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> Playing With Conviction, It's important you know
Ben Higgins
post Oct 23 2014, 10:41 AM
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I believe that one thing that makes music work is when a player has conviction in what he's doing.

Conviction:

: a strong belief or opinion

: the feeling of being sure that what you believe or say is true


There are abundant examples in the world of music where people create something that is enjoyed and adored by many. It has the X factor, it grabs us, it captures our attention. Sometimes it's music we would never normally listen to but nevertheless we are enraptured by the delivery of the music. In many cases, somebody with rough or sloppy technique can deliver something that has so much potency that you can't help but be drawn into it, regardless of their musical proficiency.

It's this latter aspect I want to expand upon here. In the guitar world, there's a lot of competition still. Youtube and forum comments (although thankfully not this one) are full of people saying how X guitarist destroys Y guitarist.. Z guitarist sucks etc. That's the polite version of the type of stuff you read.

But the focus is nearly always on technical prowess. Because somebody's favourite guitar player is better at more techniques than another, in their eyes it makes the other player redundant somehow, is if they can't possibly enjoy the work of both. I've never understood that. Why do you have to choose one over the other ? Anyway, I digress as usual......

I'm going to use Kirk Hammett as an example here because people are always slagging him off, saying he's sloppy or he's this, that or the other. This always annoys me. Sure, if you compared Kirk to the creme de la creme of technical guitar wizards then, quite frankly, not many people can compare to that level of prowess but since when was that an entry requirement to make music ? There are plenty other famous guitarists out there who would struggle to play anything by Satch, Vai who would in turn struggle to play anything by Govan and Lane but to be fair, those guys didn't get into music to play other people's stuff, they're all musicians who create their own stuff. So, going back to Kirk.. regardless of the way he plays and whether it appeals to people's tastes or not, what makes Kirk's contributions so integral to the work of Metallica is his conviction.

Everything he plays is given 100%. I think Kirk's always had a great and distinctive tone as well, which helps. Every note has been chosen specifically. It's been thought about, played with and chosen to be part of the song. That's what conviction is. It's knowing what you want and going for it. Decisiveness. Many technical wizards do not have that discipline at all. When a Metallica song gets to the solo, everybody knows how it's supposed to sound. It's part of the song just as much as the vocals and riffs. If you got up and performed one of their songs and changed the solo it wouldn't sound right. Hell, if Kirk himself changed all his solos the fans wouldn't like it. Why ? Because it's part of that song's DNA. Every note is played with conviction, whether that note is "right or wrong". And it's conviction that all people can identify with.

Slash is another one who gets a hard time from all the shred fans too but I tell you what, the dude's written some of the greatest riffs and most memorable solos of all time. When I was a kid at primary school, me and my mates used to sing songs off Appetite for Destruction when we were hanging around outside. When it came to the solos we sang them as well. Because we could remember them. They were part of the song. And since when did kids remember anything ??

It just goes to show, technical prowess is not the ball breaker. It loses out to conviction every time. If you have conviction in your playing, everyone will stop focusing on what you're doing and how you're doing it and just listen. And that's what music is for.


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Cosmin Lupu
post Oct 23 2014, 10:49 AM
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I have only one thing to say to back you up, mate - min 0:07 smile.gif





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ChocolateThunda
post Oct 23 2014, 01:22 PM
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I have to say I totally agree. Most of my favourite solos are ones that you can tell where written to move you.. Sometimes ripping shredded solos are fun, but the most memorable will be the soulful, passionate ones(I hate using the word passionate because maybe someones passion is playing fast?)
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Bogdan Radovic
post Oct 23 2014, 05:27 PM
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Totally agreed! IMO - this might be the single most important ingredient of music performance. Just being convincing. I know when working with vocalists that you can hear it so clearly when they believe in what they are singing. For example, when composing a new melody or trying out new lyrics, the vocalist might be unsure of it and it would show through his performance. Basically the line would not sound good at all. After a few tries and trying to sing it more "convincingly", the same notes might sounds 100x times better. What happens is that singer starts believing in the line and feels more comfortable with it so his voice sounds more determined. Dynamics are better and attitude more edgy. What he is singing starts being believable.

Same with guitar playing, you can always hear (or see in case of video) when the player is comfortable with what he is doing. You would see young bands rocking out amazing concerts even while making lots of technical mistakes along the way. Heck - just check out John Frusciante, he makes mistakes all the time yet it all sounds amazing. Its because he is completely into it - that is what he does.

This is why I always suggest that one should play the song with as much energy as possible. Get into it, imagine you're on stage and rock out. It will open up doors to great things. I never found technically great performances to be "good" when the player is not fully comfortable and into it. Sometimes we can just try it too hard instead of enjoying music.


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Ben Higgins
post Oct 23 2014, 05:38 PM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Oct 23 2014, 10:49 AM) *
I have only one thing to say to back you up, mate - min 0:07 smile.gif


Absolutely homey !! biggrin.gif

QUOTE (ChocolateThunda @ Oct 23 2014, 01:22 PM) *
I have to say I totally agree. Most of my favourite solos are ones that you can tell where written to move you.. Sometimes ripping shredded solos are fun, but the most memorable will be the soulful, passionate ones(I hate using the word passionate because maybe someones passion is playing fast?)


Yes totally... whatever the speed, as long as the conviction is there it will move people.

QUOTE (Bogdan Radovic @ Oct 23 2014, 05:27 PM) *
Heck - just check out John Frusciante, he makes mistakes all the time yet it all sounds amazing. Its because he is completely into it - that is what he does.


Yes. I'm not even a Chilis fan but if I happen to catch a live performance on tv accidentally I'm drawn in because of their energy. This conviction and energy is definitely an ingredient that is found within all of the world's most highly regarded live acts.


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SirJamsalot
post Oct 23 2014, 07:59 PM
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nuff said.


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Mith
post Oct 24 2014, 02:59 AM
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This is a lesson that I have only recently learnt. I've always played with guitarist that have been quite better than me. And I think I've grown better because of this. I've learnt to play to compliment a song and learnt a few tricks from better guitarists. But like everything it had bad side. It did effect my confidence in lead playing and the conviction in my playing. But with the help of all the things I've learnt from this site I have gotten to the point where I have all the right tools to do the things I want so the conviction in my playing has made a huge increase.


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Cosmin Lupu
post Oct 24 2014, 09:21 AM
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QUOTE (Mith @ Oct 24 2014, 01:59 AM) *
This is a lesson that I have only recently learnt. I've always played with guitarist that have been quite better than me. And I think I've grown better because of this. I've learnt to play to compliment a song and learnt a few tricks from better guitarists. But like everything it had bad side. It did effect my confidence in lead playing and the conviction in my playing. But with the help of all the things I've learnt from this site I have gotten to the point where I have all the right tools to do the things I want so the conviction in my playing has made a huge increase.


Excellent smile.gif It's all in the way you play it, not really in what you play - take a look at Keith Richards for instance. Almost all his stuff is simple but hey, does it sound great, or what? wink.gif It's clearly in the way you play it - that's the charm of simple stuff - its complexity is given by the human element in the equation and if that element is not implemented in the right way, the simple thing played will sound ...well, just simple smile.gif


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