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Rhythm vs Lead ( guitar )

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cnev
 cnev
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Nah I'm just a trouble maker and love to always take the opposite opinion of everyone else...what's the fun with agreeing with everything.

It's hard to compare the very best rhythm players and the very best lead players because they are so far ahead of everyone else but in general I still (and Greg can hit me with a log if he wants) beleive that there are "more technical" skills to master to be a lead player than a rhythm player if we are talking about the average Joe here.

But am still open to change my opinion and I have 10 years still to do it...if I'm still around that is.

"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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Anonymous
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that clip... it's not the easiest thing to play fast sextuplets to backing track, especially if you've been at it for a while and your ears are tired and your concentration is worn thin. he's trying to match a double kick drum riff, probably after only hearing it a couple times. i've had problems with easier stuff than that. i mean, i could go over and pick up my guitar and nail it most fresh, but if you've been at it all day and fatigue sets in, simple stuff gets more complex, especially if it doesn't have feel.


   
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Anonymous
(@anonymous)
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as for the debate, i don't understand why there is one. rhythm and lead have different skill sets that overlap, but not 100%, and you're good at what you work on. most of the guitar gods have spent countless hours playing and i bet that in a pinch, eric clapton could play a mean polka. that doesn't mean that polka is easier or harder than the blues.
take the who. or ani difranco. both have fantastic rhythm guitar stuff. i'm sure there are tons of lead players that can't play that stuff, yet i'm sure they can all do leads that neither of those two would ever attempt.


   
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gnease
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it's definitely not a linear path through all skills. more like a tree whose manifold branches one only begins to notice after starting to climb. sometimes it's possible to jump directly from branch to branch, but for big leaps in skill sets one sometimes has got to drop back down a level or two lower and make the slower reclimb get to a playing skill that's "over there" on another branch. we all have different trees. boy, is that sappy enough or what?

-=tension & release=-


   
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Ande
 Ande
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Just reading through all the posts here- topic gets people going, doesn't it?

Another two cents worth from me. As a semi-newb, learning rythm parts has been much better for me in terms of learning music theory. Somehow learning lead parts is often just learning notes, but learning the chords, I see how it all fits together better. (Of course, this applies to learning other people's stuff. Actually soloing on my own will probably teach me a bunch about music theory too- can't say, cause I still suck at it.)

best,
Ande


   
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cnev
 cnev
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greg I didn't know you were a tree hugger

"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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Moonrider
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When people ask me if I play rhythm or lead guitar I just answer, "Yep."

When they ask what kind of music I play I answer, "Rockafunkajazzaheavycountrymetalbluesabilly . . .with a dash of hip-hop for flavor"

Then I walk off giggling while they try to decipher my answer.

Playing guitar and never playing for others is like studying medicine and never working in a clinic.

Moondawgs on Reverbnation


   
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gnease
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greg I didn't know you were a tree hugger

well, they make guitars out of 'em, don't they?

-=tension & release=-


   
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Elecktrablue
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greg I didn't know you were a tree hugger

well, they make guitars out of 'em, don't they?

:lol:

..· ´¨¨)) -:¦:-
¸.·´ .·´¨¨))
((¸¸.·´ .·´
-:¦:- ((¸¸.·´ -:¦:- Elecktrablue -:¦:-

"Don't wanna ride no shootin' star. Just wanna play on the rhythm guitar." Emmylou Harris, "Rhythm Guitar" from "The Ballad of Sally Rose"


   
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yandii
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I really want to learn how to play rhythm someday. I had just learned playing lead. I'm amazed the way bass guitars play on stage. Well they seem so silent but still they're a part of the whole presentation. Hmm.. Lead guitar is way too easy than rhytym i think.. You must be really skilled if you can play both. :D


   
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bjourne
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So if playing lead guitar is hard and playing rhythm guitar is hard. Then playing rhythm guitar with embellished melody lines and partial chords is the hardest because that needs both skills?


   
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CitiZenNoir
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Sorry I'm late to the party....
I just gotta cause some trouble of my own here though :twisted:

I'm one of those guitarists that can play lead, yet would much rather stick to playing rhythm in a band.
Mind you, I'm not the greatest of lead players.... I can do it though.

