#1
Hey guys, I'm planning on starting busking soon. Going to take a year long trip around the world and get my equipment robbed.

Hopefully not, but do you guys have any advice for me? Like what to do when busking and how to prevent getting stabbed or arrested?

Maybe tips on how to get people engaged? I was reading that you should smile and thank people for tips, but I don't know anything specific.
Last edited by thevwu at Jan 29, 2017,
#2
bring a bongo and let people play along

let little orphan Timmy play the flute

throw small rocks at other buskers

break into ATMs for cash and make sure to annoy everyone who's trying to do their jobs in the square around you as much as possible
#3
whywefight

I mean the first one sounds like a good idea, but realistically they're just going to fuck up the beat and mess up my rhythm.
#4
what you need is a new amp
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#5
I think that's pretty much the solution to everything though? I buy a new amp every time I have a problem, a new guitar if it's a big problem.
#6
if you do any couchsurfing, do your homework on where you stay. this guy working at subway was on break one day and told me about how he did this one time. he was asleep and dreaming of being on a surfboard out in the middle of a chopping ocean and when he woke up, some dude was riding him like a wave.......hang ten
#7
Check local regulations on busking, preferably before busking
A poem.
Quote by yoman297
no girl, movember isnt for you. shave your stache pls

I can out-bore you any day
#8
Quote by Pastafarian96
Check local regulations on busking, preferably before busking


This is super important. It's illegal to busk in the live music capital of the world without a license so there are probably restrictions all over the place.
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#9
Yeah, it's going to be a bit of a hassle I think, since I have to do it every time I go to a different city. I want to bring along an amp, but I'm not sure on how kosher that is. I hear it's technically illegal but a lot of people do it anyway as long as the volume isn't loud.

Should I just find a busker in a new area and ask him somehow? They're OK with talking mid-song switch yeah?
Last edited by thevwu at Jan 29, 2017,
#10
Quote by thevwu
Hey guys, I'm planning on starting busking soon. Going to take a year long trip around the world and get my equipment robbed.

Hopefully not, but do you guys have any advice for me? Like what to do when busking and how to prevent getting stabbed or arrested?

Maybe tips on how to get people engaged? I was reading that you should smile and thank people for tips, but I don't know anything specific.


David Gilmour tried to make a living off busking in Europe. He nearly starved to death. I hope you are either 1) a better guitarist than Gilmour or 2) have better sense about where to play

There's a busker that hangs out in front of a local barber shop, locally. I think if the business owners give you permission it's generally cool to play in front of their places. It brings in business.
#11
The success of busking depends on how well you can hold a crowd alone
My cousin's knew they couldn't do it alone so they formed a small band of classical instruments and busked their way around Europe together successfully
A poem.
Quote by yoman297
no girl, movember isnt for you. shave your stache pls

I can out-bore you any day
#12
Quote by Pastafarian96
Check local regulations on busking, preferably before busking



That's what I was gonna say. Two of my friends and I where just fucking around just strumming some chords not even really playing anything at all at a public park. We had a cop come up and tell us we had to leave because playing for money with out a permit is illegal.
They can't stop us Let 'em try For heavy metal We will die!
#13
Quote by MurrcuryFoxx
That's what I was gonna say. Two of my friends and I where just fucking around just strumming some chords not even really playing anything at all at a public park. We had a cop come up and tell us we had to leave because playing for money with out a permit is illegal.


Yeah, what's that about? I had something like that happen to me last summer. I was at a Casino, went outside with my guitar under a tree, nobody around, and started practicing. An old guy came up and tossed 50 cents in my case, lol, which surprised me. Then a security guard from the casino came over and told me to pack it up. Guess every quarter in my case is one less in a slot machine, the way they see it.
#14
Quote by TobusRex
Yeah, what's that about? I had something like that happen to me last summer. I was at a Casino, went outside with my guitar under a tree, nobody around, and started practicing. An old guy came up and tossed 50 cents in my case, lol, which surprised me. Then a security guard from the casino came over and told me to pack it up. Guess every quarter in my case is one less in a slot machine, the way they see it.


well shit at lest you maded some money. That's pretty fucked up though. My friends and I where a good 50 yards or so away from anyone else I was shocked when they told us we had to leave.
They can't stop us Let 'em try For heavy metal We will die!
#15
Quote by thevwu
I buy a new amp every time I have a problem
Keep up the good work.
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Just barreling dogs and barking trains
Another year lost to the blue line
#16
Quote by TobusRex
David Gilmour tried to make a living off busking in Europe. He nearly starved to death. I hope you are either 1) a better guitarist than Gilmour or 2) have better sense about where to play

There's a busker that hangs out in front of a local barber shop, locally. I think if the business owners give you permission it's generally cool to play in front of their places. It brings in business.


Actually the money situation is all set for me, this trip has been in preparation for years. :P The main idea of this is actually just to travel the world, I came up with busking to just have a way to interact with locals easily, improve my performance skills, and have something to do on my free time with the trip. I'm considering starting a blog as well, depending on how much time I have to fuck around.

Quote by Pastafarian96
The success of busking depends on how well you can hold a crowd alone
My cousin's knew they couldn't do it alone so they formed a small band of classical instruments and busked their way around Europe together successfully


Which one would you think would be a better gauge of success: based off of how many tips I get, or how big of a crowd I can get? I understand it's assumed that a bigger crowd > more tips, but that might not always be the case. If people give me a lot of money but leave soonish, maybe my playing is good but the song choice is bad? I think someone would know how to work a crowd but people might not think that's good enough to warrant a tip? Anyone know what to think about these situations?
Last edited by thevwu at Jan 30, 2017,
#18
Quote by TROUnation
Why not form a band and try and get gigs? It'll probably pay more than busking.


