Are Bars Going Acoustic?

Morrisman

Platinum Member
One band = cajon + 2 acoustic guitars
2nd band = 2pce drumkit, acoustic guitar, double bass
3rd band = traditional 4 pce rock band. This one gets the least number of gigs.
 

Quai34

Junior Member
One band = cajon + 2 acoustic guitars
2nd band = 2pce drumkit, acoustic guitar, double bass
3rd band = traditional 4 pce rock band. This one gets the least number of gigs.
One band = cajon + 2 acoustic guitars
2nd band = 2pce drumkit, acoustic guitar, double bass
3rd band = traditional 4 pce rock band. This one gets the least number of gigs.
Well, I feel your pain with your 3rd band, imagine a full 4 hours playing show with 7 musicians, 3 singers, female only, full L shape keys set up and drums 7 pieces for a Funk/dance band plus Imdie Rock! Too big, too expensive.... Ok, "what about a jazz/jazz rock quartet?". "Ho yes, we love it I was told but not a lo of people will come for that so, we would like to help you, so, 75$". " per musician". "Hey no, for the band"....So, I record in my cave, I became a cave man!!!
 

JimmyM

Platinum Member
My acoustic band works less than my electric band. I’m seeing a mix of both pretty evenly.
 

ravenson

Member
Countless rock hits were composed on acoustic guitar or piano . With players who have divergent experience and abilities , a more acoustically orientated performance can be a sure thing . In the right hands , accordion is the original " band in a box " .

Coming out of the crisis of the last two years , people may be drawn to venues with less aggressive sonic environments . I saw a real snappy rockabilly trio at the local farmers market coupla weeks ago . No PA or amps . Snare and brushes , stand up bass and acoustic guitar . They had a massive crowd busy tossing a sizeable amount into the contribution box . No late night , no humping furniture afterwards , no fistfights or nefarious goings-on . But .... this band knew how to deliver ..... no loops or clik either . They could have just as easily been doing there thing inside .

" Ya can or ya cain't Ya is or ya ain't " - Levon Helm
 
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roncadillac

Member
I don't have a problem with acoustic music but it's very difficult to get a paying gig in my area if you are not a solo acoustic act playing Jimmy Buffett and Bob Marley covers. We have two annual motorcycle related events that bring hundreds of thousands of people to our area, for those two weeks a year you can get booked as a full band... As long as you play Skynyrd. Outside of that, I can get gigs easily but we will be lucky to get $100.

I've been able to jump on a few gigs that usually wouldn't allow drums due to using small set up's and playing very quiet. If you can play a snare with brushes or a cajon then you should still be able to get gigs. If you can't play brushes, learn. It's not that difficult to hold a basic time keeping 'beat' with brushes.
 

LarryJ

Active Member
Probably 75% of my guitar player's gigs have been acoustic solo blues - resonator and vocals. The rest are the blues/rock power trio. The number of venues around here that can accommodate the trio's volume and footprint are limited. Most of these have outdoor patios, so we essentially shut down the trio over the winter.

This year we have added drums - two piece kit with tiny sticks and lots of brushwork - to his solo act. I am surprised at the opportunities it has opened up. I have as many duo gigs scheduled for the remainder of the year as trio gigs, and there will be some work over the winter as well. The duo is not cutting into the trio gigs, but rather adding new venues and adding dates to his solo venues.

Smaller and quieter definitely seems to be the current trend locally.
 

TMe

Senior Member
I saw a real snappy rockabilly trio at the local farmers market coupla weeks ago . No PA or amps . Snare and brushes , stand up bass and acoustic guitar .
I'm thinking that's the way to go. Rockabilly, Blues, Golden oldies... anything that works with brushes and either acoustic guitars or small amps.

I'm in Ontario, and I have to think that if we put together a Blues band that actually played Blues, that would be a real treat and might go over well. We have "Blues Fest's" all over the province every summer, but good luck finding any actual Blues bands at any of them.
 
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TMe

Senior Member
This year we have added drums - two piece kit with tiny sticks and lots of brushwork - to his solo act.
Do you find that acoustic guitar works better for a two-piece than electric guitar? I'm wondering if it would provide a fuller sound, and work better with no bass than electric would. My band is currently reduced to a two piece because of tinfoil hat issues, and I'm trying convince my guy to start using his acoustic.
 
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mikyok

Platinum Member
Been that way for years in these parts. Only way to make it pay doing pubs and clubs is to do it on your own, works for the venues too because they'll pay them £100 and everyone is a winner. Splitting £200 4 or 5 ways makes it not worth the hassle and that's the top end of a lot of pubs entertainment budget.

The scary bit is that the pay has stayed the same since the 70s. My mom and dad were going out in 1977 for the same fee that I started doing pubs for in 2003.

There's also factors like sound limiters and the only places that have survived numerous economic downturns don't tend to have bands. It's a shame, we played a 50th at one of my old locals for our wedding function fee (random booking that came through an agent) and we packed the place, in fact folk were coming from nearby pubs to get in so people still want to be entertained there's just not the money for bands to do it.
 

roncadillac

Member
Probably 75% of my guitar player's gigs have been acoustic solo blues - resonator and vocals. The rest are the blues/rock power trio. The number of venues around here that can accommodate the trio's volume and footprint are limited. Most of these have outdoor patios, so we essentially shut down the trio over the winter.

This year we have added drums - two piece kit with tiny sticks and lots of brushwork - to his solo act. I am surprised at the opportunities it has opened up. I have as many duo gigs scheduled for the remainder of the year as trio gigs, and there will be some work over the winter as well. The duo is not cutting into the trio gigs, but rather adding new venues and adding dates to his solo venues.

