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My Unsolicited Tips For Negotiating With Guitar Heros


cphollis

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Like many of you, I'm in this half-decent bar band with an official Guitar Hero. He plays loud, he plays all the time. He's good, but not Awesome as he thinks.

 

I think I'm there only because the other band members insist on it.

 

I've learned to negotiate with him. And it's producing positive results. He's backing down, allowing the rest of us to breathe a bit, and the music is improving as a result. Half of it is psychology, the other half is knowing more about sound than he does. He wants to sound good (don't we all?) he just didn't know how to get there.

 

His first play was to bring a monster amp to gigs. 4x12 Marshalls. I mean, really, for a small bar gig? I turned him on to 12" single Fenders to get "tone". He bit. OK, all good.

 

He used to put his amp on the floor, aimed at his ankles. And he wondered why he couldn't hear himself. Shocking, I know. I offered that maybe if you pointed your amp at your ears, things would be better? So he bought an amp stand.

 

Yeah, but when it got loud, he still whined that he couldn't hear himself play. Never mind that the rest of us were getting tired of him toasting our ears on a regular basis.

 

A few weeks ago, I did some googling, and came up with the Deeflex sound shaper for small Fender amps. He didn't want to spend the $350, so he built his own for maybe $50. He tried it tonight. He said, for the first time, he could hear himself. And of course, we could all hear him loud and clear.

 

A big win.

 

His other bitch with me is that I'm Too Loud. Well, maybe, but all the band members want me to turn up big time. As in, not exactly comfortable with doing that, but OK. The times I've done it, it's sort of bipolar. Guitar Hero says I'm too loud, the other band member are all like go for it.

 

Ahem.

 

So this is a case of negotiating through strength. I have killer amplification. I can toast everyone's ears at a moment's notice. Rich, clear, accurate sound. BTW, I don't suck. At one recent gig, some folks came up and said "man, you should turn the keyboard dude way up".

 

Not exactly great for his musical ego, but it is what it is.

 

To his credit, he is acknowledging the new reality. I'm going to take my fair share of solos, and when he goes off for an extended time, he's going to find a keyboard army behind him.

 

Peace through strength.

Life is too short to be playing bad music.

 

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Are you using the Force? "That is not the amplifier you are looking for."

 

I never have any luck getting guitarists to understand the importance of pointing your amp at your ears if you want to hear yourself. And that the guitar is not supposed to be the loudest instrument every moment of the performance.

 

Congratulations and thanks for sharing. Inspiring. Try this amp stand like the one I use so I can hear myself? You are a genius.

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Exactly the topic I need to know more about.

 

I wrote a funky tune for our horn band. The band liked it and wants to work on it. At practice last night, the guitarist seemed to think it was appropriate to play on every eight note from beginning to end. How do I get the guitar player to lay out during non-guitar sections (I know, right? Who writes tunes where the guitar lays out for all of 8 bars?), or that "more funky" means "play fewer notes"?

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My experience with every band I've been in, except for a couple of happy exceptions:

 

Step 1- after months of senseless noise, I finally convince the guitarists to try, for once, to play at lower volumes so we can at least hear the vocals.

 

Step 2- WOW! INCREDIBLE! AMAZING! Everybody can't believe how good we sound, how they can finally hear the vocals, how we play better, are more in tune and in time with each other, and...are the keyboards really doing ALL THAT STUFF?!? I've never heard a single note you played! -everybody laughing out loud, except me-

 

Step 3- after exactly 5 minutes, the guitarists turn up again because I CAN'T HEAR MYSELF!!! and any other sound is drowned in a wall of distortion. The matter is not discussed ever again.

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My Dead band keeps surprising me. Our Bob Weir is too loud, and it's "Phil" and "Jerry" telling him to turn down.

 

Running sound is also a negotiating advantage. "If you play too loud, I'll have to take you out of the PA. This means that anybody off-axis from your guitar amp is not going to hear you."

 

In my rock band, it's the lead guitarist who can get too loud...I have started just putting him in his monitor...the more he creeps up, the more guitar I send him. Hee hee. The only problem with that is that he comps too loud and doesn't play leads loud enough. I have been known to ride his fader, but I'm sometimes too busy for that.

