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Thread: Busking

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Brown County Indiana
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    Default Busking

    Any tips from buskers? Someone told me once that to busk,you only need 5 songs to play all day.By the time your on number 5, you have a new audience.With my playing maybe I only need 2 songs.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    Stillwater, OK
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    Quote Originally Posted by hoosierhiver View Post
    Any tips from buskers? Someone told me once that to busk,you only need 5 songs to play all day.By the time your on number 5, you have a new audience.With my playing maybe I only need 2 songs.
    Let's see...with the number of songs I know and the way I play them, I'm ready to start busking, too!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Inwood, WV
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by hoosierhiver View Post
    Any tips from buskers? Someone told me once that to busk,you only need 5 songs to play all day.By the time your on number 5, you have a new audience.With my playing maybe I only need 2 songs.
    I'd probably need even less.

    Perhaps I'll spend some time strumming at JMU this spring (my cousin is a student there). Not for money, of course; college students aren't exactly rich folk.
    My ukes:
    Ohana TK-20 solid mahogany tenor "Tomo"
    Kala KA-BE solid mahogany baritone "Nagi"
    Mainland classic mahogany concert "Ayumu"

    My Youtube channel (no uke stuff yet)

  4. #4
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    Jan 2009
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    West Midlands GB
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    It is probably true about the five songs, but would YOU be happy playing the same five songs all day? I don't busk, but I've got about a dozen songs memorised - if I worked at it I could raise that to around two dozen, no trouble. If you play with a music stand and sheets, there will be no chance of your getting terminally bored.

    Ukantor.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    Minneapolis, Mn
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    I do believe this is where Mr. Hobbit needs to chime in. I'm sure he can fill you in and give you the low down.

    so here's a bump.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Palo Alto CA.. The SF BAY AREA
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    let me say this... i have been playing guitar for 3 years... and busking for 3 years!!! this means as soon as i could form a G chord i was down on the plaza playing! i did it more for the people watching fun! i love to people watch! love love love it!

    when i started i only did it few an hour a best while my then girlfriend was working in one of the shops.. but i found that since i was not all that good.. i never drew a crowd.. so people would just walk past.. some would drop a dollar in.. some would throw change...

    as i got better i learned 3 bob dylan songs... and would play those over and over.. people were still only walking by.. so they would only hear about 15 SEC of a song..

    i did it maybe 5-6 times in the fist year.. and i had a lot of fun.. like i said it was never about making money! the next year i had more chords under my belt and i would often play my 6 covers and the 5 or 6 songs i wrote.. i also brought a harmonica with me.. little kids love the HARP.. and if you get a little kid dancing it is so much fun!! mom and dad often want to keep the kid happy.. and a lot of times will hand them a dollar to throw in the case! its fun to play music for the kids that come by!!

    in the 3rd year i had about 15 of my own songs and around 10 covers i could play. and there were months when i was so low on cash i would go down and play for a few hours and make enough to put gas in my car to get to work. it would be freezing and i had to use a pick.. but i found if it was cold.. then people would give more money.. and as soon as i had 20 dollars i would stop! it might take an hour or so!

    i have a good friend that has been a busker for the past 3 years.. as his PRIMARY job! and often i would go with him and play the drums or harp.. just for fun.. he is much better than i.. and also happens to be a good looking fellow.. the the HS girls love to drop cash in his case! here are some tips!!

    1. bring a crappy guitar or ukulele.. outside can be hard on it
    2. always put some cash and coin in your case to prime the pump
    3. pick a good location, someone should walk by you every 2-3 min
    4. bring a harp for when your voice is worn out
    5. cheep bongos are fun and if people can pick them up and bang along they will feel part of the show.. it is fun
    6. if little kids walk by.. ham it up.. kind of like a clown! they love it
    7. learn these songs...
    Last Dance With Marry Jane
    Wonderwall
    Wild Thing
    Brown Eyed Girl
    Freefalling
    I cant tell you how many times my buddy would spot a drunk group of girls walking our way and then bust into all those songs in a row! kept them sining and kept them dropping money in his case!!
    8. drunk people will mess with you, but they also will give you more money
    9. time.. put in the time.. hit it hard on friday nigths.. start at 5 and stay until 4am.. when the bars let out that is your money time!
    10. X-MASS TIME IS MONEY MONEY!!
    11. READ YOUR CITY RULES (for us.. 3 feet in from the street is public)
    12. Dont ask for money.. the case open is all you need

    so those are some tips! i hope that helps! i almost never BUSK now for money.. when i do.. it is more just for SMILES! and i would get a ton!! people liked to see live art.. the good.. bad.. and ugly.. it adds to the city! when i see a person busking if i have cash you can bet i am tossing some in!!

    i plan on busking soon.. maybe i will get some video.. i never did it with a uke..

    oh yeah.. if you are a girl.. you will make DOUBLE.. if you are a girl and you are amazing at playing and singing you will make 3X.. i had a GF once that busked with me.. with out her.. i would make 50.. 80 in a few hours.. with her.. like 150-200 in the same time!!

    hope this is what you were looking for!

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