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Hands up who wants Steve's music transcribed

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by TaySte_2000, Jul 16, 2003.


  1. TaySte_2000

    TaySte_2000

    Jun 23, 2001
    Manchester, UK
    Endorsing Artist: Mojohand, Subdecay, Overwater, Matamp
    I know I do there's no way on earth i'll ever be able to figure out what your playing. I think you should be all nice and supportive to all us novice loopers and share your exact secrets. :D

    Think of it this way what will people think of our playing if we can imatate your beautiful music.

    Also just out of interest what eq settings do you use on your ashdown.

    Finally do you find that the ebow works better on flats?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Nah - your other questions are very reasonable, but I'm not sure it would be a supportive gesture to transcribe improvised stuff?

    It would be far better for you - to attempt to transcribe things you like - like Steve's.

    Even if you only get a few bars right - the exercise of doing this, will be far more valuable than having things handed to you on a plate!
     
  3. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    As someone who has quite a lot of bass transcriptions available (from the internet and in a collection of books and magazines) I can honestly say that I've learnt much more from what I've transcribed for myself over the past year or so than all the materials I collected before that.

    Additionally, even if you had an accurate transcription and the chops to pull it off, it would be very hard to recreate a lot of the songs without quite a lot of looping / FX gizmos available (do you think that's fair comment, Steve?).

    While I think the market is probably getting ripe for Steve Lawson Goes Loopy (or whatever a hypothetical method book from him might be called), I'm sure it would be more about the thinking and concepts than note for note transcriptions.

    Wulf
     
  4. TaySte_2000

    TaySte_2000

    Jun 23, 2001
    Manchester, UK
    Endorsing Artist: Mojohand, Subdecay, Overwater, Matamp
    Fair enough,

    I never expected to ever be able to play what Steve plays just thought I could maybe try one of the layers in a loop he uses, as he once said to me it's all smoke and mirrors but I now believe that to be a lie :D Hes just a bass king.

    Just wondering when's this new album coming out with theo, I want it, and also is there any way to buy lessons learnt from an aged feline. Also can you recommend a CD you've played on preferably one with you on every track for some cool hip young star?

    Also as my final point I hope your still using your old abm c110 300 amp since I just took the plunge for one and I'm very happy. Kinda like a lion in insects clothing who knew one ten inch speaker could cause all those noise complaints oh well.

    P.S. OH yeah why no gigs in manchester STILL? Do I need to come down there and drag you here?

    Thanks in advance
     
  5. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    I've been meaning to do transcriptions of some of the more playable non-improv things for ages, so maybe I should get on with it - The Inner Game, Channel Surfing, Amo Amatis Amare etc... let's see how long it takes me to get round to it... ;) It is smoke and mirrors, I can assure you... :D


    Theo album hopefully out in Sept/Oct - more MP3s from that ASAP on the site.

    Email me about Aged Feline...

    Another album? Er, the Ragatal album is worth picking up - it was recorded under the name Jason Carter with Ragatal, and you want to get the version called 'Fragments Of Grace' not 'Elements' - Elements was a re-release with a load of completely unneccesary percussion overdubs that spoiled it, IMHO. You can probably still get 'Fragments...' somwhere. It was out before I did any solo stuff, so is kind of an interesting stop of point on my musical journey, and has one of my favourite of my own solos on the last track...


    I do still use the C110 - mainly for smaller gigs, as I also have an ABM500 with a MINI110 and a MINI48 that I use for bigger gigs... I'm going to have to go to a stereo rig for solo shows before too long, though - I'm using way too many crazy noises from the Lexicon not to... ;)

    No gigs anywhere of late, due to crazy recording schedule - have done albums with Theo, Patrick Wood, Matthias Grob, Vigroux/Cury/Rives/Lawson in France, and some session stuff... all very busy. Really need to get back into live mode - hopefully Theo and I will get some dates booked to coincide with the new album coming out. And I guess I ought to do a summer london gig anyway...

    cheers!

    Steve
    www.stevelawson.net
     
  6. TaySte_2000

    TaySte_2000

    Jun 23, 2001
    Manchester, UK
    Endorsing Artist: Mojohand, Subdecay, Overwater, Matamp
    Thanks for all that info Steve i'll see if I can get that cd.