 

Link to Deeflex Soundshaper? All I can find is equalizers.

Hammond: L111, M100, M3, BC, CV, Franken CV, A100, D152, C3, B3

Leslie: 710, 760, 51C, 147, 145, 122, 22H, 31H

Yamaha: CP4, DGX-620, DX7II-FD-E!, PF85, DX9

Roland: VR-09, RD-800

 

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Bassists deal with this every day, on every tune, in every band...and even the keyboardist won't side with them. They're at the very bottom of the pecking order. That's one of several reasons that I started putting effort into guitar and keyboards.

 

There's a meme I saw online somewhere that shows a simple graphic. It shows an outline of a guy, not unlike the sort of thing you'd see to indicate a mens' room in a restaurant plus various instruments:

Guy + mic = Guy with four girls, two on each side.

Guy + guitar = Guy with three girls

Guy + drums = Guy and two girls

Guy + keys = Guy and one girl

Guy + bass...just the guy

If I recall correctly, they even had the roadie. Bwess his widdle heart, he ended up with the truck in the end, so he didn't get any girls, either.

 

I may have the exact number of girls wrong, but you get the idea. The reason it's funny is because it's painful and all humor is based on someone's pain. However, there's a lot of truth to it. In my case, I simply made the decision that--after years and years of trying to break through a glass ceiling--I was no longer going to be a second class citizen.

 

Please remember to smile kindly upon your bass player. He's almost certainly got it worse than you.

 

Grey

I'm not interested in someone's ability to program. I'm interested in their ability to compose and play.

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You know, if you're going to be a condescending dick, the least you could do is spell the effing product name properly.

 

http://i.snag.gy/nWYOoN.jpg

 

For anybody else looking for information of the Deeflexx Sound Deflection System, the company's page is here: https://www.hoovi.at/deeflexx-2/?lang=en

 

Wes

Hammond: L111, M100, M3, BC, CV, Franken CV, A100, D152, C3, B3

Leslie: 710, 760, 51C, 147, 145, 122, 22H, 31H

Yamaha: CP4, DGX-620, DX7II-FD-E!, PF85, DX9

Roland: VR-09, RD-800

 

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You know, if you're going to be a condescending dick, the least you could do is spell the effing product name properly.

 

Um...perhaps there's an inside joke that I, as a relatively new member don't get, or perhaps it was meant as a friendly insult; the sort of thing you can get away with when talking to someone you know well...but, the above came off as a little rough.

 

I took, 'Sorry, not paying attention,' to mean that cphollis was admitting that he hadn't been paying attention and had made a typo.

 

Just one guy's view.

 

Grey

I'm not interested in someone's ability to program. I'm interested in their ability to compose and play.

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Ah, sorry Chuck.

 

Where I come from, a lmgtfy link is the ultimate form of condescending result, doled out toward chronic help vampires.

Hammond: L111, M100, M3, BC, CV, Franken CV, A100, D152, C3, B3

Leslie: 710, 760, 51C, 147, 145, 122, 22H, 31H

Yamaha: CP4, DGX-620, DX7II-FD-E!, PF85, DX9

Roland: VR-09, RD-800

 

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Whenever I read this type of thread, I'm grateful for the caliber of musicians with whom I play. I sympathize for those of you dealing with guitar heros.

 

My guitarists are considerate of the music and they play to complement it. Guess I need to buy a few cigars. :laugh::cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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re: O/p

 

what a large amount of time and effort expended to tame the wild guitar man.

 

This was also my experience in the 70's. I don't have your patience and persistence

to tame mr rock star. Some rock drummers (!) are also ' all about me ' . So when there was a band with a guitarist and drummer competing with 95% of the audio spectrum , I went elsewhere.

 

These days, 100% of my music ability goes to my material in addition to utilizing all the great technology we have at our finger tips. No drama, complete focus on my music priorities.

Why fit in, when you were born to stand out ?

My Soundcloud with many originals:

[70's Songwriter]

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Bassists deal with this every day, on every tune, in every band...and even the keyboardist won't side with them. They're at the very bottom of the pecking order. That's one of several reasons that I started putting effort into guitar and keyboards.

 

...In my case, I simply made the decision that--after years and years of trying to break through a glass ceiling--I was no longer going to be a second class citizen.

