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Author Topic:  Whats the average pay for steel player
Larry Johnson


From:
Tennessee, USA
Post  Posted 30 Dec 2017 4:29 pm    
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Musician - Definition- someone who drives 100 miles to a gig, with 2000$ worth of equipment, for 50$ a night. Hmmn I wonder what Dave Ramsey would say about that.

P.S. What do you call a steel player without a girlfriend?
Answer; HOMELESS
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Don Kuhn


From:
Poetry/Terrell ,Texas, USA
Post  Posted 30 Dec 2017 7:20 pm    
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Dang in the mid to late 70's I was working off duty job @ $8.00 and hour for Safeway but hey we had a baby on the way. I left one PD and had to pay for the our health insurance on my own if I took it with me to the next PD so a man had to do what a man had to do But when I retired in 2016 I had a part time job worked it 4 hrs a night twice a week for 60.00 an hour sure hated giving that job up it was sweet. Worked there 30 yrs and only had to give 2 folks that ride downtown.
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post  Posted 31 Dec 2017 2:21 am    
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the premise is not accurate...

How many are in the band ? How many players are splitting the pot ? , 3,4,5,or more ?


I can work as part of a duo and earn $200 each gig, I can work as part of a trio and earn $133 , or I can work as part of a 4 piece and earn $100.

Same gig, same band...

How much we are getting paid is directly related to how many are in the band.
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Dave Campbell


From:
Nova Scotia, Canada
Post  Posted 31 Dec 2017 4:18 am    
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around here if i wanted to make a living playing steel i'd need a trust fund.
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Paul Wade


From:
mundelein,ill
Post  Posted 31 Dec 2017 7:46 am     paid gigs
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in the 70's 80's i was making 35 4 hour gigs. 90's made 50- 70 4 hour gigs. 20012 made $90.00 gig 3 hour travel time Confused Sad still paying off my gear Confused

p.w
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Richard Sinkler


From:
aka: Rusty Strings -- Missoula, Montana
Post  Posted 31 Dec 2017 8:57 am    
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Tony Prior wrote:
the premise is not accurate...

How many are in the band ? How many players are splitting the pot ? , 3,4,5,or more ?


I can work as part of a duo and earn $200 each gig, I can work as part of a trio and earn $133 , or I can work as part of a 4 piece and earn $100.

Same gig, same band...

How much we are getting paid is directly related to how many are in the band.


AND...

How much the venue pays. Can't forget that. I play in a 6 piece band (only 5 get paid. It's my wife's daughters band. My wife refuses to get paid. Won't even take tips. She want the musicians to get paid as much as they can) and we usuallg make $100/man.sometimes $75. Last week we played 2 nights at a club that only pays $60. They won't pay any more because they say since we get to leave our stuff set up, we don't have to do as much work, so we shouldn't have to be paid more. AND... it's a place I can't stand playing at. I quit my last band (of 2 years) that mainly played there and a neighbor bar that I also hated. That was a 6 piece band. The neighborhood bar paid $75 and the place that I played last weekend was $50 a night (2 nights)

And...

I live an hour and a half or so from each gig. But the 2 night gig is in a historic club that used to be a brothel. That's cool.
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Henry Matthews


From:
Texarkana, Ark USA
Post  Posted 31 Dec 2017 9:26 am    
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Average around here is 50 to 75 a gig. Very seldom do we get more except for maybe private parties, then about $100.
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Brian Henry


Post  Posted 31 Dec 2017 9:27 am    
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There are other compensations besides money!

Last edited by Brian Henry on 7 May 2019 8:37 am; edited 1 time in total
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Bill Sinclair


From:
Hagerstown, Maryland, USA
Post  Posted 31 Dec 2017 9:54 am    
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Well, tonight (New Year's Eve) I'll make $300 for four hours but that's just one night a year. The rest of the time it's $75-$120 per person for a three/four hour gig. I'm only playing lap steel about on 10-15% of the songs. I'm not good enough on steel for anyone to hire me exclusively for that.
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Jeremy Moyers


From:
Lubbock, TX
Post  Posted 31 Dec 2017 10:02 am    
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Around Lubbock TX I'll make minimum $100 per night up to $400 per night for private parties. This is with bands or artists that have a great following and can really draw a crowd. When I sub and do road work with Nashville artists I'll get $350-$500 per show.

The way I see it is that they aren't paying me for the hours that I'm on stage, they are paying me for the years that I've put into learning the instrument.

Like Richard said, I would find it insulting if someone tries to pay less for a two night show because I "don't have to do as much work" for the second night. I've already put my work into learning to play so that I am able to do the gig.

The problem that I see is that there are always new bands coming up that are early in their musical careers and are just learning their craft that will undercut other bands just to get to play. This ruins it for everyone. I was making $100 a night 20+ years ago....
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Bob Carlucci


From:
Candor, New York, USA
Post  Posted 31 Dec 2017 10:35 am    
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Texas still seems to be the place to be for a steel player.. Live music is still part of the culture, and traditional country stylings still appreciated.. At least from what I gather here, and elsewhere on the net and TV... bob
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 31 Dec 2017 10:40 am    
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Jeremy and Richard, that pretty much sums up why I don’t play in clubs anymore. Club owners and the general public will never understand the concept you mention. Even now when I don’t really need the money, I won’t work cheap because it lowers the bar for players with similar experience who actually do need the money.

Solo w/backing tracks...has always seemed like a last resort option. I wonder how it has contributed to the underemployment and underpayment issue. Great for the practice room though.
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Brian Henry


Post  Posted 31 Dec 2017 11:06 am    
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Fred, For me playing solo with backup tracks is my first option. No need to fool with incompétent and drunk band players. Besides when you put the tracks through the board they are indistinguishable from a real band, and of course no silly mistakes!
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Brooks Montgomery


From:
Idaho, USA
Post  Posted 31 Dec 2017 11:27 am    
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Brian Henry wrote:
Fred, For me playing solo with backup tracks is my first option. No need to fool with incompétent and drunk band players. Besides when you put the tracks through the board they are indistinguishable from a real band, and of course no silly mistakes!


