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> Few Questions Regarding Being In A Band...
fatb0t
post Jan 22 2009, 05:05 PM
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Hello infinitely wise GMC community!

I have a few questions I need addressed and I know this is the place for it.

So I'm in two bands; one is a progressive rock kinda band and one is a 'metal' band.

The prog rock band is a keyboardist, bassist/singer, drummer, and me. We practice at a rehearsal studio - I play through an un-miced JCM900 with a 1960a slant 4x12 cab. This band over all is going very well, generally we go into the studio, the bassist/singer brings in chord charts and we blast through songs. The one issue I have with them is they're always playing in keys I'm unaccustomed to jamming in. Like C# or Bb, as far as chords are concerned I'm fine but when we get into solos I feel like a beginner guitarist again, I'm sticking to like three boxes of the pentatonic and that's it! Then the bassist likes switching time signatures so we're going from like 4/4 to 6/8, then on the 6/8 part he's like "Do a solo!"... I get all messed up because of the weird timing.

Whenever I'm practicing I always find myself in Em, Gm, Am. I don't understand why that is... I mean, when I'm home, calm, relaxed, warmed up - I can play in just about any key I want...but there is something about when I'm playing with the band I really wimp out and just play what I know will sound decent. Then when we go into different time signatures everything is out the window, I'm in like single box pentatonic, just praying I stay in key and follow the progression with single notes hahaha.

Also any suggestions on getting SCREAMING sustain for solos through a Marshall head? Pedal suggestions? Settings? Anything would be helpful


Ok, now onto the metal band.

This band I've been trying to get off the ground for like 4 months now, we finally just started to rehearse regularly. It took us like 3 months to get through a single song that I wrote. We can finally get through a song but I must say we sound absolutely putrid. The other guitarist turns his amp up WAYYYYYY too high all the time. I mean like, ear meltingly loud. I wear ear plugs when I play with this band, my ears are STILL ringing after practice even with the ear plugs. We rehearse in a very small studio in a basement. I have a Mesa F-50 and he has a B52 all tube head through a 4x12 cab with a Digitech multieffects unit. I always tell him to turn down but it's pretty futile.His tone is always crushingggggg mine. He's got a digitech RP500 I think, one of those multieffect units, I must say it sounds awesome but I can't seem to compete with his sound. I can't get that metal thumping, crushing, pounding tone outta my pod... I got a Gibson Les Paul standard into my PodXT, or directly into a Mesa F-50.

Any suggestions on how to cut down the volume while remaining the same volume as the extremely freakin' loud drums? Any suggestions on how to cut through the other guitarist? I really feel like we just play wayyyy too loud.

Lots of questions here, please help me smile.gif
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Vasilije Vukmiro...
post Jan 23 2009, 12:15 AM
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Well, odd timings are difficult for everyone, and basically you need to have very strong rhythm sense in order to play that.
Counting helps in the beginning, just try to catch where the bar begins, listen to drums closely, usually it's bass drum that starts the bar. And stick to that one, to the bass drum, later you can catch the whole rhythm. Practice at home, set the metronome at cubase on 3/4 or something like that, or create a drum part in the same signature, practice at home, later in the studio it will be easier, and you should relax in studio, that's not the place for practicing, I mean rehearsals are not the time when you practice.


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bladzerok
post Jan 23 2009, 12:29 AM
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i basically got the same problems as you.
for the Prog band, i think it is normal to seem a little lost when playing in band and feeling like youve caught the "riff amnesia"
this is why now i dont improvise very much with band. for now, i am preparing my licks before the jam to get the hang of playing with other musicians. later on i will try to just play and improvise other musicians smile.gif

and for the metal band,
the too loud guitar player... never got this problem...(maybe hide an attenuator in his rig laugh.gif )
and the slow progress thing is about the same in my band. my drummer quitted the band, and we aven't practised since december due to room problems dry.gif
so far we learned bad girlfriend by theory of a dead man, and critical acclaim by a7x (two song that i don't like)
but i think that soon we will start improving, since i started composing the first song and we will learn it alltogether next week i think.

anyway, i hope that you will find out a way to get rid of those problems, and have fun with your band


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jan 23 2009, 12:32 AM
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As far as the first band goes mate, you can always sit home and practice these odd signatures, and do some solo workouts in that style. This should help to feel more confident when entering the studio. Also one thing that is important with scales and keys is that you don't have to think about the notes at all. All you have to be aware of is the complete major key pattern on the neck, no matter what key, all the patterns are the same. Just shift them left/right to go into certain key. No matter if you play in one key, or in several keys throughout the song, the major key pattern across the neck it IMO essential. Go through all the major scale boxes, starting from all 7 notes on the low E string and remember it well. Later in the studio it will be a lot easier to pull out some cool lines. Also you must learn all 5 boxes of pentatonic scale equally well (to the point where you can play something anywhere on the neck). Just take your time, and do it systematically, no need to rush things. You already play good with 3 boxes, learn the rest 2 boxes well, and start jamming at home with odd signatures and using major scale patterns. It will be a lot easier later in the studio.

Regarding the pedal, I always recommend one and only pedal for JCM and that is TubeScreamer TS9 or if you have some more money TS808.
TS9
TS808

Another cheaper alternative would be Boss SD1:
SD1

Regarding your other band man, you really have to talk with your guitar bandmate, and tell him what the problem is. One thing that is interesting is that you're playing using processors into all tube heads. This is normally what I would never do, cause digital processor makes the tone weak, and amplifier is only amplifying this weak tone further. What you can do is use your processors as multiFX unit in the loop, and completely turn off modelling. If you have Mesa amp, just crank those mids a bit and your sound will go through. Mids are the essential part of the guitar sound. If you scoop the mids a lot you will most likely have a perception that the amp volume is turned low, not the mids. Mids should go up for you, and never use POD modelling. Always use only Mesa drive channel and Mesa for cleans, and plug the POD into the loop for delay, chorus, etc. This way your tone will be much more defined, concrete, and will cut through the mix better.

Hope this helps mate, let me know if you have more questions. Cheers smile.gif





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fatb0t
post Jan 23 2009, 05:00 PM
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Very helpful.

Ivan I know all my major scale, just like you know - sometimes you get fuzzy on certain positions when you're not accustomed to improvising in.

I used to have a modded analogman TS9 - Damn I wish I never sold it!!!

Thanks for the advice here guys. I think I need a little chat with my rhythm guitarist hahhaa

I can't wait to post some tunes from my prog rock group, you guys might be pleasantly surprised =)

This post has been edited by fatb0t: Jan 23 2009, 05:02 PM
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Bogdan Radovic
post Jan 23 2009, 05:42 PM
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QUOTE (fatb0t @ Jan 22 2009, 05:05 PM) *
Hello infinitely wise GMC community!

I have a few questions I need addressed and I know this is the place for it.

So I'm in two bands; one is a progressive rock kinda band and one is a 'metal' band.

The prog rock band is a keyboardist, bassist/singer, drummer, and me. We practice at a rehearsal studio - I play through an un-miced JCM900 with a 1960a slant 4x12 cab. This band over all is going very well, generally we go into the studio, the bassist/singer brings in chord charts and we blast through songs. The one issue I have with them is they're always playing in keys I'm unaccustomed to jamming in. Like C# or Bb, as far as chords are concerned I'm fine but when we get into solos I feel like a beginner guitarist again, I'm sticking to like three boxes of the pentatonic and that's it! Then the bassist likes switching time signatures so we're going from like 4/4 to 6/8, then on the 6/8 part he's like "Do a solo!"... I get all messed up because of the weird timing.

Whenever I'm practicing I always find myself in Em, Gm, Am. I don't understand why that is... I mean, when I'm home, calm, relaxed, warmed up - I can play in just about any key I want...but there is something about when I'm playing with the band I really wimp out and just play what I know will sound decent. Then when we go into different time signatures everything is out the window, I'm in like single box pentatonic, just praying I stay in key and follow the progression with single notes hahaha.