He literately just said this isn't about making money though.
They can't stop us Let 'em try For heavy metal We will die!
#20
Quote by thevwu
Which one would you think would be a better gauge of success: based off of how many tips I get, or how big of a crowd I can get? I understand it's assumed that a bigger crowd > more tips, but that might not always be the case. If people give me a lot of money but leave soonish, maybe my playing is good but the song choice is bad? I think someone would know how to work a crowd but people might not think that's good enough to warrant a tip? Anyone know what to think about these situations?

Well considering this is an exercise in boosting your performing ability and social interaction, I'd say crowd is a far more pragmatic outcome
A poem.
Quote by yoman297
no girl, movember isnt for you. shave your stache pls

I can out-bore you any day
#21
Alternatively you can team up with thieves and split the loot afterwards. They pick the pockets while you distract the crowd. From what I understand that happens quite commonly.
#22
Quote by TROUnation
Why not form a band and try and get gigs? It'll probably pay more than busking.


Maybe sometime in the future, busking should help a lot in aspects of performing and dealing with strange situations.

Quote by Pastafarian96
Well considering this is an exercise in boosting your performing ability and social interaction, I'd say crowd is a far more pragmatic outcome


True, I guess I'll try to keep it simple and let my music speak for itself and gauge how it goes from there.

Quote by whywefight
it's about girls isn't it


That's one of the reasons, but it's not the main one. :P I mean, if a girl from the crowd asked me out on a date right there, but I still had some time left to busk, I'd probably stay and busk and meet up with her later instead of ditching my spot.

Quote by TobusRex
Alternatively you can team up with thieves and split the loot afterwards. They pick the pockets while you distract the crowd. From what I understand that happens quite commonly.


See, I would be down to try this once or twice if I knew any thieves. Not that I would want to do it regularly, but I'd just be interested in how much loot we'd be able to get. It seems like it'd be difficult to trust a trained pick pocketer though, especially since I would've only met them for a few days. Those kid pick pocketers in movies, are those actually common in poorer countries?
Last edited by thevwu at Jan 30, 2017,
#23
Can't trust a thief!

A skinny punk tried to grab and run rob me in Manila a couple years ago. Poor kid, I think I fractured his wrist
#24
get used to people not clapping. they're on the way to work and don't care for your shitty music.
find the spots that work for you. some parts of the city might make other buskers heaps of coin, but may not make you anything. location location location.
never start busking with an empty hat/guitar case. put a few coins in. people don't want to be the first generally.
be original. it's how you gain attention. playing to 40 covers is good and all, but unless you're different, who gives a flying fuck?
get used to receiving foreign currency. people are assholes.
if another busker sets up within audible distance of you (say, unplugged or running a small amp), tell em to fuck off. it's rude and you both won't earn any money
some places require permits. get them, they're either cheap or free.
sell CDs for a cheapish price (cover costs). if you're good, you'll sell shit tins of em.
if the city you're playing in employs busking 'Police' (Melbourne Australia does) - they're wankers. will tell you to turn down even if you're quiet, check your permit, if they suspect you've been in the one spot they'll move you on ect. if they tell you to turn down, do so. then as they leave, turn up again.
engage with the crowd walking past. the more people you get to stop, the better

and finally, don't give up.
i have a mate I made friends with while I was busking. he solely earns his income busking. he has toured the world busking, played at F1 grand prix events, recently opened for UB40 at several venues across the country.
it is possible to make a solid income.

I was a busker for a year. every weekday, rain wind or shine, id catch a train 1.5hours each way to the city to play to a crowd who didn't give a a shit. made some good money some days, other days I didn't know if I'd get the coin to get the train fare home.

most of all though, enjoy it. you don't want it to suck the fun out of playing music for you.
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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.
#25
I know a busker in Denver. I'm friends with his dad and have known the kid since he was about 1 year old. He supplements his busking income by working as a baker for a marijuana dispensary (making cookies, crackers, brownies, etc). It grosses me out because I still see him in my minds eye with green snot hanging out of his nose and fingers all crap stained from scratching his butt. I keep thinking about him plunging those filthy fingernails into the dough.....

Visuals suck, sometimes.
#26
Quote by TROUnation
Why not form a band and try and get gigs? It'll probably pay more than busking.
Quote by whywefight
it's about girls isn't it
Quote by MurrcuryFoxx
He literately just said this isn't about making money though.
He's got the baaand (the baaand)
The giiiiirls (the giiiirls)
The mooooneeeeeeyyyy


Quote by SGstriker
If KFC is finger-licking good, then people would probably suck dicks for Popeyes. That's how good it is.


There's nothing left here to be saved
Just barreling dogs and barking trains
Another year lost to the blue line
Last edited by Joshua Garcia at Jan 30, 2017,
#27
Look the part, sound the part, put some coins in the hat so it isn't empty. Play things that will impress technically, things that people who play guitar can understand is great. Look like you're enjoying it
#28
Buy used!
"A well-wound coil is a well-wound coil regardless if it's wound with professional equipment, or if somebody's great-grandmother winds it to an old French recipe with Napoleon's modified coffee grinder and chops off the wire after a mile with an antique guillotine!"
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Come and be with me
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Time for primal concrete sledge

#29
Busked in nashville once. It was the most police occupied place ive ever seen. Cops on horse back were randomly shutting down intersections and forcing cars (entire streets full) to all u turn. They had cameras with blue lights on every corner and they even had a freaking robot taking 360 video of the street. It was fun though. So many bands all in one place.
#30
Quote by TobusRex
Can't trust a thief!

A skinny punk tried to grab and run rob me in Manila a couple years ago. Poor kid, I think I fractured his wrist

I was just copping a feel, you asshole