Megi's Jazz Odyssey - the return

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  • ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 882Member
    ReaGeorge said:

    Megi said:

    I've known him for decades, and he was always good. And it is helpful to have people like that around in the end.

    I think it's SO valuable to know and be able to play with people who are essentially better than you, something that so far I've felt laking in my life, not because I'm particularly good, more because I don't get out enough or have any friends :P

    Yes absolutely, you always need to play with your betters or those you respect if you want to improve. That's not to say you shouldn't play with those on the way up as well, they need encouragement and you are thier inspiration. Remember you can learn from any guitaist/musician, even if it's just how not to do it! If they are gigging and you are watching, you are not better than them at all things.

    Christmas eve I shall be in my local pub playing behind the landlord ( I have lots of friends who are landlords!), his timing is awful, his chord knowledge is limited and he struggles to sing in tune, one of the other regulars is a little better but they jam together often in private. All the local musicians will form a band and have a laugh, everyone will enjoy themselves and christmas will carry on regardless.
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,606Member, Moderator
    edited December 2017
    I agree with what is being said. I am only sorry that I learnt this from playing squash rather than guitar. There was a time when I had two regular opponents, one better than me and the other maybe just a tad behind me. I loved playing with (or against) both of them because the one better than me forced me to push myself to my limit while the other one enabled me to try out things I had learnt by playing the better player but without the pressure and so I could hone certain tactics so that they became more instinctive. That set me a goal for guitar playing. I am so pleased to have made the discovery but finding other guitar players to play with is not so easy, something I need to work on.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,088Member
    edited December 2017
    Great that this interesting topic has come up unexpectedly - I do like what you've said about squash there Lester. And ES makes a very true point, and of course it's impossible for everyone to always be in a playing situation where the others are more advanced.

    Anyhow, just to perhaps add the "other side of the coin", and not to disagree with anything, but I have recently taken the decision to give my notice to a band I've played in for a few years. I don't hold myself up as superior at all, and the band in question are capable of playing very well BUT... at least for me, they often don't reach that level, and there can be numerous frustrating issues - not keeping good time, inappropriate slow tempos, wrong bass notes, I could go on believe me, but won't. This seems all the more annoying given what I know they are capable of, but time has shown that this is just the way things are.

    And also, to be fair, it was never the sort of music that really appealed to me, although I could enjoy it at times. It all started to become a chore for me to go to the weekly gig, and I really do feel it was starting to do more harm than good to my playing - I put it like that, because I happy to acknowledge playing in the band has taught me useful things. Second time I've had to leave a band in the last 10 years, so perhaps I'm not doing too badly, but sometimes for one's own long term good as a musician, selfish or not, it has to be done.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 875Member
    Oh yea, that “tone is in the fingers” is a good one to drive people nuts. Drives me nuts when people ask about gear and someone says that. You can hear the eyes rolling! Yea, ok, let’s all buy one guitar, one amp and a pedal and never talk about gear again because it’s all in the fingers!

    Re: pro friends, my buddy is actually a good few years younger than me so I’m doubly frustrated! He is a super nice chap and works extremely hard at it. Good thing too! He does make it all look sickeningly easy though.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,088Member
    Talented, hard working young people eh! What can one do? :D I always take some consolation in the thought that music is about expressing something real and individual, and not a competition. I'm the best me there will ever be. :)
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,088Member
    Re tone is in the fingers - I'd say a nuanced position is that if the finger thing isn't there, then the tone won't be either, no matter what the gear. But if it is, then the differences between bits of gear become worth exploring.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 875Member
    Megi said:

    Talented, hard working young people eh! What can one do? :D I always take some consolation in the thought that music is about expressing something real and individual, and not a competition. I'm the best me there will ever be. :)

    Well said! You can try being someone else , but that job is already taken!
    Be the best you. Best plan!
    Megi said:

    Re tone is in the fingers - I'd say a nuanced position is that if the finger thing isn't there, then the tone won't be either, no matter what the gear. But if it is, then the differences between bits of gear become worth exploring.

    Fingers do help, that’s true. Isn’t it technically between the fret and the saddle, though?
    I don’t know.. I’m just trying to play the thing and make fewer mistakes...
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,088Member


    Fingers do help, that’s true. Isn’t it technically between the fret and the saddle, though?
    I don’t know.. I’m just trying to play the thing and make fewer mistakes...

