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My approach to lead guitar: never play at 100% of your capabilities.

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by 3-Chord-Genius, Dec 21, 2020.

  1. loopfinding

    loopfinding Tele-Afflicted

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    depends on the context.

    you've been invited to play the bag? yeah, do what you said. do your job.

    you're making your own music and money isn't the issue? go balls out, even if you fall on your face.

    there is an art to learning how to make mistakes sound good, and it can often open up new doors. you'll never know if you just sit at 85-90%.
     
  2. VWAmTele

    VWAmTele Friend of Leo's

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    I assumed (incorrectly) you meant just the opposite - if I hear someone play that piece and nail the record - I'm thinking the guys a pretty good guitar player - and if they don't nail it - it's easy to spot.
     
  3. JeffBro

    JeffBro Tele-Meister

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    The first two Zeppelin albums were all overdubs

    all the sounds are super intentional

    like saying James Brown is singing too much.. LOL.. why does he do those screams, they sound strange?

    why does Jim Morrison howl at the end of LA Woman's 'Cars Hiss By My Window'... can't Jim write lyrics?


    Miles needs to learn to stay in his lane and stop all of us looking bad


    what's up with Hendrix, he's trying too hard!
     
  4. Steerforth

    Steerforth Friend of Leo's

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    I’ve never actually thought about what percentage of maximum I’m playing at. I just play. And usually, my mind is off somewhere else, playing or not. I only “sort of” live on this planet.
     
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  5. Mexitele Blues

    Mexitele Blues Tele-Afflicted

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    Sandbagging has its place. Auditions, jamming with less practiced musicians, formal performances.

    Personally I have more respect for the performer who reaches beyond his grasp, fails, and recovers than the note-perfect, play-it-safe guy.
     
  6. drmordo

    drmordo Tele-Holic

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    I'm always reaching for 125% of my capability. I have zero desire to play it safe, I'm aiming for transcendence.
     
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  7. Hpilotman

    Hpilotman Tele-Meister

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    Just the opposite of Freddie King who held nothing back when he played.

    I play what I play and try to play it well. Life is too short to worry what other people think of my playing.
    I'm never going to be a SRV or Jerry Reed so I'm not even going to attempt that level of playing. It does not bother me that other players know my limitations because the only one I'm competing with is myself.
    To borrow from Lonnie Mack : "Play it simply right".

    Most of the people in the crowd can't play at a performing level otherwise if it was that easy everybody would be doing it.
    The time to sandbag is during the sound check. Set your guitar volume at about seven when they are calling for max volume. Then you always have a little extra if needed.
    Just do what you do well. Whatever percent you call it.
     
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  8. TeleAK

    TeleAK TDPRI Member

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    I think for me, there is a difference between playing a flashy lick that I haven't practiced enough and following an idea into uncharted territory in service of the song. Often, when I focus on what I'm hearing the song might need and go for something that might be a reach, I surprise myself. I find that any "mistake" becomes part of the emotional content because I'm going for it for the right reasons.

    I do agree that I am never served well when I go for something just because it's fast or flashy.
     
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  9. Blrfl

    Blrfl Tele-Afflicted

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    Racer Christian Fittipaldi once ran into a wall during practice and had this to say about it:

    That's always been in the back of my head when I ride my motorcycle or do anything else that requires a certain level of skill. Gotta keep a little in reserve for those times when things look like they're going to get out of hand.
     
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  10. radiocaster

    radiocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    It would sound pretty bad at 85%, and it's mostly improvised, so it's impossible to control how much it sucks.
     
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  11. Unison Bend

    Unison Bend Tele-Meister

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    I was thinking about this last Saturday. I played a few leads well within the limits, and melodically, they enhanced the song. What does that mean. It means there were pauses, vibrato is consistent, and when pauses and vibrato are good, that usually means for me that phrases are resolved tastefully. Then I got speedy and started cramming extra notes in on some long runs, and it just gets that "Neal Schon spazzy" sounding thing going on. Before you can resolve a phrase, your on to the next spazzy sounding phrase.
     
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  12. pedro58

    pedro58 Tele-Meister

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    A set has about ten songs or so. I figure on going balls-out on at least one per set. More important, to me, is to always be 100% in the pocket. Good time is better than good notes. If I'm in the pocket and things are grooving, an outside note can lead to a great one.
     
  13. -Hawk-

    -Hawk- Friend of Leo's

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    My approach is generally to use a looper at home so I can develop ideas. I just build as good a lead part as I’m capable of playing, focusing on melody.
     
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  14. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    I do that at home, but not in front of people.

    That's what she said.
     
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  15. johnny7

    johnny7 Tele-Meister

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    Less is more has been my motto. Eventually in a night I will hit all the notes but to try it in one song is just out of reach.
     
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  16. NoTeleBob

    NoTeleBob Tele-Holic

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    Would someone please pull Clapton and Santana aside and dope slap them with this?

    I mean, seriously, they are both incredible- but they both only sound incredible when they put some time and feeling into the notes like they did in the early days. Now, live, they seem to be about how many 128th notes they can jam into a solo.
     
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  17. stxrus

    stxrus Poster Extraordinaire

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    I’ve always tried to play to and above my abilities. Anything less, to me, is just making due. Sometimes I nail it (and know it) and sometimes I fall short (and know it). I learn from those times.
    I would rather play with folks that can play circles around me than folks at or under my abilities.
     
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  18. Mexitele Blues

    Mexitele Blues Tele-Afflicted

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    Playing at 100% doesn't always mean more notes. Substitute a b9 for the tonic. Widen that vibrato. Hold on to that feedback. Make a musical grimace.
     
  19. drmordo

    drmordo Tele-Holic

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    This thread reminded me of one of the best compliments I was ever paid.

    Years ago I sat in with a band that had a good lead guitarist, but he usually played it safe. He and I had known each other for years and had played together a few times. He played his butt off that night, and later I told him how great he was playing and he said, "well, with you up there I knew I needed to kick it up a notch."
     
  20. Stanford Guitar

    Stanford Guitar Tele-Afflicted

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    Players usually have an inflated sense of their abilities, until they hear themselves recorded!
     
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