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Author Topic:  Instrumental Or Side Man Picker
John De Maille


From:
On a Mountain in Upstate Halcottsville, N.Y.
Post Posted 3 Feb 2018 12:05 am     Reply with quote

Donny, I differ with you about losing the fun in backing up. A lot of the back up follows what the singer sings and when the solo comes, you can easily play the melody line, whether it's the verse or the chorus. There's plenty of fun and skill in that. Anybody can chord along with a tune, but, when you can play along with the singer doing the root line or harmony line, that's fun and skill. I'm not knocking instrumentals at all. Given the right players, things can really get hot and good. There's a place for it all.
As a side note, I've spoken to a few pros, who, love to have singers sing with them. As I've been told, it breaks up the set for more variety and expertise.
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post Posted 3 Feb 2018 1:56 am     Reply with quote

it's a kinda silly argument in my mind. Of course we all back up singers , thats probably our first charge. But it should not end there. I believe what Donny is saying is, don't END IT there. IF all we do is back up someone else in our Steel Guitar tenure then of course we are missing a huge part of the big picture.

and then this > maybe if all we do is play back-up thats the reason so many feel that the Steel is NOT a lead Instrument and is the first to go when things get tight. Or maybe thats why we are not invited to play gigs more often, we are an extra, we don't add any real value.

"We don't need a Steel, we need a lead Instrument " ."The guitar player can play those Steel fills "

I guess nobody has ever bought a Steel Guitar LP or CD with NO SINGERS...Just in case you are not aware, they are out there for your listening pleasure ! Very Happy
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David Mason


From:
Cambridge, MD, USA
Post Posted 3 Feb 2018 4:03 am     Reply with quote

Where are the clips of Mr. Steiner's non-pedal stuff? I am willfully kind of a Facebook idiot, it's a spooky thing... here's a founder of Facebook, talking about what's happened to the entire WORLD, via "social media":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6e1riShmak

The whole speech is up; sobering... but there's steel guitar, it must be O.K.!
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Roger Rettig


From:
An Englishman in Naples, FL
Post Posted 3 Feb 2018 4:55 am     Reply with quote

I did as Herb suggested and searched for 'Herb Steiner Band'. I scrolled down and found some live clips - my effort was well rewarded.

😊
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Roger Rettig


From:
An Englishman in Naples, FL
Post Posted 3 Feb 2018 5:59 am     Reply with quote

David - I like to think that I have that 'beast' cornered and that I'm the Ringmaster. I could, of course, be deluding myself because here I am online again!

Despite your misgivings, make an exception and listen to Herb.
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Kevin Fix


From:
Michigan, USA
Post Posted 3 Feb 2018 8:53 pm     Instrumental Or Side Man Picker Reply with quote

Years ago I used to play about 8 or 10 instrumentals in a 4 or 5 hour gig. I enjoyed it but the crowd was not that responsive to them so I lost interest in them, sort of was a bummer. I did play a fund raiser for the Scotty's International Steel Convention back 20 some years ago and got a standing ovation for playing "Statues Of A Fool". I was pretty happy with that considering Scotty was standing in the front row!!!!!! Two of my favorites today are still Status of a Fool and Night Life.
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post Posted 4 Feb 2018 12:54 am     Reply with quote

What Kevin states has truth. True, at a bar gig, Tn Waltz probably doesn't work, but at a Country Barn Dance it will bring every person in the building onto the dance floor.

No different than a band set list, pick the proper tunes for the venue. Not all songs, not all Instrumentals are fit for each gig.
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Lee Baucum


From:
McAllen, Texas (Extreme South) The Final Frontier
Post Posted 4 Feb 2018 9:52 am     Reply with quote

Thankfully, I haven't played a bar gig in over 30 years. The band I play in now (for about 10 years) is a country/western cover band. We mostly play for corporate events and non-profit fundraisers. We also play for an occasional private event. Those attending these events are usually in the 30 to 50 years of age range. Some younger, some older.

People tend to listen to what they want to hear (not just musically, of course!) and the folks we play for have let us know how much they enjoy our selection of familiar tunes. For me, it's rewarding to see some of the dancers on the dance floor and people sitting at the tables singing along with all these familiar songs.

I'm not saying they wouldn't appreciate an instrumental; but, we get these gigs because we play the songs they like and are familiar with.
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Christopher Woitach


From:
Portland, Oregon, USA
Post Posted 4 Feb 2018 11:58 am     Reply with quote

One thing I do with my quartet (pedal steel, fretless bass, trombone, drums) that makes it really fun is not having another chordal instrument, so I have to accompany mine and everyone else’s solos and melodies like I would with a guitar.

The steel guitar has such a wide range of articulation possibilities that it’s a terrific chordal accompaniment tool, plus I get to play more!
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Joseph Napolitano


From:
New Jersey, USA
Post Posted 4 Feb 2018 8:45 pm     Reply with quote

Every fall I start working on instrumental Christmas songs on pedal steel. I play them just at home.I play a lot of Bar/Pub gigs at the Jersey Shore 50/50 steel/guitar. Absolutely no one around here ever asks for, or seems to want to hear any instrumentals. Works out well for me, because I prefer backing up good vocalists, it's what I wanna do. But I understand the value of playing instrumentals as perfectly as you can. It requires a specific kind of discipline, and helps a player develop.
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post Posted 5 Feb 2018 9:55 am     Reply with quote

I love playing nursing homes.
They lock the wheels on those wheel chairs and you have a captive audience.
They don't care what you play, there's no leaving! Whoa!
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post Posted 6 Feb 2018 2:04 am     Reply with quote

Erv Niehaus wrote:
I love playing nursing homes.
They lock the wheels on those wheel chairs and you have a captive audience.
They don't care what you play, there's no leaving! Whoa!



