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Guitar as a second instrument serious thread


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  • #31
    I agree with pogo. If you really want to be able to play, put it where you'll pick it up frequently and play it all the time, both plugged in and unplugged. Stories abound about good players who practically put on their instruments with their pants in the morning and wore them all day. I knew a world-class harp player (Madcat Ruth) who says he's probably a harp player because they were cheap enough to have one by every chair.

    I started playing piano and a classical guitar around age 10, and as I got older I added different kinds of keyboards as well as different kinds of guitars. Each type of guitar is very different, with different techniques and tricks. You don't play an acoustic the same way you play an electric, and you don't play a classical the same way as a dreadnought. You use different chops on an archtop that you do a Les Paul, and you approach the LP differently than a Strat. Of course, there's a lot in common too. A classical guitar is about as much like an electric guitar as a piano is like a polysynth or Hammond organ.

    The bar is lower for keyboard players. I can hardly throw a stone without hitting a guitarist who can blow me away, but keyboard players that don't suck are quite a bit harder to find. So, as a keyboard player, I can run with bigger dogs than I could on guitar. (I'm better on keys than electric guitar, but probably even with piano on fingerstyle acoustic.)

    Seconding on guitar has never been easier, thanks to amp/cab modelers (e.g., Line6 POD). I use a Digitech Genesis3: not the best, but it has features I like. Modelers don't sound good enough if I were playing guitar mainly, but for doubling after keys they're a no-brainer. In a sould band, it's great to be able to drop the keys for a few songs and play guitar. No keys on AWB, IIRC! No doubt it's also true for rock, blues, and country.

    I learned most of my piano chords by transcribing jazz guitar chord voicings, just because they sound so sweet. Playing piano certainly helped me understand things on guitar, too. There's a lot of cross-pollenation. Also, I have an understanding for when a voicing I'd like to hear from a guitarist just won't happen due to the nature of the instrument.

    But one can spread oneself too thin. I keep seeing cool instruments and want to get one, but ask myself whether I really do want to suck on yet another instrument! (I can sorta play woodwinds, kalimba, harmonica, etc. But do I really need to sorta play a Chapman Stick too?)


    • #32
      I'm a "doubler" as well, although I'm more accomplished on guitar than keys. I've been playing guitar since the late 60's and have played in many bands over the years - mostly classic rock. However I got into synths in the 80's and have owned quite a nice collection of them since then. However, I don't consider myself a "keyboardist" at all, but more of a "synthesist." My orientation on them is as a soundscape creator in an ambient music context, and I've also done a fair amount of sound design and synth programming. I keep thinking that some day I'll actually study keyboard and become more proficient as a player, but that hasn't happened yet. I do gig with both guitar and synths, though, mainly using the synths for ethereal electronic atmospheres. I also combine them by playing midi guitar and controlling a guitar synth or keyboard with it. But I love having the ability to use both guitar and synths.

      About half of my guitar collection:


      • #33
        I play piano, bass and sax........and pretty much suck on all of them! :-)
        Maybe forgiveness is right where you fell...


        • #34
          Guitars and synth go together. love this guy...


          Already liked Talking Heads / Tom Tom Club but have really gotten into 80s King Crimson.


          • #35

            Quote Originally Posted by learjeff
            View Post

            The bar is lower for keyboard players. I can hardly throw a stone without hitting a guitarist who can blow me away, but keyboard players that don't suck are quite a bit harder to find. So, as a keyboard player, I can run with bigger dogs than I could on guitar.

            I didn't start with keys because of this, but I certainly benefited from it.

            Quote Originally Posted by learjeff
            View Post

            you approach the LP differently than a Strat.

            How so? Is it a dif in the actual playing mechanics, or just different musical styles because we're conditioned to expect bebop from single coil and ballz from humbuckers? I like the sound of both, btw, as long as you can keep the Strat away from the fluorescent lights.

            I plink around on drums & bass too, btw. I finally got a fairly nice bass a few months ago, but no drums...




            • #36

              Quote Originally Posted by keybdwizrd
              View Post

              I've played piano and keyboards for 48 years - I had many, many years of piano lessons. I have also studied composition and theory.

              Quote Originally Posted by keybdwizrd
              View Post

              Do you think it guitar lessons would facilitate my progress?

              I would usually say yes but...

