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Old 06-12-2015, 10:26 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Playing Instruments w/ Feeling

An essential part of learning to play music is growing comfortable enough with your instrument that you can focus more on emotional expression than the actual act of playing, less on where the chord sits along the neck and more on how your fingers are moving along the strings. The velocity of your notes, the dynamics of each vibrato, the swing of your melodies, the tone of your amp, your choice of instrument, and all of the other subtle nuances you work into your playing that make up your style. These are the things that allow us to clearly differentiate between a Jimmy Page and a Tony Iommi, or a Duke Ellington and a Count Basie, or a Brian Eno and a Robert Fripp, just by using our ears.

There's much more to playing an instrument than learning the movements and there's much more to being a great musician than playing music, being able to emotionally move a listener with nothing but the sounds you're producing is the goal. Like painting or any other arts it's the works produced with feeling that we tend to love the most. It's the art we can relate to that we keep going back to, and to be able to relate to the nature of a sound, that takes a significant amount of skill on the behalf of the musician.

First examples:



How generic of me to immediately drop the Zep, especially a 12 bar blues tune, but all fandom aside, there's a very genuine reason Jimmy Page is the legend that he is, and this also applies to SRV, Keith Richards, Angus Young and many other iconic rock guitarists. It's very obvious that there are many many guitarists that swamp Page in technical skill, but what Page did best was speak through his playing. Undoubtedly he is a master of his instrument, and there are plenty of examples of him demonstrating his true technical skill, but for the vast majority of us it's almost always his simpler and more visceral riffs or melodies that we go back to. The subtle sliding chords capping off the verses in the Rain Song are enough to send chills down my spine, let alone the soaring dynamics of his playing throughout the entire track. The overwhelming passion in Since I've Been Loving You, the restraint and subtlety in Ten Years Gone, the building of tension in Kashmir, the visceral excitement in Good Times, Bad Times, the sloppy swing and punch of Heartbreaker, the intoxicating disorientation of Dazed & Confused or Whole Lotta Love. Page consistently demonstrated the range of the electric guitar and its ability to express moods across the spectrum so clearly.

And that's something to note, playing with feeling doesn't mean making your guitar cry, it's simply about being able to convey mood accurately, whatever that mood is. How does music as simple as AC/DC's get my blood flowing as intensely as Beethoven's Symphony No. 5? It's the pop of Angus Youngs playing, the visceral attack on the strings, the crunchy razor sharp distortion and the unrelenting rhythm never losing steam. I find some of AC/DC's tracks heavier than some of the most crushing sludge or doom metal I've ever heard, and it's entirely because of the overwhelming aggression and passion in which it's performed, and how meticulously honed and refined their sound is. AC/DC knew exactly what tones they needed to hit hardest and they capitalized on that for their entire career.



Anyway, enough gushing over classic rock, somebody bring some more genres into this.

Post examples of artists playing with exceptional feeling, talk about what it took for you to become comfortable enough with your instrument to express yourself through it, talk about all of the factors involved in playing with feeling. This thread is for all instruments, however most of us will likely be speaking from a guitarist's perspective.
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There's 3 reason why the Rolling Stones are better. I'm going to list them here. 1. Jimi Hendrix from Rolling Stones was a better guitarist then Jimmy Page 2. The bassist from Rolling Stones isn't dead 3. Rolling Stobes wrote Stairway to Heaven and The Ocean so we all know they are superior here.
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Old 06-12-2015, 11:52 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Great post. And so true.

A recent example from a dude that most write off as simply a shredder.

http://www.musicbanter.com/rock-meta...-solo-wow.html
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Old 06-12-2015, 12:04 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EPOCH6 View Post
An essential part of learning to play music is growing comfortable enough with your instrument that you can focus more on emotional expression than the actual act of playing, less on where the chord sits along the neck and more on how your fingers are moving along the strings. The velocity of your notes, the dynamics of each vibrato, the swing of your melodies, the tone of your amp, your choice of instrument, and all of the other subtle nuances you work into your playing that make up your style. These are the things that allow us to clearly differentiate between a Jimmy Page and a Tony Iommi, or a Duke Ellington and a Count Basie, or a Brian Eno and a Robert Fripp, just by using our ears.

There's much more to playing an instrument than learning the movements and there's much more to being a great musician than playing music, being able to emotionally move a listener with nothing but the sounds you're producing is the goal. Like painting or any other arts it's the works produced with feeling that we tend to love the most. It's the art we can relate to that we keep going back to, and to be able to relate to the nature of a sound, that takes a significant amount of skill on the behalf of the musician.

First examples:



How generic of me to immediately drop the Zep, especially a 12 bar blues tune, but all fandom aside, there's a very genuine reason Jimmy Page is the legend that he is, and this also applies to SRV, Keith Richards, Angus Young and many other iconic rock guitarists. It's very obvious that there are many many guitarists that swamp Page in technical skill, but what Page did best was speak through his playing. Undoubtedly he is a master of his instrument, and there are plenty of examples of him demonstrating his true technical skill, but for the vast majority of us it's almost always his simpler and more visceral riffs or melodies that we go back to. The subtle sliding chords capping off the verses in the Rain Song are enough to send chills down my spine, let alone the soaring dynamics of his playing throughout the entire track. The overwhelming passion in Since I've Been Loving You, the restraint and subtlety in Ten Years Gone, the building of tension in Kashmir, the visceral excitement in Good Times, Bad Times, the sloppy swing and punch of Heartbreaker, the intoxicating disorientation of Dazed & Confused or Whole Lotta Love. Page consistently demonstrated the range of the electric guitar and its ability to express moods across the spectrum so clearly.

