On the modern electric guitar

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JD
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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by JD » 14 Aug 2015, 10:56

The band played our regular venue last night, and overall things went pretty well, except for the fact that something in my pedalboard was intermittent, causing my sound to drop out entirely. And of course it worked perfectly during soundcheck (just as it had worked perfectly during practice at home and band rehearsal at the studio) only starting to show problems during the first song. So I had to test and improvise really quickly to work around the lack of pedalboard, which was some added stress I could have done without.
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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by Highway » 14 Aug 2015, 11:27

JD wrote:The band played our regular venue last night, and overall things went pretty well, except for the fact that something in my pedalboard was intermittent, causing my sound to drop out entirely. And of course it worked perfectly during soundcheck (just as it had worked perfectly during practice at home and band rehearsal at the studio) only starting to show problems during the first song. So I had to test and improvise really quickly to work around the lack of pedalboard, which was some added stress I could have done without.
That is what makes playing out incredibly stressful for me. The playing part? I control that. I can do good, I can do not so good, and ultimately, the only one who cares is me. I never will play bad enough that everyone in the bar will go "oh, this guy's not good". It'll be a couple musicians who will be like "Oh, he missed a few notes there".

But equipment problems? I hate them. Packing up everything, moving it, plugging it all back in, dealing with sketchy power and outlets, setting things up in the half-dark, making sure there's no feedback, all the speakers are working, all that stuff just stresses me the hell out.
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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by JD » 14 Aug 2015, 12:38

Fortunately nobody really seemed to notice too much, and by the end of the set I'd pretty much worked around it and relaxed, but it was still frustrating. Obviously this is why the pros travel with three of everything important, do an hour-long soundcheck, have techs, etc.
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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by Highway » 26 Aug 2015, 16:34

Moved from here
JD wrote:Good points. Crom knows recording is yet another aspect to the whole band thing that has to be mastered (no pun intended). I really wanted to do multi-track recording, so that we could do overdubs, put different effects on tracks, pan tracks, etc., but the bandleader/bassist/owner of the recorder was pretty insistent on doing things this way. And maybe he wasn't wrong, given that it took us three solid hours to get good takes of two songs, and that didn't include much time messing around with guitar tones. It's kind of funny that we ended up with similar tones, given that he was playing through a Peavey head attached to a 4x10" Fender cabinet, and I was playing a Laney combo with a single 12", but I do know what you mean. But I'll see what we can do about that in the future.

More backing vocals would be good - once I really started listening, I was surprised to realize just how common they were in pop music. However, the bassist doesn't sing, the drummer doesn't sing, and that leaves only the other guitarist and me, and I'm not very good!
Thought this was probably a better place for discussion of guitar tone.

Something I've found is that no matter how much you think the tone from one amp is different from another amp, unless they're REALLY different, then you can get very similar sounds out of them without a lot of work, especially if you're playing with effects and trying to match something from someone else. The audience doesn't give a crap about a Peavey through a 4x10 Fender vs a Laney 12" combo. They hear "mellow distortion". And unless the guitars have REALLY different sounds, like Les Paul vs Stratocaster difference, there's gonna be not much separation. What I would suggest is you guys trying to pick up different overdrive sounds. One keep that mellow style, and one pick up more of a cutting distortion sound. And then when you're going for solos or something, just boost that up, rather than changing entirely. It's ok if a cover band deviates a bit from the sound on the record.

And for the vocals, tell those guys that "don't sing" that they can do backing stuff. And don't worry that you're not very good. Like I said, backing vocals in a bar band almost get an automatic pass for even trying (unless they're so atrocious that they take the focus away).

One other note about your arrangement of Middle of the Road: When the other guitarist is doing the first solo, have you thought about picking up his rhythm line instead of the one you played through the rest? That's the one that keeps the song grounded (and The Pretenders keep that one going through the solo as well). It would also help fill in what feels like some empty space during that solo, rather than just doing the off-beat chords.
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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by peejaybee » 05 Nov 2015, 02:05

So, uh, been outta your Gryll for a while (thank you, thank you) and in the interim, picked up the guitar and began sucking hard at it.

Got me some cheap-ass gear:
Image
Image
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It's been a little over two years, and I still suck, but much, much less.
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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by JD » 05 Nov 2015, 11:14

peejaybee! Good to see you back! And there is nothing wrong with that gear - Epiphone and Squier make some perfectly cromulent stuff (as long as you stay away from the absolute low end of the lines, and even then they have potential). Got an Epi and a Squier myself.

