What does it take to find the right people?


If you remember the stint I had here last year wanting to know how to form a serious band, then you know that I've had virtually no success at getting myself into the band world. I'm now 25 years old, and while that's still pretty young, I'm getting very frustrated and let down with how things have gone for me regarding music for the past.....well, all my life.

For those who remember me, you should know that I eventually gave up and just dropped music altogether. The feeling I had at the time was pretty much the same feeling I've had with women all my life. I never can find or meet any, they never are interested when I do, and nothing I try ever seems to work.

So..... I'm here to try to explore possibilities as to why I usually never seem to find what I'm looking for.

As said earlier, I liken my lack of finding the right people to my lack of being able to find a girlfriend. I look around at all these other bands in the same way I look at couples. I just think to myself, "how do these people find other people?" Where do they go? What do they do? What knowledge or abilities do they have that I don't? I see people break up from relationships, then they're with someone else the very next day. I think, "how do these people do this?" It seems like everyone else in the world but me has this ability. Its seems to be the same with bands. I also see people playing in bands that are very different from popular genres that all seem to have found each other and formed a successful band wherein all members are equally dedicated. I'm just not sure how that works. I'll probably never know.

One thing I'm sure many of you will point out is that I need to stop being selfish and only focusing on my style, and what I want to play. Perhaps I should cave a little bit and adapt to the styles of others. Be more open. The only thing I can say to this is that the contrast in styles that I find most common in the people I encounter is virtually always irreconcilable. No one my age really shares the same stylistic trajectories.

Perhaps another reason is my lack of experience. I have almost no band experience, despite being a pretty technically skilled and advanced player. The big dilemma for me here has always been that I live in the rural parts and there is virtually no community of musicians where I live other than church bands and gospel type stuff. Since I don't attend church or play gospel, there's really no options for me here.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I have many misgivings about the whole band endeavor. It always seems to be a steep uphill battle for me that I can never make ground on, and everything seems like a pipe dream. Having a band, gigging, and being somewhat successful in making things come together seems like an esoteric thing that I seem to not have access to, but everyone else seems to be able to find what they're looking for and get decent results.

I'm not sure what to do at this point. I still have the desire to play if I could find a good path to get on and pursue it, but like everything else in my life, nothing ever seems to come together.

Remember that I'm trying to form an original band, not join a "working band" or cover band.

This frustration and failure I'm experiencing has to be balanced with triumphs and successes every now and then, but I've had none. I've gotten nowhere since I began playing guitar at age 13. I'm just not sure what to do. It doesn't seem like young guys really have this kind of determination or spark anymore. There are no aspiring rock stars. And the ones who do are of a hipsterish variety of "rock" music does not even remotely appeal to me.

My entire life has been one big vicious cycle of having instances of determination and drive, to complete burnout and throwing in the towel. Each time, nothing is ever gained, I always remain exactly where I started, if not further set back.

What do I do? Just give up, sell out, and face facts? Or, just give up, sell out, and face facts?

(Please also note that I'm not talking about forming a world-famous band). I'm just talking about forming a band of dedicated, like-minded players of similar age who gig, record albums, sell some of them, have a small to medium fan base, and enjoy some decent success and reward as a band. (Some of you will probably still tell me that setting hopes too high)


If you're in a rural area with few like-minded musicians...there's your dilemma. It sounds to me like you're looking to have your cake and eat it too....which is highly unlikely.

If you want to meet musicians, you need to put yourself in an environment where musicians are available....which may require relocation. If relocation isn't an option or if you're unwilling to take that step....then you'll have to resign yourself to the fact that no musicians are available. It's not a matter of what you want or don't want....that's just how it is.

If you want to work with other musicians, it's up to you to seek them out. They're not gonna come to you.


Yeah, relocate. If not an option, then work with what's around you. If that's Church/Gospel only, then do that. You'll be interacting and play in an ensemble. And Gospel kicks. I'll tell you that. You might also find some of those cats might want to do other stuff too.


