Carl Verheyen's Cranktone Chronicles

August 15, 2012

One way I deal with multiple live projects is to divide my life into set lists. I keep every set list I ever need on my computer for immediate access, as they are great for managing efficient practice time. With a guiding principle of professionalism—as well as a “refuse to suck” policy—rehearsing the material and memorizing all the music before a live performance is key. Unless it’s a bigband gig, I don’t believe a paying audience deserves to see musicians reading music on stage. Last summer, for example, my band played a festival with Albert Lee as our special guest. I memorized his material, and he memorized mine. As a result, our set was free of page turning and that lack of confidence that comes with partially knowing the music.

I always print out my next gig’s set list, and begin practicing the songs as many days in advance as possible. I also go over my vocals—an important part of the practice regimen for guitarists who sing—and rehearse the tap dancing required for my complicated amp switching and pedal moves. I spent most of last week getting my acoustic chops up and running for a solo show in Santa Barbara, but now the acoustic is back in its case, as I need to dig into electric material for an upcoming Carl Verheyen Band tour. So, out comes another set list, different lyric sheets, and my pedalboard to start practicing for those shows. Variety—we guitar players live for it!

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