In other news, I may have to buy an amp head since one of the venues we're performing at apparently has no guitar heads at all. That will probably mean selling my rather nice Marshall combo, since I'm trying to keep this hobby dollar-neutral for now.
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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by Highway » 05 Nov 2015, 11:17

JD wrote:peejaybee! Good to see you back! And there is nothing wrong with that gear - Epiphone and Squier make some perfectly cromulent stuff (as long as you stay away from the absolute low end of the lines, and even then they have potential). Got an Epi and a Squier myself.

In other news, I may have to buy an amp head since one of the venues we're performing at apparently has no guitar heads at all. That will probably mean selling my rather nice Marshall combo, since I'm trying to keep this hobby dollar-neutral for now.
Is there a reason you can't just use the combo you like? Or do you not want to lug it around? They should be able to mic it for PA sound reinforcement, and if you don't have a PA, I'm sure it's loud enough (I've only met a couple combo amps that aren't loud enough for handling pretty much everything, even with PA).
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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by Highway » 05 Nov 2015, 11:23

Good to see you, PJB, and like JD, I don't think there's anything wrong with the Epiphone and Squier brands, besides my general dislike of Stratocasters.

In my other news, we had our first gig with our new mixer, and it went really well. Setup went as flawlessly as it could, fewer wires (because of a kludge we had been using for monitoring), no feedback throughout, and being able to hear vocals better on stage saved everyone's voice much more than we had previously. Plus, I recorded every channel separately using a tiny utility, so I'll be seeing if I can get the wherewithal to mix that into usable versions of our playing (Nightfall LIVE!!! ;) ).

I went conservative and brought a whole computer to run the mixer, but we didn't have any issues with the wireless through the night, so next gig we'll probably just go all wireless screens.
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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by JD » 05 Nov 2015, 11:35

Highway wrote:Is there a reason you can't just use the combo you like? Or do you not want to lug it around? They should be able to mic it for PA sound reinforcement, and if you don't have a PA, I'm sure it's loud enough (I've only met a couple combo amps that aren't loud enough for handling pretty much everything, even with PA).
It's only 5W, but I could probably just use the combo and either plug it into a larger cabinet or mike it if necessary. The venue is neither terribly big nor terribly noisy; I'm just concerned about being able to get over the drums. I don't like hauling the combo around because it is really bulky for a 1x12 and weighs 45 pounds. That is literally about 1/3 of my own body weight.
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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by Highway » 05 Nov 2015, 11:50

JD wrote:
Highway wrote:Is there a reason you can't just use the combo you like? Or do you not want to lug it around? They should be able to mic it for PA sound reinforcement, and if you don't have a PA, I'm sure it's loud enough (I've only met a couple combo amps that aren't loud enough for handling pretty much everything, even with PA).
It's only 5W, but I could probably just use the combo and either plug it into a larger cabinet or mike it if necessary. The venue is neither terribly big nor terribly noisy; I'm just concerned about being able to get over the drums. I don't like hauling the combo around because it is really bulky for a 1x12 and weighs 45 pounds. That is literally about 1/3 of my own body weight.
"Only" 5W from a tube combo through a 1x12 is probably gonna be louder than the drums at something like "4". ;) At least that's my experience with backline combo amps. Usually turning stuff up to half volume is louder than you want it to be.

And it's just jealousy, but I'll get out the world's smallest violin for you carrying it around. :D We have to bring our own PA wherever we go, plus backline. And as we all get older, moving that much equipment has gotten really old.
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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by JD » 05 Nov 2015, 12:56

Highway wrote:"Only" 5W from a tube combo through a 1x12 is probably gonna be louder than the drums at something like "4". ;) At least that's my experience with backline combo amps. Usually turning stuff up to half volume is louder than you want it to be.
I agree that one generally needs less wattage than one thinks - I once played a jam session with a 6W (through a 4x12) amp and was fine, and for the hell of it I played a band rehearsal with a 2W amp (again, through a 4x12), which more or less worked but was pretty much running of oxygen at that point. The problem is often not so much volume per se as it is headroom: if you're just loud enough to get over the drums when playing normally, are you still able to boost the volume enough for a solo? But I admit I'm kind of curious to try the combo all the same.
And it's just jealousy, but I'll get out the world's smallest violin for you carrying it around. :D We have to bring our own PA wherever we go, plus backline. And as we all get older, moving that much equipment has gotten really old.
Don't you live in Car Land, AKA the rest of America? I have to hand-carry the thing up and down stairs. :-P
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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by Highway » 05 Nov 2015, 13:02

