Lead Guitarist Quandary

Discussion in 'Band Management' started by Rick, Dec 20, 2012.

  1. Rick

    Rick New Member

    I'm the guitarist/vocalist in an originals band. We currently have a lineup of myself plus a bassist and a drummer. The drummer just rejoined in August, and lately we've been talking about adding a lead guitarst. We're not sure if the trio thing is enough for our music. We'll need to play some covers, for a while at least, and another guitarist will definitely support that. We tried out a lead guitarist a few weeks ago, and he's been around for a couple of practices. He definitely can play, and he's been working on our songs as well as some covers we're going to play, but I'm not sure there's a good personality fit there.

    I've recently been contacted by the guitarist I used to jam with. He has played with our drummer in one version of my band, and with the bassist when we were without a drummer. He's a really nice guy and has a positive attitude and everything, but he's flaked out on us a few times. He never quit the band and we never kicked him out...we just quit hearing from him for a couple months and quit trying to get a hold of him. I haven't told him that we've been playing with the drummer, cuz I don't want to give him something to "motivate him" only to have him flake out in a few weeks or months again.

    Two more factors:
    1) The old guitarist has "the look" and has always been popular with the ladies. The new guy...to put it kindly...he doesn't have the look.
    2) Simply put, the old friend is often baked.

    Thoughts, comments?
  2. TeddyAlemu

    TeddyAlemu New Member

    From the looks of it, i would not take the old guitarist. If he flaked before, without even telling you guys for whatever reason, it just shows a lack of respect and dedication for the group. that is fundamental, and if you are as serious about music as my group, then this is not acceptable. The reason why i mention my group is because this reminds me of an old guitarist we use to have that wouldn't show up to some practices. In the end, the group just couldn't fit in his schedule and just wasn't the best thing for him to focus on.

    The new guitarist, on the contrary, sounds like a great fit to me. if he is already working on some covers you guys do, then you can tell he takes the group seriously. When you say his personality dosent fit, do you mean with the image of the band or with you guys on a basic level. if its a problem between you guys, then it might lead to other issues. but if your looking out for the bands image, look, or whether he has "the look" or not, i wouldn't put it at any higher of a priority than that of the sound of his playing. In essence, if he plays good and is dedicated, give him a shot.

    also, there are two types of stoners that ive met in my past. The one that stones in his spare time and still handles his other **** and dosent let it get in the way, and the other one, that stones regardless of what hes doing. If hes like the first, dont judge him on the weed, but if he isn't following up on responsibilities, hes a bad idea. And i see this post is from a couple months ago, if you havent solved the problem up till now, i hope this could help, if you have, id like to here what you guys decided on anyway lol.
  3. Thor

    Thor Talkbass Amp, Bass Humor and Band Management Mod

    He flaked out twice. Move on bro. (I figured my first post should be in the BM forum...)
  4. MarkM

    MarkM Member

    Yep, looks don't mean much if he doesn't front up at gigs, misses rehearsals, and is stoned of his gourd half the time. Go with the best musician. Personality issues can be worked out, but lazy stoner halfwits are a waste of your time. I can put of with a lot of things from bandmates, but I can't be bothered with laziness.

    Completely off-topic here, but the terms "lead guitarist" or "rhythm guitarist" are not really used amongst professional musicians these days. If you play the guitar, you're a "guitarist". If you sing, you're a "vocalist". No offence meant, but those terms always sound amateurish and dated to me. Others may disagree, but playing a guitar is playing a guitar, there's no reason to qualify any further than that.

    Please excuse my rant. Best of luck with your band, and I hope the Gig Gods are kind to you.

  5. Rick

    Rick New Member

    Thanks for the feedback.

    It's funny. I was pretty much in agreement with everyone's input. My drummer wanted to give the old guitarist another chance since he had familiarity with a lot of the songs and some history (as well as some talent). I still wasn't too keen on being flaked out on again. The old guitarist set up a jam session, unaware that the drummer would be there. He showed up on time, and was excited to have a complete band again. For the last few months, he's been showing up to every practice, and even to a few separate song-writing/recording sessions. I'm still nervous, but it's actually working out pretty well so far.

