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Those of us who learn solos note for note......and those of us who purposely do not ?

tapeworm

Member
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8,583
Was it on youtube? I never found it again, it was posted on FB by one of the Austin old timers. I think it was a club out in Wimberley? I remember that catching my eye, I played a road house in Wimberley one time.

But the point wasn't that he didn't nail it exactly. Heck, BB changed so much over the years, himself. The point was, he had obviously sat down and learned stuff nfn. You don't get that close because you listened to a record a couple times. He absorbed it. I don't hear any of that style in his later playing but it must be there, somewhere. It influenced him, even when you can't hear it. Doesn't seem to have hurt him much.
This is the clip I was referring to

 

tiktok

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
23,473
Count me in as a fully paid up member of the purposely do not side of this. I found copping them note for note to be apocalyptically tedious and it just became an exercise in regurgitation for me. Which side of the fence here do you sit on and your reason for doing so ?
You can learn a lot from learning a solo note for note, but I have no desire to hear someone do that live. I've heard the original so many times, throw me a little variety.
 

ripgtr

Member
Messages
10,545
This is the clip I was referring to
That might be it. What I heard was a whole set and this was in the middle somewhere. That was a few years back. A lot of them have been popping up recently, bunch of stuff with the early version of the band, Rome Inn in particular.

No one is going to take that as BB. But he grabbed a lot of the little idiosyncrasies, that he could only have gotten from sitting down with the records. And it doesn't even sound like ABC era BB, but earlier stuff. I had a bunch of those ones he did on Crown (used to get them for $1.99 as cutouts in the early 70s, and yea, I even had Easy Listening Blues), and that is what it sounds like to me. That wasn't osmosis, he worked on that.

And I never heard him quote BB so obviously outside of that. Also, I've always wondered if that was the Ric.
 

HugoLC

Member
Messages
896
I've been facing this dilemma lately , my drummer wants us to put a cover of Mr Crowley on an EP or whatever , the point is , for me to the something that would be worth doing it , I would have to play it note for note and double triple track parts of it like the original

Still Rhoads himself changed the solos live
Zakk Wylde seems to base his interpretation on a mix of the album and what's on tribute ...
But all of this is biased cause I'm not Rhoads or Wylde and I'll never be that good
I know I can play it better than a lot of people and I get the vibe and my interpretation isn't that far from the tribute version ...but still I'm confused as if it's a jawbreaker or a good move to do haha
 

amstrtatnut

Member
Messages
13,209
Im learning a Robben Ford solo note for note. I would never in a million years come up with what he could. So there is that.

He said on some video somewhere that he never copied note for note. I think he is a talented exception to the basic rule of getting better, that says you must copy others to develop vocabulary, and break muscle memory habits.
 

Telejester

Member
Messages
2,483
I've been facing this dilemma lately , my drummer wants us to put a cover of Mr Crowley on an EP or whatever , the point is , for me to the something that would be worth doing it , I would have to play it note for note and double triple track parts of it like the original

Still Rhoads himself changed the solos live
Zakk Wylde seems to base his interpretation on a mix of the album and what's on tribute ...
But all of this is biased cause I'm not Rhoads or Wylde and I'll never be that good
I know I can play it better than a lot of people and I get the vibe and my interpretation isn't that far from the tribute version ...but still I'm confused as if it's a jawbreaker or a good move to do haha
Wha is the point of a mr crowley rehash on your ep, ? If you did a mustang Sally rehash do you think it would go down well ?
 

HugoLC

Member
Messages
896
Wha is the point of a mr crowley rehash on your ep, ? If you did a mustang Sally rehash do you think it would go down well ?
No that was my point too but he seems to think it was somekind of a statement ...drummers right haha
 

blong

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,639
I try to learn a solo note-for-note. I learned the old-fashioned way, scratching my brother's records. I enjoy the challenge of figuring out what they played, and it forces me to learn new licks, fingerings, patterns, and breaks me out of what I normally do due to muscle memory. Also, some songs require you to play note-for-note cuz it just can't be better. Randy Rhoads solos, I played them note for note. Same with George Lynch, Journey tunes, many others. Some, I learned note-for-note but did improvise a little, keeping the main themes of the solo intact, like Rainbow in the Dark, and others. I decided based on the song, and the crowd reaction. I can play most SRV tunes note-for-note, but some I improvise a lot. Same with some EJ tunes, the ones I could figure out.

