Finding other musicians in London - is it really such a desert?

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  • AjotenAjoten Frets: 7
    I keep checking non-guitar-instrument-specific fora like basschat and cafesaxophone. Not that I've ever found suitable folks. In fact - as a bass player predominantly - that's why I'm here today :)

    Worth a look on Gumtree although it might be much the same as joinmyband or bandmix sites.

    But if you can't find what you want in London you're kippered. The moment you go outside the M25 you have to play Sweet Home Mustang for Nothing, and even then only if you miraculously find people who play anything other than guitar.

    Where in London are you?
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  • I'm in the South-East, I've heard that Starnow is a good shot, I guess I really need to get off my ass and stop being so passive about it.
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  • VoxmanVoxman Frets: 3407
    Sadly, North London is certainly pretty bereft of opportunities  :'(
    I started out with nothing..... but I've still got most of it left (Seasick Steve)
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  • AlnicoAlnico Frets: 4606
    Can 5 of you find a night where you're all free for 4 hours?

    If you can, I'm going to be running Jam Session workshops from April, both online and in person in studios.
    It's all in the planning stages until the end of April but it's an easy model to take with me just about anywhere. It uses BT's on a laptop through the PA and a completely fresh approach to the guitar, the fretboard and how to (TRY TO) make the fucking thing do what you think you want it to, or at least feel more confident making it do the things it can do already.

    North London isn't bereft of opportunities, it's bereft of people making opportunities happen.
    It's way easier than people think.

    5 of you find a common night you're all free, I'll find us a studio, split the cost 6 ways and lets get together and play.

    It's THAT easy!
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 30322
    I've found many more bands when we moved out of London.
    Fewer ego issues too.
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  • KebabkidKebabkid Frets: 2585
    edited March 2018
    Talking to other non-musician mates, I still think playing in a band is probably cheaper than being a football season ticket holder or having golf club membership.

    At least with our choice of hobby or profession, we have a chance of earning some income from it.

    As to finding musicians to play with in London, you can find them but are they the right band mates?
     www.cairoeast.co.uk - Madness Tribute band (Bass Player) and guitarist elsewhere
    Feedback - http://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/57885/
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  • mellowsunmellowsun Frets: 2419
    I know it sounds the wrong way round, but getting to know people outside a band context first can be more fruitful.

    if you already get on, the doing a bit of music together for fun let’s things develop - or not - naturally, without pressure or egos.

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  • TheBigDipperTheBigDipper Frets: 2585
    Born and lived in London for my first 55 years. In my own experience of being an active musician at an amateur/semi-pro level... (This won't apply to professional musicians, which is work, and has infrastructure behind it). 

    Auditions generally don't work. London, in particular, has many people (often moving to London just for college, work or "to make it") with fixed ideas and low thresholds of compromise. 

    Starting your own band is very difficult, because you're doing all the work and the people you meet are looking for the best situation they can find. 

    My most successful (as in they made me happy and I was proud of them) bands went as follows...

    My wife had a colleague who she invited around to dinner. I showed him my guitars and we chatted a bit about music. He then invited me to come along to his office on a Monday evening after work where they had an informal band using the TV room to play in. That turned into an 8-piece covers band playing pubs and clubs on a fairly casual "just for fun" basis. After a while, we all worked out the band was running at two different speeds. Three of us started a trio, changed the repertoire more to our taste and found a singer. We played pubs and clubs - still on a "just for fun" basis. Then the bass player moved away and the drummer & I decided to start a '70s prog rock covers band - a genre we both loved to listen to. The singer wasn't interested. So we went ahead, found like-minded souls, learned hard stuff well above our abilities (at first) and played pubs "just for fun". It was never a job and we weren't playing 2 nights a week, every week. 

    Why am I telling people this? Just to reinforce the idea that others have already shared. The most successful situations come about as a result of networking, relationships and just being known. And it's not just a London thing. It's the same down here on the South Coast.

    People are connecting in London, but they may have given up on the Internet as a way of getting connected. 
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  • soma1975soma1975 Frets: 4653
    edited April 2018
    As a 43 year old who has no contacts in music and no pretensions of this ever being his career and who just wants to be a weekend Marc Ford-like figure widdling with fuzz and wah over some blues and southern rock, I've not the foggiest idea where to begin to make it happen. 
    My Trade Feedback Thread is here

    Been uploading old tracks I recorded ages ago and hopefully some new noodles here.
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  • brooombrooom Frets: 972
    I pretty much gave up on playing with people in London.

    Experiences ranged from dealing with big egos where you joined a band but were told what to play note by note.
    Playing with people with no sense of rhythm, dynamics, or when they should just stop.
    Playing with people who actually had good ideas, but I was just too drained out to make anything good of it or commit to it.
    People who think they've made it big, before they've actually made it anything.
    To some truly other worldly experiences that were awkward as fuck.

