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#2459467 - 12/31/12 03:14 PM Helping a guitarist to slow down
Blue Dog64 Offline
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Registered: 12/31/12
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Loc: Virginia
I have a dear family member who always plays his guitar too hard and way too fast. He always tends to play too many notes. Even on nice and easy slow songs, he rocks it out like Van Halen Eruption! It's extremely annoying but no matter what anyone tells him, he keeps playing fast. He aspires to be in a band and wants to play out but everyone is concerned that unless he learns to slow down and play with some finesse, he's just going to be disappointed. How do you teach someone to play with soul and slow down? Any (honest) advise would be greatly appreciated. I've run out of ideas!

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#2459468 - 12/31/12 03:19 PM Re: Helping a guitarist to slow down [Re: Blue Dog64]
Griffinator Global Moderator Offline
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Maturity issue. The only way he's going to learn is the hard way.
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#2459477 - 12/31/12 03:41 PM Re: Helping a guitarist to slow down [Re: Griffinator]
harvey Offline
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The quick and easy way is to stick some manuscript in front of them. This is also effective in achieving a significant drop in volume. smile
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#2459478 - 12/31/12 03:50 PM Re: Helping a guitarist to slow down [Re: Blue Dog64]
Scott Fraser Offline
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Registered: 03/20/05
Posts: 3903
Loc: Los Angeles
Have him listen to some of Miles Davis' solos on the 'Kind of Blue' album. If he's smart he'll see that it's not about the number of notes per bar but the appropriateness of placing a few notes in the right place.
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#2459481 - 12/31/12 04:25 PM Re: Helping a guitarist to slow down [Re: Scott Fraser]
Terrell Offline
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Registered: 07/28/08
Posts: 1722
Loc: Austin, TX
Musical Intervention?

Record him playing over something and see if he likes it. You can point out where he could take a rest, or squeeze a note or shake the poo out of giant bend.

If he does like what he hears, then that's his taste in music. Let it go... As long as he enjoys it and someone wants to listen, that's a match made in heaven.

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#2459495 - 12/31/12 05:03 PM Re: Helping a guitarist to slow down [Re: Terrell]
Larryz Offline
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Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 5314
Loc: Hwy 49, California
Welcome aboard Blue Dog! +1 Tape him on a few of your tasty songs and then play it back for him. Hopefully he will hear how bad his part sounds when he overpowers the music and makes the whole recording sound like crap...maybe he'll learn that the concept is to add to the band not take away from it.

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#2459507 - 12/31/12 06:36 PM Re: Helping a guitarist to slow down [Re: Larryz]
Bartholomew Offline
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Registered: 02/29/04
Posts: 389
Loc: Montreal
It's everywhere - even the better Blues guys in my town overplay and seem to think speed = talent.

I personally never had any speed anyways, can't wank like that even if I wanted to, so had to develop good taste by playing the actual melody of songs when I was learning. Almost like a Willy Nelson but doing R&R or Blues or Soft-Rock.

Make him listen to BB King & Willie but he may have to get banged out by a few groups and learn the hard way like most of us older road-dudes.
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#2459513 - 12/31/12 08:01 PM Re: Helping a guitarist to slow down [Re: Bartholomew]
Dannyalcatraz Offline
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Registered: 07/28/04
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Loc: Dallas/FW Metroplex, Texas
Maybe make him listen to a Santana solo. Have him count the notes. Spoiler: its probably only one.

Truth is, some players are all about speed...and never outgrow it.

However, if he is asked to play in a group, he'll have to play at the pace set by the rhythm section. And, as we all know, there are genres that reward speed, and those that punish it. AFAIK, there is no such thing as speed reggae.*







* I'm not talking about bands like Bad Brains that have reggae influences that play fast, I'm just talking about reggae played at the pace of thrash metal...like a Bob Marley LP played at 45rpm...


Edited by Dannyalcatraz (12/31/12 08:05 PM)
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#2459516 - 12/31/12 08:13 PM Re: Helping a guitarist to slow down [Re: Blue Dog64]
p90jr Offline
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Registered: 11/21/07
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Originally Posted By: Blue Dog64
I have a dear family member who always plays his guitar too hard and way too fast. He always tends to play too many notes. Even on nice and easy slow songs, he rocks it out like Van Halen Eruption! It's extremely annoying but no matter what anyone tells him, he keeps playing fast. He aspires to be in a band and wants to play out but everyone is concerned that unless he learns to slow down and play with some finesse, he's just going to be disappointed. How do you teach someone to play with soul and slow down? Any (honest) advise would be greatly appreciated. I've run out of ideas!