 

Please remember to smile kindly upon your bass player. He's almost certainly got it worse than you.

 

Grey

 

Wow... In my experience I always let the bass player know that he/she is appreciated, and besides, IMO, they carry the song just as much as the drummer. I will use bass sounds from my keyboards if they can't make it, but I ALWAYS prefer it when he is there. Plus, I tend to end up being friends with them. The interesting thing is, I have played with bass players where we seem to read each other's minds, where we can just sort of "groove" out. As in, what we play blends really well, and compliments each other's music.

 

Perhaps I am in the minority...

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Former: Emu Proformance Plus & Mo'Phatt, Korg Krome 61, Roland Fantom XR & JV-1010, Behringer CAT

Yamaha Pacifica 112V & APX600 | Washburn WI64 | Ibanez BTB-675 | Roland TD-17 KVX | Alesis SamplePad Pro | Assorted organs, accordions, other instruments

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Another tip: make sure the person running sound is not a buddy of guitar hero. I encountered one of those - he always kept my mixer channel down and blasted guitar hero through the PA. Since the PA belongs to me, I have control who runs it; I discovered that he took it upon himself to screw up the buss routings (he thought the board was stereo) so that was my excuse to boot him.

 

Most guitar players are not open to negotiations on what amp to play through. The exceptions are realizing it's not about them it's about the BAND. Good for them.

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Ah, sorry Chuck.

 

Where I come from, a lmgtfy link is the ultimate form of condescending result, doled out toward chronic help vampires.

 

No insult intended in the least. Just trying to be helpful, as I had misspelled it previously.

Life is too short to be playing bad music.

 

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Whenever I read this type of thread, I'm grateful for the caliber of musicians with whom I play. I sympathize for those of you dealing with guitar heros.

 

My guitarists are considerate of the music and they play to complement it. Guess I need to buy a few cigars. :laugh::cool:

 

+1

 

I steadily play with two different guitar players. I cannot complain at all about their volume and sound. They are both great people.

.

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Wow... In my experience I always let the bass player know that he/she is appreciated, and besides, IMO, they carry the song just as much as the drummer. I will use bass sounds from my keyboards if they can't make it, but I ALWAYS prefer it when he is there. Plus, I tend to end up being friends with them. The interesting thing is, I have played with bass players where we seem to read each other's minds, where we can just sort of "groove" out. As in, what we play blends really well, and compliments each other's music.

 

Perhaps I am in the minority...

 

As you might imagine, I've spent time at a couple of bass fora. I'm not alone in this. There are threads aplenty that follow the same general theme as this one, only it's not regarding the "Guitar Hero," it's the whole band. Ditto for many bass players that I've met personally. So, sadly, it's a "thing."

 

Which is why the meme I mentioned rings so painfully true.

 

While there are bass players who are content to lay back and keep time in their private world with the drummer, being "the rhythm section," there are many, many players who are capable of much more advanced playing styles, yet find themselves quashed by their band members.

 

Question (take a moment, think, answer honestly): How many times have you heard a bass player let loose a blistering riff fully the equal of any guitar player's lead during a sound check or between songs, only to tamp it down to quarter and half notes in the songs? Once? Twice? A hundred times?

 

Buy that dude a beer and--gently, because you may get more than you bargained for--ask him if he'd like to spread his wings a bit...play like that just a teeny, tiny, little bit during one (or...gawd forbid...more than one) of the songs. Be prepared for a bitter tirade.

 

I stayed with bass for as long as I did for love of the instrument, but it got to the point where I had to admit that the reality of the matter was that it would never, ever, ever improve; that if I wanted more I was going to have to change instruments--or at least add instruments.

 

Grey

 

P.S.: I entered "bass player meme" into Google and located this:

 

Instrument vs. girls meme

 

It's not the one I was trying to describe (no keys and no roadie), but it's in the same vein. If you've got time and the interest, do your own search. The unhappy ones are funny because they're true.

I'm not interested in someone's ability to program. I'm interested in their ability to compose and play.

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Whenever I read this type of thread, I'm grateful for the caliber of musicians with whom I play. I sympathize for those of you dealing with guitar heros.

