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Busking help

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,627
Location
Rugby UK
I asked the same question when I started busking. I got some really good advice. Here's the link. Help and advice needed for busking It's worth a read.
I'd recommend not using sheet music, and try and play some prepared stuff, but on the other hand, you must be flexible. Watch your audience. If an older person stops to listen then play something suitable. I tend to play to backing tracks, but a guitarist to play with sounds like fun.
Enjoy yourself and look like your having fun. Also your appearance is very important. Look like your there to entertain people and look like your fairly professional. Make sure you don't look like a beggar!
 

visionari1

Senior Member
Messages
1,606
Location
Out in the Countryside of Nelson NZ
Taz; said:
Enjoy yourself and look like your having fun. Also your appearance is very important. Look like your there to entertain people and look like your fairly professional. Make sure you don't look like a beggar!
G'day We meet again....don't thing I have actualy....next time will be true though!

All good advice from Taz, the previous thread is also full of info.

My advice is just to do it....oh yeah practise both off and on the street really helps....

Taz...we still have some unfinished business in the Streets of Rugby.....BuskerMania Round 2, any takers, sorry about the last time,...... ahem unforseen circumstances, Still intend to bike there, but haven't got the all clear from the authorities.....yet, not the wife, she arrives the end of July so I def prefer before that!

Cheers & Ciao
Jimu:mrcool

SaxonSqBuskerSm.jpg
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Café Supporter
Messages
12,786
Location
McLean, Virginia
i want to go busking soon and will play duets with an acoustic guitar, but what is the best thing to do, jam or play set songs?
I would do both, see what works best for any given location/time.
does anyone have any suitable sheet music?
I would play tunes you know, it's better than using sheet music. If you don't know any tunes, then it's a good time to learn them.

To make most money I think you need to play tunes that people recognise, so depending on the age of your audience this could be old show tunes, TV/film themes or pop/rock of any era.
 

Martin

Member
Messages
212
Location
Grenada, West Indies
location/time.




To make most money I think you need to play tunes that people recognise, so depending on the age of your audience this could be old show tunes, TV/film themes or pop/rock of any era.
I agree with Pete...play catchy tunes...stuff that everyone will recognise...anything with a really strong melody.

I used to busk with tunes such as In the Mood, American Patrol, Theme from Cats, Pink Panther, Danny Boy, Carrickfurgus, Hey Jude, Yesterday, El Condor Passa, Don't Cry For Me Argentina, etc.

The best place I ever found for busking was Andrax in Majorca. One summer I made enough money to sail my boat across the atlantic to the Caribbean...another summer I paid for my return to the UK via the French canals. I used to play for about 3 hours in the evening, at dinner time, and with my girlfriend (now my wife) shaking the hat (important) we made 100 pounds every day, 6 days per week, during June, July and August..high season. Of course, after a summer like that I remember being so sick of my sax that I didn't touch it for many months.

Have fun.
Martin
 
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wemeetagain

wemeetagain

Member
Messages
91
Location
stratford on avon, warwickshire
I went busking in stratford today!! played for 3 hrs and made about £50!! :) went with a friend who is a guitarist, and played alot of blues stuff so basically improvised for the whole time, it was great fun! i will go again soon!
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,627
Location
Rugby UK
I went busking in stratford today!! played for 3 hrs and made about £50!! :) went with a friend who is a guitarist, and played alot of blues stuff so basically improvised for the whole time, it was great fun! i will go again soon!
Where abouts did you stand? I usually go near the old library, although you do get the human statue there (a real pain) Were there any other buskers about? I would have thought that you would have made more than £50. I wonder if playing as a duo put people off? Stratford can be a funny place. Sometimes you rake it in and there aren't many people about, then you struggle to make a pound and the place is packed! I just don't get it.
Well done for having a go, I hope you got the same sort of buzz that I get from it.
I tried Leamington the other day and struggled. I stood on the pedestrian area opposite a coffee shop and restaurant (I cant remember the name of the place) almost opposite the shopping precinct.
 
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wemeetagain

wemeetagain

Member
Messages
91
Location
stratford on avon, warwickshire
I went to the library for the second half but made the most at the bancroft gardens, by the canal when people sat down to listen while eating. It was great fun, im going to go in the morning tomorrow, the library area was taken by a violinist in the morning and he was the only other busker i saw.
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,627
Location
Rugby UK
I've never tried down by the river, was it any good? It looks like a nice place to play whether you get any cash or not. Just a nice tranquil spot.
Was that the large, bald violinist with an electric violin? If so I've seen him before, he's very good.
Good luck tomorrow.
 