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#2459528 - 01/01/13 01:12 AM Re: Helping a guitarist to slow down [Re: p90jr]
Fumblyfingers Offline
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Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 4732
The key question here is.....does he have any true talent? Is he any good? Also, how old is he?

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#2459542 - 01/01/13 06:32 AM Re: Helping a guitarist to slow down [Re: Blue Dog64]
Fred_C Offline
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Registered: 06/12/10
Posts: 931
Loc: PA
Happy New Year!

There are excellent insights offered in several of the posts in this thread.

I believe that it was Mark Twain who commented on the usefulness of obscenity in speech or writing. (This is gonna' be a paraphrase since I can't recall the quotation verbatim and don't have the energy to look it up this morning).

He said something like, "Obscenity should be used for emphasis. When used too often it loses its effectiveness."

I think the same way about speed playing. Should an accomplished player have the ability to tear off a blindingly fast run or phrase? Probably. Should he overuse this capability? Probably not.

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#2459557 - 01/01/13 07:35 AM Re: Helping a guitarist to slow down [Re: Fred_C]
Winston Psmith Offline
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My first thought is that he probably spends a lot of time playing, or practicing, by himself. If you're on your own, trying to fill all the sonic space you can, without another human to keep you grounded, playing scales at the speed of light has a certain appeal. Having to play in a band might be a big help in teaching him to leave some breathing room between notes and phrases -especially if he starts riffing while the singer is reaching for a big note!

For experiment's sake, pull out a metronome, to see if he can actually play in time, or if he's just flailing. If he can really play in lock-step with a beatbox, leave him alone - it's a legitimate musical skill, even if you don't appreciate it. If he's just flailing away at the neck, go ahead and record him playing against the metronome, emphasis on "against". Maybe that will slow him down, when he hears what it sounds like.
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#2459628 - 01/01/13 12:09 PM Re: Helping a guitarist to slow down [Re: Winston Psmith]
Lokair Offline
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Registered: 04/12/08
Posts: 472
Loc: Braeburn PA
Well I can add you may want to let him be disappointed, in his playing and speed. Learning is hard . After failure he will be ready to learn, and perhaps listen.

Lok
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#2459655 - 01/01/13 03:58 PM Re: Helping a guitarist to slow down [Re: Lokair]
02R96 Offline
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Registered: 11/04/07
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David Gilmour and Derek Trucks come to mind as a couple of examples of "less is more" players. thu
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#2459685 - 01/01/13 07:28 PM Re: Helping a guitarist to slow down [Re: 02R96]
p90jr Offline
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Registered: 11/21/07
Posts: 1951
This might be a controversial post to make here, but...

as an example for me, while I respect this guy's monstrous skill and I've checked out some of his own stuff and dig it, I really didn't enjoy him playing in this band... the wrong context, and to me the antithesis of what the songs needed, particularly this solo... when he comes up for air it has soul, but it's like a robotic practice exercise to me otherwise, he doesn't resolve the solo nicely, and something about his demeanor there is off-putting to me:

(solo at 1:46)


headscratch (for me) comment:

Wayne Krantz is by far the most accomplished guitarist to ever play with SD.
Pure genius. Maybe a bit too advanced for some of you rock guys...


That's a long list of top-notch, influential guitarists to demote... Larry Carlton, Jay Graydon (whose recorded solo for this song is pure perfection and genius), Elliot Randall, Hugh McCracken, Skunk Baxter, Mark Knopfler...

So, what I'm saying is that taste is subjective, and part of each unique personality, and there's little you can do to change people if they don't have an epiphany on their own...

Playing tasteful examples for him to absorb is about the best you can do, but if he thinks his way is right, he'll stick with that... Might I suggest playing Van Halen's 'Dance The Night Away," which is a compact dance pop rock song with a very restrained and minimal solo that shows Eddie Van Halen knows when to let the singer and the melody have the spotlight.

