You’ve obtained your first guitar, mastered the scales and chords, and even played in front of friends for the first time. Now what?
If you want to take your journey to the next level, it’s time to start a band! Playing in a band will help build your confidence with your instrument, challenge you as a musician, and it will be a lot of fun.
Here’s how to get started.
Find your bandmates.
Most bands feature at minimum a guitarist, bassist, and drummer, but you don’t have to limit yourself to that structure. It’s helpful to have someone to hold down the rhythm section with low end and percussion, but maybe you know a keyboardist who can hold the bassline down on keys, or a talented synth player who can produce a beat electronically.
Do you want to play strictly covers or original music? Are you a grunge band or will you play experimental dream pop?
Have a talk with your new bandmates about your musical influences and favorite song. Decide what kind of music you want to make. If you’re an original act, create an “elevator pitch” to describe what your band’s sound is in a sentence or two – i.e. “we play alternative pop that sounds like David Bowie joined Florence + The Machine”.
Another important discussion to have is your vision for the band. Figure out if you want to strictly practice in the garage, play out locally four times a month, or try to make it big. Make sure that all of your bandmates are on board.
If you’re going to play covers, start out with ten songs that match your band’s vibe – but don’t feel trapped in one genre. A punk-rock version of a Taylor Swift song could end up being a crowd favorite.
Pick a name
A crucial part of starting a band is finding the right name. A good band name will stand out in the audience’s minds and hopefully have them following you on social media and streaming platforms.
Get together with your bandmates and brainstorm possible names. Some jumping-off points include references to favorite songs or movies, allusions to how you met, or inside jokes within the band – but get as creative as you can!
A couple of things to keep in mind –
A band name that contains an expletive or just sound gross might be funny, but could block some venues from booking you in the future.
If you’re going to play original music, consider how your band name will show up in search engines. A name that’s too common or simple could get lost.
If you’re serious about the project, make sure your chosen band name isn’t already trademarked. It will save you a huge headache in the future.
Love it or hate it, social media is essential to promoting your band. Create a logo for the group and snap a band picture. You don’t have to splurge on professional photos right away, but get someone to take a good shot of the full band. Try to post regularly and keep followers in the loop about gigs, new music coming out, and anything that helps showcase your personality. Make sure that your social media pages contain contact info so potential bookers can reach you.
Again, playing local open mic nights with your band or posting in community musician groups can be very helpful for landing your first gig. Make connections with other local musicians and bands, and take opportunities to open for them. Reach out to booking agents at local bars and music venues with samples of your music and a short description of your style. Putting together an Electronic Press Kit (EPK) is also a great idea.
Record your music
Once you have some songs ready to go, it’s time to record them! Recording in a studio can provide great results, but it can be expensive. If someone in your band has the equipment and know-how to record, you can take your time and really get your sound the way you want it. Check out this course for setting up your home studio for help.
https://fz-wp-cdn.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/13183200/band-3.jpg6841024Kaley Lynchhttps://fz-wp-cdn.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/logo.pngKaley Lynch2023-01-17 14:17:222023-01-17 14:19:10How to Start a Band
By this time of the season, Christmas songs are probably stuck in your head. Why not learn them on guitar for your next party or holiday get-together? Here are some classic Christmas songs you can learn with Fret Zealot – and how they came to be.
A flood damaged an Austrian church’s organ right before Christmas Eve mass in 1818 and prompted the creation of one of the best-known Christmas carols of all time. A young priest named Josef Mohr wrote a poem titled “Stille Nacht” in 1816, welcoming long-awaited peace following the Napoleonic Wars. He revisited the poem two years later, asking a school teacher to arrange the poem in a song with guitar accompaniment. However, guitars weren’t allowed in Catholic churches at the time, so the two waited to perform the song until Mass ended. According to Smithsonian Magazine, the repairman who fixed the organ took the sheet music for the song with him, and choirs began singing the song. It eventually spread to Europe and the United States.