    Hmm - I suppose in theory, but in practice it seems that the player makes a huge difference. There are a lot of variables - pick or fingers, type of pick if used, where the strings are picked, how they are picked - this one really covers a mass of possibilities. And then just overall control of the guitar - being in fine control of all the nuance of tone, volume, phrasing etc. - I think does have a lot to do with how we perceive "tone" in general. But "tone" is an annoying word in a way, and too much talked about on guitar forums perhaps, by people like me, who would be better off practicing... perhaps I'd better leave it at that, and get back to my Barry Greene online video lessons. :)

  • ReaGeorgeReaGeorge Posts: 119Member
    Megi said:

    I think does have a lot to do with how we perceive "tone" in general. But "tone" is an annoying word in a way, and too much talked about on guitar forums perhaps.

    I agree, vocabulary in music (dare I say more so amongst amateurs/hobbyists) is used in a very general way, "Tone" is probably one of the biggest offenders, they don't have specific agreed upon definitions, this can make it very difficult to have productive discussion. Or maybe I just have OCD for things like this and it's just me that gets triggered by it :P
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 875Member
    Megi said:

    . But "tone" is an annoying word in a way, and too much talked about on guitar forums perhaps, by people like me, who would be better off practicing... perhaps I'd better leave it at that, and get back to my Barry Greene online video lessons. :)

    I agree. Practising is by far the best way to get good 'tone'. You don't need more gear. Listen to Barry :)
    ReaGeorge said:

    Megi said:

    I think does have a lot to do with how we perceive "tone" in general. But "tone" is an annoying word in a way, and too much talked about on guitar forums perhaps.

    I agree, vocabulary in music (dare I say more so amongst amateurs/hobbyists) is used in a very general way, "Tone" is probably one of the biggest offenders, they don't have specific agreed upon definitions, this can make it very difficult to have productive discussion. Or maybe I just have OCD for things like this and it's just me that gets triggered by it :P
    Oo yea. What is good tone and bad tone? If you like a sound surely it's a good tone? Devil's Advocacy aside, I think I know the kinds of sounds people hear when they call it "good tone". Tone is just sound. And if you like it, do it again. And again.

    Think of all the guitarists who sound different. Some are trebly, some are bassy. It's all tone. It's all sound. End of.

    Ok, I really didn't want to perpetuate the tone discussion, just agree that it's ridiculous. I'm done talking about it. That's it.
    Not another...
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,088Member
    ReaGeorge said:

    Megi said:

    I think does have a lot to do with how we perceive "tone" in general. But "tone" is an annoying word in a way, and too much talked about on guitar forums perhaps.

    I agree, vocabulary in music (dare I say more so amongst amateurs/hobbyists) is used in a very general way, "Tone" is probably one of the biggest offenders, they don't have specific agreed upon definitions, this can make it very difficult to have productive discussion. Or maybe I just have OCD for things like this and it's just me that gets triggered by it :P
    I doubt it's just you Rea! And certainly what's a good or bad tone, is a subjective thing - rather like music in general, there's no objective standard anyhow. Doesn't stop the endless discussions though. :)

  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,088Member
    edited December 2017

    Megi said:

    . But "tone" is an annoying word in a way, and too much talked about on guitar forums perhaps, by people like me, who would be better off practicing... perhaps I'd better leave it at that, and get back to my Barry Greene online video lessons. :)

    I agree. Practising is by far the best way to get good 'tone'. You don't need more gear. Listen to Barry :)
    ReaGeorge said:

    Megi said:

    I think does have a lot to do with how we perceive "tone" in general. But "tone" is an annoying word in a way, and too much talked about on guitar forums perhaps.

    I agree, vocabulary in music (dare I say more so amongst amateurs/hobbyists) is used in a very general way, "Tone" is probably one of the biggest offenders, they don't have specific agreed upon definitions, this can make it very difficult to have productive discussion. Or maybe I just have OCD for things like this and it's just me that gets triggered by it :P
    Oo yea. What is good tone and bad tone? If you like a sound surely it's a good tone? Devil's Advocacy aside, I think I know the kinds of sounds people hear when they call it "good tone". Tone is just sound. And if you like it, do it again. And again.

    Think of all the guitarists who sound different. Some are trebly, some are bassy. It's all tone. It's all sound. End of.

    Ok, I really didn't want to perpetuate the tone discussion, just agree that it's ridiculous. I'm done talking about it. That's it.
    Not another...
    But have you seen those Benedetto guitars Barry has? Why won't they sponsor me too? :( :D

    But you're right, if you like it, it's good - that's a simple enough formula. That's really what I've spent (still too much, I admit) time chasing - I've found bits of kit that help me get sounds I like, and the odd thing that doesn't work out, and learnt a fair bit in the process. And it can be fun.

