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Fill-in guitarist?

explorer76

Member
Messages
1,687
I've often thought about the notion of offering up my services as a fill-in guitarist. Mainly for local cover bands but I wouldn't necessarily turn down original band gigs either.

If you were to do this: how would you go about charging for this and how much would you charge? What other things would you consider before doing something like this?
 

shark_bite

Member
Messages
5,189
That's really up to you... it depends on how much music you know and how quickly you can sit in. Personally, I don't like to do gigs for less than $150 but if the gig isn't too far and/or the band is cool, or if I have nothing else going on and I feel like I should be playing more, I'd do it for less. The difficult part about this notion is that you can't exactly just post and ad and get work unless you're pretty well known among other guitar players/band leaders who will trust you with their gig. You'll need references, but I've found that it's easiest to get fill in/sub work if you get to know the other guitar players in the bands you'd like to work with. They're more likely to toss your name out that way, assuming they know you can hack it. It's my guess that a CL ad is NOT a good way to go, unless you want to write an ad that nobody will read.

Guitar players are a dime a dozen, so do what it takes to stand out - in a good way.
 

Luke

Senior Member
Messages
11,895
You need to know lots of musicians to network. You can network by playing lots of gigs, watch lots of gigs, work in music store, a studio or teach.

Keep in mind that guitarists asking you to fill in always have to wonder if you will try to replace them, so it is best that you appear uninterested in their band long term.
 

Bankston

Member
Messages
16,142
That's really up to you... it depends on how much music you know and how quickly you can sit in. Personally, I don't like to do gigs for less than $150 but if the gig isn't too far and/or the band is cool, or if I have nothing else going on and I feel like I should be playing more, I'd do it for less. The difficult part about this notion is that you can't exactly just post and ad and get work unless you're pretty well known among other guitar players/band leaders who will trust you with their gig. You'll need references, but I've found that it's easiest to get fill in/sub work if you get to know the other guitar players in the bands you'd like to work with. They're more likely to toss your name out that way, assuming they know you can hack it. It's my guess that a CL ad is NOT a good way to go, unless you want to write an ad that nobody will read.

Guitar players are a dime a dozen, so do what it takes to stand out - in a good way.
Yes, guitar players are a dime a dozen. However, good pro guitarists with reliable gear that can competently pull off a fill-in show for a cover gig are not that easy to find.

I learned that last year when I left my old band and they were looking for someone to replace me.
 

shark_bite

Member
Messages
5,189
Yes, guitar players are a dime a dozen. However, good pro guitarists with reliable gear that can competently pull off a fill-in show for a cover gig are not that easy to find.

I learned that last year when I left my old band and they were looking for someone to replace me.
Yeah... to that end... be ready to be put in compromising situations to get things going. Earlier this year I was called to do a 5-hour casino gig. 50 songs. I had 1 week to learn all the tunes I didn't know and all the different beginnings/endings/transitions for this particular band. Not saying I wouldn't ever do that again, but it was a tall order and I'd only do that again if I knew it was going to result in more regular sub work with a group.

On the other hand, learning all those songs certainly wasn't a bad thing. Came in handy for other fill-in work down the road, for sure.
 

mprvise

Member
Messages
6,404
I agree with Luke. And is there really a demand for this sort of thing where you live?

That said, I'm in two gigging bands and occasionally have conflicts. These days I call a good friend (who I call my stunt double) to fill in for me with one band. At first the other guys in that band were hesitant, but after I brought stunt double out to sit in for a few tunes one night they were like "hell yeah!"

I used to do some fill in work back in college through the union. Got some really fun and insteresting gigs that way.
 

Nick67

Member
Messages
636
I do fill ins on bass. I factor in the following regarding my price(or if I am willing to accept what I am being offered)
1.Travel-distance and time
2. Material--I.E. How much would I have to learn in the alotted time. Usually, I do not have to learn that much new stuff
I enjoy the fill in gig.It is challenging to play with 'strangers" and put on a good gig.Helps keep one on their toes.
 

HHB

Member
Messages
6,641
I'm dying to find a sub, anyone qualified in the Asheville NC area get in touch
 

shredtrash

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
9,934
I used to do it all the time. To get started, try to sit-in with others when you can. Get copies of their set lists and get to know the members. They'll probably want to work with someone that is professional and likable rather than some primadonna that wants to show them up. If they know you can play, even if only 1 member has played with you or seen you play, you can get started pretty easily.

Also, be prepared to adjust on the fly. Sometimes, you'll learn a song only to find the band "doesn't do it that way". Be flexible and have fun!
 

macatt

Member
Messages
1,415
I've done a whole lot of freelance work. Usually I'll get calls from them asking if I'm free. I also turn other guitar players on to gigs that I can't make.
I don't determine the fee. Sometimes I don't even ask how much. It's usually an equal share.

Like others have stated; You have to have experience and be able to be quick and a good faker. I've been playing in bands for many years and have a reputation.
I suggest you go to open jams and network as much as possible. It takes some time but you will wind up working with all the "players" if you stick to it.

S Mac
 

RustyAxe

Member
Messages
3,012
I've got three bass sub gigs coming up in March. Less than 5 miles from the house, two are early Sunday evening, three 45 minute sets, I don't have to take an amp cuz there's one there already, I get a free meal and drinks, and get paid what the regular guy would make ($100).

The downside? It's a classic country band (50's, 60's, 70's). Not my cup o' tea, but then it's REAL easy money. Yes, I am a bass whore. :D
 




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