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#2459687 - 01/01/13 07:35 PM Re: Helping a guitarist to slow down [Re: p90jr]
Dannyalcatraz Offline
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Yeah...that solo didn't do much of me. It seemed out of place- reminded me more of 80s glam shredding than SD's pop-informed jazz.
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#2459751 - 01/02/13 04:23 AM Re: Helping a guitarist to slow down [Re: Dannyalcatraz]
picker Offline
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I'm scratching my head, but because I don't see the problem. The recorded solos take the same sort of angular, outside, jazz-fusion approach. In some ways, I like this better than the original. And, I gotta say that anyone who follows Becker & Fagin knows they have very specific ideas about solos in their music, and they don't mess around with playing they don't like. They've passed over some of the best out there to get what they want on any tune they've released. If they didn't like what he's doing, he wouldn't have made it out of rehearsal.
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#2459753 - 01/02/13 04:42 AM Re: Helping a guitarist to slow down [Re: Fumblyfingers]
picker Offline
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Blue Dog 64, I'm not into 130 note per second solos either, but at one point, I was. I grew up and my tastes changed, but Ted Nugent, Mark Farner, Al Di Meola, all the superspeed pickers of the 60's & 70's were my boys back in the day. I was very impressed with speed at the beginning. At some point in their lives, maybe everybody is to one degree or another.

I'd say your family member has found what he likes, at least for now, and that's okay. Or it will be if you put his playing in the right context. He won't get far in a blues band, but he might be a freakin' star in an 80's revival shred monster band.

Taste is subjective. What one person likes may get a bigger audience, but that doesn't make everything else crap. Cut him a break, smile when he takes a solo at warp speed, and tell him he has excellent technique. Later on, you might have a chance of weening him off the Dark Side. Everybody gets tired of 200 MPH crank-yanking after a while. Maybe he'll get into Mozart or Beethoven and inform his speed with some class. Or maybe he'll find some charm in the playing of Buddy Guy and Luther Allison. Stranger things have happened...
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#2459808 - 01/02/13 09:22 AM Re: Helping a guitarist to slow down [Re: picker]
p90jr Offline
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Registered: 11/21/07
Posts: 1951
Originally Posted By: picker
I'm scratching my head, but because I don't see the problem. The recorded solos take the same sort of angular, outside, jazz-fusion approach. In some ways, I like this better than the original. And, I gotta say that anyone who follows Becker & Fagin knows they have very specific ideas about solos in their music, and they don't mess around with playing they don't like. They've passed over some of the best out there to get what they want on any tune they've released. If they didn't like what he's doing, he wouldn't have made it out of rehearsal.


Different strokes for different folks. Not arguing, but do you think he resolved that solo effectively? To me it sounds like he ran out of time or got lost.

The Dan has used the more restrained (but hardly a slouch) Jon Herrington for the past 15 years, including recorded work (though I think I saw Krantz on TV with Donald Fagen for a solo song recently) so maybe that says something?

Anyway, here's a clip someone made of 4 different approaches to that solo with them:


When I play that song in cover bands I play an approximation of the original solo (as close as I can get) because I find that average people know the solo, like a melody of the song... there's a lot of songs where that's the case (like anything by The Cars, or "My Sharona" by The Knack or Neil Geraldo's solo on "Jessie's Girl") and if makes the people happy...

Of course, actually playing in Steely Dan you wouldn't want to just "cover" the solo, you'd have to put your own stamp on it...

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#2459834 - 01/02/13 10:25 AM Re: Helping a guitarist to slow down [Re: p90jr]
Larryz Offline
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Cool comparison P90, I vote for Jon Herington as he adds a little clean to the jazz vibe... cool

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#2459851 - 01/02/13 12:27 PM Re: Helping a guitarist to slow down [Re: Larryz]
p90junior Offline
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I love Herrington... I dig his pop solo records. His playing just appeals to me...

Lest I seem like a Kratz hater (I'm not at all) I think he does play what this song calls for:



though I like Herrington's playing on the record a little better...



Edited by p90junior (01/02/13 01:13 PM)

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#2459856 - 01/02/13 12:38 PM Re: Helping a guitarist to slow down [Re: p90junior]
Eric Iverson Offline
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I was also super-impressed by speed as a kid, though playing with other people in other (mostly church) contexts taught me not to play fast all the time.
That doesn't mean I don't try to play with good technique, which is not entirely the same thing, LOL. If you play melodic lines that way, it doesn't sound like you're showing off.
When I pick up the guitar at home, though, I still find myself playing multi-note gibberish sometimes.
My stage guitar with the Saturday Jazz Ensemble is an acoustic Alvarez with good action and very nice tone and intonation, but it's not as easy to play as electrics with light strings - this helps me not play too many notes, or try too many wild bends that don't fit the style (mostly '50s jazz).

