Preparing For Your First Guitar Gig

by Donna Maurer, Aug 30, 2019 . 5 min read

Preparing For Your First Guitar Gig

Congratulations! You have landed your very first guitar gig. It is exciting to be provided with the opportunity to perform live. 

Now comes the difficult part: how do you properly prepare so that you’re ready? Battle the stage fright?

There are some beneficial tips and techniques you can utilize to help you feel prepared. It’s time to get yourself in the right mindset so you can tackle your performance with ease.

Practice, Practice, and – of course – Practice

The most important thing that you can do when preparing for your debut is to, yes, practice. It may be annoying to hear this obvious piece of advice, but the more you practice the songs you will be playing, the better you will become at performing them. Identify ways that you can improve on your playing skills, find trouble areas to work on, and focus on practicing those sections more. 

Susana V., a teacher who specializes in professional guitar lessons out of New York City with Music To Your Home states that “practicing is essential for players to work their fingers, to improve their sound, and also to find their true potential and playing style.” So, make sure you set aside some quality practice time each day to perfect your guitar playing.

If you want to make sure your fingers stay nimble and are ready for all of your chord progressions, check out some of these great warm-up suggestions. The more prepared you are, the more confident you will be when it’s showtime.

Further Reading – The Ultimate Guide To Guitar Practice 

Deal With Your Stage Fears

Anxiety is a completely normal, inherited response when playing in front of an audience. Even some of the most distinguished performers will admit to still having stage fright, after performing countless times. Here are a few ways to help you with combating your fears: 

Record Your Practice Sessions / Rehearsals 

You can’t always tell what areas need to be focused on, so it can be extremely helpful to record your practice sessions. When you play them back it will be easier to see what areas are either dragging in tempo or need to be more polished. You can identify trouble spots that you need to concentrate on playing over and over so that they sound the way you want. 

If you are working with a band, record rehearsals so you can listen to all of the instruments together and work on difficult parts together. An additional resource is our article, Become a Better Guitarist, where you can find more tips like this one.

Work on Your Stage Presence

Commanding the stage is a significant part of performing. The audience is going to see you and they want to see how you interact with them. Take a look at successful live bands to see what they do to keep their audience entertained in between songs, or how they interact during a song. 

If you can, take your guitar to the stage or location and try to utilize the entire area you’ll be playing in so that you have a feel for it and know where you can move during songs. Part of a good stage presence is to utilize the entire space. This is a great way to establishing your stage persona as well because when it looks like you know how to move about on stage, you will exude more confidence during your performance, feel more at ease, and are less likely to make mistakes. 

Don’t Forget Your Soundcheck 

One last preparation technique you should do is make sure to do sound checks, for yourself and all band members. You don’t only want to be seen, but you have to make sure you’re being heard as well. It can be a difficult situation to be in when your sound doesn’t work, and that’s not something that you want to happen during a live performance. 

When you perform the sound checks make sure you do each instrument or voice individually before playing together so that you have the right blend of sound that is desired. Light checks can also come into play here since you want to be sure that you (or the band) are being seen on stage.

Be Prepared for Things to Go Wrong – And Fix Them Quickly!

During the live show, make sure you keep your energy up since the audience will feed off of you. If something happens to go wrong, such as a wrong note or chord was played, or you lost your guitar pick, try to laugh it off or turn it into a funny moment for the audience. This will keep the performance going smoothly for you, and make light of things that could be potential disasters if you don’t handle them quickly. 

Be prepared for anything. Don’t forget the reason you took this guitar gig in the first place though – to perform, so make sure you have fun and enjoy the spotlight.

Good luck with your first guitar gig, and feel free to share some tips if you got any! 

Get our free Alternate Tunings Guide!

Check out some other similar articles

Take advantage of our biggest backer-exclusive discounts and get your hands on this next-generation automatic tuner. Back the Kickstarter campaign today and be the first to receive the Roadie 3.

Recent discussion at tendermeets revolved around how romance inspires music and creativity for artists of all kinds.

