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Music store riff amnesia

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by Gin Mill Cowboy, Mar 3, 2021.

  1. Gin Mill Cowboy

    Gin Mill Cowboy Tele-Meister

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    I've been playing for a good 30 years, been in bands, and can improvise well; but whenever I am "put on the spot" I cant play anything that shows my abilities. I get a riff amnesia.

    For example, I always run into this when I pick up my guitars from being set up. The tech/luthier always plugs me in to an amp and I freeze up.

    Anybody else experience this? The last time I actually planned some stuff to play:)

    Hope everybody is hanging in there with the pandemic.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2021
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  2. Electric Warrior

    Electric Warrior Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

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    You are not alone. Happens to me all of the time. I know all sorts of riffs and leads and they flow out of me in the living room, but usually can only think of "Jesus Just Left Chicago" if someone sits me down in front of an amp at a music store. I find if they leave me alone, I get my sea legs and am fine when they come back to me.
     
  3. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yep. Same here. It's like music store impotence. Always been that way for me. Don't get it onstage. About five years ago I started playing You're a Big Girl Now if I couldn't think of anything.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2021
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  4. pugnax

    pugnax Tele-Meister

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    The opening to Radiohead's Airbag is etched into my mind for those moments.
     
  5. Dan German

    Dan German Doctor of Teleocity

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    Not that I can play anything very well, but if I demo a guitar in a store, I always play "Sportin' Life Blues" then forget everything I've ever known. I am kind of glad to see I'm not alone.
     
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  6. sloppychops

    sloppychops Tele-Holic

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    Oddly reassuring to find I'm not alone on this.
     
  7. Tyuk

    Tyuk TDPRI Member

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    You mean repeatedly strumming a G chord isn’t acceptable?! :eek:
     
  8. El Serio

    El Serio TDPRI Member

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    Try Stairway to Heaven
     
  9. Cadillac_Mike

    Cadillac_Mike Tele-Meister

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    Just play the main riff to "Enter The Sandman" over and over through a Crate amp with the distortion/gain at 10. They always love that at guitar stores :lol:.
     
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  10. brenn

    brenn Tele-Afflicted

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    I have the same thing. Pick up a guitar in a music store or around a camp fire and I can't remember any song I know.
     
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  11. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Friend of Leo's

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    Yea, kinda common. I got over it at some point, when I realized the best sounds are dyads and triads, at selected places up and down the fretboard, sustained, allowing the guitar signal and amp response to blossom so to speak. That usually sets off a thought or two of a familiar intro or recurring lick, like TNT, Long Cool Woman, Free Ride, etc.
     
  12. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    A music mentor of mine had some good advice.

    He said always hum a drum beat to yourself first, then play along with it.

    The rest is just stage fright. Go in there and tell yourself, "people like this riff, so I'm making them happy."

    Plus, no one cares!
     
  13. Stanford Guitar

    Stanford Guitar Tele-Afflicted

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    Have an elevator pitch. A short 30 sec riff that you play when you're on the spot. That takes off the pressure. Works with personal statements, business ideas, pretty much anything.
     
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  14. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    I just picked up a guitar in a music store today. I didn’t freeze. I didn’t strum a few chords. I didn’t fumble my way through a solo from a 50 year old rock anthem. I played through an original jazz composition. I then played through a couple of solos from songs I cover where the solo is nothing like the original. I chose things to play to use the bridge pickup with a pick and combined pickups or the neck alone finger style. The whole thing took 10 minutes, not long enough to wear out my welcome and nothing loud with distortion.

    I played a Telecaster with the new CuNiFe pickups. I was looking for a Jazzmaster but stock was limited to items with a good turnover. Music stores are changing to reflect the new reality. According to the owner, mom and pop sales are down. If guitar sales are up, they must be up on line. I’m not sure I like this new reality with a limited selection in local shops.
     
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  15. aging_rocker

    aging_rocker Tele-Afflicted

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    I often just improvise (which is a glorified way of saying I just make **** up) in music stores. I'm not playing for anyone else's benefit or entertainment.

    But, after almost 50 years of playing (with various degrees of proficiency) Mel Galley's riffs, this one usually seems to know how to play itself if my brain goes blank while fiddling around in a store, which happens more often than I like to admit these days.

     
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  16. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I'll play the Chet Atkins tunes I labored over for months to get mostly right. Burned in my brain.

    If I relax then my bass happy thumb goes crazy and I'm finger picking all over the damn place. Sure, it makes no sense but sounds like I know what I'm doing.
     
  17. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Friend of Leo's

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    Hi.

    I'm in the strum some E & A chords and let them ring like I'm considering something very subtle group.

    Doesn't help that in Japan, a country that really favours, promotes, endorses, encourages and respects a bazillion hours of practice per day for any hobby, the sales person always tunes the guitar for you and then, just to make sure everything is working fine, runs through Eruption backwards, part of Stairway to heaven in a country vibe, and a couple of Coltrane solos as funk and Cold Shot as doom riffing before handing you the guitar.

    And especially doesn't help that they usually look like they're about 16.

    Pax/
    Dean
     
  18. Dano-caster

    Dano-caster Tele-Meister

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    Wow. Thought it was only me.Thanks for opening this up.
     
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  19. Mr Green Genes

    Mr Green Genes Tele-Afflicted

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    Don't play riffs. The purpose of playing a guitar in the shop after it has been set up is not to impress the guy who did the setup.

    The guy who did your setup is dreading plugging you in more than you're dreading being plugged in. I can assure you that he's sick to death of having to sit through the obligatory display of the instrument owner's talent.

    Play a few chords in the open position, play some movable chord forms up the neck, play some scales up and down and across the neck, try a few bends, etc.

    Check to see that the action at the nut and at the saddles is comfortable for the way you play.

    Listen to the intonation. Intonation is always a compromise, and what works for one person's playing style may not work for someone else's, and vice-versa.

    If the guitar has more than one pickup, switch between them and listen to the balance and how they sound. Pickup height adjustment is an important part of the setup, and can make a big difference in the voice of the instrument.

    If the setup suits your needs, give the man his money, thank him, and be on your way. He'll be much more impressed than he would've been had you gone through your repertoire of cool riffs, and he'll take you much more seriously as a musician.


    .
     
  20. sax4blues

    sax4blues Friend of Leo's

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    This is why I almost never accept offer to play another person guitar. Come to think of it I have trouble switching my own guitars.
     
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