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Sickest Possible Guitar Riff Ever.

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(@wes-inman)
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Joined: 19 years ago
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You dared to admit you like a shredder. It happens every time; someone else comments that Hendrix is better and then the flower children rise up and start bashing all shredders when they certainly haven't heard all shredders. Don't let it get you down.

Actually, you kinda got that in reverse order. More often than not it is the shredders who come on and post stuff like "this is the best and most amazing player ever!"

And it is not us old geezer flower child types getting defensive. Most of us are just saying that a different style of playing is more appealing to us. I am sure that it has a lot to do with the music that was popular when growing up, but not completely. I would rather listen to Frank Sinatra than listen to Yngwie, and he was way before my time. To me it's just better sounding music. I know that is my personal opinion only.

And to say we really don't know what we are talking about because we haven't heard every shredder is not a valid argument. If I do not enjoy this style of playing, I am not going to go through every player to find one I like.

I had a friend who gave me about 200 cassettes of Death Metal. I have had all these cassettes about 10 years. A couple of times I have sat down and tried to listen to them, but it is just horrible. It is obvious the musicians are very talented, but I cannot stand drums playing double bass at 200 BPM with a guy growling like a demon! They don't all sound like that, but about 99% of them do. I will never go through all these cassettes.

And it is the same with shredders. They are just super noodlers to me. They have this terrible artificial tone I hate, and almost no soul or feeling to their music.

So Yngwie is great to the shredders. But many of us simply do not care for this style of playing.

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


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(@simonhome-co-uk)
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Joined: 18 years ago
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Ok, I think I'll share a few realizations I've had lately with you guys...Some may not like em, but I think you'd have to admit it's fair...

So I been playing a LOT more blues these day. Started out as a metal guy. Metallica got me started on guitar. I've always been into the blues sound, and how rock licks are derived from it n all. But over the last 9 months or so I've been getting into it much more seriously - learning from BB, Albert, SRV, Clapton etc - actually playing the blues, rather than just doing bluesy noodling. So I've managed to separate out my blues n metal, so that every last ounce of rock is banished when I go into blues mode; and I understand that it's ok to play much of your notes in the same part of the fretboard, n sorta repeat yourself, cos it's about the feeling and hitting the right notes with *economy*...What I'm trying to say is, I'm not one of these rock playing pseudo-blues players.

Sooooooo. Having a understanding of both worlds I have come to realize just how ridiculous some of the claims bluesmen make are, as much as i love the genre.
I'm not saying this of everyone, but faaaaar too many bluesmen feel they have a monopoly on emotionfeeling in guitar playing. And that people like Yngwie especially, have NONE. This is clearly absolute rubbish to anyone who watched him play live (or even most of his studio vids) - you can see the passion in him. But the point is HE is feeling it, the FANS are feeling it, but just cos YOU don't feel it, doesnt mean it aint there!...It's a remarkably arrogant attitude. (like I said not held by everyone)
Then of course the accusation thats thrown at shredders (again a lot a Yng) that it all sounds the same and its repetitive. Err, well SRV is one the most repetitive guitarist I've ever heard, but that doesn't mean he wasn't absolutely mind-blowing. He played 99% of the time in the same 2 blues boxes and you could hear the same old (but great) licks time n time again - but we dont care! Him and Jason Becker are still my 2 favourite guitarists of all time... :D


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(@simonhome-co-uk)
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Joined: 18 years ago
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They have this terrible artificial tone I hate, and almost no soul or feeling to their music.

Hehe, sorry to pick on you Wes, but I've just noticed you've demonstrated my 2nd point absolutely 100%.
I mean, I respect your opinion to dislike or even hate shred guitar. But to say they all, or most, have little or no soulfeeling is kinda arrogant. What's really the case is that you don't feel it personally. So what, if someone else does feel emotion from a shredder - does that mean they must have some kinda mental defect? Of course not, its that they feel it because they respond to that style of music, where you dont. Which is fine. We're all entitled to our opinion n all like different music.

I myself find all of todays shredders like Michael Romeo boring n mindless, whereas I like the old school guys like Satch n Gilbert. But I wouldn't go up to Romeo and say "Hey, you don't feel anything when you play like that do you?".