Also any suggestions on getting SCREAMING sustain for solos through a Marshall head? Pedal suggestions? Settings? Anything would be helpful


Ok, now onto the metal band.

This band I've been trying to get off the ground for like 4 months now, we finally just started to rehearse regularly. It took us like 3 months to get through a single song that I wrote. We can finally get through a song but I must say we sound absolutely putrid. The other guitarist turns his amp up WAYYYYYY too high all the time. I mean like, ear meltingly loud. I wear ear plugs when I play with this band, my ears are STILL ringing after practice even with the ear plugs. We rehearse in a very small studio in a basement. I have a Mesa F-50 and he has a B52 all tube head through a 4x12 cab with a Digitech multieffects unit. I always tell him to turn down but it's pretty futile.His tone is always crushingggggg mine. He's got a digitech RP500 I think, one of those multieffect units, I must say it sounds awesome but I can't seem to compete with his sound. I can't get that metal thumping, crushing, pounding tone outta my pod... I got a Gibson Les Paul standard into my PodXT, or directly into a Mesa F-50.

Any suggestions on how to cut down the volume while remaining the same volume as the extremely freakin' loud drums? Any suggestions on how to cut through the other guitarist? I really feel like we just play wayyyy too loud.

Lots of questions here, please help me smile.gif


Regarding the first band: its normal to feel "less confident" when jamming in keys you are not so used to jamming at home.Same with time signatures..Also I think its normal that you feel like you don't want to experiment much when playing with that band and sticking to "confident sounding licks etc"...What I would suggest is to talk with them and tell that you will be experimenting with different positions etc while the band plays the song in order to find the best lick/solo/riff...Tell them not to worry much if you hit the wrong notes or anything...Also it would be cool if you could get the chords/songs in advance so you can practice all the progressions/solos and time signature changes at home, before the actual rehearsal..

Regarding the second band:

You definitly need to talk with the second guitarist.You two don't need to compete for "song space" rather play together well as a band..Usually sound on rehearsals is adjucted in relations to drums in this order : drums > bass > guitar > vocals...Try to find the minimum required volume for every component...I think using multieffects units any other way then in effects loop (just for chorus, delay and similar effects) when you have a good quality amp with cool gain on disposal is a waste of good sound..Best ally when you want to be heard through mix (this considers bassists too) are middle frequencies...They will allow you to be heard...It can sound "thin" sometimes when you listen to the amp alone but when whole band plays those are the ones that cut through the mix..Try experimenting with such settings to get heard in this band..But main topic here will be a good dialogue with the second guitarist to make a deal about lowering volume.Only thing he can gain by playing so loud is tinnitus..

edit:

One more thing , its cool to play in more then one band.But when time comes and one of those two bands becomes serious (or even both) you will have to make decision in which one you want to play because its really hard and almost impossible to play and give your max to more then one "serious" band.

Hope this helps mate smile.gif

Cheers and good luck ! smile.gif

This post has been edited by Bogdan Radovic: Jan 23 2009, 05:45 PM


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Ramiro Delforte
post Jan 23 2009, 06:38 PM
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Well mate, the problem you have with the prog band is easy, you are not used to play those time signatures and in those scales. I recommend that you record the songs that make you trouble and practice them until you know them backwards so in that way you'd get more confident and used to play over that kind of stuff. Anyway that's what any jazz player do when they're facing a new tune. Allan Holdsworth says that sometimes when he creates a new tune he's not aware of the hard time that he'll have when the impro comes so he has to practice. Even those guys have to practice the impro and the solos over their own tunes.
The pedal that Ivan recommend is just perfect, that's what I always recommend biggrin.gif

