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Author Topic:  Whats the average pay for steel player
Herb Steiner


From:
Spicewood TX 78669
Post Posted 4 Jan 2018 11:31 am     Reply with quote

Roger Rettig wrote:
Ouch!

I will never show any bad attitude on a gig. If I've accepted it I will give it my all in every respect, including the social aspects.

It doesn't stop me grimacing a bit in the privacy of my car on the way home, though.


That, my young friend, is because you're a professional and a gentleman with a sense of decorum.

Here in Texas we would allow as how your momma raised you right, and you know what side of the tortilla the beans are on.
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Bill L. Wilson


From:
Oklahoma, USA
Post Posted 4 Jan 2018 11:29 pm     The Numbers are In. Reply with quote

Well, counting up the gigs, (52) and the money, $5514 I’m $2000 short of the yr. before. Several places have closed down, changed hands, or don’t want to pay $400 for a band. Like I said earlier, I’m real lucky to even get paid, but I enjoy getting to play, and I always give it my all even if my all ain’t all that much.
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Lee Baucum


From:
McAllen, Texas (Extreme South) The Final Frontier
Post Posted 5 Jan 2018 7:21 am     Reply with quote

Herb Steiner wrote:
Here in Texas we would allow as how your momma raised you right, and you know what side of the tortilla the beans are on.


And they damn sure better be pinto beans...

Winking
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Chris Walke


From:
St Charles, IL
Post Posted 5 Jan 2018 8:04 am     Reply with quote

I usually play lead guitar - that's typically what I'm hired for. Sometimes I also bring a lap steel or the pedal steel. Occasionally, I get booked for pedal steel only.

Whatever the case, depending on the venue and the event, I may be just sitting in on a tune or two for no pay, or making a few bucks, or sometimes up to $150 for the evening. I have a day job, so gigs are gravy. I'm far more concerned with whether or not the musicians I'm working with are enjoyable to play with than I am about the actual cash I make.
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Greg Lambert


From:
Illinois, USA
Post Posted 5 Jan 2018 12:55 pm     Reply with quote

Chris Walke wrote:
I usually play lead guitar - that's typically what I'm hired for. Sometimes I also bring a lap steel or the pedal steel. Occasionally, I get booked for pedal steel only.

Whatever the case, depending on the venue and the event, I may be just sitting in on a tune or two for no pay, or making a few bucks, or sometimes up to $150 for the evening. I have a day job, so gigs are gravy. I'm far more concerned with whether or not the musicians I'm working with are enjoyable to play with than I am about the actual cash I make.


that in itself is worth more than a bucket a money.
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Roger Rettig


From:
An Englishman in Naples, FL
Post Posted 5 Jan 2018 1:03 pm     Reply with quote

An ideal scenario. I find that most pros have mastered the art of 'playing nice with others' although I have, in fifty-nine years of doing this, encountered the occasional odd duck.

When you're closeted in a band-room for sixteen straight weeks those qualities assume far more importance than how they might actually play their instrument, as trying as someone's incompetence might be.

At year's end, though, I have to have come out ahead, financially speaking, and made my living.
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Herb Steiner


From:
Spicewood TX 78669
Post Posted 5 Jan 2018 1:31 pm     Reply with quote

When I considered myself a full-time professional, I always used 4 criteria when evaluating accepting a gig. These were 1. was the money good enough, 2. were the other players friends, or players I admire and want to learn from, making the gig fun, 3. is the gig convenient to home, and 4. would it lead to career advancement?

If all 4 criteria were met, Wow... are you kidding!? Who do I have to shoot? Very Happy Having three would be a great gig but with a drawback; two, an okay gig with a couple drawbacks, and if only one criteria was met it had better be a freakin' awesome one! Smile

As the decades passed, the criteria never changed, but the values placed on each definitely did, as each of our values change as we age and progress in life. For instance, I'm in the winter of my professional musical career, so career advancement is meaningless to me. Been on the road, done that. Most important to me is closeness to home right now. I'll play with strangers if the money is good, and I'll pick with my pals for less bucks but for more fun. Smile

So, two outta three ain't bad, I always say. All three would be a no-brainer Laughing
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Rick Campbell


From:
Sneedville, TN, USA
Post Posted 5 Jan 2018 5:12 pm     Reply with quote

Herb Steiner wrote:
When I considered myself a full-time professional, I always used 4 criteria when evaluating accepting a gig. These were 1. was the money good enough, 2. were the other players friends, or players I admire and want to learn from, making the gig fun, 3. is the gig convenient to home, and 4. would it lead to career advancement?

