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  #16  
Old 09-20-2012, 02:30 PM
stevejazzx stevejazzx is offline
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Being able to play anything on demand is tough but not impossible some of the jazz guys I've played just need to see the sheet music for a minute and they're off - I'm more of a control freak and need to soak in the changes before I'm comfortable although I'm regularly thrown in at the deep live end - I love it...when it works! When it doesn't the whole band sounds terrible...
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  #17  
Old 09-24-2012, 10:24 PM
BlueBird2 BlueBird2 is offline
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what songs are commonly asked to play? I guess that's a start to what every guitarist.should know.

Let me ask you this. Can you play: sweet home Alabama? yesterday? we are the champion? how about some songs by Adel? Can you play Pink Floyd. How about sing a happy birthday for me?

How many of you could meet my request?
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  #18  
Old 09-25-2012, 03:31 AM
71jasper 71jasper is offline
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Given the sheer number of possible requests, it's a good idea for any gigging musician to have a beg-off strategy. My standard joke is "If I could play that what would I be doing here?" Or I say, no but that's a good suggestion." Whatever you do, don't insult the requester's taste in music or the fact that he's requesting outside of your obvious genre.

As for filling in, give me a week and whatever materials you have, and I'll make the gig. At the very least I need a set list and keys. I've done it before. It's fun.

Last edited by 71jasper; 09-25-2012 at 04:22 AM. Reason: punctuation
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  #19  
Old 09-25-2012, 04:44 AM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueBird2 View Post
what songs are commonly asked to play? I guess that's a start to what every guitarist.should know.

Let me ask you this. Can you play: sweet home Alabama? yesterday? we are the champion? how about some songs by Adel? Can you play Pink Floyd. How about sing a happy birthday for me?

How many of you could meet my request?
Sweet Home Alabama: yes (but the singer in our band doesn't know it, or like it, so we can't do it)
Yesterday: yes (but ditto)
We Are The Champions: no (but we can do Crazy Little Thing Called Love)
Adele: yes to Make You Feel My Love (but ditto as above)
Pink Floyd: yes to Comfortably Numb (and - miracle! - our singer knows it as well, so we have a runner)
Happy Birthday: of course! (the crowd would do most of the singing, one would hope, but we'd certainly play it)

You should certainly be able to play "Happy Birthday"! The problem is - what key? A good one for both men and women to sing it to is F. But of course that's tough on guitar, so I would go for E or G. (Naturally, a lot of the crowd couldn't care less, and will sing out of tune anyway, but it's good to have a key that's comfortable for most of those who can sing well enough.)

With any other songs, it's impossible to make a list of songs that will be popular requests everywhere. It really depends on what kind of crowd it is: what age they are, what kind of music they expect from the venue, or what kind of singer/band they think you are.

I play in a folk-rock-blues band, mostly in pubs, and common requests we get are (by "common" I mean we've been asked for them more than once, but maybe no more than 3 or 4 times, over 20 years or so):

Brown Eyed Girl (Van Morrison)
Hotel California (Eagles)
Brown Sugar (Stones)
Hey Joe (Hendrix)
Comfortably Numb (Floyd)
"something by Neil Young" (they don't care what)

... hard to remember anything else much. Most requests are for bizarre oddities.
But that list is obviously governed to some extent by the kind of music the requesters hear us playing. They clearly think a band like us should be able to play those songs. They wouldn't ask us for latest Adele song!
(Unfortunately our singer doesn't know - or much like - anything by Van Morrison or the Stones...)

Naturally, the younger the crowd, the newer the songs need to be. People tend to ask for songs they know well. An individual is unlikely to ask for a rare song they privately love, unless they hear you playing stuff that is very similar - and even then they'd know it's only an off-chance you might know it.
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  #20  
Old 09-25-2012, 07:09 AM
YamaYairi YamaYairi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueBird2 View Post
what songs are commonly asked to play? I guess that's a start to what every guitarist.should know.

Let me ask you this. Can you play: sweet home Alabama? yesterday? we are the champion? how about some songs by Adel? Can you play Pink Floyd. How about sing a happy birthday for me?

How many of you could meet my request?
I've been learning songs by ear since I was 7 1/2, because my teachers were old fogeys and didn't know any Beatles, etc. So if I am familiar with the song I can usually figure it out on the fly. "Wait let me figure out the chords... ok I've got it." If I don't know the words I will ask the person if they can sing it.
So..
Sweet Home Alabama; you bet.
Yesterday; yup.
Adel...who? (Yeah I know who she is but I don't want to clutter up my memory with her stuff.)
Pink Floyd; I play several of their songs
Happy Birthday, yes and I can do the Beatles version, too.
Basically if I have the song in my head, I can play it. Anything new, you can pretty much forget about it.
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  #21  
Old 09-25-2012, 06:39 PM
old iron rider old iron rider is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonPR View Post
Well, they DID learn all the songs. They would have had enough time before the first date, and probably time for a meeting/rehearsal. If not, they would have been sent a songlist, probably a CD.
It doesn't take a professional long to get acquainted with a new band's repertoire. And normally, when a guitarist is asked in that kind of situation, the band will make sure to ask someone they already know, who plays in the right style, and/or is enough of a fan of the band to already know many of their songs. They wouldn't ask just any professional guitarist, certainly not without any warning.
Sometimes, if there really is no time to learn everything, they'll use music onstage in some way; if not a music stand, then some kind of cue sheets or maybe a laptop or e-reader device. (In any case, bands usually do lengthy soundchecks and run-throughs before every gig, which can be enough time for a new member to familiarise themselves with most things.)

In jazz, it's different - because it's usually all about improvisation from standards. All pro jazz musicians know 100s of standards by heart (jazz standards tend to adhere to a handful of quite simple formulas), and improvisation is their business. So anyone can sit in with anyone at a moment's notice.
Even with jazz groups with a repertoire of original material, jazz musicians are usually good enough to pick it up by ear as they go, unless they have to perform a lead role. Still, you will often see them using music on stage.

Wayne Shorter tells a great story about being asked to join Miles Davis's band, in the 1960s. He turned up to meet them for the first time, expecting a rehearsal, and found it was a gig. Before they went on, Miles asked "do you know my music?" Of course WS said "sure" (he was familiar enough with the great man's work). Miles replied "Uh-oh".
IOW, he actually liked new musicians to be totally fresh, to have to play totally by ear. The less rehearsed they were, the better, as far as he was concerned.
What a great post. Right on the money, and very good read.
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