    I understand where you're coming from, and please notice that I refer to myself as simply a "guitarist", as I did with the "old guitarist". But the other guy is really a "lead guitarist". He's a pinch harmonic, heavy distortion, screamin', wailin' kind of guitar player. I would not want to be labeled as a "rhythm guitarist" or a "lead guitarist", but for some guys, it's more a description than a label.
  6. MarkM

    MarkM Member

    Yeah, it's hardly even worth mentioning really (even though I have LOL). I know guitarists who can play gorgeous solos, but haven't the foggiest idea when it comes to funky chord substitutions or even just groovy rhythmic shifts. I guess that's why I mentioned it (or maybe I'm just getting old). :cool:

    Anyway, it sounds like your guitarist has got his act together, which is very good news. I hope you get something really nice going.

  7. dspellman

    dspellman Member

    It would take a LOT for me to trust the old guitarist. A. Lot.
    I'm so tired of playing mother to musicians who can't be trusted, either because of personal quirks, substance problems, issues with their significant others, etc., and when the rubber meets the road, I don't want my income, reputation or even my mellow threatened by an association with an idiot. I'd rather find a different challenge.

    I go old school with the lead/rhythm guitarist thing. I don't mind if they interchange a bit or both call themselves guitarist, but it'll usually become very obvious which is which, title or no. Some otherwise excellent musicians (not just guitar players) just do NOT do improvisational solos well at all. Some thrive.
  8. Roppongen

    Roppongen New Member

    Same old story, same old song and dance is all you'll get from a jerk who's already proven he doesn't care about the band and it doesn't matter how good he looks or sounds if he's not there.

    I've been watching my friends band go back to the same loser singer for years now and every time he crosses a line and gets the boot permanently, they let him back in because of the same justification here - he looks and sounds good.

    Get rid of anyone who is not going to be reliable.
  9. MarkM

    MarkM Member

    I tend to agree. I have little patience for musicians who are unprofessional. I can forgive the occasional mistake (I've made a few myself), but not someone who is constantly unreliable or causing disharmony within the band - it's not worth the grief. People like that usually don't change, at least not in the near future.
  10. jaclop099

    jaclop099 <Blues Jazz Rock Funk>

    I agree with everyone else saying that you should move on from the old guitarist, but as far as whether you need a lead or not, it all depends on your style. If you play some thing like blues or jazz, I think it's really a good idea. But if its metal, punk, or even just plain rock, it's not as important. What genre do you guys play?
  11. MarkM

    MarkM Member

    Hey Rick, I was just curious as to how the new guitarist is working out? Personally, I'm not a big fan of "power trios" - I think they limit the sort of music you can play quite a lot. As a guitarist, I prefer to work with another guitarist, or a good keyboard player - that one extra instrument adds a lot of depth to a band. At least in my humble opinion (we can't all be Cream, let's face it).

    As for "the look" - I know what you mean, but I'll take a geeky looking guitarist who can play, and is committed and reliable over some "pretty boy" any time. A charismatic frontman (or woman) is certainly a huge advantage, but I don't think audiences really care that much about looks. Others may disagree, but in my experience, sound wins out over image every time (and rightly so).

    All the best,
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2013
  12. Diamondgirl

    Diamondgirl New Member

    Wow ted that was a great response- and you are so right about their being 2 kinds of stoners out there....true enough.
    TeddyAlemu likes this.
  13. Rick

    Rick New Member

    The old guitarist actually worked on earning his way back into the fold. I would be lying if I said he hadn't disappointed us a few times by not showing up to practice, but no major disappointments. We've played a few "gigs" with reasonable success. We're stuck in that gray area where the only opportunities to play are open mic nights. I guess that's the down side to paying originals.

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