Smaller and quieter definitely seems to be the current trend locally.
I love that type of stuff and did the same thing for awhile, share some pics or vids next time
 

LarryJ

Active Member
Do you find that acoustic guitar works better for a two-piece than electric guitar?

He uses a metal-bodied resonator, which sounds more like an electric than a hollow bodied acoustic. Perfect for '50s blues with a more modern slant.

We used to do a lot of Wes Montgomery style jazz as a duo. Also, rockabilly and higher energy blues/rock. All done with electric.

In the 8+ years I have played with him, I have never seen him even hold a hollow bodied acoustic.
 

Uncle_MC

Member
I’ve definitely noticed this trend. There are still a handful of venues consistently booking full bands but it seems that solo and duo acts are becoming increasingly popular.
 

Cmdr. Ross

Silver Member
But, overall, there are less places for actual electric acts to play; and more small restaurants playing around with trying to cram in live music, which inherently favors acoustic acts.

Whatever normal was, things are not returning to it.
I currently play in a blues band & this has been the trend in the places we get booked. The last 3 venues have been restaurants with an open area and nothing above "rod" type sticks. They pay well, so it's worth the "Yacht Rock Radio" level show, but I've definitely seen a shift in how venues want the band to be.
 

BruceW

Senior Member
The problem is... the complaint I've heard most from small venues is that the drum kit takes up too much floor space. The Rock star wannabee's who insist on bringing a Neil Peart sized kit to a venue that seats 50 or 60 people really ruin it for the rest of us. As a side note, what I find really odd is that it's mostly old guys like me who insist on the big kits, whereas most of the youngsters have the same 12/14/20 kit that I do, or even a 12/14/18 for playing Rock.

I don't consider my kit "big" (22, 12, 13, 16) but I do have quite a few cymbals that make it seem bigger than it really is. Thing is, my footprint with 7 cymbals & hats is the same as if I just went with ride and two crashes. I just use second arms on most of my stands to hang them all. :)

I do cut it down in some of the smaller venues we play at, but if I can fit the base kit in, I can usually put up most of the cymbals too.

As I get older, and gig more frequently, I do ask myself if I might wanna reduce things somewhat....nahhhhhhhh
(Not yet)
 

TMe

Senior Member
They pay well, so it's worth the "Yacht Rock Radio" level show...
I'd never heard the term "Yacht Rock" before.

I've been looking at lists of songs commonly played by wedding bands and trying to identify songs that don't completely blow. I thought that might be a good starting point for making a list of covers for semi-acoustic treatment. The yacht rock selections look like they have a similar vibe, but without the maudlin sentimentality.

Don't stop believin'. :sick:
 

Cmdr. Ross

Silver Member
I'd never heard the term "Yacht Rock" before.

I've been looking at lists of songs commonly played by wedding bands and trying to identify songs that don't completely blow. I thought that might be a good starting point for making a list of covers for semi-acoustic treatment. The yacht rock selections look like they have a similar vibe, but without the maudlin sentimentality.

Don't stop believin'. :sick:
Never! ;)

A bit of history:
Yacht Rock (originally known as the West Coast sound or adult-oriented rock) is a broad music style and aesthetic commonly associated with soft rock, one of the most commercially successful genres from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s. Drawing on common stylistic traits including high-quality production, clean vocals, and a focus on light, catchy melodies. Its name, coined in 2005 by the makers of the online video series Yacht Rock, was derived from its association with the popular Southern Californian leisure activity of sailing.

SiriusXM has a station called Yacht Rock Radio and is commonly on between Memorial Day & Labor day. Songs are full of Michael McDonald, Christopher Cross & Kenny Loggins and subjects are sailing, making love & other summer vibes.

It's a staple at my house during those months when the mood strikes. :)

As for the softer-song bar scene...My blues band is in this rut at the moment. I dig it as the gigs start early & I'm home for a good rest. Something I didn't get when I was younger playing bigger shows.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Coming out of the crisis of the last two years , people may be drawn to venues with less aggressive sonic environments . I saw a real snappy rockabilly trio at the local farmers market coupla weeks ago . No PA or amps . Snare and brushes , stand up bass and acoustic guitar . They had a massive crowd busy tossing a sizeable amount into the contribution box . No late night , no humping furniture afterwards , no fistfights or nefarious goings-on . But .... this band knew how to deliver ..... no loops or clik either . They could have just as easily been doing there thing inside .

This sounds like so much fun! If the country band thing goes away, I'd love to play some rockabilly.
 

Tony_H

Active Member
I did make an observation about the area I am in. Most bands that aren't playing current music geared to the 20-30 year old crowds are pretty limited in the venues that will hire them. Now this is a very broad stroke observation, but I have noticed the bands that are getting the first calls play the rock and even pop music from the 90's up through whatever is out today.

My band used the slow time during covid to reformat and focus on that younger crowd, the ones that are still actively "partying" and want the louder danceable music. We spin pop hits into a more modern rock version so it's still fun for us, but it still bridges that generational gap. We still have some very iconic 80's music mixed in throughout the set list, but it is more of the minority of what we play.

So could that also be a reason others are seeing a decline in opportunities for their electric bands, due to most venues that will cater to older music now feature an aging clientele that focus more on socializing with others with their favorite music more as a background?
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Diamond Member
This sounds like so much fun! If the country band thing goes away, I'd love to play some rockabilly.

my country group morphs into rockabilly for part of a show quite often! It is a blast, and for me, it was one of the origins of punk, so I like it for that as well

and if the gig is a car or motorcycle show, we are 90% rockabilly
 
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