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> Tradition - Good & Bad ?
Ben Higgins
post Feb 22 2015, 01:36 PM
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I was having a random chat with our very own Wee Pee and the subject randomly turned to draft horses. A draft horse is a heavy horse bred for working, which included activities such as pulling logs to clear areas of woodland, ploughing fields and pulling wagons laden with beer from a brewery to local pubs. As the world became more mechanized, the need for working horses has decreased dramatically. These heavy breeds can still be kept just like other horses, being ridden or taken to shows, but their former roles are no longer important to certain industries.

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However, there are still quite a few breweries in the UK (and many more abroad) who use draft horses to deliver beer to pubs in the local vicinity. Even though it may be more convenient for them to use lorries to deliver, they've chosen to maintain the tradition of using horses. Not only does it give a purpose to maintain these fit and healthy animals but people enjoy seeing them and it's a link to our past. It's in cases like this where I think tradition is a good thing. People are using an older method out of personal choice and they feel that it has its benefits, not just to them but to others. In much the same way, cultures around the world maintain their age old traditions which serve to educate, entertain and ensure the survival of their history.

Tradition can sometimes hold us back, though. There's not much that man fears more than change. The response to change is often stubborn refusal to acknowledge another way. I've touched upon the issue of extended range guitars recently, and how many people can't stand the idea of guitars with more than 6 strings. I've seen some Facebook discussions get intensely personal with the threat of violence just because people have been so opposed to the idea of even a 7 string. Our very own Todd Simpson and Uncreator will back me up on that one, they were in one of them ! smile.gif

Sometimes, it's just a case of If it ain't broke, don't fix it. That's cool. You don't have to do something differently, just because something new has come along. But you should allow yourself to be open to the idea, at least. Then you might still decide it's not for you anyway but it can be an informed decision rather than a knee jerk reaction, right ? You tried it, didn't like it. A bit like tofu.

To Hell with you, tofu.

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From non threatening activities like guitar playing to another world where tradition has an effect;

If any of you are into Martial Arts you'll be aware that all styles are basically founded on, and grow around, tradition. There's nothing wrong with keeping some tradition out of historical respect but a lot of what gets taught may not be relevant in 2015. Some of it may not ever have been relevant because it wasn't even tested. Many of the teachers themselves have never looked beyond the tradition and questioned what they've been taught and are teaching themselves. A lot of MA instructors are hamstrung by having to maintain tradition instead of growing and evolving.

Having said that, many people practise martial arts FOR the tradition. I think it's important to distinguish between learning a martial ART and learning self defence or modern combat. They are completely different. Different parameters and different goals. Different results. If you're going into it knowing you're learning a traditional ART then it's fine. But if your goal is to learn combative techniques that may work in a civilian world, which won't get you arrested or killed, then I think it's in cases like this where tradition can actually be a burden. Real, dynamic roles such as the military, law enforcement etc are always having to adapt to new threats. They can't afford to be taught something based on tradition. It has to be based on effectiveness. So in this case, tradition loses out.

So, tradition can be both good and bad. It can help us maintain an emotional bond with the past, help to educate people about history. It can also provide roles to those whose way of lives depended on these outmoded activities.

Tradition can also tie us to outdated practises which, in non 'serious' cases don't cause any harm but in serious cases, can actually get you killed.

Can you think of any traditions which you think are beneficial or any that you think hold us back ? Should we be constantly evolving, casting away all the old ways ?

This post has been edited by Ben Higgins: Feb 22 2015, 01:39 PM


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The Uncreator
post Feb 22 2015, 02:15 PM
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I suppose I'll resurrect myself from the dead for this one Ben smile.gif

Were I to think musically, I think there a few traditions that may not necessary hold you back, but are just not applied right. We all know vinyl is making a massive comeback, and hot on its tails is a demand for higher quality music, better sound. Both of those are fantastic, but its retro-generated a feeling of nostalgia and tradition, "listening to music the right way", and it's even blinded some people to the actual problem.

With the praise of vinyl, comes the condemnation of the MP3 (which for a certain group of people, represents the be all, end all destruction of modern music) and basically digitizing music. Now, here's the thing, MP3's are fantastic, objectively so (yes, objectively). A high quality MP3, which has a bitrate of 320 - is completely indistinguishable from CD. Blind tests reveal the higher the bitrate of an MP3 gets the less audiophiles, regular listeners, and engineers can tell the difference. The problem comes from dynamic range compression - something an MP3 does not do - during the mixing and mastering stage, which I won't go into further cause I could go on for hours.

