A new column by Riley Wilson.

Until the early 1990’s, I had always worked in bands.


With the advent of Midi in the 1980’s, it became possible to actually perform as a One Man band with the aid of backing tracks for a full, band sound.




Before you folks that won’t do this and just gig with a guitar or keyboard dial me out…hear me out.


What is really wrong doing both?


Depending on the client, venue and occasion, I may gig either way: solo with my guitar or singing and playing with the backing tracks. 


Riley Wilson’s Top Ten Reasons for playing solo gigs.


Why turn down the gig…or the money.


My point is simply that playing solo may just be the most viable way to make excellent money as a professional musician in the 21st century.


Like any endeavor, there are a couple absolutes for solo gigging to work for you.


First, you need to be decent, musically.


You don’t have to be a virtuoso, but you must be competent…instrumentally, if not vocally. If you don’t sing, you need to be very good at your chosen instrument.


There are other attributes I have found necessary in order to achieve solo success.


Having good communications skills are very important: both for contacting potential clients, booking gigs, meeting clients and discussing their wants or special requirements before and during the show, getting paid afterwards, etc.


Being flexible and professional are mandatory for long term success.


Working at your craft is vital if you plan to keep gigging solo. This includes learning new tunes, repairing or replacing old ones, improving your musicianship, getting new promotional materials, new costumes, gear, etc.


Being tenacious in marketing is vital, since you won’t get every gig you try for.

I’ve been doing solo gigs for almost 20 years and will lots of work, I have improved my craft. I’m not an exceptional guitarist or singer, but I do my best to make the most of what I have been given.


Do your best and you can enjoy solo success, too.



Riley Wilson won the coveted “Best of 2012” award from Gigmasters and has been one of the only 5 star award winners on both Gigmasters and Gig Salad. He’s a full- time guitar teacher and is the author and publisher of “Guitar Made Simpler- An Intelligent Approach.” He is also a busy voice over talent, Visit his websites at www.guitarmadesimpler.com and www.wrileywilson.com for more information.



Originally posted 2013-04-02 14:17:15.