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Please critique my guitar playing? (MP3)


Gruuve

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Hey folks:

 

Related to the thread I posted about movable chord shapes, I've been working on an different arrangment of one of my worship band's songs. I play bass mainly and periodically drums, so I don't claim to be a guitarist (or vocalist for that matter). But, I'm putting some effort into improving the guitar skills to a point that I can more easily throw together compositions or arrangements like this that are good enough to the get the idea across.

 

The verses currently have arpeggiated power chords on the guitar, but as soon as I can play the major and minor arpeggiated traid shapes consistently enough to not be embarrassed to put it on disk, I'll replace the power chords. :freak: During the chorus I'm just doing diads...it seems to work best with the distortion tone.

 

If you folks would be kind enough to critique and make any suggestions for how I might do the guitar work better, I'd really appreciate it! I want to improve AND I have tough skin, so don't hesitate to offer constructive criticism. (I did the drums, bass, and vocals on this one as well.) I really want to do this arrangement in church (it's a very contemporary church), so I want to get it "good enough" that the other musicians in the worship band jump on the bandwagon.

 

Anyway, here's a link to the MP3...this is quite a rocked-up and grooved-up arrangement, so enjoy.

 

http://www.ipass.net/davesisk/music/other/SingToTheKing_DaveArrangement.mp3

 

If you have any comments on the arrangement, I'm interested in those too. We've done two other arrangements of this particular song, and I've always felt like there was a monster groove waiting to be unleashed underneath the chord progression and vocal melody...I think I let the groove monster loose, so let me know what you think.

 

TIA,

Dave

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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Plenty good enough for what it is, which is a compositional demo, right?

 

If I were to be a little picky, I'd say it's (the guitar playing's) a little stiff, primarily during the arpeggiated verse-section bits, but, hey, that's not only understandable, it doesn't really matter much given the purpose of the recording in the first place, right? They get the harmonic point across while leaving plenty of breathing room, so, I'd say it's a success.

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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Hey Dave:

 

Are you asking how to record better sounding guitar tracks, or how to play better in a live performance?

 

My opinion on the song: It stacks up with the best of contemporary christian music. It has a powerful chorus and the verses are easy to listen too. You should not have any trouble getting a praise band to play this song.

 

The playing was stiff on the the appregiated chords. Practice will fix that. In a live performance, the audience will be listening to the the singer. Beside it's just an appregiated chord. I wouldn't focus too much on that, just play in time with the rhytm of the music.

 

It's a good song the way it's written. With practice it will sound good and you will be more comfortable playing it as well.

 

As for a recording. It needs work and I can give you some good tips on making a better recording. But it works for a Demo just like Caevan said.

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The distortion tone in the chorus is fine. I sorta like the phase/flanger effect you have in there.

 

Advice: Try to keep the record as close to the first take as possible. That is to say go with the original idea you had. Try to improve the playing and the timing, but don't try to changing other elements like the ryhthm or dynamics. Be true to the original idea, that how you put you signature on the music. Else wise you will start sounding like everybody else. What's the point of that, you might as well just buy there sheet music.

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Not wild about the singing. The guitar sounds like you're using a digital modeling amp. Nothing wrong with that, but it sounds rather generic. The playing is okay. Not a bad tune overall, the lyrics are a bit on the juvenile side. It's not a bad demo either. I bet you sound a heckuva lot better live.

Always remember that you�re unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

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Originally posted by Picker:

Not wild about the singing. The guitar sounds like you're using a digital modeling amp. Nothing wrong with that, but it sounds rather generic. The playing is okay. Not a bad tune overall, the lyrics are a bit on the juvenile side. It's not a bad demo either. I bet you sound a heckuva lot better live.

Just to be clear...I didn't write the song (ie. the lyrics, melody, and chord progression)...this is my own take on a different arrangement of an existing song.

 

And yes, I'm using the digital amp modeling built into my digital recorder. I've certainly thought about picking up a small guitar combo for recording use only...thinking maybe the 40-watt all tube Pignose, or something similar? Where distortion tones are concerned, I really REALLY like King's X guitarist's sound on the "Faith Hope Love" CD...his tone is full-bodied, clear, and punchy, but not so wide that it covers up everything else. Anyway, I'd then mic whatever combo up with an SM-57 rather than just running straight in.

 

The guitar is an old and fairly inexpensive Ibanez RX-20 with dual humbuckers, so it's certainly nothing impressive, but it is quiet and plays reasonably well. I'm keeping my eyes open for used Godin Solidac at a good price on Ebay and elsewhere...seems like that would be ideal for recording (dual humbuckers, a single coil, and a piezo bridge for an electric-acoustic sound).

 

I don't play guitar live...it's bass or occasionally drums, so I don't need a live rig, so I'm thinking a very small but good combo and a decent and versatile guitar might go a long ways toward improving my recorded guitar sound.

 

Of course, the most important component to upgrade is the player! ;) I'm working on that a little bit at a time. Everytime I do one of these short projects, I push myself to get a little better.

 

And hopefully, I'll be able to tell you guys if this sounds better live the next time we do this song in church.

 

Thanks for all the comments, folks!

 

Dave

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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Hey Dave,

 

Nice to see your guitar work is progressing. :thu:

 

These guys didn't hear your earlier arrangement of this song. I did. I think you'll agree this is much easier to listen to.

