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Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by Blue Bill, Jul 14, 2019.
The real question is, why is it so difficult to listen to?
WAG....the music does not attract you? Odd bending points?
I am not a DeadHead, but I have found myself being able to enjoy some their music.
Other times, I find Garcia’s tone to be much too trebly for my tastes. And....I find that take on “Sittin’ on Top of the World” to be atrocious for my ear. OMMV.
Garcia taught Banjo and Guitar ... there's no reason to believe he was ignorant of music theory, it's not rocket science. (Did he ever say in an interview that he didn't know a scale from Shinola?)
One of the best readers I ever worked with, and one of the best heads for formal and correct Harmony, was a studio 5-string banjo player from Tennessee living in the L.A. area. He was sort of a redneck, but he knew sight reading and theory. Older guy back then, so I'd say born in the teens.
He also played a little pedal steel guitar. Not sure how much time/effort/knowledge he put in, but at one point he offered to play pedal steel for Crosby, Stills, etc. if CSNY would in return teach the Grateful Dead how to sing harmony. CSNY agreed, and Garcia recorded the pedal steel intro/solo on CSNY's Teach Your Children. Obviously CSNY reneged on their end of the deal.
That's about the only thing I like abou tthe Dead's country covers: listening to Jerry go all Bakersfield and playing licks that are absolutely idiomatically correct, if you know what I mean, for a Johnny Cash or George Jones cover.
It's funny to hear people bash Jerry's playing, yet I've seen articles written by music school grad, where they dissect the music and you realize it's a lot more complex than most of us realize. I don't always understand what they're talking about, but I figure if someone has a phd in music and they can explain exactly what Jerry's doing in technical terms, then it probably indicates there something there beyond "noodling".
I can't comprehend why people can't just simply say "I don't like" and leave it at that. And why do you even need to come into a thread about something you obviously don't like talk trash?! I mean what is the point of that?! What is the point of talking out of your ass about something that you don't like, and probably don't even understand in the first place?! Wouldn't it make more sense to just start a thread about something you actually like and talk about that, instead?! No, that would be too easy, wouldn't it?
I've noticed that, that trembly thing. I once saw Oscar Peterson, the piano player, do something liker that; some sort of hand vibration that just make the whole piano growl like a lion. On the Althea video that Roscoe posted, the guy talks about that voice JG had, recognizable, and impossible to duplicate. I'll be happy if I ever can recognize myself as sounding close enough that I might be able to convince myself that, hey, that sounded a little like someone imitating Jerry.
You tell 'em, Scuba!
Good acoustic pianos are very touch sensitive, and really good players know all sorts of subtle tricks. Re: Jerry Garcia, he is reported to have made this statement: "If you want what we do, you'll have to come to us." That, to me is the mark of a band with their own style who make the covers they play "their own". He's not among my favorite players, but you know it's him in a few notes, and if you want what he does, you have to go to him.
I"ve been accused of sounding like Garcia at times during a solo passage.
It's odd because although I saw the Dead a few times and enjoyed Jerry's playing, I never considered him an influence.
I believe it's as someone suggested in an earlier post, that Jerry played out of scales, but really kind of gravitated toward's the chromatic scale, a lot.
And, I sometimes do as well.
Gotta get all those notes in there somewhere!!
With respect to Jerry's electric County pickin' - that really seemed to come out starting around ' 72 ( Gator Strat!!)
I LOVE it and I dont know if he/GD intended it this way - but I kind of felt his turbo charged Country was a 'vehicle' music form to improvise on, in the same way their earlier blues and psychedelic leanings ( as far as templates for improv)
I think I've learned a lot ( not talking here, about learning 100 GD tunes, or even 1 really note for note) listening band as a whole, Jerry in particular- kind of a mix of loose structure yet freedom of expression and its it's awesome..
... that they put this ( warts and all) in front of us ( in terms of live shows) pretty much yearly for +30 years.
I'll answer that ... they sing out of pitch a little, even in the studio, and they like trebly sounds where I'd go for something just a little less "Bright Switch". The songs are a matter of taste, but I can see ear fatigue and Post Traumatic Pitch Disorder in some listeners. I'm not a Deadhead, but I enjoy most of their stuff ... true Americana, before Americana was Millennial.
