Sunday, December 6, 2015

Stage Tips as a Guitarist

Hello everyone. I'm sharing tips on being a stage guitarist. It's generally for everyone: professionals, intermediates, and beginners.
This is the precautions off and on stage, in preparing ourselves to avoid silly mistakes. I'll do it chronologically, and it's gonna be a long read...

Stage A: The Invitation
This is where you get the invitation to play in a show.

1. When you get the invitation, there will be two possibilities:
   a. When you can decide the songs on your own, or
   b. Your client decides what he or she wants for the show.

2. Either way, when the set list (a.k.a the song list) is ready, you may now select your gears:
   a. Decide what guitar suits all or most of the songs in the set list,
   b. Choose your sound settings and what sound is needed for most of the songs; your stomp boxes, multieffects, and even amplifier must be well chosen,
   c. If possible, try to anyhow get to know what you'll be provided with: your amp, your mic, your channel, or whatsoever. Make it a policy. You deserve to preserve your tone.
   d. And since if you knew what your provided amp would be, take some time to research your amp. You would save time tweaking the amp during the sound check.

3. The most important part is, practice and rehearse well. (Practice is what you do alone in finding guitar lines of the songs, rehearse is what you do together with your band)

Stage B: The Road to Performance
You should have this checklist just in case anything goes wrong on stage. We never know. So before we move to the scene for sound check and show, let us know what to prepare.

1. You should have these things ready with you by now:
   a. A guitar tuner. This is the least way on how you don't mess up with your playing. Even if you have it in your multieffects, sometimes the traditional way is the better way,
   b. A guitar strap and strap locks, especially if you're an aggressive player. Even if you play in sitting position, your strap helps you hold your guitar close to your body.
   c. Two (2) instrument cables, or jack cables. Never ever ever expect the soundman or the organizer or any other musician at the event will provide or lend you their cables. Never ever!,
   d. Extra guitar strings. It is never predictable that you would break a string before or during the show!,
   e. If you're too conscious, bring 2 guitars with you... It's optional and not necessary, but at unexpected times, it is most helpful,
   f. Get a guitar stand with you. A handy one should do it. The organizer may or may not provide any,
   g. Print the set list! I'm sure we would all forget what to play after being pressured on stage,
  h. It is optional to have the music sheet with you. Orchestral players would find this helpful.

2. Dress well. You don't have to wear suit and tie to look presentable. Just be neat and make people comfortable being around you.

3. If possible, get a companion with you. Just in case you need to do sound check and someone else is asking you to move your car...

Stage D: Sound Check
This is the fundamental part of the whole process. It helps you decide how your performance is gonna sound like, at least 80%.

1. Don't mess with the soundman. He's the responsible to keep your settings, besides you yourself. Be generally nice to everyone over there to avoid sabotage!

2. Once you arrived at the venue, settle yourself down, and tune your guitar! Then get ready for your turn.

3. When it's your turn, try save time as much as possible. Here can be how:
   a. Get on stage,
   b. Place your effects on the floor first,
   c. Stand your guitar. In case you don't have a guitar stand, people usually lean the guitar on the amp but it's risky,
   d. Take out all the cables you need: instrument cables, power cable for effects
   e. Look around for any power source. If absent, don't hesitate to ask around (the stage managers to be precise),
   f. When everything is connected, now switch on the effects and the amp,
   g. Tweak your amp and test your sound,
   h. When everything is done, get your phone and take the photo of your amp settings. Otherwise, please memorize it!
   i. Once done, pack your gears and say thank you to the stage managers and the soundman.

Stage E: It's Show Time!
In other words, this is how you don't embarrass yourself on stage.

1. Before getting on stage, again tune your guitar till you puke. This is safest idea on not messing up your band's image. I once attended a gig where an amateur band tuned everything on stage before performing. Everybody had to wait like literally 7 minutes just for tuning and tweaking. What the hell?

2. Once your turn arrives, repeat the preparation process in stage D just now, except, skip the part where you make your guitar sound. I'm not a fan of guitarist doing a sound test just before his show. It might sound like orchestral discipline but that is it. It's discipline. As you know your settings well, thing should work just fine if you study your settings really well.

