Session Guitarist.

For discussion of all general music topics, Favored Nations artists, Vai-related musicians and all other artists and bands.
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leigh01
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Anyone know how to go about being a session guitarist?

Cheers. :)
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RAI
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You need to be technically "unlimited".
Country, jazz, rock, funk, whatever they throw at you.
If you can play a million notes a minute (like Yngwie) doesn't help, if they ask for a swingin' chicken-pickin' solo...

Reading is pretty much a must. Sight reading would be good, but not necessary.
A wide range of equipment, for a wide range of tones.
A full-metal axe with a bone-grinding Mesa rig isn't quite right for a Jazz box, walking bassline part.

A great attitude.
Being the best thing since sliced bread isn't enough if you're a giant a**. Be as friendly and easy to work with as possible. If you're easy to work with, they'll call you, even though the other guy (who is a total jerk) is better.

Be available.
Any time, any where.
To get your name out there, simply start hanging out at the right places, and with the right people. Offer your services for nothing. They pay you by giving you the opportunity and experience. Once you get that, and your name gets around, then money can be discussed.

Have fun!
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summer_sky
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dang, Rai, i'd say you nailed that job description head on. i've a friend who is a sessions/studio drummer in L.A. and he told me all those qualities that you mention (especially important, the availability aspect) are how he finally came to be in relatively high demand and has had opportunity to work with some pretty incredible and high profile musicians and producers.
are you a sessions guy??
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leigh01
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Cheers rai

I knew some of that info already, but isn't there a way I could be signed to a record label??
(I should have really asked this first :roll: sorry)


The main reason I am asking for more help on the matter is because I live in a crap place for music, because alot of the music venues are being closed down, there are no good bands around my area needing session guitarists either and I have quite a bit of experiance from collegethanks to my band shifting and stuff,
I know many styles already from folk to underground punk to hip hop and death metal etc,

but I just can't seem to get my name around the place or even find the right people. :roll:

I'm fairly in the zone of everything you have stated, except for I should probably now get a car :lol:

any other ideas to get my name about or anything??

thanks again. :)
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summer_sky
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Leigh, i think it behooves any aspiring session musician to reside in a town/region where there is a lot of activity as far as live act clubs and recording studios. being signed to a label isn't the key. as far as i know, successful session musicians are free agents.
and, as with most things, success doesn't come overnight... it takes a lot of time, effort, patience, tenaciousness and commitment.
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leigh01
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summer_sky wrote:Leigh, i think it behooves any aspiring session musician to reside in a town/region where there is a lot of activity as far as live act clubs and recording studios. being signed to a label isn't the key. as far as i know, successful session musicians are free agents.
and, as with most things, success doesn't come overnight... it takes a lot of time, effort, patience, tenaciousness and commitment.
Ok thanks man,
I guess i'll start by learning to drive then advertising anywhere and everywhere. :)
MatJB
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Sorry, but the session guitar market as we know it is basically dead as far as popular music is concerned. Move to Nashville and learn country and you might have a chance :wink:
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leigh01
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MatJB wrote:Sorry, but the session guitar market as we know it is basically dead as far as popular music is concerned. Move to Nashville and learn country and you might have a chance :wink:
OOOOH balls,

Thats my career over before it began,crap.

I wish I could move to Nashville, :) But it would be difficult getting a visa, then money on a plane ticket then accomidation then luggage, Impossible for me.

Fack what career in guitar should I have?????

Teacher? too many
Session guitarist? saturated
Songwriter? no creativity

Someone help me? :( :?
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RAI
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Guitar isn't dead in popular music.
There is less work, but that just means you have to work harder...

It is obviously critical that you live in a place where music happens.
You're not going to get a lot of work if you live in a cabin in the woods, ya know.
And you may have to start with simply working with musicians, not for recording, but just gigging, rehearsals, etc.
Once they know you, they might call you when it's time for them to record.

Nashville is not the only place to be, and while there is alot happening there, it's also a very "tight" market for session musicians.
Very hard to get in on the action......
<Mike>
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go to a large city and trust everything to luck! 8)

unfortunatly... I'm not kidding :(

I myself is on the right track though to becoming a session guitarist 8) (even though I'm only 17)
For those who wonders what I'm talkin about, (which is no one most prolly), my sister is dating one of swedens most famous songwriters (in the pop world that is)

Ok so I hate pop but still... If I can record for pop artists, that means money, and money means... eh... cash... and cash means drugs.. and drugs means party! :headbang :headbang

ok sorry anyway if I can get money that way then I can buy some good equip and do what I like 8)

This will all happen in a few years though most likely... but still 8)

Sorry Leigh mate, I'm stealing your topic a little... :( you must excuse me, it's a bad habit of mine.
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leigh01
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<Mike> wrote:go to a large city and trust everything to luck! 8)

unfortunatly... I'm not kidding :(

I myself is on the right track though to becoming a session guitarist 8) (even though I'm only 17)
For those who wonders what I'm talkin about, (which is no one most prolly), my sister is dating one of swedens most famous songwriters (in the pop world that is)

Ok so I hate pop but still... If I can record for pop artists, that means money, and money means... eh... cash... and cash means drugs.. and drugs means party! :headbang :headbang

ok sorry anyway if I can get money that way then I can buy some good equip and do what I like 8)

This will all happen in a few years though most likely... but still 8)

Sorry Leigh mate, I'm stealing your topic a little... :( you must excuse me, it's a bad habit of mine.
:lol: No probs, but if you have to steal it you gotta shoot me first, or give me a session job lol,

Just be prepared though dude people may seem friendly, but when it comes to money suddenly you gotta know your rights, and all the legal mumbo jumbo comes in. :roll: Luckly I know alot about buisiness but need to get my foot in the door somewhere.

