some folks think they can get somewhere (whether it's their career or becoming a professional guitar player or whatever) without doing work. It's like school. If you never study, you're less likely to get good grades. Yeah, every so often some genius comes along who never has to study; but most folks aren't that way.
You practice 3 hours a day. I do stuff at my job (software engineer) that's personal learning, because it will help me later on in my career. Some folks spend hours a day doing nothing, and then wonder why they never get anywhere. "Well...you never did anything to improve!", I'd say to them. There is always room for improvement; so go improve yourself, OP!
#13
Well this is encouraging, I don't mind practicing for an hour or more a day for a few years solidly. Guess I should start brainstorming band names so that I don't get stuck in the "we were gonna start a band but fell out over the name" trap.
#14
^The name is literally the least important thing. Trust me. All the marketing in the world means nothing if you have nothing to market.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#15
Quote by Serotonite
Well this is encouraging, I don't mind practicing for an hour or more a day for a few years solidly. Guess I should start brainstorming band names so that I don't get stuck in the "we were gonna start a band but fell out over the name" trap.

Don't get ahead of yourself. Build your guitar skills before you market yourself.
#16
I think the most important skill as a bandleader is probably: how well you can judge and read personalities.

Really.
Last edited by GoldenGuitar at Jul 14, 2015,
#17
I played my first paying gig with a band after I had been playing about a year. The first band I formed of my own was when I was 16. The other guys were the same age. A local restaurant/pizza place hired us to play two hours a night on Saturday's from 7:00-9:00. Kids from around town would come in and buy a few slices of pizza and soda out front and come to the back room where we were playing. That gig lasted for about a year and a half. We were totally inexperienced musicians. We split $20.00 ($5.00 each) and a got pizza at the end of the night. For kids who weren't even old enough to drive it was a great experience. For me that was more than 40 years ago. Yikes!!
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
Last edited by Rickholly74 at Jul 14, 2015,
#18
Quote by Jet Penguin
^The name is literally the least important thing. Trust me. All the marketing in the world means nothing if you have nothing to market.


Oh I know, I'm not going to start marketing myself with it, I'll just store it away and then a few years down the line if someone has the audacity to ask what we're called I'll dig it up and say "This. Deal with it. Moving swiftly on..." I identify as a pun-hoarder, so I can't resist tbh.
#19
Quote by Jet Penguin
^The name is literally the least important thing. Trust me. All the marketing in the world means nothing if you have nothing to market.
Nothing To Market. There's a good band name right there.

(Reminds me of the time I was in a band called Closed Tonight. Couldn't understand why no one came to our gigs....)
#20
Quote by jongtr
Nothing To Market. There's a good band name right there.

(Reminds me of the time I was in a band called Closed Tonight. Couldn't understand why no one came to our gigs....)


I might have to try write an anti-capitalist protest song to make that name work

Seriously though, talent is the important thing. That and a good personality. Of which I currently have neither

I just fantasized about going to Uni and on the first day being captivated by a beautiful girl playing violin who shares my opinions on everything, and then we write a song and form a band with our multi-racial friends

I can dream can't I
#21
^Well at least you'll have racial and gender diversity.

Also on the subject of gender diversity:

Don't date your bandmates. Great idea on paper, worst idea of all time in practice.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#22
Quote by Jet Penguin
^Well at least you'll have racial and gender diversity.

Also on the subject of gender diversity:

Don't date your bandmates. Great idea on paper, worst idea of all time in practice.


Assuming I could get a date. Lol. Part of the reason I picked up guitar. I don't care what those bloody bassoonists say, guitar is the sexiest instrument by far
#23
Quote by Serotonite
Assuming I could get a date.


Not with that attitude
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#24
Quote by Jet Penguin
Not with that attitude


Dammit, all my ideas for song lyrics are out the window again then
#25
TS, just start playing with other people, regardless of their skills. You don't need to be technically that great to play in a band. Being able to shred at 300 bpm in your bedroom means nothing if you can't play rhythm and if you have never played with other people. To start playing with others, pretty much all you need to know is how to play basic chords. Gain some band playing experience before starting your own band.
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
#26
Quote by MaggaraMarine
TS, just start playing with other people, regardless of their skills. You don't need to be technically that great to play in a band. Being able to shred at 300 bpm in your bedroom means nothing if you can't play rhythm and if you have never played with other people. To start playing with others, pretty much all you need to know is how to play basic chords. Gain some band playing experience before starting your own band.


