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Discrepancy between what you listen to and what you play?


Izzy

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I was asked recently, "what music do you like?" right after I said, "I play guitar."

Now I got to thinking, "does she want to know what music I play and just ASSUMES I would play the music I listen to?"

 

Then I realized that I listen to some stuff that is SO hard to imitate, I couldn't fool myself into attempting it, unless I quit my job and my master's program.

 

I want to ask you all this, has your desire to learn a particular style or piece ever been thuarted by the limitations of your talent?

Is there something you wish you could play but don't even have the courage to attempt or have attempted but fail so utterly you just don't go there?

 

For example, I love metal. The speed and precision of it would demand the sort of practice I don't have time for. I play folk and punk instead, genres I love as much but feel more comfortable attempting.

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There's lots of song's that I can't do because of my lack of ability to play the structure(s) of the guitar chords and I'm not the greatest lead player so yeah. There are a few song's in my set-list that I have transposed into simple chord's that sound good but I rarely do something like that as I'm a stickler for the original song I happen to be covering. And if I can't hit the note singing wise I will move on to other material as I also don't like to change key(s) or use a capo. [biggrin]

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I play a variety of styles Izzy.......I do them to a variety of proficiency.......I also stick within my skill levels, which are quite good.........

 

Yes, there is always more to learn, for any guitarist, if that's what they want to do...........I study guitar/music techniques as much as I have time for........

 

My health dictates my music time endeavors, but, I don't have to work anymore, so, I'm able to play as much as I want........................................................

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If there is something I like and want to play, but can't do it, I'll just try and get it right!

 

Out of all the stuff I play (Which ranges from blues to riff rock to thrash to prog!), I'd say I play blues and riff rock best.

 

I'm an average at best shredder and chugger, and my prog skills have a lot to be desired. Do I do Alex Lifeson justice? Hell no! Rush songs are fun to play, though!

 

But blues and riff rock (AC/DC, early Zeppelin, KISS/solo Ace Frehley, etc) are the first styles I really played with any proficiency. That's what I was raised on!

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It doesn't matter whether it's rock, jazz, or bluegrass, I like melody in the music I listen to. So for me, that rules out most shredding, bebop, and rap. I listen to more jazz lately because of its complexity.

 

I am not a fast player, so that rules out shredding, which I don't prefer, anyway. I'm learning to play jazz with its complexity, and this has improved my overall playing. My own tone/style is limited to, and somewhat defined by, my inabilities, which are more intellectual than physical. Those can be overcome. My strengths are in creating good melodies and improvisation.

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I have always loved Les Paul's music...some of his 45's at my grandfather's house got me interested in playing electric guitar when I was about 5...I still love Les Paul guitars, too. I play mostly blues and older rock & roll, and have been doing that since the early 1960's...someday I may even get good at it.

 

I am very slowly learning a bit about playing jazz, mostly older style jazz, and playing fingerstyle instead of with a pic. This is one of the things I LOVE about playing guitar, or really any instrument...there is ALWAYS more to learn and things to look forward to and NOBODY knows it all and nobody ever will.

 

Les Paul himself said it, "There are a MILLION ways to play guitar...". I find something interesting in all of them that I have heard.

 

Just turned 65, and I bought myself a '99 SG Special for my birthday...great guitar!

 

mark

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I was asked recently, "what music do you like?" right after I said, "I play guitar."

Now I got to thinking, "does she want to know what music I play and just ASSUMES I would play the music I listen to?"

 

Then I realized that I listen to some stuff that is SO hard to imitate, I couldn't fool myself into attempting it, unless I quit my job and my master's program.

 

I want to ask you all this, has your desire to learn a particular style or piece ever been thuarted by the limitations of your talent?

Is there something you wish you could play but don't even have the courage to attempt or have attempted but fail so utterly you just don't go there?

 

For example, I love metal. The speed and precision of it would demand the sort of practice I don't have time for. I play folk and punk instead, genres I love as much but feel more comfortable attempting.

 

Yeah you pretty much hit the nail on the head,

I love Jazz Guitar, been listening a lot of Les Paul(obviously), and Wes Montgomery lately, but I have no delusion of ever being able to play like they did in their prime.

I, like you, also appreciate the speed and accuracy of a good metal band, Country pickers too, Roy Clark, Chet, Brad Paisley...

But Again, I won't be trying to compete with any of them.

