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FDP Forum / The Chop Shop / Do you ever have trouble playing with someone because of how they play?

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Ryder
Contributing Member
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Northwest Missouri

Butterscotch Blues
Feb 6th, 2019 01:28 PM   Edit   Profile  

Our band leader at church, I love him to death. He is a very good guitar player, plays by ear, and sheets. Loves acoustic electric, says electric is too much trouble. He does play electric on certain songs with me. He started this band about 22-25 years ago. I’ve been with them for the last 8. That’s a little background.
Sometimes we play “bluesy” songs, sometimes it’s one he wrote. The problem is, when it comes time for a lead break he will look at me and I go. But, his rhythm playing usually just confuses me. Keep in mind, he also does solo gigs on the side. So he finger picks his way through chords and soloing.
While he’s doing his rhythm thing I’m playing my lead thing which is usually improvising what I think sounds good for the songs.
All I’ve come up with is he’s playing too many notes while I’m playing notes. I mean, sometimes I think he’s playing the lead so I kind of back off so it doesn’t sound like two guys trying to compete with each other. Then I just feel like an idiot.
When I used to play out, rhythm was rhythm and lead was a lead. I didn’t have to guess.
Maybe it’s just me, and I don’t have enough experience.
He’s not going to change and I wouldn’t ask him too. I need to figure it out and just play I guess. It’s been bothering me for awhile and I’m even surprised I’m posting about it.
I’ve played with people leading a 3 piece band with me sitting in. I love those players who can play rhythm and lead together and I don’t have a problem with that.
I must feel safe here. Go ahead, give it to me.

(This message was last edited by Ryder at 03:31 PM, Feb 6th, 2019)

larryguitar19
Contributing Member
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South Florida

larryguitar
Feb 6th, 2019 01:44 PM   Edit   Profile  

Yup happens all the time. And it has little to do with ability. It's more about your approach to the groove.

A good friend of mine is an excellent player and does a lot of originals. The problem is when I play in a band I don't play the same way I would solo. Rather I approach things with Mustang Sally as the default groove. Or maybe BB King. Or some Clapton thing. In a 12 bar or 8 bar blues structure there is no doubt where the 4/4 beat is going and where a line begins and ends.

It's all about being carried along with the groove laid down by the rhythm section and the lead simply needs a little space to put together some call and response.

A buddy of mine spent more time playing to himself and coming up with something where the accent is not necessarily on the "1" or at the top or behind or whatever. I dunno but it sounds a lot more like Dave Matthews and I have trouble finding the groove.This means it sure sounds like a lot of stutter step hiccupping going on.

Another problem I have is with a rhythm guitar player who will keep right on going strumming every chord pounding away the same all the way through and I have to fight to get any dynamics in the mix. I want the guys to 'lay back' and let me kind of build something in that space the give me.

When I listen to the Rolling Stones that band is not just about Mick and Keith. It's all about that rhythm section laying down something so simple and direct it's impossible to mess that up. Give me those guys and I could play for days.

(This message was last edited by larryguitar19 at 03:50 PM, Feb 6th, 2019)

Ryder
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Northwest Missouri

Butterscotch Blues
Feb 6th, 2019 01:50 PM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks larry, I will sure keep that in mind.

“I want the guys to 'lay back' and let me kind of build something in that space the give me.”

I don’t seem to get that.

(This message was last edited by Ryder at 03:58 PM, Feb 6th, 2019)

Peegoo
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Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Feb 6th, 2019 01:53 PM   Edit   Profile  

Just because someone has played for many years and has music training certificates on their I-Love-Me wall does not mean they always know when to come forward in the mix or lay back.

The basic approach to most verse/chorus/break/etc., arrangements is the rhythm section lays back in the verses and the breaks and comes up in the choruses.

In most cases it sounds better if a player plays less than more.

There are plenty of players (myself included) that often think, "well, I have this instrument here so I better be making as much sound with it as I can." This approach chokes the life out of an arrangement. There has to be some air--some silent space between sounds--for a song to really breathe.

You are not being unreasonable.

If the leader's rhythm playing is messin' with you, focus on the hats or the snare and you'll be more in the pocket (assuming you have a good drummer!). If you can move to the same side of the drum kit where the hats are, that is a huge help. But it's often the case that that bass player is already there. Make nice with the bassist and perhaps they'll allow you into The Groove Zone near the hats.

Ryder
Contributing Member
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Northwest Missouri

Butterscotch Blues
Feb 6th, 2019 02:04 PM   Edit   Profile  

And, I know this is certainly not all about me. I just want to play as well as I can.

Our bass player is excellent. He’s been in the band since the beginning and also plays in a couple of other bands. Maybe I’ll just listen to him. Drummer is good. Keys player is excellent at reading music but can’t improvise.

