Anyone ever busk?

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by William Bohensky, Dec 7, 2017.


  1. William Bohensky

    William Bohensky Member

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    I was wondering if anyone here has ever been a busker and what kind of experiences they have had. Thanks.
     
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  2. guitfiddle

    guitfiddle Member

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    I did it a couple of times...me on guitar and a friend on clawhammer banjo. We had about 6 tunes, and by the time we finished the 6th one, there was a whole new crowd, so we'd start the list over again. We made enough to get lunch and a couple of beers each, and it was fun, too.
     
  3. Little_Wing

    Little_Wing Member

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    I often think about it but I don't have a car so there's the problem of moving my gear.

    I've been looking at this lately.
     
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  4. sixty2strat

    sixty2strat Member

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    Did it one summer about 15 years ago. City of Phila. South St business Association paid me 50.00 to play from 12-4 on a Saturday and Sunday. I made between 15 and 35 buck n tips. Got my Acoustic playing real sharp, I could take a tune like black bird and go off on an imprve in G the ncome back to the tune. played all kinds of stuff Jazz folk blues n rock. I had a battery amp as it was too loud on a modern city st.
     
  5. William Bohensky

    William Bohensky Member

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    Pretty cool Little_Wing. That is a really nice portable rig. Opens up a lot of possibilities. Thanks.
     
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  6. ned7flat5

    ned7flat5 Member

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    I've been backing a sax player for the past year or so at a weekend market...it's a practical way to get your accompanying chops together - I basically learned how to do walking bass lines over jazz standards "on the job" mostly out of necessity, discovered the virtues of "less is more" in soloing and I get to try out chord substitution concepts I work on during the week to keep things interesting.

    The passing parade of people can be fun to watch - one quickly spots the players - there's often someone standing back watching a bit "too closely". It's an "arty market" which attracts a few pro musicians, presumably on their day off - most of whom I either don't know nor recognize. The sax player sometimes says in reverential tones "did you see so-and so listening to us? He's a really good (insert instrument here) player - he plays with so-and so"....

    Under those conditions, it's a way to get hardened to public performance albeit in an informal setting and being comfortable with what you are capable of doing. The wider public are very forgiving. Although I've seen a couple of people stop - watch - go "pffftt! and walk off. No big deal.

    It's also interesting to observe people filming your playing on their phone - that was a little unnerving at the start but not anymore.....

    The smallest banknote in Australian currency is $5....a lot of people tip with those.

    Then, on the downside, there's also a cyclical inconvenience of "market politics" and turf wars - usually instigated by some disaffected busker over some perceived slight or other.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
  7. tedm

    tedm Gold Supporting Member

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    I did once.
     
  8. slybird

    slybird Member

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    A couple times. Auditioned for the MTA once, didn't make the cut.
     
  9. TVvoodoo

    TVvoodoo Mad Strappier Silver Supporting Member

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    In front of a liquor store on payday Friday several times in the 90's, Guitar and harp.

    A great way to kill performance anxiety. Got a $50 dollar bill from a fellow when he heard me playing Farewell to Nova Scotia - he was homesick I guess (this was in the far West of Canada).
     
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  10. IGuitUpIGuitDown

    IGuitUpIGuitDown Member

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    Hear
  11. VintageKnob

    VintageKnob Supporting Member

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    Sometime about 1979 I was living in Berkeley, CA and I was board waiting for the evening to come and rehearsal to start, so I took my '57 Martin and stood near a bank ATM. Back in those days people would stand in line out on the street waiting to do their thing. So I had a captive audience of about 15 to 20 people. I got some pretty good tips that day. Only did it once, it was pretty fun.

    - D
     
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  12. mannish

    mannish Supporting Member

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    Not long term. In Helena Arkansas after playing the fest me & harp player set up with a vendor who had electricity - had a blast drew a good crowd, I'll always remember a guy threw his pocket knife in my case saying he didn't really have any money - Doug MacLeod who stole the show at the fest, came sat around with us - don't recall if he played...Then we moved to our van in parking area, Doug payed and sang was outstanding evening. Playing on the street in Helena was more fun than playing the fest

    I have set up in Memphis and Nashville neither was really memorable
     
  13. scelerat

    scelerat Silver Supporting Member

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    Did a little bit in my late teens with a buddy in LA and Santa Monica, mostly around Pershing Square, Macarthur Park, UCLA, and 3rd Street. Never had a problem, made a little spending cash for dinner later.

    Set up on Colorado blvd in Pasadena around christmas or new years), got harassed by some cops. They asked us to stop playing, I made a joke about "somebody doesn't have the holiday spirit (we were playing some christmas songs at the time), and that pissed them off good. One of them tried to grab my acoustic, the guitar went flying and the headstock snapped off. We left and were tailed by a Pasadena police car for several blocks as we walked back to our car. They just sat and watched us until we left. We were too spooked to file a complaint; figured they could do whatever they wanted to us, and we didn't have a badge number or any real evidence.
     
  14. Pablomago

    Pablomago Member

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    I used to do it at an annual street fair in Tucson. I played musical saw. One of the vendors didn't like it and threw a quarter in my basket and told me to go play somewhere else. I had my location set by the fair officials, so he had to suck it up.

    Another time I played in San Francisco. I was just doing it to do it and didn't expect tips, but made enough to cover my gas money and lunch.

    I thought that was the venue's responsibility.
     
  15. Bluzeboy

    Bluzeboy Gold Supporting Member

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    I did a few times in Kings Cross station. Was, hmmm, interesting. Didn’t end well for me.
     
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  16. Alder Statesman

    Alder Statesman Member

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    Very competitve business in Asheville. Better bring some chops.

     
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  17. micycle

    micycle Member

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    I did a few times in the NYC subways a couple of years ago. It feels so weird and naked to just set up in the middle of wherever you end up and start playing.. Not a big fan of doing it but at least I can say I did it and cross it off the bucket list!
     
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  18. semi-hollowbody

    semi-hollowbody Member

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    yes before I knew how to play
    lol
    friend showed me a couple chords on his acoustic and I strummed while he played harmonica...we did this outside of the $1.00 movie when the movie let out
    along with a ton of ticket stubs we usualy had enough cash to see the next flick and get some popcorn...we never played anything of substance lol

    it did motivate me to want to learn to play
     
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