Jingle Bells is one of the best-known holiday songs around – but the lyrics don’t have any connection to Christmas or the holiday season at all! The song was originally published in 1857 as “The One Horse Open Sleigh”. Its first recording, on an Edison cylinder in 1889, is believed to be the first recorded Christmas song ever.
Known as “O Tannenbaum” in its original German, “O Christmas Tree” is a German Christmas song based on a secular traditional folk song. In the mid-19th century, it became associated with Christmas trees. The song’s lyrics don’t have any references to Christmas – they talk about the fir tree’s evergreen qualities and symbolic faithfulness.
A 1863 poem called “Christmas Bells” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, written during the American Civil War, is the basis for this carol. Longfellow had lost his wife in a fire two years prior, and his oldest son was severely injured while serving in the Union Army that year. The poem was set to music in 1872.
https://fz-wp-cdn.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/02180926/Untitled-design.jpg10801080Kaley Lynchhttps://fz-wp-cdn.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/logo.pngKaley Lynch2022-12-02 18:13:282022-12-02 18:13:28The origins of classic holiday songs – that you can learn with Fret Zealot
You’ll be well on your way to “Paradise City”, picking up Slash’s signature licks and style with the Slash Player Study course. This course includes the scales and techniques that the “original guitar hero” uses, and shows you how to incorporate them into your own solos.
London-born Saul Hudson moved to L.A. with his father at the age of five. He was born to parents who were both in the entertainment industry – his mother, Ola J. Hudson, was a fashion designer whose clients included Janis Joplin and David Bowie, and his father, Anthony Hudson, was an English artist who created album covers for musicians including Neil Young and Joni Mitchell.
Hudson sometimes went with his mother to work, and was given the nickname “Slash” by actor Seymour Cassel, because he was “always in a hurry”. He formed a band with friend (and future Guns ‘N Roses bandmate) Steven Adler in 1979, originally playing bass. Hudson switched to guitar after hearing music teacher Robert Wolin play “Brown Sugar” by the Rolling Stones. He started taking classes with Wolin, playing a one-stringed flamenco guitar gifted to him by his grandmother. Hudson was a champion BMX biker, but started devoting up to 12 hours a day to playing the guitar.
Hudson played in several bands before joining Guns ‘N Roses and auditioned for the band Poison. He was the lead guitarist of GNR from 1985 to 1996, then played with several other projects including Velvet Revolver until rejoining GNR in 2016.
Slash has cited Eric Clapton, Mick Taylor, Keith Richards, and Jeff Beck as some of his biggest guitar inspirations. He often utilizes harmonic minor, pentatonic and full scales in his playing, and favors open chord progressions along with picking, hammer-ons, and pull-offs, so even his “rhythm” parts have melody to them.
After you’ve mastered Slash’s signature style with the player study course, check out these Guns ‘N Roses songs that are available on the Fret Zealot app.
This 1988 song was Guns ‘N Roses’ third single off of Appetite For Destruction, and was their only number-one hit in the U.S. The song was born when Slash began playing a “circus” melody during a band jam session, and rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin asked him to play it again.
Slash describes “Welcome to the Jungle” as one of the first songs the band fully collaborated on from 1985 to 1986 while they were finding their sound. He says the song was written in about three hours.
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Lots of popular bands got their names from unlikely places! Here’s where some famous bands got their names:
In 1969, songwriter/keyboard player Benny Andersson and songwriter/guitarist Björn Ulvaeus met vocalists Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad and made their musical debut as “Festfolk”. They didn’t gain success in Sweden as “Festfolk”, but they took the top spot in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 under the name “ABBA”, an acronym for the band members’ first names.
During the “Satanic Panic” movement of the 1980s, many hard rock bands were accused of devil worship. Despite speculation that the band’s name stood for “Anti-Christ/Devil’s Children” or similar things, the reality is much more ordinary. AC/DC is an acronym for “Alternating Current/Direct Current,” which means a device can use both types of power.