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(@kevin72790)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 840
 

I've got to jump into this discussion.

Shredding- I agree with Wes...most shredding lacks emotion. I don't see it. I respect how fast you can play, but lets please compose something original. Congratulations, you learned your scales...you learned modes and all of the above. Now write some music.

Hendrix- Call me biased, I don't care, but to say Hendrix isn't that great is just stubborn. There has been NOBODY with the ability to improvise better than he has. I've heard so much live music from other "jam bands" (I prefer most music live)...and sorry, I hear a lot of repeats. With Hendrix you rarely hear the same solo repeated twice...it's different every time. Hendrix was the master of improvisation.

Go ahead and dislike his antics...the burning of the guitar, playing guitar with his teeth, under his legs or behind his back. But if you're going to let that distract you from the music, then I'm sorry, you're missing out. You obviously haven't heard tracks like Valleys of Neptune, Angel, Machine Gun or Hear My Train a Comin. He put love into his music.

For me to say you have to like Hendrix would be wrong, but you've got to give his music a chance and listen to more of his live shows and rare studio tracks...trust me. When I got into Hendrix, sure, I thought he was good. Then I watched his entire Woodstock performance and was amazed by his emotion...then I started downloading his live bootlegs, and it has grown and grow. I look forward to every Hendrix audio I can hear, because everytime I hear something, it's always something new. His creativity was unmatched.

And just to ramble on a little more, I've got to say this. Some crazy people think Hendrix is only this popular because he died young. You ever wonder how incredible he would have gotten if he lived longer? He planned on working with Miles Davis and Sly Stone. Hendrix was moving towards blues/jazz later into his life (and you can hear that in his later music if you just give a chance)...Jimi Hendrix was becoming something more, and it really is a shame that he died. I can't imagine how far he would have taken music...I just can't even fathom it.


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(@noteboat)
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Joined: 19 years ago
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I think in any art, there are people who admire the technical aspects.... and there are people who admire the aesthetic aspects. It's not entirely an either/or type of thing - technicians must have some feel for aesthetics, and artistes must have some level of chops.

But mainstream admiration is always given to the aesthetics. Why? Because being the world's fastest guitarist is a lot like being the world's best-dressed brain surgeon - avid readers of GQ might take note of it, but most folks are going to decide one has very little to do with the other.

Go to a Malmsteen concert, and ask the people around you if they play guitar. 90% or more turn out to be guitarists. Go to a concert of someone known for "feeling" - and I don't care who it is, B.B. King, John Mayer, Carlos Santana... the percentage of guitarists will be far lower. Because technique doesn't speak to the masses - it speaks to those who want technique.

That's not to say that one is better than the other. Each one has its own audience. But the audience for "feel" is bigger than the audience for "speed", hands down.

That said, I appreciate speed. It's a tool, and a very useful one. I do speed drills every day. And among the guitarists I know personally, I'm probably in the top 3 to 5 for speed - when it's called for.

But I watched the Malmsteen video, and I just don't get what the original poster is talking about. I don't find anything special going on at the 4 minute mark - other parts of the video I found much more interesting, from both a musical and technical point of view. So enlighten me... what is it about that riff that grabs you?

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


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(@metallicaman)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 314
Topic starter  

Anyways yeah, thought it was a cool lick/riff. Didnt mean to start a shred/metal sucks thread. :|

Obviously alot of blues guys here. I personally fall asleep to most of the linked stuff you guys are sending. I dont see where the talent is. Sure, good improv. and they know a few good ol' scales n licks ect but it just puts me to sleep. I hate mindless up and down shredding. Like I said before, its listening to the solo as one, not as each note. But all of you are so very hooked on blues and hendrix im not even going to begin to explain how ridiculous I feel your insults about "fake" tone, and just the horrible sound ect.... I have heard plenty of over distorted, nasty tones before in my day however if you take a look at people like John Petrucci's "Lost without you" or as I said before, Yngwie's Brothers, I FIRMLY disagree on a "horrible" tone. I also find it quite interesting how you see that shredders lack emotion, or feeling in there songs. Like I said, john petrucci is considered a SHRED god and he is probably one of the most melodic shredders of time. However nothing will change anyones mind, so enjoy a nice "Lost without you" by john petrucci, (a shredder) and go off on all of your rantics and then eventually no one will come back to the thread.