Besides, I use music as an emotional outlet, so I like to play loud and dirty rock/punk, and there are a lot of players from these two genres I would not try to emulate, simply because they are way out of my league.

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Definitely a stylistic discrepancy between stuff I listen to ans stuff I play, Izzy. Of course part of that is due to a wide range of music that I enjoy listening to.

 

As far as rock stuff, I can generally play the things that I like to listen to. Same for a lot of the singer-songwriter stuff that I like: John Prine, Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt and the like. But I also enjoy listening to jazz and have absolutely no idea how to play it. Classical? Forget it. I also like some weird noisy stuff (Adrian Belew in King Crimson for example) and have no clue how to play like that. I'm sure I cold go on, but you get the point I think.

 

I would add that listening to stuff outside of your playing style probably helps you broaden your playing more than you realize. You may not think you are picking it up since you are not directly playing it (or even attempting to do so) but I'd wager it is seeping in anyway. Music after all is in your mind before it is in your hands.

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I was asked recently, "what music do you like?" right after I said, "I play guitar."

 

I hate getting asked that question too, btw. Drives me crazy, because I can't explain it well at all. I feel like I'd have to launch into a 30 minute lecture and would still not answer the question well. Alao I think the person asking the question is really just looking for a quick answer and not really caring that much what the answer is. Maybe it would be better just to come up with a stock answer. Maybe I'll just say bluegrass from now on. [biggrin]

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I want to ask you all this, has your desire to learn a particular style or piece ever been thwarted by the limitations of your talent?

 

ABOSOLUTELY!!! Which is why I dont play blues, jazz or classical on guitar

 

Is there something you wish you could play but don't even have the courage to attempt or have attempted but fail so utterly you just don't go there?

 

Again ABSOLUTELY!!! But then I quickly remember I'm a rock guitar player and I'm over it in about 20 minutes, and back to being the happy little hippo [biggrin]

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Am I ever too intimidated to even try a song?

 

/chuckle Of course not.

 

(See: "Back In The Village"- Iron Maiden)

 

Are there songs I can't play due purely to my skills or lack thereof?

 

/chuckle Of course there are :D

 

(See: "Back In The Village"- Iron Maiden)

 

I practice this song every session, and have for years. Still not playing it like it needs to be played! [laugh]

 

And I usually respond to "what kind of music do you like?" with "A little bit of everything." That tends to illicit the "So what do you play?" question.

 

 

Just a thought, but I'd wager most everyone from amateur to professional likely figures song choice to make all the difference in the show....

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Since 99 percent of my pickin' the past 30 some years has been finger style "solo," with or without an attempt at vocals, I mostly listen to stuff I figure I can arrange to play.

 

OTOH, I figure I may have five percent of Joe Pass talent. I always say I have no talent at all, except an ability to work hard to get what I want that is within my ability.

 

I do love quite a bit of classical guitar that's over my ability level, though - and to Pass and Chet. Then it's usually a matter of figuring an arrangement that is in my ability level.

 

m

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Izzy, just because you can't do something "Right Now" doesn't mean it's beyond your reach. Remember, the guitar (and music in general) is a life long journey. If you decide you can't get any better when your 25, you'll be a 25 year old guitar player your whole life. Duane, too, you should know better than to limit yourself and call it good. You just might "get" metal or blues (or whatever it is that eludes you) the day before your 42nd birthday, if you've already convinced yourself that you're "Limited" you'll miss the boat.

 

The words "Yet" and "Right Now" weigh heavily in my musical vocabulary. Q."Can you play like Yngwie?" A."Not Yet" Q. "Do you know how to play 'Achilles Last Stand'"? A. "Not right now". Even if the truth is I'll die before I ever get around to learning fluid, classical influenced, blistering lead lines like Yngwie, I'll not surrender to that notion.

 

{edit}I feel this need mentioning, too. If one is going to delve into a new genre of music, it will take more than listening to that music to get that music. It will take a certain amount of study before you ever touch your strings. Learning Bluegrass on Mandolin and open tuned guitar really helped me to realize that. Before I'd learned some techniques and approaches associated with that style I sounded like a Blues Rock guy on a mandolin. Same with Metal vs Blues or what have you.

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Some great responces (ChanMan made me lol).

 

I have noticed two camps:

 

Camp one - you can do anything eventually and even if you're not awesome at it now you could get there so why not try.

