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stevel
02-19-2009, 10:59 PM
Just curious - what do you think?

Is learning solos note-for-note beneficial?

Have you done it? Do you do it? How useful have you found it? etc.

I'll say I've learned very few solos note for note. There are some that I've learned relatively to very close. The one to "Don't Stop Believin" was probably the first real solo I learned, and that one was note-for-note. But as I progressed, I would always "add my own" elements to things. I may, as a tribute, play something pretty darn close, but I typically stray at some point.

I've also found if I catch the recognizable bits, the audience member will comment "man, that was just like the record", when really, it wasn't, so I tend to be less concerned about the flurries and unmemorable/unremarkable bits anyway.

Do you do more, or less, note-for-note?

Steve

dsqu4r3d
02-19-2009, 11:06 PM
I dont like learning a solo note-for-note becuase, for example If i would ever cover that song, I dont want to play the exact thing he played, because for me thats boring. I like learning the main parts of the solo and adding my own touch to the rest of the solo.

joachiml
02-19-2009, 11:32 PM
I find that it's easier to do your own thing after having learnt it the "proper" way, so yeah, I attempt to learn it note-by-note.

Flyin' Brian
02-19-2009, 11:35 PM
Absolutely beneficial! You give yourself a base from which you can develop your own thing. Transcribing solos is even better.

Wes Montgomery, my guitar hero, started out playing Charlie Christian solos note for note...worked pretty well for him.

edgewound
02-19-2009, 11:45 PM
Only if the solo is an unmistakeable element of the song...then note for note.

Some Santana songs such as his version of "Black Magic Woman", or "Oye Como Va"...where people might sing the solo.

Lucidology
02-19-2009, 11:50 PM
Never really worked for moi ... Never has been much of a necessity ...
However, the realization of concepts being applied during an admired solo has been of great value ...

dantedayjob
02-20-2009, 12:04 AM
I might learn certain melodic passages; the intro on Santana's Black Magic Woman, the repeating line in The Cure's Just Like Heaven, the lick that starts the verses to Stevie Nicks/Tom Petty's Stop Draggin My Heart Around... beyond stuff like that I always improvise any lead that I do... I find that some things work better than other and may stick to a certain theme each time I play, otherwise it's all improv... live in the moment, for good or bad, put your heart out there...

entraind
02-20-2009, 12:07 AM
I do like to learn solos (guitar and horn) note for note and I use that as a way of building my vocabulary. Usually there are parts of solos that I can play pretty quickly and then there are parts in which the phrasing is really counterintuitive for me. *Those* are the sections I tend to work hard to play perfectly because they force me to play in a way which isn't natural for me. After playing them in various contexts for a while they become natural and my vocabulary.

One listen to Lucidology's clips above tell you that learning things note for note isn't the only way up the mountain, nice playin!...

Bryan T
02-20-2009, 12:08 AM
Is learning solos note-for-note beneficial?

Absolutely. I built a lot of technical skills imitating others.

Do you do it?

Not much these days for my own purposes. I do help students work through solos.

Bryan

brad347
02-20-2009, 12:17 AM
It is possible for it to be a dumb, fruitless exercise.

It is also possible for it to be enlightening, in some cases.

Depends on what YOU, the student, bring to it.

I've met some great players who have done it, and some very very great players, whom you've probably heard of, who never did it ever in life.

Many 'educator' types stress its importance. I'm talking about guys with degrees that teach in colleges, or who publish widespread instructional materials.

I don't always hear actual 'great' players talking about it as much--like the really inspired/inspiring guys. For whatever that means. Some do, many don't.

I have learned solos from records and written them down before. I've done the same with arrangements, either as assignments from teachers, or just for fun.

I don't do it much anymore. Now I am far more interested in the mechanism behind a certain sound. I'm more interested in 'big picture.'

I'm more interested these days in the rationale behind a broad, general sound--harmony-wise, or whatever-- than I am the specific order in which an artist played those notes. I want to know where it is coming from and why a gesture sounds how it does. For me, lately, this understanding has been enough to spark hours and weeks of investigation. Mission accomplished.

However, for a very young student or someone new to the whole process, I could see the virtue in learning solos note-for-note to learn phrasing and maybe some language.