              ...given your previous piano lessons, knowledge of theory, years of experience and that you probably just want to play for fun I say no for now. There is so much info on You Tube it really doesn't make sense to spend time and money on lessons.

              Remember spending hours playing scales up and down on the piano? You will want to do the same thing on guitar. Practice different fingering for the major and minor scales along with the modes. This will build left hand finger muscle memory and right hand picking technique. Do straight up and down the scale picking and then alternate picking like 1-3, 2-4, 3-5, 4-6, 5-7, 6-8 and so on. IMO. Chords will pretty much come naturally after your finger strength is built up. This is what I did and what I'm teaching my daughter.


              • #37

                Quote Originally Posted by keybdwizrd
                View Post

                I've played piano and keyboards for 48 years - I had many, many years of piano lessons. I have also studied composition and theory.

                I have always wanted to play guitar. One of my son's extra guitars is here, along with an amp.

                I've been thinking about picking it up to see what I could accomplish. Do you think it guitar lessons would facilitate my progress?

                Yes, provided you find the appropriate teacher for your guitar goals/interests. For example, a teacher specializing in single-note metal shredding is probably not a good fit for you if you want to learn intricate fingerstyle jazz guitar arrangements. Also, a good teacher won't waste your time teaching you theory you already know and will instead focus on what you really need (basic exercises to sync up your fretting hand and picking hand, learn the fretboard layout, etc.).

                As Jeff noted, there are multiple ways to play the guitar - with a pick, with no pick (finger-style), with hybrid picking (pick + fingers simultaneously), two-handed tapping, etc. It would help to identify the guitar players that best fit what you want to do with the guitar, and look for a teacher who can get you into the general vicinity.

                BTW, piano was the first instrument I studied. I didn't take up guitar until I got into college - my roommate always had one lying around, and I was dependent on piano practice room availability at the college (and couldn't afford a keyboard w/ velocity sensitivity).


                • #38
                  Regarding lessons: Be sure to have someone teach you the right way to hold the pick and how to use your right hand. I spent a lot of time relearning due to getting that wrong to begin with. A *lot* of time! And still I don't do it quite the way the best players do (I use an alternate style that a very good player showed me many years ago.) I sure wish I'd started off on the right foot in that regard.

                  Quote Originally Posted by Plink Floyd
                  View Post

                  Quote Originally Posted by learjeff

                  you approach the LP differently than a Strat.

                  How so? Is it a dif in the actual playing mechanics, or just different musical styles because we're conditioned to expect bebop from single coil and ballz from humbuckers? I like the sound of both, btw, as long as you can keep the Strat away from the fluorescent lights.

                  More stylistic, and what works. I generally prefer SC pups because I like the brightness and don't usually use much distortion (these days, that is ... things were different decades ago). Of course, the necks on the two feel really different as well: strats usually very curved, LP's nearly flat, and that changes things. I'd like a compound radius so I could bend notes higher, well up the neck, without fretting out.

                  Here's me pretending to be Jeff Beck. When I try to play this on my Jazzmaster it just doesn't quite come out. (I don't have a strat or an LP, but a Jazzmaster and a National LP copy with all the hardware replaced, and 490 pups from an LP).


                  That was before I replaced the hardware & pups; I should redo it. It's also using a modeler, and without acoustic feed back I didn't quite get the sustain the part demands. Still I'm real happy with it; that's about as well as I can play!

                  Quote Originally Posted by liliththekitten

                  Guitars and synth go together. love this guy...

                  Adrian Belew is da man. I saw KC's Discipline show in a small venue (Nectarine Ballroom in Ann Arbor), where all the seats were front-row (3 balconies over the dance floor, which is where KC played). He was the wild animal in contrast to the machine known as Fripp, and Levin and Bruford were monsters. Amazing show. Belew had JC120 amps all over (I think I saw 5), with the stereo chorus set on slow for all of them. Wall of sound!


                  • #39
                    I'm a multi-instrumentalist. The way I manage the time I spend on these instruments, so that I don't feel overwhelmed, is I use them for certain roles:

                    Viola/electric violin - Leads and orchestral string parts (I play in community orchestra once a month).

                    Piano/keys - Writing, esp. working out harmonies, recording

                    Synths - Writing, recording

                    Guitar - Taking a break from the other instruments. I basically just work on fingerstyle cover tunes - generally unrelated to any music I might be writing on the other instruments - when I play guitar. I've used guitar in the recording role before but my new musical direction doesn't have a role for guitar.

