How to Form A Band – And Not Fall Out At The First Rehearsal!

Form a band Ok so you’ve learned a handful of songs, a few scales and some riffs – what next? Now form a band that’s what. But how? I hear you ask. Well here are a few tips from my hard won experience.

Chances are you have not been alone in your journey to play guitar. You probably have some mates who have been learning an instrument too (drums and bass would be good ! and if one of you can sing or knows a singist, so much the better) If that’s the case and you have some mutual musical preferences that’s the best place to start.

Where To Find Band Members

If, like me you grew up in the arse end of nowhere however, you may need to go further afield or look elsewhere to find band members. There is always the tried and tested music shop notice board. You can scan the notice the board for likely bands that just need someone like you or you can place your own ads and find band members one at a time.

In both cases be honest with yourself: Try to find band members of a similar age to yours and who are at a similar level of experience. That way you can all develop together. There is no point in contacting an experienced cover band for example if you only know a couple of songs and have never been in a band before – It’s very different to playing in your bedroom.

Forming Bands – Sorry But There Will Have To Be A  leader…

forming a bandSo you’ve got the band together, had a chat, decided on some songs to learn and are raring to get started and make some noise. Before your first rehearsal make a few plans: If you’re paying for a 3 hour session in a rehearsal room you really don’t want to just batter away aimlessly.

You’ll end up frustrated – trust me – you will.

Pick one or two songs, learn your parts and make sure everyone else does too. Unfortunately there does have to be a leader. It’s the rule. With very few exceptions all successful bands have a leader. You won’t like this but it’s usually the singist. Accept this, live with it and move on. When you have a clear aim before you start rehearsals you will enjoy life in a band much more.

It’s going to take some time to get a sound you can all live with. You will probably find a real drum incredibly loud for example and everyone with amps will start to turn them up to compensate. Then the singer will complain that they can’t hear themselves, everyone else will soon follow.

The first order of the day then is to start at a moderate volume and before reaching for the volume knob, move around a bit. You are not on a stage so you can stand wherever you like. Find a place where you can hear enough of everything – if there are monitors and someone can control what feeds in to them then spend little time getting that sounding good.

Don’t expect a perfect sound in a rehearsal room – it’s always a compromise. You only need things sounding good enough to actually work on the music. Stage craft and perfect sound come later. Once you are good to go make a few notes on the settings and whip out your phone – take a few pics so you can quickly put things back in the same places next time (its good to use the same place as much as possible as every room sounds different.

Lastly: Once you join or form a band you have become too cool for school – that’s’ one of the reasons you did it right? Tempting though it is,  don’t fill the room with girlfriends or non band members (at least in the early days) Get some songs under your belt first then start looking for gigs.

Next time – How To Find Gigs

Above all else – Have Fun !


I'm Dave Menzies a digital entrepreneur, photographer and guitarist. I live on the Argyll coast of Scotland. My partner and I write, record and produce our own music and videos in our home studio. I love to help individuals discover the lifestyle freedom offered by the digital world and guitarists to develop their own style.