Maybe I just have the band leader too loud in my headset because I tend to follow him.

That could be a good test. Turn up the bass and drums, turn down the leader. Also, when he plays electric it’s real loud and always with distortion. He’ll say, “ the sound guys control the volume not me”. So, I’m the “clean” guitar, and he’s the “dirty” guitar. Wellll, my twisted Tele pup works well for me.

Anyway I appreciate the info...gives me lots to try.

(This message was last edited by Ryder at 04:21 PM, Feb 6th, 2019)

larryguitar19
Contributing Member
*****

South Florida

larryguitar
Feb 6th, 2019 02:27 PM   Edit   Profile  

I did a workshop with the great Bill Kirchen at Fur Peace Ranch awhile back.

He kept talking about, "Guys don't make this hard...This is rock and roll and even a drugged out knuckledragger can make serious money doing it."

Or..."Mom paid for 10 lessons that included learning about 12 chords. The first day I learned the first 3 E A D and got a refund on the other 9 lessons because I had to pack my stuff and get on the bus the next day for the 200 city tour."

Ryder
Contributing Member
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Northwest Missouri

Butterscotch Blues
Feb 6th, 2019 02:36 PM   Edit   Profile  

Good one larry. I get it.
I let my nerves take over sometimes too, I’m sure.

It’s especially nice when the leader will say my name in the mic, like, take it away Steve. But we didn’t practice it that way.
In my head I’m saying, oh crap what key were we playing in.

I tell you though, I love it, weird stuff and all. I love the comradery. We all are friends and really care about each other.

Now that I’ve posted this it kind of frees me up. Like I said, lots to try.

gdw3

LA-la-land, CA

Insert clever comment here
Feb 11th, 2019 01:22 PM   Edit   Profile  

IMO, a very large part of being a "very good player", in a group OR solo, is being a good RHYTHM player. And being a good band leader means giving all your players a chance to shine. Licks upon licks just turn into noodling at some point or another.

Do you have any input at all as to how the arrangements are played? Can you ask, in a diplomatic way of course, if the band can come down at some point, get less busy?

(This message was last edited by gdw3 at 03:23 PM, Feb 11th, 2019)

gdw3

LA-la-land, CA

Insert clever comment here
Feb 11th, 2019 01:25 PM   Edit   Profile  

By the way, 8 years is more than enough experience. If he's a good leader, he should value your input.

Ryder
Contributing Member
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Northwest Missouri

Butterscotch Blues
Feb 11th, 2019 01:29 PM   Edit   Profile  

“Do you have any input at all as to how the arrangements are played? Can you ask, in a diplomatic way of course, if the band can come down at some point, get less busy? ”

Very little to no input. As for the band leader, he has been playing this way for so long I don’t think he would or could change.

The bass player is great and I have no problems playing with him.
Keyboard player wouldn’t know what I’m talking about, and I don’t have much or any trouble with the drummer. He’s not a loud player and doesn’t try to show off or anything like that.

I don’t even know how to show off.
That’s why I think I will try turning down the leader’s guitar and turning up the bass and drummer in my headset.

Thanks gdw, I appreciate your input.

Edited to add: I think it’s my duty to fit in with them rather than them indulging me.

(This message was last edited by Ryder at 11:35 PM, Feb 11th, 2019)

hushnel
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North Florida

A Friend of Bill W.
Feb 13th, 2019 09:22 AM   Edit   Profile  

It happens, mostly when I’m playing the guitar. Being a bassist first. When the guitars, mandolins, Banjo or what ever starts twisting the beat or timing I start playing the guitar like a bass player. I focus on the pocket and nail down the groove and timing, until they come out of it. With luck or they are listen to me, it’ll be at the right time and place. When it starts to get a little wonky I try to make eye contact to let them know its wobbly and hopefully they take my que.

It doesn’t often happen when I’m playing the bass, I think guitar players are used to riding on the bass line as reference, it’s easier to keep them reined in. When they do go off or the lead gets a bit out of control they know where I am, I’ll keep it simple so they can figure it out, and they can adjust the line to fall back into place.

Sometimes they just get lost, then I’ve got to be ready, my bass line becomes a trampoline to catch them when they fall out. It’s a tricky thing but after a few guys I’ve played with it’s easy to catch them now. Then I get to sit back and listen to the accolades they get for such fine guitar work “o) I really do love playing the bass.

It’s a bit like being the baker, the chief gets all the praise for the wonderful breads and pies “o), I’ve been that guy too. I like being the wizard behind the curtain.

(This message was last edited by hushnel at 01:44 PM, Feb 14th, 2019)

Ryder
Contributing Member
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Northwest Missouri

Butterscotch Blues
Feb 14th, 2019 08:11 AM   Edit   Profile  

That’s great hushnel!

I know when I’m able to go back I’ll have a different way of thinking which I should have already figured out.