Martin

Member
Messages
212
Location
Grenada, West Indies
I went busking in stratford today!! played for 3 hrs and made about £50!! :) went with a friend who is a guitarist, and played alot of blues stuff so basically improvised for the whole time, it was great fun! i will go again soon!
Well done...50 pounds in 3 hours sounds really good. I've only ever made decent amounts of money abroad in resort towns where tourists are looking for ways to spend their holiday savings. You must have sounded good.

Martin
 

visionari1

Senior Member
Messages
1,606
Location
Out in the Countryside of Nelson NZ
That's a great result, wemeetagain,

Couldn't get a better intro into busking than that......Been moved on?....I was in Cambridge (3times) and London's Kings Cross Station (London Transport Police)....still made over a fiver each time (20-30min)

Well done!

Cheers
Jimu
 
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wemeetagain

wemeetagain

Member
Messages
91
Location
stratford on avon, warwickshire
Thanks for all the comments!
I've been busking a few more times and average in stratford about £20 an hour!!!!!!
I am thinking about recording a video of it and entering the busking competition that taz won if i can get a good recording!!!!
Busking has been great fun and a great way to use up summer holiday time!!!
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
22,004
Location
Just north of Munich
Thanks for all the comments!
I've been busking a few more times and average in stratford about £20 an hour!!!!!!
I am thinking about recording a video of it and entering the busking competition that taz won if i can get a good recording!!!!
Busking has been great fun and a great way to use up summer holiday time!!!
Well done. Don't waste it on beer :w00t: , put it towards that soprano.... Or a bari >:)
 

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
Subscriber
Messages
3,382
Location
manchester
Hi Wemeetagain

Sounds like a job well done to me, glad you enjoyed it and got a result,I'm trying to pluck up the courage to have a go myself but not sure if I'm good enough yet to attempt it and not sure if my song list is sufficient, could you share your list of songs with me and comment on the ones you think went down best,thanks in anticipation ...john
 
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wemeetagain

wemeetagain

Member
Messages
91
Location
stratford on avon, warwickshire
Hi John,
You don't necessarily need a long song list, just improvise!!!
I have a friend who plays guitar and i get him to play chords which i then improvise over! A upbeat major key Blues improvisation goes down well, but we play lots of simple chord patterns two then i improvise a piece over the top, usually creating a short riff or A section to the piece then massive energetic solo!!!! then repeat the riff or A section that i played before, making the piece sound professional. Improvising always goes down well cause you play whatever you think sounds good whether its a loud mad ('jeff coffin' style) solo or some slow soulful playing (LeRoi moore style) (Both previous/current Dave Matthews Band saxophonists) :)
I find the improvised pieces great for busking because you can play in your own style, you can makE the piece as long or as short as you want! Plus it never sounds the same! I also find improvising so much more enjoyable and improves my playing dramatically.

However you would need a guitarist some sort of backing to make it work.
Other things that i found that worked are playing famous short jazz pieces then going into improvisation, such as Summertime, Watermelon man and Song of my Father, very simple pieces but the improvisations after the main melody really build up the piece and again you can carry on for as long as you want playing this, you can get lots of improvisation books like this which will come with a backing track to improvise over.
I've also played some Maceo Parker songs, funky sax can go down well and a great opportunity for solos.
Other Jams are good just picking a scale/key signature and playing whatever you feel like such as some jazzy solos.
Making use of the guitarist ive also played some Dave Matthew's Band stuff, playing extending sax solos such as the '#41 solo' (listener supported version) search for it in youtube from 5mins15 is the the sax solo from LeRoi.

Playing some popular songs from a Jazz Fake book with Backing chords has worked well too, but overall i find the massive improvisations over chord patterns and blues improvisation the best and the most fun too!!!
 

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
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3,382
Location
manchester
Hi again wemeetagain

Thanks for all the advice but unfortunately I haven't mastered the dark art of impro yet so it looks like it's back to the drawing board for me then...john
 

visionari1

Senior Member
Messages
1,606
Location
Out in the Countryside of Nelson NZ
Hello wemeetagain,

Going by your answer to John above, your no mug on the sax!
Obviously you are more than comfortable reading chords and music, you also must have a well developed set of ears.
Well done on the quick uptake on the busking front, either you are a natutal at improvisation or you have put in some serious study.
In my experience this is not an easy area to master.
I have done a fair bit of busking, with just the bare sound of a solo sax, not much with backing tracks, I tried them and although easier to stay with the tune you are bound to the time of the tune, but I guess you can fill out the sound with backing tracks.
£20 per hour is very good going, so your doing something very right.
Cheers
Jimu
 
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