Guitarist Booking Guide – How to hire

Are you curious about hiring a guitarist for a wedding or private event but don’t know where to start? We’ve compiled answers to the questions we hear most often, complete with tips and inside knowledge from some of our top guitarists. To discuss booking a musician with our team, simply email Alexandra at [email protected].

  1. The Basics
  2. Equipment & Setup
  3. Repertoire
  4. Booking

The Basics

What styles of music can the guitarist play?

While specific guitarists may specialise in particular areas of repertoire, almost any style of music – including flamenco, pop, jazz, folk, classical – works on the acoustic guitar, while the electric guitar is used for rock ‘n roll and heavy metal. Many guitarists are happy to play a variety of repertoire during the same event, and some are able to sing as well as play.

Musicians will tend to specialise in a particular style and be able to play others when required. For example, a Spanish guitarist will know lots of Spanish tunes and may also know several jazz and pop tunes, though they will sound similar to their main style.

“People love the intimacy of the guitar – it’s an instrument that brings people together.”
Encore guitarist Morgan Buckley

Which parts of the wedding ceremony can the guitarist play during?

The guitarist will usually play at the following parts of the ceremony: seating of the guests, bridal procession, signing of the registry, and the walk out.

Can the guitarist play at the reception as well as the ceremony?

Absolutely! One of the advantages of the guitar is that it is easily portable, although as amplification is generally required (see below), setup time and transportation will have to be considered.

Equipment & Setup

How much space does a guitarist need?

A single guitarist will need approximately 2 x 2 meters, or a bit more than the size of an average 4-person dining table.

What equipment do I need to provide?

You will need to provide a chair without arms, with sufficient light to see the music, and a power source for their amp.

Encore Guitarist, Sean Ahern
Encore Guitarist, Sean Ahern

Do I need a to provide a PA system?

Guitarists will usually provide their own amp for small- to medium- size rooms as even twenty people talking can cover the relatively quiet sound of the acoustic guitar. All you need to provide is a power source close to the playing position. It would be good to let the musician know if you have a large number of guests and/or a large room, so they can bring extra equipment if necessary.

How long does the guitarist need to set up?

Your musician will need about 15-30 minutes to set up.

Do I need to provide food?

Musicians will appreciate bottled water and tea/coffee/biscuits upon arrival. Meals are always welcome, though generally not required unless your event is at dinnertime.


Encore guitarist David Kelly plays Lágrima by Francisco Tárrega

Can a guitarist play outside?

Absolutely, as long as the weather is warm enough, adequate rain shelter (such as a gazebo or marquee) is provided, and the guitarist is not in direct sunlight. If the guitarist is using amplification, an extension lead may need to be supplied. Make sure to tell the musician in advance if you want them to be outside so they can make the necessary preparations.

What dress code can I expect?

Guitarists can tailor their outfit to your event – white tie, tuxedo, floor-length gowns, cocktail dresses, smart casual or just all black are all possible.

How long will the guitarist play for?

Sets are usually 45-60 minutes long with a 15 minute break between sets.

Do I need to provide parking?

If the musician is planning to drive, please make provision for parking if possible. Having to drive around looking for a parking space in a town you don’t know can be stressful, expensive, and may delay the performance. It’s worth checking, though, as some may take the train (and might appreciate a pickup from the station!).

Encore guitarist Zoe Lakota-Baldwin

Repertoire

What are the most popular repertoire requests?

Our top guitarists tell us the following pieces are guaranteed to be a hit:

Recuerdos de la Alhambra by Francisco Tárrega

Asturias by Isaac Albeniz

Concierto de Aranjuez, 2nd movement by Joaquín Rodrigo (arrangement required)

Canon in D by Johann Pachelbel

Ave Maria by J. S. Bach

Can they play my favourite song?

Absolutely! Guitarists love adding new pieces to their repertoire, and if they can’t find an arrangement, will often tailor one themselves for your event. This may add an additional fee to your booking, but is well worth the extra expense to hear your favourite song played in a new and exciting way.

Can the guitarist take requests?

Many guitarists have spent years memorising hundreds of songs, and/or can pick up tunes very quickly by ear. However, if you have special repertoire requests, tell your guitarist as soon as possible to make sure they have adequate time to prepare.

What is the most popular party/event repertoire?

Depends on the style of your event! It can be classical, pop, or a combination. All of the pieces listed above will work well as background music for a party.

I’m not sure what type of music I want – where can I go for ideas?

Go to Encore’s guitarist page where you can listen to different audio/video clips and get ideas of which styles you like. You can even filter by location to find guitarists near you!

Encore guitarist Benjamin Trott

Can the guitarist play with a singer?

Absolutely! A singer is the perfect addition to a piano, allowing you to have the full song experience. Some guitarists can sing as well as play – you can specify that you want this when you request a booking.

Booking

How far in advance should I book?

We advise booking as soon as possible, especially if you have special musical requests, but we handle last-minute bookings all the time at Encore and can easily find a guitarist at short notice.

What’s the typical price for a guitarist?

Each guitarist will set their own rates, but expect a fee of £200 for two 45-minute sets plus travel and amplification expenses if applicable. Some guitarists have a set fee for an event while some will charge hourly. As always, be wary of musicians charging significantly less, as they may not have the skill to deliver a great performance.

Encore guitarist Dave Inkster

Do I have to pay travel fees/porterage?

You may have to factor in travel costs if the guitarist is not local. Most musicians have a set guitarist from their home (generally 15-20 miles) and charge extra for any travel outside that area. We have guitarists all over the country, so we can usually find someone close to your location.

The standard rate is 47p/mile so if the guitarist needs to travel 50 miles each way, that’s an additional £47 for 100 miles of travel. This amount is included as a rough guide – each musician will set their own fees.

How do I handle contracts and payment?

The easiest way to handle contracts and payment is to book through Encore. Our bookings process is extremely straightforward, and once you have confirmed a booking with your chosen guitarist, contracts and payments will be handled painlessly and effortlessly by our secure payments system. To discuss booking a guitarist, please email Alexandra at [email protected].

Hopefully this guide answers all of your questions! If you have more questions about guitarists, email us at [email protected] and we’d be more than happy to help.


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