Is there such a thing as tasteful playing?

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by Leonc, May 2, 2016.

  1. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    17,404
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    Upstairs, L.A.
    And if you think there is, how do you identify it?

    What about not-tasteful playing?

    I suspect "tastefulness" is a bit like pornography -- "I can't define it but I know it when I see it."

    You know, I'd say that "playing to the song" is what exemplifies tasteful playing...but there are plenty of songs (hell--entire forms of music) that are oriented towards obliterating what's considered by many to be "tasteful".

    Is "tastefulness" something that varies from one genre/style to the next? Or is there some firm, well-defined boundary that exists on its own. Some playing crosses over that boundary, some stays with in it?
     
  2. dewey decibel

    dewey decibel Supporting Member

    Messages:
    9,600
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2005
    Location:
    we eat a lot of cheese and drink a lot of beer
    Tasteful is the one comment I get consistently, next would probably be mature. Probably because I have no chops, lol. But seriously, playing to the song is it, but not just song- arrangement, genre and style are so important, as is your own tone and how it sits in the mix. I'm the kind of guy that can end a song with a roaring solo filled with crazy feedback and random open strings and people will still call it tasteful. I think it really comes down to one thing- your ability to listen and fit the situation.
     
    MrLahey, RR59CMS, aynirar27 and 3 others like this.
  3. Baxtercat

    Baxtercat Member

    Messages:
    11,074
    Joined:
    May 11, 2009
    Location:
    just west of Monterey, CA
    of course! :)
    Leaving some 'white space' on the canvas is one parameter.

    A saxophone example, for instance.
    tasteful: Ben Webster
    not-as: Kenny G
     
    Jay K, deeohgee and Leonc like this.
  4. Madgansound

    Madgansound Member

    Messages:
    75
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2006
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Music is a language - tasteful playing involves good communication with your listener. The ability to convey what you are trying to say through your instrument is the primary skill and secondary is making sure that you have something worth listening to.

    Non-tasteful playing typically comes across as rambling, scale or pattern based playing, playing with an over emphasis on technique, just filling space, etc... this equates to making a lot of noise while saying nothing in most cases. Unfortunately this is what plagues the majority of musicians as they develop the ability to become good communicators as stated above. It's a long journey.
     
  5. Geetarman74

    Geetarman74 Member

    Messages:
    405
    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    Not when I plug in!!

    :rimshot
     
    Tommy Biggs, BadHat and Tread like this.
  6. MmcGrouty

    MmcGrouty Member

    Messages:
    3,509
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2014
    Music is all subjective anyways. What some consider tasteful, others may consider boring.
     
    D4V3?, Calaban, amstrtatnut and 4 others like this.
  7. Fu Schnickens

    Fu Schnickens Member

    Messages:
    2,802
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2013
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    To me tasty playing is playing that perfectly matches the style, genre, and intensity of the music the rest of the band is playing. David Gilmour is a paragon of taste because his style compliments the songs he writes in texture, mood, and speed (or lack of). I would say that Kirk Hammett is an equally tasty player in the sense that what he does fits perfectly in the context of Metallica. He plays fast when the song is banging, slow when it's mellow, and his phrasing always fits the song. Gary Moore, in my opinion, is an example of style being out of sync with the material. I find him to be way over the top with distortion, shred, and face melting. It doesn't match the bluesy vibe the band is putting out.
     
    GulfportBound likes this.
  8. dwoverdrive

    dwoverdrive Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,607
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2013
    Location:
    Papillion,NE
    There is of course playing leads that just sound obnoxious. As crazy as it sounds there is a place for it in many genres too haha. I think playing too much is really the secret behind tasteless playing. Or when I hear a lead that is clearly an exclamation point on a musical sentence that clearly needed a simple period. Sometimes its a simple as not serving the song and serving yourself too much. Thats tasteless.
     
