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Guitars Just Won't Stick to the Recording


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12 minutes ago, FinnDave said:

My next door neighbour plays Viola in several orchestras, and has been amazed when she comes to one of my gigs that everyone remembers their parts without any sheet music - something she, as a classically trained musician, finds impossible.

None of which has any bearing on a guitarist showing up winging it badly at rehearsal when the YouTube version was emailed weeks back.

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6 minutes ago, Downunderwonder said:

None of which has any bearing on a guitarist showing up winging it badly at rehearsal when the YouTube version was emailed weeks back.

No, it doesn't, it was a reply to the posts in this thread about reading vs non-reading musicians - not reading requires a very different but no less useful set of skills to those of a reader.

Guitarists winging it badly because they couldn't be bothered to learn the song are simply lazy and are unlikely to change - best asked to leave the band in my opinion (on the basis that having them taken outside and shot is generally frowned upon, even though it could be a useful source of capital when you sell his gear).

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Just now, FinnDave said:

No, it doesn't, it was a reply to the posts in this thread about reading vs non-reading musicians - not reading requires a very different but no less useful set of skills to those of a reader.

Guitarists winging it badly because they couldn't be bothered to learn the song are simply lazy and are unlikely to change - best asked to leave the band in my opinion.

There's no versus. Readers hang with non readers all the time. Some readers can't. So what?

 

For a little while I was a non bass reader hanging with readers. I could snatch the gist of it off the dots and jam the rest. The main advantage I had was being able to follow the score for the repeats and codas.

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I don't think its a reading vs non-reading debate. Its more a "professional" vs "sloppy" mindset debate (I appreciate we are talking about amateur and semi-pro musicians here).

 

I asked the question "How are you communicating with your fellow musicians, if not all reading sheet music?" because I KNOW guitarists generally don't read sheet music, but they must be either deciphering it by ear then memorising; or deciphering it then writing it down in their own personalised way, which might look like a chord chart (but might not). All of those steps are prone to error (as is reading, if you make mistakes such as not remembering the key sig; not counting beats properly etc) but I'd say they're less robust, therefore you need to up your game to do it properly.

 

Clearly this guitarist isn't.

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23 hours ago, fretmeister said:

Properly arranged sheet music for top 40 covers isn’t very common because the players are usually relying on tab.

 

 

It isn't common because it is licensed work which costs money and is harder to get, it is less fun to be in a band if you were to rely on the licenced music at £5 a pop and you have 50 covers to learn.

 

1 hour ago, FinnDave said:

My next door neighbour plays Viola in several orchestras, and has been amazed when she comes to one of my gigs that everyone remembers their parts without any sheet music - something she, as a classically trained musician, finds impossible.

 

I did play with a keyboard player that couldn't play anything without the sheet music. Which made it very unenjoyable to be in a band with as it both restricted your options for jamming, extending, or correcting errors.

But it is pretty uncommon.

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12 minutes ago, paul_c2 said:

I don't think its a reading vs non-reading debate. Its more a "professional" vs "sloppy" mindset debate (I appreciate we are talking about amateur and semi-pro musicians here).

 

I asked the question "How are you communicating with your fellow musicians, if not all reading sheet music?" because I KNOW guitarists generally don't read sheet music, but they must be either deciphering it by ear then memorising; or deciphering it then writing it down in their own personalised way, which might look like a chord chart (but might not). All of those steps are prone to error (as is reading, if you make mistakes such as not remembering the key sig; not counting beats properly etc) but I'd say they're less robust, therefore you need to up your game to do it properly.

 

Clearly this guitarist isn't.

I've been in a few bands and have absolutely no idea how the guitarists learned their parts.  We agreed songs we would play and arrived at rehearsals having largely learnt our individual parts.  Occasionally a chord chart would appear but that seemed to be so they could remember the structure of the song.  As a bassist I would use tab if it was available or tab my own parts if it wasn't to learn the track but by the time I was at rehearsal I'd expect to have it largely committed to memory.   Yes, there were occasions where members of the band had used a different recording to learn their parts put it really wasn't a big issue. 

