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  #1  
Old 05-29-2014, 04:12 PM
The Old Hyde
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Default Question about set list duration.

Hey guys, my new band has an upcoming gig and my guitar player is stressed about having enough tunes for the gig. for a three set gig, my other band only plays about 35 songs I think going through old set lists. what is an average time for each set and breaks? I was thinking 15 min breaks? in my other band im just the drummer and go on stage when they call me, this time I need to be more involved with the logistics of the gig and im drawing a blank as to set duration and break duration.
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Old 05-29-2014, 04:30 PM
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MileHighDrummer MileHighDrummer is offline
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Default Re: Question about set list duration.

My typical "set" is 45/15. Play for 45 minutes, break for 15. Some people do 40/20. So, for three sets that would be between 2 hrs. - 2 hr. 15 minutes of play time. You really just have to fill the time slot you're given.
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Old 05-29-2014, 04:33 PM
The Old Hyde
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Default Re: Question about set list duration.

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Originally Posted by MileHighDrummer View Post
My typical "set" is 45/15. Play for 45 minutes, break for 15. Some people do 40/20. So, for three sets that would be between 2 hrs. - 2 hr. 15 minutes of play time. You really just have to fill the time slot you're given.
awesome, I was thinking 45/15 and we can do that. thanks! now I have to go talk him off a ledge hahahaha
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Old 05-29-2014, 04:34 PM
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alparrott alparrott is offline
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Default Re: Question about set list duration.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Old Hyde View Post
Hey guys, my new band has an upcoming gig and my guitar player is stressed about having enough tunes for the gig. for a three set gig, my other band only plays about 35 songs I think going through old set lists. what is an average time for each set and breaks? I was thinking 15 min breaks? in my other band im just the drummer and go on stage when they call me, this time I need to be more involved with the logistics of the gig and im drawing a blank as to set duration and break duration.
Most bands I've been in, we have done two sets with fifteen-minute breaks in between. I would try to stretch the sets out to close to an hour, so the entire three-set show will take about three and a half hours.

There's certainly one tried-and-true way to estimate a setlist's time - time it. If you haven't got the time or the energy, you can assemble a mock playlist in your mp3 player for each segment (if you're a cover band or have accurate rehearsal recordings of yourself) and see what the timings are that way. Keep in mind that you will need to program in whatever time you want to take between songs (I recommend minimal stops and minimal talking), and have an extra song in mind for each set just in case you get to the end of the list and you still have five minutes left.

During the last song of your set you can always stretch out an instrumental for a minute or so to introduce the band, but don't go all Grateful Dead on your cover tunes trying to stretch them out. The audience may not care for that.

If you're an originals band and scratching for time, pick up a couple of genre-appropriate crowd pleaser covers and throw them in your set -- or make a snide cover of a top-40 song in your band's style. I think I'd be amused if someone did a Lady Gaga song in a Zeppelin style, or vice versa.

All this combined should put your guitarist's mind at rest -- unless in fact you only have enough material to barely cover one set! In which case, hit the rehearsal room! Best of luck.
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Old 05-29-2014, 05:17 PM
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caddywumpus caddywumpus is offline
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Default Re: Question about set list duration.

3 sets for 3 hours? Simple: 2 breaks @ 15 min. each = 150 minutes of playing. Divide that by 3, and you have 50/15/50/15/50. It's always important to have more material than required when you're in a cover band. Sometimes the songs get played fast or the singer is having an issue and "can't sing" 2 or 3 songs. Often times, the event coordinator or father of the bride or the birthday girl will offer to toss a few bills your way to play "just a little bit longer." Have about 5-10 extra tunes ready to go besides the 150 minutes of material and you should be good.
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Old 05-29-2014, 06:16 PM
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Default Re: Question about set list duration.

And just think, if you did Coltrane's "A Love Supreme" or "My Favorite Things", there's two sets right there!
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Old 05-29-2014, 08:50 PM
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Midnite Zephyr Midnite Zephyr is offline
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Default Re: Question about set list duration.

For a 4-hour night (8pm-12am), we play 3-1 hour sets with a half hour in between sets. That's usually how it works out. And we always have more material than required.
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