Slippery slope. Drum machine > then entire band with backup tracks > then self driving car to take you to gig > are you sure the audience is real?
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Clyde Mattocks


From:
Kinston, North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 31 Dec 2017 12:00 pm    
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You can make more if you'll hire more people in the band to help out with expenses.
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Paul Sutherland


From:
Placerville, California
Post  Posted 31 Dec 2017 12:01 pm    
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Playing bars is pretty much paid rehearsal time. They help the band get/stay together musically. The pay is never going to be much. The good money is in private parties, corporate events, and weddings.
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 31 Dec 2017 12:19 pm    
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Brooks Montgomery wrote:
Slippery slope. Drum machine > then entire band with backup tracks > then self driving car to take you to gig > are you sure the audience is real?

Haha! Exactly. And how many in that picture poster audience are wondering, “Is he really playing that steel guitar?”

Brian, no hard feelings. At least you’re out there playing and enjoying yourself. If the choices are playing in a crummy band, not playing at all, or using tracks, I might do the same as you.
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John Lacey


From:
Black Diamond, Alberta, Canada
Post  Posted 31 Dec 2017 12:46 pm    
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“You gotta save up for those good gigs”. -Ronny Hawkins
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Bill McCloskey


Post  Posted 31 Dec 2017 1:00 pm    
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In Josh Grave's book he says Lester Flatt paid him $165 a week, $25 more than the other members of the band and they had to pay for their own hotel room.

Miles Davis was notoriously cheap with his musicians. Herbie Hancock and the rest of that band made $100 a gig. The famous live concert My Funny Valentine, he didn't pay them anything because it was a benefit concert, and they almost walked out. You'd never know from the way they played
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Steve Allison


From:
Eatonton,Ga. U.S.A.
Post  Posted 31 Dec 2017 1:40 pm    
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Wow clubs now a days are just like a three ring circus. Throwing darts over in that corner, playing pool over there, watching TV over there, eating chicken wings at the bar, a band in the other corner on a corner stage that's 30 feet across the front and 3 feet deep, and drunk girls dancing with each other like cows mating. It just don't get no better! But they don't smoke in there no more!!
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Richard Lotspeich


From:
North Georgia
Post  Posted 31 Dec 2017 4:09 pm    
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Steve Allison wrote:
Wow clubs now a days are just like a three ring circus. Throwing darts over in that corner, playing pool over there, watching TV over there, eating chicken wings at the bar, a band in the other corner on a corner stage that's 30 feet across the front and 3 feet deep, and drunk girls dancing with each other like cows mating. It just don't get no better! But they don't smoke in there no more!!
Yep,,,lol. That about sums it up.
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G Strout


From:
Carabelle, Florida
Post  Posted 31 Dec 2017 4:35 pm    
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I have found over the (many) years that you will get paid what you want to get paid if it is fair. If you accept a 4 hour job for 50.00 they will gladly pay you that. I play steel with various bands off and on..... I refuse to be a band member these days because of the idiocy and drama that most seem to surround themselves with. (Also the words pitch, intonation, volume, over playing and dynamics, seem to be lost on these poor souls.)
Generally, I do a solo restaurant gig (or happy hour gig) on 6 string guitar. No vocals, jazz oriented and laid back and tasteful. No, I don't do Sweet Home Alabama,or Old Time Rock and Roll, but My Funny Valentine, The Nearness of You, etc. 150.00 gets you 3 hours. If you want to give me a shot or two of Crown Royal at the end of the night that is appreciated but not necessary. Usually they offer me a menu meal and sometimes I accept. Most of the Restaurant / Club owners are gracious and hospitable. We generally sit down for a few minutes after I finish, and I always ask them if comments are favorable. I rarely have an adversarial relationship with a owner. I keep it simple. They are in business...and I am in business. Whatever we can do to help each other works for me. I tried a few coffee houses. They were exceptionally PROUD of charging higher prices for their offerings.... having signs about the business about "Fair Trade Coffee." Explaining how concerned they were that the coffee pickers in Guatemala and Ethiopia should be paid a "fair wage". Sadly, their conscience went dead when I mentioned that perhaps I should be paid a fair wage. "Fair Pay for Fair Play."
I am getting ready to team up with a Female Vocalist who does a lot of standard jazz stuff and we may try to sell the Duo thing. I am hoping that we can... it would take a load off of me. But, the price will go up.
Smile
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Pete Burak


From:
Portland, OR USA
Post  Posted 31 Dec 2017 4:40 pm    
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My general thought is, if you play, and don't have any gigs booked, book some gigs!
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G Strout


From:
Carabelle, Florida
Post  Posted 31 Dec 2017 5:02 pm    
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Yes ..... BUT, get paid for your work! Don't dilute your brand. Show up on time and dressed for the environment. Be professionally attired. For my upscale restaurant gigs I always wear nice slacks, shirt with a collar (sometimes a tie) and a sport coat. BE PROFESSIONAL. I have gotten many other gigs for private parties, lessons etc From the gigs that I am currently working.
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Kevin Fix


From:
Michigan, USA
Post  Posted 31 Dec 2017 5:22 pm     Looking Good!!! and Sounding Good!!!!
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I agree with Mr. Strout. We play all county fairs and festivals. We do the best job we can do all the way around and it sure always paid off. From the 1at of May until Dec 1st. we are busy. We do about a 300 mile radius of home base.
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