Silver Supporting Member
If you want to play with other musicians you have to be where musicians congregate. Mostly that's in sizable cities unless, like me, you happen to live in a rural area that is a magnet for musicians and artists. Plenty of wonderful musicians come from rural areas but few formed their bands there. Likewise with partners. If you're picky, you need to be where lots of young people congregate. Either that, or hang out where people share your interests. You've given an example of one place where people don't share your interests. So you know that if you did want to play gospel music you'd go to church. Well, it's the same with secular music and girlfriends.


It may be part of your personality to seek an egalitarian, democratic arrangement - an open mind and a lack of (perceived) ego can be admirable qualities.

We've all heard nightmare stories about band leaders, frontmen, songwriters, etc. but on the other side of the coin a band that has a demanding, exacting individual with a vision (although I hate that term) will often be propelled by his determination and energy.

But...most people are followers by nature or conditioning. They are also lazy - they want to know the lay of the land before they lift a finger. Spell out exactly what you want and make it clear from the start what will be expected and you may be surprised at the volume and sincerity of the responses.


The problem, as someone else said is, you live in a rural area with few choices. You'd have a lot better chance of finding people if you were closer to a more urban/suburban, well populated environment, or were at least willing to travel.


I agree with those say it is mainly about location. I am in a fairly small city myself. The problem with a city of only approx 130,000 people in a North Carolina beach community is you'll find very little support for Blues music no matter how talented you are or how great the band sounds. I'm looking at transfers with my job just to get into a better place for me even if I end up playing 2x per month.
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If you want to make music, just get on with writing songs and recording. Once you get some music done then get it online.

That said, the second thing I would say is from personal experience, you are better to play in a bar band getting some experience than not playing in a band at all. Everyone starts green as grass playing on stage even in dive bars or punk basement shows or open mike night. You got to get used to it, some people it comes natural and some people it might take a few times to get comfortable playing in front of people.


Gold Supporting Member
It can all start with meeting just one person. I've known various people who are social and musical ringleaders who just seem to know everyone. Meet one of those and you may meet a lot of people through them.

Get out of the house.
Go to open mics.
Talk to other players.
Talk to other non-players (maybe they know a friend who...).
Go see local bands and talk to the players.

Be willing to compromise musically and don't expect to have all of your needs satisfied by any playing situation.

Be willing to play in a duo backing up a singer.

Be willing to wade through the incompatible people to eventually meet the more compatible people.

-bEn r.
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Gold Supporting Member
I'm in your same position. I've even been called back for a second audition and turned it down due to it being the wrong people and music.

2017 I'm setting all of my goals to be music related. I've also decided to pursue my own recordings and musical growth, with the idea that if I write some decent material it will be easier to have a practice with formulated material.

Most common people I have met:
Solo acoustic singer/songwriter....not willing to adapt style/instruments for electric band.
Professional musicians who are looking for paid gigs and money
Classic Rock Grandpas
People who flake out at the last second
People who think band practice/jam sessions are happy hour and couldn't explain a secondary dominant if you threw it in their face.

Marc Roy

Finding the right mix of people to be able to work with long term is, in my experience, like winning the lottery. I've been playing a long time and I'm still looking :(


I've been in the same predicament for a long time. Given that I refuse to be part of a top 40, tired (and overdone) standards, bro country playin' bar band, my options are few and far between it seems. I know there are people who are into the old school stuff in my area, I just have to find them...:bonk

Come to think of it, I may have better luck buying lottery tickets.


The big dilemma for me here has always been that I live in the rural parts

This sounds like the main problem. Nothing wrong with living in a rural area, but they usually don't have the population density to support a lively music scene. If you are really desperate to be in a band, move to a city. If you're a decent musician and person, you should be able to find something in any major city.

FWIW, I don't think that everyone needs to find a band to enjoy playing music. I haven't played in a band in quite a few years, and I don't miss it. I'm happy to write songs and record them on my own.
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Silver Supporting Member
You gotta put yourself out there and be a likable person to boot. Someone that people will want to call back for more. I've never been without a band since 1996 and never been single for more than a few weeks for even longer. I'm not saying you aren't likable (I don't a thing about you) but to stand out you need to be a stand up dude (or dudette), someone competent, good at what they do, team player, and easy to work with. Chances are you will probably have to go through a lot of people to find what's right for you too (bands and relationships!) and that is hard to do in a rural area.



