There are many factors that are required in order to be considered a professional guitar player. Knowing how to play well is only one of those requirements. Here are a few simple tips that will elevate your status among your peers and can lead to playing with better musicians and better paying gigs.
Playing guitar well is definitely an important factor but this does not require you to be a virtuoso. You can have a limited range of skills and still be considered a professional. How? It's easy. Be great at a few necessary foundation elements of a particular style you enjoy and focus on that. For example, if you enjoy playing the blues, concentrate being rock solid in your rhythm playing and work on tasty slow-medium tempo phrasing. It's better to be great at a few things as opposed to spending too much time on various techniques and only be mediocre.
Good “sounding” gear is another crucial element. Having a really cheap guitar amp probably wont be the best idea. There's no need to spend a fortune on a hand wired boutique style amp but a mid priced amp that has the EQ dialed in correct will get the job done and sound great. Having a good guitar is essential too but doesn't have to be hard on your wallet . A medium price point guitar that stays in tune can get the job done. There were many times in my playing career I actually was playing inexpensive guitars with replacement pick ups. They sounded good, stayed in tune and didn't break the bank. If your faced with a decision of only having enough money for one or the other , lean towards the amp first. I think a cheap guitar through a good amp always sounds better than a expensive guitar through a cheap amp.
Moving away from gear and playing the #1 skill you want to adopt is a good attitude and be easy going. No one wants to work with someone who is constantly complaining and is a downer. If your conditions are less than optimal in a live situation, its better to laugh if off as a “rough gig” than to have temper tantrum yelling that the conditions are unacceptable. Playing in a band is supposed to be fun. If your in the type of band that rehearses regularly, no one wants to always be in the same room as someone who is not making it fun.
Another thing to keep in mind is don't play too loud, be considerate to others of your volume. Also, don't over play and be too busy with your guitar parts. Play only what is tasteful and serves the song . Be sure to come to the gig or rehearsal prepared, not knowing the material well or not at all is perceived as arrogant and that your time is more valuable than others.
As you can see, there's much more than being a great player to be considered a pro. If you adopt some of these attributes you will definitely elevate your status among your peers. If you find yourself in a band where no one exhibits any of these attributes it may be time to find new people to work with. You are judged by the company you keep and it may prevent you from getting another, better gig.
Mark Turko is a trained professional guitar instructor in Connecticut. If you are looking for guitar lessons in Orange CT area please be sure to contact Mark.