Playing live: under play vs over play

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  • My own approach has always been play as powerfully but as little as possible ... it makes those moments when you simply have to burst out much more dramatic. Also learning how to be melodic as well as exciting, and to structure your solos to build to a peak is important. 
    Professional pickup winder, horse-testpilot and recovering Chocolate Hobnob addict.
    Oil City Pickups  ... The Guitar Weasel blog

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  • JetfireJetfire Frets: 513
    I've been away from my guitar for over a week (im in Butlins in Minehead) so my head is buzzing with ideas and stiff I want to try out. The hope in this thread was to kinda confirm what I already kinda new. I think I'm in the right ball park and Id love to just be that bit better at solos and shred stuff (which is just my bag really). When we play, we are a proper 4 piece, full of energy, stage banter, full wireless action and rock poses. 

    @welshboyo is always too kind, hes a top player himself, im uber jealous! 

    Rather weirdly after posting this, I watched the Pete Thorn and Phil X video on how to kill it. Awesome video, the men are proper legends, enthused me to get back to playing and hard graft.

    The vocal line idea I've been toying with too so I may have to do some woodshedding too @NickBotfield !
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  • FloofFloof Frets: 14
    Jetfire said:


    Rather weirdly after posting this, I watched the Pete Thorn and Phil X video on how to kill it. Awesome video, the men are proper legends, enthused me to get back to playing and hard graft.

    Yes there is a brilliant bit in that where Phil X talks about how he and Tico Torres play off each other rhythmically on any particular night - very rewarding for them, the audience will not notice it, but they are having a great time
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  • FloofFloof Frets: 14
    ... and anyway I'd rather be playing songs that an audience loved than "Am7 I love you baby" instrumental arpeggios at 160bpm to silence ;-) 
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 1489
    Play as little as you can get away with.

    Play enough to make a favourable impression.

    Try not to outstay your welcome.

    Typical cover versions band audiences want to sing along with familiar lyrics, wiggle about slightly out of time with the beat and neck alcoholic beverages. Clever "musician" stuff will go right over the heads of the majority. If you believe that you have a soul, prepare to have it slowly destroyed.
    I fear the Geeks, even when they bear GIFs.
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  • HAL9000HAL9000 Frets: 3191
    Jetfire said:
    ...and stiff I want to try out.
    Hmmmm...
    It might look like I'm listening to you, but in my head I'm playing my guitar.
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 1489
    Bona, Mr. 'Orne. ;)
    I fear the Geeks, even when they bear GIFs.
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  • JalapenoJalapeno Frets: 3048
    edited October 5
    Play less. <mounts hobby horse>  if you have 2 guitars playing the same 6 string chords it can sound dire, more so with distortion, and it gets worse with keyboards - everyone playing in the same spectrum.

    As mentioned ^^^^^^ 3 string triads on the neck sound great.

    If you aren't a walking guitar grimorie, you can still play cowboy and great barre chords - just only play the top / bottom 3 or four strings leaving some air.

    (The ONLY exception is of course Teenage Kicks ;) )
    Imagine something sharp and witty here ......

    Feedback
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  • sev112sev112 Frets: 198
    I can’t understand the “play minimally in the background” thing

    its live music - minimalist is for the hifi 

    live you you want to see energy and passion and enjoyment from the players 


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  • 57Deluxe57Deluxe Frets: 4314
    here is a masterclass in creating tone mojo on stage....


    <Vintage BOSS Upgrades>
    __________________________________
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  • kjdowdkjdowd Frets: 600
    My own approach has always been play as powerfully but as little as possible ... it makes those moments when you simply have to burst out much more dramatic. Also learning how to be melodic as well as exciting, and to structure your solos to build to a peak is important. 
    Great point about solo structure. A really good player of my acquaintance is excellent at writing his solos and planning them v carefully. It's a discipline I've often envied - I tend to improvise, sometimes good, sometimes bad...
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  • jeztone2jeztone2 Frets: 690
    I don't overplay. But I try to find what's missing and add that. 

    i never play fast either. PA systems fog your pick attack and dynamics at loud volume so I always go for a big anthemic approach to guitar solo's.

