Choosing hits is a given when selecting tunes for your repertoire as a Los Angeles electric string quartet. However, it can’t be any hit. Your tunes need to be #1 chart-topping worldwide mega hits, songs that are instantly recognizable by 90% of the population of any demographic. It’s very tempting to pick songs that appeal to your own generation and ones that have sentimental value to you or bands you listened to growing up, but you have to remember if your crowd doesn’t recognize a song, they won’t connect to your performance. Think about how many times it takes for you to break in an album when you first get it. That’s how many times you would need to play that tune to the same audience for them to be impressed with your rendition.
You want an eclectic mix of styles. When first starting out, a 90-minute setlist is plenty. From that 90 minutes, try to avoid more than 2 songs by the same artist and more than 3 or 4 of the same style or period. There are certain exceptions for this rule; naturally you are welcome to choose 5 or 6 Beatles tunes, but you don’t want to assume most of your audience are fans of a specific band.
Next you need to create the tracks and write arrangements for each song. If you are working with a pre-recorded track, you need to customize your arrangement according to the track, or make cuts in the track. As far as recording, you will need a more advanced one such as ProTools as well as a mixing board. If nobody in your group has this kind of equipment, your best bet is to hire an audio engineer. While this may be costly, think about the amount of time and money it would cost to learn how to operate all the equipment. If you’re not pressed to have all the songs for an upcoming gig, you might want to delve into it, but otherwise ask friends for recommendations and offer favors in order to try to lower the cost. You can offer assistant or clerical help, but the most useful help as a musician will probably be to lay down parts for free. In the next blog, learn about writing arrangements for a Los Angeles electric string quartet with tracks.