Vic Lawson’s Approach to Bandstand Performance

This is Vic Lawson with today’s newsletter. We have had a great response to Bob’s last newsletter about “boredom” on stage. You’re really not as bored when you’re a beginner or part-timer because it’s all fresh and new to you. The pros are more apt to get bored because they play more often.

Not to kick a dead horse, but I’d like to add my two cents. We all can get bored whether it be an artist gig that lasts 75 – 90 minutes or a four hour club gig. And although some tunes require the “signature” licks, most of the time I try to think about the way I would play it if I were the one recording it.

If I’m downtown in a club, I don’t want to play something like Lloyd Green would play, I want to play something I would play. If I’m on a show where everybody is expecting the signature to be true to the recording, then that’s the way I’m going to do it.

I fall into the trap when we play covers of remembering what was originally on the cut. I played with James Mitchell last Saturday and he has the ability to completely ignore what was originally played and create something fresh and new. In other words, he takes songs that were recorded in 1972 and brings them up to 2012.

This makes it very enjoyable to work with him, whether it be in a recording session or a club. It makes me think differently and brings out more creativity. Being creative is especially important in a recording situation.

Playing with people like James seems to help me on my toes because one of my gigs I have been on for seven years, twice a week, four hours at a time, playing the same songs for the most part. So try playing something you would play instead of what is on the record.

Also, I had a customer in yesterday and he was asking a lot of questions about how to get better, and I was reminded about what a friend of mine had been told. The best way to really learn is find the worst band in your area and go out and play with them.

It will really make you learn what you need to when you play in a band situation and as you get better you will find the bands you play with will too. This really helps beginners I think because it not only helps with steel guitar but your musical learning as well.

You can sit in your bedroom and practice all you want, but the first time you sit in with a band, it’s a whole new ballgame because you’re now part of a team and you have to learn to work as a team versus solo in the bedroom.

The more you play with live musicians, the more you learn to work in the real world. You can study all you want, but until you put it into practice, you haven’t really learned. So get out and play with other musicians because that’s how you really how you achieve your goals.

Don’t quit practicing because you need both. To sum it up, if you play live with a band, that will tell you what you need to go home and practice on. It will show you where your weak spots are. If you’re able to record the live performance, you’ve got something you can take home and listen to and help you figure out what you need to work on most because there are so many things that you learn from listening back.

If anybody would like to hear me and James playing, check out Justin McBride’s new CD, called “Everybody Loves A Cowboy”. His website is justinmcbride.com

We have a Mullen Discovery guitar on the showroom floor that I’ve been playing with. It’s a great guitar, sounds good, great quality, lightweight. I’m really thinking about buying one for myself because it’s a great guitar at a nice price and it’s good to have a second guitar that sounds good.

Call me if you want to talk about this guitar in a little more depth and I’ll be glad to give you my impressions.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. We have a few exciting things on our agenda for the next year and when the time comes, we will elaborate.

Check out our Christmas specials at www.steelguitar.net/christmasspecials.html

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