 

"Good enough to get the idea across". Yes, I think this qualifies. It should be sufficient to pitch this arrangement to your worship band. As a demo, if you gave me this and asked me to play the guitar part, I think it's pretty clear what you want.

 

But, it's not exactly what you want. That's fine. You still want arpeggiated chords for the verse (with a little reverb or delay/chorus) and distorted chords for the chorus (with a little phase/flange, as Pappadopalus pointed out), right? And you definitely want electric guitar?

 

As for the guitar playing, I'm having some difficulty with the distorted chords. (Feel free to disagree with me.) A little FX goes a long way. To me, some of the rhythm/accents gets buried in the mud. Some fretting-hand muting might help define that better. Alternatively, a little less FX might help. Also, you have some noticeable string noise in the plucked chords. (Not a biggie, but you asked for criticism, so there it is. :P )

 

Now, since this is an arrangement, is this exactly the arrangement for your worship band? Lead and BGVs, rhythm guitar, bass, and drums? Nothing else? If you have some other lead instruments -- guitar, violin, etc. -- but don't want to dictate their part(s) note-for-note, that's fine if they're used to coming up with their own stuff. If you have a trumpet player that only reads sheet music, well, you may have a problem.

 

What about keyboard/piano? How about the 5 guys with acoustic guitars that always seem to be in worship bands? ;) Do you have anything else in your worship band? If so, what part are they going to play? It might not be necessary to pitch the arrangement, but if you have something specific in mind for these people to play it might be a good idea to get it down on the demo.

 

Extra percussion is probably easy enough to describe/demonstrate in person instead of demo. Still, it wouldn't hurt to have these for the pitch.

 

As for the arrangement itself, it's very rhythmically based. (Not surprising considering your background.) Nobody's said it yet, but I know there are guys here that would be adding riffs and runs and whatnot. Because that's what this arrangement is lacking, some sort of counter or additional melodic content.

 

That might be beyond your capabilities at this point. Heck, a cleanly played slide part -- which might sound nice, btw -- is beyond me, as well as a lot of other cool stuff. Like I said, if the guys/gals you're working with can handle that themselves and you're comfortable with whatever they may come up with, then everything is fine.

 

You have to ask yourself if it's really necessary to devote that much effort to learning guitar if your goal is not to be a guitarist. (bparks will probably have more to say on this point.)

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Thanks for the commentary, RBG. Actually, we typically have drums, bass, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, and keys. There's actually some piano chords on it, they're just buried in the mix, which I'm still working on as time allows. (Thanks for reminding me to fix that!) So, the only thing that's not covered is the acoustic, but that should be simple to comp.

 

Agreed somewhat on the effects...when I err, I usually err on the side of too much versus too little. I was after a live-sounding mix though.

 

You raise a good question about whether it's worth learning guitar. The answer is probably different for different folks...(well, I'm guess I'm being Captain Obvious now, eh?) I think it's worth it to me, even if I never play guitar live. I would have to say that I enjoy composing and/or arranging music moreso than I enjoy performing it live (well, maybe not entirely true...at least they are equal). If that's the case, then it certainly benefits me to add a chordal instrument to my repetiore, right? I can easily have a midi sequencer bang out chords for me, but where's the fun in that?

 

Dave

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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Dave,

I like it, but not crazy about the vocals. I rather like Billy Foote's arrangement. The female vocals are great and the instrumentation seems a bit better produced. As a Christian and lover of the genre, this song is very catchy and makes a great worship tune. The vocals in your demo remind me of Chris Lizotte.

That being said, I really do like your demo, it's just missing some production...

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We'd also have a female vocalist singing this one if/when we do it in church. There's another arrangement with an absolutely phenomenal female vocalist (even better than Billy Foote)...I'll try to find that one and upload it...can't recall her name right now. I don't like the arrangement of it nearly as well though...

 

Dave

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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I like the vocals.

 

I kinda like the 5th intervals. I wouldn't consider scrapping all the 5th chords. Maybe stretch the pinky and add a 9th?

 

The 5ths give a nice open-airy tone. The maj/min arps may tighten up the harmony too much

 

Main main crticism is the caste between tone choices from the verse to chorus

 

YOu are going from extremely clean to super crunch

 

You may want to play w/ a semi-dirty tone on the verse and pick a tone slightly(not much) less crunchy and get the tone you want from pick attack

OR

I would have just the main dirt tone, but roll the volume back, so there is consstency

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Actually, I chose the completely different tones on purpose...I wanted to create a lot of contrast between the verse and chorus (but not so much that it sounds like a totally different song, of course).

 

I've retracked the clean guitar with arpeggiated major and minor chords...I think you might be right about that tightening the harmony too much. Seems like it loose some of the "airy" feel to it. I'm thinking that the root-5th-octave clean part might actually sound better, even though it doesn't "pronounce" the majorness and minorness of the chord progression...hmmm...

 

I may try something different, like the 9th you mentioned just to see how it sounds...

 

UPDATE: I was just plucking on the acoustic a bit...seems like sus2 chords might fit really well...position x4xx44, etc., for instance. Seems to have a similar airy feel but a different flavor to it. I may track this and see how it sounds in conjuction with the piano doing maj and min chords.

 

By the way, the above statement is EXACTLY why I'm working on improving the guitar skills...so I can grab a guitar, do something, and see how it actually sounds. This is doing worlds of good for me in terms of understanding harmonic structure in real-world terms and not just "book" terms. Even if we never play this arrangement, I've still learned a tremendous amount from it.

 

Dave

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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