1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

how to tell my guitarists to learn theory and stop overplayin without insulting them.

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by the wako kid, Jul 31, 2012.

  1. the wako kid

    the wako kid

    May 11, 2011
    my guitarists are both skilled musicans(in terms of technique and dexterity) but they both have an extremely limited grasp of theory.they solo out of key constanly and will drop into terribly improvised solos right in the middle of a bar and generally just overplaying in terrible ways. I know enough theory to know they can't play in key worth dick. I love these guys and I won't fire them,but how do i tell them they suck without hurting their feelings,and getting myself fired?

    this is what I'm talking about.http://www.reverbnation.com/iccarus
    these guys can play anything,but when they write on their own, they muck up all of our songs with wacky tacky atonal solos.
  2. PlungerModerno


    Apr 12, 2012
    Tell them to explain why their favourite guitarists riffs and solo's sound good. if they can't understand greatness they can't learn from it fully.
    If they read lyrics or poetry wouldn't they check words they didn't know? or an effect/technique in a painting or composition that seems to sit among clashing parts... and being them together perfectly - wouldn't they be curious about why?

    A lot of very experienced and great musicians have followed (broadly) some rules for a very long time with excellent results. A musician would be selling them selves short not to follow suit, if only to know how to best bend/break the rules :bassist:

    >> Hey... you could tell them (this might be a little manipulative) that they sound 'samey' that they are following the same tracks as others - but with random extreme bits thrown on... If you can show some theory 101 - some jazzy progressions etc. they may come around...

    I'm too noobish enough to know if the above is unrealistic, offensive etc. Good luck with that!
  3. 1. Find somebody who plays the way you prefer
    2. Lend them a CD (hey guys, check this band out!)
  4. bass_study


    Apr 17, 2012
    Record what they play in the band situation, play back to them. And ask them if they can hear the problem. Recording doesn't lie.

    If they don't think so, you better leave.
  5. I don't think it's theory they need to learn. You don't need to know theory to know something sounds atonal, in the wrong key, etc. And theory won't teach them good taste, as far as the appropriateness of a solo is concerned. Tone deafness and tastelessness seem to be the obstacles here, and they usually aren't very easy things to rectify.
  6. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    Right. I play some with two guitarists who don't know theory, but they have good taste in what to play. I keep thiking that if they would learn the basics of theory they would be so awesome! Some folks just don't wanna know, though. Or they don't wanna put out the effort to learn it. The worst thing is, though, they don't know how much it would help them.

    Rule #1: I won't play with folks who I don't like to play with.
  7. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    I listened to all of your clips, and I offer this suggestion as constructive criticism:

    The guitars on the recordings are not "terrible," and I don't hear anything that leads me to believe that the "suck" in comparison to the rest of the band or in light of what I perceive your age and experience level to be. In fact, I hear some nice ideas in some of the solos.

    I think that if you want to improve the overall sound of the band, your priority should be on improving your timing, and your drummer's timing, and focusing on locking in better together.
  8. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    I'm all for learning theory, but two of the best rock guitarists I ever played with didn't even know the notes on their guitars.

    They need to learn good taste, not theory.
  9. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    This two statements are incongruous. They are not the former if they do the latter. Period. But, upon listening to the recordings, I don't think it matters much.

    If you want to play with better musicians, first become one yourself (a better musician), then seek out others. You cannot make someone else become a better player, only they can do that.
  10. bassbully

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

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    +1 Although I didnt listen long it was not really any different than most solos sound in that kind of music. You need to get the drummers timing better and the whole band needs to lock in IMO.
  11. 2behead


    Mar 8, 2011
    Your drummer is the limitation for sure. I play with the drums (not to be confused with being a drummer) and playing with a metronome helped me A LOT. As far as feeling that the guitarists over play, I got a guitarist to mellow out by asking if things would have more impact by saving it, making people wait for it a bit. icky guitar sounds and feed back can go a long way. By the time they solo people are already sold.
  12. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Having them learn theory isn't gonna make them stop overplaying.

    It's two completely different issues you're dealing with. In fact, if they're unable or unwilling to quit overplaying, then all you'll get if they learn music theory is guys overplaying but in the right key. Which I suppose is an improvement but not really what you're ultimately going for.
  13. +1 There's no magic fix. Becoming a decent, melodic, tasteful player takes time and dedication. It's not just a matter of the 'light bulb coming on' by a suggestion or listening to another band.

    Basically, it comes down to 'You don't know what you don't know'. If they're oblivious to what's wrong, it won't get right.

    Some people progress and others just stagnate and suck year after year. And think they're hot sh*t because they can't tell the difference.
  14. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Sometimes I just don't get why constructive feedback is considered an insult. Seriously, it's much easier to just let someone suck than it is to provide some useful feedback. But if you're one of those guys that view constructive feedback as an insult, then you're just destined for a lifetime of sucking on your instrument.
  15. I've had experience with a couple guitarists that sounded decent enough when playing alone, but had absolutely no ability to play with others. This sometimes happens with guitarists/singers that learn to play/sing along with CDs/karaoke. If the person is fortunate enough to have a good ear, then bad habits can be broken. If the person has a poor ear and cannot hear how he/she sounds in context with the rest of the band, then don't waste your time if you want to play good music. Since these guys are your friends and you aren't going to fire them, then just let them know what you think and hope they are mature enough to handle it. Don't let the situation fester because no good will come of it. Communicate.
  16. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    been introducing our guitarist to the tasteful single note solos of buffalo springfield
  17. PlungerModerno


    Apr 12, 2012
    Great Idea... try some booker T. and the MG's. Steve cropper's tele material is sweeeet. He could cop everything from blues to country to basically anything. Hard to go wrong with a tele. :)
  18. Toastfuzz


    Jul 20, 2007
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Probably most take it as an insult because, in musician world, its delivered with insulting overtones.

    Its like saying "if you don't accept my constructive feedback, then you're destined for a lifetime of sucking on your instrument."

    Not trying to pick on you, but OP's answer to his problem was to force them to learn theory, and everyone here is saying more to work on timing w/ drummer and work on not overplaying solos. So in this situation, OP's bandmates accepting his constructive feedback wouldn't solve the problem at hand. So I guess it wasnt so constructive.

    Back on topic, best thing I learned is that its easier to replace musicians than change them (similar to girlfriends)
  19. PlungerModerno


    Apr 12, 2012
    LOL you may be right in both cases. Egos make most of us very stubborn, regardless of gender and age. :atoz:
  20. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    No, sometimes people read more into things than needed. I never said if you don't accept my constructive feedback, I meant in general. There's some people who lack that "teachable spirit", and they are destined for mediocrity regardless of whose advice or feedback, and the overtones associated with it.

    Like I said, it's feedback. Feedback often is just an opinion, and people can be right or wrong about it. But, in and of itself it's not an insult.

Share This Page