Bands are a prime source of inspiration for many guitar players out there, both young and old.
As your guitar skills progress, it is often a logical step to start thinking about forming a band, especially if you know people who have some musical flair as well. So how does one start a band?
There is no set way to start a band, as bands like The Killers, U2, and Hanson, have all proved.
You can start a successful band in a variety of different ways
Putting an ad in a newspaper
Playing with your mates
Getting the family involved!
However, all good bands have one thing in common -- a solid foundation.
Creating a solid foundation for your band is important to prevent structural failure (commonly known as splitting up!) down the track.
Continual success for the band (whether you judge that by the amount of gigs you play, the enjoyment you get out of jam sessions, or the amount of hits on your website) is largely dependent on getting all the components right from the start. This is the foundation.
Building on a faulty foundation will produce a shaky structure at best. It is therefore wise to iron out even the smallest issues in the band from the very beginning. Here are a few tips to getting a band started and building a solid foundation.
The first components to think about are the people, the music, and the instruments.
They all need to meld together seamlessly for your band to get off the ground. Decide what music you would like to play, decide on the people you would like in the band, and know what instruments those people play. Difficulties will arise if the people in the band don't want to play similar music, or you wind up with three drummers and no vocalist, or if you all have different ideas.
Talk in depth with the people you would like involved in the project. Once you have that sorted, do you have the minimal instrumental requirements for a band? The basic band will have a vocalist, a guitarist, a bassist, and a drummer. At the very least, do you have these covered? When you have the right people, and have sorted out their roles, it's time for a jam session.
The jam session is where creative difference, individual playing styles, and personal thought processes will become apparent. It will also be one of the most crucial times for the band, as differences of opinion frequently arise. Be patient! Your first jam session could be difficult as you learn each others styles and habits. Take notes on the events of the jam session. Also allow solo time for each individual member, letting them voice their thoughts as well.
Finally, you need to open up channels of communication between band members now! Band members should have the opportunity to express their thoughts on the other members playing styles, as well as the general direction of the band, and the music that the band is playing. It will be impossible to survive if you take each others advice and suggestions as criticism. Don't site Oasis as a reason to continually feud. It is only a very special kind of relationship that can turn feuding into productivity!
When the band feels harmonious, and the jam sessions are going well, it is time to belt out some tunes.
Avoid doing original material first! Producing original material is a complex task at the best of times. It should not be attempted immediately by a fresh band. Instead, get a list of five simple cover songs that everyone in the band likes. Get band members to write a list of five simple songs on a piece of paper. From each list, allow the band to vote on one song to play. Everyone will then have a song from their list, and everyone will be happy with the songs chosen.
Finally, take it one song at a time. Allow plenty of time to get a song right. If one is clearly not working, move on or leave it for another day. But be prepared to put what you learnt in your jam sessions to good use. Take notes, keep communication lines open, make suggestions. You're band should now be well on it's way to belting out some solid tunes... you're thinking about performing live now right?