The band originally went by “Trigger” on their first demo tape, but that name was taken by another band. Guitarist Mick Jones, who is English, chose the name “Foreigner” instead since the band, made up of three Brits and three Americans, would always be “foreigners” no matter what country they were in.
The California-based band started out as “The Warlocks”, but that name was taken by another band. The group picked “Grateful Dead” out of a dictionary. The term refers to a concept featured in many folktales where the main character helps a dead stranger resolve a debt, giving them karmic repayment after the fact.
Hootie and the Blowfish
Contrary to popular belief, lead singer Darius Rucker is not “Hootie” and the rest of the band is not “The Blowfish”. Actually, the name comes from the nicknames of two of Rucker’s University of South Carolina friends, one who had big glasses that made him look like an owl (Hootie) and one with big cheeks that made him look like a pufferfish (the Blowfish). According to a 1995 newspaper article, the two walked into a party where the band was playing and Rucker announced “It’s Hootie and the Blowfish!” The name stuck.
English heavy metal band Judas Priest took their name from another musician – Bob Dylan. The name came from Dylan’s 1967 song, “The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest”.
Guitarist Jimmy Page was playing lead guitar for The Yardbirds after Eric Clapton left the band, and the band had to finish out their U.S. tour dates without much of a band, so Page recruited Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, and John Bonham. Keith Moon of The Who said the project would go down “like a lead balloon”, so the newly formed group chose “Led Zeppelin” as their final name. They intentionally misspelled “Led” so that there wouldn’t be any confusion about the pronunciation.
The Southern rock group named themselves after a strict gym coach, Leonard Skinner, at their Florida high school who sent founding member Gary Rossington to the principal’s office for having too-long hair.
Motley Crue guitarist Bob “Mick Mars” Deal helped name the band when he recalled a time his previous bandmate called the group “a motley looking crew”. The group modified the spelling of the phrase and added some German umlauts inspired by a German beer they were drinking.
This British band started off as “The Tea Set” and had a residency at a club in downtown London. One night, another band also named “The Tea Set” was set to perform at one of their gigs. Frontman Syd Barrett created the name “Pink Floyd” on a spur of the moment, pulling from two names from his record collection, “Pink Anderson” and “Floyd Council”.
The band was scrambling to find a name before their first gig, in a Toronto coffee shop located in the basement of a church. Drummer John Rutsey’s brother suggested the name “Rush”, since that’s what the band members were in.
While the group members searched for an appropriate name, guitarist Peter Banks suggested they called the group Yes, a very short and positive word. The others agreed that the name was not meant to be permanent, but just a temporary solution.
Vocalist and guitarist Billy Gibbons admired talented guitarists like B.B. King and Z.Z. Hill, and noted that many of them had used stage names with two initials. He first combined their names to name the band “Z.Z. King”, but thought it was too close to “B.B. King”. According to AmericanSongwriter.com, “Gibbons decided that a “king is going to the top.” So, he landed finally on ZZ Top. The rest is history.”
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Fret Zealot is partnering up with Fox’s Monarch to bring songs from the show to you!
MONARCH is a new musical drama that follows country music’s biggest dynasty – and their quest to hold on to their throne. The show stars Susan Sarandon, Trace Adkins, and Anna Friel as members of the legendary country music family, the Romans.
Here are some fun facts about members of the Monarch cast:
Sarandon was one of eight women to carry the Olympic flag at the 2006 Turin, Italy Winter Games opening ceremony.
She landed her first film role without trying.
Sarandon attended a casting call for the 1970 movie “Joe” with then-husband Chris Sarandon to help read with him. Chris didn’t get the part, but Susan was cast in the movie.
She was very sick on the set of “Rocky Horror”.
Sarandon starred in the beloved cult classic “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” , and the set had no heat. Sarandon caught pneumonia after filming the pool scene, and although she was shaking with a fever, she refused to stop working.
She founded an international ping-pong club chain.
Sarandon is one of the founders of SPIN, a chain of franchised tennis table clubs that has locations in NYC, Boston, Chicago, Toronto, and more major cities.
