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Do you tend to play over / under your capacity ?

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by johnny k, Feb 13, 2018 at 3:51 AM.

  1. Chicago Matt

    Chicago Matt Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    68
    Aug 23, 2014
    Woodstock
    To me, it depends on the situation. Recording - usually under. Time is often money and I go for something that fits and serves the song first. But in my trio, where I'm the only guy besides bass and drums, I'm pushed to keep things interesting for 4 hours. It's a challenge that pushes me to experiment and try things that might be beyond my ability to do well. Stretching is good for me and, fortunately, the audience is usually accepting.
     
    telemnemonics likes this.

  2. Bob M

    Bob M Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    883
    May 11, 2011
    North of Boston
    Under for me. There are a few instruments in our band and everyone wants a lead. I try and stay compact and to the point.
     
    Durtdog likes this.

  3. SecretSquirrel

    SecretSquirrel Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Jul 2, 2015
    PNW USA
    I tend to play right up to my level of ability, and too often try to exceed it. Like some others, I've been trying to teach myself to 'play less' and focus on a leaner, cleaner and simpler approach, which ultimately serves the music better...and reduces the number of "clams" played because I was overreaching.
     
    Chicago Matt likes this.

  4. Larmo63

    Larmo63 Tele-Meister

    117
    Feb 1, 2018
    Timbuktu
    I wanted to play guitar from the second I saw the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show in 1964 live. From the first note of "All My Loving,'" that was it. I wanted a guitar and we mimed Beatles, Rolling Stones, and Beach Boys tunes. My older cousin was spoiled and got a Fender Mustang when he was about thirteen, then learned to play and was in bands. He got into drugs and so my mom forbid me to get anywhere close to being a musician. Fast forward late teen years, my friend got me started a bit, I found it frustrating to chord a guitar. It sounded like ****. I thought it was going to be natural and easy. By my mid twenties, I won a guitar in a backgammon tournament and really buckled down to learning and practicing. I'm a pretty good rhythm player and singer now, & still learning stuff on my Telecasters. I enjoy it immensely, but I envy those who grew up playing since children, I missed out on that. Both of my boys gravitated to my playing while they were young, and they both play well. All I can do is keep trying to learn, even now in my early sixties.
     
    Milspec likes this.

  5. cousinpaul

    cousinpaul Friend of Leo's

    Jun 19, 2009
    Nashville TN
    I'd probably go with under. Staying within the audience's comfort zone is important and you have to consider the other band members as well. A chain is only as strong as it's weakest link. If you've got skills that other members might lack, it makes sense to play to the band's level of competence, telegraphing your moves, etc. You definitely don't want to force others to play above their skill level. Save the Mahavishnu stuff for another date where everybody's on the same page.
     

  6. Gene O.

    Gene O. Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    168
    Sep 20, 2015
    Canton, Ohio
    Usually at or under, depending on the vibe at the venue, and how much I'm "feeling it". If I'm feeling really good I will try to push myself and take a few risks - sometimes they work, sometimes they don't, but you have to try. If I feel myself tensing up I will slow things down and drop under that median line so I don't sound like a trainwreck.
     

  7. -Hawk-

    -Hawk- Friend of Leo's

    Oct 14, 2015
    IL, USA
    I just give it everything I've got. I'm not doing anything that hasn't been done a million times and what Ive got isn't going to impress anybody keeping score, but I feel like live playing always brings out the best in me. Its that wonderful space that you occupy where the moment is all that matters and the consequences really don't. Occasionally I crash and burn in a spectacular fashion, but at least I tried.

    As for my style, it's rooted in melody most of the time. My brain sucks at copping licks for the most part. It always seems to build a song within the song, so I try not to fight it.
     
    NJ Deadhead, johnny k and Milspec like this.

  8. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    58
    Mar 2, 2010
    Maine
    Over my capacity 100% of the time!
    I'm not much of a rhythm guitarist because I'm missing my LH pinkie tip, and am useful in music for other things, some of which I do well enough to actually enhance the music.

    If I'm not playing something where the tempo forces me into a bind with my execution, then I'm trying to make each note as perfectly toneful and emotionally compelling within the confines of the song, as humanly possible.
    Also trying to play outside the norm without losing the listener or the song.

    This allows for frequent shortfalls!
    Maybe even constant failure in my "goals".

    Really, central is the response of the listener.
    Maybe I'm insecure or just pompous, but if the listener/ the audience, is not really paying attention, I'm going to try to wake them up to the the performance that's right there in front of them, ready and willing to make their evening memorable and fulfilling.
    And no, shredding does not wake up an audience AFAIK, or not for long anyhow.

    I've seen some epic Jazz where whole tables of patrons paid good money for hard to get seats and spent their evening acting self important, noisy and distracting.

    That is the bands job!

    I want to slap those sorts of patrons.
    Self obsession? No, more like music obsession.

    For clarity, I am not "epic Jazz" material...
    Not even a Jazz musician.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018 at 1:18 PM
    Chicago Matt likes this.

  9. chris m.

    chris m. Friend of Leo's

    It's worse when it's the other way-- the players are acting self important, noisy, and distracting......doing very boring, egotistical, way-too-long solos.
    I don't worry about clams too much-- hit it like you meant it and then resolve to a good note half a step away....there's a way to make anything sound
    good-- "it's jazz!". More important is to play in a manner that serves the song and responds to the audience. I tend to be the maestro of our band and
    if the audience is really into it I will let one of our guys play more than one chorus. But if we're losing the audience I'll shorten and cut back on the number
    of solos and go back to the head and move on to the next song. I'll also adjust the set list on the fly sometimes to pick songs that seem to fit the energy
    of the audience.
     