JD wrote:
Highway wrote:"Only" 5W from a tube combo through a 1x12 is probably gonna be louder than the drums at something like "4". ;) At least that's my experience with backline combo amps. Usually turning stuff up to half volume is louder than you want it to be.
I agree that one generally needs less wattage than one thinks - I once played a jam session with a 6W (through a 4x12) amp and was fine, and for the hell of it I played a band rehearsal with a 2W amp (again, through a 4x12), which more or less worked but was pretty much running of oxygen at that point. The problem is often not so much volume per se as it is headroom: if you're just loud enough to get over the drums when playing normally, are you still able to boost the volume enough for a solo? But I admit I'm kind of curious to try the combo all the same.
And it's just jealousy, but I'll get out the world's smallest violin for you carrying it around. :D We have to bring our own PA wherever we go, plus backline. And as we all get older, moving that much equipment has gotten really old.
Don't you live in Car Land, AKA the rest of America? I have to hand-carry the thing up and down stairs. :-P
If the venue has stairs, we still have to carry things up and down the stairs. The car only mitigates the long distance between my house and the venue. Everything has to be hand carried out of the house to a car, packed in, driven, unpacked, and then hand-loaded in to the venue, then reversed for the return trip. It's not like things magically get themselves into the car. :)

And really, I think you'd be fine with the combo amp. I've *never* met an amp that isn't too loud when you turn it up halfway or so, which should leave you plenty of headroom. And that should be all power amp stage, not preamp, so it shouldn't mess with your tone too much.
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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by peejaybee » 05 Nov 2015, 21:27

dhex wrote:i mean it refuses to recognize there's sound output devices available, and the usb connection driver (which is a neat piece of kit, actually) breaks asio4all, so i've had to reinstall reaper and asio4all to record anything. in fact, i'm still reinstalling shit.

i try to remember "this is how some people feel about email" but it's not working right now.
Did you ever get that straightened out? I was able to use asio4all with MuLab and the Rocksmith cable, but it's been a long time since I messed with it.
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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by dhex » 10 Nov 2015, 08:36

nope. gave up and said fuck you rocksmith. fuck you.
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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by JD » 06 Jan 2016, 14:29

I realized I never posted about my experience at the gig. I brought the 5W combo but plugged the venue's 4x12 cabinet into it, and I ended up with easily all the volume I needed. (I had the sound guy mike it just in case, but it turned out to be unneeded.) Our other guitarist was using a crappy DI, and he struggled with both tone and volume the whole show, while I felt fine.

In other news, I bought myself a bass with some Christmas money!
jaguar_bass.jpg
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It's a Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar in short scale, which I got new off of Ebay. The quality of instrument you can get for about $150 these days is pretty impressive. Now I have to try and learn to play like a bassist, as opposed to a guitarist playing bass. (Not sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing that I tend to like bassists who play a bit like guitarists...Lemmy, Jack Bruce, Geezer Butler.)
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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by Highway » 19 Apr 2016, 13:09

Had a gig last saturday, and it didn't go great, there wasn't hardly anyone there, and we had a piece of equipment fail. The good news is that it was the least critical piece of equipment, and also the oldest and heaviest piece of equipment we have: a 40-year old amplifier that we use for a passive floor wedge. So we took the pay from the gig and bought a JBL EON610, 10" Bi-amped 1000w total powered speaker. Huge upgrade in capability, big reduction in complexity, weight, and size.

I'm going to be evaluating it for suitability for maybe replacing our main speakers as well, or the bigger 612 or 615.
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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by Highway » 19 Jul 2016, 14:31

Had our second (and possibly last, I'll say why at the end) gig at a different place this past weekend, and it went really well. We had to blink with respect to the weather: they wanted us to play outside, but there was a thunderstorm coming close to the place and we didn't want to risk setting up and then it pouring on us, so we were inside. And of course it didn't rain at all. But we had the place full, actually had people dancing, and everyone thought we sounded great. Including the drunk ass who kept trying to come up and sing in my microphone and was eyeing my guitar and saying "Let me help you guys out! I can play that!" We'd definitely get invited back again, and have been told by multiple people that we're the best band that place has had.