And that's something to note, playing with feeling doesn't mean making your guitar cry, it's simply about being able to convey mood accurately, whatever that mood is. How does music as simple as AC/DC's get my blood flowing as intensely as Beethoven's Symphony No. 5? It's the pop of Angus Youngs playing, the visceral attack on the strings, the crunchy razor sharp distortion and the unrelenting rhythm never losing steam. I find some of AC/DC's tracks heavier than some of the most crushing sludge or doom metal I've ever heard, and it's entirely because of the overwhelming aggression and passion in which it's performed, and how meticulously honed and refined their sound is. AC/DC knew exactly what tones they needed to hit hardest and they capitalized on that for their entire career.



Anyway, enough gushing over classic rock, somebody bring some more genres into this.

Post examples of artists playing with exceptional feeling, talk about what it took for you to become comfortable enough with your instrument to express yourself through it, talk about all of the factors involved in playing with feeling. This thread is for all instruments, however most of us will likely be speaking from a guitarist's perspective.
I had to do a double take to make sure you're not Chula.

Also that:
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Old 06-12-2015, 12:10 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I was planning to focus on non-classic rock examples but few things hit me harder than a good Zeppelin or Sabbath riff.
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There's 3 reason why the Rolling Stones are better. I'm going to list them here. 1. Jimi Hendrix from Rolling Stones was a better guitarist then Jimmy Page 2. The bassist from Rolling Stones isn't dead 3. Rolling Stobes wrote Stairway to Heaven and The Ocean so we all know they are superior here.
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Old 06-12-2015, 01:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
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So are we talking all instruments or just guitar? I think that with the saxophone, if you don't play with emotion then you're very likely a ****e saxer because it plays in the key of the soul imo.

Sonny Sharrock is the most expressive and passionate guitarist that I can think of at the moment, and that's crystal clear in his music. Actually with my comment about saxophones this shouldn't come as a surprise because I see Sharrock's style as being more similar to what saxophonists play than what most guitarists play.



Then we have Marc Ribot, my favourite guitarist. When am I not repping this guy? I talk about him on here every day it seems. His phrasing is unique and excellent, and I really enjoy his hard picking style that makes his guitar sound...clunky I guess? It's hard to describe. His more laid back and intricate stylings are great too, like his cover of I'm Confessin' or Kivah.

Fast forward to 2:15 if you just want to hear the solo as there's not much guitar up until that point.

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Old 06-12-2015, 02:15 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Don't get me started about Marc Ribot.
This is not necessarily my favourite track featuring him (I don't think I have one), but it's an incredible showcase of playing the guitar with feeling.

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Old 06-12-2015, 02:28 PM   #7 (permalink)
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It's certainly an on going struggle. Most people start learning the pentatonic scales and get to where they can somewhat express themselves. Then you start learning major scales and modes and for awhile sound like you are just blindly running scales. Then you get to where you can start using those in a personal way. It's certainly an ongoing battle to not let the theory and "this is what I'm supposed to play over this chord" mentality take over. I know when I'm playing a grateful dead song or something I will rely too heavily on straight major scale playing but I'm fighting through that I hope. Anyways, Blues and Rock are what kill me, I love jazz and other forms of music but don't "feel" them like I do blues and rock.

This one used to kill me when I was first learning guitar. Always wanted to get to the point of being able to play with this much feeling. This is why people were calling Clapton "god" in England. I mean, listen to the guitar solo that starts at 3:26, man if that doesn't grab you I don't know what would do it. That little lick at 3:49-3:55 just kills me every time. Some great sax work at the start of the songs as well.

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Old 06-12-2015, 02:53 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Excellent posts so far, Marc Ribot is a fantastic example.
Love the interplay between him and Zorn in this performance of Little Bittern:



Such a great song to jam to as well.
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There's 3 reason why the Rolling Stones are better. I'm going to list them here. 1. Jimi Hendrix from Rolling Stones was a better guitarist then Jimmy Page 2. The bassist from Rolling Stones isn't dead 3. Rolling Stobes wrote Stairway to Heaven and The Ocean so we all know they are superior here.
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Old 06-12-2015, 02:58 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Gotta add Shawn.

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Old 06-12-2015, 03:07 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I want to like Shawn Lane so bad because he's clearly really talented and I like what he plays most of the time. It's just that everything else about his music is just not for me tbh. Take your track for example, I think the guitar is beautiful, I just wish that cheesy ass synth wasn't there as it ruins the track for me. He's still a great example for this thread though.

I haven't listened to too much though, only two or three albums and a collab I think. Does he have any stuff that you think might be more up my alley?

EDIT: Guess who was playing with emotion today.



I was playing Lonely Woman, RIP Ornette.
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Last edited by Frownland; 06-12-2015 at 03:30 PM.
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