But that begs the question, if the student has to learn solos to get the sound of phrasing and language in their ear, are they not listening to a lot of that kind of music? And if not, why do they want to play that kind of music? That kind of stuff 'learns itself' through exposure, I think.

shane88
02-20-2009, 01:11 AM
I subscribe to the close enuff 4 r+r theory and i would hope the dood that recorded it doesn't play it "note 4 note" live :)

liveone
02-20-2009, 02:04 AM
There are solos I learn to play note for note cause I love it. I don't just love the notes they play but how they play them. I can't believe there are people who never desired this. Of course these solos are extremely melodic and an integral part of the song.

Solos that are just showcasing virtuoso playing can be fun to listen to a couple times but I probably wouldn't put in the effort to learn note for note.

purestmonk
02-20-2009, 02:34 AM
i do it very often.. it's useful .. but at the same time i know what i could improvise over that solo bit too, so after learning note for note, i throw it away and add my own elements

wstsidela
02-20-2009, 02:38 AM
Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don't. The Santana stuff is fun to play note-4-note especially BMW. It's hard to hit a bad note in Dmin.

JonR
02-20-2009, 03:56 AM
I do learn note-for-note if I can. But only to get a feel for how the player was thinking. I would only repeat the solo (in a live cover) if it was an important and distinctive part of the song, that everybody knew and (I guessed) wanted to hear.
Eg, there are parts such as intros, where I do think it's important to get it note perfect (such as Chuck Berry tunes, and various other rock standards with guitar intros, such as Hey Joe.).
For improvised solos within the song, it's generally less important to have it exact, and I think an audience expects a player to make it their own anyway - to maybe play something like the original (out of respect), but to stretch out beyond it.
Personally, from bands I see, I always like to hear intros played exact, but solos improvised (in the right spirit or style, but not exactly copied).
I think this is because I regard an intro as part of the composition (even tho it might have been improvised originally), while a solo is a section given over to improvisation, that is designed to be different each time.
What would the original player do, next time he played it? Would he play the same solo he did in the studio? (And even if he would, does that mean I should?)

This is all in a rock context, of course. In jazz, different considerations apply. Firstly, improvisation (personal interpretation) is what it's all about. Jazz is most certainly NOT about reproducing a recorded version of anything. Studio recording - which has become central to rock - is a side issue in jazz. You would get excommunicated from the Church of Jazz if you repeated a solo from a record! - or even if you repeated one of your own solos from a previous gig. (Or you hope the Jazz Police don't find out...:cool:)
But note-for-note transcription is still important and useful - because it reveals strategies - it removes the veil of mystery. You CAN steal (sorry "borrow"... sorry "quote" ;) ) licks from other people's solos; but the idea is not to reproduce a recorded version, but to mine it for raw material to recombine into a new improvisation.

So, I once transcribed Django Reinhardt solos, when I was trying to learn to play like him (in his style). What kind of arpeggios or scales did he use? What kind of chord extensions or alterations did he favour? What kind of rhythmic devices, bends or vibrato, etc, did he employ? It was a great lesson, feeling like I got inside his head (for a moment). But I didn't take it too far. I didn't want to BE him. I wanted to be myself, but (for the purposes of that band) to sound something like him. (It would have been a very dry exercise to reproduce a Django solo - even if it was possible for me. I might have earned some admiration, but it would have been hollow.)

I also once transcribed parts of the solos from "All Blues", which was hugely instructive about the 4 different styles of the players. I was expecting to get some strategies for how to approach altered chords. Instead I found out how Miles approached altered chords; and how Coltrane approached them (a million miles apart...); and how Cannonball and Bill Evans approached them. Or - at least - how they approached them on that take, of that tune, at that time...
IOW, you always have to be aware of those variables. It's possible to glean some strategies you can apply to your playing - but mostly you realise that next time it would be different, and has to be different. A "scale strategy for an altered chord" is really a tiny part (maybe 10% or less) of what a solo is all about at that moment.

