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This thing with tapping on multistringed extended range instruments

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by MatsEriksson, Nov 30, 2020.

  1. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Afflicted

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    Now.

    For the first time in my forum life, I am going to put in a flame, that is just really based on taste, and nothing else. I wonder if I have someone with me on this one or not. While I do think that whatever floats your boat should be the deal, it's been nagging me throughout the decades in case I should be proven wrong, and there may be coming up some "Hendrix" in this area, but it has yet to happen. It has dawned on me slowly. Ok here we go.

    I feel that most people who are showing up with their Chapman Sticks, 9-12-19 string basses and extended range guitars tends to play the same kind of tapping licks on them all of the time. Like, I just randomly took an example out of the blue:



    They play these mongrel weapons, and I've even seen Stick Men perform (Tony Levin et al) and they often flub and plays erratically on these instruments. But even when turning back to guitar only, someone like Stanley Jordan who taps only on guitar, it just makes a feeble and faint note, without any dynamics at all. I've tried the Chapman Stick and you just have to tap hard to get the same loudness, and you can't do very much dynamics. Also when playing anything but the lowest strings, like, high up the notes disappears as it is a very percussive instrument without dynamics.

    The musicians seems to be playing "etudes" and "study" like pieces for warming up. Arpeggio excersies. They do their "tickety-tockety-tock-tick" schlock and then moves position and plays the same pattern in different keys, and then back again. It seems it's their only shtick (ha!). ;)

    Sounds like I am being "that guy" and I am. It all turns out more of a demo thing, what the instrument is capable of, than what the musician is capable of doing. Even australian comedian Jared Dines* took a real satiric dig (literally) on these instruments... had let Ormsby guitar build a monster bass, or 2, for him...



    What I mean is that I think all guys/gals playing Stick and the like (Warr guitars etc) has an anonymous style/sound and resorts to those "tickety-tockety" arpeggio patterns. They tend to sound alike. Moreso than on other instruments/Instrumentalists. Yet, one can't deny that they are musical, and plays music on their instruments. It's just the narrowmindness in their note selections...or just showing off how many strings their instruments got.

    Anyone?

    EDIT: * correction. Ormsby is an australian builder, Jared Dines is American.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2020
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  2. buster poser

    buster poser Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    I just like that in the second video, two dudes are having a war to see who is the "best" at it, pretty emblematic of music that seems designed to do little more than impress guitarists.
     
  3. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Afflicted

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    Agree. Poser instruments?
     
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  4. TG

    TG Doctor of Teleocity

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    I find if you look at someone playing like the first video you think 'very impressive....tricky stuff' but if you close you eyes and listen it tends to be kinda 'meh'. It's like makey-uppy world music.

    Second video just made me cringe.
     
  5. AAT65

    AAT65 Poster Extraordinaire

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    My impression of listening to Stick Men, especially the live albums, is firstly awe at the amount of sounds they create with just four hands between them! I am in awe of their recreations of KCr pieces like Level Five or LTIA2 on just two touch guitars.
    Likewise I hear a great deal of inventiveness, skill and drama in the stick playing of Tony Levin and Trey Gunn, and not much ‘tickety tockety’!
    I don’t see that Tony Levin or the other musical players are handicapped by these instruments at all, they find many interesting things to do with them.
    I am sure that many people who have these things are posers with more money than skill but the real artists find great things to say with them.
     
  6. buster poser

    buster poser Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    I mean it's some dedication to poser-ing if that's the case... those guys are good (I guess?), but if someone asked me to go see music like this live, I would have to reconsider our friendship.
     
  7. mindlobster

    mindlobster Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm fascinated by the instruments themselves, but have yet to hear music played on them that I feel engaged with.
     
  8. ThermionicScott

    ThermionicScott Poster Extraordinaire

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    Until this thread, it never occurred to me to lump Stick and 8+ string guitars together. I guess there's a superficial resemblance, but they don't play or sound the same.

    Neither type is very interesting to me outside of a song, though. ;)
     
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  9. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Afflicted

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    I mean that whenever I hear them, it reminds me of those old home organs with bells and whistles and drum machines, and you had anonymous players in shopping malls and they played with hands and feets and flicked switches and people went "oh, it can do that too...?!?" and dropped jaws. But they remembered the organs capabilities, not the player.

    Sort of.

    And to add salt to injury, I think they should not be hung around the neck. Trey Gunn has finally got it. It should be played laid down on the lap like a lap steel and played like a piano. But then again you can just switch to piano. Since you have to wear them on your neck and SHOW to people how many strings you got, it's more wow level. If a Chapman Stick had been stuck in between two keyboard stands, and played like a keyboard, the same way really, no one would've guessed that you'd tapped on strings in there. They would have mistaken it for a Hohner Clavinet.

    And no, not even Tony Levin. He should stick to bass (ha!).
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2020
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  10. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Afflicted

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    It's the tapping I am after, mostly, and it seems like the more strings there is on ANY guitar/bass, they resort automatically to tapping exclusively. There are 8 string Chapman Stick.

    Trey Gunn lays the instrument down these days, finally,... but still plays "tickety-tockety" :




    The only one that got it, and use it only as a sort of "shtick" to his shows, in as far back as the 80s, was cult guitarist Francis Dunnery from English It Bites group. He made a tapboard himself, played it in pedal steel guitar position, and got it down. Accurate tapping. Sorry video is from the 80s, no focus, blurrred, but you can hear it....same "tickety-tock" though. Haven't happened anything since then...it seems. Blindfolded I couldn't have a guess if this was Dunnery, Levin or Trey Gunn who executed this:

     
  11. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Afflicted

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    Exactly! Kind of my take on it too. Take away the looks, and what do you got? If someone couldn't care less of which or what instrument it is made on...
     
