Busking rig - a few thoughts

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Busking rig - a few thoughts

Postby WeirdOlAndrew » Thu Oct 30, 2008 11:51 pm

I hope some other folks will chime in on this one. I noticed there were some questions about equipment for busking...so here's some thoughts:

First, check out what's legal where you'll be playing. Many areas require permits for street performers, or performances may not be allowed. In some places, New Orleans, for instance, the fines are mutha dog. Many areas allow acoustic only. You might be able to stretch that with a Pignose or a Microcube that isn't turned up too much, but a Roland Cube 60 or a Twin Reverb will get you popped for sure. Volume is a problem, out of doors. Try for a doorway that acts as a megaphone, use a 12 string or a resonator if you can.

Keep it simple. You're out on the street, and it's very real and very random out there. The less gear you have to keep track of, the less likely it is to take a mind to wander. Doesn't hurt to be able to pack up in about 1 1/2 seconds and run, if it comes to that. Children are mindlessly and randomly destructive. A 2 year old doesn't mean to run blindly into your guitar stand, but they do it, and Daddy probably isn't even gonna try to replace your smashed guitar. Likewise, if a number of gentlemen in matching attire carrying various implements of destruction request the loan of your instrument, you gonna lose. Even if you've got your old friend, Mister Browning, along, (and that's a bad idea for a whole lot of reasons) there's no way to win this one. So you don't bring the 1961 D-28 your father gave you just before he died. What you need is, loud and cheap and easily replaceable.

Do try to have fun. Just like a bar band, folks are gonna respond more if you're up-tempo, and you look like you're having a good time. Try to have some patter, some come-hither lines to bring em in, and some patter to get them to tip. Make it kinda funny and interact, this isn't a concert, you're entertaining.

I'm sure there's folks her who'll chime in with lots of good stuff
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Re: Busking rig - a few thoughts

Postby Slim » Fri Oct 31, 2008 12:52 am

Good words of wisdom. I agree about the tempo thing. Keep it upbeat. Thats why I like a good Rollin and tumbling jam. You can i/iv/v til your hearts content. hit your i riff down low one run through and then up at the 12th then slide back to the IV and up to the V then a turn around. You can basically turn this kinda jam inside out so it doesnt get monotonous and when you are flailing away at the 12th fret and then hit back down to your IV chord at the fifth fret it gets them jumpin. And remember turnarounds are your friend. thats what ties it all together.
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Re: Busking rig - a few thoughts

Postby allanlummox » Fri Oct 31, 2008 12:57 am

Keeping the beat bumping along and an upbeat attitude are good thoughts.

I'd also add that the blues is perfect busking music and to remember that the blues allows you to adjust and adapt the flow of music to the flow of the street. If someone walks by and just here's a snatch of music - it's enough to identify it as "Low down and dirty" even if they can't identify the song.
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Re: Busking rig - a few thoughts

Postby Slim » Fri Oct 31, 2008 1:09 am

I would recommend going the resonator route. Electric to me is harder to do solo unless you are a more advanced player. A resonator will fill in the gaps that most beginning and intermediate level electric playing tends to have in a solo setting. Especially playing slide.

May I also recommend you brush up on at least one hillcountry blues number (Po Black Mattie is a great one) cuz those are highly entertaining yet dont take alot of left hand work so you can just set a groove and work some cool little riffs. Sounds impressive without a whole whole lot of expertise. Po Black Mattie is basically just a G and Gsus(something) with a couple little high string riffs and a little bit of bass work. Dont get me wrong....nobody can pick it up and sound like RL and Kenny Brown but it is easy enough to keep folks happy who are walking by. Check out some youtubes of RL doing it. Now if you can nail his right hand work I wanna take some lessons from you! LOL!
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Re: Busking rig - a few thoughts

Postby allanlummox » Fri Oct 31, 2008 1:38 am

OH yea...the resonator guitar is KING on the streets.
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