25 May Wedding season
I’ve been busy all summer playing wedding gigs with the covers band Wolves and Ravens. With the winter coming on the weddings stop; giving me time to reflect on the experience.
Playing covers can be a grueling experience but it is great for hardening your chops as a singer/instrumentalist. These gigs are usually high energy with high demands on quality and endurance. People at weddings are generally ready to party, especially after the many ceremonial aspects and the free bar.
You have to hit it full power from the start and keep it at full power for the 3 sets. With a 4 piece (3 instruments and a singer) lineup the guitar has to fill all the main instrumental parts of the song, so the rhythm has to be driving and full the whole time. And when solo time comes along there’s no time to warm up into it, you have to get to the point straight away. I find that guitar solos need to really speak for themselves in this environment more than usual. They have to add something to the song texturally, melodically and/or rhythmically. In other words there’s no room for filler, the solo has to be pumping and concise.
I’ve been finding regular covers gigs has especially hardened up my rhythm playing a lot which is great for all around guitar chops.
Quality gear is also essential. I find my British Hiwatt 50watt amp provides great clean headroom with a flexible volume range. And as a bonus it really screams when you step on a drive pedal. It is reliable and flexible, the only drawback is it weighs a tonne! A Fano JM6 is my choice of guitars for these gigs. The humbuckers give a great mix of clarity and muscle and seem to cover the range of tones needed to replicate a wide variety of songs. And it stays in tune!
Playing in a covers band is damn hard work but it is very rewarding and a great source of income for musicians. I find myself looking forward to next summer’s wedding season.