    Go on, just one more "wafer thin" tone comment...

  • Derek_RDerek_R Posts: 1,666Member
    edited December 2017
    Always a good read, this thread, Megi. And some lovely playing by your friend a few posts back.

    I know it goes against the grain of the thread but I am a "tone is in the fingers" person. In my acoustic wanderings of the last few years I've played a lot of very nice guitars but I'm firmly convinced that I sound the same on my Tanglewood as I do on my friend's Gibson. In fact, a few people say, the Tanglewood sounds as nice as the Gibson. Personally I don't think it does - in good hands. But it needs those good hands to get the nicer tone out of it. My hands are at Tanglewood level and so that's what comes out. So when I play the two, yep, they sound the same. Which comes back to practice, but also to it being in the fingers.

    Electrics are a bit different, but I've still found the underlying tone to be the same. Sure it can be more trebly or distorted, or the middle can be rolled off, but underlying it all I'm convinced I sound the same (for the reasons outline above) whatever I play.

    Anyway, Merry Christmas one and all!
    Derek
  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,303Member
    Good points and well made Derek about the acoustic world and finding yourself sounding very similar on different guitars.
    There are some basic characteristics of each guitar that will override what my fingers do.
    All mahogany vs Spruce top for example. But the way I play the notes will still come across as the same, and I think I adjust things a bit with how I play each guitar to get closer to what I am used to. Like tending to automatically play a warmer sounding guitar closer to the bridge than a brighter sounding one.

    I'm right with you in your assertion that the better quality the guitar the better the skill is needed to get that extra quality out of it. I've definitely found that I have a quality level of playing that makes good guitars in the £300-£550 price range most suitable.
    If anything on occasions I feel I sound worse on a better guitar because I can't control it.

    Of course some guitars just sound dead for tone. Those acoustic guitars that are so unresponsive that the wood should have been used for a park bench. Or an electric guitar with such high powered pickups it can't be played near clean as it has no natural sustain. Nothing my fingers can do to sort those issues out.

    Merry Christmas to all from me too. Hope you all have a great one. :smile:
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 875Member
    Megi said:


    Go on, just one more "wafer thin" tone comment...

    .....welll......

    Oh alright!
    Yes I would give body parts for a Benedetto! But can you really hear tone the way others do? I think our objectivity is tainted, and if it’s while we are playing, we are always hearing other things, like acoustic sound of strings and so on. We’ll never be satisfied!

    But I agree Derek, it really is all in the hands. There’s something about the pressure exerted on the left hand, the angle of atttack on the right, where you pluck, and also the choice of notes and playing style.
    Very good points Mark.
    I think tone (as we call it, or rather someone’s sound) is as much show you approach the notes, vibrato, phrasing and what you do to the note after you’ve plucked the string. Those things are just as likely to make a guitar sound like you, and will be exactly the same on every instrument.
    Mark P said:


    Merry Christmas to all from me too. Hope you all have a great one. :smile:

    I read that as “Hope you all have a great tone!l”

    Thanks Mark. Best wishes of the season to you and yours too :smiley:
  • ReaGeorgeReaGeorge Posts: 119Member

    I think our objectivity is tainted, and if it’s while we are playing, we are always hearing other things, like acoustic sound of strings and so on. We’ll never be satisfied!

    Oh how I wish this wasn't true :(

    This is my biggest struggle when recording. I dial things in just how I feel is right while practicing something then go to record and the end result is far from what I was hearing, I end up having to dial things in quite differently in order to achieve a recording that sounds like what I was hearing while playing, quite frustrating.
    Although this of course has something to do with how microphones, their placement and preamps react but it's very frustrating all the same! :P
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 875Member
    No kidding... I know what you mean. I don’t usually mic an amp, but find the same issue. I’m probably the only person on the planet who can’t make Amplitube sound good. I usually end up layering to get that sound in my head.
    Then I overlay nagging voices to make it sound exactly like sounds in my head ...!
  • ReaGeorgeReaGeorge Posts: 119Member

    No kidding... I know what you mean. I don’t usually mic an amp, but find the same issue. I’m probably the only person on the planet who can’t make Amplitube sound good. I usually end up layering to get that sound in my head.

