Hey all. I'm sixteen and I've been playing about 2 years now. I'm in my first band and we'll be playing gigs by summer. I mainly listen to older metal like Death, Megadeth, Metallica, Slayer, Obituary, Testament, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, etc. but my band plays a variety of rock from Tom Petty to Celtic Frost to Megadeth and more.

I used to play sitting down all the time and after several band practices I finally got used to soloing standing up but now I'm really worried about playing my first show and my stage presence. Everyone says just do what comes natural but I've been standing there like a statue because I have no audience. I headbang through songs sometimes but that's about it. How can I improve my stage presence? I'm not really sure what to do when I start to solo. Also on our slow songs I just sort of stand there. Help me lol!
Pull Steve Vai-esque facial expressions + body movements
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Guitar face is pretty essential. Have eye contact with you audience and be connected with the band. Don't just stand there staring at the fretboard, kinda play along with your bassist or drummer.
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make sure that you can play comfortably standing up. i dont recommend having your guitar too low. When you practice try moving around, whenever you are playing something very easy make sure you look up at the crowd. If you must look down try to have like a sort of headbang/nod thing so it doesnt look like you are just starting that the fret board. If you have 2 guitars and you have an epic melody you gotta do it back to back, or have one of you like get on one knee and they other kinda tilt the guitar upwards. That looks ****ing awesome i do it all the time.
don't worry it devolps blud.

i was exactly the same, i'll be honest, your first few gigs will be shit. no avoiding it. after that you get over the whole 'omg i might suck' and just learn to get into it. the whole 'shit i don't want to mess this up and dissapoint people' never goes though. so turn away from the audience when you solo unless you've got balls of steel.


oh and, at the level and gig size you'll be playing, people won't care that much, most of them won't even be listening properly, there'll probs be a handful of guitarists checkin' the skillz, but you probably won't see them again, and decent guitarists can recognise that as long as you enjoy what you're doing, it doesn't matter how good you are.
Last edited by glowskulls at Apr 18, 2008,
most guitarists playing on stage stand still for reasons of stage fright and being in the spotlight so suddenly, or if the crowd are lame. I don't think you should have much to worry about, just move around the stage. Nobody expects you to start doin guitar flips and intense thrashing on the stage first gig, it all just comes with getting used to the environment.
just walk around aimlessly, don't stare at the fretboard too much. Honestly, do what comes naturally. Your first show, it probably wont be very much. You sort of naturally gain stage presence through experience. You should get a lot less nervous.

My band's first show, we all basically stood there like statues. It was awful.
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Watch some Van Halen live shows. They are the masters at stage presence!
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I recommend watching Queen perform live if you can find videos. Freddie Mercury is the epitome of Stage presence. Although, Brian May is guitarist...ah they all rock. Check them out if you haven't already.
Gett into a good stance, and move around sometimes.
Flip people off
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Watch a Video of dimebag.
Get a Hello Kitty Strat. Everyone will be too busy staring at it to even notice you just standing there.
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Hit a bunch of notes perfectly, then tilt your guitar up.
You should see lighting strike somewhere on your fretboard, and the crowd will start clapping.

But seriously though, headbanging's a good place to start. Walk around a bit. Eventually, it'll just come to you. You'll start getting a little more creative.
You can always throw your guitar in the crowd like Zakk Wylde does
But seriously first you need to master your songs, play they without thinking much before you can start concentrating on moving around or headbanging while playing.
Also practicing in front of a mirror and looking at yourself playing helps.
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Check out these moves!

Check out the leg movements...!
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Last edited by BGrem261 at Apr 19, 2008,
Act natural.
Now if you do play solidly at home and at practice that may be a problem (I know that I always look at people, move my head, feet, whatever, walk around a bit etc.) but it's learnable, even if it's just moving your head a bit, it'd do!

And remember to look at people. Steve Vai's trick (when not pulling guitar faces ) seems to be to look at EVERYONE in the audience at least once, in the eye. (Ended up making eye contact with him three times at the last gig) it probably helps with fear. They'll probably ease up to you a lot if you make eye contact with them, show's you have something in you and that you aren't just very robotic.

Adding humour is never a bad thing either.
Say you did have a hello kitty squire (as someone Jested up there) using that would get a lot of laughs, a lot of attention, and if you played well on it, it'd go well.
Same with using other props like various things fitting to the song (Like on Zappa's "Does humour belong in music?" at various times props related to the songs are used, oversized sunglasses, a doll, one of those grabby claw things) it all adds to the show, just don't deduct from your playing and you'll be fine.

Also don't act as if you're a guitarist playing to an audience, you are a BAND playing to an audience, interact with eachothers playing. If it's a solo section (and you're profficient at improvising) have you and the other guitarist (or bassist if you don't have another guitarist) solo off eachother, you know, one plays something, the other plays something else, one plays something new, as does the next. Always gets people going that!
watch matthew bellamy of muse in a live plug in baby video, if you can do wat he does then you dont even need advice lol
Basically one thing ahve eye contact with the audience, but also with the rest of the band. Say if your in a two guitarist band and the other guy play a solo, walk over to your bassist and do something with him (could just be facing eachother and playing "together"). Also don't look too much at the fretboard, that is very boring to look like. You don't have to jump or run around the stage, but walk around a bit, then you look more comfortable, never be too still. If you can, you can jump or do something else, like windwills and stuff. Also another great thing is if you introduce the band mid-song, say you introduce one of the guiatrist, then play a really short lick or so.
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dont sweat how quick your progressing, i heard that Jimi hendrix didnt get his legendary guitar skills until he was dead

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Well it all comes down to 4 things

Style of music you play
The crowd
How confortable your are being on stage and with your music
Being natural

When you gig infront of good crowds you usually get more into it and the stage presence thing comes more naturally. When you headbang or whatever remember to overact your moves; you may think that youre moving a lot but from the crowd perspective it does not (that was my main problem when I started out).
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walk around the stage and jump!oh and try and bust one of these out!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbXy0KV5uZg watch the guitarists


they have great stage presence

Fuck that. Check out Dillinger Escape Plan, they do the same + more, only without the showboatey scissor kicking and prancy spinning.

However, you shouldn't do these things for the genres you'll be playing.