A good example is Opeth's "Heritage", that record sounds like the 70's made love to itself with the 60's watching and the early 80's prog scene waiting next door for its turn - and its a completely digital record, pro tools and all. The thing is, you make an all digital record and just slap it on vinyl, the vinyl does nothing. Contrary to what people think, the vinyl will still display glaring problems just like a digital file will. Vinyl has a lower headroom and range than CD's and digital medial player, so the benefit comes from when producers/engineers have to mix an album different for vinyl - this pretty much forces them to mix it more carefully (see: better)

On the positive side, vinyls are getting people to listen to music differently. You can't scan a song on vinyl, you can't jump around tracks as you wish, you listen start to finish and learn to appreciate the whole album and learn to listen to more closely I think. The "tradition" of music on vinyl has pro's and con's to it, but the con's are merely misdirected for now, and I love the demand for better quality music, it just needs to be properly applied and taken out of its pseudo-nostalgic and pseudo-traditional mindset.

As for that seven string conversation - that was completely outlandish, I've never seen someone do that, Todd was even being nice to the guy and he lost it on him. After the conversation ended he actually started telling me he was going to kill me haha, it was pretty insane. For those who didn't see this FB conversation, this was literally because I play a 7 string, and find great joy and purposeful application from them - Todd plays an eight string even, thank god he never found that out haha

EDIT
Another tradition I've seen is not layering instruments in production. The "if it cant be played live it shouldn't be played at all" argument against backing tracks, and layering vocals and instruments. You can prefer it all you want, but I've seen people denounce any music that uses more than 4 guitar tracks.

The best part about this was this guy was in a power metal group on FB, power metal, easily the most ridiculous genre when it comes to layering at times, and this completely obtuse tradition eliminated 99% of the genre for him. Weird.
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Ben Higgins
post Feb 22 2015, 04:09 PM
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Dude, your entire post is gold !!!

QUOTE (The Uncreator @ Feb 22 2015, 01:15 PM) *
A good example is Opeth's "Heritage", that record sounds like the 70's made love to itself with the 60's watching and the early 80's prog scene waiting next door for its turn - and its a completely digital record, pro tools and all. The thing is, you make an all digital record and just slap it on vinyl, the vinyl does nothing. Contrary to what people think, the vinyl will still display glaring problems just like a digital file will. Vinyl has a lower headroom and range than CD's and digital medial player, so the benefit comes from when producers/engineers have to mix an album different for vinyl - this pretty much forces them to mix it more carefully (see: better)


Excellent point. I love listening to vinyl albums but, as you said, if the music doesn't sound good anyway then.......

QUOTE (The Uncreator @ Feb 22 2015, 01:15 PM) *
Todd plays an eight string even, thank god he never found that out haha


Haha, quite !

QUOTE (The Uncreator @ Feb 22 2015, 01:15 PM) *
EDIT
Another tradition I've seen is not layering instruments in production. The "if it cant be played live it shouldn't be played at all" argument against backing tracks, and layering vocals and instruments. You can prefer it all you want, but I've seen people denounce any music that uses more than 4 guitar tracks.

The best part about this was this guy was in a power metal group on FB, power metal, easily the most ridiculous genre when it comes to layering at times, and this completely obtuse tradition eliminated 99% of the genre for him. Weird.


Yeah, I see that old argument sometimes. I'm going to use my favourite cliche now... at the end of the day, all we're doing is just sound.

If the sound makes you feel good, great. If it doesn't, no problem. Find a different sound. But putting rules on how sound should be produced is ridiculous.

I can understand it if someone goes to see a band that have the production value of Blind Guardian and they end up sounding like the White Stripes. But generally, that doesn't happen. Art is art and if something enables you to achieve that art then you shouldn't hold back just because someone thinks you should have restrictions on how many tracks you can use.

I'd have loved to hear him tell that to Freddie Mercury and Roy Thomas Baker.

This post has been edited by Ben Higgins: Feb 22 2015, 04:10 PM


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klasaine
post Feb 22 2015, 04:47 PM
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I've generally found that the folks who understand the 'tradition' - even if only a little bit - are almost always the best at breaking away from it in a meaningful, useful, productive, functional and artistic way. Some of the most revolutionary artists and musicians are the ones who've reached WAY back into history for inspiration (and ideas). The world moves forward. That's the way it is (obviously). But you don't have to discard everything in it's wake. Holding on to some things that make you feel comfortable i.e., the things that you feel connected to and allow you to feel connected to society as well as your place in history is a good thing. It's what makes us as individuals slightly (or hugely) unique.

Ignorance of history breeds stupidity and narrow-mindedness.
Case in point: arguing that ERG are not valid or necessary shows that those who take that view know nothing about the history and evolution of the guitar.

*Though I keep all my vinyl (I have room for it and I dig how it looks), I rarely listen to it. Why? I've found that using a great, modern CD player (Yamaha pro line), high-end speakers (PSB image B6) and an old 70s Akai amp sounds best. IMO - usually better than the vinyl. Most folks use a shitty CD player. Hell, for the longest time I was using a $38.00 DVD player to listen to discs. Bad idea. The high-end CD player makes a huge and very obvious difference - very obvious (of course with the good speakers and amp). But I also love the portability and ease of mp3s. For me it's the gestalt.

