1. Win a Broadcaster or one of 3 Teles! The annual Supporting Member Giveaway is on. To enter Click Here. To see all the prizes and full details Click Here. To view the thread about the giveaway Click Here.

Feel....?

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by boneyguy, Apr 21, 2021.

  1. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    13,330
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2007
    Location:
    victoria b.c. CANADA
    What do you suppose 'feel' is? What are the constituent parts that combine into what we call 'feel'?

    I'm watching a great live concert of Robben Ford from earlier this year (a live streaming show) and I paused it for a while and at some point watched some footage of Josh Smith and his band playing from a couple years back. Now, I really like Josh and his playing is stellar. But when I go back to listening to Robben there's something extra there for me....it's Robben's 'feel'. There's no doubt that Josh can play all the notes and chords that Robben does...it's not a skill level thing, that's for sure. There's something in Robben's playing that I can only describe as 'feel' that just gets inside me real deep. It affects me at a different level. And it's not that Josh's playing doesn't have 'feel', it's just that his version or expression of 'feel' doesn't get into me like Robben's does.

    So what would you say are the fundamental components of 'feel'...regardless of who's playing?
     
  2. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,313
    Joined:
    May 21, 2006
    Location:
    Space
    I think getting down to a nitty-gritty technical, physical definition of "feel" kind of goes against the concept of feel as applied to music.

    It's just the often ineffable quality of a performance that is sometimes unmeasurable and, when measurable, does not quite line up with our established ways of conceptualizing music in a manner other than the music itself (e.g. written notation, or the vague words we use like "feel"). So rhythmically it may not fit perfectly into the whole note - half note - quarter note etc. grid. Or in terms of pitch it may be just barely perceptibly above or below the "actual" note. When we don't like the result of this, we call it sloppiness. When we do, we call it "feel".
     
    Deathray and tfarny like this.
  3. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    71
    Posts:
    4,721
    Joined:
    May 20, 2017
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Feel allows you to take ownership of a song. The song can be an original or a cover, but feel makes it yours. Does it need swing? Do you talk a line? Do you vary tempo or introduce a pause? Do you have a way to deliver the song solo? That’s where feel comes in. Do you play a cover exactly like the original? You may give a great performance but do you really feel it? Feel in one of those ephemeral qualities that defies definition but is still easy to recognize.
     
    nojazzhere likes this.
  4. getbent

    getbent Telefied Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    42,482
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2006
    Location:
    San Benito County, California
    it is like after awhile, you have played and tuned so much, you can kind of sense when your guitar is 'perfectly' in tune (which it may be out on the meter) but it all vibrates right and you can hear that.

    I think it is like that...some kind of innate skill that is honed (for some) and the get into the flow and just want to stay there...
     
    Henley likes this.
  5. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    37,650
    Joined:
    May 2, 2003
    Location:
    Wisco
    groove, timing, phrasing and (if applicable) bending and vibrato
     
    fretWalkr likes this.
  6. refin

    refin Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,731
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2005
    Location:
    Florida Panhandle
    Tone-Touch-Taste-Timing----the 4 Ts of a good musician.
    I think its important to leave holes between phrases,to allow the listener to absorb and digest what has just been played,rather than chasing the next phrase and trying to mentally play catchup.
     
    jackal, blowtorch, matrix and 2 others like this.
  7. StevesBoogie

    StevesBoogie Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    1,031
    Joined:
    May 11, 2020
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I've nothing to add and I think you nailed it completely. I am a huge fan of both players, but Robben is just on another planet.
     
    Deathray, boneyguy and nojazzhere like this.
  8. thesamhill

    thesamhill Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    1,105
    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2010
    Location:
    Harrisburg, PA area
    I can't give any comprehensive statement of the concept of feel but:

    One specific thing that I often register as "feel" is when a lead player seems to have internalized the little micro timings and inflections that communicate nuance in speech, and then is able to put them into their playing in a way that supports the meaning or emotion of the rest of the song.

    There's a lot that goes into that. The timing of transients, the volume difference between notes (syllables), etc.

    Like, I can still hear how my mom used to shout at me when I was in trouble. She used my first and middle name, and there was a very specific pattern and inflection and volume relationship between the syllables.

    If a guitarist played that exact pattern of sounds I'd go on alert even though there actual words of my name weren't involved.

    Of course, that's not a pleasant "feel" and I would not like that song very much. But it's an example of what I mean.

    That's not the entire definition, by any means, but to me it's one of the attributes that can give playing "feel" or maybe "a feel"
     
    matrix and nojazzhere like this.
  9. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    69
    Posts:
    14,382
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2017
    Location:
    Foat Wuth, Texas
    I think there are many intangibles and variables involved that are the difference between "good" music and "great" music. All of the answers above me are dead-on, but when it comes to Robben Ford, his "phrasing" is like nobody elses. I can play some of his lines close to note-for-note, but his phrasing and inflections just elude me. I think it also involves both right and left-hand techniques.
     
    matrix likes this.
  10. Cosmic Cowboy

    Cosmic Cowboy Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    426
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2020
    Location:
    New Mexico

    "Feel" is about striking the right note at exactly the right time...letting it ring for the exact right amount. Playing "through the chord changes".

