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Is This Bad?

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Illustrious Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 8184
Topic starter  

Lately I haven't been playing songs as they are. Not always for creative reasons, more so because I can't play them as they are. Examples like:








Should I be doing this? Does it stunt my growth? Should I be copying the masters as best I can?

And no, I don't know why I substituted an E5 for an Am.

Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 7833

It's bad if you want to be a cover artist in a tribute band or something. I say go for it your way.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."

Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1128

try to follow the original to show respect, but when the time is right give it a good smack of originality, it makes the song yours 8)

even god loves rock-n-roll

Estimable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 168

It probably doesn't help your guitaring much...if you only play things in a way that is already easy for you, you know?

Make it hard, or something that gets you moving a way you can't already move. Otherwise, why learn the song?

I guess you could just for the hell of it, but I am uninterested in learning easy songs.

Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2801

Me and my kids go through this one all the time. Heck, I even go through it with my self all the time. You learn pretty much nothing from things that are already easy to you. The only time you learn is from something that is difficult. Now, that said, if the original is too difficult you could scale it back a bit and learn a portion of it. Get really good at that part and go on to the next. Once you have it all down you put the pieces together.

I have been doing this with a piece that I am learning for over a year. Still cant play it perfect but I am getting better at it.

But I also agree that once you have something down pretty good you should probably see how to make it sound like you. You're more interesting than hearing it the original way anyways.


“The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn” - David Russell (Scottish classical Guitarist. b.1942)

Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2957

I do this sort of thing

I think as long as you have a guitar in your hand ....Thats' it

As long as you are playing something who gives a toss ..

The question is , " Do you like what you did?"

Thats your answer



Here is to you as good as you are
And here is to me as bad as I am
As good as you are and as bad as I am
I'm as good as you are as bad as I am

Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 10264

I don't think it matters where on the fretboard you play a song as long as it's recognisable - that's what barre chords & powerchords are for!

Powerchords are particularly handy as an introduction to barre chords....there may come a time when you want to start playing the full chords, always handy to have in your arsenal....but if that's what keeps you playing, then keep playing!!!

:D :D :D


"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)

Noble Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 1468

i don't think it's bad to do it, in fact i think it's good to play a song your own way. but i'm wondering why you can't play open position chords? Is it because you've always played athe power chords? Cause they're not all that hard once you get them down. you probably should learn them.

Reputable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 214

It isn't all that bad if your satisfied with playing the absolute bare minimum. But why even play it on the guitar if you only play that, you might as well just hum it.

Used to be, was a part of me felt like hiding.. but now it comes through. Comes through to you.

Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1221

I don't think it's bad. But in the 1st example at least, it seems like you've settled on a harder way to do it. You have to jump strings twice. And with the final move to the G on the low E string, speed and timing are probably issues.
I have the reverse problem, I started on acoustic and open chords and I'm having to force myself to make progress with power chord positions. :wink:


Famed Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4459

I'm not sure it's stunting your growth but I think it's going to make the learning process longer. If you constantly change fingerings etc to a way you can play now then what are you learning?

I'll probably get alot of flack for this but I disagree with all the talk about putting your own spin on a cover etc and playing your me that's only OK if you can play it the way it was originally played...if you can't then you are what are you playing?

To me learning covers note for note forces you to learn the techniques used in the song, if you play it your way you take the easy way out.

Now when you first start there will probably a lot of songs you want to play but the reality is that you won't be able to and the only way to do it is to keep practicing.

I've been playing about 4 years now and I'm just starting to get into playing solo's and such even though I wanted to for years but I didn't want to learn some song I love and try to come up with some hack solo that I came up with.

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!

Trusted Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 65

i agree with cnev, if you can play the cover note for note,then put your own spin on things thats great, but by replacing a hard section of chords in a song and replacing it with barre or power chords can be the wrong way of going about things. ive been teaching my brother to play now for the last 2 years,when he firt started we replaced alot of chords in songs with barre's and power chords (i had to to keep him interested)but now hes playing true covers he'd tell you theres no substitute for the real chords and sounds and every now and then he reverts back to some power chord covers that i showed him early on and he almost cant believe the difference in quality compared to the true versions were on with people have said its the things your fingers cant do that will improve them its great just to be playing the songs you love,but the sooner you tackle those problem areas the sooner you'll reap the rewards :) :)

"thats alright baby i still got ma guitar"

Noble Member
Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 1735

Using different voicing of chords work just as long as it sounds okay to you. I notice a big difference in sound with different voicing (some good / some ugly).

"Nothing...can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts."

Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5349

Changing an arrangement is fine if you do it because it sounds better to you. Doing it solely because you can't play it the 'right' way is ok sometimes but you definitely don't want to do that all the time. If it is easy you ain't practicing. :D

Honorable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 518

I don't think it's bad, one of the golden rules for playing guitar is to play smarter not harder. I do think that you should spend time practicing open chords, pretty important for acoustic work. It will also help in playing different types of barre chords.

What you are doing is perfect for electric work though.

I do what you are doing all the time, although, it's going from open chords to barre chords, I do it because of "economy of motion" in my fretting hand, I don't have to change my hand shape, just move my hand up and down the neck.

I now find myself doing this on acoustic guitar too!

When I die, I want to go peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming......
like the passengers in his car.

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