I don't think that it's a natural progression to go from rhythm to lead either.
Some are born with great rhythm, some take to lead right away.

And not every lead player is good at rhythm - I knew PLENTY back in my band days that couldn't play rhythm to save their souls!

Also, like Greg, I've never been one for playing a 'cover' just like the record.
Why?
If I want to hear that, I'll put the record on.
If you think that an audience wants to hear that, tell them to go see that artist in concert, or go play the record!

From what I've seen of garage bands that want to play things 'just like the record' - they don't even come close.
For one, they always play faster than the recorded version....
For two, they ALWAYS use more distortion! :roll:

Chris,
IMO, if you find playing rhythm boring, than it sounds like you need to head back to the woodshed for a bit.
There's A LOT more to playing rhythm guitar than strumming chords.

What happens with most 'bands' is that they find a song that they want to play - look up the chord progression, cos
they want it to sound just like the 'real thing', and away they go!

Let's say we're in a band and we agree that we want to play 'Never Been to Spain' by Three Dog Night.
We look it up on the pc and come up with this:

(E).....................A
Well I never been to Spain
.......................E
But I kinda like the music
......................A
See the ladies are insane there
................................E
And they sure know how to use it
..............B7
They don't abuse it
................A
Never gonna lose it
...........E
I can't refuse it....hmmmmm...

You grab your guitar and start strumming away on those chords in some straight rhythm pattern.

Well, the TDN version just doesn't really go like that.
It has about 3 different guitars and a piano playing varying rhythm parts.

In a band with no piano, and two guitarists.... we cant play it like the original.
Though, a good rhythm player could have a BLAST with that song.
Tons of room for melody lines, riffs, fills, crashing chordal abuse, and chunky muted string percussions.

Or you could strum those chords in a straight rhythm and yawn, the whole time thinking that rhythm guitar sucks and
secretly hating the flashy lead player, wishing it was you.

If you wanna know the harsh truth - The burden is on YOUR shoulders to PROVE what you can do in a band.
I had to constantly improve my skills when I was playing in a band, cos there were no shortages of guitar players
showing up at practice that the rhythm section had met in some bar that weekend.
You cant hack it - you're gone!
And it was MY band!

If I were you (Chris), I would learn some song arrangements for single guitars.
That will get you away from strumming chords.

If you wanna learn something to bring to the band - Power Trios are the way to go!
Learn James Gang - Walk Away. A slightly challenging, high energy rhythm part, with a fairly easy 'solo'.
I heard you say a while back that the blues was boring - Than I guess that ZZ-Tops, Jesus Just Left Chicago should be no problem for you to learn. Another with a fairly easy solo.
You could play Cream's - Sunshine of Your Love, and split the solo with the lead player.
The first part of the solo is fairly easy, he could do the second half.
That would come off pretty well in a bar - people love two guitarists sharing solos!
Plus it's a great mix of riffs, power chords (5ths), and open chords....
And in just the first part of the solo, you will have to mix the minor and major pent. scales....
A fine learning experience 8)
Oh - and Neil Young's Cinnamon Girl. That's a fun song to play! And, if memory serves, a pretty easy 'solo'.
David has a great breakdown for it here on GN.
Learn those songs, and earn credibility in your band (and maybe get a phalanx of Redheaded groupies in the process!).

Oh, and here's The Boss, one of those hopeless Rhythm players.... I'm not even sure that he can play guitar....
It seems like he's not even plugged in when he plays live; Besides, he plays one of those outdated Telecasters,
Thru a 50's Fender Tweed amp no less! JEEZ!
What could he possibly do with a set-up like that? :twisted:

'You want it - You take it.... You pay the price. Now prove it all night!'

Ken

"The man who has begun to live more seriously within
begins to live more simply without"
-Ernest Hemingway

"A genuine individual is an outright nuisance in a factory"
-Orson Welles


   
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cnev
 cnev
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Ken,

I'm not sure if the Chris you were referring too was me or not but I'll pretend it was for arguments sake. First of all I am one of those people who ALWAYS liked to hear a cover played as close to the original as possible. If your playing a cover that infers that you are "covering" the song the way it was originally played, hence the word cover. Once you start changing things you have made a "new" arrangement of the song and that's not the same.

