Stylistic whiplash is real.


Poster Extraordinaire
Gold Supporter
Sep 6, 2010
Somewhere between here and there
I've been fortunate to get sub calls from a number of new bands this year, and I've kind of worked out a system for getting ready for gigs with new bands. I tend to segment my time, working on the music for one project up until showtime and then pivoting to the next once the first gig is out of the way. After I play one gig with a band I can get a pretty good feel of how they work and where I'll fit if and when I get a call for another gig.

In the past few weeks I've been working up a song list for a country band that plays a mix of traditional and modern country, and played my first gig with them a couple of weekends ago. I had done a gig with them 3 years ago, but when they sent me their new set list it had around 20 songs that weren't on the list last time so I had a good amount of work to do to get ready, and outside of a clam here and there I did pretty well with the new list. I've got another gig coming up with them on Saturday and they've tossed me a couple of new tunes to work up for that show.

In the mean time, the bass player in a band I sub in with recommended me to another band, a cover band that does mostly 80s metal. Outside of a couple of songs that I've never played I know 90% of their set list cold, having played a lot of it back when it was new. I figured I'd be able to swing into really drilling the stuff after this weekend to bring back all the tricks that I haven't used since the days before Nirvana.

Sounds good on paper, right? At least until I got a call from the singer of the metal band yesterday, asking if I could do a rehearsal with them on Thursday night. Apple cart, upset.

I'm really not sweating it - like I said, I know most of the metal band's list from memory. But I figured I'd get my programming (a 5150 patch, a JSM 900, a Plexi for some older stuff like Bad Company, and a patch for Pink Floyd's 'Run Like Hell') done today, then swing back to learning what I need to learn for the weekend.

As a result, I've got two opposing styles floating around in my head, and I'm catching myself sliding some hybrid picking into the metal stuff and some hammer-ons into country leads. I'm pretty sure I'll get it sorted, but it's kind of funny to see what accidentally fits where.

- D


Dec 20, 2010
Harrisburg, PA area
Makes sense to me. As a youngster I went back and forth between playing bluegrass, Pogues-y Irish stuff, and thrash metal. A lot of the same basic rhythms, same tempo, same general melodic sense. I suspect some traditionalists might have given me some funny looks but no one I played with was good enough to call me out for it so lots of my little tricks did double and triple duty. Whee!

Bob Womack

Friend of Leo's
May 28, 2016
Between Clever and Stupid
I find myself in that sort of situation as well. I play sessions, sometimes walking in to the session and hearing the song for the first time. I've discovered that the technique doesn't matter as much as the result. When you don't know a song and have a short window to turn out a finished product, sometimes the shortness of time makes for strange technical bedfellows. You emerge from the session, saying to yourself, "Yes, I just played high gain metal with classical right hand technique."



Oct 28, 2020
Chester, Uk
Started my own band a few weeks ago. Our second rehearsal is a week this Sunday. Mix of Black Crowes, Blackberry Smoke with a few others thrown in there. Not only is this my first ever band playing this genre, it’s also my first EVER as bandleader/Singer/Lead guitarist. It’s been challenging for sure to learn how to sing and play, especially as I’d describe my voice as mediocre, although I’m probably being a teeny bit harsh on myself. With a week to go I realise how much I have to learn about the set still.


Jun 20, 2010
I had this riff with a lot of hammer ons, no tapping. It's not really Van Halen like but that's how I'd describe it to people who aren't guitar players.

So when I started singing this tune, I realized I needed to play in a different key, and it had a bunch of hammers on open strings. So I broke it down an learned it in the new key, in root position. Starting sloooooowly and working my speed up until I realized.. it's an old bluegrass riff.