Pcad's Open Mic Night Chronicles: Plugged In

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by patentcad, Feb 14, 2012.

  1. patentcad

    patentcad Member

    Messages:
    9,429
    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2003
    Location:
    Chester, NY
    So I go down to the blues jam tonight at a local bar (as local as it gets here, maybe 20 miles away). The short version: I sucked, I couldn't hear my guitar, the host wasn't all that cooperative about helping me get my guitar to sound good through his Fender Blues amp. But I didn't care. It was friggin GREAT.

    Why? A few reasons. I was 10x less self conscious up there with another guitar player, a drummer and a bassist than alone @ the acoustic open mic night. And I really enjoyed having a rhythm section and playing with other musicians. I don't think I've ever done that before, or in a very long time. After a few bars I realized that the audience wasn't my concern, anybody who comes to an open mic night deserves what they get : ).

    Anyway, yeah, the host was a bit silly. Right before I start, he actually says to me 'I want some pro playing up here tonight, no pointless jams', I just looked at him and said 'it's open mic blues jam at the Airport Inn, good luck with that' to which he had no retort, it was really one of the dumbest things anyone has ever said to me, my guitar teacher Dan (who I was up there) looked at each other and almost cracked up.

    At any rate, I don't have a lot of experience with this, but apparently this host is a bit persnickety (that's what a few people there were saying), he doesn't want you setting up your own amp (apparently other open mic hosts will help you and don't mind, what do I know), but the sound I had happening tonight was thin and useless, I couldn't hear my own guitar on the friggin stage playing leads so the audience couldn't hear it so well either, which is not all bad all things considered. I told the host before we started, he did nothing. When I told the host this again afterwards, he told me the band was too 'loud'. Uh-huh. Oh well. So it goes.

    I came away feeling like I can play with these dudes, I just have to get more comfortable in a jam setting, be able to hear myself, etc. I sang and played rhythm too, the vocals sounded fine (good stage monitor), and the rhythm guitar was louder. It really was a blast playing with the impromptu band. New for me.

    Hey, I went there so petrified I wanted to turn around and go home. I finished the night not giving a flying fark what anybody thought and wanting to come back and play again. I'm going to a different open mic blues jam with Dan (my teacher) tomorrow night. And that's how I'll get better. That's the plan. I'll let you know how it works out.
     
  2. GAD

    GAD Wubbalubbadubdub Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    14,323
    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    Location:
    NJ
    Congratulations! You're doing it right! :beer
     
  3. patentcad

    patentcad Member

    Messages:
    9,429
    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2003
    Location:
    Chester, NY
    It really was Big Fun. Totally less nerve shattering than solo acoustic open mic. But it will make me be less fearful of playing there too. That's my problem. I generally don't give a flying fark what people think, but I have too much ego tied up in what others think of my playing/singing. Which is stupid because I'm not exactly Mr. Talent, and I realize this.

    It's complicated. But it's not. All I want to do is have fun playing and get a little better, so getting over this fear of playing in front of people is something I want to get over, and tonight was a huge step towards that.

    It's a hobby for me for crissake. I know I'll never be great. Yet here I am worried that I'm not good enough. I mean, go figure.
     
  4. OM Flyer

    OM Flyer Member

    Messages:
    3,482
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    Location:
    An island of blue in a sea of red
    Hell yes, and good on ya for getting out there and doing it!
     
  5. Pax

    Pax Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,078
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    Location:
    Florida
    Pcad, I love keeping up with your guitar playing journey. What songs did you play? Congrats!

    Hey, my 1000 post! Is that a good thing?
     
  6. patentcad

    patentcad Member

    Messages:
    9,429
    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2003
    Location:
    Chester, NY
    Thanks. We just did a few A blues numbers: Thrill is Gone, Stormy Monday, a straight A blues jam, then he wanted to play 'Higher Ground' in E, I don't know the chords (there are a few) and I just tried to play lead over that, but since I couldn't hear my own guitar that was a challenge : ).

    Hey, we'll work up a bunch of songs in other keys now, I just wanted to get my feet wet. Now I'm not so traumatized, I'm actually looking forward to going again tomorrow night @ a different bar.

    I know I can get there, this is a start. When I listen to the other players at these blues jams, I really don't think I hear anybody so far who really blows me off the stage, they're just all more comfortable playing up there. So as awful as it was tonight, it really was rather encouraging. I don't look at it competitively at all, I just feel more confident that I can get up there make a decent showing eventually. I know I can get to the sound I have in my head, every now and then @ home I reach it for 30 second stretches. I've only been back playing for a couple of months. It's coming along.

    I really like playing rhythm and singing, that's a blast.

    But this is how I'll improve: working on different songs/lead/rhythm, different keys, knowing I have to play out in front of people and with other musicians, that's a HUGE motivator to practice hard and get on top of the material.
     
  7. patentcad

    patentcad Member

    Messages:
    9,429
    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2003
    Location:
    Chester, NY
    Depends.
     
  8. TheCount0212

    TheCount0212 Member

    Messages:
    793
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2011
    Nice job. Keep it up.
    You're inspiring me. Haven't been to a blues jam in 10 years (stopped playing for 7 of 'em, too busy changing diapers). Been honing my chops and preparing to go back out sometime soon.
    Too bad the guy was a jerk. Funny how he wanted "pro playing" but didn't give a sh!t about how it sounded. Hopefully you'll find one you like better that may (hopefully for you) even be closer.
    So.. gotta ask.. which axe did you bring for your maiden voyage?
     
