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Arlen Roth on Getting Gigs

08.20.2012
Arlen Roth

Well, sometimes it’s true, that gigs do seem to come out of the blue, but I firmly believe that it’s you who makes those good things happen. It’s great to certainly spread your reputation so that others either know you’re good, or at least are curious about your talents, and this also always has led to good gigs for me.

I can recall years ago having this lucky phone booth that was at an old, funky motel out in Montauk, Long Island, where I used to stay. It had become a kind of little hideaway for me and a few of my musical friends. It just seemed that I was always on that phone, surrounded by thousands of flying insects in the phone booth itself, and I always seemed to be either getting offers for my best gigs or negotiated many great gigs right there! The list was quite impressive; Billy Joel, Art Garfunkel, Paul Simon, many record dates, and even some of my early Hot Licks acquisitions!

It’s true, it really was a lucky phone booth, but again, as I look back, there’s no question that I had created and put myself on a kind of successful roll that kept on perpetuating itself. One good thing always seemed to lead to another, and the high of being on that kind of roll was truly intoxicating in those days.

You never really know where those gigs will come from but trust me, if you’re getting a reputation that’s good, and folks are talking about you (even if you don’t know it), some really great things will certainly come your way. I’m not just trying to be “encouraging” here….it really works, and it really happens!

For example, the other day, a new friend on my softball team had asked me to play at his daughter’s wedding…he didn’t really know that much about me, but had heard good things…well, I agreed on the terms of the gig, and then later, he actually checked out my music, and not only that, the “other” band playing at this wedding turned out to also be huge fans of mine! So, what has happened is he is very proud of his choice, since now I’m such a terrific player in his eyes, but he also knows I gave him a great deal on the gig, so he’s doubly happy. Of course, now his wedding will also turn into a total rocking out jam session!!

So be on the lookout for those great gigs that seemingly come out of nowhere, it’s really your ability to make it happen, so go for it!

Gibson.com’s Arlen Roth, affectionately known The King of All Guitar Teachers, is music lesson pioneer and the quintessential guitarist. An accomplished and brilliant musician — and one of the very few who can honestly say he’s done it all — Roth has, over the course of his celebrated 35-year career, played on the world’s grandest stages, accompanied many of the greatest figures in modern music and revolutionized the concept of teaching guitar.


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