So there's nothing wrong with note-for-note transcription. All the jazz greats did it. (Wes Montgomery famously started by copying Charlie Christian solos note for note - and Charlie Christian copied Lester Young and others.) But - although you can "quote" famous players' licks - the point is not reproduction (blind copying), it's building your own vision on a knowledge of the past.

rob2001
02-20-2009, 05:11 AM
I did the cover band thing for many years and didn't do it unless it was essential to the song. But I gotta say, it was out of pure laziness on my part! I beat myself up a bit for not taking the time but now that i'm writing, I think all the improv paid off. That said, I kinda wish I had learned a few more "tricks" , so to speak. Not to copy but to use as concepts. I hate to coin phrases, but it is what it is and i'm ok with that.

JonR
02-20-2009, 05:38 AM
I did the cover band thing for many years and didn't do it unless it was essential to the song. But I gotta say, it was out of pure laziness on my part! I beat myself up a bit for not taking the time but now that i'm writing, I think all the improv paid off. That said, I kinda wish I had learned a few more "tricks" , so to speak. Not to copy but to use as concepts. I hate to coin phrases, but it is what it is and i'm ok with that.I agree. I was fairly lazy to begin with, in terms of getting things accurate when doing covers.
Now when I look back - or re-examine those old tunes for new cover versions (they still seem popular enough) - I realise I missed a lot of detail that now seems more important to me. I think I can hear them better than I used to be able to.
At the same time - as you say - a big part of the old (lazy) way was improvising my own interpretation (where necessary), and that was indeed valuable - and arguably a much better approach than getting anal about details.
Ironically, one part of me loves the detail (how exactly they got all those great effects), while another part is all for re-interpretation of the most far-reaching kind. (Eg, I used to hate what Bob Dylan does live with his old songs, but now I admire him for it. Even tho, if covering them myself, I would be torn between playing them the old way and opening them right up.)

Poppa Stoppa
02-20-2009, 06:09 AM
I do it quite a lot.

You can get the ghist of a solo very quickly, to the point where you can play something people will recognise it but you won't learn much from it yourself because you gloss over the bits you can't master.

Deep learning a solo is where you really learn new stuff and extend your playing scope. It's great to have those little lightbulb moments "Ah - NOW I know what he's doing". Or you realise you were actually playing the wrong notes before, or discover a new and easier position to finger a phrase, or have to re-train your picking pattern, or suddenly understand the harmonic theory underpinning the notes.

shadowbox
02-20-2009, 06:21 AM
Absolutely. I built a lot of technical skills imitating others.



Not much these days for my own purposes. I do help students work through solos.

Bryan

+1 Learning solos has definitely increased my technical skills. I like learning horn solos; doing this suggests new approaches to playing lines on the guitar. Having said that, I find that when I'm jamming in a band situation I rarely play the solo note for note

?&!
02-20-2009, 07:34 AM
I don't do it much with rock and blues stuff, because it's fairly easy to determine the techniques and approaches used by ear. I'll learn the important melodic bits, but if the guy switches to pentatonic Chuck Berry licks or some fast, obvious scale runs, I'll just do those same things the way I do it, until something integral to the song shows up in the solo again. As mentioned before, it is the "close enough for rock'n'roll" approach. It's more important to capture the vibe than the exact notes.

Jazz, however, is another story. I try to learn jazz solos note for note, and transcribe them. After that is done, I'll analyze the lines bar-by-bar, to look for patterns, concepts and approaches. After I figure out (at least what I think) the player was doing, I'll play through the tune using those approaches, but not the licks I transcribed. Then I add those approaches to my vocabulary. The gold in transcription is the concepts you discover, not the licks.

KRosser
02-20-2009, 07:48 AM
Just curious - what do you think?

Is learning solos note-for-note beneficial?


Yes, I think so.


Have you done it? Do you do it? How useful have you found it? etc.


I used to do it a lot. I found it very useful, in terms of learning to control melodies & phrasing etc.


I'll say I've learned very few solos note for note. There are some that I've learned relatively to very close. The one to "Don't Stop Believin" was probably the first real solo I learned, and that one was note-for-note. But as I progressed, I would always "add my own" elements to things. I may, as a tribute, play something pretty darn close, but I typically stray at some point.


I would never repeat someone else's solo on a gig. To me it was for education and education only.

gennation
02-20-2009, 07:52 AM
I think my ability to cop n4n solo's and song riffs were the ONLY reasons I was able to stay employed as a musician for so long.