If all 4 criteria were met, Wow... are you kidding!? Who do I have to shoot? Very Happy Having three would be a great gig but with a drawback; two, an okay gig with a couple drawbacks, and if only one criteria was met it had better be a freakin' awesome one! Smile

As the decades passed, the criteria never changed, but the values placed on each definitely did, as each of our values change as we age and progress in life. For instance, I'm in the winter of my professional musical career, so career advancement is meaningless to me. Been on the road, done that. Most important to me is closeness to home right now. I'll play with strangers if the money is good, and I'll pick with my pals for less bucks but for more fun. Smile

So, two outta three ain't bad, I always say. All three would be a no-brainer Laughing


Well said Herb!!! I agree 100%, but I can't explain it as well as you did.

RC
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Donny Hinson


From:
Glen Burnie, Md. U.S.A.
Post Posted 5 Jan 2018 7:26 pm     Reply with quote

Tony Prior wrote:
The bigger question is still, HOW much is the BAND making ? Not the individual player in the band....


The band? Who cares? I'm a sideman, and that's never an issue for me. As long as I'm getting paid what I want, I don't care if it's 3 pieces or 15 pieces. I've also worked in bands where (HORRORS!) the players did NOT get equal money. The reasons for this situation are manifold, but it never sits too well when everyone finally finds out (and it happens in more bands than you might think).

And yes, I've been on "both ends of the stick". Oh Well
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Richard Sinkler


From:
Oakdale, California
Post Posted 6 Jan 2018 7:27 am     Reply with quote

Donny Hinson wrote:
Tony Prior wrote:
The bigger question is still, HOW much is the BAND making ? Not the individual player in the band....


The band? Who cares? I'm a sideman, and that's never an issue for me. As long as I'm getting paid what I want, I don't care if it's 3 pieces or 15 pieces. I've also worked in bands where (HORRORS!) the players did NOT get equal money. The reasons for this situation are manifold, but it never sits too well when everyone finally finds out (and it happens in more bands than you might think).

And yes, I've been on "both ends of the stick". Oh Well


I was in a band where the leader got paid more (all gigs were union gigs), and the lead singer (who sang probably 90% of the song but didn't play an instrument) got less than the players. Supposedly the higher pay for the leader was for booking gigs, advertising, etc... He did none of that as he had a booking agent that we always used. He didn't even supply the PA. The bass player did. But, we were all paid considerably more than scale, actually pretty good, so nobody complained. But I am for equal pay for all.
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 6 Jan 2018 9:18 am     Reply with quote

Donny’s point is a good one because oftentimes steel players are hired by the job and are not core members of the band.

Richard’s point is also valid. If you are a core member of a band, there is no reason for there to be a sliding pay scale, even if you’re the new guy. Everyone has the right to know how much a gig is paying. If I was only getting half pay I would only play half the gig.

(Okay, serious forum members....I would play the whole gig, but it would be the last one with that band).

When I was in a show band, we all negotiated our own pay. It was the same amount every show and generally speaking we were all happy. We never really knew how much the star was making, but without a doubt it was usually far more than we were. When we had a steel player, he worked out his own deal.
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Ron Hogan


From:
Nashville, TN, usa
Post Posted 6 Jan 2018 10:28 am     Reply with quote

Here in Nashville, I pay someone to let me play!!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hGyQ7sxve4&feature=youtu.be

Ron
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Kenny Davis


From:
Great State of Oklahoma
Post Posted 6 Jan 2018 10:50 pm     Reply with quote

Our band plays very limited each year, usually 10 dates. We normally do 1 1/2 hour shows, averaging a little over $250 each. Seven of us, even split. Range was $125 up to $400, and the longest drive last year was 150 miles.

Each year we do a "Trainfest" gig that takes all day. We book a car on the Heartland Flyer Amtrak train from OKC to Fort Worth, and sell 50 seats at $150 each. We leave OKC around 8:30 and arrive in Fort Worth at 12:30. Everyone has a nice 4+ hour free time to visit the Stockyards or museum, then back on the train. We provide a Jason's Deli boxed dinner for the return trip, arriving back in OKC at 9:30 p.m. Everyone gets a cap or t-shirt to commemorate the trip. We do this with mics and put Bluetooth speakers throughout the car in the overheads. Amtrak removes the four center rows of seats, and we set up there. Music down and back with a couple of breaks when the train makes stops on the way. Of course, this is a Resonator job for me! It's an "Event" for folks and it sells out each year within a few weeks of the announced date!
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Kenny Davis


From:
Great State of Oklahoma
Post Posted 6 Jan 2018 11:03 pm     Reply with quote

Our band plays very limited each year, usually 10 dates. We normally do 1 1/2 hour shows, averaging a little over $250 each. Seven of us, even split. Range was $125 up to $400, and the longest drive last year was 150 miles.

Each year we do a "Trainfest" gig that takes all day. We book a car on the Heartland Flyer Amtrak train from OKC to Fort Worth, and sell 50 seats at $150 each. We leave OKC around 8:30 and arrive in Fort Worth at 12:30. Everyone has a nice 4+ hour free time to visit the Stockyards or museum, then back on the train. We provide a Jason's Deli boxed dinner for the return trip, arriving back in OKC at 9:30 p.m. Everyone gets a cap or t-shirt to commemorate the trip. We do this with mics and put Bluetooth speakers throughout the car in the overheads. Amtrak removes the four center rows of seats, and we set up there. Music down and back with a couple of breaks when the train makes stops on the way. Of course, this is a Resonator job for me! It's an "Event" for folks and it sells out each year within a few weeks of the announced date!
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post Posted 7 Jan 2018 12:54 am     Reply with quote

Donny Hinson wrote:
Tony Prior wrote:
The bigger question is still, HOW much is the BAND making ? Not the individual player in the band....


The band? Who cares? I'm a sideman, and that's never an issue for me. As long as I'm getting paid what I want,


While that is certainly true with "the sideman/fill-in call" I doubt it is the case with the weekly Legion/Moose Halls bands. I suspect a majority of the members here fall into that category. Local 4 or 5 piece band that works together each week, same band, they are all part of the same band. They are not weekly sidemen.

thats what I am referring to.

IF players here are saying they are in a band and they are only making $35 on a gig I would like to hear from them about TOTAL BAND pay , or are they being discriminated against because they play Steel ? Everyone else is making $75 or $100 and only they are getting paid $35. Are they a member of the band or are they just an extra now and then ? Are they being paid $35 and the leader is making $100 or more ? Is this an every week occurrence ? They get paid less, everyone else gets paid more and they are part of the band ?

Like several in my area, I play venues in the regional weekly dance circuit, the more popular bands may get $100 more than the common bands, Meaning they may get paid $600 while everyone else get's $500 , mostly due to the draw at the door. A few of these bands have been on the circuit for many years, they earned it. The players earn well . The band leaders rely on QUALITY BAND members or the whole thing can go belly up really fast. They are each part of the band. They are not weekly sidemen.

I have no problem with a band leader drawing additional pay for the extra work, I didn't do that when I was leading. It's not an issue if he or she is paying band members appropriately. But there is a real danger to a local band that gigs 2 or 3 times a month with the same players, especially if each player has a dynamic role in the band . Said band leader can end up with NO band or a different band real fast which can lead to NO gigs and no pay for him as well. Seen it happen many times. A local band leader drawing extra pay with no band draws no pay ! It's a fine line for sure. I am referring to LOCAL BANDS on a monthly circuit, not various bands doing shows in the area.

We are all either in the band together or we are not. If we are not, and just a sideman getting a call for a one nighter, for certain thats a new set of rules and what Donny states is quite accurate.

So back to my original questions for those claiming to earn less because they play Steel.

Are you part of the band or a fill in now and then , not actually a band member .

Are you part of the band earning less because you play Steel and everyone else is earning more because they don't play Steel ?

Are you earning equal low pay because thats all the venues are willing to pay the band ?

All of this matters if we say we are earning less because we are Steel players. What is the reference ?
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Donny Hinson


From:
Glen Burnie, Md. U.S.A.
Post Posted 7 Jan 2018 6:53 am     Reply with quote

You're right, Tony. Everyone's point of reference is a little different. Nowadays, steel isn't the backbone of country music like it was back in the '60s. And for most of us who play, it's come down to "catch as catch can". I reminisce sometimes about the old days, but I try not to dwell on it because at one time or another, some of the real greats have experienced the same dearth of opportunity most of us see now.
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Brad Malone


From:
Pennsylvania, USA
Post Posted 7 Jan 2018 10:16 am     bottom line Reply with quote

back in the 60's a house that sold for $20,000 is now selling for $300,000 or 15 times as much so, if you were being paid $15 per gig back then you need $225 now.. if you cannot get that you are better off finding a part time security job on the weekends..but if you like playing for the fun of it, or playing for nothing...go ahead..it is a free country.
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 7 Jan 2018 10:46 am     Reply with quote

If you are playing for nothing, then you should only play at places that don’t pay anybody ever, or get your own club in this wonderful free country.
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Brooks Montgomery


From:
Idaho, USA
Post Posted 7 Jan 2018 11:22 am     Reply with quote

Fred Treece wrote:
If you are playing for nothing, then you should only play at places that don’t pay anybody ever, or get your own club in this wonderful free country.


You do, of course, see the irony in that statement?
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Ron Hogan


From:
Nashville, TN, usa
Post Posted 7 Jan 2018 11:44 am     Reply with quote

This may have been posted already.

In Nashville if not playing for an act, just playing Broadway and club gigs, here is the low down.

The bulk of the time, you play for tips by having one of the band members take the bucket around to the customers. Some club owners may give a $25.00 per player plus what ever you can badger in tips. If you dont have a good crowd on your shift, you'll make hardly nothing but there are good shifts sometimes and get about $100.00

Some club owners wont give you anything and expect you just to work for tips. Also, you don't get a break. You play 4 hours straight and get one chance to take a pee break.

Club owners make a killing and the Union doesn't help. Plus parking to pay for.

So when you come visit us, please tip!
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 7 Jan 2018 1:42 pm     Reply with quote

Brooks Montgomery wrote:
Fred Treece wrote:
If you are playing for nothing, then you should only play at places that don’t pay anybody ever, or get your own club in this wonderful free country.


You do, of course, see the irony in that statement?

It always makes me happy when people get it.
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Brad Malone


From:
Pennsylvania, USA
Post Posted 7 Jan 2018 2:09 pm     Club owners are making a killing Reply with quote

Club owners make a killing and the Union doesn't help. Plus parking to pay for.


Wow! Club owners are making a killing because people are stupid enough to work for very little or nothing....Pays to be a club owner.
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John De Maille


From:
On a Mountain in Upstate Halcottsville, N.Y.
Post Posted 7 Jan 2018 2:57 pm     Reply with quote

When I first got into playing country music, I worked for a club owner, band leader. We played three sets a night and I got payed $50.00, plus all the beer and hamburgers I could consume. It was a good start in that genre and the job was steady. But, that was the only time, that, I worked that scenario. About half of my career has been in established bands and we were paid mostly equally. The other half of playing was all over the pay scale. And, I didn't really care as long as I got paid with what I was happy with. Today, the band I'm in gets paid equally and I'm happy with that. I'm having fun playing and the extra money is good, but, I won't give it away.
The worst case I had was with a guy, who, was trying to self promote himself and his wife. It didn't take me long to figure that crap out. So, I quickly said goodbye and never looked back. It was the only time, that, I felt really being used by someone.
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Roger Rettig


From:
An Englishman in Naples, FL
Post Posted 7 Jan 2018 4:43 pm     Reply with quote

With respect, Brad, why should the Union help? Is everyone on the stage paying dues? If they are members then they're working for less than scale, anyway.

Please don't misunderstand - I'm no longer a member myself and I do my own negotiating. But I don't expect the Union to intervene even if I do have a problem; I'm working outside their protection.
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Tim Harr


From:
Dunlap, Illinois
Post Posted 7 Jan 2018 5:12 pm     Reply with quote

In Central IL, I make no less than $100 a night, sometimes as much as $225 a night.

With a 6 - 7 pc band, if we book something for out of town we get $1200 - $1500 a night... plus a couple of hotel rooms and food/drinks comp'd at the venue.

If the gig is within 10 miles of my house, I will do it for at least $90. Any less.. then, I would rather not do it.

Local recording sessions.. $100 a song or $150 a song for more than one instrument.
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