                    Thus, I don't spend a lot of time working on "chops" on guitar, because I do almost all my leads on the bowed instruments. I do work on the Bach Inventions on piano, just for fun.

                    Piano was my first instrument, then guitar, then viola. I later got a 5-string electric violin because loud band situations caused my viola to feed back, and it was also a good excuse to get an instrument with a 13-pin Roland output so I could run it through my Roland VG-99.


                    • #40
                      I double on guitar (primary instrument) and keys (secondary). What I've found is that learning a second instrument influences how you play the first one. For example, if I'm playing a synth lead, I never use LFO vibrato but manipulate the pitch wheel manually for a more "guitaristic" effect.

                      It also changes how I do patches. I really like the way a guitar can morph into feedback, so a lot of my patches have a fifth, octave, or octave+fifth above sine wave I can bring in with aftertouch as the note sustains.

                      The biggest difference for me is the wide-open voicings that come naturally with guitar. One some rhythm parts, I do block chords that group the notes more closely, like a keyboard, and play fewer notes. I find that gives more space in the mix for other instruments.

                      Each instrument is a different musical experience, and being a music junkie, I love having those different experiences! I did an album back in the 80s called Forward Motion that did quite well, and used a lot of MIDI guitar and keyboards (this was pre affordable hard disk recording, so it was all MIDI). It was easy to tell the two instruments apart: the "guitar" parts were usually played on keyboards, and the "keyboard" parts on guitar.
                      There are now 14 music videos posted on my YouTube channel, including four songs by Mark Longworth. Watch the music video playlist, subscribe, and spread the links! Check back often, because there's more to come...


                      • #41
                        Learning to play rhythm guitar is learning barre chords, and then learning not to play them.


                        • #42

                          Quote Originally Posted by Paolo Di Nicolantonio
                          View Post

                          I actually started on classical guitar as a child. I remember that I didn't like that the strings hurt my fingers so I switched to piano, which obviously was much easier on the fingers These days, I'm just "ok" at guitar, but I think I'm much better at electric bass, since I played it in bands for years. I dabble with several other instruments too. But I am, first and foremost, a keyboard player.

                          Hey dude. Long time no talk, how's everything going? Hope all is well, it's the same old stuff here...I know we'vegot a lot in common but I had no idea we had so much in common!!! I also took classical guitar lessons as a kid ( I reawlly wanted to play guitar when Metallica's Black Album came out, I was in 5th grade and Kirk's solo in Enter Sandman made me want to pick up guitar, but my dad made me take classical lessons...unfortunately I really didn't take it all that seriously cuz all I wanted to do was shred on electric but I am SO glad he did, I wouldn't be half the muso I am today if it wasn't for the 2 years I spebnt with that teacher, it really gave me a good solid foundation and UNDERSTANDING and how to apply theory...

                          The main reason I switched to keys was cuz in my late teens I had really gotten into composing and recording guitar comps (on a cheap Tascam cassette 4 track with a cheap no name pawn shop bass, Alesis SR-16 drum machine, and cheap Casio keyboard) so I got a 5 octave KORG Triton LE witht the EXB-SMPL option so I could record my guitar and have better sounding recordings with better strings, horns, synths, drums, bass, etc. but once I sat down with the thing and realized what was possible with keys, I never looked back!!! Seriously I never picked up the guitar or bass again (excpet to get paid in cover bands) I got so into it it's not even funny, and would literally spend 8 hours a day with the thing...

                          This was ealy 2000's, I used the Triton LE exclusively for a while, then got an 88 key controllerfor it, then got just about every major 88 keyboard and controller, rack unit, and 61 key synth of the 80's and 90's at one point or another until I got turned on to Reason (2.0 at the time) That was about 2006 or so, I then sold all my hardware and used Reason 4.0 exclusively for a while, then got Logic Pro 9 so I could mix and masterwhat I was doing in Reason and use Komplete 5 and other softies...I've been rocking the gaer in my sig for quite a while now and couldn't be happier, it's perfect for me...