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#2459875 - 01/02/13 01:36 PM Re: Helping a guitarist to slow down [Re: Eric Iverson]
p90junior Offline
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Registered: 08/01/08
Posts: 57
There's always a time for a volley of notes to express something that calls for it.

I remember something Tom Verlaine once said about phrasing, though... the problem with the guitar is the player doesn't need to stop to take a breath, so some players get going and never stop or slow down, which is like run on sentences with no punctuation read by a mechanical motor-mouth at 78 rpm. Kind of a fatiguing listening experience, and not necessarily great communication.

I play a lot of acoustic gigs, and use a looper pedal so I can play back sections and solo over them... and it's a nice challenge, not being able to rely on all of the tricks we get in the habit of using on electrics. I have an '87 Alvarez-Yairi DY-39 Anniversary that's lovely and a Gibson J-30. Both fun to play, but you can't just fall back on electric clichés IMO, you have to develop an acoustic lead style for yourself.

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#2459877 - 01/02/13 01:38 PM Re: Helping a guitarist to slow down [Re: Eric Iverson]
Dannyalcatraz Offline
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Sunken Condos is a brilliant little album- been in my car's CD changer since it got released.

As for that solo upthread, I'm not saying he sucked, or that it was wrong, just that it didn't fit with the song as seamlessly as some other interpretations, IMHO. Sure, Becker & Fagin might think it was cool, but just because they're them and I'm me doesn't mean my opinion is invalid.

Usually, when I hear a solo that is as different in tone & texture form the rest of the song- say, in some of Bowie's or Fripp's music- its for a reason. Here, I simply don't perceive the reason as being present.

Then again, I'm not in the band, so I didn't get any memo to that effect.
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#2459882 - 01/02/13 02:02 PM Re: Helping a guitarist to slow down [Re: Dannyalcatraz]
p90junior Offline
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Registered: 08/01/08
Posts: 57
If you've never seen the video for the making of Aja and "Peg" it's pretty interesting from the player's point of view.

The guitar solo is discussed starting at 4:10


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#2459883 - 01/02/13 02:03 PM Re: Helping a guitarist to slow down [Re: p90junior]
p90junior Offline
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Registered: 08/01/08
Posts: 57
I think that earlier vid caught Krantz on an off night, at least maybe for that solo on Peg... the clip of him in the comparison vid is more focused-sounding to me.

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#2459891 - 01/02/13 02:30 PM Re: Helping a guitarist to slow down [Re: p90junior]
Dannyalcatraz Offline
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Registered: 07/28/04
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Loc: Dallas/FW Metroplex, Texas
Yeah, you can't be "on" 100% of the time and still be human- that would make you Eric Johnson.


Edited by Dannyalcatraz (01/02/13 02:31 PM)
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http://murphysmusictx.com/

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#2459897 - 01/02/13 02:51 PM Re: Helping a guitarist to slow down [Re: Dannyalcatraz]
p90junior Offline
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Registered: 08/01/08
Posts: 57
ha...

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#2459919 - 01/02/13 04:09 PM Re: Helping a guitarist to slow down [Re: p90jr]
picker Offline
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Loc: Near 12th Street and Vine...
Originally Posted By: p90jr
...do you think he resolved that solo effectively? To me it sounds like he ran out of time or got lost.


No, not really. It isn't a really straight ending that leads you back to the vocal, but it seems to work as a composition. But shucks, who knows? He might have lost his place and dribbled it out till he was sure he was supposed to end. I wonder how many recordings are actually played as they would have liked.


Edited by picker (01/02/13 04:10 PM)
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#2459933 - 01/02/13 04:55 PM Re: Helping a guitarist to slow down [Re: picker]
p90jr Offline
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Registered: 11/21/07
Posts: 1951
The video above for the recording of 'PEG' offers a glimpse...they're the ultimate studio perfectionists, and guitarists seem to get the brunt of that pickiness.

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