The Basement, Garage or Woodsheding… the Musical Beginning

Gloria the musical beginning on the turntableGloria the musical beginning… 3 chords for hours with a friend on drums. We were just learning. Hoping to move from chord to chord trying to make it smooth.

That’s what I and thousands of young teens were doing in the late 60’s.

Then we added “For Your Love” by the Yardbirds and just learning key riffs like “Sunshine of Your Love” and “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida”… we would play these over and over.

My first amp was an old hifi amplifier I found at the end of a neighborhood drive way. Then I took an old living room end table (another drive way) and nailed some wood I found on a construction sight to make a speaker cabinet. Guess where I found the speaker!

So with my custom DIY amp, and a friend with real drums, Sister Mary Vincent let us use the convents breeze way to play. What a gas… we played “Steppin’ Stone” by the Monkees for hours!

This song had 4 chords now and easy fingering on a guitar for a beginner.

There was no youtube, no “How to play like (artist of your choice)” DVD’s, no tabs,… just our ears and whatever anyone else would share with you.

If you didn’t learn how to figure things out by ear, watching others and noticing patterns that repeated in certain songs to another… well it was going to be painful to try and play with others.

So how did we get the words to the songs?

Well, if you have 4 band members you play the song and member 1 writes down line 1, member 2 writes line 2, and so on. Once line 5 comes along member 1 writes that, and etc.

Once the record finished we cut and pasted (with glue) on a new piece of paper.

This then was our lyric sheet. (We did not have access to a photo copier either!).

Primitive, but it did the job.


Striving To Be The Best One Man Band

When you are striving to be the best one man band, you need to build on each performance. (This is also referring to the best one woman band)

one man band
Not exactly what we had in mind…

First you have to research just what a one man band is or what are people looking for when they hire a one man band.

Are they looking for ambiant music? Music to party? or some variation there of?

You will need the right gear to go it alone.

PA (sound system)- If you are just doing ambiant style, a smaller pa will probably do. If you are doing the party/dance style gig a bigger efficiently powerful enough amp will be required.

Music Amplifier – If you are using a guitar, keyboard and/or drum machine you may not want to put everything through your PA. I prefer this as I can adjust the volume and crunch of my Chapman Stick without effecting the vocal sound.

Microphone – A good unidirectional or cardiode mic is best… you get less feed back.

Your instrumnet(s) – I use a Chapman Stick, some percussion and a drum machine. I like to have easy to get to volume control for each instrument.

Optional Looper – I use a looper, not to layer several instruments, but to create a drum/percussion groove to play over.

Now once you have all the gear it is time to get to work…

Repertoire, song lists, learning the songs, rehearse with the gear and making useful arrangements.

But that will be the next time.