 

Talking of people failing to learn parts,  my experience is that vocalists often rely on the lyrics, whereas the rest of the band rarely need anything in front of them. 

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3 minutes ago, Nicko said:

Talking of people failing to learn parts,  my experience is that vocalists often rely on the lyrics, whereas the rest of the band rarely need anything in front of them. 

 

Most songs are the same things over and over, the verses are all the same. The lyrics tend to change per verse, so that doesn't seem unreasonable.

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3 minutes ago, Nicko said:

Talking of people failing to learn parts,  my experience is that vocalists often rely on the lyrics, whereas the rest of the band rarely need anything in front of them. 

We used to have a former 'name' vocalist fronting our band. She'd get all emotional when introducing the next song which has always meant so much to her, etc. - then pull out a crumpled piece of paper with the lyrics on which she read as she sang them. 

Not very impressive!

Most bands I've played with get very sniffy if you need so much as a chord sheet to refer to - nothing more than a set list allowed on the stage.

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4 hours ago, paul_c2 said:

I actually agree with ZilchWoolham, in that for rock/pop, listening to the music is even more important than eg listening to a classical/jazz piece, in order to perform it well.

And I agree with most of what you're saying here! It seems my early snark-laden reply might have been premature and I apologise for turning the thread a bit nastier in tone - no one needs that on Easter. 

 

4 hours ago, paul_c2 said:

 The classical/jazz musician is no better than the rock/pop musician, its just that their skillbase leans more towards being able to play from reading rather than commit to memory; and more tightly playing "as written", in general. Of course there are shades of grey in there too, every element is important.

But I would argue that the thing that sets jazz musicians apart from both classical and pop musicians is their affinity for improvisation. 

 

4 hours ago, paul_c2 said:

Another myth to bust on "reading on guitar" is that its unnaturally hard - its not - violin, viola, cello, etc players do it all the time, yes there's different positions and different ways to play the same thing, but that's true of almost every other instrument too and just a part of playing that instrument.

And I do think the guitar is an uncommonly complicated instrument to read for (the bass guitar, not so much). A piano is dead easy if you know your notation as there are zero ambiguities, it's strictly one-to-one in that you can only play one note in one place. Your classical string instruments are more ambiguous but more often than not if both you and the composer/arranger are familiar with the instrument you're probably playing it with the intended positions. Guitar parts typically use many more different positions. Consider an atypical chord played on a guitar using five strings, two of them open. Now consider that two of those notes might actually be the same, but one is played open and left to ring, while the other is fretted and simultaneously slid down to another note. An atypical example, maybe, and one that could be tricky to learn by ear (certainly if the part is not prominent in the mix), but I also think it would be quite difficult to translate properly to, and quickly grasp from, notation.

 

I'm nitpicking of course, but what I mean is that classical notation is not a perfect system. If you can indulge my straying from the subject a bit I'd like to claim that no way of translating a sound to a piece of paper could be perfect or complete. I suppose technically you could write down a digital audio file in binary code, but you would need a lot of paper and a lot of ink! 

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In the classic rock band that I play for we learn the songs as they were recorded - and def make sure we all learn the same version btw - as to our view the reason we chose them was because we like them, so why play differently to the recording.
 

We choose a song, go away and learn it, then play it at rehearsal. None of us use charts or notes, just play from having put the hours in. We’re not a gigging band but if we were we wouldn’t change this approach.

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1 hour ago, paul_c2 said:

I don't think its a reading vs non-reading debate. Its more a "professional" vs "sloppy" mindset debate (I appreciate we are talking about amateur and semi-pro musicians here).

 

I asked the question "How are you communicating with your fellow musicians, if not all reading sheet music?" because I KNOW guitarists generally don't read sheet music, but they must be either deciphering it by ear then memorising; or deciphering it then writing it down in their own personalised way, which might look like a chord chart (but might not). All of those steps are prone to error (as is reading, if you make mistakes such as not remembering the key sig; not counting beats properly etc) but I'd say they're less robust, therefore you need to up your game to do it properly.

 

Clearly this guitarist isn't.

 

 

This reminds me of a bit from the Metallica gig with the San Francisco orchestra.

