Video tab series, Stu Peters, songwriter charts, chaotic gigs

Hi guys and gals,

I will be filming Video Tab Volumes 3 and 4 this weekend. Volume 3 will concentrate on Intros and Volume 4 will concentrate on Fills.

I’m selling the Video Tab series at $39.99 each on my website but I’m selling them to my mailing list members at $29.99 each so watch the next newsletter for the link. I don’t want to take orders too far in advance of the videos being ready to ship but now that I’ve invested in duplicating equipment, I can create them as needed. This is much better than the situation before when I had to order several thousand dollars worth of product and hope that I’d get enough orders to cover my costs and not so many that I’d run out of product.

This weeks tip is in response to an email I got from my buddy Stu Peters up on Ontario, Canada. First of all, here’s what Stu wrote me …

“Say I really enjoy reading your tips on Steel Guitar, great material. Up here in Ontario in my area there isn’t many places left to play anymore. The clubs are watched by police so it has scared a lot of patrons off from attending and also musicians as well so people that have the room have created what you call small Jamborees where they have open stage … you’ve heard of that I am sure, now, to play much now it is either go and play for nothing to keep in practice or just sit home and let dust settle in. A lot of people write their own material so you are kind of lost backing them up … what would be a good approach to working with these type of song writers in order to not feel your lost all the time? You probably never hear the song again.  Have you ever had the feeling that if they are not very good that they drag you right down to their level of playing??? How do you recover in order to make the best of the situations???? Is the answer to stay away or keep steelin?????

Thanks for all the wonderful tips ….I wished you were closer to my area, I would sure enjoy going out to see you play …..Stu Peters …..Ontario Canada”

Thanks for the email Stu. Now here’s the way I feel about it …

Definitely keep steelin’. The new singers and writers that are writing their own material that you will only play one time … you don’t really need to worry about it that much because you’re only playing it one time, however, it is the responsibility of the singer to furnish a chord chart written out in numbers or letters in the correct key to all musicians that will be backing them up. Again, it is their responsibility if they expect quality backup to do one of three things …

… letter charts

… number charts

… or rehearsal (preferably paid rehearsal)

It is very inconsiderate for a singer or songwriter to just assume the band can get by just following them.

When it comes to working with musicians that are nowhere as good as you are … and we all know we have been in these situations … NO, you cannot play anywhere near your peak abilities when working with a band where at every chord change, every member goes to a different chord and everybody is playing a totally different volume than what they should be, or everyone is preoccupied trying to impress their family members or picking up one of the waitresses working in the club etc. Is this situation uncommon? No. It seems like most players and bands are more interested in the perks of the job than they are in doing a good job. The best you’re going to be able to play is when the band itself is doing a great job … when everybody is trying to play as a team and not a bunch of individuals on the stage. It’s hard to play any better than the musicians around you. It may even be said that a band is no stronger than it’s weakest member.

Sometimes when I get into these situations … as we all do … I do what I’ve seen Buddy Emmons do … don’t fight it. Don’t play twice as loud trying to guide everybody through … it doesn’t work. I’ve seen Buddy just take a deep breath, lean back on his pack-a-seat, fold his arms, look at the rest of the band and just smile. There’s no way you can teach them on the bandstand. With the band going in different directions all around you, when you do play, just concentrate real hard, don’t follow anybody, but do play the song correctly the way you would if the band were perfect.

Your buddy,


P.S. For anybody within driving distance, I’ll be performing at the Eagles Lodge in Columbia, IN. on July 27th at 2:00 P.M. and you can email me for directions. Tickets are $7. at the door.

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