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Advice for performing alone?


(@jerboa)
Trusted Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 79
Topic starter  

Hey y'all. Been a while since I've been here.

I've been with my band for the last year, gigging 1-2 shows a week, and having a great time.

The opportunity to do some solo stuff has come along, via online live streaming.

But...when I practice, and record myself everything sounds so...exposed, I guess. I'm looking for any advice on performing alone: resources, things to liven up the playing, ways to approach a song to make it work alone, things like that.

Most of the resources I find seem geared for a group, not solo.

There are two kinds of people in this world:
Those who think there are two kinds of people in this world, and those who don't


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(@clideguitar)
Reputable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 376
 

The guy I play with has a "Drum Pedal" (not sure if this the correct term? It sits flat below his foot and when he taps it it makes a percussion sound).

A 12 string guitar.

He also has a "Vocalizer" - that adds allot.! He does a version of "Strawberry Fields" and it REALLY adds to the song.

Out of these 3, I would say the 12 string makes the biggest impact.

Bob Jessie


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(@anonymous)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 8306
 

do you have any clips so we can see what you mean by exposed? a lot of people enjoy the honesty of a single voice and guitar.
i know i've seen a lot done with loop stations. i don't know if it would suit your style of playing.
in any case, playing a song many times can often turn up little gems that you don't see immediately, runs or strum patterns or new lyrics or whatever.


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(@nicktorres)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 5468
 

I do know what you mean. There is a fear of making any mistake. There is no one to cover the sound, no blend, no distraction. The focus is entirely on you.

Here is the equipment I use.

A good mic with boom stand.
Fender Acoustasonic 30, with dual channels and XLR input
Pick a guitar, any guitar. I like my Taylor 712ce because it's my go to guitar or Parker P8e because the electronics are top notch. I'd bring a backup, but I wouldn't plan on switching guitars during my set.
Digitech Vocalist Live 4 for harmony, built in guitar effects and even pitch correction.

...and that is it.

Simplify as much as you can. Don't play complex arrangements that you are unsure of. Don't get hung up on your mistakes, the audience still won't notice. Practice the hell out of things until they are second nature. Pick your material wisely.

...and have fun.


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(@jerboa)
Trusted Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 79
Topic starter  

Thanks for the advice.

Yeah...I'm used to the sound of a full 5-piece band (drum,bass,keyboard,2 guitars).

I'm not too concerned with mistakes, those happen, and I can deal. It's more trying to hold down a good strum, sing, and still throw some ornamentation in there. Right now, my songs just sound blah...dull...

I know part of that is that I'm still pretty darned new to guitar. Only been playing 2 years total, and have always been able to rely on bandmates to take up my slack, and my fingerstyle skills are far, far behind.

Beyond the equipment...what about lessons (on this site, or others) that would help with making a song interesting as a solo piece?

There are two kinds of people in this world:
Those who think there are two kinds of people in this world, and those who don't


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(@wes-inman)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5599
 

I played a solo acoustic gig for awhile, and yeah, it's very different. You are the whole show.

First, you have to really develop set lists of songs you sing very well. A full band can cover vocals to a degree, and background vocals can make someone with not so good a voice sound very good. But out there by yourself you have to sing the song well. You are naked before the world.

I've never used one of those Digitech Vocalists, but I've seen a few singers who have and they are very impressive. They can add 3 and 4 part harmonies to your voice. They really sound very good, I would definitely check one of those out.

Can you play keys? If so, record your songs with bass and drums, play your guitar and sing along. We have a fellow in our town who has done this for years and he is great. It is a good show.

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


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