Thank you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qWq4UlRP6A

Sing Me A Song Your a Singer, Do me a wrong, your a bringer of evil. - Dio


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(@metallicaman)
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Sorry noteboat its actually 3:56 to 4:02. For some reason, i guess in my "shred infested" mind, I tend to feel that THAT riff he does in those 8 seconds seems to be one of, if not the sickest riff I have personally ever heard. PERSONALLY. Just my thoughts.

Sing Me A Song Your a Singer, Do me a wrong, your a bringer of evil. - Dio


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(@scrybe)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 2246
 

The problem with debating what Hendrix might or might not have accomplished is that you can't counterfactualise history. Sure, if he'd lived, the pointers were to something greater, but maybe he'd have gotten addicted to drugs like Clapton or the Stones, or maybe suffered severe and crippling depression, or maybe gone in a totally different direction to popular music and lost record company backing, etc ,etc. The point is, no one knows, and no one can know. Thats why its such a strong talking point, everyone can convince themselves they are right in their opinion since there is zero evidence to refute it (but also zero evidence to support it).

Noteboat makes some very astute points, there.

I'll add some less astute ones. To me, shredders are a bit like olympic 100m sprinters. Look at them, they run fast. They're obviously passionate about what they do, you can see the intensity of their emotional commitment to running fast, just like you can see the intensity of a shredder. But does it make sense to say someone like Linford Christie "ran with feeling"? Not in any substantive or tangible way for a viewer to be a fan of him (not in his running alone, anyways). They may like him because he's 'the fastest' (insert current gold medallist there, i dunno who that is, lol), or because they like how he comes across in interviews, or how he celebrates a win after the fact. But there's nothing about those 9 seconds of running aside from being faster than the rest that differentiates him from anyone else on the track.

To judge the 'passion' of a musician based simply on how much they seem to be concentrating and working hard when they're playing is a bit like saying I have a lot of passion for metaphysical philosophy. Believe me, when I had an exam in it, I was concentrating so hard a bomb could have gone off next to me and I wouldn't have noticed. But I hate metaphysical philosophy. And my post exam celebrations were a joyous recognition of the fact that never again would I be required to discuss the finer details of McTaggart's theory that time isn't real.

Likewise, you can't accurately state that because BB King sweated a little more profusely in concert A than concert B, concert A showed more feeling. Maybe it was just hotter under the lights in that concert. Or maybe he wasn't feeling it himself, and thus working harder as a result? Who's to say? No one but BB can.

I generally listen to music I can follow, as far as listening goes. I also listen to stuff to try to learn from it - but that's often a whole different experience, and my 'enjoyment' then is qualitatively different to listening to stuff I can follow. When I say someone like SRV plays with feeling, I mean that when I listen to him, he sounds like he is constantly deciding which notes to play, how loud to play them, with what slurs, etc, etc. As music gets faster and faster, there's less time for that sort of consideration, its a basic fact. It doesn't make fast music bad, it just means that fast music lends itself to a different evaluative criteria than a slow blues does.

Sure, blues guys repeat themselves. Partly this is human nature. Partly they're not repeating themselves, but putting a different slant on the same phrase. Even shredders go out to see Jeff Beck, but he often repeats himself. A track like Brush With The Blues is great for precisely this reason - that familiar, nod to "born under a bad sign" riff which is the centrepiece of a 6 minutes tune gets repeated tons of times. But every time he plays it slightly differently, he gives different notes emphasis, he finds different ways of executing it. And I love that track, I've learned (and continue to learn) lots from it, I've seen him play it live and I've seen and/or heard countless live takes of it. Every time it is clearly the same tune, but every time it is clearly very different. That's a skill I value highly in a musician, to keep it fresh every time without changing it completely. If I try to evaluate a shredder by that criterion, most would fail miserably. Mainly because that isn't what they're trying to do.

So yeah, I think shredder or 'technicians' and, um, 'feelers' (I'll avoid the temptation to use 'musicians' here, it'll only undermine what I've already said) are quite like apples and oranges, and trying to reduce one to the other, or justify one by the criteria we use to judge the other is, imho, ultimately gonna fail. There's no one criteria under which all music can equally be subsumed. But I think that's why proponents of either one will try make such evaluations - its much easier to claim victory by inappropriately assessing that which you want to undermine.

