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What makes a guitarist... good?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Matt Till, Aug 11, 2004.

  1. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    I'm working on writing music, for what I want, I'm going to have to learn a little more guitar. But I don't know what I want. I don't want idiotic blistering leads, but I also don't want generic chuga chuga riffs (what I do now).

    I don't know what I want. So, what do I want?
  2. Rhythm is what I find most guitarists lacking. I've auditioned many for bands and the most common problem I find is guys with licks but no glue to hold them together. Dudes that sit in their room and hammer out licks for hours but have no experience playing TOGETHER with a band....hearing the music as it evolves dynamically....moving through changes....being subtle or explosive when appropriate. Tastefullness and good timing in a nutshell.

    I know those qualities can seem a little intangible when learning guitar but it is exactly those traits you can't learn from a book that are hard to find. Being a bass player you should have the rhythm/time thing pretty wrapped up.
  3. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    This may be helpful: rythym guitar is percussive as well as musical.(think: funk guitar sounds, "Bargain" by the Who is a good example of percussive playing) When I started learning guitar ages ago I was thrilled to be able to play the progressions of songs in time, along with the recording. After a while, I noticed that it wasn't just barre-chords but simple notes and phrasing. Bass is the same way...get the roots down then string together the relative tones.

    When I do pick up the instrument these days, I still play progressions, but try and make music/melodies of the chords. Those Stax/Volt guitar players are great source material for that style of playing. It's primarily Blues based, but what POP music isn't?

    The only thing between you and reasonable rythym guitar skills is time.
  4. McHack


    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    Just as a point of reference, you should listen to Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top... That guy plays a solo,, WHILE he's playing the rhythm... It's some crazy stuff... Some of the most expressive guitarists that come to MY mind are SRV & Joe Satriani.
  5. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    I play guitar as well, and basically I just rip off Alex Lifeson of 80's vintage Rush, Steve Rothery of Marillion, and Police-era Andy Summers. ;)

    In other words, mostly pretty clean, rhythmic, textural playing, with generous use of arpeggios. Not really into the chuga chuga thing and definitely not extreme distortion and wild squealing leads.
  6. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    If you want to play rock, you never go wrong with getting your blues chops down.

    It's worked for Clapton, Page, Beck,...........on and on.

    Oh! And if the amp isn't tubes, forget it.........if it doesn't glow, it doesn't go.
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Listen to some Bill Frisell - if you want to hear what can be done tastefully with guitar!!
  8. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA

    This is what I'm talking about. I want a dynamic to my playing. My guitar playing is very doom metal, which is cool, but I don't want to make doom metal. I want that to be part of my sound, but not pigeonholed into one genre.
  9. Pull a Bob Weir, and use licks as the rythmn instead of chords or power chords. Take Licks and form them into a rythmn.
  10. ... so this means no side project? :(
  11. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    DMB - Crush and Santana - Black Magic Woman. I LOVE that subtle lead playing. Riffs and licks and strumming and junk are fine, but the dynamics are so much better than blistering, squealing leads. It definitely sounds best when played over a very full-sounding rhythm section. I once again point to Crush. Drums, bass, and piano do a great job of holding down the rhythm, while the pianist's right hand and the sax do the melody. And all throught, the guitar does this great subtle, dynamic playing with a touch of reverb. Best example is during the 2 minute instrumental part after the lyrics end 6 minutes into the song, where he takes a solo over top of the flute, violin, bass, drums, and piano. He never enroaches on anyone else's sonic space and doesn't play 80 billion notes. One of my favourite guitar solos, because it examplifies awesome guitar playing for me.
  12. Bad Brains

    Bad Brains Banned

    Jan 7, 2004
    Detroit, michigan
    Listin to Randy Rhoades..............anyone who can play like that guy then god bless!
  13. The lead guitarist I play with will solos over almost every part of every song, most of the time with screaming leads. He shows almost everything he has within a 30 second period. He's the youngest guy in the band, and we had tried to coach him on when to lay out, and how dynamics will add to the band, but he doesn't listen very well. I am still with the band just to play with the drummer and percussion, and to work on my timing and listening skills.

    In my view, a good guitarist

    1) Knows when and when not to play lead

    2) Is also a great rhythm player

    3) Knows all the chord progressions

    4) Plays tastefully most of the time, but can get nasty when the time comes.

    5) Cares about dynamics and about the total sound, not just his/hers.

    6) Has graduated from rudimentary, scalar sounding solos to solos that are melodic and fresh.
  14. Tsal


    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    I think it would be healthier getting your clean sound together first, and then progressing into smashing heavy metal distortion. Distorton covers up the mistakes, so it will hurt your basic skills in the long run.

    Tube amps are good by the way, and not even a price question if the cheapest full tubeys start from something like $300.

    In general, I would say that if you have an image what a good bass player should be like, it all goes for guitar too. Just learn your chords and then bang 'em with groove and style.
  15. learn some Black Sabbath.
  16. It is probably time for your young Jedi-wannabe guitar player to learn another important life lesson. If he can't play with others, and doesn't listen very well, he probably needs to find himself a situation, or create one, where he's the show. You can hasten that eventuality by giving him the sack. This is only gonna get worse.

    I agree with your other comments (the ones I didn't quote).
  17. This has definately been discussed, and things are in the works now. That's why I brought up. It's another good example of how not to play guitar.
  18. Kurisu


    Nov 19, 2003
    Saskatoon SK
    So, Matt, any progress on the learning guitar better front? Have any of the comments helped?

    Maybe you should just get a teacher...? :)
  19. Who are your favorite guitar players? I would listen to them alot and try to learn what they do and how they do it. Then blend your own personality into it.

    One thing I do on guitar is to learn various ways to make chords (different chord voicings). Is funny how many different ways you can make the same chords, and how different they sound depending on where you play them. Learning stuff like this, will allow you to play chord progressions that lose that chuga chuga sound you a talking about. It frees you from playing barre chords, and the primary chords everyone learns in the beginning. I learned alot of this by studying Trey from Phish and the guitar player and mandolin player from The String Cheese Incident.

    Edit: Learn how to play major 7th, minor 7th, and diminished chords too. They can really spice up your sound.
  20. Kurisu


    Nov 19, 2003
    Saskatoon SK
    Hey Jackyl,

    Do you find trying to learn the guitar helps or hinders your bass playing? I'm not that great a bassist, but I have a strong desire to learn guitar now. A voice in the back of my head is saying stop, learn the bass first. another voice is saying, come on, it's fun, and you get to buy new gear....