    But by by the same token. I want it to be interesting. I find I see a lot of boring guitarists at gigs. Playing blandly isn't some amazing discipline. It playing blandly. 
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  • modellistamodellista Frets: 350
    kjdowd said:
    My own approach has always been play as powerfully but as little as possible ... it makes those moments when you simply have to burst out much more dramatic. Also learning how to be melodic as well as exciting, and to structure your solos to build to a peak is important. 
    Great point about solo structure. A really good player of my acquaintance is excellent at writing his solos and planning them v carefully. It's a discipline I've often envied - I tend to improvise, sometimes good, sometimes bad...
    Solo Of The Month competition on here is a brilliant way of practising/exercising this ^
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  • ESBlondeESBlonde Frets: 1955
    kjdowd said:
    Do also think that - depending on the music obviously - there is something cathartic, and proportionate - in given yourself one opportunity to widdle a bit of an evening, as it were. 

    Just don't be the sax player in The Commitments
    No,  best to be Joey 'the lips' iirc. ;-)
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  • BarriveeBarrivee Frets: 59
    As the mighty Bob Armstrong (sorry drummer raising head over parapet here) told me a long time ago in a galaxy far far away - you play for the song. I think he also said for fecks sake that's still shite sort your life out or feck off to Lloyd Ryan. However I'm not sure that's pertinent here. 
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  • thomasross20thomasross20 Frets: 3404
    Devil's advocate: shouldn't this be in a less gear-oriented section? But then I bet it wouldn't have had as many replies :)
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  • thomasross20thomasross20 Frets: 3404
    edited October 7
    After @welshboyo's comment I'd like to hear his and @Jetfire's playing (leagues ahead of most folk in the area) - do you guys have any clips?
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  • thomasross20thomasross20 Frets: 3404
    @Barrivee is your name a take on "Larrivee?"
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  • BarriveeBarrivee Frets: 59
    'Tis indeed @thomascross20 ;
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  • cruxiformcruxiform Frets: 1360
    57Deluxe said:
    here is a masterclass in creating tone mojo on stage....


    That was incredible, thanks for sharing. What a performance!
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 1300
    Devil's advocate: shouldn't this be in a less gear-oriented section? But then I bet it wouldn't have had as many replies :)
    Moved to Live.
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  • BarneyBarney Frets: 297
    Just play what fits ...it could be underplaying or overplaying it really depends on the song ...maybe another alternative would be to try different chord inversions in parts ..thats providing they fit the song...i don't really get th phrase less is more...it really depends on the song ..
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 5456
    I have one simple rule if I'm unsure about an arrangement or I'm depping with another band - I listen to the singer while I'm playing as if I was a punter. 

    Is the lyric audible on this bit? If not, is it my fault? Do they need backup on this section so they can give it some welly? Is it a question and answer type arrangement between vocal and guitar? 

    If you stop listening to yourself and listen intently to the singer your hands should automatically control your dynamics. 
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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 2955
    Barney said:
    Just play what fits ...it could be underplaying or overplaying it really depends on the song ...maybe another alternative would be to try different chord inversions in parts ..thats providing they fit the song...i don't really get th phrase less is more...it really depends on the song ..
    Agreed, but with some players less IS more and none would be perfect :)
    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • RogerRoger Frets: 20
    Just play what's needed - the song is king and the singer should be top of the tree. It's great you've got a good one it will make your job much easier
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  • ClarkyClarky Frets: 2323
    edited November 14
    it's all about context.. 
    not only the style of music but also each individual moment..

    about 95% or more of my entire live set is a set piece [including the solos]
    it's never about over or under playing.. it's about doing what you think is right..
    under playing for the sake of it is just dull.. over playing can fk up a song..
    when the moment is right, I'd rather take myself to the ragged edge to be exciting than hold back just to be spot on or 'tasteful'..
    I never sell myself or the audience short.. I throw everything I have at it every performance..
    remember, folks come to see you to be entertained..
    so go for it.. put on a show.. entertain them..
    play every note as if it were your first
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  • AlexCAlexC Frets: 538
    Good to see Ms Fish getting some time on this forum! One of my favourites of the last few years.
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  • DanjiDanji Frets: 222
    Depends on a lot of things for me, how my hands are feeling, what’s being played, how good the room sounds, and who I'm playing with. 
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  • ClarkyClarky Frets: 2323
    Danji said:
    Depends on a lot of things for me, how my hands are feeling, what’s being played, how good the room sounds, and who I'm playing with. 
    how the room sounds - this is interesting..
    what is your thinking here?
    play every note as if it were your first
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