But part of the reason for that is that the guy is a super cheapskate. We are one of those bands that kill the market for people trying to make a living, and keep the pay down. But this guy's even cheaper than that. He was complaining that he's had some lawyery music industry types coming around and telling him he needs to buy a cover band license, which is true. Cover bands don't have to get performance licenses for their songs to play them live (although they can, if they want to do something out of the ordinary). The venue does, and it's not the same license that covers a jukebox. And this guy was complaining about the cost, because he's running this place, like just about every bar, on a shoestring.
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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by JD » 26 Sep 2016, 13:28

The last time I was playing with my band (a tiny guitar-school open mic) I saw a flyer from a band looking for a guitarist, and it was basically what I would have written myself - 1970s-style punk, but not strictly limited to that; guys just looking to make noise and have fun. So I contacted them, and tomorrow I'm set to go work on some songs with them: Johnny Thunders, Dead Boys, Dictators, and Television. Fingers crossed that all goes well!
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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by JD » 07 Oct 2016, 13:55

The session got postponed a bit, but on Wednesday I did get to go jam with the band. They seem like good guys, the music is definitely up my alley, and they seemed to like my playing, so I think I have a new musical home.

Which is good, because in the interim, the bandleader of my old band called off the whole thing. I can't blame him - it had basically run out of steam, and I think he was tired of being bandleader.

What I am learning from being in bands, though, is that the really hard thing is finding a situation where everyone's head is in the same place. To me, one of the most important things about playing a song, more than being able to "play it right" per se, is knowing the structure of the song. For example, if you play the chorus pattern once the first time, three times the second time around, and twice the third time around, everybody needs to know that. It's really hard for everybody to play together if the drummer and bassist have different ideas of how many times to play the chorus pattern and the other guitarist is just trying to follow along. Likewise, it doesn't matter hugely if we repeat the opening riff twice or four times but everybody has to agree on how many times it is.
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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by Highway » 07 Oct 2016, 14:12

Yeah, if you can't agree on what the structure is, that isn't a band, that's a jam session (and generally not a very good one). :)

Generally, the songs we play are ones that we already know pretty well before we start playing them. So there's only minor disagreements about things like "Do we play the chorus twice at the end, or once-bridge-once." Our biggest hurdle is usually "How do we end it?" Can't really fade out when playing live, so you have to finish it off, which starts getting a bit samey-samey.
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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by Sandy » 07 Oct 2016, 15:44

Highway wrote:Yeah, if you can't agree on what the structure is, that isn't a band, that's a jam session (and generally not a very good one). :)

Generally, the songs we play are ones that we already know pretty well before we start playing them. So there's only minor disagreements about things like "Do we play the chorus twice at the end, or once-bridge-once." Our biggest hurdle is usually "How do we end it?" Can't really fade out when playing live, so you have to finish it off, which starts getting a bit samey-samey.
In the dark ages we'd do segues to alleviate that effect.
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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by JD » 03 Jan 2017, 11:35

I'm pleased to say that the band has shaped up a bit - we now have a dedicated vocalist, and we're starting to tighten up. Now comes the next hard part: finding the right balance between "let's really nail down a few songs" and "hey, you know what else would be cool to cover..."
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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by Taktix® » 11 Jan 2017, 10:05

So, despite not being a guitarist (as mentioned way upthread, I tried to learn for songwriting purposes and can play a few chords, but I am no guitar player by any stretch), I figured general band discussion/gripes appear to have a home here, and since I'm starting to take up the sticks again, here I am.

So first of all, some ways to end fade out songs:

- There's the samey samey big finish end like you mentioned. This is best used at the end of a set or a longer recognizable song, but if the crowd is into it, don't be afraid to do it more often than you're comfortable with.

- There's an abrupt ending on the 1 after the natural end of the measure, which, if deployed well enough that it contrasts with the dynamics of the song, it can be just as exciting. If it works, great, if not, just go right into the next song.

