Total Guitar is proud to host a new series of guest blogs from Tenacious D guitarist John Konesky. Here John gives us some tips on how to become a professional guitar player.
It's easy for some, impossible for others.
So how does one break into the world of playing guitar professionally? Well there's a million different answers to that question, representing a million different avenues one could take. It's easy for some, impossible for others.
My personal story lies somewhere in the middle, but I'm not going to dive back into that, other than to say, I spent many of my early years in Los Angeles living in extreme poverty, chasing whatever incarnation of my dream I could grab ahold of.
I could imagine the most satisfying route would be to form an amazing band, get signed, and rule the world, or maybe that's not the best.. I wouldn't know, I've never been there. I've seen it first-hand, but I've never been there…
When talent meets opportunity the result is 'Explosivo'
One thing's for sure, each avenue presents it's own unique set of issues. Being in a successful rock band will consume your ENTIRE life, while just playing backup will leave you wondering what more you could've done if given the right opportunities. And really it all comes down to opportunities. KG once said to me that when talent meets opportunity the result is 'Explosivo'.
It makes you think.. How many great talents are out there that never get noticed, because they were never given an opportunity?.... And conversely, how many dick-nose lame-o's get great gigs for simply having friends in high places? Tough to say. And who cares? You gotta concentrate on yourself.
If the drummer isn't down to tour for peanuts, show that limp-wristed pansy the door
OK, basically what I'm getting at is this: play out a bunch, and play with everyone you can. If you want to play in a hot-shit rock band, make sure all the guys want the same thing. If the drummer isn't down to tour for peanuts and sleep on couches for months at a time, show that limp-wristed pansy the door and find someone who can hack it.
If you want to be a session duder, just practice your ass off, and offer your services for free to any producer/engineer/solo-artist-seeking-a-band who might want to use you, so you can get the necessary studio experience.
Practice your ass off, meet lots of people
The bottom line is that you need to meet lots of people, and as I said in the previous post, always make sure you make a good impression. At a certain point, assuming you're good at what you do, the only thing standing in your way is who you may not know.
Now, as a favor to me, when you finally go out and grab what's rightfully yours, keep a good head on your shoulders. This industry may be only second to the porn industry in inherent grodiness... Now, I should leave it at that, but maybe I need to clarify.... Know who your real friends are, and never forget it.
Next time a more lighthearted topic! Pleasant Strummings...
Enjoyed this? Read John Konesky's first blog