Love it Erv !

just be aware, as we take a break and go to the rest room, a staff worker may approach us and tell us it's time to go back to our room ! Laughing
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post Posted 6 Feb 2018 8:13 am     Reply with quote

A small group from our church visits a memory care facility once a month and we put on a small program.
We're the only group to ever do so but sometimes I get nervous, I don't know if they're going to let me out! Whoa!
Erv
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Kevin Fix


From:
Michigan, USA
Post Posted 6 Feb 2018 5:53 pm     Nursing Home Reply with quote

Irv, A friend of mine and myself are going to do some nursing home visits in my area soon. Give me a chance to see which one I like!!!!!! Probably another 10 years I will need one myself!!!!!
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post Posted 7 Feb 2018 8:36 am     Reply with quote

Kevin,
I know what you mean, some days I think I should start making reservations! Very Happy
Erv
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Patricia Goins


From:
Michigan, USA
Post Posted 7 Feb 2018 9:11 am     Nursing Home Reply with quote

Hey Kevin. I don't want to even think about it. Jim Goins. Rolling Eyes
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David Mason


From:
Cambridge, MD, USA
Post Posted 7 Feb 2018 12:50 pm     Reply with quote

If you've ever costed those places out, you know you better get REAL DARN GOOD if you're planning on playing for your supper, room & board! It's almost like there's two kinds of money in the world - the green, papery kind of stuff that buys loaves of bread and tanks of gas - and the other kind that doctors, politicians, CEO's and armies get to play with.

What is the difference between a twenty-million-dollar-per-movie actor, and a poor starving actor?
A: Twenty million dollars.

I'm on the verge of figuring it out, I just know I am. Shocked

(mebbe start selling a yoo-toob series on how to get rich by starting to sell yoo-toob series on how to get rich?)
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Kevin Fix


From:
Michigan, USA
Post Posted 7 Feb 2018 7:22 pm     Nursing Home Reply with quote

Hey Jim!!!! It's scary!!!! My Mom is in her 90's and in a home. When go to see her I sort of look around to see which room I like!!!!
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Bill L. Wilson


From:
Oklahoma, USA
Post Posted 8 Feb 2018 10:42 pm     I’ll Stay a Sideman. Reply with quote

I only play instrumentals at home, except the very seldom “Steel Guitar Rag” by request. I enjoy backing up singers and playin’ those old country licks we’ve all played a thousand times, but with my own spin on’em.
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David Mitchell


From:
Texas, USA
Post Posted 9 Feb 2018 12:40 am     Reply with quote

I've never made a dime playing instrumentals although now that I'm old and retired I have been working on that. Sounds like fun. Backing singers always kept a roof over my head and food to eat and a car to drive. When you really listen to steel guitar instrumentals you are actually hearing a steel guitarist "Over Playing" which is a No-No in the studio and on the bandstand and that might be why all those great studio players are not pumping out instrumentals left and right. One is they are too busy making money as a sideman and two it could affect their studio performance by a tendency to try and play the melody and fills at the same time. No singer wants to be run over by a steel guitar or any other instrument. Studio life is a whole different world.
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Bob Hoffnar


From:
Austin, Tx
Post Posted 9 Feb 2018 6:01 am     Reply with quote

If you play corporates and weddings the cocktail set is a great time to spend an hour playing jazz or just quiet instrumentals . For weddings you usually need to play instrumental s durring seating, the ceremony and walk off.

Gigs that involve instrumentals like that usually pay 5 to 10 times what a bar gig pays.

If you are willing to play quietly restaurant gigs can be a chance to spend a few hours playing instrumentals and make some money.

Then there is the adventurous music scene but that is a whole different world. I’m super busy with that stuff.

So I play instrumentals all the time and am totally comfortable. But...I am lost at a steel jam. The world of pedalsteel shows and jams is a very specific genre that I’ve never been very good at.

David Mitchell makes a great point also.
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Wally Moyers


From:
Lubbock, Texas
Post Posted 9 Feb 2018 1:33 pm     Reply with quote

Until five years ago all my playing was dances, shows or studio playing backing up a singer. I knew the basic instrumentals like Steel Guitar Rag and other ones that the average listener would request. After Terry Bethel ask me to play at the Branson show I started working up a few instrumentals as well as writing a few... Its still not in my comfort zone as a player and being the center of attention is still hard for me. I have learned throughout my life that if your not a little uncomfortable your probably not growing.. Like you it was very strange to get with players that just learned songs but had never really played professional. I started playing guitar at 9 years old and played my first paying gig at 11... My Dad was a pro so I guess that's why I think that way. There's nothing wrong with just doing instrumentals but I never realized it was happening I guess..
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Kevin Fix


From:
Michigan, USA
Post Posted 9 Feb 2018 5:26 pm     Instrumentals Reply with quote

My favorite instrumentals years ago were songs that were top 10 or 40 songs by artists like George Jones, Conway Twitty, Merle Haggard etc. I remember doing a song like Ricky Skaggs Highway 40 Blues. Used to split the song with the other guys in the group, Lead Player, Fiddle or a Keyboard Player. George Strait had some good songs to do also. I had one person at a show last year ask me to play Steel Guitar Rag. i told him I could not do the song justice, had not played it in years. Barbara Mandrell was my favorite for doing Steel Guitar Rag. I have heard about the barn dances that were in the western states, nothing like that up here. They always sounded like they would have been a lot of fun.
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