Even if something just sounded good I would source it out to try and find why it sounded good. I still transcribe solo's. Learning new things never hurt anyone.

buddastrat
02-20-2009, 09:36 AM
Of course, it's important for learning. But are we talking performing? It's such a cop out when guys learn the rest of a song and then on certain parts they choose to do their own thing. those always happen to be the harder parts.

It's part of the song and solo to me, is the melody at that time in the song. The singer still sings the proper melody, the guitar should too, otherwise they should be writing their own song.

If you're in a cover band, and it's a memorable part of a song, definitely! But it's good to leave room for being creative too. Otherwise it's uninspiring after awhile and when the performer gets bored, the audience is gone.

SvenHock
02-20-2009, 10:51 AM
Learning solos note for note is a great idea for building your ear and technique. I personally think its better than sitting in your room all day playing scales and working on your speed.

GovernorSilver
02-20-2009, 11:35 AM
I don't feel like I got much out of learning Charlie Christian's Rose Room solo, but that was years ago and I didn't put in any effort to analyze it or reuse bits of it. My excuse: I had to give the transcription back to my jazz guitar teacher after the university course was over.

I'm going to learn that solo again though. I think I'll get more out of it this time, now that I know that it's not about the solo itself but the ideas to be extracted from it.

derekd
02-20-2009, 11:40 AM
Yes, I think so.

I used to do it a lot. I found it very useful, in terms of learning to control melodies & phrasing etc.

I would never repeat someone else's solo on a gig. To me it was for education and education only.

This is my approach also. When covering popular tunes with very signature licks (Sweet Home Alabama comes to mind), I will throw in those licks, but when it comes to the solo, no thanks. Most of the pros don't play the same solo note for note when they perform their own tunes.

Bryan T
02-20-2009, 11:42 AM
I would never repeat someone else's solo on a gig. To me it was for education and education only.

On "Joe's Garage" did your solos reference the originals?

rogwerks
02-20-2009, 12:20 PM
one should ALWAYZ learn soli's NOTE FOR NOTE wAtEvEr genre one is taliking about...

THEN apply wat youv'e learned to "fit" OR commence one's "style"... THE QUEST!!

If you dont learn "heads" or "solos" verbatim, u will be LOST and miss all those sweet changes!!!

The promblm wit almost ALL geetarist is that "they" cant play any "melody"...

Pops, (L.A.) used to say; Melody, Melody, Melody...

Now, go practice and Learn sum solos!!!!!!

p.s. in jazz they call it "quoting"... (wen 1 plays a "signature" lick... )

es todo...

edgewound
02-20-2009, 12:20 PM
Here's another angle that I wonder if anyone thinks of...

When being hired... and paid... for playing cover tunes, don't you think it's your duty to play some signature lines and solo licks? To NEVER play a recognizable part of a popular song....and many guitar solos are...would give your employer several messages.

* You're not good enough to play the original...you won't be hired back.

* You're too "good" to "lower" yourself to "copy" the original...you might not be hired back. But you probably don't care anyway because you're better than that...until you need a gig, and they say, "No thanks, we got somebody else that does what we want."

* You're too lazy to put the effort into learning what you've been hired...and paid...to do. You won't be hired back.

*You learn the signature lines and solos that made the recorded song a hit, and add in some really cool improv that you gleaned from listening to Buddy Guy, Chuck Berry, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page,Eric Clapton, Duane Allman, Dicky Betts, George Benson, Lee Ritenour, Larry Carlton, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Robben Ford....et. al. blah, blah, blah...Word get around that you're good and get lots of referral gigs for years to come, because that's your role as a gigging casuals musician/band.

My list is an example of players that all learned from listening to one another and respectfully running with their knowledge.

SRV is a great example of a modern player that had influences written all over him by learning the originals, but you still know it's him because he melded all that knowledge into his own sound.

Oh yeah...one more thing. It sure helps to have an ear if you don't read music.

KRosser
02-20-2009, 01:55 PM
On "Joe's Garage" did your solos reference the originals?

No, not at all in terms of notes, only in attitude (I hope!). Although - the solo to "On the Bus" begins with Frank quoting the melody to Toto's "Tow The Line", which I also did as it's a pretty significant "inside joke" for the Joe's Garage freaks....

I loved Frank Zappa's guitar playing.