I hear cover bands, and sometimes the guitarist can ruin the experience, at least for me, by sounding like themselves playing on a song that the solo is so good everyone can sing it. Stairway to Heaven, Hotel California, Highway Star, Stang's Swang, Smoke on the Water, Crazy Train, Don't Stop Believin', Separate Ways, Couldn't Stand the Weather, Rosanna, I play note for note, or as close as possible, I may have a note or two wrong. Now, if I play The Sky is Cryin', Lazy (although the intro should be note for note), Perfect Strangers, Mary Had a Little Lamb, or other tunes, improvisation is perfectly ok.

If I play Empty Arms, I play the intro solo that SRV did note for note, the rest is improvised. Same with Pride and Joy. Keep the hallmark parts, improvise the rest.

So, I attempt to learn solos note-for-note, then improvise when it fits the song to do so. But, I will repeat, I try to learn them note-for-note so I can learn the techniques others use. I did that with a lot of Yngwie and Michael Schenker and EVH tunes. They helped me grow substantially in technique and dexterity.

I recommend you learn them note-for-note so that you can expand your vocabulary and technique. Then do as you like.

Bob
 

ferrinbonn

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Messages
1,382
I think it just depends on the composition of the song and why you're playing the song. There's certainly value in learning solos note for note, especially if you're studying it to help build your own skills. That's how you build up your own solo "vocabulary" by learning new licks and phrasing that you can then incorporate into your own style.

That said, I play in a cover band and I only play some of the solos note for note. To me, the more melodic solos with fewer notes are more important to play spot on. It's way more obvious to the audience when you do your own thing and change or miss the big notes that stick out in their minds. Other solos are more of a smattering of fast licks and most people aren't going to be able to differentiate those anyway.

To use Led Zep as an example, I'd say the Stairway solo would need to be done pretty much note for note. Most fans of that song could hum the melody of the solo and would notice it if you changed it. On the other hand, Rock and Roll could be altered heavily without taking anything away from the song. The only really memorable part is the fast repeating lick at the very end. The rest of it is just a slurry of fast blues licks that are buried in the mix anyway. Page himself didn't even stick to the same formula from show to show.

Most solos fall somewhere in between. They have some memorable melodic parts that I'm going to make sure I hit and then there's some room for improv in the transitions.

It's also a time investment thing for me. For lots of solos, you can get down 90% of it in some amount of time and then it's going to take you that much time again to figure out the small details of the last 10%. Sometimes those parts matter but often they don't. I've also learned some songs where there are parts of the solo that I'm just not good enough to play. Rather than abandoning the song entirely I'll usually figure out a way to adapt those phrases so they sound close but are more attainable for me. Yes, I should probably just woodshed them until I can do them, but that's not always realistic with the time constraints I have in my life right now.
 

Tone_Terrific

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
34,647
I recommend you learn them note-for-note so that you can expand your vocabulary and technique. Then do as you like.
Great in principle, but here's the inherent problem:
Many of us will never play any of those songs, in any form, if the bar for entry is nfn reproduction.
 

Tweeker

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,337
Those of us who learn solos note for note......and those of us who purposely do not ?
Count me in as a fully paid up member of the purposely do not side of this. I found copping them note for note to be apocalyptically tedious and it just became an exercise in regurgitation for me...
Let’s be honest here for a second. Many.. would love to learn and be able to perform solos note for note...However...the level of skill and investment of time involved is greater than we have access to. So we couch our attempts and deviations as some kind of badge of artistic integrity and “interpretation”...just make sure the things we tell each other and ourselves are actually the things that are true.