I would, but nobody likes/has heard of the music I like I might play casually with other people, but so far I couldn't be in a band with my friends cause they're into head-bangy metal stuff and I'm more of a folk/alternative rock kind of guy. I think being in a band which I don't like and not enjoying it would be even worse...
#27
Quote by Serotonite
Assuming I could get a date. Lol. Part of the reason I picked up guitar. I don't care what those bloody bassoonists say, guitar is the sexiest instrument by far

you sir, have not seen me charm with my ukulele skills
A poem.
Quote by yoman297
no girl, movember isnt for you. shave your stache pls

I can out-bore you any day
#28
Quote by Serotonite
Assuming I could get a date. Lol. Part of the reason I picked up guitar. I don't care what those bloody bassoonists say, guitar is the sexiest instrument by far


I'm pretty sure that there are much sexier instruments.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#29
Instruments maybe. Musicians, debatable.

I clean up.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#30
Quote by Serotonite
I would, but nobody likes/has heard of the music I like I might play casually with other people, but so far I couldn't be in a band with my friends cause they're into head-bangy metal stuff and I'm more of a folk/alternative rock kind of guy. I think being in a band which I don't like and not enjoying it would be even worse...


i assure you there are folk types everywhere. just get a 20 sack, an acoustic guitar, and a beanie and walk around your closest downtown area or college campus and i guarantee you'll get laid and/or be in a band by dawn

also, hip coffee joints where people play off the ideas they learned in their intro to philosophy course as their own and make sure to emphasize how the satanic bible is about standing up for yourself (whilst simultaneously using their macbook, texting with their galaxy s6, and sipping the $7 cappuccino they bought with their dad's credit card)
Quote by Kevätuhri
Hail isn't too edgy for posts, posts are not edgy enough for Hail.


Quote by UseYourThumb
You win. I'm done here.
#31
Quote by Hail
I guarantee you'll get laid and/or be in a band by dawn


Why not both?
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#32
O1 = get laid
O2 = be in a band by dawn

O1 and/or O2
= one of the following:
- O1 is true, not O2
- O2 is true, not O1
- both are true

Semantics :'D

(what I mean to say is that this does not preclude the option of "both")
Last edited by NeoMvsEu at Jul 14, 2015,
#33
Quote by Jet Penguin
I clean up.


Litter?
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#34
^Hey they aren't all trashy, it varies. I do what I can
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#35
Quote by Serotonite

Seriously though, talent is the important thing. That and a good personality. Of which I currently have neither
Oh well, better give up then...

Wrong attitude my friend! "Talent" often amounts merely to passion and commitment - wanting it enough.
"Good personality"? Since when did musical success (commercial success anyhow...) depend on that?

Finding a band to join is a good ideal, but is not essential. As a "folk/alternative rock kind of guy", there's a lot you can do on your own, maybe with a looper if you want backng of some kind. (Hail is right about the appeal of the image he describes, although is probably exaggerating about its impact...)

Believe in yourself and don't be shy. If you're crap, you'll soon find out, by getting laughed at. (That's when you go away and woodshed, and emerge 6 months later as an undiscovered genius....) And if you're not crap - well then, result!
See, either way, the future is bright....
#36
Quote by Jet Penguin
^Hey they aren't all trashy, it varies. I do what I can


So you recycle then? That's good.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#37
plenty of time.
I was onstage, playing gigs and such just after a year.
Quote by element4433
One time I watched a dog lick his own dick for twenty minutes.

Quote by Roc8995
No.


Well, technically it could be done, but only in the same way that you could change a cat into a hamburger. It's an unpleasant process, and nobody is happy with the result.
#38
Quote by Pastafarian96
you sir, have not seen me charm with my ukulele skills



Oh I don't know, I know a guy who could probably give you a run for your money with his endearing triangle skills
#40
Quote by Serotonite
I would, but nobody likes/has heard of the music I like I might play casually with other people, but so far I couldn't be in a band with my friends cause they're into head-bangy metal stuff and I'm more of a folk/alternative rock kind of guy. I think being in a band which I don't like and not enjoying it would be even worse...

You don't need to join an actual band. Just have some people to play/jam with. Also, many times you have to make compromises. You can't always play your favorite songs in a band because a band is a team. I like band playing, even if it's not my favorite music that the band plays. I'm not saying you should start playing death metal. But you could play some blues (everybody knows the basic 12 bar blues progression) or some classics of rock or whatever (I bet folk is not the only genre you like). It doesn't need to be that serious. The goal of a band doesn't need to be getting famous or anything. You can just play for fun. You don't even have to perform.
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
Page 1 of 2