Mind you - Dweezil wanted me to play Frank's solos note for note...we had a difference of opinion on that ;)

rustneversleeps
02-20-2009, 03:33 PM
Depends on the song. For example, "Something" by the Beatles, a resounding yes!! I think it's an integral part of the overall composition. But say something by Clapton...I'd be more apt to doing an improv. That being said, I do agree with those who say that learning a note for note solo allows you to learn more of that person's style.

johann
02-20-2009, 03:48 PM
If it is a well known solo, I try and play it note-for-note; like the solo on: Stairway to heaven, Hotel California, Jump, etc.

If it isn't a well known solo...I just improvise, or just play some key-parts of the original song.

Pat Healy
02-20-2009, 03:48 PM
I find that it's very beneficial to learn solos note-for-note, but only as a practice tool; not necessarily to perform the solo that way live.

Like every player, I tend to get stuck in a rut of playing my "go-to" licks in a solo. Learning somebody else's solo note-for-note forces me to learn new licks, and I practice until I can execute them cleanly and unconsciously. At that point they become part of my "go-to" repertoire.

That said, when I perform a cover song live, I usually throw my own stuff into the solo.

jzucker
02-20-2009, 04:35 PM
Many 'educator' types stress its importance. I'm talking about guys with degrees that teach in colleges, or who publish widespread instructional materials.

I don't always hear actual 'great' players talking about it as much--like the really inspired/inspiring guys. For whatever that means. Some do, many don't.

Nice cheap shots. Most of my favorite players have a depth to their playing that allows you to hear the historical legacy of the instrument or the genre through their playing. There are a few exceptions but that particular quality usually comes from transcribing.

Some guys that advocate transcription and who have done tons of it:


Jimi Hendrix
Eric Clapton
Duane Allman
Joe Bonamassa
SRV
John Mayer
Wynton Marsalis
John Coltrane
Ravi Coltrane
Joe Lovano
Charlie Parker
Wes Montgomery
Pat Metheny
George Benson
Frank Gambale
Joe Pass
Mike Brecker
Bob Berg
Dave Liebman
McCoy Tyner
Herbie Hancock
Adam Rogers
Chris Potter

brad347
02-20-2009, 05:35 PM
I'm not sure about "cheap shots."

:confused:

Just sharing my experience with the people I've heard/been around in person (I don't really tend to put much stock in what I read, even in "interviews.")

I DO feel like it may be over-emphasized by the dominant 'music educator' paradigms, sometimes. That's kinda what I was hinting at by posting what I did. When I was a student at the University of North Texas, they had us transcribing night and day. Then I moved up here and studied with some great musicians whom I had admired my whole life, and few if any of them advocated for transcription much. One in particular said he had never done it even once, and named a few of his prominent contemporaries who said the same thing.

BUT, I have no doubt that there are all kinds in this world! :AOK

I'm sure there are probably some great educators who don't advocate for constant transcription, and I'm 100% certain that there are wonderful, inspiring players that do advocate for it!

Your list is interesting though, because some of those players I care about deeply and do not remember where they advocated for transcription. I do know that Joe Pass was a big advocate. I know I have read that Wes Montgomery learned a bunch of CC solos, but I don't remember seeing/reading anything where he 'preached' transcription to others. Same with many others on your list. In the interest of the discussion, it would be great if you could provide some quotations or context to go with some of those names! For my own education on the matter. A couple of those names surprise me a bit.

But in any case, if it floats your boat, do it! I'm not sure how it could hurt. I'm also not sure it's the 'only' path to nirvana, or 'necessary,' for everyone.

Gene
02-20-2009, 05:51 PM
In my experience, there is really no script or formula that makes someone average, great, or genius.

Some transcribe all the time and never learn to play. I've met others who just play without any regimented practice and is great...

I recommend to all to at least check it out. Try transcribing a solo like McCoy's Passion Dance. If you can't quickly, then you certainly need to train you ear one way or another.

One thing I have never seen in my musical journey is someone that plays great and has a tin ear.

KRosser
02-20-2009, 06:05 PM
I'm not sure about "cheap shots."

:confused:

Just sharing my experience with the people I've heard/been around in person (I don't really tend to put much stock in what I read, even in "interviews.")

