Video Guitar Lesson 16 (part 1): Tips, ideas and thoughts on planning for an effective solo acoustic performance

Video Guitar Lesson 16 (part 1): Tips, ideas and thoughts on planning for an effective solo acoustic performance

  1. What can help you to sound big when playing on your own acoustically?
  2. What should be kept in mind when planning an acoustic performance?
  3. How can you make up for the lack of a singer in this kind of scenario?

If these questions interest you then keep reading and be sure to check our video and audio out for this lesson.

Our video on our YouTube channel (my lesson with Dan):

(see below for timings)

In this lesson, Dan helps me out with some planning for a performance I have been asked to do for my sister-in-law’s wedding.  I am performing several songs at the front of their service some of which they have chosen and some of which they have asked me to come up with.  As there is a delay on publishing our episodes, this comes after I have actually done the performance and it went very well, particularly because of Dan’s excellent advice and suggestion to use a looper pedal which I followed.  In the end, the performance was of the following songs:

  • ‘Something’ by the Beatles: Played while the wedding party awaited the arrival of the bride
  • ‘Textbook’ by We Are Scientists: Played as my sister-in-law walked up the aisle
  • ‘Pretty Ugly Before’ by Elliott Smith: Played while the register was being signed
  • ‘I Don’t Want to Know’ by Fleetwood Mac: Played as everyone left

Most songs were played using my Boss RC30 to create a long loop, then some layers added to this on the fly along with some melodic playing and improvisation.  On ‘Textbook’ the Looper was not utilised but I used reverb, chorus and a bit of delay to build the atmosphere.  The acoustic amp I use is the Marshall AS100D which is great and has an effects loop with the downside of being very heavy.

In the lesson Dan demonstrates some mixed lead and chord playing, which works very well (when he does it).  He gave me lots of useful advice and we’ll return to this in part 2 when I take along my RC30 to gain some input on how best to use this in the performance.  Dan, as always, is very generous and helpful in his advice.

Our audio podcast on SoundCloud (my lesson with Dan):

Some things which I am really going to take away from this lesson are that:

  1. I planned the performance and practised using a looper pedal
  2. I tried to include melodies from the song in my rehearsal

All the best, Gary and Dan

Timings for Video Guitar Lesson 16 – on acoustic playing:

00:03:24 A quick look at the two acoustics we are using today
00:11:32 Start of getting stuck into the topic of the wedding numbers I’ve been asked to play
00:13:50 Elliott Smith – Pretty Ugly Before
00:15:58 Dan suggests using a hammer on and pull off instead of the slide
00:16:49 Dan suggests a focus on the importance of the melody
00:18:50 Doing fills over certain chords
00:19:09 A good suggestion to build the looper pedal into my plan for the performance
00:20:03 Play through the song again with Dan adding some improvisation and fills over the top
00:25:33 Quick rundown of Dan’s Taylor 314
00:26:49 Dan demoing playing chords as a backdrop and playing a melody concurrently
00:27:54 Second demo of this dual part idea
00:33:25 Advice to pre-prepare and think a lot about the chord changes – play to the chord played over
00:35:18 A quick discussion about the tonality centres found within Elliott Smith’s Pretty Ugly Before
00:37:18 Some useful discussion about what to consider with regard to song choice for different scenarios

Curt Mangan Strings Website:

Last seven lessons for new arrivals or those who want to brush up on this content

Keep watching listening and getting in touch.  We really want to hear from you!  Keep an eye out for some improvements to our video setup coming shortly which we’re really excited about.

You may want to check Dan Davies out in action.  You can find a video I made of Dan and his band Full House on this YouTube channel: Full House Brighton Band (more to come with improved video and some different approaches to the audio).

Enjoy your musical journey 🙂

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