Hi solo musicans out there playing!
Just wanted to know how to organize my chord charts and lyrics to my tracks for a gig, as in how many party songs to slow songs and whats recommended to print them together making books.
I was thinking of doing this and any help would be greatly appreciated,
I have my tracks on the laptop and lyrics saved in word documents, I've printed them out and now up to putting them into order. I don't know what sort of songs to start with but was going to finish with party songs, when should you start adding the fast ones? And should you start with slow, sorry if this is a stupid question...
hi prattz,this is where reading your audience and experience comes in.nothing is worse for a band then when the dance floor is empty, and if your like me, the gigs i do are a mixed crowd of all ages, from 20 - 80 years young. knowing that usually the older crowd leaves early but you want the younger crowd to stick around 'till the end makes it quite the challenge. you want everyone to know all the styles that your playing and your able to satisfy everyones listening preference. i usually start off with a middle of the road song, not too loud and hard to drive off the older crowd and not too slow to send the young ones running for a better party. you really have to study your crowd before you get on stage. are they wild partiers or boring chair dancers. good-luck and remember, just have fun sharing your talent.
canadianmike has it right, you just have to start off and gauge your audience as you go. That's what I usually do. That said, you can make setlists once you have experience at most venues.
With a setlist you don't necessarily want just party songs at the end - the evening may not go that way. But building to the end is wise in general If you have dancers you need to include different songs than if it's a listening crowd. A party crowd needs a different list than the listening crowd as well.
If I was playing a new place where I had just some idea of the crowd I would make a list of possible songs and put them together with some sort of order that alternated slow and fast - maybe two fast and then one slow. I'd have enough variety to suit different ages and styles if I thought that's what the crowd would be. Then I might alter the list as I went along, or on a break I might add some songs and take some out.
I use a laptop onstage which allows me to copy and paste shortcuts to songs into a folder for that gig. I rename the songs with numbers at the beginning of the name to get them to sort alphabetically into the order I want. That way I can add, take away, or change the order of songs if I need to. I can even make subfolders for different sets.
Does this help? I could put together some sample sets if you want. What songs do you play?
I perform over five-hundred songs. For some of these, I use backing tracks. When using backing tracks, I will usually pare them down, often to just bass and/or drums and use my guitar to fill in the rhythm and melody lines.
I will say "what they said" for audience gauging. I will usually start quieter and slower but sometimes upbeat; for example for a cocktail hour I might start with the Eagles Take It Easy, Mraz's I'm Yours and then slow it down with something like Angel From Montgomery. Kind of two or three upbeats to one slower. But again, if the demand is for more 'background' style, then I will subdue most, or all of the music, sticking to middle of the road beats and slower and instrumental stuff.
It really is about gauging the audience. I have arrived with complete set lists and thrown them out as I figure out I guessed wrong. One thing I'll do for the more lively crowds is try to build the final set up, ending with Stones songs or even Mustang Sally, etc.
Different gigs call for different approaches. Many private parties, especially wedding receptions, require mellow stuff at first, like classical, smooth jazz, etc. Some gigs require you hit the audience over the head from the first tune. The more shows you perform, the easier it becomes to figure what to do and where. I have over 100 sequences I use for my One Man Band live and many others I can play with just my guitar and vocal. Check out other performers doing similar venues and you'll get invaluable ideas for your own performances.
Oh my goodness! Thankyou so much for your help I can't believe how many fantastic responses I have had about my question!
Gee, it seems pretty difficult to organize my songs to be ready to gauge the audience
Thanks canadianmike, tom munch, captain banjo amd gigmeister! I was making a set list that started slow then ended fast but as captainbanjo said his thrown them out when you seen who you were playing to, makes sense to not make one.
I have my tracks running through iTunes and was going to make one playlist called Party songs and one called Slow songs. Should I just alternate between the two all night? Then if everybodys dancing move to the 2-1 and 3-1??
Is this what you guys would do? I like toms idea having multiple shortcuts to the songs for each venue, thanks that would be fantastic if you could send me a sample of your setlist! That would be brilliant! Thanks : )
Once again thankyou so much for your help I truly appreciate it and have been wanting to get this sort of work for 3 years and now can actually see it starting to come together with your help Thankyou!!!!
