A lot of bands are naturally good because of the caliber of the musicians. Their innate talent causes them to automatically do some things that are important to band tightness, but many of the rest of us sometimes wonder why our band doesn’t seem as tight as it should be, either across all songs or just one or two. In this excerpt from my How To Make Your Band Sound Great handbook, we take a look at 10 things that make a band tight. If you concentrate on just one your band will get better; master them all and your band will sound so tight that you won’t believe it.
➊ Dynamics are key. When you play loudly, play as loudly as you can. When you play softly, play as softly as you can, along with a middle level to start.
➋ Donʼt confuse volume level with intensity. You can play with intensity at soft levels too.
➌ Listen to what the other musicians are playing. Itʼs what makes you tight.
➍ Timing is everything. Concentrate on:
- Starts and stops
- The groove and the pocket
- Attack and releases
➎ Keep the tempo steady. Donʼt speed up or slow down during builds, turnarounds or loud sections.
➏ “How are you playing it?” Ask this question when things just donʼt sound right.
➐ Playing faster does not create more excitement. It usually means that you lose your dynamics and tightness.
➑ Calm down on the gig. Remember to play with dynamics and not play too fast.
➒ You donʼt have to sound just like the record, just sound good. Only play what you can play and stay within your limitations.
➓ Play in-tune! Make sure everyone tunes the same way. If it still doesn’t sound in tune, use the same tuner.
If I were choose just one thing from the above list, I would say to concentrate on #1 – playing with dynamics. The others are important, but playing dynamically will make the most difference in the way an audience can potentially perceive your performance.
You can read more from How To Make Your Band Sound Great and my other books on the excerpt section of bobbyowsinski.com.