GUNS N' ROSES Guitarist BUMBLEFOOT On How To Make It In Music Business

Peter Hodgson of recently conducted an interview with GUNS N' ROSES guitarist Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

On how to make a career out of music:

Thal: "You have to be able to multitask and be multi-faceted. If you're just going to be a guitar player that plays in a band, your options are going to be very limited. If you're going to play in a band, you should also be able to teach what you know. If you record yourself, then record other people as well and get into the studio thing. If you're taking care of a lot of the business for your band, maybe start doing it for other bands as well and get into that side of things.

"You need to have as many avenues as you can at once, because while one thing is going slow, another thing is going better, and you put it all together and you can pay your bills. Everything you do lends some assistance or makes you better at everything else.”

On how session work today is much different to the glory days of the '70s and '80s:

Thal: "I could be wrong but I think reading music is less important now and it's more about the ears. If it's a jazz thing they will give you a chart, but if it's a rock thing they'll just show you on the spot: 'Alright, just go E to A and back to E.' And as far as session playing, you have to be able to lock into a groove and have great timing. You have to have a good memory and be able to recall arrangements, or jot down your own little chart of weird hieroglyphics that only you understand, or you have to be able to read other peoples' hieroglyphics."

On a simple set of rules for making yourself employable:

Thal: "Number one, which will be funny coming from a guitarist in GUNS N' ROSES, is don't be late! That was always my cardinal rule for everything. In order to be on time you need to be early, then wait in your car for 15 minutes and walk in two minutes before whatever time you're supposed to be there.

"Two: be someone that people want to work with, want to be in a room with and spend 10 hours with. Be relaxed, be calm, don't cause the stressful vibe, just be cool and keep your intensity knob down a bit and just roll with things.

"Three: be overly prepared. If you just need to know the guitar part, make sure you know the other guitar part, too, and the vocals, and the bass, and the drum rhythm and where the accents are. Really know the song inside and out. Know more than you need to know, and be so prepared that you can bring more than is asked of you, if asked. Those three things matter the most: be on time, be cool, and be prepared. And that's for anything."

Read the entire interview from


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