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Auditioned for a guitarist and it's too close to call


NoRhino

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We auditioned two candidates for a guitarist role. Both turned up in time for their allocated slot. We'd asked them to prep the same three songs. 

Candidate 1 used the studio amp and brought his guitars and fx. We know what his own amp is and have no concerns there. He was very nervous even though two of us know him quite well. He was shaking like a leaf and played everything accurately, in time and up to speed. We played through the same songs again.  Body language would suggest he will bring something visually to the stage if the nerves settle.  Near the end of his time we asked him if he wanted to play something of his choice but he said he was too nervous and would just leave us to see the next guy.

Candidate 2 brought his own amp and fx.  We followed the same audition process. No outward indication of nerves and he also played very well. This was our first time meeting him. Footered a bit between songs continually adjusting settings but obviously knows the material. He did take the option of an extra song which he played well too.  One of the existing band members does wonder what #2 will bring visually.

The existing band is having a group call soon to discuss next steps and try to decide who'll be the best man for us.

As usual I welcome BC's wise advice and suggestions.

Thanks 

 

 

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Assuming the sniff test is inconclusive, who has the best availability? 
The best musician in the world is a p.i.t.a. If they can’t or won’t commit to gigs and rehearsals. So, you may have to do some investigation on job, family and other band situations. 

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Go with the one you feel will be the best fit as a person - you're going to be spending a long time with them and working as a team.

I think we're going to be auditioning for another drummer soon and I know personality and fit will be every bit as important as ability.

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1 minute ago, Heathy said:

Why not go with both?

That's what Lemmy did when he auditioned Wurzel & Phil Campbell...! 

It is difficult for anyone to say if they weren't in the room. Assuming that they are equally matched as guitar players and both seem fine on a personal level then Candidate 1 might have the edge if he is more confident (not a bad thing for a lead guitarist). However, Candidate 2 might have a significant advantage on the visual front, which can be a big thing depending on what type of band you are. 

You just have to balance their respective qualities and then try not to pi*s off the guy you don't give the gig, just in case you need to give him a ring in a few months time...! 

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I wouldn't be concerned about the nerves btw. I am an absolute mess with nerves in an audition, or even a soundcheck sometimes. 

But get me in front of an audience and I'm like a man possessed. 

If someone had to overcome extreme nervousness and still turned up and played well, it speaks volumes for their determination, character and courage. 

 

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I’m in the same boat -

I mean, they both turned up. Which is good.

If the guy you know played it well, the nerves don’t matter. If he played it well nervous; how good will he be when calm?

Whats the genre of music? I know image is a big deal in Metal. 
 

Like the others say...go with your gut.

 

Don’t write either off just yet, as we’ve made errors of judgement in recent months and ended up binning off two guitarists who we swore blind were “the one”.

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1 hour ago, Heathy said:

Why not go with both?

Long-ish anecdote post, sorry.

I auditioned as a drummer in the mid 60s, and the band couldn’t decide between me and another bloke.  The band was aiming towards being a ‘showband’ (the lineup already included sax and Hammond), and we both had similar ‘Red Silk’ kits, but he was left handed, and set his kit up accordingly. This visual symmetry appealed to the band, so we were both offered, and accepted, the job.

Anyway, the next day I phoned the other lad to arrange a time to get together to work out who did what when, but his Dad answered, saying that his lad wasn’t going to be one of two, he was going to contact the BL to insist his lad got the seat.  Nice.

So I phoned the BL immediately, and he asked if I was happy being one of two.  Yes, says I, as that’s what I had agreed to.  Ok was the response, you’ve got the job, I don’t want or need that sort of hassle, I want someone we can get on with....

 

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If they both played equally well then it's a nice problem to have. It's much more nerve wracking in my experience to play in front of people you know than strangers. Maybe that's why no 1 was more nervous. I don't like amp twiddling, if you are a gigging band you need someone who will play the set and not lose the momentum between songs, however he may well have been nervous too and tweaking can be a sign of nerves.

There's not enough information to decide really, you could call them back and have them play a little longer maybe? Or ask the 2nd choice if they'd be interested in depping, code for 'are you still available if the other guy doesn't work out'.

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Any other factors that they bring to the party?  Reliable car? Domestic situation? Daytime job? (unless they are both pro musos), Previous bands?, Previous band mates that know them - reliability / flakiness?, Do they own a rehearsal room,? (I joke not), Politics?, Sense of humour?, who has the quietest amp?,  who is fittest for lugging kit about?, Good with PA and mixer?  Recording experience? Business management background?, Social media / web development experience? Accountancy / Tax expertise? The list goes on.... Good luck with making a tough decision, being a man of leisure these days I do not miss interviewing and breaking the news to  unsuccessful job candidates.

As before, could you take both and see how it goes,  plenty of reheasal time to see how they shape up before gigs start appearing 'big time' (Not sure if that will ever be the case in Mid Wales since the sheep do not pay well).

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It sounds like there’s nothing to choose between them musically so they’ve both “passed” that part of the audition.

It’s now a question of who fits best Into the “band”. You’re a group of individuals who have to work together as a cohesive unit so you need someone who can support and help build that.

Maybe ask them both back for a full rehearsal (each) and try to get a sense of how they fit in. Assuming you do covers, ask them to suggest a song that they know and that you can all work on together and see how they approach the arrangement and being in the driving seat?

If it’s that close to call then I think you owe it to both of them and yourselves to take the time to get this right. As already suggested, is there space for them both? Plenty of bands with twin lead guitarists....

Having said all that, if it was me, I’d go with whichever was the quietest.

Good luck - it’s a nice problem to have 😁 

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