Regarding the rock band. Mmmm, I had that problem too, the best way is to talk but I think that having a back up plan is always cool, so...if they won't lower the volume you can create an acoustic ambient in the basement. I'm sure you don't have any material to avoid the reflexions so you could make the guitar player to face his amp to the wall and in that spot put any material you can make or buy that absorves the sound (like these http://www.clearsonic.com/sorber.htm). The drummers could be a headache too, on they we depend on the total volume, because if the drummer is too loud we have to adjust to him. So, if you cannot make him player a little less loud you could make or buy something like this: http://www.clearsonic.com/csp.htm. In order to make everybody happy and avoid problems. The usual problem is that they're used to play at that kind of volume because they lost a high percentage of hearing. I've played with a drummer that used to hit the drums like there was no tomorrow and he had a 40% lost of his hearing. This topic is very very important because once you've lost part of your hearing that never comes back so be very carefull and put always your health before anything else. Also you could try to buy those "headphones" that the construction workers use, those are way more effective than the ear plugs.
Sorry if I got a little weird in that topic but I think that most of the rock bands had that problem, they put their amplifiers and 10 and they break their hearing and their equipments.
I wish that helped you a little bit biggrin.gif


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fatb0t
post Jan 23 2009, 06:57 PM
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Thanks guys for all your comments, I feel like I have direction now. =)
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MickeM
post Jan 23 2009, 07:10 PM
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For sustain there's a pickup called sustainiac which might be what you're looking for, and there's a sustainial pedal too I belive.
Delay is always nice for solos and an EQ pedal where you dial in the mids to stick out will cut through.
Maybe also boost your signal 10-20dB + mids constantly to be heard tongue.gif

Talk to your other guitarist, he's very selfish to drown others imo. Do a soundcheck before each rehearsal so he can hear for himself. Or if he refuse and wants to keep his volume, ask to switch guitars for a song and see afterwards what he thinks. If he's ok with it maybe you can make the switch permanent wink.gif


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fatb0t
post Jan 23 2009, 08:53 PM
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That's a great idea MickeM... I'll play his axe next time hahaha. I think an EQ pedal mixed with a tube screamer might be what I'm looking for...
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Vasilije Vukmiro...
post Jan 23 2009, 09:21 PM
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Those pedals are cool!


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Pedja Simovic
post Jan 24 2009, 03:02 PM
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Quick advices regarding your questions !

1) Practice soloing with your DAW or any sort of sequencer. Write down your melodies, rhythm anything that gets your ear to say thats your style ! The sooner you do this, better for jamming, improvising and recording for that meter.

2) Talk to your band mate and work it out ! wink.gif


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BedroomBozo
post Jan 26 2009, 11:02 AM
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Just a couple things.... first off, I agree that the sustainiac is INSANE, I tried it at my guitar store at it was awesome, but requires quite a bit of work to your stick. I suppose you can't go wrong with the Ibanez pedals, though.

For prog, I would check out David Walliman's lesson on here using the Lydian Dominant scale. Lesson is called "Lydian Dominant Spice". It has a very unpredictable sound, and the boxes are still easy to memorize. Since it sounds sort of wacky, it probably wouldn't matter if u hit a wrong note here and there.

I had the same problem last week at an open mic night. I was jamming with three other guys that I didn't even know let alone ever jammed with before, and only two of those guys had ever jammed together before. The drummer was quite a newbie. I ended up getting stuck in my stupid old penta box over and over again. Lame. Oh well. I will learn some cool stuff on this site and take it in there and redeem myself LOL
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fatb0t
post Jan 27 2009, 07:03 PM
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Hm... Lydian dominant, I suppose that would work instead of using the mixolydian mode?
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Resurrection
post Jan 27 2009, 07:35 PM
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One other suggestion for the prog band. It can be difficult to solve 3 problems with your playing all at the same time. So, for a while, you might want to work on the unfamiliar scales, odd time signatures and improvision issues separately. Then work on combining the techniques in pairs (scales+time sigs, scales+improv, time sigs+improv). Finally, bring all 3 together. I find this a good way to practice when I think there's lots of different problems with my playing.


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