 

Camp two - you realize that (insert imposible genre/song) take talent you lack or time you lack, so why frustrate yourself attempting it when you could simply sharpen you skills on what you know you can do well *coughAngusYoung.

 

Both sides appeal to me because I think we all had to belong to camp one at some point to get anywhere beyond three chords.

Camp two feels like home. I wish I could believe if I had more time I'd be able to play Flamenco...

 

Is there a tune or genre you have mastered or gotten pretty good at that you NEVER thought you'd be able to pull off?

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As the oldest to reply - so far anyway - let's put it this way: When I stop learning to play guitar better, it's time to start learning about the growth of grass from the root side.

 

My own problem in ways is a double barrier: I'm old, but my work schedule still means I'll go weeks at a time without even any weekends to get in a real playing session; and secondly, I like too many kinds of music to "get better" significantly at just one.

 

So... for me it's always a work in progress whatever I play. There's stuff that I have some "standard" arrangements for that I've done similarly since the mid '60s. Other stuff I get by with my initial arrangement of the past cupla years... Some material I'm looking for different keys and fingerings for solo finger style type stuff.

 

I think you always get more smooth in your pickin' the longer you're at it, regardless of the difficulty of whatever you're doing and regardless your "natural talent."

 

I do think, though, that the picker whose head thinks single-string work has a very different perspective on playing compared to the picker who thinks more in chords and chord inversions or the "classical" player who starts playing on the map.

 

Regardless, there's no reason one can't improve one's chops. Yeah, I've got a bit of Arthur-itis too. But I keep thinking of Django. I wonder sometimes if he'd have been quite as innovative were it not for that fire that gave him a physical "handicap."

 

Also, I think it's easier to improve in the various "pop" fields if your head wants to do its own thing with rock, blues, country, bluegrass, etc. Excepting classical, I know I don't particularly care to sound just like somebody else because I'm not somebody else and my head almost certainly computes music differently.

 

That's also a bit of a value judgment, but that reflects what I wanna do and how I structure how I wanna do it. I know I'm not particularly talented, but that I always can improve my skills and smoothness of playing.

 

EDIT: Izzy... Flamenco is great fun. Ain't done much in decades, though. It's the rhythm and basic chords along with it. If you can do a decent Malaguena salerosa, other stuff should be a piece of cake for you. But you'll need a nylon string guitar to really make it happen.

 

m

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To answer you last question, Izzy. Yes, Bluegrass. That's why I'm such a believer in surprising yourself. Anything sounds impossible until you know how it works, and why it sounds the way it does. You'll find Flamenco is all about right hand attack, while they're using the same scales and chords you use in punk and folk. It's certainly a more advanced finger picking technique than used in American Folk, but one you get it you've got it. There's no genre of music that always hard to play. Even the most intense classical discipline is "Easy" once the player had internalized the techniques.

 

But you may not get Flamenco for another 10 years or so, my only point is there's no reason to give up on something you'd like to be able to do simply because you cannot do it "Yet". When I was 18 I was learning blues mostly, but I knew one day I'd get into Metal. By the time I was 28 I'd gotten into Metal and could play it like I wanted to when I was 18. It's all about pacing yourself and realizing you have another 50 years or so to get whatever it is you want to get.

 

What I'm having a hard time putting into word is, it's a combination of both schools of thought. If you cannot play flamenco because you haven't completely explored your present interests, don't give up on Flamenco, but don't kill yourself trying to learn it right now. Simply put it on the shelf for a few years and let the idea mature on it's own. Your abilities will catch up with your ambitions if you make it a point to grow with your instrument.

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Izzy....

 

Turn green with envy. <chortle> I got to watch a Montoya concert at about 20 feet distance when I was working on some Americany Flamenco.

 

<grin> The girl I took to the concert didn't get much attention and the drool on my necktie - it was formal in those days - was an embarrassment after the concert ended.

 

m

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Some great responces (ChanMan made me lol).

 

I have noticed two camps:

 

Camp one - you can do anything eventually and even if you're not awesome at it now you could get there so why not try.

 

Camp two - you realize that (insert imposible genre/song) take talent you lack or time you lack, so why frustrate yourself attempting it when you could simply sharpen you skills on what you know you can do well *coughAngusYoung.

 

Both sides appeal to me because I think we all had to belong to camp one at some point to get anywhere beyond three chords.

Camp two feels like home. I wish I could believe if I had more time I'd be able to play Flamenco...

Is there a tune or genre you have mastered or gotten pretty good at that you NEVER thought you'd be able to pull off?