    Can't wait for the new album

    P.S it's my birthday today YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  7. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    isnt all great music just smoke and mirrors?

    I mean I find the music that often makes me go "wow" ends up being really simple when i work them out.

    in the case of steve's music it'smore about the musician than the instrumentalist.
    the bass and the loop boxes are just the tools, so where steve's using a dead simple melody (like on "channel surfing" for example), it's nothing to do with hsi being a great bassist, and everything to do with being a tasteful musician. hence steve's music is not chops orientated, it's real music.

    the more i listen, work stuff out and learn, the more i realise the same ol' tricks have been working their magic for the past zillion years!

    Steve, CD in the post after the SECOND mix has been completed .tsss, engineers :)
     
  8. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    I think you've hit the nail on the head there howard - it's not just about the notes.

    The best example I can think of are Beatles tribute bands - why isn't seeing one as inspiring as the real thing would be? It's not just history - the SOUND isn't right, the phrasing isn't there, the intention isn't there. Intent is a very big but rather nebulous influence on music - what are you trying to do? It's a harder question to answer than you'd first think...

    ...but I'll still do some transcriptions when I get round to it.. :)

    Steve
    www.stevelawson.net
     
  9. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    I agree completely... this raises a few points in my mind...

    Intent is personal and therefore as a listener can you really KNOW the intent of the performer?
    i.e. my intent might be to play a beautfully sombre solo that puts a lump in the throat of my listeners... but the result might be a tacky attempt at playing on the heart strings that just makes everyone want to vomit, a rather Extreme ;) example, but you get the point!

    As you say, phrasing etc CAN be mimicked, but the intent will still be different, your example is a blinder...
    the bootleg beatles are trying to imitate while the originals were trying to get girls playing the coolest music of the moment...

    All the above leads to my final point...

    Why classcially trained players are so hung up on transcribing, especially jazzers?!
    I mean I do see the point, I really do, but as you said I might get the feeling of one phrase completely differently to how the player intended it, therefore I'd be incoportating it into my repatoire as something different... so sitting down and notating it wont make any difference to my understanding or appreciation of the part in question?

    not sure if that makes sense, or not?!

    h
     
  10. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    I get the point entirely, and this feeds into all that stuff that I've gone on about to do with Control and Awareness. In the same way that chops as your sole focus of your music is going to yeild pretty soul-less, so focusing purely on what you 'want' to do, without developing the skills to execute that is going to be very frustrating indeed.

    So finally, after years of searching, we have a reason for practicing scales, arpeggios, technical exercises, and yes, even transcribing - it's all about developing the areas of your musicianship that feed into you expressing your musical intentions.

    Take it back to the language analogy we've touched on in this forum before - whatever my intention, I can't express it in French until I've learnt how to express it in the present, past and future tenses, in it's plural form, how to conjugate verbs, and finally, if I want to get deep into the language, how to THINK in French.

    I want to THINK in music - that's the aim. To hear it and play it, not to hear it, translate it into dots or theory and then play it, but just to cut out the middle man and play. The longer I play, the more I practice, the closer I get to that. The more often I acheive that connection... I'm glad I have the musical knowledge to fall back on, in the same way that I still use a dictionary in english if I get stuck, even though I've been speaking it for best part of 30 years.

    The point of transcribing is manifold - it can be step towards learning a tune, and getting at the intent behind it - as much as a transcription won't give you the intent, you certainly can't get beyond the notes until you've got a handle on them.

    Point two is about your ear - getting familiar with the sound of certain harmonic and melodic ideas, associating them with their shapes and sounds on the bass, making those connections that feed your musical soul, that give you the tools to play a wider range of stuff from the heart.

    It teaches you a heck of a lot about reading music - writing stuff out is the quickest way to learn about reading, in my experience.

    BUT, it's not the be all and end all, it's not the one route to musical stardom and it's not going to turn you into the people you're transcribing... It's like the old 'jaco clone' accusation that gets thrown at just about anyone who picks up a fretless bass at one time or another - the people making the accusations don't seem to stop and think just how much work it would entail to actually sound like Jaco! Learning Teen Town and Come On Come Over isn't going to turn you into a Jaco clone, any more than singing 'I Am The Walrus' in a karaoke bar will turn you into Lennon or McCartney. It's all part of your journey, part of what makes you sound like you, and there are no short cuts... :D

    Steve
    www.stevelawson.net
     
  11. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    Dammit, I didn't realise you were there too...