  10. Flakey

    Flakey Friend of Leo's

    Music is a language of communication. I may have a large vocabulary but I don't speak every word I know within a conversation. I use only the words that convey what I'm trying to communicate. The more "words and phrases" I know and when and how to use them the more succinctly I can get the message said.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018 at 12:46 PM

  11. kennl

    kennl Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 6, 2007
    Moon Township, PA
    The best moments in musical performance occur when you are "in the zone" and the mind does not interfere with the music. In those moments, one plays beyond his/her capacity.
     

  12. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    58
    Mar 2, 2010
    Maine
    Yeah you bring up an IMO important point.
    I would say there is technical capacity and musical capacity.

    Guitar study now makes it possible for players to reach a very high technical level while still being at a fairly low musical level.

    Thus we see players with staggering technical capacity that are not really "musical".

    Maybe those who say they play below their capacity mean below their technical capacity, because their musical capacity seldom calls for showy technique within the music they like or get the chance to play.

    Taste and restraint are part of musical capacity, and exceeding those capacities diminishes the music.
     
    P Thought and Chicago Matt like this.

  13. Kingpin

    Kingpin Friend of Leo's

    Mar 16, 2003
    Here
    Under. While I admire those that jump without a safety net, I play my best when I can play something "simple" with strong conviction. I think audiences are more attuned to confidence than many guit-slingers acknowledge.
     
    P Thought and g-Paul like this.

  14. atk1

    atk1 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    43
    91
    Jun 16, 2016
    Dayton, Ohio
    Derek Trucks is a prime example of this philosophy:
    "It’s emotion. It could be a literal story you have in mind that you could be telling, but it's important that it's not just a pile of things that you practise that you think are cool. You really should be trying to express something.

    “You hear a great Art Blakey drum solo or Elvin Jones, and you can tell when they're taking a breath. You can tell when they're loading up for something big. There's just this humanity in it, and I think that's important as well. I think telling a story and taking a breath is important.”
     
    Milspec likes this.

  15. atk1

    atk1 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    43
    91
    Jun 16, 2016
    Dayton, Ohio

  16. sax4blues

    sax4blues Friend of Leo's

    Apr 14, 2006
    San Jose, CA
    I've always underplayed. I find it much bigger ego boost when people ask me to play more, than tell me to play less.
     

  17. Milspec

    Milspec Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 15, 2016
    Nebraska
    Believe me, I found it harsh as well, but I drive 2 hours roundtrip for these lessons and on the way home I began to understand his point. I have been going to this instructor for the last 6 months for a weekly lesson of 2 hours and he continues to point out that I need to stop thinking technical and become more musical. He has me working on a pretty difficult piece which I have done well to memorize, but my play is a bit robotic to the point that if I miss note I can't find my way past the error without backing up and playing a couple of notes before it again.

    His point is that I can't move past the mistakes because I don't understand the reason for the arrangement...not understanding the piece musically. I have improved a great deal since going to this guy, but I fear that I might always be that kid from the movie "Footloose" who memorizes all the dance steps and executes them without error yet never has any ryhthum and looks like a robot. I am not that bad and actually feel that I am an ok player after these 5 years, but to him, I am that robot.

    I don't know if I will keep the lessons up actually. It is not cheap and the long drive is a pita, but worse is that I always feel like I am failing more than growing. I have improved rapidly since going to him, but the enjoyment isn't really there anymore. Maybe if I was a young man the journey would be worth it, but at 49, it isn't like I have 35 years of growth ahead of me. I can only become so good at this point in life.
     
    Sounds Good likes this.

  18. TwangyWhammy

    TwangyWhammy Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 10, 2014
    Under the DownUnder
    Most of the time, just slightly under - when on stage.

    But every now and then, you can sense that there's this special 'flow' happening. Usually when the amp and guitar sounds sooo sweet for some unexplainable reason. Then I'll go over the edge to 'take a peek' and do something impromptu that gets pulled-off so well it surprises even me. I only do this when the sun, the moon, the stars, and all the ducks have lined-up in front of me, saying... here you go, have a shot.
     
    P Thought likes this.

  19. LOSTVENTURE

    LOSTVENTURE Tele-Holic

    779
    Feb 13, 2007
    Charlotte, NC
    Every time that we sit down to practice we are increasing our capabilities to some extent. Since I learn primarily by listening to other,s it becomes a matter of how much better they are than me. If they are that much better then I have to challenge myself more. If it turns out that they are playing at my level, it tends to get boring. Finding that difference is what listening is all about.
    But that's one of music's challenges, and enough to keep me learning after 50+ years.
    Don
     
    Milspec likes this.

  20. Sounds Good

    Sounds Good Tele-Meister

    280
    Oct 2, 2017
    Luton UK
    Yes i know what you mean i listened to Shawn Lane being interviewed once, i cannot remember which video it was now, and the interviewer said if he thought he was complete player and he said no, and that he needed to work on those little naunces that make a song more vibrant and alive with using slight little bends and vibrato in some places or words to that effect.

    I didn't start till i was 54 btw, and was off for 6 years as well alot is what you tell your mind the power of suggestion and all that.

    Anyhow Good Luck!! with the playing.
     
    Milspec likes this.

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