I have been in bands consistently since I was 15. Longest gap maybe 5 months when I moved regions. That has not been easy and has taken courage to know when to move on when to recognize you ain't gonna work out.

Be clear up front when looking on things like
-compatibility of personalities
-music style obviously
-prohibited lyrical topics - e.g. misogyny, political
-art style (I once had a falling out with someone that grew to being turned off by my horror themed art (actually and lyrics)
-frequency of practicing and gigs
-practice and gig expectations (e.g. learn your parts before you come, drinking, drugs)
-knowledge & skill level (do they need to know theory, read music?)
-adequate gear investment
-recording/marketing philosophy - DIY, paying people
-control of money/divisions of sales/gig $

I've auditioned people who were very tempting due to their skills or personality who just don't check all the other boxes. You just have to be nice and candid.

I had a checklist for dating too but it was shorter
-not too crazy
-can carry on conversation

Come to think of it, how short my list was may have been more why I have not often been single.


Platinum Supporting Member
Bands are complex. Finding people who are talented and have good or even great chops is difficult enough. But there are a number of other factors such as having a good work ethic, having a professional attitude, being a good team player, being dependable, having reliable transportation, having reliable gear that is appropriate to the music being played, flexibility, dedication, alignment with the overall goals of the band, being free from alcohol and substance abuse problems, not being an egomaniac, not having mental health issues or physical health issues that would impede the person’s ability to be in a band, having sufficient time to rehearse and gig, not having personal drama issues with a spouse or a significant other, etc. And there is also the issue of the interpersonal relationship of the band members. It often takes quite a while to find people who have the right combination musical skills and all of the other attributes of a good bandmate. Some ways of meeting people include Craigslist, Bandmix and going to lots of open mics and talking with other musicians. I’ve met people through all of these sources and have started bands with some of them. Have business cards printed with you contact information including your name, email address, phone number and what instrument(s) you play to make it easier for musicians you meet to get in touch with you. And make sure you have a few recordings of your playing on a site like Soundcloud, and better yet a few videos on YouTube. And put the links to those sites on your business card. If you don't have original songs to record get some backing tracks from Bobby's Backing Tracks and jam to them. You can get inexpensive custom business cards from Vistaprint. Use a clean looking non-serif font like Arial or Helvetica, use a white background and include a picture of a guitar to help visually reinforce the fact that you're a guitarist and not a bassist, drummer, etc.

Doing original music comes with its own set of challenges. The starting point for most bands is doing bar gigs, and most bars want bands that have a good draw of followers. You’re more likely to get that with a cover band than a band the only plays original music. One way to approach it is to start with a mix of covers and a few originals and then over time increase the number of original songs in your repertoire. Another approach is to start making friends with the band members of original bands in your area. Ask them if your band could open for them, or be added to a show with multiple bands that do original material. If your band is good enough you’ll move up the food chain in the hierarchy of local bands and start getting more/better gigs. Consider doing a “multipurpose band”. One band I was in played weddings and corporate events under one name and did blues gigs with mostly original material under a different name with the same exact personnel. The wedding band made money, the blues band was way more fun and musically satisfying.

Often just being able to play guitar isn’t enough. If you can sing that’s a strong plus. If you have a passable voice that needs some work get a good vocal coach who is experienced with the type of music you’re interested in. There is a very good blues musician in the area I live in who is an excellent guitarist and used to be a weak singer. I’ve heard him perform many times and working with a coach has significantly improved his singing. A strong plus for him was that he was featured in a 13 page story about working with his coach in the Washington Post Sunday Magazine, which has over 800,000 readers. If you have other useable skills make sure your potential bandmates know about them. Can you create and maintain websites and social media pages? Do you have a great ear and are able to quickly do accurate transcriptions? Do you know enough music theory to write out charts for a band? Can you draw eye-catching posters for advertising gigs? Think about what else you bring to the table and use those positive attributes to market yourself. And accept that there will be lots of train wrecks, failures and disappointments along the way. To be successful in the music business you have to have a combination of talent, ambition and determination. To make it work you have to be the one who makes it happen.
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