On the extras tape (VHS!!!) there was a scene where one of the classical players was talking to Hetfield. Something on the lines of 

 

"How did you come up with that? You've mixed 2 modes in a way that I've never heard before. You took the mixolydian into the realms of baroquephyrigianyesque somethingorother..."

 

Hetfield" I have no idea what you just said. It just sounded cool"

 

 

Clearly their inability to read music held them back. I mean, nobody has ever heard of them.

 

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51 minutes ago, Woodinblack said:

 

Most songs are the same things over and over, the verses are all the same. The lyrics tend to change per verse, so that doesn't seem unreasonable.

That may be the case for most bass parts (although not all) but if you think that playing lead guitar on something like Sweet Child Of Mine is repetitive you'd be wrong.  It's pure laziness on the part of singers that they have the lyrics.

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17 minutes ago, fretmeister said:

 

 

 

This reminds me of a bit from the Metallica gig with the San Francisco orchestra.

On the extras tape (VHS!!!) there was a scene where one of the classical players was talking to Hetfield. Something on the lines of 

 

"How did you come up with that? You've mixed 2 modes in a way that I've never heard before. You took the mixolydian into the realms of baroquephyrigianyesque somethingorother..."

 

Hetfield" I have no idea what you just said. It just sounded cool"

 

 

Clearly their inability to read music held them back. I mean, nobody has ever heard of them.

 

Which of course doesn't really have much to do with reading music in particular, but in turn reminds me of an interview where Ritchie Blackmore recalled asking Ian Anderson about how he found his bearings around the rhythms of a particular song. 

 

"Oh, I just count to two."

"But you can't count to two in 9/8!"

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37 minutes ago, Nicko said:

That may be the case for most bass parts (although not all) but if you think that playing lead guitar on something like Sweet Child Of Mine is repetitive you'd be wrong.  It's pure laziness on the part of singers that they have the lyrics.

 

The lead parts (or guitar parts) in general of Sweet Child of mine are pretty easy (ignoring any technical skill of playing them) and where they go is completely obvious once you have played it through a couple of times, so I see no comparison there. In fact having not played it in many years I would be able to play the structure of sweet child without any hassle. If I had to sing it though, the chances of me getting the words in the right order would be pretty minimal.

 

Also where you have 50 songs to go through where most of them are E/A/B in a loop for 3 verses, it doesn't compare with the lyrics.

 

I do a couple of main vocals on songs, and I have the lyrics down. I don't always read them but it is handy if they are there. 

 

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13 hours ago, ZilchWoolham said:

And of course, if we are dealing with popular music, you run in to the problem of actually finding the sheet music.

 

No need to find it. Something I've done for many years is to write my own. Not a full score or even anything approaching one, of course. I make basic charts and add notation of awkward, tricky or key phrases so I have an aide memoire/reminder to hand. I find it very helpful.

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4 hours ago, Dan Dare said:

 

No need to find it. Something I've done for many years is to write my own. Not a full score or even anything approaching one, of course. I make basic charts and add notation of awkward, tricky or key phrases so I have an aide memoire/reminder to hand. I find it very helpful.

Right. Well, that's all good. But then you are in fact making it out by ear. 

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Any Bassists on here remember 'Pop Plan' and Dave Tanner's, 'London Orchestrations'? 

It didn't matter what Function/Corporate Band you were playing in, or depping in, you ended up mostly playing the same tunes, note for note.

The only difference between the bands would be what colour shirts or Jackets you would be wearing.

:lol:

 

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I'm primarily a classical player - I play cello in various orchestras. I also play sax and played tenor in a big symphonic wind band of 90 players, although at the moment only playing in an octet. I'm also very experienced as a choral singer singing baritone (1st bass) line. I'm relatively new to bass. Currently I only play bass in a weekly session with the local Rock School.  I find it a very alien world as we get given lyric sheets with chords on. It confuses the hell out of me as there just isn't enough information on there for me!

