I have always held the belief, very strongly, that you must trust the players you surround yourself with. This of course means that as a band leader, you need to have the kinds of players who need a minimum of “explanation” of what to do when you need them to come up with parts, solos or whatever, and also the kinds of folks who only need an occasional “gentle push” in the right direction, should you need them to know you want them to do something other than what they are doing within a song.
I am currently on the lookout for a new second guitarist in my band; a very important person for sure! Most of my songs are conceived as at least “two-guitar” pieces, and the layers of guitars I create on my recordings though often hard to reproduce “live”, still need to be as full as possible when we do play out. Again, it actually is more of a pleasure for me to have someone that I can “trust” implicitly with my music, and who can be create on their own, yet who can still stay within the correct parameters I need.
The first “well” I go to when I need a good 2nd guitarist is to go back over the great students I’ve had over the years. This helps me because not only do I know they may be good enough, but that they also know and respect my kind of playing, and can complement my style! At the same time, a guitarist’s ego can often be very fragile, and I must have someone whom I can lightly criticize and direct without having their feeling hurt. A very big difference from what I’ve had to endure from some of the “big” artists I’ve worked with, who seem to feel that they have to “take you apart” and tear you down before they even give you a chance to so much as breathe on the guitar!
I don’t work that way. I like it to always feel like a true “partnership” when it comes to having my other players around me, and that especially applies to the 2nd guitarist. And the one thing I have never done was to ever belittle another player, or make them feel like crawling off into the corner out of embarrassment or otherwise! Let’s face it, all those years of being a sideman myself really educated me as to how a player wants to be treated, and anyway, let’s face it, I’m a nice guy!!
Anyway, wish me luck in my search for a 2nd guitarist in my band, and as always, be kind and respectful to each other, as players and as people! Best of luck!