    RR59CMS, Comanche5 and Leonc like this.
  9. Tread

    Tread Member

    Messages:
    2,027
    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Location:
    Viginia
    Intangible .
     
    bullet6759 likes this.
  10. Lef T

    Lef T Member

    Messages:
    4,948
    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2014
    Location:
    Ontario,Canada
    It's not what you play.
    It's what you don't play.
     
    D4V3?, dwoverdrive, RR59CMS and 3 others like this.
  11. jwny72

    jwny72 Member

    Messages:
    2,459
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2010
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    There is tasteful playing, but a consensus as to what it is, there is not.
     
  12. bettset

    bettset Member

    Messages:
    3,794
    Joined:
    May 17, 2007
    Location:
    downtown UBFE
    examples i consider tasteful.......dan toler with gregg allman on "i'm no angel" and jeff carlisi on "hold on loosely". santana with "into the night" are a few :munch
     
  13. aleclee

    aleclee TGP Tech Wrangler Staff Member

    Messages:
    11,572
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    5868 ft above sea level
    I'd equate tasteful playing with eloquent speaking:
    • Having something you want to say
    • Organizing your ideas as opposed to spewing notes at the listener
    • Tying one idea to the next (a.k.a, phrasing)
    • Articulation
     
  14. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    17,404
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    Upstairs, L.A.
    Very nicely put. Pun intended Alec, thanks ;)
     
    aleclee likes this.
  15. Webfoot

    Webfoot Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,713
    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2006
    Everything just seems right... great melody/phrasing and tone for a specific genre. Kind of like it could not have been said any better. Weirdly though the historic dilemma has been that tasteful means restrained. So BB King can be tasteful but Metal cannot. However one of my favorite unrestrained contradictory albums is Robin Trower Live. Non stop guitar, high energy and a lot of notes... but to me incredibly tasteful. So it must be in the ear of the beholder. Would you call EVH tasteful or just kick ass?
     
    Leonc likes this.
  16. Turi

    Turi Member

    Messages:
    9,499
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2011
    Tasteful playing to me is serving the song.
    Some songs call for call-and-response style blues licks. Some songs call for epic wankery above the 17th fret with the whammy bar, a wah pedal and massive amounts of fuzz.
    Some songs call for playing melodies under the vocals. Some songs call for no guitar under the vocals.
    Etc etc.

    I also believe there are endless ways to serve the same song.
    I believe tasteful playing might change, from night to night, gig to gig, jam to jam, even on the same song.

    Tearing it up over Sweet Home Chicago at a blues jam and playing the same song the next day at a cafe in your acoustic duo, might call for completely different yet equally as tasteful and equally as song-serving playing.

    I don't really like scales or playing that sounds like scales but hey to some people they're exactly what the taste Dr. prescribed.
     
  17. Ubersooner

    Ubersooner Member

    Messages:
    1,979
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2013
    My go to for melodic playing, as a bench mark for almost anyone is DG's solo on Comfortably Numb. It's tasteful because it is true to the compositional mood and movement. If people agree, it's easy. If they don't, it's a start to a conversation.
     
    ohiomatt33 likes this.
  18. ohiomatt33

    ohiomatt33 Member

    Messages:
    459
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2014
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    - not stepping on the vocal
    - playing to the song (tempo, feel, vibe, overall language)
    - is the tone in the realm of what the rest of the band has going on?
    - having something to say, and piecing something together to say it. (Don't just play a bunch of licks in the right key.)
     
    Steve Hotra and Tommy Biggs like this.
  19. aleclee

    aleclee TGP Tech Wrangler Staff Member

    Messages:
    11,572
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    5868 ft above sea level
    I'd say that playing need not be tasteful to be tasty.
     
    Turi likes this.
  20. Flyin' Brian

    Flyin' Brian Member

    Messages:
    29,575
    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2005
    Location:
    K7C 4K8
    See my signature. When musicians in a group are aware of what others are doing and add parts to complement the whole (or refrain from playing as necessary).
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice