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Thread: Upcoming gig and nervous

  1. #1

    Upcoming gig and nervous

    Hey guys. Now that I got my guild setup and playing nicely, I decided to schedule a gig over Thanksgiving weekend. It's my first in like 20 years. I quit back then because of performance anxiety. But, I want to give this another shot because I love playing music.

    Do you have any advice?

    I can play pretty well at home, but even going to guitar shops to test instruments I freeze up and suddenly my left hand becomes a death grip claw and might right hand has no idea how to play rhythms (at home this never happens). So if it's that bad in a guitar shop I guess I'm not over this and fear I'll bomb. I'm going to start with some relatively simple songs because of this, but any other tips? I want to get into some kind of zen state where I just don't care and have fun. That's what I keep telling myself. That nobody cares if I flub a chord, etc.

  2. #2
    congrats on getting out there again and working toward overcoming the fear. that is a brave step.

    the more i mess up live, the better i feel. what i mean is, the fear is less as i have done it before, so more likely i will play it better next time, though not always the case :) just easier to let go i mean.

    of the simple songs you have settled on, go with the ones you like to play best, the ones you have internalized the most. and whatever happens, dont stop, just move onto the next chord.

    1971 D25 Br--ol' Flattop
    2008 Santa Cruz D/PWM--wife's

    "i think that you are the only one i know of that considers the 1973-1974 mahogany top/arch back D-25 a "holy grail" guitar"--mav

  3. #3
    Drink heavily. (Just kidding). When I was studying classical guitar, I had more problems with performance anxiety than I ever did playing other styles of music. I found that taking a few minutes to do a relaxation exercise before going on stage helped. On my back (if possible), slow, deep breathing and concentrating on relaxing the parts of my body, starting with the head and working down.
    F212: 1964 ,AA: 1975 ,Mark V:1975 ,F50:1976, D-55,1979; X170:1986, F-40:2007, F512:2010, T-250:1986, Godin ACS:1999, Giannini 7-string classical, Epi Korean Howard Roberts Custom:1995, Pawless Mesquite Special, 2012. My trio's site:

  4. #4
    How did you get the gig? Did they ask for a recording? What is the venue?
    I would say it's better to be short and good, than long and bad. In other words, keep the set short. If you can, work up a 45 minute set and repeat it. That may depend on the circumstances, but I know experienced musicians who gave me similar advice.
    1978 Guild D-40
    1998 Vagabond Travel Guitar
    2015 Guild OM-140CE Sunburst Westerly Collection

  5. #5
    Senior Member walrus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    When I first played an open mic, I was drenched with sweat when I finished. But each time it got a bit better. I have not done that now for a long time, I'm guessing I would be nervous again.

    It's natural to be nervous, I guess, but you have gotten some good advice already. I'm sure you'll do great!

    1984 Guild D64
    2008 PRS Hollowbody Spruce

  6. #6
    If you wear glasses...take them off so you can't see the audience...

  7. #7
    Senior Member walrus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Quote Originally Posted by GuildFS4612CE View Post
    If you wear glasses...take them off so you can't see the audience...
    Ah, if only you posted that several years ago!

    1984 Guild D64
    2008 PRS Hollowbody Spruce

  8. #8
    Senior Member Rich Cohen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Charlottesville, VA
    The more you play in front of an audience, the easier it should get. Happened to me. Confidence should grow on you.
    Westerly: 1973 F-512, 1976 G-41, 1993 JF-100NT CRV
    Nashville: 1997 45th Anniversary (#32 of 45)
    New Hartford: 2010 GSR F-40 Cocobolo (K&K Pure Mini), 2013 Orpheum 12 Fret Slope

  9. #9
    Thanks guys, all good tips. Knowing it's normal is probably the best overarching message.
    I know it but to hear people relate and acknowledge it somehow helps.

    The gig is small, just two songs at some local place where it's easy to play at. I want to work back into this slowly, so this was perfect. Should be under 7 minutes for 2 songs. I'm going to try all the methods here and then get all nihilistic and just think how none of this really matters.

  10. #10
    Senior Member dreadnut's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Good luck, just remember the primary objective is: HAVE FUN!

    Way to confront your fears. You know, many professional musicians and actors still have "stage fright," and they'll tell you that a certain amount of tension keeps you on your toes.
    "The air's as still as the throttle on a funeral train." John Prine

    '76 D-25M
    '99 DV-52ABHG
    '98 DeArmond Starfire Special
    Takamine Acoustic Flying "A"
    Crate CA-125D Acoustic Amp
    Fishman Loudbox Mini Acoustic Amp

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