Especially for those of you in a cover band...

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Hategear, Feb 23, 2002.

  1. Hategear

    Hategear Workin' hard at hardly workin'.

    Apr 6, 2001
    Appleton, Swissconsin
    Let's say you are in a cover band and one of the songs you choose to play, makes extensive use of a sitar (for example). How much pressure would you put on your guitarist to duplicate the sound of a sitar? If there was a sitar effect available (which there is), would you pressure your guitarist to get one, or at least try one out? Would it make a difference if it was not just in one song, but in two or three of them? Have you ever canned a song because someone couldn't play it the "right" way? Ever get disgusted with a guitarist that won't take the time to figure out his multi-effects pedals?
  2. First of all, when you do a cover the songs doesn't have to be the exact same as prevously preformed...the "right way" as you said it. There should be some of your bands own style in there.
  3. I'm with 2Bit on this one. Sometimes you have to make someone else's song your own, so to speak, if you can't exactly reproduce it. Maybe with a little experimentation you can come up with something sitar-like enough to get by; my brother/guitarist used to mess around with a chorus/flanger combination to get a sort of sitar sound (along with some heavy reverb), to do some Beatles covers. Just out of curiosity, what song(s) are you trying to do?
  4. This isn't directly related to your question, but if your guitarist is planning on the new danelectro sitar swami to duplicate the sound of the sitar, don't bother. That pedal is a piece of junk. It not only does not sound like a sitar, it makes my ears bleed.
  5. I pressured my guitarist to get that effect even though we don't do any songs with sitar in them (we play punk/ska/reggae stuff), just because sitars are so cool. I'm glad he stood up to me if the pedal sucks.
  6. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    The answer to one of your questions is yes, we did drop songs that we had no hope of reproducing in a reasonable way, but also, we did adapt other songs to our equipment.

    For example my blues band had a harmonica player. Sometimes he subbed for the keyboard in the original song or even the horns. Often our rendition turned out to be really cool. But there were times when the harmonica just didn't sound right as a substitute, so we would decide to not play the song.

    I think substitutions are easiest in songs that have already had many versions played by many many blues songs are. It may be harder, however, when the song being covered is very distinctive, currently popular and does not adapt well to leaving out the instrument that makes it distinctive and gives it character.
  7. Jeremy_X


    Jan 29, 2002
    Force him, at gun-point if needed, to get a sitar and learn to play it.;)

    I agree with Boplicity, play around with stuff, see if you can't get something to work in the sitar's spot. If not, you can work around it, unless it plays a major role in the song, in which case I would say you should drop it.

    What song(s) are you working with?
  8. Never had that problem. :D
  9. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    If a song's character depends on a specific riff or a very special sound we try to stay reasonably close to that. Otherwise I feel we stray too far from the original. Don't underestimate the audience's joy of recognizing a song, you are playing for them! :) So we tend to not perform songs where it's too difficult to retain that special significant element of the original. Regardless how hard you try it will still not sound exactly like the original anyway, we still add our own sound and style.
  10. Brooks


    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    We only play covers. Sometimes...we make songs 'our own', sometimes we try to make them sound as original as possible. We usually have a problem with guys just not practicing enough..trying to play a song from memory instead of listening to the original and getting their part down properly.

    Pisses me off that I can download the MP3 and a MIDI, and work out not only the lines but also the tone and the technique used, and they don't even bother to listen to it once...
  11. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Inactive

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    IME this stuff is only important if you're trying to be a "carbon copy" cover band. Otherwise, put your own spin on it, that can be much more fun.

    People who can only play with the "correct" sound or instrumentation are lacking in a key area that can make music fun...


    Heck, I've been in groups that did covers where people just played what needed to be played. I've worked with horn players who played guitar lines, keyboard players who played everything, guitarists that played horn or keyboard lines, I've played horn, keyboard and drum lines on bass.

    Here's a very simple rule I play by:

    Use what you got... play what you want.

    Almost too simple.
  12. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    If you have IMAGINATION enough to do it better than the original - which the audience recognizes and wants to hear - then why not use it to produce new originals instead? ;)
  13. I've heard someware that the first intention with the wah-wah pedal was to reproduce the sound of a sitar. Has anyone else heard this?
  14. bizzaro


    Aug 21, 2000
    As already stated you can change the arrangement to fit your instruments. If you don't like the out come, then drop it. I don't think it is fair do demand people in a band supply things that you want. But that is IMO. I am in a country rock band with no fiddle, no pedal steel,only guitars. This is a challange but, our guitarist can usually mock those parts pretty effectivly. Or we drop them. He does have a plethora of effects pedals.
  15. bizzaro


    Aug 21, 2000
    Because even if the arrangment is not as heard on the top 40, Your audience will still recognize the song and be able to relate to it. This will hopefully get you an audience so you can start mixing in originals. It is human nature to want familiarity so they can identify with whats happening.
  16. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    Well, the truth of the matter is, there are just certain songs (a certain groups as a whole) that you just shouldn't cover. Some songs are to hard to reproduce to do them any justice.

    Though you have to improvise as what was said before. We do "Can't You See" by MTB and our guitarist plays the flute part with a slide on his guitar. Chances are, you are not going to have the same exact instruments that were used in the orginal recording. You can cover a lot of instruments with a guitar. (Like simple horn lines, keyboard lines, even some steel guitar if your guitarist knows what he's doing)
  17. Suck it and see.........

    I used to work with a guitarist who had so many effects, he used to do a 30 second dance on his pedals before we went in to the next song - ugh!

    We don't have a keyboard player, so these parts are often played on guitar, and I've even included sax lines in the bass part. I think in covers there are certain hooks that you have to get, but otherwise see how you think it sounds.

    We drop some songs because we don't think we make a good job of them - usually because we can't reproduce the sound. I think on the whole if people come to watch a covers band, they mostly want it to sound how they remember the record/CD.
  18. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    Yeah, at least make one attempt at at song you like to cover, even if it seems impossible or improbable. We have been surprised many times, both with songs we didn't think we could/should play but sounds great, and songs that *should* fit our band but we simply can't get to sound or feel right. It's not always easy to say in advance what will work or not.
  19. bizzaro


    Aug 21, 2000
    I hear Ya!!! ;)
  20. basslax


    Apr 20, 2000
    Washington, DC
    yeah, the "Sitar Swami" really is horrible. i wouldnt bother trying to make him get it, especially if its just for one song
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