Hey, while we’re at it, I find the BIGGEST problem is people that don’t even get near the proper way to play the g-damned rhythm for most songs. Now that there is the biggest offense.
pete692, Thanks for revealing the man behind the curtain. As performers, IF we ever develop a unique voice, it's as much dependent on our deficiencies as our skills. 'Play to your strengths' usually means getting pretty good at a few things and that's it. Very few of us can cop a note for note solo that is embedded with the emphasis and stylistic flourishes that identify it. Those that can, usually do. The rest of us (me included) do our best to play a cover that is musically cohesive and/or compelling(translation:good enough). And, like you said, the 'g-damned rtythm'/feel plays a big part of it.
 

Outlier

Member
Messages
1,471
I subscribe to the 'do your own thing' camp but as others have noted it also depends on who you are playing with and who your audience is. You are there to entertain not to entertain yourself so figure out what you should be doing with each crowd and go for it.
 

blong

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,639
Great in principle, but here's the inherent problem:
Many of us will never play any of those songs, in any form, if the bar for entry is nfn reproduction.
Understood. It was a goal for me to have maximum dexterity, and I loved fast guitar and technical ability. It moves me, but not everyone. For some, it's feel, others, techincal brilliance, and I like a balance.

But, if you want to be a great lead player, I recommend finding challenging stuff and learning it. If you just want to make music, go for it. Who am I to judge your artistry other than, does it make me want to listen to more.

Ultimately, I want everyone to make the music they like, or play what you like. I was 12 and wanted to be a technical wizard at that time. I also love BB and Buddy Guy and appreciate pure feel. But if you're gonna be in a cover band, I'd say try to learn the songs as much as you can.
 

Attitude Era

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Messages
360
Players that dismiss learning guitar solos note-for-note and choose to just “play in The Key of Me” are missing out.

It’s like learning a Kata in karate.

It’s a flowing and complete thought that a master or group arranged with reason and purpose, and there are specific techniques within.

Some people just want to “kick ass” and underestimate or dismiss a wealth of information that can make the difference.

This is exemplified when cocky and brutal national karate champ Mike Barnes says to Daniel Laruso “your karate is s*** and your teacher is s***.”

In the final round, Daniel performs a kata routine, which Barnes was not expecting due to his beliefs on what “real karate” is, and sets the stage for Daniel to flow into the win.



When you apply that to guitar, this is what you get...

 

* velcro-fly *

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,672
I'm in a Portland cover band that's busy, The Radio Riots....everybody in it is a very experienced player. We throw out a broad net of tunes and era's but get as close as possible to what was recorded because that's what we're hired to do. Keyword is 'hired'. Based on the crowd response, comments post gig, and follow up calls from locations wanting us back, we're not gonna change it up anytime soon. The specific lines and solo's in known tunes are what gets peoples attention; sure we have moments when we can improvise and blow a bit but also know when to reel it back in quick. Doing a loose / improvised / your own interpretation of "The Boys are Back in Town" will get you hired exactly nowhere...
 

orangekick

Supporting Member
Messages
522
I'm totally in the "it depends on the song" camp. There are a lot of tunes where the lead part feels like it's part of the song as much as any riff might be.
 

Jecht

Member
Messages
1,426
I'm an intermediate player, so I learn solos note for note to build up my lick vocabulary and to improve my technique/chops.
 

MikeFM

Member
Messages
3,179
If it’s going to be some generic pentatonic wankery, I won’t even bother learning one note, let alone the whole thing.

But the solos that sound like planned out written pieces of music, I usually respect enough to learn properly.
 

ricstudioc

Member
Messages
1,107
If I wanted to play the same notes the same way, show after show, I'd be a classical musician.

Some songs have "signature" lines that should be incorporated each time - take the sax solo off the intro of "Baker Street" and you have... what?

When I joined the last band I worked with (kinda retired now) the other guitarist was a "note for note" guy, and credit where it's due he's damn good at it. But I'm subversive, I am, and as I got settled in I began to suggest tunes that lent themselves to more open playing. Eventually that led to several tunes where he and I would duel over the outs, give ourselves a little time to stretch things out. They went over so well with the audience that even he began to relax a little.
 

Switf88

Member
Messages
26
On the subject of Comfortably Numb... every time I hear that main solo played by anybody other than Gilmour it sounds dreadful. I've heard so many distinguished musicians play it, such as those in Roger Waters' touring bands, and they turn it into unemotional twiddle every time.

Some things need to be note for note!
 






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