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almann1979
(@almann1979)
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Joined: 15 years ago
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Topic starter  

cheers guys - lots of food for thought there. much appreciated :D

"I like to play that guitar. I have to stare at it while I'm playing it because I'm not very good at playing it."
Noel Gallagher (who took the words right out of my mouth)


   
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cnev
 cnev
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manti,

I have to disagree with you about what learning songs can do. That's where I think we differ. Learning a new song for me is more than just a new riff/technique. It's hopefully learning to play difficult pieces that I wouldn't have been able to before.

Doing exercises are great and they are a tool but at the end of the day you need to make music playing some repetitive scales over and over isn't necessarily going to make you play anything better.

To me that's where the learning a song note for note comes in. I don't do it because I think that's the only way to play a song but it's te only way for me to know if I am making progress. If there was a fast solo in a song and because it was fast I changed some notes and played something different what does that get me? This is where the guitarist crutch comes in and they call it "Making it my own" To me that's a bunch of crappola, if you could whip out solos' like Yngwie they'd be doing it, when they can't they say they are putting their own spin on it.

If you were taking any type of guitar exam or anything like that do you think you be able to substitute different notes form the score you've been given? Of course not you are made to play it exactly as it's written.

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


   
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Wes Inman
(@wes-inman)
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Chris

I don't know if I agree with you. I think if you play everything note for note you are just labeled a copycat. My younger brother has been playing guitar as long as me. He is one of those guys that hates covers. Everytime I tell him I'm in a cover band he gets all bent out of shape and says, "well, if you have to play covers, then make them sound original, don't copy note for note!". :x

And sometimes copying a solo is the easy way out. I can play Hendrix's solo on All Along the Watchtower note for note. And it's a great solo, one of the best ever. But I can't stand to do it. It is just copying Hendrix. I am always jamming this song at home and am always trying to come up with a great solo of my own. In this case, at least for me, copying is easy. Coming up with my own great solo is far more difficult and challanging.

And as was mentioned earlier, most artists play their own songs quite differently than their recordings. It is probably pretty rare to find a guitarist who plays their own solos note for note. I remember reading an article by Stevie Ray Vaughan, he said he never played a solo the same way twice because that would be boring. I agree.

There are some things you have to play note for note, they are the signature riff. If you play Sweet Chile O Mine you have to open with that famous intro. But you don't have to play the solo that way. Come up with something of your own, that is far more difficult than copying. :wink:

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


   
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gnease
(@gnease)
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To me that's where the learning a song note for note comes in. I don't do it because I think that's the only way to play a song but it's te only way for me to know if I am making progress. If there was a fast solo in a song and because it was fast I changed some notes and played something different what does that get me? This is where the guitarist crutch comes in and they call it "Making it my own" To me that's a bunch of crappola, if you could whip out solos' like Yngwie they'd be doing it, when they can't they say they are putting their own spin on it.

Many of the quick-playing solos you are hearing are built from the muscle memory of the player -- essentially built from thoughtless repetition of things that particular guitarist plays. And guess what. They don't bother playing them exactly the same way every time. There are usually some important elements that bear learning: A signature riff or a truly good piece of melody or harmonizing should be treated differently. If there is something musically exceptional -- yeah, that's worth learning and understanding. Some "thoughtless" solo? IMNSHO: A few my improv'ed solos are better than the "originals" -- in particular, because they may interact with the tune as it is being played by others right then and there. crappola indeed!

-=tension & release=-


   
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cnev
 cnev
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OK one thing we are mixing up with here is the physical aspect of playing solos note for note and the musical content. I am only talking about the former.

First off I agree that it doesn't have to be a note for note solo to sound good and I understnd totally how experienced professional guitarists play even there own solo's different..(That doesn't mean necessarily better as I've been disappointed many times seeing a performer live play the solo differently than what I expected to hear, some of that is because of overdubbing they can't reproduce and some is they just didn't play a great solo).