Ken said
Also, like Greg, I've never been one for playing a 'cover' just like the record.
Why?
If I want to hear that, I'll put the record on.
If you think that an audience wants to hear that, tell them to go see that artist in concert, or go play the record!

Your making an assumption that somehow the audience is going to like your arrangement or even want to hear it? Why would you think that? Pretty much everyone that I've ever asked what they expected from a cover band was to hear the songs as close to the originals as possible. If people didn't want that why are there tribute bands and bands like Rain or whatever there name is are making a pretty good living mimicing everything the Beatles did, so I personally don't think people are coming to hear cover bands play their favorite songs and change them.

I agree it may not be a natural progression to go from rhythm to lead and yes I'm sure there are lead players that can't play good rhythm also.

Now to the meat of this. I do for the most part play the rhythm parts of most songs since we have a very capable lead player but I DO NOT EVER just strum chords. We don't play that strummy kind of music but I also do a few leads too. We do a harmony solo on a Thin Lizzy song and we also split the solo to Hot Rockin by Judas Priest. I'm playing the rhythm the same way it was played on the album or as close as possible. There are certain songs were there are multiple guitar parts going on that I might have combined some parts but as a whole it's pretty close.

And if we were in a band I wouldn't be playing any Three Dog Night so that's not applicable. :D

But I'll use a current example of a song I've been playing Seek and Destroy by Metallica, it's got a very defined rhythm part played by James Hetfield. I wouldn't even know how not to play it like the original nor would I want to. The rhtyhm drives that song.

And you've posted something mentioned earlier about not all lead players having good rhythm. I would agree with that since I'm sure there are some but I think there are 50 times as many people that can play a decent rhythm yet can't solo worth a crap and I have yet to see a valid argument as way the numbers are so disproportionate? And don't tell me it's because all these rhythm players just don't want to play lead...

I agree they are two distinct skills but I think the majority of people get the rhythm down before moving on to learning lead not all but most.

Just for the record when I say playing rhythm bores me that's I guess only partially true because for certain songs like the one mentioned above the rhythm is a large part of the song but I'd rather be ripping off blistering leads if I had my choice but at the moment I can't pull those type of solo's off .

As for some of your suggestions, I know and play Walk Away by the James Gang although we don't play that in the band and we do play Sunshine of Your Love but I have not played the lead to that(I'm hoping we drop that one anyway as it bores me to death). But one that came up Friday which I think could be fun with two guitars is I just wanna make love to you by Foghat.

But the original post stated that it seemed easier to play lead than rhythm and said I thought it was the other way around and I have yet to see anyone's arguments really substantiate their claims, well maybe mine didn't either but I still go on record saying I know more people that can play a halfway decent rhtyhm than I do people that can play halfway decent leads, and if it's not because one requires more/better skills/techniques than I don't why it's so.

"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
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Ken said
Also, like Greg, I've never been one for playing a 'cover' just like the record.
Why?
If I want to hear that, I'll put the record on.
If you think that an audience wants to hear that, tell them to go see that artist in concert, or go play the record!

Your making an assumption that somehow the audience is going to like your arrangement or even want to hear it? Why would you think that? Pretty much everyone that I've ever asked what they expected from a cover band was to hear the songs as close to the originals as possible. If people didn't want that why are there tribute bands and bands like Rain or whatever there name is are making a pretty good living mimicing everything the Beatles did, so I personally don't think people are coming to hear cover bands play their favorite songs and change them.

it's not really an assumption, Chris, but a talent one can develop: some of us have a fair amount of experience -- and success -- in doing new arrangements. and we've actually gotten pretty good a being able to tell ahead of time whether or not they are performance/audience worthy. there is no doubt that there are nostalgia/tribute acts that are great at reproducing the original band (or more likely "hit" record version) experience. those performances can be a lot of fun.

so it's not an either/or thing. people like good performances, whether cloned or somewhat unique.

-=tension & release=-


   
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cnev
 cnev
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greg agreed I'm not saying there's anything wrong with doing that and I know that they may be good but somehow I get the inference from some of these posts that there's something wrong if you play a cover close to the original.

I for one prefer to hear cover bands play them that why whether it's right or wrong it's just my preference.

"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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