Topic: Setlist

Hiya guys,

I haven’t posted for while but I’ve been keeping an occasional eye on things here, I hope everyone is well.

I’ve made a few promises to myself for 2011, a few things not relating to guitar but I have to admit, most of them are guitar orientated.  I’m approaching 2 years of playing and I have to say the last 2 months have been great, I’ve just become totally consumed and driven by the guitar doing everything I can to improve both on the electric and acoustic and I really have seen a big improvement over the last few months.

One of my main goals this year is play out more often, I already play at parties and BBQ’s but I’m gonna try and take it to another level (become less of an introverted player and more extroverted one, if that makes sense?).  So I’m keen to get a playlist together and under my belt but how many songs should I be looking at playing from memory?  I know this has been touched on before but regarding the acoustic, I have a folder of approximately 300 songs which I happen to like, I can play reasonably well while reading from my folder, I’ll always take this to parties as to be honest when I play after a few beers to close friends and family they don’t care whether I read from notes or not, they’re too busy singing.

So last week I went through my folder and picked only the ones I really love to play and whittled it down to 30.  I can already play 4 or 5 songs from memory but is an additional 30 doable, I have to admit I think it’s a little much for my aging brain cells.

Anyway any comments, thoughts or advice welcome.


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Re: Setlist

Somewhere between three and 10,000. 

30 seems doable and reasonable.  That's a good goal.  But if you choose ten, that'd be fine with me too. 

- Zurf

Granted B chord amnesty by King of the Mutants (Long live the king).
If it comes from the heart and you add a few beers... it'll be awesome! - Mekidsmom
When in doubt ... hats. - B.G. Dude

Re: Setlist

Hey Crevs
I average about 1 - 2 gigs a week between 3 hour and 4 hour long.  Some tunes are right from memory but sometimes I do refer to a book.. glance it, then play it.  Often times its to get the lyric right..  our sets usually consist of about 12 - 15 tunes.  Good luck.

Re: Setlist

Hello Crevs, Sure have to agree with Zurf and Deb. You are only limited by your ability to memorize.

      By all means use your cheat sheets. I prefer to long hand lyrics(pain in the ...), but it helps etch

      at least the first word of a line into my brain housing After all most players will tell you

      if they can remember the first word the rest will follow. Are you concentrating too much on

      playing the song correctly distracting your mind from the words? Also, years ago I took a

      memory course and this particular way of teaching works if you apply it. I would go into it

      further, but I can't seem to remember the name of it?lmao  Just kiddin---Good luck, Mike

Our intuitions serve us well

5 (edited by tubatooter1940 2010-12-07 17:31:20)

Re: Setlist

Hi Crevs,
Good advice from Debrap, Zurf and Papaguitar.
Gigs run from three (hopefully) to four hours long. If you play 45 minute sets with 15 minute breaks, you will run through 12 - 15 tunes per set. That's 45 tunes in three hours and 60 for a four hour gig.
Since you never know what you will be faced with on a paid gig, you need 60 tunes down by memory in case it is too dark or too windy to take papers on stage.
Here in the Southern U.S., we need a selection of well known country, pop and rock tunes most people know well. A few recent hits can impress. Original tunes can be useful - especially if you want to sell C.D.'s. Also some comedy material helps if the crowd refuses to pay attention. I tried telling prepared jokes between tunes but I have more luck just visiting over the mic with the crowd and involving them in a conversation. Communication is essential. I have a few pat wisecracks ready to lighten things up. Laugh with them - never at them.
The sooner you have that much material prepared and tight you can start making a few bucks.
I'm 69 years old and not much to look at but venues keep hiring me because I know how to jumpstart a party.

We pronounce it "Guf Coast".
Ya'll wanna go down to the Guf?

Re: Setlist

Of course it is always good to be able to play from memory, but don't feel bad when you use cheat sheets in front of you.  People don't care. I always have the music in front of me.  Nobody has ever said anything about it.  It is a pain for you, not for them.

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I have finally found happiness in my life.  Guitars, singing, beer and camping.  And they all intertwine wonderfully.

Re: Setlist

Hi, crevis, what I always did was put together a sort of lead sheet, with the titles and cords for the songs. I wrote them large enough so that you could lay them on the floor. for a quick look. I could put 8 - 12 on a sheet depening on the complexity of the song. I also used black marker so the cords showed up.

Re: Setlist

I think you could end up doing more than 30. Think about all the ones you already know. The ones you've played so many times that you can't forget and the ones that you love to play. That's gotta be 10 or 20.

Good luck with your goal!!!

Keep Rockin!!!!!!!!!!!