  12. loopfinding

    loopfinding Tele-Afflicted

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    I think I just hate the genre that it comes out of (tacky prog metal, tacky fusion). I hate that it always sounds either like a crappy slap bass tone or metal tapping. I think tapping stuff can sound quite lovely when done in this fashion:



     
  13. ReverendRevolver

    ReverendRevolver Tele-Afflicted

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    The general wankery style of playing does very little for me. Remember the G3 stuff? Well, my dad picked up the dvd in the early 2000s. I was thinking "I like Satriani. I can almost listen to all of surfing with the alien without getting board. Vai? I've never sat through whole albums, but he has cool things he does, why not? I'd heard Yngve was good, what the heck, right?

    Yea. Malmstein inspired me to delve into everything but metal and classical. It made me realize what I like about Randy Rhoads, Dimebag(who was still alive then), and Slash. They sounded good. In the context of the song, they fit, it was often memorable, hummable, and improved what you were hearing for it being there.

    Back to the topic of guitars made for general guitar wankery, I dont "get" it. I see something of limited utility and virtually no flexibility. It's like a 2 string cigar box contraption regarding utility and flexibility. If I were given one for free, I'd turn it into a lapsteel.
    It's a stringed kazoo. It has a finite amount of stuff itll do, by adding frets and strings it is capable of less somehow than if it were a 7 string baritone guitar. Strange.

    But, if uber intellectual jazz players start using them, itll be worse. Cognitive showoffery is migraine level.......
    ;)
     
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  14. loopfinding

    loopfinding Tele-Afflicted

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    Disagree. They don’t sound any more or less alike than strat neck blues guys, old guys with Les pauls, neo soul Instagram guitarists, neo classical shredders, stoner and doom guys, guys who try to sound like either pat martino or scofield jazz, etc. The list goes on. I find all those types of guitarists equally anonymous.
     
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  15. buster poser

    buster poser Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    Right on. I hear some of it in Q and not U as well, at least the ones I remember by them.

    I remember seeing Stanley Jordan on Carson in the 80s and was blown away. Johnny even mentioned how "what you do isn't quite like Eddie Van Halen, right?"
     
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  16. loopfinding

    loopfinding Tele-Afflicted

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    But also too I’m sort of interested to see where the multi scale too many strings thing goes. I don’t really like this guy’s music, it’s still out of the prog metal camp, but I think I saw some recent record of his without the cheesy drums and it was mastered by Taylor Deupree (12k records)...now that’s a weird clashing of worlds and an interesting development.

     
  17. loopfinding

    loopfinding Tele-Afflicted

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    Yeah this is a shame it’s a schtick. What he’s doing in the video sounds kind of interesting musically. I think when you start trying to do “real music” (and I say that with as much sarcasm as possible) it just sounds stupid. Like trying to play folk music with a metal zone or jazz with an EWI.
     
  18. gregulator450

    gregulator450 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Hahaha, this thread is great already. Jared Dines (from the Seattle area) has made a "Djent [insert year here]" parody video for about the last eight years running, and Ormsby made the 18-string guitar for Jared as probably the most expensive joke guitar ever, after another so-called luthier scammed Jared using the pretense of a 17-string build for "Djent 2017". I think his whole shtick with it is that the djenty boys jumped the shark stupid-quick: "You're playing 8 strings? I've got 9..." and so on and so forth. For what it's worth, the guys in Animals as Leaders have the greatest (and most musical, IMHO) command over the extended range instruments. Sarah Longfield is another musician who makes good use of an 8-string guitar. Aside from that, much of it isn't fun or easy to listen to, and a lot of it seems to be showing off. Not unlike the guy playing "Flight of the Bumblebee" at 1100+ BPMs. Both take serious skill, but that doesn't make it music.

    At least half the guys with extended-range instruments mainly play the bottom couple strings anyway. I should know; I'm one of them. One of my bands/projects, stated that we were going to be all 8 and 9-string guitars, so I was gifted an 8-string by the other guitarist. His sound is very dissonant and likes to use all kinds of crazy tunings in his playing, and he uses all the strings on those guitars. Actually I do too, but not any any technically gifted kind of way. I provide a lot of texture and supporting parts to his main parts, so I use the low strings to play the main riffs, and the top 5 or 6 to play complementing parts. There's no 8-string sweep picked arpeggios coming from me.

    I could probably cover the majority of what I do in that band with a six-string, and just talking with the other guitarist this morning he's going to start playing six-string guitars again, but the 8-string is a fun learning experience and a trip to play (there is something cool about hitting that low F# through a cranked half stack). It's kind of the opposite end of the spectrum of being a guitar player and picking up a mandolin or a banjo, in my opinion. Just another stringed instrument on which to have fun.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2020
  19. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's

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    This just in from the Irony Department...

    Last Saturday I was in line at the post office when the guy behind me asked if I "was a musician?" I puzzled for a second before realizing I was mailing something in a Sweetwater box. I said "Well, I pretend to be a musician." We had the briefest conversation about him playing a Chapman Stick. 30 seconds told me all I needed to know.
     
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  20. tanplastic

    tanplastic Tele-Holic

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    Relics.
     
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