To my mind, Jeff Beck, the Beatles, Jay Z, and Nina Simone are all great musicians. But they're all great for completely different reasons, and if I try to eg. evaluate Jeff Beck by what I find great about the Beatles, JB's gonna come off looking a little crap. Likewise, the Beatles aren't that hot by JB's standards.

Trying to argue which is better is a false debate. They're qualitatively different, and that can't be reduced to quantitive analysis without completely missing the point.

Ra Er Ga.

Ninjazz have SuperChops.

http://www.blipfoto.com/Scrybe


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(@slejhamer)
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Two words about shredders, tone, and emotion: ANDY TIMMONS.

This guy blows me away.

Do you think his tone sucks?

Do you think there's no "emotion" in his playing?

Do you think he can't shred with the best of them?

Nah, he's just another soulless, toneless noodler.

"Everybody got to elevate from the norm."


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(@scrybe)
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Joined: 15 years ago
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I should point out that I made my last post utterly unaware of the preceding two by metallicaman, and I may have posted differently (or not at all) had I been so aware.

Okay, I've only caught the first 2.50 or so of Andy Timmons...........

he sounds like he's listened to a Jeff Beck record or two in his time.

But I saw he doesn't cut his strings at the post, so he can't be a 'real' guitarist.

j/p j/p j/p - don't shoot!

Seriously, I'll give it a full listen later, and others ya might post links to.

Ra Er Ga.

Ninjazz have SuperChops.

http://www.blipfoto.com/Scrybe


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(@noteboat)
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MetallicaMan, I watched the video again this morning, and I watched those few seconds about ten times. And I still really don't understand what it is about it that intrigues you.

I'm not trying to be argumentative - when people fall in love with a riff or melodic hook, there's one of two things going on... either it's fiendishly difficult, or it's connecting with people on some musical level. Either way, it's something I either want to learn (to improve my own playing) or understand (so I can communicate broader principles to my students, and be a better teacher)

What I'm seeing in that segment is the starting bend, then 13 beats of sixteenth notes (a three-measure riff with a constant 16th note rhythm, ending up on the downbeat of the fourth bar). Although it's fairly quick, I'd say it's actually within the reach of a dedicated intermediate guitarist. It's entirely alternate picking, so there's nothing fancy going on in the right hand.

Musically, it seems like a scale pattern - it sounds like an eight-note sequence played twice on different starting pitches, followed by a seven-note ascending scale run with an interval leap up for the eighth note (giving it a little more melodic tension), dropping down for the last note, the downbeat of measure 4. Although the use of repetition, tempo variation, and interval leaps to create a musical tension/release are pretty much textbook, they're also textbook in thousands of other examples from artists in just about all genres.

So I'm genuinely curious - can you be more specific about what makes this the sickest possible riff ever?

Slej - I liked that video. Reminds me of Roy Buchanan... Here's a few other "non-shredders" that you might find interesting in the context of shred/speed/technique:

John McLaughlin - Cherokee
Buddy Guy jamming
Alvin Lee - I'm Going Home listen close - he was sweep picking in the 60s!
the above mentioned Roy Buchanan some nice tapping work in part of this
Al Dimeola & Roman Miroshnichenko - Mediterranean Sundance There are better versions of this Dimeola piece, but what I find interesting in a shred context is the natural speed Al has - if you watch Yngwie (or any other shredder), the picking action for the really fast stuff comes from the arm, with the wrist fairly rigid. Dimeola does that too, in the last minute of this video, but look at the contrast in the "slower" part - in the fast part of the melodic hook, which happens a number of times in the piece, Roman is using his arm... but Dimeola is quite comfortable picking from the wrist, even at this tempo.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


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(@vic-lewis-vl)
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Joined: 18 years ago
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OK, here's a counter-argument....take a listen to the solo in this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OPZ8ta01Mo

There's nothing ridiculously hard or fast about this solo - a lot of it can be played with just two fingers. It's the tone, the vibrato, the bending, the trills.....everything about the solo appeals to me, musically, in a way that Yngwie never could. It's structured, it's melodic, it builds....