She’s a dedicated activist.
Sarandon is well-known for her activism, using her platform to advocate for civil rights, presidential candidates and anti-war causes. She was appointed as a UNICEF Goodwill ambassador in 1999.
Despite her Texas inflection on Monarch, Friel is English and her father was born in Ireland.
She started acting at age 13.
Friel made her acting debut as a teen on the British miniseries G.B.H., and then took on other roles in series like Coronation Street and Brookside.
She had a longtime relationship with a Harry Potter actor.
Friel and David Thewlis, who played Professor Lupin in the Harry Potter series, dated for a decade and have a daughter together.
She has a successful stage career.
In addition to acting in many TV series and films, Friel has also had successful runs in the theater business, performing on Broadway and London’s West End, including Holly Golightly in “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” and Yelena in “Uncle Vanya”.
She’s an activist too.
Friel works as an ambassador for the WWF wildlife charity.
She’s had an extensive music career.
Ditto fronted indie rock band Gossip. The band was active from 1999 to 2016 and reunited for a world tour in 2019.
She also is active in the fashion industry.
Ditto has put out several clothing collections with retailer Evans, and opened and closed the spring 2011 Jean Paul Gaultier fashion show. She also launched a collaboration with MAC Cosmetics in 2012.
As a kid, she used to eat squirrels.
Ditto was born in Arkansas, and she caused a little bit of a stir in 2006 after saying in an interview that she ate squirrels like fried chicken as a kid. The admission caused some controversy from animal rights groups.
She was the first woman to be voted “Coolest Person in Rock”.
Ditto was bestowed the title in 2006 by British music magazine NME.
She’s a longtime activist.
Ditto has been a longtime activist for LGBTQ rights, feminism, and body positivity. She used to have her own advice column called “What would Beth Ditto do?” in the UK newspaper The Guardian.
Monarch airs Tuesday nights on Fox. Original and familiar songs from the show will be released on the Fret Zealot app each week after episodes air, allowing users to learn the songs through Fret Zealot’s innovative hardware and software system.
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Here in the U.S., the warmer months are marked by a “Song of the Summer” – an inescapable hit that’s heard over radio airwaves, on restaurant patios, and at parties and barbecues.
You can try to escape the Song of the Summer, but it’s likely that you’ll know at least some of the lyrics by the time Labor Day rolls around!
Here are some of the top Songs of the Summer from years past. Which are your favorites?
2021: — Olivia Rodrigo “Good 4 U”
This track off of singer/songwriter (and former Disney star) Olivia Rodrigo’s debut album was streamed on Spotify more than 600 million times globally in summer 2021, making it the de facto song of the summer. Hayley Williams and Josh Farro of Paramore were given co-writing credits after the fact due to the song’s similarity to Paramore’s 2007 song “Misery Business”.
2019: Lil Nas X Featuring Billy Ray Cyrus — “Old Town Road“
Rapper Lil Nas X’s debut single entered the Billboard charts in March 2019 after going viral on TikTok. A remix with country singer Billy Ray Cyrus was released in April of that year. The song also made it to No. 19 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart before being disqualified, sparking a debate about what country music is. Lil Nas X had purchased the beat from Dutch producer YoungKio for $30, and it sampled Nine Inch Nails “34 Ghosts IV”. NIN’s Trent Reznor granted clearance to use the beat shortly after the song started gaining popularity.
2017: Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee, featuring Justin Bieber – “Despacito (Remix)”
The remixed version of Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito” was the first primarily-Spanish song to be at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 since “Macarena” in 1996. The song has been credited by music journalists for helping bring Spanish-language pop music back to the mainstream market. English musician Ed Sheeran told Billboard Argentina in June 2017 that he wanted to do a remix of the song, but lost out to Justin Bieber.
