02-24-2013 09:22 PM
I'm looking to get some advice about my playing. I feel pretty confident (maybe comfortable is a better word) with the stylistic approach and the ideas. I guess I just need some honest opinions about what you like and don't like. It's tough to get that from friends and fans and since I don't know any of you, you seem a pretty good audience.
The most recent thing I've recorded is here: http://bit.ly/13gDLcd for a guitar center blues competition(though I'm not convinced it's "blues" enough). I think it most accurately reflects my approach to phrasing and style and I'm pretty happy with the content. It's an instrumental version of Joe Bonamassa's Dust Bowl
Please excuse the faces...I don't think I have a rare form of musical turrets, but it is involuntary.
02-25-2013 06:19 AM
I agree. I think somtimes I get caught up in trying to introduce rythmic contrast at the expense of the pocket. I used to have problems with overplaying (some might say I still do!) where I would play long sequences of 16th note or 6 over one type phrases so I try to concentrate on making sure there are definitive phrases. I think sometimes it's not as natural as it should be and that makes it sound a bit choppy like you said.
Thanks for the feedback!
02-25-2013 09:49 AM
Pretty good take, there was a lot of there to like. I'm doing the same tune, so it's interesting to hear your take.
Positives: Good phrasing. You didn't just rattle off licks, and you added some nice little embellishments to the vocal melody. I liked that there was some space, too. It wasn't just a stream of notes. I think the fast bits fit in context, and wasn't too much. I also liked that while you started off more bluesy, it took off in another direction in the solo, and that made it more interesting (see below).
Improvements: Your tone was pretty much the same throughout (although you did switch to bridge pu in the solo), and really thick and loud. It'd be nice to build up to that, and come down from it. The fast bit at 1:30 remaiing was cool but the timing was a little off. There was another fast bit later on that was a bit sloppy (around :55 remaining).
How bluesy to keep it is an interesting question. I haven't seen any "straight blues" submissions that I liked - they either haven't been performed well, or were just too "stock" to be interesting. JB certainly throws in other styles, and having something to catch your ear is important. At the same time, the contest is such that it needs to be somewhat in the realm of blues. I liked that your take started off more straight and got more and more out there as it went on. My ears wanted to hear a return to more bluesy stuff at the end, to kind of tie it up, but it's really up to you and what you want to hear.
02-25-2013 10:10 AM
I really appreciate you taking the time to take a listen. Your positive comments basically echo my intentions for the overall structure of the tune. I wanted to create a "true to the song" melody and really focus on inflection of the notes to make it more vocal. I used the solo to stretch out a little, pick up the intensity, and create contrast from the stripped down section. I think I let my fingers do a little too much of the thinking in the outro section instead of returning to something a little more in the pocket. That would have really set the solo section apart I think.
There are definately some flubs in there but I wanted to make sure that performance was sincere instead of safe. I'm always trying to push it to the limit in the solo section so sometimes it gets away from me. I guess if I have to choose between pashion and perfection, I pick passion (especially for blues). I know exactly the spots you are talking about though haha.
As far as the tone, I really wasn't that happy with it in the end. It's too loud in the verse section for sure and I had to use a digital interface so I wasn't able to get the tone I'm used to. I typically play with a D-style amp and go for a little less drive. I like honky mids, but the mids were out of control on this.
Let me know when you've got yours posted and I'll be happy to take a listen.
02-25-2013 01:50 PM
Pros: Very Satrianni-esque in your take on the tone. Whether intentional or not, it didn't strike me as bluesy at all. I didn't think it was overplayed at all, and though there were some times when you weren't in the pocket, those times weren't terrible or unrecoverable.
Cons: The tone didn't change much at all. Even when the pickups were switched, there was the same feel. It wasn't like, "Oh, I'm over here, taking my time, just singing along and BANG, I'M IN YOUR FACE, LISTEN TO ME, then I'm soft and comforting, warm and inviting, NOW LEAVE ME ALONE, BUT STAY WITH ME, PLEASE, and let's be together..." You know? That musical monologue one is having with the audience or conversation between instruments. Since you're the only instrument, it's up to you to give it multiple personalities so each sounds individual and distinct. I imagine you're a fan of instruments, so you've heard in anything from Satch Boogie to Feels so Good to Beethoven's Fifth there are characteristic parts that tell a story as a whole.
02-25-2013 02:33 PM
I think the trickiest thing about these types of performances (for me anyway) is that it's not easy to put yourself in a dynamic mindset when you're playing to a track. When you're playing with a band it's a living thing and it's easy to have that kind of movement. As someone who primarily imporvises, I rely a lot on what the the other people are doing to get rythmic, harmonic, and dynamic inspiration and I just have a really hard time manufacturing that over a track.
I wanted the have a few really distinct sections. Intro - Melody (until about 2:15 left) - Solo (about 1:20 left) - breakdown (build up into a more intese solo) - outro (about 0:36 left)
I think the outro gets a little lost dynamically. It should be a lot quieter. I think the contrast between the solo and the verse is lost a little too. Like you're saying...not enough tonal difference to realize...oh this is something new.
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