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. wtk0315

    wtk0315 Tele-Holic

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    Johnny B Goode is a perfect example of the type of song I meant in the OP. I feel if you can hit the hammer ons and kinda wing the rest of the double stops, you'll be fine. Just stay in the general area of the chord. Play the right double stops, but if you hit one twice thats supposed to be once, I think the song is still recognizable.
     
  2. beyer160

    beyer160 Friend of Leo's

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    I like to think of covers the way jazz guys do- as a framework, not a script. Maybe you play the signature lick straight, maybe you don't, but note-for-note copy versions that don't deviate at all from the original always bore me to death.
     
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  3. P Thought

    P Thought Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    This strikes me as a philosophical question, really, one that begs, invites, maybe even requires a personal answer from every musician, at any level of skill or scope of performance.

    I am late to the party as a guitarist and musician, having spent my first thirty years strumming three chords at a time in all the natural keys, learning only a very few songs, most of those by Hank Williams, and that without ever hearing them as recorded by Mr. Williams himself.

    I think I've reached a point now where I could learn a song note for note if I tried hard enough. I know I should do that, at least with a song or two. But I'm also nearing the point where (on solo lines) I can "whistle" with my guitar, playing the melodies I hear in my head. I guess right now I'd rather do that.

    Since I play almost exclusively by myself and for my own enjoyment, I don't have to worry at all about what "my audience" might think. I know that's easy to say when there is no audience. . .sometimes there is, and I just "serve the song" the best I can, and hope they don't mind if I only sound like me.

    This is a great thread. I find serious truth in every response.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2019
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  4. Flat6Driver

    Flat6Driver Friend of Leo's

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    I can only play one chord at a time so you've got me beat! ;)

    Last night I played a jam at a bar. We did 4 songs that I sang and led the whole time. The drummer and I played them before but the other i had not. I had about 30 seconds to explain it and then off to the races. The other guitar player jumped in and played some fantastic stuff to go along with whatever I was doing.

    In this situation, I have played these songs so much with various jam groups etc that I don't event remember how the original goes. Kidding, a little. Got the chords down and the feel or the main riffr and there we go. I've played with some guys that can do note for note but jam through a 12 or 16 bar blues tune with strangers? Not at all ...
     
  5. P Thought

    P Thought Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    :lol: Practice, practice, practice!
     
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  6. VWAmTele

    VWAmTele Friend of Leo's

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    I like to learn things note for note, but I would never play it that way in any kind of performance or jam. #1 because I probably couldn't remember, #2 I wouldn't want to be encumbered by the strict adherence to something that's not coming naturally in the flow of the music.
     
  7. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    Thats interesting, I see it a bit different, why not practice until it becomes natural.? Many times we take something off a record and it is out of the box, uncomfortable, positions we are not accustomed to. so we only play it " good enough " and very cautiously . Which in the big picture is NOT good enough. A well known guitar part is not something that is not natural to the music or song, it's part of the song.

    As guitar players , the things we play which are AUTO pilot are the things we are comfortable with, the phrases we revert to , sometimes very similar phrases every song.

    While I don't say everyone should play every phrase that's on a record but there are many songs, based on what genre we are playing, where the guitar phrases are indeed the identity of the song . Nobody says we have to play those parts, we can certainly do our own thing , but this I know, from decades of bandstand work, the general NON musician audience who knows the songs we are playing , THEY know it.

    When we started covering Hotel Ca, several years back, we didn't cover it until we got it right, and it took several months of guitar shedding time . Is it exact ? No, but it is a very close resemblance which when we did play it , people knew and responded in kind.

    I don't play much Blues anymore, did that for multiple decades, but every now and then we will pull out a stock Blues tune. I mostly play in Country / Americana bands where basically anything goes. Some songs we follow strict adherence some not. Stock intro's and turnarounds are what the songs are based on, those parts define to the rest of the band the arrangement and where the songs are headed and even more important, where we are in the song. Its probably the unwritten rule of arrangements in Country bands and thats why many country pickers can float between bands with little or NO rehearsal. As silly as this sounds, this is not easy work, it requires KNOWING the songs and a ton pf preparation. This doesn't mean we don't solo outside the box until our strings break, we do. Always have.

    we should practice everything until we are comfortable and it's natural.

    there are half dozen well known songs with identity solos and guitar parts I practice on a regular basis. In the beginning the positions were odd, even awkward, now those fretboard positions have become regular and normal. In the Country Music world, we are listening to Brent , Brad, Reggie, Don, Roy, Jerry etc.. if we are just playing what they play and not paying attention to positions etc, yes, we are just learning a note by note piece, but we missed the big picture. If we are covering Eagles songs, look to Don Felder or Bernie for a personal fretboard lesson. Those songs can bring multiple fretboard position playing to a whole new level. They are not just note by note solo's , but I suppose they can be just that.

    I have a gig this evening , we have a guest who has put Peaceful Easy Feeling on his list, no rehearsal. The other guitar player and I talk before every show, whos gonna lead what song etc... I told him I got this, its' in auto pilot. Its B bender paradise ! :) And no, my take on PEF is not note for note anymore, I left enough of the signature phrases so that it is totally identifiable, but I do indeed embellish here and there. But I had to learn it from Bernie first, before I embellished. He taught me a few tricks !
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2019
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