2016: Drake Featuring WizKid & Kyla – “One Dance”
Drake’s dancehall anthem, a style departure for the rapper, spent a whopping nine weeks in the number one spot. It was the first song to ever reach over one billion streams on Spotify, and was the platform’s most-streamed song until Ed Sheeran’s “The Shape of You” in Sept. 2017. Drake tapped English artist Kyla and Nigerian musician WizKid to appear on the song. It was produced in just one week and quickly released in April 2016 – since another dancehall-inspired Drake song, “Controlla (ft. Popcaan)” was leaked earlier that year.
2012: Carly Rae Jepsen – “Call Me Maybe”
“Call Me Maybe” introduced the world to Canadian singer-songwriter Carly Rae Jepsen – and it was brought into the mainstream thanks to a tweet from fellow Canadian Justin Bieber. Jepsen, who won third place on the fifth season of “Canadian Idol”, told AOL Music in 2012 that she saw almost overnight stardom when the pop star and his then-girlfriend Selena Gomez tweeted their appreciation of the song after hearing it on a Canadian radio station. Jepsen was signed to Bieber’s record label shortly after. “Call Me Maybe” was on the top of the charts for nine weeks that summer.
2009 : Black Eyed Peas – “I Gotta Feeling”
The Black Eyed Peas dominated summer 2009. Their track “Boom Boom Pow” spent five weeks in the top spot, followed by “I Gotta Feeling”. The David Guetta-produced song was a staple at parties, clubs, and airwaves all summer, spending nine weeks on top of the charts. Group leader will.i.am told Marie Claire in May of that year, “It’s dedicated to all the party people out there in the world that want to go out and party. Mostly every song on the Black Eyed Peas record is painting a picture of our party life.”
2007: Rihanna Featuring Jay-Z – “Umbrella”
One of Rihanna’s biggest songs ever, “Umbrella” could have been a Britney Spears song. The songwriters had the pop princess in mind when they wrote the track, but her label rejected it. They also pitched it to English singer-songwriter Taio Cruz and American R&B legend Mary J. Blige. The track was a huge hit for Rihanna and spent seven weeks in the top spot. It also had the biggest debut on iTunes at the time, breaking the record held by “Hips Don’t Lie”.
“Promiscuous”, which included a “back and forth” feature from rapper/record producer Timbaland, was Nelly Furtado’s first number one hit in the U.S. Furtado and co writer Timothy “Attitude” Clayton nicknamed the track “The BlackBerry song” since the lyrics were all phrases that could be text messages. “Promiscuous” spent six weeks at the top spot on the charts starting in July 2006.
2003: Beyoncé Featuring Jay-Z – “Crazy In Love”
Producer/songwriter Rich Harrison penned the lyrics for this huge smash off of Beyonce’s debut album in just two hours (while dealing with a hangover). Beyonce wrote the bridge (also the title of the song), and her future husband, Jay-Z, improvised his rap verse in about ten minutes. The song spent eight weeks at the top spot that summer.
2001: Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya & Pink – “Lady Marmalade”
These four performers teamed up on a revamped version of Labelle’s 1974 song for the Moulin Rouge soundtrack. It held the No. 1 spot for five weeks and was the third airplay-only song in the chart’s history to hit No. 1 without being released in a major, commercially available format.
1998: Brandy & Monica – “The Boy Is Mine”
R&B singers Brandy and Monica teamed up for this chart-smashing track, which was inspired by Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney’s 1982 song “The Girl is Mine”. It was the top-selling song in the U.S. in 1998 and became only the second song in the chart’s history to jump straight to No. 1 from below the Top 20. The Beatles were the only other artists to do this, when “Can’t Buy Me Love” jumped to No. 1 from No. 27.
1994: All-4-One – “I Swear”
Country singer John Michael Montgomery had a country hit with this song in 1993 – and when R&B boy band All-4-One put their spin on it, it became a certified smash, staying 11 total weeks in the number one spot.
1991: Bryan Adams – “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You”
The lead single for the movie Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was Canadian singer-songwriter Bryan Adams’ most successful song. It made the number one spot on charts in at least 19 countries, and spent six weeks at the top of the charts in the U.S.