I'll put together a couple set lists for you. I don't see any suitable for you right offhand.
Another thing I do is to make a new folder for each venue when I'm playing at each one. Then as I get requests as I'm playing I copy and paste shortcuts to songs in that folder for songs that are requested or seem to be working well. That way I have some good ideas for songs to play at each venue for future gigs.
I keep all my song files in one master folder and then just have shortcuts in each of these new venue folders. That way I don't have any duplicates of my songs. The only time I want a duplicate is if I'm changing the key or the arrangement within the song for situations like if I'm playing it in a band or with another player. I also have folders by artist, by decade, by types like seasons, themes or topics, by genres, by writers, and more. I have over 2500 songs in my laptop, so this organization makes them really accessible on-the-fly for different audiences and types of gigs. For instance, if someone wants a James Taylor song I just open the By Artist folder and click on the James Taylor folder and there are all the shortcuts to the James Taylor songs I know. The only downside to this organization is that it doesn't work on devices that don't support shortcuts (or aliases as Mac calls them) like the iPad. I've thought about making HTML lists with links to the songs, and I may do this ultimately, but the folders work fine on a Windows or Mac laptop for now.
Now to make a couple setlists...
This isn't a great list by any means, but at least it's an idea of some variety in tempo, styles, and rhythms.
Peaceful Easy Feelin'
Fields of Gold
Call Me the Breeze
All Shook Up
Move It on Over
In My Life
How Sweet It Is to be Loved by You
Great ideas from everyone. I do most of my gigs with my electric guitar so I have a playlist called Solo Electric. This has all the lead parts missing so I can play them live. Solo Acoustic is for shows I am playing the acoustic guitar exclusively, and I recorded all my solos beforehand. I never bring two guitars to a gig. The entire purpose of the solo act for me is to do the gig with an absolute minimum of gear. That's why I use an iPod touch and not a laptop. Here's a sample 1st set that works well for private parties, etc.
A Better Man
Fields of Gold
Brown Eyed Girl
Oh, Pretty Woman
A Little Less Talk
The Breakup Song
Lay Down, Sally
I have included country music because I am in Texas. I would probably include them in other sections of America as well, since many folks like them. Your choices may well be different.
wow quite the responses, everything depends on what your using for playback files and programs. i play a mix of country, southern rock and classic rock. i have 2 play list, 1 country, 1 rock. i use a program called showplay ran through a laptop, all in alphabetical order, while one song is playing i can choose the next song and start it imediatley with a foot pedal. this is one of the only programs that i've found that allows me to start the song with a foot pedal, and then the same pedal becomes a lyrics scrolling device. i use midi files with all the guitar tracks removed, having a start pedal allows me to do the intro's with no 4 count. i do electric and acoustic but with one guitar...fender vg strat, this way i only need to bring one guitar to the gig.
but most importantly....we have a great time !!!
Man! This is amazing you guys are helping all of us so much, thankyou for taking the time to respond with such detailed responces and genius!!!!
Thanks Tom!! geez 2500 songs! that's heaps : )
I really like that idea of making the new folder for the gigs thats like taking notes of what works for the future gigs- Brilliant! I just have one more question though, when your organizing the songs as shortcuts in folders what do you do about lyrics? In your index of songs folder, Are your folders set out as in -song file- -lyric file- / selecting the two and pasting them into the venue folder??
Thankyou so much for the example set list too : )
Thanks Gigmeister! Oh I agree about the gear lugging haha I play double bass in a band and hate carting the amp round so minimum gear absolutely, that's a great idea using the iPod! So do you have all your setlists as playlists on the iPod?
One is called private parties that you posted but what would some other playlist/setlists be called? Do you have yours as 3or4 lists as your sets or are yours in categories such as (so far I have is)Party songs and Slow songs?
Thankyou so much for adding your example of the private parties list too by the way : ) fanastic : )
Hey Canadianmike! Thanks so much for that! I'll have to check out that program you said!!! That's amazing you hooked up that foot pedal to your system! That would be fantastic to have that freedom on the intros and not be held back by that terrible 4count!!! Haha
Is that FootPedal part of the showplay program? Or can this pedal be used with other programs? Like could the foot pedal be used to play a song in iTunes or winamp?
