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Fatigue in the Second Set

ChiefbigeasyChiefbigeasy New Orleans, LA✭✭✭ Alves de Puga DR670; Dupont MDC 50; The Loar LH600
in Technique Posts: 272

I’ve been lucky enough to score a monthly coffeehouse gig at a good listening venue. That aspect of the venue may account for the topic I’m bringing up. We play a two hour slot and split it into two sets. I find I am often pretty tired by middle of the second set, and I try to compensate by setting up easier tunes for that portion of the set.

I’m not sure why I feel so much fatigue. Could be I’m just an old guy. I think, however, that a good listening gig takes more out of you. I even find myself taking a day off of work in order to have as much energy as I can to play.

Also, we play a lot of tunes. We tend to take one pass through the changes per player ( two guitars and a violin soloing ), before going back to the head. I tend to think that this offers listeners more variation in song selection for a more interesting show. I should also say that as the band leader, I start all of the tunes and I am playing most of the heads both beginning and ending.

Just wondering, if you are lucky enough to have a regular gig, how are you handle long show fatigue.



  • vanmalmsteenvanmalmsteen Diamond Springs ,CANew Latch Drom F, Paris swing, Altamira m30d , Altimira Mod M
    edited June 2019 Posts: 216

    This style of guitar playing takes tremendous endurance . I guess that’s my opinion at least . Sometimes I’ll get in the groove where gravity is working for me and I’m getting tons of power and efficiency and other times I’m just gassed after playing for five minutes .lol.

  • geese_comgeese_com Madison, WINew Martin Tremblay Grand Modèle Busato
    Posts: 209

    When I used to do the whole bar rock band thing, we played 3+ hour gigs that were either 2 or 3 sets. I found that having a snack between sets helped give me enough energy to make it through the night.

  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 2,886

    Maybe take a break in the middle of the second set. A one hour set seems pretty long to me but I'm an old guy :-)

  • TDogTDog Victoria, BCNew Shelley Park Montmartre; Cigano GJ 5
    Posts: 24

    I have the same issue - I have a few gigs this summer playing rhythm in a trio with guys who want to play the songs super fast. I am a little worried I'm not going to make it through the set.

    Anyone have any tips on building endurance for rhythm playing?

  • vanmalmsteenvanmalmsteen Diamond Springs ,CANew Latch Drom F, Paris swing, Altamira m30d , Altimira Mod M
    edited June 2019 Posts: 216

    Deep breathe slow and consciously when fatigue is setting in . Sounds too simple but it does wonders .

  • ChiefbigeasyChiefbigeasy New Orleans, LA✭✭✭ Alves de Puga DR670; Dupont MDC 50; The Loar LH600
    Posts: 272

    Actual set length is about 40 minutes each. The two hour slot includes set up, take down, greeting friends/audience. I try not to take too long during the break, and I’m sipping iced coffee most of the time. I think it’s often the energy of shaping the gig as the bandleader, taking into account all the little things that need to be handled in a live show. Working my way into the set, finding the groove, settling “in the pocket,” looking to relax and tap into a good place from which I can improvise when the times comes is what I’m shooting for.

    I think I’m envisioning it as playing with all the amp knobs at 10 (although I’ve been known to go “to 11”). Nothing sounds good like that. Dialing back, relaxing into the gig has worked for me in the past.

    I’m also trying to let go of being too critical of myself. It’s part trying to emulate the best and part trying to conjure it up the magic, but it sure can take a lot out of you, especially if that self-criticism starts while you’re actually playing.

    I did finally pick up “Effortless Mastery,” and there’s good advice in it, for sure. You can tell the time it was written in which the author starts off talking about TV as the great culture somnambulist of the era. Substitute phones/screens and the message is absolutely current.

  • Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
    edited June 2019 Posts: 1,418

    Chief, I second your recommendation for “Effortless Mastery”, great book!

    I hesitate to mention this just in case the Jazz Police find out about it... but... ya wanna know the thing that really helps me let go of my self-criticismand just have fun playing my beautiful guitar?

    Playing along with backing tracks that I have made.

    These are very minimal, just guitar and bass and real backgroundy, sorta like Band-In-a-Box, if you've ever tried it.

    Easy, fun, unstressful.

    And the best thing about it is that the repertoire and the tempos Im playing along with are always absolutely perfect, every single time.

    Try it! You may find you enjoy it, too.


    My religion is, I worship Lang the Father, Django the Son, and Oscar the Holy Ghost...

    While converts are always welcome, I get to be the Pope because I thought of this religion before you did...
  • Posts: 2,797

    Come to Django in June next time, you'll practice playing 4 sets worth every day so two sets will as easy as snapping a ginger cookie.

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • Posts: 2,797

    But really, there's no reason for you to feel exhausted after playing music for a couple of hours. You played music most of your adult life as far as I know and are accomplished musician so this isn't something you need to work up to. I think you answered your own question above, all the things you keep the tabs on sap your energy away. I'd say at some point you need to turn on the autopilot and go with the flow.

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • ChiefbigeasyChiefbigeasy New Orleans, LA✭✭✭ Alves de Puga DR670; Dupont MDC 50; The Loar LH600
    Posts: 272

    Wish I could be there. Just returned from vacation in CA, though.

    I did pick up the “Effortless Mastery” book and have been absorbing some good points. It’s helping me relax and enjoy playing more.

    But I do think that performing, especially, when you don’t do it very often, requires you to “step up” to another level in order to find that magic where you can. What I’m getting from Werner’s approach is a kind of Zen-like act of “being” in the music as opposed to searching for it. (That last sentence makes more sense if you’ve read his book.) Attentive but relaxed energy seems to be the road for me. After working all day, though, a strong cup of joe in between sets helps keep me focused.

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