 

I didn't start cello until I was in my early 50s - just under 11 years ago now. For cello you have to be able to read bass, tenor, and treble clefs as your music can jump around all three. The bass teacher I have is a young guy, but he's a conservatoire graduate (Leeds I think). He teaches bass, guitar, keys, and drums. He finds me 'unusual' because he doesn't have many students that are fluent readers and who understand theory to a decent level. He's on a paternity break for a couple of months and the guitar teacher has been running his sessions. They're a similar age. He regards reading notation as some sort of black magic reserved for the illuminati...

 

I don't find memorising or playing by ear easy, but I am decent at sight-reading - you have to be playing in orchestras and ensembles. The important thing with sight-reading is less about playing the right notes (which helps) but being in the right place and playing the correct rhythm, whic is much more important.

 

Genre is obviously a big differentiator. Playing cello in symphonic work I need to be on the right notes playing what's written, ditto playing baritone sax in a big band, or singing a choral work by Bach. That's different to playing in a rock or covers band.   

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I had my eyes opened the first time I saw a good covers bar band in the US. They were good. As in each musician had chops, taste, and feel and were rock solid. Really enjoyable gig, mainly note for note but when they stretched out a bit on outros, my goodness :)

The reason why I don’t gig anymore is that the majority of musicians are simply too lazy to learn the songs properly (or even to learn how to play half-decently). I have no snobbishness about reading vs not reading, so long as a musician knows their part and knows their instrument. In fact it’s a standing joke in jazz circles (other than big bands who play a book of specific charts) that if the musician has a chart/real book in front of them, they probably aren’t up to scratch - a solid repertoire of standards (and the alternative versions) is a must, and as with all music I’d prefer to play with someone who can play and really listens than someone with great reading skills who is oblivious to the rest of the band. 

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12 hours ago, ZilchWoolham said:

But then you are in fact making it out by ear.

 

I remember a number of years ago I was asked to join a hastily put together band to do a one-off improv jazz gig with the guidance of a local trumpeter...

We got there, set up for the gig and she handed round a sort of colour wheel - she explained that she'd point to an area of colour, she'd start and we'd all join in as appropriate.

There were some good bits, some awful bits and a whole lot of crazy noise!

In contrast, another improv jazz band I played with always started with a groove from the drummer and I (we'd been playing in a punkfunk band together for years), keys and guitar would join in and the horn section (who used to play with Lol Coxhill) would do mad stuff; sometimes the keys player would signal an actual chord change, but more often we'd all go chromatically in many different directions. We weren't beholden to any bourgeois notions of key, and our creativity wasn't stiffled by notated edicts from the Capitalist Overlords!

😎😁

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I went to music school and can learn a tune/song/piece from sheet music, although I can't sight read as I just didn't keep it up after I finished school. All this learned knowledge came in handy exactly once when I depped for a well paying jazz band on upright for a few gigs about 20 years ago (even then it was mostly chord charts). 

I'm currently reading The Music Lesson by Victor Wooten which basically throws all of that out of the window and is a happy revelation to me! (It's definitely a 'Marmite' read though I suspect)

I have no desire (anymore) to be a working musician, or even gig. I now just enjoy playing for the simple joy of it at home or improv jams with friends. The best therapy from life there is!

I'm not saying either way is best, both are valid, but personally I'm more down with Victor's way now.

It suits my personality, and time in life I suppose, much better. Got melodies coming out of my ar$e now anyway!

Old dude out.

 

 

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51 minutes ago, Leonard Smalls said:

 

I remember a number of years ago I was asked to join a hastily put together band to do a one-off improv jazz gig with the guidance of a local trumpeter...

We got there, set up for the gig and she handed round a sort of colour wheel - she explained that she'd point to an area of colour, she'd start and we'd all join in as appropriate.

There were some good bits, some awful bits and a whole lot of crazy noise!

In contrast, another improv jazz band I played with always started with a groove from the drummer and I (we'd been playing in a punkfunk band together for years), keys and guitar would join in and the horn section (who used to play with Lol Coxhill) would do mad stuff; sometimes the keys player would signal an actual chord change, but more often we'd all go chromatically in many different directions. We weren't beholden to any bourgeois notions of key, and our creativity wasn't stiffled by notated edicts from the Capitalist Overlords!

😎😁

Awesome. That's totally my bag right there! 😎

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