I DO feel like it may be over-emphasized by the dominant 'music educator' paradigms, sometimes. That's kinda what I was hinting at by posting what I did. When I was a student at the University of North Texas, they had us transcribing night and day. Then I moved up here and studied with some great musicians whom I had admired my whole life, and few if any of them advocated for transcription much. One in particular said he had never done it even once, and named a few of his prominent contemporaries who said the same thing.

BUT, I have no doubt that there are all kinds in this world! :AOK

I'm sure there are probably some great educators who don't advocate for constant transcription, and I'm 100% certain that there are wonderful, inspiring players that do advocate for it!

Your list is interesting though, because some of those players I care about deeply and do not remember where they advocated for transcription. I do know that Joe Pass was a big advocate. I know I have read that Wes Montgomery learned a bunch of CC solos, but I don't remember seeing/reading anything where he 'preached' transcription to others. Same with many others on your list. In the interest of the discussion, it would be great if you could provide some quotations or context to go with some of those names! For my own education on the matter. A couple of those names surprise me a bit.

But in any case, if it floats your boat, do it! I'm not sure how it could hurt. I'm also not sure it's the 'only' path to nirvana, or 'necessary,' for everyone.

I think the importance of learning idiomatic solos is dependent on the extent one is interested in becoming an idiomatic soloist...and while learning solos may be of great value, I think the value of transcribing them is debatable.

When I was interested in learning to be a jazz soloist I did it a lot. I learned a ton from it. When my interest in being a jazz soloist waned, I stopped. I now have other interests, both in music and the guitar, and I follow those now instead.

We do know Wes didn't read music, so I think it's highly unlikely he transcribed it.

DrSax
02-20-2009, 06:12 PM
it was/is crucial for me as a studying tool. In a public performance? Never. Not even in a cover band. It just doesn't float my boat in that sense. But trying to play Parker and Montgomery etc. note for note was the only way I could understand sooo many things. At some point, I probably will spend alot less time on it, I imagine, but I have lots to learn.

Gene
02-20-2009, 06:41 PM
For me, there is something special about knowing what a great solo feels like on my instrument. Not just aurally but this special tactile feel I retain in my body long after I have forgotten said solo.

The benefit of transcribing for me was the book I created. It is sort of like an encyclopedia of lines, tunes, arrangements, etc. I enjoy going back from time to time to see my progress over the many years.

usc96
02-20-2009, 08:03 PM
I just taught myself the solos from Black Magic Woman and Bob Seger's Mainstreet. I enjoy memorizing solos. Don't know how often I'll use it, but I still enjoy it. I guess I could rattle them off the next time I'm at GC when the 16 year olds playing the chugga chugga death metal the aisle over start annoying me.

brad347
02-20-2009, 08:49 PM
The benefit of transcribing for me was the book I created. It is sort of like an encyclopedia of lines, tunes, arrangements, etc. I enjoy going back from time to time to see my progress over the many years.

Now that is something. I have a rather sizable notebook of transcriptions, as well, from my school days. And I do look over some from time to time, and it is fun to play through them. I just don't do it much, anymore, for whatever reason.

cdaloia
02-20-2009, 08:58 PM
I've rarely done it. I did Pat Martino's solo on "Along Came Betty" for homework once and I just HAD to to Jaco's "Teen Town" for my own pleasure. But that's it.
It's good ear training. I've mostly listened a lot and picked up what I could by ear. Probably lazy.......

Chuck

Ken Ho
02-20-2009, 09:24 PM
There are solos I learn to play note for note cause I love it. I don't just love the notes they play but how they play them. I can't believe there are people who never desired this. Of course these solos are extremely melodic and an integral part of the song.

Solos that are just showcasing virtuoso playing can be fun to listen to a couple times but I probably wouldn't put in the effort to learn note for note.


+10
Saved me some typing.
It's like learning to dance. If ya wanna tango, then learn some tango steps. Sure, you might get to being your own choreographer, but initially you learn the moves from others.

stevel
02-21-2009, 09:02 PM
* You're not good enough to play the original...you won't be hired back.



Here's an on-time story:

Bass player in the band I'm in came into rehearsal today and told us he had auditioned for another band (he's in 3 or 4 already) and they were playing "Higher Ground" in the Chili Peppers version.

He only had two days with it - and had not been familiar with the song prviously - but couldn't do it "like the record" (or like Flea) so they told him (in his words) "hit the road".

