5 Tips for Making Sure Your Band Doesn’t Suck

Today Paul McCartney announced his upcoming album, set for release on February 7th, featuring cover songs he deemed as key influences for his and John Lennon’s songwriting, as well as two new songs.  The album will come as an answer to the topic that Beatles fans have often analyzed, even four decades after the band’s break-up: what exactly inspired the guys?

Of course, despite their fame and fortune, the Beatles’ career wasn’t always smooth sailing.  But if you’re considering starting a band, it’s usually best to avoid the drama.  Here, check out advice from Ultimate-Guitar.com on starting and maintaining a band:


Know your place
Are you a lead guitarist full of great solos? That’s beautiful, just don’t start spamming solos where they don’t belong. Are you a rhythm guitarist? Good, then keep rhythm and don’t start doing whacky stuff. The same goes for everybody: know what you’re supposed to do, when you’re supposed to do it, and then do what you have to at the right time. A lot of people forget this.

Criticize each other
Don’t be afraid to point out mistakes, no matter how small. Chances are that whoever makes a mistake doesn’t even realize they do, until it gets pointed out. And be as blunt about it as you can. If someone can’t take the criticism, get rid of him/her. It sounds harsh, but it’s necessary. Nobody likes getting rid of a band member, but sometimes you just have to. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. Your band members are great people and good friends, if you’ve done things right so far, but sometimes they just don’t fit with your band.

Learn to compensate for mistakes
One important point when playing live is learning what to do when somebody makes a mistake. This is something you have to feel as a band, simply because you can’t go over every possible mistake during rehearsal. But something you shouldn’t do is try to catch up when you miss a beat, e.g. play the notes you should have played, only at the wrong time, to arrive back at where you are supposed to be at some point. Play something else, or play nothing at all and let your band handle it. A general rule is that if it sounds good, it’s not a big deal. The exception is a solo; these are usually really hard to pick up once you’ve made a mistake, and you can’t just stop playing. Usually, the only options you have are to accept that you messed up and just keep playing, or to signal the band to skip the solo in some way.

Listen to your audience
This can’t be stressed enough. Listen to all the feedback you get, negative or positive, and if they have a valid point, do something with it. Your audience listens to your music in an entirely different way than you do, so listen to what they have to say. You may feel you messed up, but chances are nobody even noticed. Or maybe you feel like you made no mistakes, but somebody noticed something after all.

Make a good setlist
This is more important than you might think. A setlist can make or break a performance. You need to make sure every song you play belongs in your setlist, and you need to put the songs in the right order. All this depends on the kind of music you play and what you’re going for as a band. Do you want to just start with a bang and get the audience going immediately? Start with a high-tempo song with a fast solo. Or maybe you want to get the audience going slowly, ease them into your performance? Then start with a nice, slow ballad. It’s all a matter of feeling things, trying things, and listening to what your audience said about past performances. Do what feels right, and think of what you would like to hear if you were in the audience.

More often than not, it’s not only about how talented you are – if you don’t have a good rapport and friendship with your band members, it can end up a disaster.  Do you agree?  Let us know!  Leave a comment below.

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You might also like…
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Image courtesy of http://truefire.com/blog/

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