The Acoustic Guitar Forum

Go Back   The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > General Acoustic Guitar Discussion

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 06-10-2019, 05:22 PM
CASD57 CASD57 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Meridian, Idaho
Posts: 1,413
Default Let's Talk About Busking...

Busking is something I'd like to do but I've always played with a band so playing all by myself in the daylight sounds a little intimating ...

Anyone else..?

Got a story?
__________________
I'm a Thread Ender.....
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 06-10-2019, 06:08 PM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Washington State
Posts: 1,539
Default

I've done mostly solo gigs, and most of them at farmers markets which is kind of like busking except the market pays me to play there. First off there are potential legal/permit/noise/business issues depending where you are, so check on that. Also learn how your instrument handles direct sun and how well you can blend or stand out from background noise. Make sure you have a good tuner you can easily see in broad daylight as you'll have to tune often.

A good way to start is just take your guitar to a park and sit and play. There should be no legal/permit/noise/business issues as long as you're not using an amp, actively asking for tips or bothering people. You may get a few people listening, you may empty the park.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 06-10-2019, 07:32 PM
guitargabor's Avatar
guitargabor guitargabor is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: WA
Posts: 917
Default

It really depends on the environment.

I have played "out" now for over 10 years.Farmers markets,coffee houses, senior centers and some private promo events.

Recently we moved to a smaller city in western Washington state from the Twin Cities.The Minneapolis /St Paul music scene is very dynamic with a LOT of talented pro and amateur players...

Previously, my favorite venue was a medium sized farmers market.We had a designated spot with a canopy and amps.Great atmosphere and very complimentary market patrons.

My current city has the musicians of their farmers market in a "busking" type of situation.No amps allowed, no covers(even thought they charge you $20 a season to play there....).You are allowed only 30 minutes in a open area right in the middle of the passing crowds, with no real designated space.Then you have to move on to the next area.

I tried the busking format twice there and it was a dismal experience.The crowd practically ran me over , no one could hear me play, even with blowing the harmonica loudly.By some miracle my guitar and case suffered no damage from the stomping and inattentive crowds...

I have recently acquired 2 other farmers market gigs in nearby towns.These are nicely structured with a booth, signed contract, canopy ,plug in, positive support and respect by the other vendors and market patrons.

So my busking experience was short and lousy to say the least.

To answer your question, I found busking to be the very LEAST intimidating format of performing in front of a live(or were they really alive?) audience.

Maybe you will have better luck and find it enjoyable.

Gabe

Last edited by guitargabor; 06-10-2019 at 08:57 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 06-11-2019, 06:15 AM
Goat Whiskey Picks's Avatar
Goat Whiskey Picks Goat Whiskey Picks is online now
AGF Sponsor
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Bristol, TN
Posts: 3,508
Default

I used to busk quite a bit right after I got out of college mostly to make beer money and as a form of paid practice. I set up in an empty storefront beside a popular lunch restaurant and played from about 11:00-2:00 a few days each week. This was back in the late 80's and I usually made $30-$40 in tips and had several folks that would stop and listen for a few minutes. What surprised me was how many people that I had no idea were close enough to listen walk up and drop a few bucks in my guitar case and tell me they really enjoyed listening to me. After the first week or so, the restaurant started coming out as I was finishing up and bring me a drink or dessert or something. I had never spoken to them about playing there but they said they always had more business on the days I played. It was a fun way to make extra money during the warm weather months before I got a real job and had to act like an adult.
__________________
'59 Gibson J-45 "Spot"
'94 Taylor 710
'18 Martin 000-17E "Willie"
'15 Martin 000X1AE
'16 Ibanez AVC6DTS
'12 Partscaster Blueburst
More to come later...

Mick Kyte - Head Pick Flunky
http://www.goatwhiskeypicks.com

Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 06-11-2019, 06:55 AM
MikeBmusic MikeBmusic is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: On the Mass/NH border
Posts: 5,709
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by guitargabor View Post
My current city has the musicians of their farmers market in a "busking" type of situation.No amps allowed, no covers(even thought they charge you $20 a season to play there....).You are allowed only 30 minutes in a open area right in the middle of the passing crowds, with no real designated space.Then you have to move on to the next area.
I tried the busking format twice there and it was a dismal experience.The crowd practically ran me over , no one could hear me play, even with blowing the harmonica loudly.By some miracle my guitar and case suffered no damage from the stomping and inattentive crowds...
Yikes! The 'no covers' requirement means they were not paying their PRO licenses (and no doubt were contacted by BMI or ASCAP previously). The fact they only let you set up for 30 minutes in a general traffic area and didn't pay anything shows they were just trying to 'milk' unknowing players to play there.

To the OP:
Do you see buskers in your town, or in the towns where you are thinking of doing it? Some towns require licenses (but some are free). Others only allow playing without amps, or in certain designated areas.
If you are doing it without an amp/mic, remember that you need to be able to sing loud enough to be heard, or if you are playing instrumentals, even more so.
__________________
Mike

My music: https://mikebirchmusic.bandcamp.com

2017 Taylor 114ce-N
2012 Taylor 310ce
2011 Fender CD140SCE
Ibanez 12 string a/e
73 Epiphone 6830E 6 string (made in 71?)

72 Fender Telecaster
Epiphone Dot Studio
Epiphone LP Jr
Chinese Strat clone ($25!)

Kala baritone ukulele
Seagull 'Merlin'
Washburn Mandolin
Luna 'tatoo' a/e ukulele
antique banjolin
Squire J bass
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 06-11-2019, 07:41 AM
ChrisE ChrisE is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 1,531
Default

Busking is a crime punishable by fines and/or jail time in the town where I live.

In the next town over, however, I do have a license and have busked there a few times for festivals, etc. It's been a lot of fun and I've made some tips. At Christmas I went downtown during their winter festival and did Christmas carols.

I try to plan my busking around their Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Redevelopment event schedules so there will be more foot traffic. I'm friends with the city manager so he told me how to shut off the "house music" in the busking areas they have pumped through speakers throughout the downtown area.
__________________
2015 Martin D-18
1982 Martin HD-28
2013 Taylor 314ce
2004 Fender Telecaster MIM
2010 Martin DCX1RE
1984 Sigma DM3
Fender Mustang III v2
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 06-11-2019, 10:05 AM
CASD57 CASD57 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Meridian, Idaho
Posts: 1,413
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeBmusic View Post
Yikes! The 'no covers' requirement means they were not paying their PRO licenses (and no doubt were contacted by BMI or ASCAP previously). The fact they only let you set up for 30 minutes in a general traffic area and didn't pay anything shows they were just trying to 'milk' unknowing players to play there.

To the OP:
Do you see buskers in your town, or in the towns where you are thinking of doing it? Some towns require licenses (but some are free). Others only allow playing without amps, or in certain designated areas.
If you are doing it without an amp/mic, remember that you need to be able to sing loud enough to be heard, or if you are playing instrumentals, even more so.
Not sure about licensing but I have see Buskers and there was a local News Story on one Person....

I'm still fighting the "I'm I good Enough" syndrome lol... So no I haven't yet but when I do it will be without an Amp at first

https://www.ktvb.com/video/life/busk...43?jwsource=cl
__________________
I'm a Thread Ender.....
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 06-11-2019, 01:23 PM
guitargabor's Avatar
guitargabor guitargabor is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: WA
Posts: 917
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by CASD57 View Post
Not sure about licensing but I have see Buskers and there was a local News Story on one Person....

I'm still fighting the "I'm I good Enough" syndrome lol... So no I haven't yet but when I do it will be without an Amp at first

https://www.ktvb.com/video/life/busk...43?jwsource=cl
I'm confident you are at a proficient enough level to do it.

Some of the buskers I've heard(and seen) over the years well they just sounded "off". The tips they received I think,resulted from their appearance which was similar to that of a homeless person....
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 06-11-2019, 01:42 PM
Goat Whiskey Picks's Avatar
Goat Whiskey Picks Goat Whiskey Picks is online now
AGF Sponsor
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Bristol, TN
Posts: 3,508
Default

I did learn a lot during that summer of busking. If you're going to make any money you need to be able to grab people's attention and make them stop or slow down long enough to throw some cash in your case. You'll figure out pretty quickly what works and what doesn't and those skills carry over into playing other types of gigs.

Really you have nothing to lose by trying it some. Just be persistent and keep it up until you start to see positive results. It can be really satisfying.
__________________
'59 Gibson J-45 "Spot"
'94 Taylor 710
'18 Martin 000-17E "Willie"
'15 Martin 000X1AE
'16 Ibanez AVC6DTS
'12 Partscaster Blueburst
More to come later...

Mick Kyte - Head Pick Flunky
http://www.goatwhiskeypicks.com

Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 06-11-2019, 02:26 PM
byudzai byudzai is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Bloomington, IN
Posts: 416
Default

My favorite thing about busking is that people are like a river, always flowing by, so you never have to worry that someone is trapped listening to you if they don't like your music. I played an hour set at a bar recently and cringed the whole time, listening to the recording afterward, that those poor people were stuck with me for an hour!

Things to consider:

1) Money can blow out of a guitar case pretty easily. Bums will eye your case of money and wonder how they can get some of it, so if it's in a tidy container it's easy to steal.

2) Probably best not to let anyone play your guitar. Lots of horror stories out there.

3) Definitely set your phone on record so you can listen to yourself later. You'll learn heaps.

4) Don't overhydrate unless you have a buddy along. Hate to have to break down your whole rig to make a bathroom run.
__________________
Emerald X30 Padauk Custom
Emerald X30 Blue
1998 Gibson J200 Elite
1972 Martin D-28
McPherson Sable
Breedlove Oregon Myrtlewood
Breedlove Masterclass
Taylor PS16ce Macassar
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 06-11-2019, 03:07 PM
leew3 leew3 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 884
Default

in our small central Ohio town the only requirement is a 'temporary entertainment permit' This involves completing an application that is then submitted to the Mayor's office for approval. The mayor typically merely reinforces noise laws so we don't get too loud then approves the permit. It costs $1.00. No that's not a typo. $1.00.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 06-11-2019, 04:27 PM
beatcomber beatcomber is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Lexington, Massachusetts
Posts: 393
Default

25-odd years ago I once busked in the San Francisco subway, maybe for an hour, just to do it. I think I made five bucks.
__________________
2019 Martin 000-15SM
2017 Farida OT-22 Wide VBS
2007 Gretsch Americana

...and a bunch of nice electrics too!
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 06-11-2019, 05:15 PM
BBuckner Music BBuckner Music is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 12
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by beatcomber View Post
25-odd years ago I once busked in the San Francisco subway, maybe for an hour, just to do it. I think I made five bucks.
That's like $15 bucks today... so good money...lol
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 06-11-2019, 07:31 PM
PHJim PHJim is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Port Hope, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 255
Default

Our downtown merchants encourage buskers as long as it's completely acoustic. I have found that no matter how good you are, a guitar is not a money maker. I ama much better guiar player than banjo or Autoharp, but the Autoharp seems to be the money maker for me. People want to talk about it and ask me questions. . . and almost always throw some cash in my case. I haven't busked on purpose for over a decade, but I still have a sign in my Autoharp case that says,
"BROKEN STRING FUND - Visa and Mastercard cheerfully accepted"
I played almost entirely instrumental, but had a few kids' songs ready to sing for interested young folks.
__________________
Jim
_____________________
-1962 Martin D-21
-1950 Gibson LG1
-1958 Goya M-26
-Various banjos, mandolins, dulcimers, ukuleles, Autoharps, mouth harps. . .
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 06-11-2019, 08:05 PM
GBS GBS is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 390
Default

A couple of years ago I was taking lessons from Peter Lang (yeah, of "Kottke, Fahey, Lang" notoriety and Grammy nomination fame). He mentioned that he had never busked, and inspired by Joshua Bell in New York, he went to downtown Minneapolis to give it a shot. He only made a few dollars, but it made his day when a fellow busker came over and commented "Man, times must be harder than I thought if a player as good as you has to take to the street...."
Reply With Quote
Reply

  The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > General Acoustic Guitar Discussion

Thread Tools



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:20 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=