Hindsight is a beautiful thing and I plan to share mine with you today.
I have been sharing a lot of my story as an acoustic singer UK with you guys but this article may be the most important if you are planning on following a similar route.
So here are the things I wish I had known at the beginning, my 7 tips for new acoustic singers.
1. Bloody those fingers
When you first start playing acoustic guitar the brutality of the strings can really shred your fingers.
This is good.
Much like the gym cliche, no pain no gain.
My advice is get the highest gauge strings you can bear. This way you toughen up your fingers quicker and are able to play for longer periods which is really important in the beginning.
If you think your fingers will never toughen trust me they will. As long as you play every day for at least 20 minutes (I recommend more if you can), your fingers will get more adpet as you do.
2. Get off your butt
If never plan on playing standing up then you can ignore this point, but for anyone hoping to play to an audience (not in an orchestra) you may someday not have the luxury of a seat.
So, start dedicating time early on in your practicing to try playing standing up. It's really tough to begin with but ultimately more fun in the long run.
If you have a big enough room it's so awesome to take your guitar for a walk whilst you play.
The main reason I say this is that if you become an awesome guitarist sitting down but can't play standing up, it can be quite embarrassing.
I remember a guy at a gig flipping out at the organisers, demanding a chair for his set. In the end he played on the floor and pretended it was in protest. Lols.
3. Raise some dollar
Once you are pretty sure that you are gonna stick with being an acoustic singer, beg, borrow and...well don't steal, but do whatever you can to raise the funds for half decent gear.
Have a goal in mind of what kind of sound you like and look for other artists that have a good set up. Check forums and those sorts of places to see who recommends what.
I also check out YouTube demos of the gear which really helps.
4. Get The Fear
You need a show booked.
This can be a few weeks or months away, but you need some kind of impending date for an audition or open mic that you have signed up to.
It really helps to focus your energies on learning what you need to in order to get through that one show alive.
Also, most people get the bug for playing live once they have done it which will keep you fully committed to your craft.
Just make sure some supportive mates come with you and cheer regardless of how you play.
5. Broken bottles and fire exit signs
The title of this tip refers to some of the everyday items I have attempted to use when playing the guitar and it refers to a larger idea. And that is technique.
Acoustic guitar players have been around for many decades and the skills and techniques that have evolved are vast. So try out some unique playing styles and see if any take your fancy.
6. Restring your own acoustic guitar
No self-respecting acoustic singer takes their guitar to be restrung by someone else (except unless it's the first time).
The time you spend restringing your guitar is essential bonding time. Like those guys who like cars who are always under the bonnet or footballers cleaning their boots.
You need to be at one with your instrument.
And don't worry, a broken string once whipped me in the face and I'm still a stone cold stunner ;)
7. What's that sound?
You will never know what you truly sound like until you hear yourself back.
This can be quite upsetting so brace yourself to sound nothing like you think you do.
However, it's an important process and leads to huge improvements. You will be able to really pick out the parts of your music that don't hit the mark as well as the bits the sounded better than you thought they would. Don't worry, there will be those too.
So that's my top 7 tips for new acoustic singers. Let me know what you think.