3. If your performance is long term, as in you would stay on the stage throughout a long period of time, you may have the chance to tune your guitar when your part isn't up. This is usually applicable to orchestral musicians when they only have to play certain part of the songs.

4. Here's a tip on avoiding the biggest mistake by all guitarists. Loop your cable into your guitar strap! See the photo below, how the guitarist and the bassist do it.

With this method of cable organizing, if you accidentally stepped on your cable, it won't go off be immediately.

5. When your slot ended, pick up what is yours and leaving your item behind would be costly. Pack your things together with your bandmates and don't ever wish someone else would do it for you, unless you're Steve Vai. Depending on your bandmates to clear your things up would be annoying.

6. Don't forget your payment and to say thank you.

Showmanship Tips as a Guitarist

Interact with your bandmates: look at each other, smile, chat a little. Looking relaxed on stage is really precious so it builds your credibility as a musician; people get to know that stage fright is not your thing.
And of course, interact with the audience. The least you can do is look back at them and avoid entirely looking only at your pedals or the floor... Even the humblest guitarists on earth would let out some showmanship.

Cover Up
Everybody makes mistakes on stage - even the professionals make mistakes - but we can always cover it up. In my experience as a guitarist, my ability to cover up with my facial expressions has saved me from being stared by the conductor.
If you committed a mistake, the first thing to do is never shake your head and remain your facial expression like nothing happened. Then you can see other musicians looking at you and suddenly they turn their heads on other musicians, trying to find who made the mistake... Isn't that cheeky?

While performing on stage, you can still show respect. When people call out your name or give you credit, just look to the audience and bow. That's the shortcut in showing humility.

Added by Mr. Fazadin Rizal on Jamtank, "Have fun! Music is first and foremost about your own enjoyment. If you're feeling it, there's a good chance others will feel it too." I 100% agree!
Things that my teachers would always say before show are, "Apa nak jadi, jadi je," "Kita belasah je," "Salah ke betul ke, atas stage kita balun," and "Yang penting, puas dan enjoy." Like Fazadin said, there's a good chance that others will be affected by our positive vibes on stage!


That is all for now I guess. I might overlook at some things so please don't hesitate to comment and add things that you think should be practiced by all.
There are still microscopic things that we ourselves may discover through experience and street learning. What matters is how we progress.

All the best and thank you!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Cerewet Makan

Orang memilih makanan bersebab. Banyak sebab.

Antara sebab-sebabnya ialah "trust issues."
Sama macam hal-hal lain, hilangnya rasa kepercayaan terhadap satu-satu perkara mengakibatkan prejudis untuk satu jangka masa yang lama dan mungkin juga rasa benci itu takkan luput sampai bila-bila. Hal ini boleh berlaku apabila seseorang diperkenalkan kepada satu jenis makanan dan mengalami nasib yang kurang baik iaitu... dihidangkan dengan hidangan makanan yang berasa aneh. Impresi pertama ini seperti biasa, seperti yang berlaku terhadap personaliti manusia, bakal meninggalkan kesan yang lama dan mengingatkan pemakan tersebut bahawa makanan itu memang tidak sedap dan tidak akan menjadi sedap.

Maka di sini wujudlah mereka yang tak suka durian.

Tapi jangan khuatir dan gelabah, sebaliknya bersyukurlah kerana ada beberapa orang yang tidak akan makan makanan kegemaran kita seperti durian dan sebagainya. Tiada gunanya kita meyakinkan mereka betapa lazat makanan tersebut kerana dikhuatiri mereka akan menghabiskan stok makanan kegemaran kita!

Cuba kaitkan dengan manusia. Sekian.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Monday, January 5, 2015

Forgive and Forget

It's been a mistake to forgive and forget.
You must only forgive but not forget what people have done to you, unless you intend to face it again.

But let me get this straight.
I would always forgive you and I would never hesitate to forget you.

I would forget that you once meant something to me.
I would forget that we once knew.
I would forget that you exist.

Sunday, January 4, 2015


Pagi, syahdu.

Malaysia sedang diserangi ribut yang mendinginkan. Mandi pagi bertemankan air bersuhu ais, mandi tengah hari disiram air sesejuk embun pagi.

Lagi beberapa hari dan semua seksa tamat. Semoga musim hadapan berlaku lebih mesra.