Steve

stevel
02-21-2009, 09:04 PM
I subscribe to the close enuff 4 r+r theory and i would hope the dood that recorded it doesn't play it "note 4 note" live :)

Others have pointed this out as well.

I remember an interview with George Lynch in his Dokken days when he said he'd go into the club and there'd be a band covering a Dokken tune and the solo would be right on. George said something like "this joker nails it, and I can't even remember it anymore".

I think a lot of time, in the studio, those solos are either 1 of 20 takes, or a compilation of 20 takes, and unless the player goes back and learns the solo they recorded, they never even learn it themselves!

Steve

stevel
02-21-2009, 09:12 PM
Yes, it's beneficial. Right this week I am transcribing Django Reinhardt's "All of Me", even the tenor saxophone and the clarinet parts. This version is somehow like the Beatles' "The End" in that you can get an idea of the different styles the instruments allow to and the players abide to. For example, now I know that Django didn't play guitar woodwind-style like the US bebop guitarists did after him. So, if I want to solo Django style I would avoid trying to sound like a woodwind. I wouldn't know this hadn't I transcribed his solo.


Having read all of you guys' wonderful response, this kind of sums up what I think I was missing at the time of my original post.

I improvise, but I tend to improvise like ME. I would like to play solos on songs that don't always sound like me - for example, I'd like to sound "more like B.B." on "The Thrill is Gone" than "me playing my own licks over the thrill is gone".

When I sing (which I do poorly), I will change my voice to "emulate" the singer of a song, even though I don't sing it "note-for-note" (my saving grace vocally).

So I think I need to work that into my guitar playing. So far it's either Clapton exactly, or me improvising - which is nothing like Clapton :-)

I think I need to be working on a happy medium where it sounds more like "my take on Clapton", or "something Clapton might have played, if he were having an off day".

I've actually been doing more note-for-note stuff lately, but it's been all over the place. I think I need to focus more on a single player and "get" them, then hit another player. At least, I think that would be beneficial for me.

Thanks for the input guys,
Steve

Ken Ho
02-21-2009, 09:41 PM
^^
I think that's a reasonable and useful approach. It's basically what I do. When learning a solo NFN, I am doing 2 things.
Mostly, I'm enjoying the composition, as an extension of the "audiophile" experience of listening to a fine piece. Learning to play it is just taking that experience to the next level.
Secondly, I am getting into the stylistic space of the composition. To play it well, I need to cop the style of a piece as well as the notes. Too often, when people talk about covering solos, or songs in general, they separte into boxes of "using tab" vs "using your ears", or "improv" vs "jukebox", but really, these are false separations.
The whole thing is a continuum of all these elements.
As henry said, what you take away is largely a funcion of what you bring.

liveone
02-21-2009, 10:27 PM
Others have pointed this out as well.

I remember an interview with George Lynch in his Dokken days when he said he'd go into the club and there'd be a band covering a Dokken tune and the solo would be right on. George said something like "this joker nails it, and I can't even remember it anymore".

I think a lot of time, in the studio, those solos are either 1 of 20 takes, or a compilation of 20 takes, and unless the player goes back and learns the solo they recorded, they never even learn it themselves!

Steve

Actually rock guitarists that plan on touring would be conscious of putting something on a record that he can't play live. A guitarist who struggles with stuff he recorded wouldn't get much respect.

Jon
03-02-2009, 02:51 AM
Actually rock guitarists that plan on touring would be conscious of putting something on a record that he can't play live. A guitarist who struggles with stuff he recorded wouldn't get much respect.

I think you're missing the point - it's not necessarily that the he can't physically play the solo but rather that he can't remember how it goes - very different thing.

Ooogie
03-02-2009, 12:09 PM
I used to get close and improvise but I was really avoiding the hard work of transcribing since I don't have the best ear in the world. Once I started putting in the work I realized how much I was missing and got a lot closer to the music than before. When I'm playing it's unlikely I'll do a N4N solo but knowing you can always bring it back to a familiar place seems to provide more freedom when improvising.

I think the old saying "You have to imitate before you can innovate" is pretty dead on, it may not quite go to the extent of writing out N4N transcriptions but everyone learns songs. Even the early players we consider innovators were (usually) imitating something, it may have been field hollers', horns or some other instrument but the majority of players had some sound in their head they were trying to imitate.