    I do appreciate the point in transcribing, but I do think it is little more than a training exercise... I'm sure our moley will have some things to say about this topic! :)

    Yes, spot on old bean..

    I think we all do that to some degree, naturally.

    The degree of which I am able to do that is limited, but expanding.

    This concept of playing direct from within also requires that the musician have no boundaries, of genre for example...

    That's the tough part because until you understand ALL music, you're really just learing tricks to some degree surely?

    Blues is...
    rock is....
    pop is....
    jazz is....

    know what I mean?

    PS, ever used a line6 mod pro or filter pro unit?
     
  12. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    :D

    Actually, I think Steve nailed it on the transcribing thing - great post, Steve :)

    ...though, I never did send you the transcriptions, did I? :eek:

    I've still got 'em lying around somewhere - including one of your tunes, Steve - "The Virtue Of The Small". I didn't transcribe the solos (gimme a break!), but I did take down the intro, and the repeated figure that forms the "head" of the tune.
     
  13. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    Moley,

    if you've got some webspace, feel free to put the transcription up online (preferably without tab... ;) )

    steve
    www.stevelawson.net
     
  14. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Thanks Steve, though I don't really have any webspace at the moment.

    But since you've asked, I'll make a special effort to get some webspace, and put the transcription up in tab form only :D



    (just kidding of course).
     
  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Hmmm....not sure about this part - I did tend to find in rock music, that I was learning a few tricks that went a long way to convincing people I could play and even got me into bands with a recording contract.

    But I think in Jazz you can't get away with that and have to really understand music - how chords/scales relate, how rhythm works and how to play independently of what else is going on etc. etc.

    I've found that trying to play Jazz helps you with music as such - putting it into practice - although it is in a particular context, I find it very easy to see how what I have learnt through playing Jazz (trying to anyway) applies to any type of music.

    I have tended to find that good Jazz musicians can play any other genre well - so bands like Jamiroquai and Incognito will hire Jazz musicians for their horn sections, lots of the Jazz pros I have had lessons with, have played sessions on all sorts of recordings.

    Whereas, it doesn't necessarily work the other way - so I have seen very good classical players struggle with knowing how to improvise at all and apparently very good rock or blues guitarists being unable to play written lines they are given or knowing how to voice the sort of chords you get in Jazz.....?
     
  16. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    Bruce,

    I think it depends how deep you go in any style. I'm pretty sure that despite all their chops, most Jazz guys couldn't do a passable job of playing in Rancid, or The Minutemen, or even Green Day - it's not that the lines are 'hard', just that it takes a certain kind of mind-set to hear music like that and play it like that. You can copy it, but if you're not feeling it, it's not going to be there... hence the reason that I, or anyone else who's deeply into music, can hear on an advert within a couple of seconds whether the music in the background is the original or a cover - somethings which are note for note the same still aren't right. And it's obvious from the first note.

    the reason that Incognito and Jamiroquai hire jazz players is that they are jazz bands... ;) - both of them emmerging from the whole Acid Jazz thang - the musical skills required to play in Jamiroquai are pretty much the same as playing a jump jive or big band gig for a horn player... it doesn't require much translation. However, stick a jazz horn player in a Ska band and they might struggle to sound genuine.

    It's not just about the difficulty of the music, but the intention...

    And FWIW, it is possible to bluff your way in Jazz - you can learn standards the way you can learn anything - if someone has a set to play and they learn it, it doesn't mean that are top notch jazzers, just that they are proficient learners. The way the jazz scene works, you're less likely to spot it, but it's back to the Didj thing - as an avid jazz listener, you're likely to seek out the good guys, and listen on a deeper level, in the same way that a punk fan or a salsa fan or whatever is going to hear the intricacies and stylistic idiocyncrasies in their chosen music a lot more closely...

    cheers

    Steve
    www.stevelawson.net
     
  17. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Of course, that depends on the jazz musician having the self-discipline to serve up the music required rather than fooling around with touches to make it 'jazzy'.

