Overcoming stage fright

Hi guys and gals,

How many times have you been playing with a band and everything is going along wonderfully, when suddenly you look up and see another steel player come in the door. Do you a) suddenly play every nice lick you can think of to knock him out … b) cut back and not hardly play anything just to be careful you don’t make a mistake in front of him … or c) do you yawn and go on playing normally and say to yourself … “I’ll see him on break.”?

Naturally, “c” is the correct answer for the good professional player and your playing should be no different, no better, no worse, if Mr. Great Player is in there or not. This seems to be pretty hard for people to do. The person that has trouble with this scenario wouldn’t get through the steel guitar show in St. Louis without having a heart attack.

I remember as a very early player, I could play fine with a band in a situation where I knew no one in the audience, but if my parents, relatives or close friends came in, my mind seemed to turn to mush. Then many years later, I saw Doug Jernigan perform in front of 2000 people at the steel guitar show in St. Louis so calm that I thought he was going to go to sleep in the middle of the show. After the show I asked him “Doesn’t having 2000 of the best steel players in the world staring at you make you nervous?” to which he replyed, yawning, “I don’t know, I never thought about it.” I see Doug play in front of thousands of people and I see him play in front of just me in my store. He sounds equal in either place.

So here’s my tip … concentrate on playing tastefully and well within your own envelop everytime you play and in all the playing you ever do. This will make you a consistent player and consistency is what wins races and respect from your fellow players. Push the envelop during practice when you’re alone and not when you’re in front of an audience. Remember, the more you stretch the envelop at home, the more comfortable and less nervous you’ll be performing in front of great players. That’s it.

Now, warm weather is here and that means it’s t-shirt time. I have just received my spring allotment of extremely high quality t-shirts and hats. They are all black and tastefully printed with the Emmons or Sho-Bud logo and are classy looking so that you don’t look like a walking billboard. If you own one of these fine guitars, these shirts are a must to show your pride but you don’t have to own an Emmons or Sho-Bud to wear these shirts just like you don’t have to own a Corvette to wear a Corvette t-shirt. You can also show your pride by wearing one of the Steel Guitarist t-shirts.

So here’s my special offer good until the end of the month. Go to my website and go to the t-shirt page, then order any two t-shirts and get a free Steel Guitarist hat and a free six-pack of Cobra Coil .011 strings and free shipping within the continental United States. That’ll save you about $20. and that should put a smile on your face which is what you should be doing when wearing your new t-shirt!

Keep smiling, keep practicing and keep playing.

Your buddy,


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