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> Technical Brilliance Sucks Out Soul.
Becca
post May 21 2014, 12:41 PM
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I had this discussion with some guys last week and since they brought it up it has really made me think. It,s a deeper question than you may first think so please have a ponder for awhile before answering because, to be honest, I am not sure if its just subjective to personal tastes or more profound than that..
The premise is this; when guitar players reach a certain level of proficiency, when they can obviously play, then its personal taste that makes you prefer one player over another. It's the "feel' they put into their playing. The subtle differences in solo notes and bends and how one night they will play a solo slightly differently because that is what felt right to them at that time.
Then you have,for want of a better term, the next level of player. The virtuoso, I suppose you could say ,whose mastery of the instrument is frankly awe inspiring. Technically perfect, they can and do reproduce entire albums note perfect to the recording. Rather like a machine would.
Now as some of you will know I like Adrian Belews playing very much. He is an accomplished player but on reflection, with his power trio he really rips it up live. Robert Fripp on the other hand,even sits on a comfy chair to play note perfect renditions of King Crimson songs. I mean, I like King Crimson but it doesn't exactly get the pulse racing. I hope you can see what a subtle question this is with my clumsy explanation of how the conversation went.
I will try to give examples.
I happened to mention, while Queen was on the jukebox, that Brian May is a very skilled player and has a great sound but personally, I am not keen even though his playing ticks all the boxes that I would normally like. This is how it all started btw.
As it went on I found myself choosing Vai over Satch , Schenker over Blackmore and Slash over Buckethead.

Is there really just an X factor over this player versus that player , or is there something to their assertion that technical brilliance is at the expense of soul?


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Mertay
post May 21 2014, 02:39 PM
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Learning guitar and learning music although can work together, are separate things. Technique may be referenced to sports progression but there is a certain way of thinking among musicians thats only divided by personality.

Construct and manipulating musical sentences is very different from playing one. The collab.s here or recording over backing tracks can lead you to the point you can easily phase between a listener and a musicians role in music, which is one of the key elements to what you seek.


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Todd Simpson
post May 22 2014, 12:31 AM
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So much of what we hear as listeners, and what connects with our "soul" as a listener is often limited by our ability to process what's being heard. For example, Mozart was often accused of using "Too Many Notes" during his heyday. Now, of course, his work is still with us, and is still studied and taught and listened to. Sadly, at the time, the audience simply didn't have the "Ears" for it.

That isn't to say that there are wads of examples of folks who can play brilliantly and still not manage to connect to the listener. Conversely, there are players with very limited technical skill who connect to a broad range of listeners, such as KEITH RICHARDS from the Rolling Stones. Keith plays his guitar much like an Auto Harp. Tuned to an open chord with very little technique or articulation. Yet millions of fans all over the world think he's just awesome on the guitar.

So I'd have to disagree with the post title, and say that technical brilliance doesn't have to suck out the soul. But I'd agree that it certainly could have that effect, depending on the player and or the listener smile.gif




QUOTE (Becca @ May 21 2014, 07:41 AM) *
I had this discussion with some guys last week and since they brought it up it has really made me think. It,s a deeper question than you may first think so please have a ponder for awhile before answering because, to be honest, I am not sure if its just subjective to personal tastes or more profound than that..
The premise is this; when guitar players reach a certain level of proficiency, when they can obviously play, then its personal taste that makes you prefer one player over another. It's the "feel' they put into their playing. The subtle differences in solo notes and bends and how one night they will play a solo slightly differently because that is what felt right to them at that time.
Then you have,for want of a better term, the next level of player. The virtuoso, I suppose you could say ,whose mastery of the instrument is frankly awe inspiring. Technically perfect, they can and do reproduce entire albums note perfect to the recording. Rather like a machine would.
Now as some of you will know I like Adrian Belews playing very much. He is an accomplished player but on reflection, with his power trio he really rips it up live. Robert Fripp on the other hand,even sits on a comfy chair to play note perfect renditions of King Crimson songs. I mean, I like King Crimson but it doesn't exactly get the pulse racing. I hope you can see what a subtle question this is with my clumsy explanation of how the conversation went.
I will try to give examples.
I happened to mention, while Queen was on the jukebox, that Brian May is a very skilled player and has a great sound but personally, I am not keen even though his playing ticks all the boxes that I would normally like. This is how it all started btw.
As it went on I found myself choosing Vai over Satch , Schenker over Blackmore and Slash over Buckethead.

Is there really just an X factor over this player versus that player , or is there something to their assertion that technical brilliance is at the expense of soul?



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Becca
post May 23 2014, 06:33 PM
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Two excellent posts on this topic. I am glad you could both see what I was getting at as it muddled up my thinking on how to phrase it accurately.
Todd,that Mozart reference is bang on. "too many notes". I remember the scene in Amadeus when the Crown Prince blithely dismissed Wolfies work with that killer sentence.
Satch is undoubtedly a great guitarist but somehow his work doesn't move me like Steve Vai does. Ironic really considering they were master and pupil.
Zappa too was a brilliant if jazzy player but Vai ranks with me as the more sensitive. Better in my humble opinion than Malmsteen. I know that is heresy but hey, we are all friends here,right?
I am still not sure whether it is the technical qualities of a player that makes one prefer say, Steve Hackett to John McLaughlin, or how much is individual taste. This is going to sound corny but I promise you it it is true. When I first heard Randy Rhodes play Crazy Train it moved me to tears. Every thing felt right. His sound his style. Everything.
Any body else had a reaction like that to a guitar player?

QUOTE (Mertay @ May 21 2014, 01:39 PM) *
Learning guitar and learning music although can work together, are separate things. Technique may be referenced to sports progression but there is a certain way of thinking among musicians thats only divided by personality.

Construct and manipulating musical sentences is very different from playing one. The collab.s here or recording over backing tracks can lead you to the point you can easily phase between a listener and a musicians role in music, which is one of the key elements to what you seek.

Hi Mertay. you put that very well. I have found that it is the players who can do just that, step outside themselves when playing, even improvisation, so that they are performing and listening and even criticising simultaneously, are the ones that seem to float my boat. Eddie Hazel playing maggot brain live is a good example of this. Even Zal Cleminson playing Framed at (I think) Ragnarok with the Sensational Alex Harvey Band gives me goosebumps to this day. It is on youtube. Check it out smile.gif smile.gif


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PosterBoy
post May 26 2014, 10:36 AM
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Paul Gilbert manages to play technically but still inject emotion, humour and soul into his playing.


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