Playing songs note for note vs. just getting rhythym/feel/chords

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by wtk0315, Apr 21, 2019.

  1. Flat6Driver

    Flat6Driver Friend of Leo's

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    What I love is when I find an "alternate take" of something recorded in the same session. Often vastly different.
     
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  2. Tele22

    Tele22 Tele-Meister

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    I’m generally a note-for-note player, mainly because the songs I enjoy playing have scripted solos that are an essential part of the song.

    That being said, I really admire guys that can improvise over anything- that’s a skill I’d really like to learn.

    But I have noticed that many players who improvise have standard phasing they stick with - if you listen to them improvising over the course of a night, a lot of the solos start sounding the same, which is a little boring.

    So finding the middle ground is probably best - mixing up the note-for-note with some improvisation.
     
  3. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Friend of Leo's

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    One thing to consider is that many, if not most, hit record studio recordings are patched together from several takes, even in those from the pre-ProTools days. When you hear the same artist live you'll hear something else.

    My take is to keep in the iconic intros and riffs unless you're doing an entirely new and different arrangement. Most songs will have some room for improv though, as long as you're tasteful with it.
     
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  4. LoveHz

    LoveHz Tele-Holic

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    Got hauled up at an open mic night last night -- Sweet Georgia Brown was called. Well, in the absence of a tap dancer and demon whistler to do the wonderful Brother Bones version (for years it was the play-on record for the Harlem Globetrotters!) we went for the "heads down, see you at the end" approach. Good fun -- but not exactly the Django Reinhardt version!
     
  5. codamedia

    codamedia Friend of Leo's

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    In reading "T Prior's" post... I'm pretty sure he was talking about the hook lines, not the solo. There are parts that have to be there... and some parts that don't.

    That makes sense now... when I saw Bob he had changed the melody of every single song to the point they were not recognizable... one of the worse shows I have ever seen in my life. The only saving grace was Charlie Sexton on guitar.... at least he paid respect to some of the recorded guitar lines.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
  6. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Tele-Afflicted

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    A friend of mine who has been a working musician for decades and about 100x better player than me told me once, "just get the essence of it."

    Sometimes it's worthwhile to learn and play things note for note. If for nothing else than to expand my vocabulary and force me to learn new things. But a lot of times the original recording of a song is partly improv'd anyway. There is a difference between a carefully crafted composition, and a general framework.
     
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  7. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Tele-Afflicted

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    To pick up on this point: I recently watched something on TV about making Peter Gabriel's "So" album. Not only did they choose from different takes, they claimed to have clipped out individual notes from among dozens of takes. It took like a whole year.
     
  8. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    I typically just play the "feel" of the song, unless there are parts that need to be reproduced because they're really important to the identity of the song. The reason I take this approach is twofold: my skills are not as good as the pros and I can't play most of the stuff I hear note-for-note, and I don't have the patience or the will to practice enough to get that good.
     
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  9. thebowl

    thebowl Tele-Meister

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    I can't think of anything that I play "note for note" using an electric guitar. A fair bit of the country blues/ragtime stuff that I learned when I was learning to play acoustic fingerstyle with a true alternating bass, I still play more or less "note for note". John Hurt; Rev Gary Davis, Blind Blake, etc. I will slur a note here or there but, if I try to take too many liberties with whatI know, it can go off the rails pretty quickly.
     
  10. WireLine

    WireLine Tele-Afflicted

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    I *usually* try to capture the essence of tunes...but the way I see it if people wanted to hear it like the record, they’d listen to the record...when I hear music/musicians I tend to rate them on what they can do, not how well they do what someone else already did.

    Disclaimer: when working with artists doing their original material I’ll do it as close to their version as I can.
     
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  11. codamedia

    codamedia Friend of Leo's

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    You can hear it when you listen to the recording. Some solo's are synonymous with the song.... others are not.

    On topic... but not on guitar. There is an iconic trumpet solo at the 2:00 minute mark of Glenn Millers "String of Pearls". It was an "ad lib" part in the studio played by the great Bobby Hacket in the late 30's or early 40's. That AD LIB solo is so iconic it is no longer scored as "ad lib"... it is fully transcribed and expected to be there.