 

My guitarists are considerate of the music and they play to complement it. Guess I need to buy a few cigars. :laugh::cool:

 

+1

 

I steadily play with two different guitar players. I cannot complain at all about their volume and sound. They are both great people.

 

 

Yeah, this!

 

I am long over with having to teach people what it means to be in a band. i.e., the sum is greater than the parts, and many/often times less is more.

 

I forget who said it, but he said something along the lines of "the notes you don't play are as important as the ones you do."

David

Gig Rig:Roland Fantom-08| Yamaha MODX+ 6 | MacBook Pro 14" M1| Mainstage

 

 

 

 

 

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I am long over with having to teach people what it means to be in a band. i.e., the sum is greater than the parts, and many/often times less is more.

 

I forget who said it, but he said something along the lines of "the notes you don't play are as important as the ones you do."

 

I'm sure that your circumstances warrant the things you're saying, but I can't count the number of times I've heard that same rationale used to crush those who want to do something...anything...more than the bare minimum.

 

Different sorts of music appeal to different people and something like, say, a Katy Perry song isn't the place for me or anyone else who really wants to use their abilities. The boundaries of the problem become clearer when you hear "less is more" every day, all the time, no matter what you're doing...while the rest of the band gets to do their thing. It doesn't take long to see the lay of the land.

 

Grey

I'm not interested in someone's ability to program. I'm interested in their ability to compose and play.

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The interesting thing is, I have played with bass players where we seem to read each other's minds, where we can just sort of "groove" out. As in, what we play blends really well, and compliments each other's music.

 

Perhaps I am in the minority...

 

That's been experience also. It's aways been a very sympatico relationship. The only instrumental relationship that has been warmer in my experience, is pianist and vocalist.

 

For me, the best music comes from trust. I don't want to have to negotiate at arms length.

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Bassists deal with this every day, on every tune, in every band...and even the keyboardist won't side with them. They're at the very bottom of the pecking order. That's one of several reasons that I started putting effort into guitar and keyboards.

 

There's a meme I saw online somewhere that shows a simple graphic. It shows an outline of a guy, not unlike the sort of thing you'd see to indicate a mens' room in a restaurant plus various instruments:

Guy + mic = Guy with four girls, two on each side.

Guy + guitar = Guy with three girls

Guy + drums = Guy and two girls

Guy + keys = Guy and one girl

Guy + bass...just the guy

If I recall correctly, they even had the roadie. Bwess his widdle heart, he ended up with the truck in the end, so he didn't get any girls, either.

 

I may have the exact number of girls wrong, but you get the idea. The reason it's funny is because it's painful and all humor is based on someone's pain. However, there's a lot of truth to it. In my case, I simply made the decision that--after years and years of trying to break through a glass ceiling--I was no longer going to be a second class citizen.

 

Please remember to smile kindly upon your bass player. He's almost certainly got it worse than you.

 

Grey

 

except the biggest chick magnet I've ever played with (literally) was a bass player.....all 350+ lbs of him. No one else in the band would even get a second glance. Go figure.....

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Hmmm...maybe I should gain some weight.

 

Actually, my wife would probably get annoyed.

 

For whatever reason, there seem to be an inordinate number of bearded, heavy bass players. I'm not heavy, but I did have a beard. I shaved the beard when I started playing more guitar--didn't want to be identified as a bass player on sight. I thought it would be better to fly under the radar, so to speak...be incognito.

 

Grey

I'm not interested in someone's ability to program. I'm interested in their ability to compose and play.

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In my experience, a fender combo can be every bit as loud as a marshal 4x12. 4x12's, especially slanted cabs, when played at the right volume, are less directional too. That's not a problem with the equipment, it's a problem with the player.

 

Used to play with a guitar player who HAD to play through a 4x12. He actually had phenomenal tone and good volume control....if he only had a shred of rhythm!!!

 

Truly, there is a big difference between a closed back cab and an open back combo in tone. Also, I HATE pointing a speaker directly at my ears for the same reason that you don't normally close mike a guitar cabinet directly on the cone...it sounds like crap up close in line w/the cone.

You want me to start this song too slow or too fast?

 

Forte7, Nord Stage 3, XK3c, OB-6, Arturia Collection, Mainstage, MotionSound KBR3D. A bunch of MusicMan Guitars, Line6 stuff

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