Solo or duo acoustic gigs?

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by cantstoplt021, Apr 6, 2015.

  1. cantstoplt021

    cantstoplt021 Member

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    Anyone play solo or duo acoustic gigs? I'm looking to find something to do this summer job wise and someone gave me the idea of trying to play solo guitar for a couple hours at a restaurant or cafe. Fortunately I don't need to make a lot of money and instead of standing around at a clothing store I could probably make just as much playing for a few hours at a restaurant during brunch. Since I'm not a famous guitarist or anything I could charge a very modest rate. 10-15 an hour at first maybe?

    The person who suggested this isn't a musician so I'm not sure how realistic this is or what's out there. Anyone do these types of gigs? Are there a good amount out there (location depending of course)?

    I would need to learn a bunch more tunes though. While I have the skill to play solo for a set or two I don't have the repertoire (yet).

    Just curious
     
  2. swiveltung

    swiveltung Member

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    You should be able to get $100-$150 if your skill level is good. You will need a small PA system to sing thru and put your guitar in. With a tip jar you could make up to double that total. Duo, probably 150-200
     
  3. tiktok

    tiktok Supporting Member

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    Based on the last 15 years in Seattle:

    It's very rare these days that I eat in a restaurant and there's a duo or solo in the corner. The one that I can think of is $75/plate, and it's a jazz duo--either guitar/bass or two guitars, and they've had that gig locked in for years.

    Even cafe music is rare these days, and it's at most, $50 for the evening. People also aren't prone to tip quiet music in the corner to any great degree. Until about 2006, things were much better.
     
  4. Brooks

    Brooks Member

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    i have a duo, we've played on & off for 13 years. we do three or four 45 min sets and make $200 to $300.
    its a lot of work in the beginning, but after a few years when you have a repitoire, its easy & fun.

     
  5. stephenwz968

    stephenwz968 Supporting Member

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    I play in a duo (keys/guitar/vocal) and we bring in between $125-150 for a 3 hour gig in the evening (after dinner). You need a decent PA system to make sure you can support the instruments and vocals.
     
  6. derekd

    derekd Supporting Member

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    I played solo jazz gigs for about 5 years. Had a steady Friday night Asian restaurant for 4 of those years, the rest were coffee houses, various types of restaurants and private parties.

    Anywhere from $50-$150 per night for 2-3 hours of work + tip jar. I'd always get fed on the restaurant gigs. Kept a rep of about 40 tunes worked up. I always considered it paid practice. Good luck
     
  7. Brooks

    Brooks Member

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    i have recently been doing a 2 hour solo jazz gig at a local italian place. they give me $40 and a -$50 food/drink tab for me & my wife or my parents (it was actually my mom who got me the gig, i wasn't looking to do something alone). i chord some easy jazz stuff (miles/monk/brubeck/blues) thru a looper and play over it. its fun, and has forced me to learn a few new tunes in that genre.
     
  8. buddaman71

    buddaman71 Student of Life Silver Supporting Member

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    Ditto for me. My bandmate and I both typically charge $150-$175/ea for local 3 hr bar/pub shows. (A bit less is they have good house PA, but most places around here don't.)Lots of times we both book separate solo shows on wed/Thursday nights and more duo shows at $300-350 on fri/sat nights. We've done that for 7 years now and it keeps us as busy as we want to be.
     
  9. ZeyerGTR

    ZeyerGTR Supporting Member

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    My wife and I used to do a lot of acoustic duo gigs - it was great. Easy setup and tear down, easy to schedule rehearsal time, no hassles, and generally our gigs were at earlier, more fixed times. We each had an amp for acoustic guitar + vocals (Carvin AG100D and Peavy ECoustic). Two acoustic guitars, I played electric bass on some numbers, and occasionally I'd bring my resonator and mic it.

    Setlist was probably 70% originals, 30% covers but if we wanted to gig more we'd probably have switched that around. Mix of acoustic rock, blues, folk and country stuff.

    This was >10 years ago, but we used to get $50 each (or $100 gift certificate) for Borders when we played there (unfortunately they stopped booking music around 2003). We did a lot of farmers markets, too. I forget how much we usually got, I think around $50/each, plus selling CDs. Not bad for mostly original music where we didn't have to bring a crowd.

    We hardly ever played restaurants, can't offer much there. My wife used to play in a group that did a Sunday brunch at a fancy restaurant every week - they did all covers of popular 60s stuff - and I think they did pretty well.
     
  10. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

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    I recommend duo with an attractive female lead. We do 3-4 hours, drink for free or close to it, make $125-150/per and promote my full band by keeping the name out there, inviting fellow musicians (and crowd participation), etc... It's actually a blast and can be s great challenge to get and keep a crowd entertained in a small configuration. It also makes you approach the instrument differently and gets your rhythm chops up.
    At this point I rotate 3 lead singers depending upon availability and I could do at least 50% of my gigs this way. I'm actually contemplating slowing down full band and doing more duo work. Easier to book and less stress.
     
  11. dez

    dez Member

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    My friend and I do maybe 10 acoustic duo gigs a year. We have a great time whether at restaurants, parties or wherever...

     
  12. shredtrash

    shredtrash Supporting Member

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    I do a ton of duo gigs with occasional solo gigs thrown in. We do a variety of venues (casinos, restaurants, bars, brewpubs, museums, libraries, festivals, weddings, etc.) and the money is really good. We have about a 300 song repertoire and it's continually growing. Lots of musical freedom. You may not go back to bands if you start playing solo or duo gigs. It's a blast!
     
  13. DavidE

    DavidE Member

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    Anyplace worth playing is already booked through the summer.

     

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