I don't doubt there are a few exceptions, the prodigies that are born with a sound in their head they have to get out but I do think they are the exception.

Mark

brad347
03-02-2009, 12:42 PM
"Imitation" doesn't have to be sitting down with records and writing down solos a bar at a time.

It might be listening a lot, and writing your own solos in the style of another musician.

This is something I experimented with for awhile, and it taught me a lot more (I think) than simple transcription.

For example, try to write what you think Coleman Hawkins might've played had he taken another chorus on "Body and Soul" on that famous record.

Stick with it until it really sounds convincing... like you could fool someone into thinking it was from the record or from his solo.

Working THAT out will, IMO, teach you a lot more about Coleman Hawkins's style than simple transcription. Because you have to be able to go into that headspace. It's not a recitation of what he played, but a composition of something from that aesthetic zone. You listen to the record and identify key sounds, concepts, language. Then you let your instinct take over, pretend you are Coleman Hawkins, and just go into that zone. And write it down to play later, so you can evaluate how successful you are. If it doesn't sound right, figure out why and try again. If something is missing, figure out what it is. Analysis of the existing solo material is fine, but it's only a baby step. True understanding means you can go into the 'zone' and operate from that space.

Then when you're done with that, do a few "Chick Corea" choruses, or whatever.

It's a fun exercise that's engaging, challenging, and educational. Transcription is pretty easy. But if imitating/assimilating the language and style of great players is the goal, it's not the end-all. It's only the beginning.

GovernorSilver
03-02-2009, 01:59 PM
I think you're missing the point - it's not necessarily that the he can't physically play the solo but rather that he can't remember how it goes - very different thing.

Allan Holdsworth was fired from the band UK because he could not remember the solos he just improvised. He sure sucks. :p

Sadhaka
03-03-2009, 01:26 AM
I used to do a lot of playing by ear as a youngster. When I was at school there was another good guitarist in the year above me and when a new Metallica album came out we'd call each other up and say "OK, race to learn the solo from "And Justice for All" etc, then the first to ring back would win. We always were on the same speed of learning - it was a blast. I never wrote them out. I can still remember them all though.

Recently, however, I have learnt and notated "City Lights" and "Perfect Waves" by Steffen Schackinger (the YouTube versions) for a student of mine. In these two songs there are some excellent phrases that I can adapt into - not copy - my own playing. I think he has some great lines.

In regard to playing solos note for note live? I only perform other people's music live if I'm playing a musical. In that case I would play the solo's if they are existing songs (like a Queen song or something) note for note most of the time, or something very close to it, because I personally feel that this is paying respect to the original composer.

A blues or jazz tune, never play the same thing twice, and not even in the same position/register on the neck...

Transcribing? Do as much as your time allows.

Jon
03-03-2009, 02:55 AM
Allan Holdsworth was fired from the band UK because he could not remember the solos he just improvised. He sure sucks. :p

Exactly - great improvisers aren't interested in crafting a solo and then reproducing it live - the whole idea is to create something new each time.

It does highlight the back-to-front way that records are made - in the old days music was played live and a record was a snapshot of a live performance i.e. the 'real' thing was the live performance. These days the 'real' thing is the studio recording with live performances trying to capture what was on the studio recording.

Jon
03-03-2009, 03:08 AM
I used to do a lot of playing by ear as a youngster.

So did I.... until I realised that using a plectrum was easier:rotflmao

But seriously....I agree that it's a very important part of learning to play - you can't learn to speak a new language without listening and repeating. With music, you end up creating a balance between picking up what others are doing and repeating it exactly (which develops technique as well as musical vocabulary), and changing it to become something of your own. The more you advance the less you repeat exactly - you still learn from listening to others but you become more adept at incorporating it into your own music, without the need to learn it exactly beforehand - as your technical ability develops and learning the musical phrases of other players becomes easier from a physical perspective, you become more free to concentrate on vocabulary development i.e. you become less concerned wit being able to play a particular solo and more interested in the ideas used within it.

Sadhaka
03-03-2009, 03:40 AM
So did I.... until I realised that using a plectrum was easier:rotflmao
.....

Ha ha ha, that is quite funny!:BEER

Good post Jon :-)