"There's only so much room for sound" (mild rant)

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by jayjacque, Mar 28, 2015.

  1. jayjacque

    jayjacque Member

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    Have you ever been trying to get just the right sound, stacking your drives and piling on your modulations, turning up the gain, tweaking the volume, throwing in delay, eq-ing the begeebers out of everything, and have it all still sound like mush? Then you start over with just the amp and guitar and it sounds beautiful? It's probably the case of trying to fit too much sound in a small space.

    New guitarists don't know about this; seasoned vets usually do. That's why fill notes are best used at the end of singing lines, why great songs usually start thin and build with the instrumentation as the song goes on, waiting til the end to blow the walls out. That's why everybody quiets down when the bass player has a solo. That's why a good sound person works with the levels and makes sure the vocalist is heard above everything.

    Shoot, even the philharmonic orchestra usually doesn't let all the instruments play at once. I know, it's not our kind of music, but they are the pros; we can probably learn something from them. Watching an orchestra I think is when I began to realize the difference; Most of us guitarists feel we need to play big through entire songs, each and every song. We find ourselves completing for "sound space" with the rest of the band. In "cutting through the mix" we sometimes end up "cutting out our fellow bandmates, and the sound guy is at a loss to make everybody happy.

    But ahh the sweet and liberating feeling when you first discover things like waiting to play til the first chorus or just playing power notes on the 1 and the 3 or palm muting or not thinking you have to solo on every song, or the power of one sustained note or chord. Shoot, I think it's possible to not even play on one entire song, or maybe use the acoustic for a softer voicing.

    So that's my mild rant today. Probably won't get lots of responses, but interested to hear back from a few of you anyway. What are your thoughts or examples?
     
  2. Astronaut FX

    Astronaut FX Member

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    I've always agreed with the notion that the notes you don't play are just as important as those you do play. Dynamics help keep things interesting.
     
  3. russintexas

    russintexas Member

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    The music leader at my church often bemoans that "only the best players understand you don't have to play all the time".
     
  4. Cderosa1185

    Cderosa1185 Supporting Member

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    Couldn't agree more. Well said. I think that's why I have such an attraction to soul music. Stax players, motown, they all served the song and stayed out of the way of the vocalist. Its true, less is more.
     
  5. Meriphew

    Meriphew Member

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    Songwriting is a skill. Not everyone has it, or understands it. Sometimes what you don't play is as important as what you do play.
     
  6. hading

    hading Member

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    Speak for yourself on that. :)

    Aside from that, agreed for sure. I grew up doing things like choirs, school bands, etc. and didn't start the guitar until quite a bit later, making it something of a mystery to me why people would feel like they need to be playing something all the time.
     
  7. Lullabies

    Lullabies Member

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    I stack 2 pedals and don't have issues but yeah the whole this OD into an EP booster then into this para eq then into this fuzz. Definitely gonna chop up your signal.

    As for songs I too am a big believer is dynamics. Like being in a 2 piece now with no vocals (for the time being, I am learning) Me and my drummer have to be really dynamic to keep it interesting and not just loud fuzzy rock each song for a few minutes. Going clean to big dirt for parts or kicking octaver on and off at different parts all keep it interesting.
     
  8. Skreddy

    Skreddy Member

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    Pick one dirt (or booster, whatever) pedal for each sound you want. Stacking will increase compression and noise and reduce "liveliness" and "transparency."
     
  9. Lullabies

    Lullabies Member

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    that can be a good thing depending though Skreddy.... I know personally with my style and setup my cleans sound way better with a very light OD/Boost (Malekko Sloika)
     
  10. Blues Lyne

    Blues Lyne Member

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    Totally agree. I'm very blessed right now. I ended up with two other guitar players in the band. Originally the thought was that while our other guitar player was in college and lived over an hour away we'd need someone to cover the gigs he couldn't make. However, he' been available for most. I realize that most wouldn't consider having 3 guitar players in a band a blessing, but...they totally get what you are talking about and it's never cluttered. I've been amazed at how they listen and play for the song and listen to each other and mesh perfectly.
     
  11. Skreddy

    Skreddy Member

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    Right. One (dirt) pedal = best sound. That's my point exactly.
     
  12. CharlyG

    CharlyG Play It Forward

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    I played bass at church and the drummer, who has MS, ran the board and played drums with his fingers(a Dr Drum) from the back of the room. We did a 1 year experiment to see how few notes/beats we could play and still keep the groove. We were amazed at how tasty laying back(as opposed to flooding the sound with busy-ness) and grooving with minimum notes can be. The guitar and piano did their own thing...
     
  13. KnowTalent

    KnowTalent Just SAY NO to "Creamy" Distortion

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    Or you can play all at once as in Drive Like Jehu's "Rome Plows" and peel plaster.

    Gibson Haynes and David Yow vocals are supposed to be buried in the mix...its intentional and IMO works to perfection given their form of expression
     
  14. CEFlint

    CEFlint Member

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    I often play with a 9 piece band that covers a lot of soul, blues, Motown, etc. With a band that size, it's easy to see why it's not really what you play, but what you don't play that makes the tune.

    On lots of those old recordings, the guitar emphasizes beats 2 and 4, along with the snare. Short, accented chords played higher on the neck which helps the guitar to cut through, but leaves enough air to let the tune breathe. It's essential for a lot of the Motown groove.

    I had a older jazz mentor once tell me "Solo as long as you have something meaningful to say. Then stop talking."
     
  15. jordane93

    jordane93 Member

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    :agree. Silence is just as important as playing especially when you play at church
     

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