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  • Question about playing covers

    I dont have a whole lot of experience playing in a cover band, so a few questions sorta linger:

    First, is the most important thing to at least play the right basic chords & melodies, even if you dont get all the complex licks, chords and riffs down? Meaning, instead of doing some strange variation of an A maj/min, or Asus4, can you simply just chug out a basic A5 or something close? I would think that with the more distortion, the less need there is for precise definition.

    Second, when it comes to tunings, unless you have at least a few guitars, is it pretty common to play everything in the same tuning? Furthermore, if a change up or down IS needed, is it acceptable to simply shift your positions accordingly?

    And lastly, when sharing duties with another guitarist or a keyboardist, how do you go about deciding which is the right way to play something, particularly if you have very different opinions about what should be played?


    Oh, and one last question, how many of you refer to tabs for tricky songs? Or do you simply modify it the best you can and hope nobody notices or cares?
    Thanks for the input!
    Originally Posted by Anderton



    BTW I appreciate your clarifying and discussing rather than immediately going on the defensive or offensive. I'd like to see more of that here.









    Originally Posted by csm


    Probably the most realistic and rational post seen on here from a self-identified conservative for a very long time, if not EVER.

    THANK YOU.









    Originally Posted by Noreaster


    ...I will ****************ing fist fight to the death anyone who asserts otherwise. Violence gets **************** done!!

  • #2
    cmon folks...
    Originally Posted by Anderton



    BTW I appreciate your clarifying and discussing rather than immediately going on the defensive or offensive. I'd like to see more of that here.









    Originally Posted by csm


    Probably the most realistic and rational post seen on here from a self-identified conservative for a very long time, if not EVER.

    THANK YOU.









    Originally Posted by Noreaster


    ...I will ****************ing fist fight to the death anyone who asserts otherwise. Violence gets **************** done!!

    Comment


    • #3
      Depends what the setting is - if you're bashing out a few covers for fun then by all means don't worry about the complicated licks and odd chords if an A5 will do! Most people just want to get drunk and dance and an approximation is good enough. But if you're playing to a discerning crowd (tribute band stuff) then you have to get it pretty much bang on, otherwise some geek will complain.

      I play all Hendrix/SRV stuff in standard tuning - so Pride and Joy is in E for me, even though it's Eb on the record. Nobody minds.

      And as far as tabs go - almost every tab I've ever found has been wrong in some way - I always download the tab though first if it exists and then adapt it according to ear. Tabs are really helpful - even if they're not 100% accurate!

      Quite a lot of the covers I play have changed so much over time - the versions I do now are in some cases massively different to the original, even if they started off as a note-for-note copy!

      Comment


      • #4
        I dont have a whole lot of experience playing in a cover band, so a few questions sorta linger:

        First, is the most important thing to at least play the right basic chords & melodies, even if you dont get all the complex licks, chords and riffs down? Meaning, instead of doing some strange variation of an A maj/min, or Asus4, can you simply just chug out a basic A5 or something close? I would think that with the more distortion, the less need there is for precise definition.

        Second, when it comes to tunings, unless you have at least a few guitars, is it pretty common to play everything in the same tuning? Furthermore, if a change up or down IS needed, is it acceptable to simply shift your positions accordingly?

        And lastly, when sharing duties with another guitarist or a keyboardist, how do you go about deciding which is the right way to play something, particularly if you have very different opinions about what should be played?


        Oh, and one last question, how many of you refer to tabs for tricky songs? Or do you simply modify it the best you can and hope nobody notices or cares?
        Thanks for the input!


        First, depends on how critical the licks and chords are to the song. Also depends if you want to be a cover band that stays as close to the original as you can or if you want to rearrange songs. In most cases, you want to get it as close as you can.

        We play everything in standard tuning, except for a couple of songs where I drop the low E to D. In cases where songs were recorded in other than A = 440, whether we transpose to keep the same pitch as the recording, or play in standard anyway to keep the same fingering depends on the song. Generally I like to keep the same fingering. Even though the pitch changes relative to the original, the notes stay the same and it sounds more authentic.

        Lastly, play with good musicians. There shouldn't be that much disagreement on what's right and what's not. If there's a disagreement, play the recording during rehearsal and figure out who has it right and who has it wrong.

        Last last question. You're lucky if tabs are in the right key, let alone accurate. 99% of my learning is by ear. Tabs are pretty useless, but there are some good Youtube videos out there among the bad ones.

        Comment


        • #5
          I don't play in a cover band, so this is from a listener's perspective. For me, I don't care if the cover is note for note, generally, Obviously, if you're doing a song with a very recognizable riff, La Grange for example, you need to have that riff down.

          However, I often like to see interpretations of songs. I like to see what the band brings to the song, and sometimes the most interesting covers are when the band takes liberties with the song. Depends on the song.
          No sig.

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          • #6
            these things are usually worked out in practice/rehearsal

            i say never use more distortion then you need. This is a common mistake that everyone makes.

            Play the song in whatever key you want

            tabs are great for parts you just cant figure out, but dont rely on them.

            Youtube is great for seeing how the band themselves play something or other cover bands play stuff.
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            • #7
              I dont have a whole lot of experience playing in a cover band, so a few questions sorta linger:

              First, is the most important thing to at least play the right basic chords & melodies, even if you dont get all the complex licks, chords and riffs down? Meaning, instead of doing some strange variation of an A maj/min, or Asus4, can you simply just chug out a basic A5 or something close? I would think that with the more distortion, the less need there is for precise definition.


              I think this is a mistake. I remember when I was starting out and knew a couple A5 guys and they don't play anymore. they weren't any good and never got any better. Set the bar higher. Learn the right chords. If you have to use tabs to figure it out, then do that. It is much better to play it right and get used to what the complex voicings sound like.

              I have been playing out for almost 30 years. And I admit that when I am cramming for a sub gig, I'll look at tabs and chord charts and print out lyrics. It's a huge time saver. I feel no shame about that.

              As far as assigning parts, I suppose I used to be more ambitious and want the solos and the cool parts. But, now, I know that most of the time, the rhythm part is harder. Anyone can play a solo and sound like they know what they are doing. But if the rhythm is right, then the song is just raised to a higher level. So, most of the time, I'll take the part that's missing.
              This space intentionally left blank

              Comment


              • #8
                We dont play many covers but when we do we take what i like to call the "Metallica Approach"...meaning they always do their interpretations of a song they cover putting their own flavor on it...thats how we do it also...now thats because we are a original band but if you are in a cover band I think you have to be a little more true to the original
                "The function of music is to release us from the tyranny of conscious thought"
                Sir Thomas Beecham

                Comment


                • #9
                  I used to play in a cover band.

                  First of all, a two note power chord is NOT a substitute for a minor, sus2, sus4 chord. Yes, technically the 1 and 5 are in those other chords to, but it's the colors that minor (b3) or sus2/4 (no 3'rd, add 2 or 4) add to the chord that make it sound right in a given situation.

                  Adding distortion is not ok to cover lack of knowledge of a song, and imo, can ruin a cover. There is nothing that grates on my nerves more then seeing a cover band where I don't recognize the song until after the vocals start - and sometimes it's hard even then, because the guitar player has the tone of a blender.

                  As far as being exact, it depends on the song. If the song has a melody, then you better be close/exact or it won't be recognizable as that song. For lead work, this can be important on some songs, and not so much on others. For tunes where it's less important, learn the hooks, the intro/outro to a solo and then you can add your own stuff in between.

                  Example of tune where you need the solo to be exact: teen spirit
                  Example of tune where you don't: born to be wild - BUT, you do need the hooks to be right to sound legit

                  Most of all though, have some fun!
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                  • #10
                    I play in an electric blues band. It doesn't matter what we play as long as it's blues. Sometimes I make up songs. We never do a song the same way twice. Blues is easy.

                    I was in a cover rock band 30 years ago and we did the tunes like the record and covered the signature riffs and solos but it was just 60's & 70's rock stuff like Bad Co., Aerosmith, Led Zep, Stones, The Doors, The Faces etc...I usually had 2 guitars onstage and sometimes played in open G tuning but generally it was all in standard tuning. Luckily for that style of music all you really need is a loud tube amp, a distortion pedal a chorus and maybe a phase shifter. I didn't use a wah pedal. The other guitar player used it.
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                    • #11
                      Realize too that many songs on record have layered guitar parts that aren't exactly possible to play note for note with one guitar player, or sometimes even two! Many times the guitarists in a band have to learn a composited part of the most prominent parts to play live, so you might need to work out those composited parts and arrange the song appropriately.

                      The most important parts of playing in a cover band IMO are to be tight and play together musically, and get your vocals together. After that, then the arrangements should be tweaked to sound "right".
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                      • #12
                        You have a choice between trying to do an exact copy or doing your own arrangement of the song.
                        If you dont have allot of experience and cant actually play a version thats better than the original,
                        I suggest sticking with playing the song as close to the original as you can. You can throw in your own leads
                        of course so long as they are as good or better than the original. Bands often change things up live and change things
                        to kill the bordom or make improvements.

                        The other thing is try and stick to songs you can play as well or better than the original. If that requires playing
                        simple songs like Louie Louie or gloria then so be it. Keep a few songs that are a true challange in learning and improvement.
                        You need to constantly challange yourself to get better, You dont want to completely bomb out cause you cant play the material.
                        Throw one hard one in each set till it gets good then dump the stinker out. This way you have some easy songs to carry you through
                        the sets and one thats gonna be rough for everyone.

                        As far as learning the songs, if you cant play your part note for note to the record, you dont know the song, period.
                        If you cant play the chords all the way through and know where all the verses, chorus, solo, breaks and ending are,
                        you dont know the song and you're going to be leaning on someone else to cue you and thats going to drag down their playing ability.

                        What I do if I learn a new song or write my own, is have the lyrics and chords written up in a book.
                        i may not need it while I'm playing it but one look and I have instant memory recall. I can instantly spot
                        the key, song structure, where the solos and breaks are, and know how the song ends.
                        Without it, trying to remember one out of maybe 10,000 songs I've learned in 45 years may be more
                        difficult especially on a bad day.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The other thing is try and stick to songs you can play as well or better than the original. If that requires playing
                          simple songs like Louie Louie or gloria then so be it. Keep a few songs that are a true challange in learning and improvement.
                          You need to constantly challange yourself to get better,


                          When I was 13, I thought I could play the **************** out of Louie louie, but I was playing Wild thing, really.

                          It wasn't until probably 15 years later that I could totally do the kingsmen version rote.

                          I believe in constantly improving, but that doesn't necessarily mean moving on to new material. Sometimes it's cool to go back and really listen to a song that you've played for years and re-tool it.

                          Louie Louie is way better the way it is on the original version than my ****************ty 1982 wank-fest.
                          This space intentionally left blank

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                          • #14
                            I think this is a mistake. I remember when I was starting out and knew a couple A5 guys and they don't play anymore. they weren't any good and never got any better. Set the bar higher. Learn the right chords. If you have to use tabs to figure it out, then do that. It is much better to play it right and get used to what the complex voicings sound like.



                            This.

                            There's nothing wrong with doing your own version of a song, but learning the right way to play stuff will go a long way toward making you a better player. Slopping more distortion on it in lieu of knowing what you're doing is never a good idea.

                            There's no shame in using TABs to learn tricky stuff.
                            My RigMy avatar-

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                            • #15
                              As far as leads on cover tunes, I like to start it off the same as on the recording and branch off from there. Playing covers also depends on where you're playing them. 10 am in a dive bar and people don't care if you play Mary Had a Little Lamb. They're too drunk by then.
                              There can never be a perfect plan. What's perfect for one human bean ain't perfect for the next one. Cuz he's a lentil.

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