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  #1  
Old 07-17-2021, 12:50 AM
Harmony123 Harmony123 is offline
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Default Spicing up a small solo performance?

I'm giving my wife and some friends a small acoustic guitar & vocal performance soon. This is a tradition we've had for a few years which they enjoy, and which helps me to focus on mastering a few songs.

In the past, I've always used an a electric guitar with a backing track in the background to fill out the sound. I now want to get away from backing tracks with the acoustic guitar. I went through the songs with some drum loops, which sounded ok, but is probably overkill for a small performance. I then went through the songs accompanied by a pleasant-sounding metronome, and found I enjoyed the way it sounded and how it helped me to focus on the beat.

So now I'm thinking about performing maybe 10 songs live with a metronome in the background as the rhythm section. I'm not sure whether this is wise or the height of stupidity ...
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  #2  
Old 07-17-2021, 01:32 AM
Tannin Tannin is offline
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Beat Buddy?

Stomp box?
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  #3  
Old 07-17-2021, 02:54 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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Are you playing dance music ?
If not, don't worry about the metronome - just play your acoustic guitar, and sing to hem, as well as you can.

Start with something upbeat and catchy. follow with something different, then try something sad.
Never do an intro longer than eight bars, four bars is better.

Give them a bit of a rest after three, maybe four songs, and chat and ask if they'd like some more.

When they start talking while you are singing, time to wind it up.

Don't be downhearted - small domestic gatherings have a very short attention span, and non musicians have no concept about how hard you've worked to give them those songs, and actually few people rally understand music.

Probably less is more, and if they ask for more after they'd had a chat and another drink, then be prepared.
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Old 07-17-2021, 09:46 AM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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Some of this depends on your skills and repertoire, but....

There are a number of devices in the "porch board" realm that might be useful if you have a foot tap beat thing down. They are all basically a mic/transducer in a small box that you drum on with your foot. They are all devices meant to duplicate what some artists did anyway with their foot and sometime had mic'ed up in the old days. Some sound like a louder foot tap, some sound a bit more like a kick drum sound, and most need to be plugged into a PA/amp.

Ideal if you can do the taps and your stuff is more in the John Lee Hooker/Lightnin' Hopkins style of danceable solo guitar.

There were (and I think still are) a few folks who did the Jesse Fuller thing and actually used a kick drum they played along with guitar.

The kazoo/harmonica in the neck rack thing isn't quite rhythm support, but was another "give them something other than guitar all the time" solo guitarist solution from the old days.
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Old 07-17-2021, 03:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harmony123 View Post
I'm giving my wife and some friends a small acoustic guitar & vocal performance soon. This is a tradition we've had for a few years which they enjoy, and which helps me to focus on mastering a few songs.

In the past, I've always used an a electric guitar with a backing track in the background to fill out the sound. I now want to get away from backing tracks with the acoustic guitar. I went through the songs with some drum loops, which sounded ok, but is probably overkill for a small performance. I then went through the songs accompanied by a pleasant-sounding metronome, and found I enjoyed the way it sounded and how it helped me to focus on the beat.

So now I'm thinking about performing maybe 10 songs live with a metronome in the background as the rhythm section. I'm not sure whether this is wise or the height of stupidity ...

Hi H123

Work up a song or three with a friend (or three) and sprinkle them throughout the event.

Of just work up all 10 with the help of friends.




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Old 07-18-2021, 12:40 AM
Harmony123 Harmony123 is offline
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Fortunately it's a very appreciative, lively crowd. Lots of hopping around to the faster songs and bursts of tears and sadness during the sad songs. No drinks, no food, just music. It's kinda fun ...

