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Tone vs. skill....

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Boreas, Sep 6, 2020.

  1. Terrygh1949

    Terrygh1949 Tele-Meister

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    Get the gear you want and, get busy. All the ACC in the world won't make you a better musician. Getting the hands on the guitar will get you there. Yes, there are a few additions that will help but, do not let that rule you.
     
  2. Jimstag

    Jimstag TDPRI Member

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    In the absence of talent I choose better gear. Kind of kidding but I have a new custom shop strat that is easier and more fun to play than any other guitar I’ve owned. It makes me sound better and I practice more because of it.
     
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  3. Spooky88

    Spooky88 TDPRI Member

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    Get out and play. Find a group of guys and go out and suck. They'll suck too and you'll all suck together. And it'll be fun! 1 live performance is worth 10 practices easily. You'll learn alot. Spend what time you can perfecting the licks you like and attempt the ones you don't. Playing guitar is a never ending journey. Getting better is the goal. Good luck!
     
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  4. raduray

    raduray TDPRI Member

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    One day, when I was a teen and studying violin, my friend Julian's family from out of town came to visit. He was a talented cello player who eventually won a scholarship at Juilliard. He asked if he could try my violin, held it between his legs and pulled out the kind of sound that I could only dream of. Yeah, practice is important, but talent is that innate thing we're born with.
     
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  5. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    When I play in front of one other person - even my best friend, I fall apart. I not only suck around others, it is like I can't play at all. It really disappoints me because I would like to play in a small band or in front of others, but can't. I play the same tunes over and over so well I do it by muscle memory, but add a person to the room and I am back to being a beginner. Depressing. The only way I can show people I actually can play the guitar is to record myself. And even that requires allotta takes...
     
  6. stueycaster

    stueycaster TDPRI Member

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    I've been playing guitar for 50 years. Only 30 of those years I played professionally. I played with several bands during that time. In all but one of them, egos got in the way of success. But that one band was magic. We loved each other and played for years.

    We played three to five times a month. We averaged rehearsing three times a month. We ironed out all the little nuances and became so tight it was like we were reading each other's minds.

    We never had to work at getting gigs. Everywhere we would play they asked us to come back and play on a certain night. Nine times out of ten we had to tell them "Sorry but we're already booked for that night".

    So it's true that what's required is getting along with the others and not trying to be the big star.

    There was this guitarist we knew in the area. He was mind blowingly good. But the problem was he thought the crowd really liked to hear him play. So he played these long complex solos that crowds hated because they were too much. We would let him get up and sit in with us if he was in the crowd. One of those nights as soon as he started playing half the crowd got up and left.

    I ran into him on the street once and he told me he had been looking for a band for two years and nobody would let him play with them. When I ran into other bands who needed a lead guitarist and I suggested him they told me they didn't want him. It was really sad.

    So, like it has been mentioned in this thread before, finding the right musicians and bending your will to the needs of the band is the key. You don't even have to be that good. You just need to care more about the needs of the band than your own.
     
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  7. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Don't you just hate those people??
     
  8. Okieactor

    Okieactor Tele-Holic

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    Depends on the end goal (and if there even is one).

    If nobody wanted to get around the limitations of what you can do with the wood and metal and your fingers, we'd have no fuzz faces or delays. For that matter, probably no telecaster. A volume knob is a cheat around playing dynamics if you choose to use it that way. Creating an effect by flipping between a rolled off neck humbucker and a rolled on bridge humbucker, making a fuzz-like effect be rolling back the tone on an SG all the way, or flipping through all 5 positions of a blade switch while still playing are all ways of using technology in place of what you can do without it.

    Is there a line between screwing around with a memory man until you figure out that the delays can return in the spaces of your playing, and that it could be the basis for a song...vs. having 17 overdrives that all sound the same, while you still haven't gotten any better? ...yeah, of course. But we're also not all going to become movie stars and rock gods if we just practice a little more.

    "Follow your bliss." -Joseph Campbell

    "If you've got good tone, you can get through the gig." -Ray Wylie Hubbard
     
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  9. east boston guy

    east boston guy TDPRI Member

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    I totally believe in practice over gear. When I first started playing I thought the next better axe was the answer. Now I know better. Eric Clapton could make a low end squire strat and Kmart amp sound incredible. Thats not to say that good gear doesn't help. But ya don't need custom shop gear to sound good. Attention to detail. Improving and improvising every note ya play, until its perfect is the key. Than when ya do step up in gear...WOW
     
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  10. lestbrown

    lestbrown TDPRI Member

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    Tone evokes a mood. If you have happened upon a tone you love, hitting one note or chord is a moving experience. So if you're playing only for yourself, for the joy of the experience of playing, it doesn't matter which comes first. The more you increase skill and tone, the more enjoyable your experience will be.

    If you're playing for others, tone is last on the list. You've got to play to the enjoyment of the listeners. Bottom line, the gear is FUN. Nothing wrong with as much as you want and can afford. All depends on who you're trying to serve.
     
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  11. lestbrown

    lestbrown TDPRI Member

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    THANK YOU! So glad I'm not the only one!!!!
     