1990: Mariah Carey – “Vision Of Love”
“Vision of Love” introduced the world to singer-songwriter Mariah Carey – and her iconic “whistle” register. Carey started writing songs in high school. She wrote an early version of “Vision” with drummer/songwriter Ben Margulies, then called ““Here We Go Around Again”, for Carey’s demo tape. The track was revamped and recorded once she signed with Sony, and the result spent four weeks at the top of the charts.
1986: Madonna – “Papa Don’t Preach”
Madonna is no stranger to controversy, and the second single from her 1986 album True Blue stirred up plenty. The lyrics – inspired by the teenage gossip that songwriter Brian Elliot heard outside of his L.A. recording studio – talk about teenage pregnancy and the tough choices that accompany it. Feminist groups and family planning organizations criticized the singer for encouraging teenage pregnancy, while Tipper Gore from the Parents Music Resource Center, who previously castigated Madonna for her single “Dress You Up”. praised the message of the song. Controversy aside, the song proved to be the singer’s fourth No. 1 hit and spent two weeks in the top spot.
1983: The Police – “Every Breath You Take”
The Police and Sting’s signature song, “Every Breath You Take” swept the summer of 1983, sitting on top of the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart for eight weeks. Sting penned the track in the Caribbean at James Bond author Ian Fleming’s Goldeneye estate.
He told The Independent in 1993, “I woke up in the middle of the night with that line in my head, sat down at the piano and had written it in half an hour. The tune itself is generic, an aggregate of hundreds of others, but the words are interesting. It sounds like a comforting love song. I didn’t realize at the time how sinister it was. I think I was thinking of Big Brother, surveillance and control.”
In May 2019, Broadcast Music, Inc. recognized the song for being the most-played song in radio history.
1982: Survivor – “Eye Of The Tiger”
Survivor’s only chart-topper, “Eye of the Tiger” brought the “thrill of the fight” to MTV and radio stations in summer 1982. The track was the theme song to Rocky III, and was recorded at Sylvester Stallone’s request after Queen denied him the use of “Another One Bites the Dust”. It was No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for six straight weeks and 15 consecutive weeks in the top ten.
1979: Donna Summer – “Bad Girls”
The summer of 1979 belonged to Donna. The disco queen’s album of the same name stayed on the top of the charts for six weeks during the summer, and the singles “Hot Stuff” and “Bad Girls” both were number one hits. According to Stereogum, “Bad Girls”, a sympathetic ode to sex workers, was inspired after Summer’s secretary had been stopped by police on Sunset Boulevard.
1976: Wings – “Silly Love Songs”
“Silly Love Songs”, from Paul McCartney’s post-Beatles group Wings, was a tongue-in-cheek response to criticism against McCartney for writing airy love songs (including from John Lennon). It held the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for five non-consecutive weeks and was the top pop song in Billboard’s Year-End charts for 1976. The track was McCartney’s 27th “number one” as a songwriter and is the all-time record for most number one hits by a songwriter, according to Billboard Hot 100.
1975: Captain & Tennille – “Love Will Keep Us Together”
This song was the title and lead single of husband-and-wife duo Captain and Tenille’s first album, but it wasn’t penned by the pair. It was written by collaborators Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield. Sedaka said that he took the main chord progression from The Beach Boys’ “Do It Again” – both “Captain” Daryl Dragon and Toni Tennille played with The Beach Boys as keyboardists. They acknowledged Sedaka on the outro of the track by including the phrase “Sedaka is back”. Captain and Tennille’s version held the number one spot on the Billboard Charts for four weeks that summer, and was the best-selling single of 1975 in the U.S.
1971: Carole King – “It’s Too Late”/”I Feel The Earth Move”
This double lead single off of singer/songwriter Carole King’s album Tapestry spent five weeks in the number one spot on the charts in midsummer 1971! Although King’s record label chose “I Feel the Earth Move” as the A-side, DJs and listeners both seemed to prefer the slower “It’s Too Late”.
What do you think the song of the summer for 2022 will be? Let us know on social media!
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