Too timid I guess.

thumbpicker
Contributing Member
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St. Louis

"Thumbpicks don't slide into soundholes"
Feb 20th, 2019 09:03 AM   Edit   Profile  

Kind of funny the finger style thing was brought up. I’ve always played that way because I liked playing with a trio so you get used to covering quite a bit of the spectrum. A bit of the baseline a bit of rhythm and a few lead riffs now and then depending on the song.
I do a lot of solo acoustic stuff as well so I have gotten used to “covering” a lot of the background stuff to keep the song full sounding.
When a lead player is present I have to work on letting go of some stuff so there’s enough room for everyone.

Just different styles I guess. If you cover a lot instrumentally you have to leave a hole for the other guy.

Ryder
Contributing Member
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Northwest Missouri

Butterscotch Blues
Feb 20th, 2019 09:42 AM   Edit   Profile  

“If you cover a lot instrumentally you have to leave a hole for the other guy.“

thumb, I’m the other guy, and the hole is right, but I don’t get one. I totally understand if you’re doing a lot of solo acoustic stuff...which he does. When we’re playing together in church he doesn’t seem to know to leave the hole for me. That’s when the problem happens because when I’m supposed to do a lead...well you see where I’m coming from...

thumbpicker
Contributing Member
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St. Louis

"Thumbpicks don't slide into soundholes"
Feb 20th, 2019 10:15 AM   Edit   Profile  

It can be tuff at times depending on who you’re playing with.Worst case are the ones who are on autopilot with strumming. When it’s acoustic stuff we’re all about the same volume so instead of one guy turning up a bit for a solo everyone else needs to back down a bit because frankly you can try digging in single notes and you don’t really gain much volume.
If I played with someone regularly like that I’d just casually mention that I have a hard time judging my volume when he’s picking a lead part or a complicated finger style part. May make him think about his own parts more and where he sits in the mix. Or you can pick a lead part out at a lower volume and the rest will have trouble hearing and back down a bit. There’s no tried and true recipe I’ve found. It depends on the rest of the players ability to judge where they fit.

Ryder
Contributing Member
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Northwest Missouri

Butterscotch Blues
Feb 20th, 2019 11:39 AM   Edit   Profile  

It’s just a complicated situation.
Our volumes are handled by the sound guys who are volunteers and don’t know about pushing my slider up a bit when I do a lead part.
I’ve talked to my band leader (acoustic finger picker). He said they don’t understand and when he offers training, usually on a Saturday, none of them show up.
Isn’t that swell? I think they just like sitting back there in the middle where the sound and light boards are.
Very frustrating.

littleuch
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Ocala, Florida

Blowing bubbles
Feb 20th, 2019 12:12 PM   Edit   Profile  

Aside from playing with someone who's skills far exceed or fall short of mine (been in both situations), not often but I think I know what you mean. It's been mostly an oddity with drummers I find confounding. I can think of two drummers I've played with, both are outstanding. They tick all of the boxes so I wouldn't fault either for anything. But given the opportunity to use either on a project I'd have a clear favorite. And it has nothing to do with personality (actually the other one would probably be my preference based on that criteria). Something about their playing style makes me more cautious with one and comfortable with the other.

I'm sure the "thing" can be identified, but I almost like the intangible aspects of musicianship.

Achase4u
Contributing Member
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U.S. - Virginia

Feb 20th, 2019 12:19 PM   Edit   Profile  

"It’s just a complicated situation.
Our volumes are handled by the sound guys who are volunteers and don’t know about pushing my slider up a bit when I do a lead part.
I’ve talked to my band leader (acoustic finger picker). He said they don’t understand and when he offers training, usually on a Saturday, none of them show up.
Isn’t that swell? I think they just like sitting back there in the middle where the sound and light boards are.
Very frustrating."

Argh. The fader ride is the OLDEST engineers tool in the book. It was actually the only one in the book if you go far back! What a shame.

Ryder
Contributing Member
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Northwest Missouri

Butterscotch Blues
Feb 20th, 2019 01:50 PM   Edit   Profile  

It is a shame!
He also told me, at one time, there was a guy who handled the sound. He would go to every band practice so he would know what to to look for in each song.

We sure don’t have anyone like that now.

reverendrob
FDP Data Goon
Moderator

She hath it all,

& hath no need of thee.
Feb 23rd, 2019 02:46 AM   Edit   Profile  

I'm a simple man.

If I'm not playing with people who make me unsure of who's doing what, and afraid to stop doing something, anything - because it'll fall apart - but utterly unsure it's me...I don't do it again.

But I also look for folks who are looking just as much as I am to explore and live in that moment.

Otherwise, I'll stay there myself and not let it be ruined.

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FDP Forum / The Chop Shop / Do you ever have trouble playing with someone because of how they play?




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