Last edited by Harmony123; 07-18-2021 at 01:34 AM.
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Old 07-18-2021, 09:33 AM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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Quote:
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Fortunately it's a very appreciative, lively crowd. Lots of hopping around to the faster songs and bursts of tears and sadness during the sad songs. No drinks, no food, just music. It's kinda fun ...
Sounds like a fun gig. I only played twice to a predominantly dancing crowd in my small-time performing life. I found it a wonderful experience that some accomplished AGF musicians (a group I'm not one of) haven't had I'd expect.
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Old 07-18-2021, 01:29 PM
DCCougar DCCougar is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harmony123 View Post
I went through the songs with some drum loops, which sounded ok, but is probably overkill for a small performance. ...
Doesn't need to be overkill. Pick a simple rhythm track. My synth has a multitude of them, and they're often my motivation to play something along with them. I love playing with a good, simple rhythm track, like this one:

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Old 07-20-2021, 12:14 AM
Harmony123 Harmony123 is offline
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The drums certainly do add a lot to the fullness of the sound.
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Old 07-20-2021, 05:15 PM
Dalegreen Dalegreen is offline
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If you are playing solo, cut out the meter man and play with emotion. If you have "mastered " your songs, a beat / rhythm section should not be required or needed.
Nothing worse then holding a note or extending a phrase with that darn metronome / drum machine in the background.
They are great tools to practice with but definitely not when you play live. Your strumming hand is your rhythm section (imo)
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Old 07-21-2021, 01:59 AM
Robin, Wales Robin, Wales is offline
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How small?

Wife and friends?

Ditch the amp/pa mic's etc. Go purely acoustic in small semi-circle. Add beer and food.
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Old 07-25-2021, 07:57 AM
Gdjjr Gdjjr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silly Moustache View Post
Are you playing dance music ?
If not, don't worry about the metronome - just play your acoustic guitar, and sing to hem, as well as you can.

Start with something upbeat and catchy. follow with something different, then try something sad.
Never do an intro longer than eight bars, four bars is better.

Give them a bit of a rest after three, maybe four songs, and chat and ask if they'd like some more.

When they start talking while you are singing, time to wind it up.

Don't be downhearted - small domestic gatherings have a very short attention span, and non musicians have no concept about how hard you've worked to give them those songs, and actually few people rally understand music.

Probably less is more, and if they ask for more after they'd had a chat and another drink, then be prepared.

Good advice- I play for my son and his family occasionally- they're impressed because they didn't know I had it in me and I've come a long way in the last 16 mos (IMO) and written some pretty good songs and do some fair covers of songs I like- but, they don't have a clue how much effort goes into each one and don't really care- my DIL has said; Wow! Pop, I couldn't do that- oh she did ask once when I played Janet for them; who's Janet - which is exactly what my other son said his wife would say - SMH- women-
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Old 07-25-2021, 08:55 AM
Tahitijack Tahitijack is offline
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Anyone celebrating a birthday or anniversary? Play the appropriate songs for them. As others have mentioned keep it short a ten song set for a group of family and friends is a bit long in my opinion. No need to amp up and don't use a metronome uggh. I hope you know the music well enough to play from the heart without a music stand. Remember less is more and your audience will look forward to hearing you play a few songs again in the future, not think to themselves....oh no here we go again.
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Old 07-25-2021, 10:55 AM
Harmony123 Harmony123 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tahitijack View Post
1. Anyone celebrating a birthday or anniversary? Play the appropriate songs for them. 2. As others have mentioned keep it short a ten song set for a group of family and friends is a bit long in my opinion. No need to amp up and don't use a metronome uggh. 3. I hope you know the music well enough to play from the heart without a music stand. 4. Remember less is more and your audience will look forward to hearing you play a few songs again in the future, not think to themselves....oh no here we go again.
1. No birthdays, but this is our first real get-together since the pandemic.
2. I started with 20 songs on my list, and I've now cut it down to 10. I would be kind of sad to trim the list further, but we'll see.
3. I've committed all the songs and lyrics to memory.
4. They've seen me perform privately, and on stage with different bands.

I personally think the metronome sounds pretty cool - but I have the feeling that others here consider performing with one a major faux pas.
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Old 07-25-2021, 12:08 PM
Shepsdad Shepsdad is offline
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Do you have an iPad? GarageBand has some very useful rhythm instruments that could be customized to fit the songs, cajons, tambourines, maracas, or a full drum kit.
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