Wes, your description of what you do with All Along the Watchtower is a little different. You CAN play the solo note for note and decide to go in a different direction and that's fine nothing wrong with that. It's if you told me you couldn't play it quite note for note and then you put your own spin on it then I would have to say it's because you are not capable physically of making those notes and you're just making excuses.

Gnease - I'm not sure I get your point..thoughtless repitition/muscle memory? That's exactly my point in order to play those passages that fast you need to put time in and work on them. If you choose a differnt route because you are not able to play the notes that fast then you really can''t play the song. If those solos you are talking about are solos that you can play note for note and choose to do your own that's fine if they are because you don't have the skills then that's what I call the guitarist crutch of saying You put your own spin on it. Now that doesn't necessarily mean what you played was bad it could sound quite good but it still doesn't change the fact that there are parts of the song you can't play.

My whole post really revolves around the physicality of playing the music not about the music content or how it sounds. There is no other way to play a 230 bpm passage other than playing it at 230 bpm. If you played it at 190 bpm that don't count!

You all have to remember I am a beginner compared to alot of you. Once I feel I can play the songs I want from start to finish either the rhythm or lead then I will worry about making songs my own for now I try and learn them note for note cuz I'm stupid liek that.

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


   
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racetruck1
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When I first started learning guitar one of my teachers said that if you can find an easier way to play something and it sounds correct then it's all good.

As an example, I play "A" shaped barre chords with just my index finger and pinky, a lot of my friends tell me that's the hard way to do it but that is what I got used to. I actually have a hard time doing it with my index and ring finger.

Where is the difference where you play some thing on the neck if the notes and pitch are the same? I learned "Blackbird" two different ways, one fairly easy and another really easy. Both play the same notes at the same pitch. Guess which one I play now!

I still try to learn different techniques, especially the ones that give me problems, when I learn them they make other things easier.

Hey Vic, I learned how to do that "C" shaped barre chord by trying to do a barre and common chord shapes just for something to do. Like a barre at the second fret and adding a "D" shape to it. Hard at first but eventually I got it.
Hey it might be good therapy for you 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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gnease
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Gnease - I'm not sure I get your point..thoughtless repitition/muscle memory? That's exactly my point in order to play those passages that fast you need to put time in and work on them. If you choose a differnt route because you are not able to play the notes that fast then you really can''t play the song. If those solos you are talking about are solos that you can play note for note and choose to do your own that's fine if they are because you don't have the skills then that's what I call the guitarist crutch of saying You put your own spin on it. Now that doesn't necessarily mean what you played was bad it could sound quite good but it still doesn't change the fact that there are parts of the song you can't play.

<snip>

You all have to remember I am a beginner compared to alot of you. Once I feel I can play the songs I want from start to finish either the rhythm or lead then I will worry about making songs my own for now I try and learn them note for note cuz I'm stupid liek that.

My point is all about avoiding the "thoughtless" part. It is pretty easy to fall into the trap of playing a solo with the tools you've best developed through repetition - modal soloing, for example -- instead of listening to what's going on in the tune and crafting a solo that adds to the musical statement of the whole piece. In creating a solo, more than a few players whip out a well practiced couple of pentatonic scales or riffs, string these together and call it "job done." Know that pros can be guilty of that, and are ... even on some hit recordings. Part of your development as a musician should be to learn to create interesting and contextual fills and solos of your own, within your capabilities as a player. You can learn to make your contributions enhance the musical composition, and not just lie there on top of every thing else.

So as I read it, you are talking about developing the coordination to play notes, patterns and chords. That is fine. And using faithful repros of songs as an exercise to do that is good. But unless you are analyzing those original solos (to at least begin) to understand how they complement the overall piece, that exercise is limited ... merely to learning to play guitar. But I am talking about using that guitar-playing capability (however imperfectly developed), and adding to it active listening skills to understand and even recraft a better solo as a musician. Avoid the thoughtless in what you add to a tune. Engage with mind and ears and try -- within the limits of your current playing skills -- to make that tune better. This is skill you can develop in parallel with the technical skills you write about. A little of this goes a long way. It's never too early to start developing that musician side.

A concrete example of where developing the musician side helps. Imagine you are playing a well known (and good) solo note-for-note true to the original. It's going really well, until you make a minor mistake that screws your timing and you lose the thread of the solo. What now? If you've developed your musician skills apace your technical skills, you slide right into your own thing and finish it as an improv. (applause!)

-=tension & release=-


   
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TRGuitar
(@trguitar)
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Bottom line, if you want to play note for note go for it. Does it make you a better guitarist than me? I dunno? Depends I suppose if I can play it note for note if I chose to or not. :lol: Guitar is an art, a passtime, a hobby but not a contest. I can learn and play most solos note for note, but some do not feel right to me. The timing mistake Gnease is talking about. They just don't feel like how I play. I like them to be comfortable and sound a little like me. Maybe I am lazy. :lol: I don't think a note for note solo is that important but of course that is my opinion and you know what they say about opinions. I find if I start and finish with the same phrase that is on the recording a non guitarist will not even notice the middle is different. My 2 cents and worth exactly that.

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


   
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spides
(@spides)
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playing it your own way is all well and good, but you need to learn other peoples solos to develop the techniques and the feel for your own solos.

Wes made a good point when he said that he can play the hendrix solo for watchtower, but rarely does it. You don't necessarily want to be performing pieces verbatim, but learning them gives you some new things to play and mess around with. Boosts your bag of tricks. Miles Davis started out watching dizzy gilespie (and playing with him) and trying to play the stuff he played, feel the notes he felt and be able to follow the music as good as him. Then he mastered that and moved on to other ideas. By the 70's he was was right into hendrix, Sly Stone and Santana and he was trying to get the same sounds hendrix got from his guitar, through his trumpet!! He was even using a wah pedal!!!

Nobody can say that Miles' sound wasn't original or unique, he has one of the most distinctive sounds of any muso ever (except mike stern yuck!) but he saw the benefits of listening to and learning from other people, often not even of his own instrument.

I like to learn Charlie Parker sax lines note for note and play them on the guitar, it's a real headspin to get sax runs under your fingers as they sit totally different than most guitar lines. It feels odd at first but eventually you get some new licks and tricks under your fingers and are sounding pretty different.

basically what I'm trying to say is unless you learn other peoples styles, your pretty much starting from scratch, and your sound is not gonna go anywhere. Learn some hard stuff and try to get your fingers around other peoples playing, you'll find you have your own way of playing their notes anyway.

Don't sweat it dude, just play!


   
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spides
(@spides)
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ps I am ALL about improv. I love my jazz and playing a note for note solo at a jazz gig will get nothing but laughter and ridicule.

Don't sweat it dude, just play!


   
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cnev
 cnev
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gnease,

I understand what your saying and I would agree. I think we were talking about two slightly different things. I really am only talking about the motor skills involved in playing the notes, not the musical context or anything else, so that's why to me learning to play them note for note is a way for me to really measure whether I did it correct. It has nothing to do with being able to play my own solo's etc. I agree with you totally on that.

I have no problem with someone playing solo's that aren't note for note that's fine and it's something we should all do, but for me that will come after I feel like I have mastered more solos.

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


   
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gnease
(@gnease)
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And I understand your point, Chris. I'm simply encouraging you to explore another aspect of musicianship at the same time you hone tech skills. Learning of both technical playing skills and musicianship is a never-ending endeavor. Doing some of each will get you the most bang-for-buck when it comes to making music.

-=tension & release=-


   
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cnev
 cnev
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gnease,

Absolutely, I wish I could. Well I guess the more correct answer is I wish I did. I know I don't spend enough time doing what you are suggesting and there are several reasons for that the main one being I am limited with the time I can spend each night practicing with work etc., and since we are trying to get something going I'm constantly working on songs so I don't have much time left.

I'm moving to my house Oct 1st and I'll have a much better setup over there so I can really start working on some of this stuff.