  12. Yuro

    Yuro Tele-Meister

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    Guys, I have a big day job that's more in the world of mechanical things and less in the world of music and art. I love guitars, motorcycles, cars and tube amps. I'm an OK musician who should practice more and play out more...Who can play out these days? Not many.

    I say, enjoy what you enjoy. Life is short...and, IMHO, too short to play cheap guitars if you can afford or find a good one.

    Also, if it feels like work, then it's work. I'm not getting paid for this, so I'm gonna do what I'm gonna do. So long as I'm good enough to contribute something to a jam or a band, I'm going to play out. Otherwise, I'll just stay home with too many guitars and enjoy the variety.

    Sinful if you're a poor working musician who spends a ton of time in the woodshed and has little equipment. You will obviously make me play rings around me up there, but hey, if you want to try my stuff out at a jam, just ask.

    All good! Someone has to support these boutique artisan guitar and amp makers. I think they're cool.
     
  13. arlum

    arlum Tele-Holic Platinum Supporter

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    While I consider practice extremely important and work hard at developing and keeping up my skill level up I always have a line I won't cross. I truly love players with excellent guitar tone. If it comes to playing at a speed that detracts from my guitar tone or maintaining my tone perfectly but having to play slower to achieve it I always choose to play slower. A blazing fast note sequence with ass tone is worthless to me. Eric Johnson can do both but I can't. That said .... for me tone is a must and everything else I'll just keep practicing on hoping one day I can have both.
     
  14. LittleSonny

    LittleSonny TDPRI Member

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    Spot on. Absolutely spot on. I played with a world class by any definition player in the UK. Literally a legend but who could be as difficult a person as he was a great guitar player. He'd played with legends and though not outwardly arrogant treated those who he felt were not in his league differently. He was also a bigot. Because he was that good, he'd get the calls but they were sporadic. His last big time gig he got fired as soon as he got to his hotel room for throwing a hissy fit in the hotel lobby having gotten really pissed off by having to sit next to an Arab on the plane. Cost him thousands in wages and he never played with a major act again.

    I've been a band leader for over 40 years, for my sins. I rate being skilled in the art of the hang high on my priorities. It doesn't happen often but there are players I simply never call back again, or in one extreme case, fired on the spot, for conduct unbecoming a human being.
     
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  15. khan

    khan TDPRI Member

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  16. pippoman

    pippoman Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    As another person posted, skills are honed. They’re not something you’re born with, so practice is essential to be a good player. I do, however, believe that some people are born with a leg up, whether it’s in sports, business, musical abilities, etc. I attended a G3 concert featuring Steve Vie, Joe Satriani and Kenny Wayne Shepherd (stood in for Eric Johnson). I was more impressed with Vie and Joe, but more inspired by Kenny Wayne because I could relate to what he was doing. I attended with 2 of my picking buddies and remarked how unbelievably good those guys were and one of them remarked that we too could be that good if we spent the same amount of time as they did practicing. I disagreed because there are a lot of players who do just that and their abilities never reach that point.

    The point is, some people are virtuosos on more than one instrument because they seem to have the inherent ability to quickly catch on. Shawn Lane from my hometown Memphis, was like that. I met him when he was just a kid and he was as good as anybody on guitar, keyboard, and drums even then!

    I’m just trying be the best player I personally can be and I’ve always had work. I think I’m a pretty good player (it’s okay to acknowledge you’re good at something), just not a GREAT player or a virtuoso. I’ve never seen anyone who was so good that I wanted to burn my guitar, but I’ve seen players who were so good I realized I’d never be on that level. So, I focus on improving what I have and keep practicing to play better - fewer mistakes, better timing, knowing when NOT to play and just basically trying to be a valuable addition to the band, not a show off but a good solid musician. It would be unrealistic, even discouraging, to think I have to be on the same level as the greatest virtuosos only to never reach that goal, even if I had the same equipment.

    Set goals, but be realistic and keep playing.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2020
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  17. tery

    tery Doctor of Teleocity

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    There is no substitute for skill .
     
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  18. Brillig

    Brillig TDPRI Member

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    "I believe that being familiar with your gear is more important than having really good gear." - Trey Anastasio

    Good sound is the coordination of a lot of variables. It's fun when you get those variables in line and start getting a good sound, but if you're changing all of them all the time you'll never get there. Also chasing too specific of a certain sound can be counterproductive.

    My advice is to ignore any and all marketing/articles/reviews that uses the word "tone" in bold or italics, or refers to it in ridiculously reverent language. :)
     
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  19. Rublalup

    Rublalup Tele-Meister

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    of course I would pick talent/skill over gear.

    But in my case I find myself practicing much more time if the gear inspires me to play. Also everytime I bought something I like I play A LOT more.
     
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  20. Lance Morgan

    Lance Morgan TDPRI Member

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    10,000 hours.

    If you want to be good at something, it takes work, time, patience. Put in 10,000 hours on serious development and you’ll finally begin to believe you’ve achieved a level of proficiency.

    Why do young people seem to advance faster? They have time that working adults do not always have. If you want “tone”, work on playing real well.
     
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