    Gilmour is the man when it comes to this skill. He is constantly hitting notes where I am saying "yes!". And holding and bending them to create mood, space, emotion.

    Josh Smith would cut Gilmour at almost any studio session, but who would I rather listen to? I think I answered that.
     
    BB likes this.
  11. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    13,330
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2007
    Location:
    victoria b.c. CANADA
    I agree with pretty much most of what's been noted. I don't want to get to reductionist about this but I do think there are certain areas that can be thought of as the places where feel is 'birthed'. Touch, timing, phrasing, dynamics....places that others have mentioned.

    And I'm inclined to think that everyone has there own 'feel' but for me the overriding curiosity is what is it about some player's 'feel' that attracts me more than another equally talented player? Is it really ineffable...can't be named or deduced? There's a lot of a kind of superstition amongst guitar players it seems which is expressed in this idea that the magic will suddenly disappear if we look too closely or try to extract the constituent pieces in an attempt to explain or learn from someone else's talent. I think I can buy that to a degree but I think it's wholly dependent on what you do with the information, the bits and pieces, after you've extracted them....the artistry with which you reassemble them.

    The 'feel' thing has always been of deep interest to me. Another example for me personally is Robben Ford and Larry Carlton. I much prefer, once again, Robben's 'feel'. Carlton is of course a monster and his Steely Dan solos are impeccably perfect. But when I listen to him in live situations he doesn't have a 'feel' that grabs me the way Robben does. Not sure why that is...but there it is.
     
    nojazzhere and matrix like this.
  12. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    9,352
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Location:
    Los Angeles, Ca
    Regarding Robben ...
    Miles Davis didn't just pick anyone to play in his bands. His bands make up the Pantheon of improvising/communicating musicians.

    I usually have a lot to say about music but when it comes to vibe and feel - one either has "the thing" or one doesn't.

    That's all I got.

    From 1986, Montreaux ...
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2021
  13. kbold

    kbold Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,243
    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2015
    Location:
    Australia
    I think 'feel' is an aspect of playing we all have that is rather transient. (Intermittent may be a better description than transient.)
    When I play a song, sometimes it sounds good (with feel), and other times it sounds 'flat/lifeless'.
    IMO it has a lot to do with how we feel at the time (i.e. emotion, confidence, tuning in with the emotion of the song, etc), so perhaps I could call it 'getting into the zone'.

    For Robben Ford 'feel' is probably less transient. (Permanent may be a better description ...)
     
  14. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    13,330
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2007
    Location:
    victoria b.c. CANADA
    I think I have to agree with you there. I'm sure he feels he has good days and bad days but I sure as $#!T can't hear the difference.
     
    klasaine likes this.
  15. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    37,650
    Joined:
    May 2, 2003
    Location:
    Wisco
    And you know, sometimes I think that some of that stuff is just kind of happy accidents of phsyiology and body/brain chemistry, beyond it being an intentional, mindful thing.

    Like watching some genious painter make great broad thoughtless swashes, when you previously thought it was all painstakingly done
     
    nojazzhere and boneyguy like this.
  16. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    13,330
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2007
    Location:
    victoria b.c. CANADA
    I agree....the happy accidents of a brain and body that are wired to have accidents that sound good. We often speak as if the unconscious mind is basically the same in all of us....it ain't.....not all unconscious minds are created equal or organized equally to create 'happy accidents' of beauty.
     
  17. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    13,330
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2007
    Location:
    victoria b.c. CANADA
    I've often thought that Robben has the most impeccable control of his phrasing and in particular his note to note inflections and dynamics. I can't think off of the top of my head of another contemporary guitarist who will play, let's just say, a phrase of a dozen notes and each note is given it's own life...it's own inflection and dynamic...it's as if he thinks in phrases but is equally able to hear each note as a separate entity within that phrase that he gives it's own character to. Quite magical really.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2021
    nojazzhere likes this.
  18. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    94,520
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Location:
    Austin, Tx
    Amen!
    Feel takes time.
    Often lots of time.
    The young and excitable push/rush/hurry.
    They can't wait to show you everything they know, and they do, rather quickly.
    Guys like Robben (my current favorite) mean what they play.
    Some guys mature musically early, some guys never do.
    I strive.
    It takes musical compatibility to achieve great time feel.
    It's rare, and very precious.
     
    boneyguy and nojazzhere like this.
  19. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    14,867
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2003
    Location:
    northwest
    Yeah, a lot of it is Phrasing IMHO. "Tell the story, dont just play the notes." Robben speaks well with his guitar. Even a simple slide up or down on a low string can fit well in the right spot....
    Attacking a note... pull into it from below or pull down into it? or just hit it clean? etc
     
    brookdalebill and nojazzhere like this.
  20. String Tree

    String Tree Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    16,404
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2010
    Location:
    Up North
    You said Robben Ford.

    LIVE is his Turf.
    Not saying recordings are bad, I just think seeing and Hearing him LIVE is a real treat!
     
    P Thought, boneyguy and brookdalebill like this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.