This post has been edited by klasaine: Feb 22 2015, 05:22 PM


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Ben Higgins
post Feb 22 2015, 06:25 PM
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QUOTE (klasaine @ Feb 22 2015, 03:47 PM) *
But I also love the portability and ease of mp3s. For me it's the gestalt.


Yes, I think that we like stuff that gives us what we need. In the case of an mp3 we know that the quality might not be the same as cd quality wavs on a high end sound system but it's the situation that may dictate listening choices. It's a quality hit that we're happy to accept as it's not really that detrimental to our need for music at that moment. Or something like that rolleyes.gif


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klasaine
post Feb 22 2015, 06:32 PM
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QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Feb 22 2015, 09:25 AM) *
It's a quality hit that we're happy to accept as it's not really that detrimental to our need for music at that moment. Or something like that rolleyes.gif


Oh yeah, witness the advent and popularity of cassette tape. We all knew it didn't sound that great ... and it degraded. That stopped nobody from having cassette players and recorders and then the coup de gras - the car stereo and the fact that you could record your records and listen in the car and then later the Sony 'Walkman'. Interestingly nobody at that time (that I'm aware of) really bitched too much - ? Need/function/innovation. My thing is that you don't have to be a slave to any of it old or new. Pick and choose what works for you.


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Ben Higgins
post Feb 22 2015, 06:37 PM
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QUOTE (klasaine @ Feb 22 2015, 05:32 PM) *
Oh yeah, witness the advent and popularity of cassette tape. We all knew it didn't sound that great ... and it degraded. That stopped nobody from having cassette players and recorders and then the coup de gras - the car stereo and the fact that you could record your records and listen in the car and then later the Sony 'Walkman'. Interestingly nobody at that time (that I'm aware of) really bitched too much - ? Need/function/innovation. My thing is that you don't have to be a slave to any of it old or new. Pick and choose what works for you.


Yes, good old cassettes. That reminds me.. I had a tape of my favourite Maiden album. A few years later I ended up with another tape of the same album. Both were proper original cassettes, not home recordings. They sounded different to each other though. My first copy had slightly more bottom end and the later copy was slightly clearer on the top end. It wasn't a remaster either.

Possibly the original copy had degraded or maybe the cassettes were pressed in different plants or something. I don't know ?

This post has been edited by Ben Higgins: Feb 22 2015, 06:38 PM


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klasaine
post Feb 22 2015, 07:00 PM
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QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Feb 22 2015, 09:37 AM) *
I had a tape of my favourite Maiden album. A few years later I ended up with another tape of the same album. Both were proper original cassettes, not home recordings. They sounded different to each other though. My first copy had slightly more bottom end and the later copy was slightly clearer on the top end. It wasn't a remaster either.

Possibly the original copy had degraded or maybe the cassettes were pressed in different plants or something. I don't know ?


Even with records the pressing quality could/will be all over the map depending on the facility and quality of the actual vinyl. Tape quality has a lot to do with the sound of the cassette. There are various ways to press/reproduce CDs as well ... http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jan98/articles/cdformats.htm. MP3, MP4, FLAC, etc. ... We've all noticed the differences between the various 'players' embedded in websites. What about your soundcard? What about your converters and/or clock?


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Todd Simpson
post Feb 22 2015, 07:43 PM
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Yup smile.gif If a given recording went through a second or third pressing, it might be made by an entirely different facility or subbed out to goodness knows who. Especially true on lower budget releases but also on big budget back in the day. Whatever was selling best tended to go to the best pressing plants and such smile.gif I had tapes that varied quite a bit in quality that I bought at the same time from the same shop, same band/album/etc. Slight difference in paper J card big difference in sound. Digital helped this in some ways but the proliferation of formats and reduction of bit rate, (initially due to lack of broadband internet) caused it's own issues.

The good news on this front is EVERYTHING IS GOING WIRELESS BROADBAND. And I do mean EVERYTHING. Which will allow better audio/video quality as wireless broadband/wide area wifi becomes more common. Cell phones are moving towards wifi and away from towers so phones will keep sounding better and better which is good since the mobile phone is fast becoming the primary playback device of the masses.




QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Feb 22 2015, 01:37 PM) *
Yes, good old cassettes. That reminds me.. I had a tape of my favourite Maiden album. A few years later I ended up with another tape of the same album. Both were proper original cassettes, not home recordings. They sounded different to each other though. My first copy had slightly more bottom end and the later copy was slightly clearer on the top end. It wasn't a remaster either.

Possibly the original copy had degraded or maybe the cassettes were pressed in different plants or something. I don't know ?


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