Augusto Palmeri
Sep 15, 2020 . 5 min read

The best recording software today will work fine for experienced engineers and beginners alike. In other words, there is no such thing as the best recording software for beginners.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Sep 14, 2020 . 4 min read

Ah, good ol’ distortion lines! As someone once said: “There’s no such thing as too much distortion”, and I couldn’t agree more.

Alexis Baydoun
Sep 11, 2020 . 5 min read

The best online jamming websites are a godsend. First, they are a great way to practice. Second, they are fun. Third, they are especially useful in a time of pandemic and limited social contact.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Sep 7, 2020 . 3 min read

Is lo-fi the smooth jazz of the new generation? No. It is not. Lo-Fi is not the smooth jazz of the generation. But what is Lo-fi after all?

Rodrigo Sanchez
Sep 4, 2020 . 3 min read

Nothing can make us travel back in time like music. We all remember those special songs that we heard in special moments. Songs and albums that touched our lives uniquely.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Aug 28, 2020 . 4 min read

Guitar pedals are a dime a dozen. There are just so many types, variations, blends, and flavors. I could write an encyclopedia on guitar pedals available.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Aug 25, 2020 . 4 min read

Chris Cornell was one of the architects of grunge in the early 90s. He is one of the three most important figures in this movement, the other two being Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Aug 24, 2020 . 4 min read

Some might say country music has a way of telling stories, unlike any other genre. And once you get past trucks, football, and bourbon references, you can truly hear it.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Aug 18, 2020 . 4 min read

Turning your hobby into your profession is quite a leap. There is very little pressure in playing for fun. But for a professional guitarist, every gig is a serious matter. After all, you will be getting paid according to your abilities and the realities of the market you’re in.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Aug 17, 2020 . 4 min read

The ukulele has seen a considerable popularity surge in the past years. This surge has been so pronounced that even major brands like Fender and Cordoba started producing ukuleles.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Aug 14, 2020 . 5 min read

The notoriously resilient Lebanese. Within a single lifetime, they have been victims of civil war, foreign invasion, foreign occupancy, militia war, the assassination of leaders, the slaughter of citizens based on religion, the kidnapping of our youth.

Tamara Habchi
Aug 11, 2020 . 4 min read

Tuning is crucial. And it turns out, no one is more obsessed with tuning than a guitarist. Guitar players check their tuning excessively and for good reason. If a single string is out of tune, it can completely ruin a song (as well as your reputation).

Rodrigo Sanchez
Aug 4, 2020 . 4 min read

Bob Dylan has been a staple of music and culture for over 50 years. He’s considered by many one of the greatest songwriters to ever live.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Jul 30, 2020 . 4 min read

“Stolen Dance” is a song by German pop duo Milky Chance. It was released in 2012 and became a viral hit on YouTube (it presently has well over half a billion streams).

Rodrigo Sanchez
Jul 20, 2020 . 3 min read

Some guitarists tend to focus solely on improving their left hand. The dirty little secret is that the left hand can only be as good as the right hand allows. Good hand synchronization is imperative for any guitarist.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Jul 17, 2020 . 3 min read

Released in February of 1970, “Fire and Rain” has been a staple of fine songwriting for 50 years.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Jul 15, 2020 . 5 min read

Guitarists are a dime a dozen. Unique guitarists are not. And then there are those who stand in the rarified air of having their unique guitar playing styles widely imitated.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Jul 14, 2020 . 4 min read

Is it really over?! Well, not quite! Roadie 3 is now available on Indiegogo with exclusive perks for a limited time!

For most of you, Roadie 3’s launch on Kickstarter on May 20, 2020, is not new news. 

Hussein El Annan
Jul 7, 2020 . 3 min read

As guitar players, practicing is the most important tool we have to get better. I hate to break it to you, but there is no way around this one.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Jul 6, 2020 . 6 min read
We'll be bringing you recommended tabs and plenty of interesting quotes from guitar legends along the way!