playing a song like the recording

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Tevin, Nov 4, 2011.

  1. Tevin


    Apr 17, 2011
    Hey. I also play guitar. Yesterday the piano player suggested that I play the song exactly like the recording. I felt that by us having two pianist playing chords, I should play some melody. Is that a problem?
  2. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    Yes. Playing melodically violates Section 36, Paragraph 5 of the Universal Bass Players' Code.


    I don't get it-- what would be the problem?
  3. Liam Wald

    Liam Wald Supporting Member

    May 17, 2011
    California Coast
    People who want to play "just like the recording" lack creativity and imagination.
    The whole point of music (or any other art) is personal expression.
    That's like telling an artist, "Can't you just paint it like Picasso?"
    If you want to hear it just like the original, go buy the record!
  4. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    I know what you're saying, but the context makes a difference. If you're the bassist touring with Britney Spears, you'll lose your job in 5 minutes if you deviate from the recording. If you're playing with, say, Phish, it's different.

    Believe it or not, there are some audience members who come specifically to hear something that sounds exactly like the recording.
  5. Well, some bass lines have to be played exactly the way like on recording.
    Can you imagine Motown songs with bass playing only the root?

    Oversimplyfing bass lines (and other instruments lines) will just kill any song.
  6. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    My Dog Sam Eats Purple Flowers
    hmmm ... would there be a downside to that?

  7. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    But... can you imagine "My Girl" with any added notes?
  8. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    Only if you're hoping to move up to the Justin Bieber touring band.

  9. marijn van gils

    marijn van gils

    Jan 23, 2002

    To a certain point, you are correct.

    Beyond that point however, I have heard this too many times as an excuse from band members who were too lazy to practice the song properly, and prefered to just noodle along on the basic chords. I have also heard it as an excuse for gross overplaying.

    So, my advice would be: first learn the song like on the recording, and only after that change things up if you feel you can add to it or if it fits your band better.

    What fits best to your band is subjective and is really for you and and the rest of your band to decide.
  10. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    I would suggest to your piano player that he should leave room for the bass and simplify his parts by only using his middle fingers for everything.
  11. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    I once played at a recording session where the exasperated producer instructed the piano player to literally sit on his left hand.
    I took it as a compliment. :smug:
  12. bassinplace


    Dec 1, 2008
    Learning note perfect from the recording is ideal for study, but when performing you should be free to play the interpretation of your choice. I'll take suggestions, but I won't let anyone who's not paying me tell me what to play.
  13. Tevin


    Apr 17, 2011
    I agree with the bass being the same,but I meant playing guitar with mostly melody. The keyboard player plays fat chords
  14. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    Many crowds want to hear what they're familiar with. I played with one cover band in which you HAD TO play it exactly like the recording. It's what they did, and were very sucessful at it. They also still have more gigs than any band in the area. Totally professional, although it's not very inspiring to be in a band like that. However, inspiration is not why I was in it. I was there to make money, and I did.

    On the other hand some lines HAVE to be played like the recording. It's one thing to make a song your own, but some lines HAVE to be what they are (like My Girl, as mentioned above---or Stand By Me---and many others).

    The best attitude to have is do what is necessary, get into how well you can achieve the result, enjoy your equipment, and have a good time.
  15. Tevin


    Apr 17, 2011
    I play guitar for my church. I mostly try to add to the melody
  16. Maybe I'm one of the members who are "lazy", but I prefer to stay in the middle ground: learn the backbone of a song (and then some), while still giving it my own twist if I can. If the song demands religious copy-paste, I can do it as well.
  17. jsbachonbass


    May 16, 2006
    Denton, TX
    It seems to me like anbody with such a strong opinion about playing cover songs this way would be better off playing in an original band. There are many people on TB who think playing in a cover band means you "lack creativity and imagination".

    Guess what, people are. They are called DJs, and they are able to play a lot more songs with 100% accuracy, and for half the price of the paying a band. More and more clubs are going towards full time DJs instead of having live bands. I wonder why.
  18. jsbachonbass


    May 16, 2006
    Denton, TX
    From my experience, this lazy attitude is the norm and not the exception. I have heard every excuse like "we are a live band" to "I have a jazz improv degree, what I play is better". What you get is a 4 or 5 individuals each playing the song "their own way(whatever that means)", and it usually sucks. Most the bands I have played with seemed to have trouble with basic forms and chord progressions of the songs.

    I respect a band that gets together and actually works on an original version of a cover song, but a [email protected]$$ learned song does not qualify as an original version.
  19. sammyp


    Aug 20, 2010
    NB, Canada
    Couldn't have said it better..well spoken.
  20. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    I have never really played the same song twice the exact same way. What you have on a recording is a performance, good or bad, take it or leave it. Now i recorded all the time ( was session player, also house band player, etc) the thing that stopped me in any session was the producer, he said "good enough". Ask me "can you do it better" and the answer was "yes" because i will never be satisfied, because i can always improve on anything i ever recorded A producer will always look at time, cost does it do the job, is it functional etc and decide, not me i will always be willing to give it another shot because i will inflect nuences within what i do, but it will only ever be me that will "get them" because they are personal to me and easy to miss if somene is learning it note for note, rather than how the line sits in and relates to the how i was feeling at that time.

    So when player plays me my bass lines of songs i've recorded on, they play exactly what the producer wanted not me. If they play it note for note they are essentially playing a line i was not satisfied with, and more to the point, i do not play it that way now.
    Sure i play the "meat and bones" of it but i will flesh it out in different ways to keep the integrity of the song and the line, but in the end i have moved on with it, the recording was only a snapshot in time.

    So is it a good thing to play the same as the recording? Well yes, but only to understand that snapshot in time, once you have it down, then make it your own, but remember if someone says "hey you're playing it wrong" you can say "what you mean like this" and then play them the original, and then add "but i play it like i do because its evolved as a performance, not a static moment in time" for me.:)
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Sep 18, 2021

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.