    I don't know what's up with London, but it is a very difficult place to find people to play with. And as much as I hate the word "networking", the best way to get something going is to really be out and about and meet people and keep practising your craft and hopefully you can find some people to play with, with whom you just bond.
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  • jeztone2jeztone2 Frets: 1726
    Old thread, but I'll add my twopenneth worth.

    i moved to just outside London in 2011. I had false start after false start with various bands. Then finally in 2015 I joined a Classic Rock 4 piece playing originals. Our influences were Skunk Anansie meets Fleetwood Mac. 

    Sadly in 2017 I relocated to Nottingham and they folded. 

    I think the trouble is music genres. No one wanted to do the sort of stuff I'm into. If your into Metal or Punk, it seems a lot easier.
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  • I agree, but also it depends on what style of music you are planning to play. hence why I didn't have much luck...
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  • DominicDominic Frets: 9466
    Try wanting to start a decent Modern Country band ...........too many Indians ,not enough Cowboys !
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  • kongodoomkongodoom Frets: 1
    My experience of London is THIS! Moved from the US 3 years ago where Could start bands easily. Craigslist etc. Here on Gumtree all I seem to get are uncommitted or just cover guys. Any idea where one goes to start a plain old loud rock band in their 30s? 

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  • dcgdcg Frets: 135
    We are a cross-genre band of old guys (guitar/bass/baritone sax/drums: no vocals) playing jazz at its intersection with the Meters, Bill Frisell, and Jerry Lee Lewis...really.  Wanting to find that drummer who was a combo of Tony Allen and Tony Williams, we advertised on Gumtree and got a very good response.  But most turning up to auditions were very generic players, and/or didn't want to put in the time with the arrangements.  We found the perfect guy, rehearsed for 3 months at which point I was really hearing in my head that band I'd always wanted to be in - and then our new drummer's shiftwork changed and we lost him.  If you hold out for what you want, it still doesn't mean you'll get it.  Music can be cruel.  And even in London finding good musicians is really hard.
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  • I think the best chance is networking.  About filtering out the masses and being in the area of those of a like mind (e.g. gigs/parties). 

    Even though I know I need to get out there (well, before Covid kicked off) I don't really do it which leaves me very frustrated and quite depressed about finding that partner.  To me having a writing partner can be like a marriage and we know how difficult that is to facilitate.

    The last person I had success with I met at a wedding.  He was sitting next to my wife and after they discovered some things in common we got chatting. That was super rare but it does happen. But only if you are out there. Sitting at home looking at the computer doesn't really help - though at the moment what else (apart from write and record) can we do?

    As a musician I know that although it is always easy to become disheartened we must never give up, even if only for our own satisfaction and/or mental health.
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  • pintspillerpintspiller Frets: 961
    edited June 2020
    There's a lot of people out there who talk a good band. Sometimes I think I've spend more time wading through crap than actually playing and enjoying it.

    But I continue to do it. Rock and roll is as much sadism as hedonism.
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  • poopotpoopot Frets: 7271
    edited June 2020
    Have to disagree that it’s hard to find musicians in London...

    it’s hard to find musicians to be in a “band” full time with the commitment that goes with it... or be as enthusiastic about your project as you are...

     It’s not hard to find musicians to gig with... paying gigs that is... just don’t expect them to pitch up at a rehearsal every fortnight.

    it’s like any profession, you’d be hard pushed to find a plumber to work on your house just for the fun of it... but pay him and he’s round like a shot!...
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  • SPECTRUM001SPECTRUM001 Frets: 723
    When I was younger, we got bands together (in London) through hanging out in record shops and gigs, and generally living a life that revolved around music.

    I still think that is possible (to an extent) now. I see quite a few notices up here in Stokey (local record/book shops). Or try visiting rehearsal and recording spaces and talking to the staff - I got to know someone interesting from selling a guitar - you never quite know !!

    Having said that, I struggle with the energy needed to play in a band. I also sympathise with how tough it is to be noticed if you are trying to get a foot on the ladder...
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  • BintyTwanger77BintyTwanger77 Frets: 1865
    edited February 24
    Just to bump this thread, I made a resolution this year (once restrictions are lifted) to break out from being just a bedroom guitarist and actually jam and rehearse (and eventually maybe gig?) with other humans. I played sax in a gigging ska/2-Tone covers band for 8-9 years, but as the singer/general band "leader" has now moved to Exeter, that ship may have at least temporarily sailed. I'm looking to play guitar in a band now, based in SE London currently, love a huge range of music and influences (though I'm very much a 90s "indie-boy", I also love soul, blues, ska/2-tone, shoegaze/post-rock... you name it, though I'm not equipped for metal, sadly!). In short, I'm just looking to start jamming on the guitar with some lovely folk. Please, do get in touch!
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