Guitar Jam Daily
Home Columnists Industry Insider Industry Insider: What Does it Mean to Be A Pro?
August 12, 2020
Industry Insider: What Does it Mean to Be A Pro? PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 27 February 2007 19:45
Image By John McGlasson
I think for most people, the first thing that comes to mind when they hear the words “professional musician” is money, and for most, that equates with success, but in my line of work, I know a lot of professional musicians who make little or no money after the expense of being a pro is weighed against the bottom line. The cost of gear, travel, and basic living expenses make it nearly impossible for most to ever profit in this biz, much less base their futures on it, but this never stops them.

There are those of you who just read the previous paragraph, who may be sitting there with your guitar, rehearsing, writing, or recording, with crappy day jobs and empty bank accounts, who now think, “yeah, well what about me, who will make a living once the world hears my stuff?” The previous paragraph doesn’t apply to you, you’re working hard, you’re convinced it’ll happen for you if you work as hard as your heroes, and for that reason, you’re probably right. You’re a pro.

Pros write, rehearse, perform, and plan like pros all the time, whether they’re being paid or not, whether or not they’re happy with the venue or the crowd, they always play the same, like a pro. Pros are punctual, reliable, and flexible. Pros are respectful to the people who work hard to make it possible for them to do what they love in front of an audience.

Too many talented musicians today feel that being a professional means having everything done for them, having endless cash, parties, a full-time guitar tech, and not a care in the world other than strapping on the guitar for 45 minutes a night. Unless you’re playing to 5000 people a night or already famous, that’s probably not the case. Most touring musicians doing national club tours can’t afford to pay drum/guitar techs, or for people to carry their gear around for them, or set up, or tear down, they do it themselves.

I think what got me thinking about this, other than my daily activities, was a great article I read in a recent issue of Bass Player that feature the B3 guys; Sheehan/Hamm/Berlin, on a tour to select cities where there are enough bassists and guitar/drum geeks to make the show worth the travel, and these 3 monsters of their instruments, Gods to millions, are in a van, lugging their own gear every night, for far less money than they’re used to getting for their brilliance, just for the love of playing. There was a picture in the magazine of Billy down on his knees soldering on a piece of gear after some rough travel, and glad to do it.

The point is, Billy Sheehan has been living that way for a long time, even when tours with David Lee Roth and Mr. Big brought him the big-time limo life, he treated this B3 tour with as much, or more, importance, because he’s a genuine pro, which happened because Billy acted like a pro long, long before he ever made a penny, money’s got nothing to do with it. It’s probably safe to assume Billy’s got the money to pay someone to tech for him on this small tour, but why? Billy knows his gear, how to maintain it, because he’s always done it, and it makes him feel good to be a hands-on guy in every aspect of the biz. He’s a pro.

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it is a life-long guitarist, producer, and founder of o.i.e. Records, Ltd., a musician-oriented independent record label based in central Illinois.


Daily Video Lesson

Daily Video Lesson
  • 02:41 - 01.10.2008 Spotlight >> Spotlight
    A five week long, cross-country tour featuring some of the best known and most respected figures in rock and blues has been set to celebrate the legacy and music of Jimi Hendrix. Presented by Experience Hendrix, L.L.C., the Hendrix family-owned company founded by James A. “Al” Hendrix, Jimi’s father, entrusted with preserving and protecting the legacy of Jimi Hendrix together with musical instrument giant Gibson Guitar, this year’s Experience Hendrix Tour represents a dramatic expansion beyond last year’s seven sold out performances.

    Featured artists who will be performing music written by and associated with Jimi Hendrix include blues giant Buddy Guy, contemporary guitar greats Jonny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Eric Johnson, Cesar Rojas and David Hidalgo of Los Lobos as well as Aerosmith’s Brad Whitford.
  • 01:53 - 26.09.2008 Spotlight >> Spotlight
    Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) and Italian distributor M.Casale Bauer proudly announce the grand opening of the Fender Custom Shop Showcase Italy. It is the third such international exclusive Fender guitar destination, joining the elite Fender Custom Shop Lounge (Düsseldorf, Germany) and Fender Showcase Tokyo (Japan).

    The Fender Custom Shop Showcase Italy is in Bologna, Italy, and is housed in a building by California-born Italian designer Gretchen Alexander. The showroom is located near the offices of M. Casale Bauer, Fender’s Italian distributor since 1962, and was created to provide Fender dealers, their special guests and artists with a comfortable place to find, try and buy some of the most beautiful guitars in today’s market. The showcase features an impressive array of high-end guitars crafted by the master builders of the Fender Custom Shop and provides artists and dealers (and their VIP clients) with access to some of the most unique high-end Fender instruments ever made available in one place. The showroom houses an unparalleled selection of Fender Custom Shop instruments, as well as Bauer’s personal collection, one of the largest and most valuable in the world.
  • 03:41 - 23.09.2008 Spotlight >> Spotlight
    Los Angeles, CA – World-renowned Australian guitarist Tommy Emmanuel will  release Center Stage, a live concert DVD on October 14th via Favored Nations Acoustic.  
    The full-length concert DVD follows the recent release of the Center Stage  double CD, both having been recorded live for the PBS television series “Sierra Center Stage.” Filmed in eye-catching high definition, every element of modern technology was used in production, creating a stunning package, both aurally
    and visually. 
  • 00:09 - 19.09.2008 Spotlight >> Spotlight
    Montreal, Canada- September 16th, 2008: Renowned guitarist Daryl Stuermer will be giving Godin Performance Clinics in and around Quebec and Eastern Ontario from September 29th to October 3rd 2008.

    Having performed in studio and toured the world with both Phil Collins and supergroup Genesis for years, Daryl is a player who is on top of his game and has the chops to prove it. Performing as the Daryl Stuermer Duo, he will be accompanied by keyboardist Konstantin Efimov during the clinics and will also be giving attendees his perspective on playing live, recording, technique, and his gear, by fielding a Q&A session after each performance.
  • 09:29 - 03.06.2008 Spotlight >> Spotlight
    SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (June 2, 2008) -- Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) announced today that it has acquired certain assets of Groove Tubes LLC. Among other assets, FMIC purchased the Groove Tubes brand. Groove Tubes company founder Aspen Pittman will continue in a consulting role.