                          As for guitar as a second instrument, I don't want to offend anyone, I really think that's a personal choice, but for me I've found that I can do SO much more on keys than guitar, and it just feels more natural and "efficeint" for lack of a better word for me, I don't know, guitar just seems so LIMITING to me compared to what you can do with keys.... I've also found that I can pretty much get any guitar sound/playing that no non muso would know is not the real thing via various VSTi's and Kontakt libraries, and even some EXS-24 pathces that come with Logic.
                          Originally Posted by co&cafan808

                          chevybusa ****************in delivers the lulz!!!

                          Using and abusing Reason 4.0 (with tons of ReFills) and Logic 9 (with tons of soft synths, VSTi's and plug-ins)
                          a Yamaha S80 (with 2 FC7's, an FC5, an FC3, and a BC3a) and a Behringer BCR2000
                          a 4GB 2.53GHz Intel Core Duo Mac Mini
                          AKG K77 headphones or M-Audio BX5a Deluxe monitors.

                          Originally Posted by OldGuitarPlayer

                          Ahhh...John Cage. The ultimate troll.

                          Originally Posted by Anderton

                          Just remember...machines don't kill music, people do.


                          • #43
                            Another case of I'll try not to turn this into my life story. Piano at grandma's house I plinked on at early ages. Violin lessons for a year at about 7yo. Summer camp mid 60's turned me onto guitar. Self-taught (until recently) basic chords and just rhythm playing. Played trumpet for one year in 3rd/4th grade. Picked up sax in 7th for the rest of school. Started a couple of bands with me playing rhythm guitar in my early teens. Heard ELP and that was my ass. Have a good ear and good relative pitch but never have had formal lessons on keys. I can read chord charts or Nashville numbers but can't sight read a piece of music on keys. I used to do it on sax, but that was just treble clef. I can pick out guitar tab but it's slow for me. I play keys as my primary and occasionally will double on guitar if needed or asked nicely. Even then it's a rhythm role, not lead. I also can grab vocal harmonies very easily. Within the last six months the VA graciously offered me free guitar lessons through a new program they have. My instructor listened to what I already knew and worked with me on various picking styles, open tunings, theory, fretboard/scales and taught me cool new tunes at each lesson. It opened up a whole new world to me compositionally. When I first started writing in the late 70's early 80's, I always wrote on guitar. As I got way from guitar and more into keys, I quit writing "songs" and became the king of 4, 8, and 16 bars "snippets". Sadly, not too many snippets got turned into finished songs. The guitar lessons have helped inspire confidence in my playing, opened up new possibilities that fit my style of music well, and I've begun "constructing" finished pieces again. So lessons helped me in that regard.

                            I picked up a Line 6 Variax Guitar & a POD X3 Live years ago when SW was blowing them out. Initially I got it so my guitar playing friends could come over and I'd have a model of pretty much any guitar/amp/pedal they could want. Well the keyboard "geek" in me has found the POD editor and the Variax workbench to be a lot like programming a patch on our keys. The same part of our brain is getting used. It's very natural for me anyway. So after the guitar lessons, I now approach my guitar rig with a different eye than I did before.

                            So Michael, you teach me how to play keyboards so I don't suck and I'll show you what I know on guitar. Fair enough? lol
                            Korg Kronos 88 :: Korg M3-73 Xpanded (w/Radias board) :: Yamaha MOXF6 :: SpaceStation V3 :: Behringer B212A Powered Speaker :: Akai EWI USB :: Variax Guitar :: PODx3 Live! :: Martin Acoustic Guitar :: Mandolin :: Steinberg Cubase 7.5 :: Omnisphere :: Trilian :: V-Collection :: Korg Legacy Collection :: SampleTank 3 :: Sonik Synth 2 :: Ravenscroft 275 Piano :: Komplete 9 Ultimate :: VB3 :: Just Way Too Many VST's


                            • #44
                              Ive played both synths and bass along with guitar some most of my playing life to. I think it broadens ones musical creativity and ability. I get the most out of playing synths though.
                              Life for its own carnal pleasure.Synths: Novation KS4 & Maudio Venom. Guitar: BC Rich It Warlock.. Bass: BC Rich Warlock. Sight: Aerial lasers by Omnisistem & Chauvet,. Geometric lasers by Extreme.


                              • #45
                                Folk muscians usually double (triple, quadruple) and I play frets (guitars, bass, mandolin, mandola, tenor banjo), but I also play melodeon which is very different from everything else.

                                I've always found that skills are always transferable,and it always gives another angle to arrangement and voicing.