Thankyou so much for all your help guys I really appreciate it and from the viewcount on this discussion board many other musicians are benefitting from your generosity and experience!
Thanks alot! : )
the foot pedal is a basic momentary pedal that you can get at any music store for 20 bucks, but its the program that has a special interface that plugs into your laptop which allows you to use the pedal.you can choose many options for what you want the pedal to do, i like starting the songs for being able to do guitar intro's with both hands on my guitar and then my pedal becomes a lyrics scrolling tool. the program was created by a musician right here in quebec.
Well, I don't use song files. I just play with a percussive style that doesn't need tracks so much. But if I did use tracks, I would put a hyperlink in the Word lyric file to the song file, and then I'd have the player set to stay in the background or to a minimal size.
You could also put your lyrics into iTunes and have them come up with the song. I know there's a way to do that on each song. I'd do the hyperlink in the lyric file myself though with iTunes as the default music player set to the minimized player.
It occurs to me that you may never have made a hyperlink in Word. It's really easy. I just put the word "mp3" or "song file" next to the intro of the song. Then select the word or words and choose hyperlink in the Edit menu and put in the address on the hard drive to the song file. It's pretty simple once you've done it a couple times, and it works really slick. Then as long as you don't move the song file the lyrics and song will always be linked together.
Prattz, thanks for your kudos! Yes, I have two or three complete setlists with all the tunes, both arranged alphabetically and others in order I think I will use them. By using the Big Button app, I can select 3-4 tunes, play them without stopping, then talk with and consult the crowd for what they wish to hear next, etc. With my Solo A-Z playlist, I can find a song pretty quickly.
Just a couple of additional thoughts on these subjects. I use a laptop and have the MP3s or WAV files play through Windows Media Player which I have in a minimized area on the screen. I use a PowerPoint file for the lyrics. I just start the playlist in WMP and have the PowerPoint presentation in Slide Show mode. Between songs I simply hit the Page Down button and the next tune's lyrics are ready. I have also used the hyperlink on the PowerPoint presentation and that works GREAT!! You can actuall have a planned set list that advances automatically and starts the tunes automatically or you can do it manually. If you choose the automatic approach you can even set the intervals between slides (tunes). Since the slides are the list I can arrange it on the fly during a break by just shuffling the order of the slide in the show.
Secondly, as to the multiple guitars for a gig issue, I use a Line 6 Variax 700 and never have to change guitars to get the acoustic or electric sounds I need. My song list consists of R&B, Mowtown, country, jazz standards,alternative, etc. so the Variax provides all of the flexibility I need for any tune.
I also use the Digitech Vocalist Live 4 in the insert of the L1 channel for my mic for the vocal effects and harmonies.
Lastly, I use the Line 6 POD XT Live all of the amp models I need for the various styles I play.
After playing in bands for over 30 years and solo for the last 2 years I can say that even with all of the other gear I've owned, the L1 is far and away the best amplification I've ever used for what I do.
I never use a set list, I have everything organized in groups on my laptop so that as I see who is in the audience and what they are responding to I can go to lists for the types of songs I need.
Hi KLH. I agree with you about responding to the audience whether it be requests or just the "vibe". I have my songs on my computer in catagories and also alphabeticly.
I expect that set lists are more important for bands than solos.
When you perform as a solo, it's important that you be able to select a song quickly so there isn't so much much dead time between songs. A soloist must push many buttons to get where they need to be many times depending on what equipment they use. A setlist is good for that because you can, from past experience gauge the order and content beforehand and save some time.
In general, whatever method you use, do it fast enough to allow time to banter with the crowd and be relaxed before you do the next song. Sometimes this interacting with the crowd changes the type of song that you would normally do. Be prepared for this. I've got an ipad setup to help me do this. It has really improved my delivery and selection process. A laptop, although clunky on the bandstand, can also be used especially if you have it as your music player also. Or, what I used to use is paper set books with 3 ring endless flip around rings. This, like any reading device, requires a good music stand or platten that should be hidden from the crowd as much as possible. When reading from it, make the eye line to be almost the same as the crowd on the floor so it's less obvious that you're reading lyrics when you have to. These tips have helped me through the years. Good luck, happy playing.
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