    There are guitar solo's / parts that fall in that same category.... it is important to recognize those.
     
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  12. G.Rotten

    G.Rotten Tele-Holic

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    I have the other inability. I cannot improvise very well & that's ok too. My bands are only ever cover bands because that's what I like.

    I will play rhythm on songs where leads are better improvised & play leads on songs where the recorded solo is so ingrained in people's minds it must as close as my skill permits.

    A good example of this is Sultans of Swing. You could try winging it but the result will likely be disappointing.

    For Another Brick in the Wall I mash several versions of solos into 1. Hard core fans appreciate it & the average listener thinks I am improvising convincingly in Floyd fashion.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
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  13. hotpot

    hotpot Tele-Afflicted

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    I play in a "virtual band" with people from all corners of the world, I generally have to play note for note as we all (four of us) decide on a song, decide which part each of us is playing i.e. Lead, Rhythm, Bass then we get a backing track from karaokeversion which has the vocals,drums on. we download a custom track so you can mute the part you're playing which are studio quality.

    It doesn't give any scope to vary from the song/backing track as it has to fit in and be more or less spot on. you record it in a DAW program, also you have to film it (more pressure:eek:)

    You then send your audio/video part off in files to whoever it is doing the audio/video mixing.

    It used to be nerve racking and rarely did it in less than 5/6 takes. :cry:

    You soon found out if you were playing in front of the beat or back of the beat.:rolleyes:
     
  14. perttime

    perttime Tele-Afflicted

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    Sure. If you are playing Fire, or ZZ Top's Tush or La Grange, there are a few essentials there, that make the song recognizable. Otherwise, there's quite a lot where you can do your own thing.

     
  15. joebloggs13

    joebloggs13 Tele-Holic

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    100% Couldn't have said it better myself. :)
     
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  16. codamedia

    codamedia Friend of Leo's

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    We were discussing Purple Haze.... are you suggesting that tune doesn't have a guitar hook that makes the song recognizable and needs to be there?
     
  17. Ignatius

    Ignatius Tele-Afflicted

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    Transcribing something and learning it note for note is a great way to get inside another player’s head to learn how they approach the part. When it comes to performing a cover, that’s up to you, but I wouldn’t be the player I am today if I hadn’t learned a bunch of things note for note. It’s a great education.
     
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  18. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    I think my weak point over the years was doing "my interpretation" of everything. While I don't desire to play covers exactly as written, I have found in my musical rebirth the last 20 years that learning "as written" can be a superb learning experience. It's amazing how difficult some simple songs really are. Especially if you are trying to sing too. You can fake them with a simple 1 4 5, but if you take the time to ferret out how it's really played.. some "simple" songs are very complex. Trying to learn certain ZZ Top songs are like that. You think they are just dead simple, then you try to reproduce them properly.
    I learned/relearned "Tracks of my Tears" (Smokey Robinson) this am for giggles. Took a long time due to the unusual guitar parts. (which could be played like Hang on Sloopy as a poorly done cover!) but that's not near what it really is.
     
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  19. nvilletele

    nvilletele Friend of Leo's

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    In the world of painting (art, not houses), a tried and true approach to learning is to first learn to copy the masters, learn how the greats did it. Repetition is involved. Copying. Then over time one not only learns tons of the important techniques, themes, etc.

    Picasso (or Braque or your favorite) did not start out by inventing cubism.

    There is no need to play a song exactly as first recorded or as done by the author. But if you’re still learning your craft, first learn to play it “correctly” note by note, in same tempo and rhythm. Then after you’ve mastered that, interpret and improvise, or arrange, as you see fit.

    Nothing is mandatory but this approach seems a pretty good one for learners. Start out copying, learn how “they” did it and after that you can make the song your own and play your version of it. More often than not, if you don’t first learn how to play it “correctly” you won’t be able to do much with it on your own. Note, not talking about folks who have mastered an instrument already, as presumably they can already play the song note for note.
     
  20. Buzzgrowl

    Buzzgrowl Tele-Meister

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    How do you know they are scripted?
     
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