 

I am gonna go style, and instrument here

Dobro, I am no Jerry Douglas, but I can rip a mean slide.

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Is there a tune or genre you have mastered or gotten pretty good at that you NEVER thought you'd be able to pull off?

 

Yes, there have been some song's that I had a hard time with but have worked on them, and have become natural to me now. As far as singing, I can't sing now like I could in the 1980's when I was a 20 something year old. I can play better now but the voice is no longer what it was back in those day's, I can still do a good job of some Getty Lee (Rush) song's but not the super high rage stuff that was no problem for me in my youth. Unfortunately that is gone never to return to me, but that don't stop me from doing what I can. Also there have been some song's that after I listen to them or first heard them didn't think I could ever play but, researched them and sat down with them and picked up on them fast [tongue] .

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Some great responces (ChanMan made me lol).

 

I have noticed two camps:

 

Camp one - you can do anything eventually and even if you're not awesome at it now you could get there so why not try.

 

Camp two - you realize that (insert imposible genre/song) take talent you lack or time you lack, so why frustrate yourself attempting it when you could simply sharpen you skills on what you know you can do well *coughAngusYoung.

 

Both sides appeal to me because I think we all had to belong to camp one at some point to get anywhere beyond three chords.

Camp two feels like home. I wish I could believe if I had more time I'd be able to play Flamenco...

 

Is there a tune or genre you have mastered or gotten pretty good at that you NEVER thought you'd be able to pull off?

These are darned good questions and a great thread.

 

Something I am rediculasly GOOD at is funk. I can play stuff right out of BET and sound like the best. Funny thing is, I don't even know that music that well or listen to it. I mean, I like it when I hear it on soundtracks or whatever, but I don't really know too much about it. But I qualify that by compliments I have gotten when I have done it, and I can FEEL it when it comes out. It's kinda spooky.

 

I normally play blues, mainly because I like the ability to play anything without having to remember, and it involves a skillset of mostly pure improvisation, rather than memory. And playing by myself or with a band involves few adjustments. It's what I know. I listen to a lot of Jazz, but I don't play too much of it because of reason 2: I would learn it better if I had the time. I actually do listen to a lot of "classic" metal and lots of other stuff, but don't feel the need to play it, regardless if I could or not. And if I did, I might be good at some things and not others. But I doubt it would really be worthwhile.

 

But I would like to present another angle. Sometimes it isn't about what you can do or can't do, it might be about what a particular musician is GOOD at. Or put another way, what an AUDIENCE wants to hear a musician play.

 

For a guitarist to listen to music he doesn't play is normal, even for the greats. Tony Rice (Bluegrass legend, maybe the best alive) listens to Jazz. Joe Bonamossa Listens to a rock and metal. Eric Clapton has a fondness for "pop" sappy kind of stuff, and actually enjoys playing it a LOT. In Claptons case, his audience could care less, because he excells at Blues stuff.

 

So two points here. 1), regardless of what the artist may or may not like to play, it is what they EXCELL at that truly makes thier craft a worthwhile thing to what those LISTENING want to hear. 2) if a musician is able to discover something about thier personal playing or things they do well, that is part of both maturity as a musician, AND a blessing that makes you want to follow that road.

 

I want to point out another example that was inadvertantly brought up: MILOD mentioned not being able to pull off Chet Atkins. I have heard a little of Milod's stuff, so I qualify the comparism I make. We all know Chet for his complexity and dexterity, his abilty to pull off really DIFFICULT stuff, but often overlooked when considering him is this certain quality, this "beauty" in his playing. Compared to Chet, Milod plays that aspect equally well as Chet does. He got that part down for sure. So while an individual musician might be known for this or that, each individual has many elements to them as well. So, if we come across someone with a dexterity of Chet, would it still be worthwhile without the beauty Chet brings?

 

PRACTICE is really the only element that must be present for any of this, and the key to getting better regardless of what it is, and reveals it. But I think this thread begs the question: When we come across a personal talent, are we wise enough to recognize it? What are we as individuals going to bring to the table that makes our playing of value?

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All the bands I've been in have been on the riffy/metal side. I do like some more melodic and quieter stuff. I like a lot of post rock/metal/punk type stuff too. It's all rock and roll to me. I dunno. Everything I listen to does come out in what I play. Often, it's really subtle, and nobody notices but me, but those influences definitely come through subconsciously.

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