RAI wrote: Guitar isn't dead in popular music.
There is less work, but that just means you have to work harder...

It is obviously critical that you live in a place where music happens.
You're not going to get a lot of work if you live in a cabin in the woods, ya know.
And you may have to start with simply working with musicians, not for recording, but just gigging, rehearsals, etc.
Once they know you, they might call you when it's time for them to record.

Nashville is not the only place to be, and while there is alot happening there, it's also a very "tight" market for session musicians.
Very hard to get in on the action......
Thanks for your help rai,
I see everything you've written in this thread and it all sounds very wise so I'm gonna stop being lazy waiting for it to come to me, instead I'm gonna get out there and attack until im in.

One last thing tho is it true that sometimes session guitarists have to learn a hole set in just a plane trip such as within an hour??? :shock:

cheers dudes,
Leigh :)
RM
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MatJB wrote:Sorry, but the session guitar market as we know it is basically dead as far as popular music is concerned. Move to Nashville and learn country and you might have a chance :wink:
Wrong!

You'd be surprised mate - there is a lot of competition for the work, but the work does exist.

Studio work, live work and TV work is all out there for the taking. You need to be shit hot at everything guitar wise (apart from shredding), stick to the classic guitars (Fender/Gibson etc) and be prepared to do a few freebies (and dare I say it, be prepared to be ripped off - hey, it's the music business, it happens every day sadly).

For the studio work, start getting your name around some top studios in London, and make sure you are prepared to show your stuff with some tasteful playing when they ask for it! Try to get in contact with some of the many producers that are kicking around - pester them enough (but not too much) and your name will be in their mind when they are looking for someone to jam out a song idea!

Live and TV work often comes from agencies and word of mouth...get the Music week guide (about £60 but it's the bible). Get on the books at some of these agencies, and once again, keep your name known to them but don't appear too desperate!

TV work is often miming, but pays pretty well, so can be worth doing some on the side - and it gets your face seen!
RM
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leigh01 wrote:
<Mike> wrote:go to a large city and trust everything to luck! 8)

unfortunatly... I'm not kidding :(

I myself is on the right track though to becoming a session guitarist 8) (even though I'm only 17)
For those who wonders what I'm talkin about, (which is no one most prolly), my sister is dating one of swedens most famous songwriters (in the pop world that is)

Ok so I hate pop but still... If I can record for pop artists, that means money, and money means... eh... cash... and cash means drugs.. and drugs means party! :headbang :headbang

ok sorry anyway if I can get money that way then I can buy some good equip and do what I like 8)

This will all happen in a few years though most likely... but still 8)

Sorry Leigh mate, I'm stealing your topic a little... :( you must excuse me, it's a bad habit of mine.
:lol: No probs, but if you have to steal it you gotta shoot me first, or give me a session job lol,

Just be prepared though dude people may seem friendly, but when it comes to money suddenly you gotta know your rights, and all the legal mumbo jumbo comes in. :roll: Luckly I know alot about buisiness but need to get my foot in the door somewhere.

RAI wrote: Guitar isn't dead in popular music.
There is less work, but that just means you have to work harder...

It is obviously critical that you live in a place where music happens.
You're not going to get a lot of work if you live in a cabin in the woods, ya know.
And you may have to start with simply working with musicians, not for recording, but just gigging, rehearsals, etc.
Once they know you, they might call you when it's time for them to record.

Nashville is not the only place to be, and while there is alot happening there, it's also a very "tight" market for session musicians.
Very hard to get in on the action......
Thanks for your help rai,
I see everything you've written in this thread and it all sounds very wise so I'm gonna stop being lazy waiting for it to come to me, instead I'm gonna get out there and attack until im in.

One last thing tho is it true that sometimes session guitarists have to learn a hole set in just a plane trip such as within an hour??? :shock:

cheers dudes,
Leigh :)
Fight for it! Don't sit back and wait, it won't happen!

With regards the swift learning of a set - I once saw a drummer go away for 10 minutes having never heard of the band before (amazing considering the band was pretty big), listen to the songs on his ipod and get enough of an idea to play a 1 1/2 hour high profile show with them. Amazing.
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leigh01
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Thanks for the advice RM, I haven't seen you on the forum very often?
I'm interested in the agency thing, But I think im gonna have to wait a year or two (after I passed college with A-levels) to go on my way to London, :roll:
But would it be benificial to try and build a name for myself where I live now?

Cheers. :)
RM
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leigh01 wrote:Thanks for the advice RM, I haven't seen you on the forum very often?
I'm interested in the agency thing, But I think im gonna have to wait a year or two (after I passed college with A-levels) to go on my way to London, :roll:
But would it be benificial to try and build a name for myself where I live now?

Cheers. :)
Where in East Anglia are you from? If it's one of the cities it could be worth going for it...

How old are you by the way?
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