A Chet Baker quote comes to mind: "I really dig what (they're) trying to do."
LOL! I always enjoyed Jerry's singing, but the rest, occasionally cringeworthy.
There's a few interviews where he talks about teaching. He said he taught more how to listen and use your ears. I don't believe he read music either.
I wanna see the interview where he said he couldn't read .. or didn't know the names of scales. Even then, I know lots of Country guys who sight read and studied theory at North Texas, but don't admit to it because the local players can hold a music "edumacation" against you in the Country field.
Possibly a few harder things as well
From my little experience, I'd say that the whole Dead band/family/roadie scene was populated with brainiac futurist speed chess players. There was always someone delving off into a new topic of research or interesting skill. In that environment, it is unthinkable that Garcia not have a solid theory education and a broad range of musical abilities, such as reading. I'm not saying that everything was up to performance level, such as reading, but the general attitude of the GD/Kesey scene was learning, exploring, and acquiring knowledge and skills.
I'm sure he knew the names of scales, but I think you have to look at "musical vocabulary" less as a bonary "you know it or you don't". Clearly he was a guy who diligently studied music and technique. He clearly read a lot about music. But at the same time, he didn't seem to rely on or fully internalize musical formalism.
What do you see as your major limitation?
A lack of an early musical education. I’ve been able to compensate for it some, but having an early education means that a lot of things become reflexive, automatic. Now, sometimes that can perpetuate bad habits on a technical level, but in terms of things like sight-reading and the like, I wish I had started earlier. I’m not unhappy with my progress, but that’s the one thing. As it is, I’m glad to have been able to develop an intuitive approach to music, and I can see tha there could be disadvantages to having a completely schooled approach. Sometimes that blocks out the intuition; there are people with great technique who have nothing to say.
WENNER: What did you turn the kids on to who came for lessons?
GARCIA: I tried to teach them how to hear. My whole trip with teaching kids, was teaching them how to play by ear, teaching them how to learn stuff off of records, because kids were always coming in saying, “Here’s this record, I’d love to be able to learn to play this guitar part on it.” And so mostly it was learn how to associate the guitar with what you hear. I couldn’t follow the notes myself; it would’ve been really ridiculous of me to try to get them to follow the notes, man.
Guitar Player 1978
[On times where he focused on improving skills] What kind of things do you do during these stages?
First, I go out and buy all the new guitar method books that have come out since the last time and read through them and try out ideas and exercises. I find it really helpful to see somebody else’s handle on it, because it’s possible they can show me new ways of looking at the instrument or music that I hadn’t considered before. The state of guitar education today is incredible compared to just 15 years ago. You can learn an astounding amount from just reading books that are available today. I’m working very hard now. I’m working hard on things that I haven’t worked hard on before. I have certain exercises that I do, but it’s more like working out little bits and pieces of unfinished ideas. A lot of it is just free playing, exploring for places where all of a sudden something is vague or awkward like suddenly finding yourself in a position that’s odd in relation to the key you’re playing in. Or, for example, you’re doing a run that’s going down scale intervals, and you’re on like the top E string, and you’re ending on one part of the passage on your first finger and then jumping a position and starting the next part with your little finger and moving down. That’s a difficult thing to do on the guitar.
How is your picture of the fingerboard developing?
Finally the complete pattern of the fingerboard is becoming more apparent. I’m forcing it into shape in my own psyche, in my own way of seeing and feeling. I’m spending seven or eight hours a day with it. I’m trying to rebuild myself; I feel like it’s time for me to do that in my playing. I don’t know whether it will amount to anything, but in six months I’ll know. I’m sort of in a twoyear plan right now-the first pause of the next level.
So, not Johnny Smith. I think Garcia was really on to something with ear training ... I mean, we learn to speak when we're one or two, and speak pretty fluently by the time we go to school and learn spelling and grammar. That's the way I have taught, and he was referring to children, yeah, I'd start with ear training.
Anyway, thanks for those interviews. I'm not a big Dead fan, but I always thought Garcia had a very natural, musical vibe. Certainly a positive vibe.