Half the time, I can't even tell what the hell Malmstein's doing, much less break it down and analyse it in the way Noteboat did above....but listening to Koss, I can hear every note, every bend, every subtle nuance. Where's the subtlety in a piece played at the speed Malmstein plays? There isn't TIME for subtlety!

Of course, it helps that the song's got a great singer and a bass-line and drums that gives Koss plenty of space....but this song's one of the main reasons I love rock music. It came out around the same time as Black Night and Paranoid, not long after the Beatles had split, and everyone was looking for a new band, a new sound to follow....there was Free, Sabbath, Purple, Zep, the Stones were at (for me) their peak....all bands I still love. Think anyone'll give a hoot about Yngwie in 40 years time? No there'll be someone faster by then.....

:D :D :D

Vic

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


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(@grungesunset)
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For me to say you have to like Hendrix would be wrong, but you've got to give his music a chance and listen to more of his live shows and rare studio tracks...trust me. When I got into Hendrix, sure, I thought he was good. Then I watched his entire Woodstock performance and was amazed by his emotion...then I started downloading his live bootlegs, and it has grown and grow. I look forward to every Hendrix audio I can hear, because everytime I hear something, it's always something new. His creativity was unmatched.

Since the day I first picked up guitar Hendrix was a MUST like. There are probably several others on this unwritten list of guitarists you absolutely have to like but there seems to be this obsession with this one guy. No one ever says, "Well if you play guitar you HAVE to like Kurt Cobain" or "You don't like Matthew Bellamy what is wrong with you?" I'm not saying you have to like any of the musicians I just listed but none of the arguments I hear about Hendrix are objective. "He's innovative!" - opinion. Honestly, I don't think he's all that innovative. If he was, no one would like him. He plays progressions and scales that are tried, true and familar. That's why they spark feelings in the listeners. If he was really innovative and did something different people would find it weird and wouldn't know what to do with it, like Yngwie. "He plays with feeling." - Whether or not his playing creates emotion in the listeners is going to depend on the listener's past experiences, personality and even brain chemistry. Which brings me to another thing, it's not possible to put emotion into music. It's a nice ideal but emotions are just chemicals in the brain. They physically can NOT strum a guitar or play any instrument for that matter. "Imagine what he would've done hadn't he of died." - He's not the only rock star to die young. Infact, he's part of the curse of the 27. Hendrix, Joplin, Morrisson and Cobain, all died at the same age. "He's influential" - He's not the only influential musician, and even Hendrix had influences, why doesn't anyone tell me I have to like the people that influenced him?

I am not saying he's a bad guitarist or anything. I am saying what people like about him is mostly subjective. There are tons of guitarists out there, more now than in his time. They all have talents they bring to the table so why do I have to listen to this one guitarist? I'm just venting but it is frustrating, mostly because it's something I haven't been able to wrap my head around.

Sorry to pick on you Kevin, but I've heard similar things since day 1 of guitar playing. Ultimately, you will come across people that simply do not like Hendrix and it's not 'stubborn.' You obviously are a huge fan of his work which is ok, and it's ok for you to express it. But I don't think it's fair to say not liking him or thinking he's amazing is stubborn. I'm not being argumentitive and am curious more than anything as to how this one guitarist is different. Not just in his playing either, but the dance around him. It's like karmic destiny to be drawn in by this one guy. If you ever want to chat about it, definitely post here or PM me.

"In what, twisted universe does mastering Eddie Van Halen's two handed arpeggio technique count as ABSOLUTELY NOTHING?!" - Dr Gregory House


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(@scrybe)
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I'm not saying you have to like any of the musicians I just listed but none of the arguments I hear about Hendrix are objective. "He's innovative!" - opinion. Honestly, I don't think he's all that innovative. If he was, no one would like him. He plays progressions and scales that are tried, true and familar. That's why they spark feelings in the listeners. If he was really innovative and did something different people would find it weird and wouldn't know what to do with it, like Yngwie.

It's hardly opinion when there's a wealth of recorded material from which objective evaluation of what had been done on guitar, and in music more generally, can be made.