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


   
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Wes Inman
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Chris

I agree with you to a degree. Heck, when I started, I did nothing but try to copy great solos note for note. I wasn't thinking so much of developing playing skill, I just liked the sounds and wanted to know how to make them. I was more into the music. And to me, that is the goal. If I had my druthers, I just want to play a skillful solo that sounds musical. I don't want to sound like anybody else, I want to sound unique. To me this is far more difficult than copying solos. Copied solos always sound stiff to me. They sound "canned". Don't know if you know what I mean when I say that.

You heard my live solos at our jam. On Evil Ways I was trying to sound Santana. It wasn't note for note at all, in fact, I have no idea what I'm going to play when I play a solo, I just go and hope for the best. But I was trying to capture his basic sound. That was kind of a tribute to him. On the other hand, on The Breeze I just played what occured to me at the moment. The second solo is quite different from the first, next time I play it it will sound completely different.

So I understand any player wanting to copy solos to develop skill. But there comes a point where you have to start doing your own thing, and this is where the real difficulty begins. I hardly ever really like any of my solos, and when I hear a great solo by a great guitarist I am awed with their musical ability. That is what I want, to play a great solo that comes from me, from what I hear in my head. And it takes lots of practice to do this. This is where you really start to develop skill as a guitarist.

Here is what I'm talking about, Stevie Ray Vaughan playing Voodoo Chile. Sure, you hear the important signature licks, but then Stevie takes it in his own direction. I actually like Stevie's version better.

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


   
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cnev
 cnev
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Wes,

I'm glad you posted soemthing else because I was going to add a little of my rationale for doing what i'm doing. But you are really saying what gnease said and of course you guys are right I just haven't pursued these tasks in parallel I am trying to do them in series so once I felt I had the "chops" or close to it then I could start working on making stuff my own. But I will disagree a little on the solo's being canned at least for me. If someone plays a really good note for note solo it never sounds canned to me it's what I expect to hear. But that doesn't mean that I wouldn't like a improved solo. I've heard you solo many times as I have our guitarist and neither of you play solo's note for note and they always sound good so it's not about that and yes I agree coming up with your own good solos is much more difficult than copying someone else's. But I still can't imagine being able to play SRV, or Hendrix. or Slash solo's note for note being a bad thing...heck I'd be set if I could to that.

But after thinking about this yesterday here's another reason why to me if you don't go through the process of learning solo's note for note at some point in your journey you'll be missing something. Here's my example.

As I learn new songs/solo's there is invariably a part in most solo's that will be difficult for me maybe it's a real fast run , or sweep picking or pinch harmonics you name it. By learning the solos note for note and then hearing how these are used in the context of a song will help me when I try crafting my own. Sure some of these are techniques you could theoretically learn on their own but I think you learn them better if you learn them in the context they will be used. it's like just aimlessly running up and down scales doesn't help much more than loosening up your fingers, it doesn't help you understand how to use those notes correctly in context.

If I started working on solo's on my own how much variety could I add if I've never actually used and mastered those techniques...The old saying you don't know what you don't know. Do you think any of my solo's would have any sweep picking or pinch harmonics in them? Of course not I would never have been exposed to them. I'd fumble around playing eigth notes up and done the pentatonic scale and it would get old real quick. To me there is more structure forcing yourself to learn them note for note, like I said in my earlier post there is no way to do a 230 bpm run other than at 230 bpm, so there is pretty much instant feedback on whether you've got it right or not.

Now I think were I am at today I probably should start doing these type of things but I still don't feel I have enough solo's down yet.

Plus I'm just an old man trying to have a bit of fun. The other thing I thought about is the reality is I may be able to become a guitar player, but I'm not sure I'm yong enough or have the time to be a real musician.

It's just like learning a language, you don't start writing books and speaking until you've copied every word that you'll need to know and understand how to use those words in diffeent contexts. Without copying what was done before you you'd be reinventing the wheel.

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


   
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