    :P Yeah, for more "generic" sounds I often fall back on the computer modelling, tend to often like "Guitar Rig" but have used Amplitude too. But I haven't come across anything that does the ZenDrive pedal type sound I can sometimes get what I want micing up but it does often come at the cost of higher volume which I'm not so confident about living in an apartment... Really makes me want to try the kemper or something like that but its really out of my price range right now.

    Then I overlay nagging voices to make it sound exactly like sounds in my head ...!

    Sounds like a good listen, you'll have to post some demos! :P
  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,303Member
    Recording is something I enjoy, but it is also so very frustrating regarding tone and sound.

    Back to the electric guitar days the micing up option provided a sound nearer to that of the amp, but it really required two mics to get something of the room acoustic dynamic and being in a flat I was limited in volume due to consideration of neighbours. Two mics means being wary of phasing of course. The big changes in sound from small movements of the mic near the amp was a pain - trying to get the position right.

    I eventually managed to get an amp that had a line out that gave a good emulation and also an add on attenuator that did not suck the tone out of the sound. That got a recording not too far of the sound of the amp and with a bit of tweaking of reverb in the software it was OK. Well OK-ish.

    But it was noticeable that the different guitars sounded less different in recordings than they did in real life. So the recording gear was adding it's own tonal pallette.

    Not really any better on the acoustic front - worse if anything because noises off are so much more of a problem.
    It is even more noticeable how the recording gear adds it's own character to an acoustic guitars sound.

    The usual idea of pointing a cardioid condenser mic at the join between body and neck just doesn't do it for me. The sound is too thin and characterless. An additional omni condenser pointing at the bridge helps - it picks up more of the sound from all parts of the guitar, and also a bit of room acoustic. But an omni also picks up sound so well from everywhere else!

    Chasing tone in the instrument is bad.

    Chasing tone in recording is much worse.
  • Derek_RDerek_R Posts: 1,666Member
    I believe that as we age so we lose the ability to hear higher frequencies - so I wonder if when I adjust the tone controls on my electric guitar amp am I compensating for all those highs that I no longer hear by turning the top up too much and creating a horrible sound for anyone under the age of, say, 50 ?
  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,303Member
    I'm sure you're right to some degree Derek.

    I do find I'm able to listen to high powered solos on the high notes at the dusty end of a strat fretboard these days without wincing in pain as I used to.

    I also have an issue at the other end of the frequency spectrum. Lower notes cause extra reverb in my ears and are just unpleasant. The running of a piece of machinery with a low frequency sound means I can't hear what people say. :(

    Maybe my recording have too much highs and too little bass as a result.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,088Member
    Just shelled out a bought something I perhaps shouldn't have, guitar-related (not a guitar) that I wasn't expecting to do - GAS struck as it does. But it could be really great... :D
  • Just TelJust Tel Posts: 505Member
    Megi said:

    Just shelled out a bought something I perhaps shouldn't have, guitar-related (not a guitar) that I wasn't expecting to do - GAS struck as it does. But it could be really great... :D

    Ok Megi, you've told us it could be great but what is it. Please don't keep us in suspense.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 875Member
    Come on Megi. My suspenders are killing me.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 875Member
    Derek_R said:

    I believe that as we age so we lose the ability to hear higher frequencies - so I wonder if when I adjust the tone controls on my electric guitar amp am I compensating for all those highs that I no longer hear by turning the top up too much and creating a horrible sound for anyone under the age of, say, 50 ?

    Hmmmm. Age inappropriate music. I love it!
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,088Member
    Just Tel said:



    Ok Megi, you've told us it could be great but what is it. Please don't keep us in suspense.

    Come on Megi. My suspenders are killing me.

    Well, it doesn't arrive until Tuesday, and it would be cruel to keep you in suspenders until then, so... ...one of these thingys:

    https://uk.line6.com/helix/helix-lt.html

    ...as I say, shouldn't have done it, naughty of me to say the least, and if it works out then I'll be selling most of the stuff on my effects pedal board that I've spent the last couple of years perfecting. So all a bit daft I admit, unseemly rampant consumerism on my part - I just suddenly found really really really wanted the damn thing, and it was at a very good price in Dawsons Music January sale, and somehow it seemed like now or never, and... :blush:

  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 875Member
    edited December 2017
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 875Member
    ....having trouble posting....

  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 875Member
    ....having trouble posting....
    Oh that is cool! Looking forward to hearing more...literally!

    I’m sure the pedals that the Helix will replace have taught you about you’re sound and all that time and money wouldn’t really have been for nought.

    Lucky you!!
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 875Member
    And now you have the perfect excuse to get a Variax!
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