You're saying that having listened to him in 2008, when he was playing and recording in the 1960s. That may not be a long time in the history of the world, but its over half the history of recorded guitar and pretty much the whole history of 'popular music' in any truly international sense (even the Stones had to struggle to get blues records in their teens, lucking out on a mailing company which they could occasionally use). To dismiss his innovation, you have to dismiss it within the context of his time and what had gone before, and I don't think you've done that.

We're talking about a time when wah pedals, fuzz boxes, and octavia's weren't in every teenager's bedroom. When there was a real distinction (even if largely in the marketing and 'credibility') between 'black music' and 'white music'. When singles had to be 3 minutes long maximum or not get played (even Queen, as comparatively 'late' as Bohemian was, had problems getting that one through). When bands were focussed on the singer, not the guitarist (and Hendrix was the first to admit he "couldn't sing a pretty note"). When 'the norm' as far as recording went was 4 track tape and 'bouncing down' (so guys like Phil Spector and Berry Gordy get serious props for doing what they did) instead of Pro Tools and unlimited tracks. When tape-splicing actually meant cutting and pasting that tape by hand, with a screw-up meaning a lost recording, instead of "oh its ok, we'll just go back to the last saved version."

And, without the benefit of auto-cues, pitch-correction, youtube, or similar, artists had to gig constantly and consistently to build and maintain their reputation. Recording was often slotted into a couple of weeks if that, between constant gigging in low conditions, rather than being scheduled around the lead guitarist's proclivity to post youtube videos of himself on mushrooms. You have to remember that Hendrix pretty much went straight from Chas Chandler meeting him, into the studio, cut his first album, gigged it and, within a few months, was back recording his second album. Two albums that have stood as popular artefacts for 40 years. And he did it in the space of a year, with all those recording limitations. It wasn't some album he'd worked on for months, followed up by one a couple of years later and virtually a repeat of the first. It was two unique and era-defining albums that were markedly different from much of what was going around him.

All of that is objective. It's recorded history.

I'm quick to cite Jeff Beck as an equal if not, imho, greater guitarist. I can point to recordings he made pre-Hendrix which are truly innovative and which can be seen as a precursor to what Hendrix did. I can point to Pete Townshend smashing his guitar prior to Hendrix torched his. I can even point to Hendrix copying Clapton's Les Paul/Marshall JTM45 combo at one point (according to the accepted literature) prior to breaking big. And I can point to earlier 'innovators' like Dick Dale. But, honestly, and objectively, it's hard to look at recorded history and deny Hendrix was an innovator with what he did.

And a lot of people didn't get it. That's something history has conveniently diminished. But, at the time, a lot of people didn't. Hendrix was down and out when he got spotted by Chas Chandler, a lot of people didn't wanna know, precisely because he was innovating.

I'm sorry, you can dispute the subjective elements of the Hendrix myth as much as you like. But you can't gloss over 20th Century music history just because you don't like a guy's music. That does make you seem stubborn.

Ra Er Ga.

Ninjazz have SuperChops.

http://www.blipfoto.com/Scrybe


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(@vic-lewis-vl)
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I'm no Hendrix fan - but I'll be the first to admit he had a HUGE impact on music. He took all the accepted wisdom of how to play guitar and turned it on its head - he drew the blueprints and laid the foundations for most modern rock guitarists. He had every trick in the book - hell, he invented a lot of them!

But ultimately, there's a lot of his music I don't like. There's some I do - Hey Joe, Wind Cries Mary, All Along The Watchtower, Little Wing.....but I'd struggle to name more. Voodoo Chile, Purple Haze - sorry, they leave me cold. Machine Gun? I absolutely LOATHE it - over the top pyrotechnics do not, in my opinion, make great music. Same goes for EVH, Satriani, Yngwie - what's the point of playing so fast if there's no musical product at the end of it?

You can't make someone like Hendrix, Satriani, Yngwie et al - it's all down to taste. Different strokes for different folks. I like music that makes me feel something - and those guys just don't do it for ME. I can agree they're all masters of the instrument, I can agree they make music - it's just not the kind of music I want to listen to.

And having said all that, I'd rather listen to any of them for an hour than a single rap record.......

:D :D :D

Vic

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


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