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Guitar only likes parts that're complex in theory

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by thorplaysbass, Aug 7, 2012.


  1. The guitar player for my band is in a phase, I hope a phase, where the only things he's liking for ideas of our songs are complex in music theory. Either with a lot of notes in weird modes or odd time sig. I'm not saying it's bad to write this stuff, but I don't like writing songs for the sake of being complex and not thinking about how it sounds. The drummer doesn't like it either. What should we say? I'm sure you guys have had this before.
     
  2. LiquidMidnight

    LiquidMidnight

    Dec 25, 2000
    Yeah, many musicians go through that phase. Most of the time, the music is never as interesting as they think it is. And I say that as someone who can enjoy some complex - even atonal - music.

    But for every John Cage and Arnold Schoenberg, there are a billion people writing overly complex, pretentious stuff that only appeals to the composer's ego.
     
  3. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008
    Long Island, NY.
    Find someone else. Honestly.

    One of my best buds back in high school was a guitarist, and me and him used to jam to all kinds of music. Eventually he got really into progressive music, and he started emulating guys like Patrucci and Vai. I kept trying to jam with him for about two years, but it was becoming really dull for me. The stuff he wanted to play was super intricate and fun for a guitarist, but it often required me to play a lot of root note stuff.

    It eventually got to the point where I simply stopped returning his calls whenever he would ask me to jam. I never told him flat out that I didn't like the music he was wanting to do, although I did drop a lot of hints. I would tell him at every jam that I was hoping we could start playing some of the old tunes again (lots of STP, AIC, GNR, SG, etc...).

    The kicker - me and him met up at a party about a year after we stopped playing together, got hammered, and then had a long discussion about how we moved apart from each other musically and that neither of us was enjoying those jams back then. We just did it out of loyalty to each other. It was actually kind of touching in a weird way, but it also made me realize that we can't change who people are and sometimes it's best to just let them be and move on.
     
  4. Mr L

    Mr L

    Jul 22, 2012
    Vancouver BC
    Summary: alcohol brings people together.

    Honestly though, tell him straight out that the stuff he is writing isn't as magical as he may think. Beating around the bush only makes the problem go deeper... Then one of you explodes. Not good.

    Be a man, do the right thing.
     
  5. recreate.me

    recreate.me

    Apr 2, 2010
    Ontario
    Is this phase called Math Rock ?

    I had this virus pass through my last band, we all got really into Math Rock, and tried to write songs with strange signatures and weird timings and used a lot of tapping lol We had VERY interesting practices and all learned a lot but in the end we just weren't 'talented' enough to make a complete song out of any of it that all could play properly on a regular basis so it resulted in really cool accents snuck into songs (intros, outros, bridges, or neat Lead solo or cool drum pattern).

    Its pretty much gone, but it did give us a neat flavour if you use in a catchy enough song and very sparingly.

    Just tell him he can use that stuff for interludes and intros but the songs need to be something people without a music school degree can follow and appreciate. If your girlfriend cant tap her foot along to like 80% of the song it probably wont really do well live.
     
  6. lowfreq33

    lowfreq33

    Jan 27, 2010
    Nashville
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    A little bit of that goes a long way. The average listener falls asleep when it gets too complex. That's why Godsmack sold so many albums.
     
  7. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Tell him it's great he is so deep into theory and his music and if he is happy with the little attention it will recive good luck. If you look at most hit songs thru history they are simple not complex at all. People like simple songs with good lyrics and a beat they can dance to :) Hey Achy Breaky heart had just 2 chords...just sayin :(
     
  8. you could pull examples from the simplicity side or the complex side and site amazing bands

    simple The Ramones
    complex Between the Buried and Me

    both awesome bands with very different approaches. Point being the music has to be interesting for anyone to care. if he can make it interesting and complex then good on him. complex for the sake of being complex and its gonna come across as "meh" example of that would be braindrill
     
  9. Oneirogenic

    Oneirogenic

    Nov 10, 2009
    As mentioned earlier the whole complex thing is hard to pull off. I used to be really heavy into Tool and The Mars Volta and was in a prog band with similar interests. We were so busy our poor singer had hardly any room to shine. These days I know that a band like that requires equal amounts virtuosity, restraint, and taste to pull off correctly. No easy feet. Better let Mr. Guitar player know your feelings before it gets out of hand.
     
  10. DBCrocky

    DBCrocky

    Oct 18, 2011
    Cary, NC
    A lot of us go through the phase. I did.

    On the other side, you come to the realization that it's not what you play, it's how you play it.
     
  11. What does the rest of the band think?
     
  12. mambo4

    mambo4

    Jun 9, 2006
    Dallas
    You could say " I'm not saying it's bad to write this stuff, but I don't like writing songs for the sake of being complex and not thinking about how it sounds."
     
  13. I'm really liking everybody's views on this. Thank you for the responses. It's just a three piece. So the guitarist, drummer, and I. I'm probably going to say basically what I said up there, just like mambo suggested. We do use different time signatures in our stuff and I'm cool with that. Just when every song is only danceable to particular polyrhythmic African tribal chiefs, it's too complex for my taste. Know what I mean?
     
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    If you don't like what he writes, write some stuff of your own.

    BTW, nice to see this thread only took two replies to get to the "fire him" stage. That's one post longer than usual. JMatt, I'm surprised at you! Not every situation requires a firing.
     
  15. You're fired!
     
  16. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    You can't fire ME...I quit!
     
  17. I take it back. I can't quit you! :crying:

    As many times as I've been "fired" (fired implies that it was a business and I was being paid) from "bands" (band implies that they were at least half-decent and got out of the basement/garage), it occurred to me that compromising isn't a strong suit in the band setting.

    My last band had a guitarist who was a total idealist. I think he ended up quitting because he can't seem to find a musician who's a perfect musical AND social fit with his ideals. This goes for his friends, too. He doesn't seem to keep friends for very long.

    Anyhoo, as JimmyM said, if you don't like what he writes, then you could always take a stab at writing, perhaps compromise, etc. Life is about dealing with problems and solving them.
     
  18. obimark

    obimark

    Sep 1, 2011
    You know what people want to hear- good grooving stuff

    My band played AC/DC jailbreak, VR Slither, RAM, Killing in the Name last night out and it went OVER like crazy.

    You all can have your math rock fusion stuff--- 4/4 is fine for 95% of what you play.

    Your MAIN job as a bassist is to GROOVE.
     
  19. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Been there. I quit! Found a band that played funk and dance music! No need for all that silliness in my world!
     
  20. Complex is great when you're in the woodshed practicing. Complex may not be equally appreciated by an audience.

    If he wants to play in a basement or garage for the rest of his life then he should continue on his current course.
     

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