- As Sandy mentioned, segues are a thing. It helps to line up one or two songs in your set list (the arrangement of which is one of the most underappreciated aspects of live music) that you can just transition the end of one right into the next one. Songs like 7 Nation Army or Psycho Killer are great for the second half of these tandems, as the solo kick allows for everyone to get back on the same page. 2-3 songs in a row or short medleys of "those" cover songs that everyone knows and no one wants to play are great ways to add flare to your act.

- Otherwise, if you're really stuck on endings, just do a truncated "big finish" and move right along. Once you're tight enough and playing places that aren't completely empty (not that you are, IDK), the applause will paper over any undesirably boring endings.

As far as minor disagreements about where to end and where to repeat, lets just say that there's no real rule or formula for this. It simply comes from playing together long enough to be able to feel what the others are doing. Don't be afraid to glance at each other and communicate where you want to go. Also, don't expect this problem to ever be solved completely. Some guitarists simply wank off for too long in jam parts. In time, you'll notice that the drummer might play a certain fill to signal the end coming, or a guitarist might repeat certain phrases, etc.

The most important thing is to just keep playing - to keep up the appearance. If you're tight, the audience doesn't know whether it was planned or not, so just keep going with it until you can get everyone on board with a stopping point (I can't tell you how many times I've had to repeat the final bars of I'd Love To Change The World by Ten Years After).
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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by Taktix® » 11 Jan 2017, 11:02

And now to my gripes:

So, as I mentioned on the 2016 thread, I've been practicing and slowly acclimating to the idea of playing out again. I'm still drumless, but through open mic nights and a friend who has some jam space, I've been able to get behind a kit a lot more than I expected. So once I can squeeze a kit into the budget, I'll be looking to form a band again.

Unfortunately, the most successful of my previous projects will never come together again. Irreconcilable personal differences between lead and bassist prevent them from ever being in the same room together, let alone the same band.

I met with my former bass player once (we really meshed well as a rhythm section, this would have been my preferred route) but sadly he hasn't done much to mature in the 5 years since we played together, and pleasantries quickly gave way to flashbacks of his getting too drunk to play and having to cart him around since he's in his late 20's-early 30's and still doesn't have a driver's license. He was also still very judgmental and close minded to new music and I'm not willing to compromise in that last respect.

Then I've hung out with my old lead singer a few times. He's the one who is gifted-talented on guitar and wrote the bulk of our originals (excepting of course my anti-WoD song), but also is close-minded musically and we broke up last time because of his excessive religious dedication (at one point, he said he didn't want to play with us devil worshipers, among other things, like scaring the shit out of his kid about a biblical apocalypse in our lifetime*). He seemed more responsible and less pushy about his faith than 5 years ago, but the musical stagnation remains and he's too convinced of his dad's 40-year-old music industry knowledge (formatting songs as radio singles, etc.), and too obsessed with shitty, tired, old covers (e.g. Play That Funky Music). This would be the path of least resistance, since he has a 4-hour set ready to go, but it's a very boring 4-hour set and I really want to do fresh things and met with lots of static trying to suggest new songs (he basically doesn't want to learn anything new and blames it on his passable but not particularly stunning singing).

But the biggest problem is that they both are looking for a steady cover gig situation because they both have no clue how to make money aside from gigging. I tried this, and making a passion into work is one of the fastest ways to suck the fun out of it. I'm not against doing cover gigs, but I won't have the time to do that week in and week out, especially since I really want to create and write new music (cover gigging is rather inhospitable to creativity - it's hard to write and explore when you've got X number of hours to practice and you still need to tighten up these couple cover songs).

So, once I'm armed with instruments, it looks like I might need to branch out and find some new people to jam with. The rehearsal space I mentioned above is owned by a guy that's friends with both of the above former bandmates, but the location is a hotbed for local musicians (5-6 bands have bays in the same complex and they're all friends and stuff), so that seems like a logical place to start. It's just difficult trying to navigate the tricky path of avoiding/placating the two former bandmates, who are both a core part of this particular social circle. I just hope I can hold the confidence to not just fall into the same traps and drama that held me back last time.

Any suggestions about forming a new dysfunctional family that you choose to be a part of band?
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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by Highway » 11 Jan 2017, 11:15

No suggestions, but your discussions about your former band mates are why my band is mostly a basement practice band. We're not interested in working to make money from it, so we're fine with 4 gigs per year. And yeah, that musical stagnation can get a little difficult, but then there's not a lot of new music I listen to that the whole rest of the band would want to or could play.
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