  9. patentcad

    patentcad Member

    Messages:
    9,429
    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2003
    Location:
    Chester, NY
    I know, he really was out there. Hey, I'm grateful if they let me get up there and play at all. I figure dealing with some adversity is part of playing in front of people in the first place, so it didn't rattle me. But it would be nice to be able to hear your own guitar on stage. That was pretty dumb. And he should have heard that from across the room the minute I started playing and helped me with it. I figure that's his job as the m/c of open mic night, particularly since he said I couldn't plug in my own combo amp. But everybody has their own idea of how that's supposed to work I suppose.

    I took the PRS SC-58. That has become my favorite guitar. And I already chipped the headstock, so it's perfect.

    [​IMG]

    It's an amazing axe. Looks great, plays better, sounds killer.
     
  10. corn husk bag

    corn husk bag Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,121
    Joined:
    May 14, 2008
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest (Washington)
    Cool, you are on your way! Maybe the Les Paul will cut through the mustard better? But it probably doesn't have a chip yet!

    Kind Regards,
    Steve
     
  11. patentcad

    patentcad Member

    Messages:
    9,429
    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2003
    Location:
    Chester, NY
    The guitar volume problem was all because of this Blues Junior. Again, could have just been adjusted wrong, the host didn't help me at all. I was trying to turn it up while I was playing but nothing worked. I also asked him if I could get a high gain sound out of it, so he points at his pedals on the floor. First he punches one button, sounds the same to me. Then he punches the second, sounds a TINY bit dirty. I ask him if we can get more gain on the tone and he says to me 'what are you playing Anthrax?'. I immediately thought of the 27 8x10" glossy color photos of the litter in Alice's Restaurant the blind judge and told him it was fine.

    Anyway, when I get my Egnater out at the blues jam tomorrow night there won't be any mustard cutting issues. But it may melt some sheetrock if I crank it.
     
  12. GAD

    GAD Wubbalubbadubdub Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    14,323
    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    Location:
    NJ
    Are you near NJ? I'd jam with you any day. Well... not on days I'm working, but you get the idea. :)
     
  13. patentcad

    patentcad Member

    Messages:
    9,429
    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2003
    Location:
    Chester, NY
    I'm in Chester NY (southern Orange County), so we're only 30 mins from Mahwah. In fact we are seriously contemplating a move back to Bergen County this year (we're house hunting in Mahwah/Montvale now).
     
  14. TheCount0212

    TheCount0212 Member

    Messages:
    793
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2011
    Maybe I'm lucky but here the ones I've been to always let you play through your own amp. In fact I think it's rude to go to a jam expecting to use someone else's gear. Go figure:huh
     
  15. patentcad

    patentcad Member

    Messages:
    9,429
    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2003
    Location:
    Chester, NY
    I figure it's the host's gig, so it's his rules. If I don't like it I'll find another open mic. This guy played a Telecaster with no gain and he sounded good through his amp, but I prefer a completely different tone.
     
  16. patentcad

    patentcad Member

    Messages:
    9,429
    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2003
    Location:
    Chester, NY
    I do appreciate all the encouraging words. I find music to be a great hobby, it's good for the world in general, and the more people are involved in listening and creating it, the better off we all are. How much better is it for people to be at a local open mic listening to local amateur musicians (and supporting them) than home watching Jersey Shore? Better socially, economically, etc.
     
  17. SteveO

    SteveO Member

    Messages:
    14,942
    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle
    The first time I played guitar in front of a crowd, I was scared out of my wits. It wasn't an open mike, it was a friend's band, and everything was well-rehearsed on their end. I wound up partially hiding behind the other guitarist, and hanging on for dear life in the hopes that I wouldn't screw up too badly.

    After sitting in with them maybe a dozen times, they wound up hiring me full-time as a second guitarist, and we went on to land a house gig that lasted for four years. That gig ended in 1998 and I haven't had the desire to join another working band since, mainly because the chemistry of that band was so good that anything I encountered afterward paled in comparison. However, even though I haven't done it regularly since then, I have long ago lost any twinges of nerves. I have sat in with numerous groups over the past decade or so, and I have never again felt that nervousness like I did those first couple of times.

    Long story short: The more you do it, the easier it gets and the better YOU become as a player. :aok
     
  18. tapeworm

    tapeworm Supporting Member

    Messages:
    7,011
    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2010
    Location:
    El Norte
    If I, the self annointed "Worst Guitar Player on TGP", can go play at the blues jam and enjoy, ANYONE can! Once you learn to just get up there and have fun making music with other people it really changes everything. Most people approach it as "I want to be the best" or "I am afraid to mess up"...Just know up there knowing that you likely ARE going to mess up and more than once. All about having FUN! Glad you enjoyed it!
     
  19. corn husk bag

    corn husk bag Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,121
    Joined:
    May 14, 2008
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest (Washington)
    Yes, I agree completely with this. But I am a Luddite. Have not watched TV since 1971.
    Kind regards,
    Steve
     
  20. pigman

    pigman Member

    Messages:
    178
    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2010
    Classic! Open mics can definitely be unpredictable, but congrats on getting out there and giving it your best. At my first open mic -- at least a dozen years ago -- I was in shock when I wasn't allowed to put my pedals on stage. I felt completely naked.... The MC said, "I just want you to hand me a cable!" So, the next week, I velcroed two pedals to the front of my guitar and handed him a cable.
     

Share This Page