    I think it's truer to say that musicians who value skill, flexibility and listening often tend to gravitate towards the 'jazzier' end of the pool, while still being able to swim in the other areas. If music were a swimming pool, most of 'jazz' would be towards the deep end ;)

    However, owning 'Kind of Blue' and knowing what a 9th chord is doesn't necessarily make you a good jazz musician.

    Wulf
     
  18. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Funny you should choose that example, as the most genuine or authentic Ska I've heard in the last decade has come from "Jazz Jamaica" - who are all Jazz musicians - although most of them have familial links to the Jamaicans who were involved in the first wave of Ska into Britain from Jamaica in the late 50s early 60s!! ;)

    As to your other examples - I'm pretty sure that there is nothing for me to learn about "music" as such, from Green Day, which can be applied elsewhere - which was my main point!! :D

    I'm not saying that Jazz musicians are somehow better - just that in my experience of having played in many different bands over the last 25 years - the stuff that I learn from Jazz is applicable to any other style and helps me understand music as whole - whereas in many other situations I was just learning tricks.

    But anyway - I was just relating my personal experience, to what Howard was saying...
     
  19. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    Steve hit the nail on the head there...

    I dont believe that the majority of jazzers can play ALL other forms of music convincingly.

    Sure they can turn up the gain and they can reproduce the notes, but unless they feel the vibe they'll not 'get it'... it comes from listening as much as playing.

    Last week I asked our drummer to show me some latin grooves - he explained what he was doing and how the bass should sit with his drum pattern and I played along ...but I dont listen to latin, I dont have it inside me, so there's no way I'm going to play it like I mean it. It just doesnt happen.

    I've seen a professional jazz guitasrist murder a blues track only seconds after an amateur mate of mine played a brilliant blues solo.

    I think I understand what Bruce is saying however - that learning jazz allows you to better understand the actual music, regardless of whether you can repoduce the exact same vibe or not.

    I'm already finding that my attempts at walking through Aebersold are helping me create more intersting movement in my basslines in my bands.
     
  20. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK


    I'd disagree with you that Jazz Jamaica are an authentic sounding Ska band - they are utterly brilliant, genius, magical etc. etc. but not authentically ska sounding - their feel is great, but the harmony isn't even close.

    And it was my fault for getting my terms wrong, as in my head, I was thinking punky ska in the Madness/Specials/Capdown/new punk ska revival kind of thang...

    Anyway, your point that the knowledge you pick up in jazz applies to other musical settings is certainly true - when I'm teaching harmony, it is certainly jazz-derived, whatever the setting. However, there is still a huge leap from understanding the harmony of a tune to playing it authentically. Anyone with a modicum of theory knowledge will tell you that 'Basket Case' by Green Day is basically a country tune in it's form and harmony, just played incredibly fast. However, I'm pretty sure that a band of Nashville cats would struggle to make it sound like Green Day.

    While there's probably nothing you'd WANT to learn from Green Day, there's certainly a lot you could learn by getting a few of their tunes nailed. Even more so with Rancid - Matt Freeman does things on bass that would take me ages to pick up.

    I've heard some jazzer demoing certain styles on tuitional videos in ways that I wouldn't let my students get away with - not out of a deficiency in their technique or theory knowledge, but just out of a total lack of affinity with the style.

    A perfect example of this was a soul/funk/gospel review gig I did a few years ago - the keyboard player was outstanding, his knowledge of gospel harmony and chord subs was breath-taking, and when playing the Yolanda Adams, Stevie Wonder, Antia Baker etc. stuff, he was brilliant. But there was one rocky tune in the middle - simple riffy thing that any of my students could handle, and even I could have played on keyboard - he had no idea what to do, couldn't 'hear' a part for it at all. A major blind-spot in his playing. It wasn't really a problem for him, as he was never likely to play that kind of thing again, but was a real eye-opener for me, who was in awe of his harmony chops, but realised that my eclectic listening had served me well, and meant I'd be a lot happier covering a much wider range of styles and feels than this guy... ;)

    cheers

    Steve
    www.stevelawson.net