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> How Not To Sound Like Ass
Ben Higgins
post Sep 24 2015, 04:32 PM
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During the process of our guitar learning, we may be unaware of certain elements that may be making us sound like ass.

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Ideally, we don't really want to sound like ass. That's a deep statement, I know. Take some time with it, if you like, before moving on with the rest of the post.

So, what are some of the common things that can make us sound like gorilla butt?

Bad Tone: The ultimate in making you sound like A.S.S. The difficult thing is that good or bad tone is subjective - it is a matter of personal perception.

However, some common things to avoid are:

-Tone that is too muddy and indistinct. Having too much bass frequency below 100hz and/or excess boominess between 200-400hz can give the guitar too much space in the mix and drown out other instruments, not too mention not cutting through.

-Tone that is too shrill. On the opposite end of the frequency spectrum, people can often have too much high end. The more gain you use, the more of a noticeable issue this will be.

-Inappropriate tone for the context. People often use way too much gain, coupled with too much high frequency, on tracks that don't call for that type of sound. Try to avoid an overly metal tone if you're playing a laid back ballad or a blues track.

Another thing that shouts "ASS!" is:

Poor hand coordination:

Many a time people can be adept at shifting chords but when there's a riff that uses a few single notes back to back they often lose track of which finger is doing what and the pick doesn't match up with the finger movement. What we want to aim for is the pick striking the string at the same time the finger frets the desired note. Having both your picking and fretting hand work together will massively improve your overall sound.

One thing that is related to hand coordination is....

Poor finger independence:

You know that feeling when you want to move your 3rd finger and your 4th finger moves along with it? Yeah, we've all been there. Freeing up the fingers so that you can use each of them confidently is an absolute must for any guitarist in any genre. We all need it.

Good finger independence along with good hand coordination is the foundation of being able to play guitar.

Along with..

Timing:
Timing gets talked about a lot in the REC board and for good reason. It is so integral to music and we've got to be able to confidently handle our timing.

Often we can be playing way in front of the beat or lagging behind. Sometimes, in phrasing, you may consciously desire these effects but before employing them as a musical tool you've got to be able to play on the beat. In time. Not before, not after. Playing along to backing tracks is one of the best ways of doing it - unless you have the ability to jam with a real drummer. Even if the drummer isn't the best timekeeper you can still hone your skills by keeping in time to whatever it is that he or she is doing.

Failing that, backing tracks and playing along with recorded artists is the best way.

So, all together we have:

Bad tone
Poor hand coordination
Poor finger independence
Bad timing


We all started out with those ass-like attributes. After a while, we shake them off and we start sounding less and less like ass. If you devote just a little bit of your practise time to improving each of those aspects (maybe pick one of those to add to your practise a day and choose a different one each time) then soon you will be removing the 'ass' part from your playing!


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n3m57
post Sep 24 2015, 08:40 PM
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I'm feeling directly concerned about this topic huh.gif
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Ben Higgins
post Sep 24 2015, 08:45 PM
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QUOTE (n3m57 @ Sep 24 2015, 07:40 PM) *
I'm feeling directly concerned about this topic huh.gif


About the word 'ass'? biggrin.gif

Or worried that you recognise some traits in your playing?

Don't be concerned - awareness is the key. When you know what you need to work on, then you can make it happen smile.gif


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n3m57
post Sep 24 2015, 08:53 PM
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QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Sep 24 2015, 07:45 PM) *
About the word 'ass'? biggrin.gif

Or worried that you recognise some traits in your playing?

Don't be concerned - awareness is the key. When you know what you need to work on, then you can make it happen smile.gif


Yes !
Inter alia ...
My last REC was a big fail : bad tone, front of the beat ...

I don't wanna be like Ass again biggrin.gif
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Todd Simpson
post Sep 24 2015, 09:08 PM
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Well written and well said smile.gif It's a Mini Bible on how "Not to Suck". These core elements really are that important. Kudos Ben!


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fzalfa
post Sep 24 2015, 09:19 PM
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suck, ass, that's sound good !!

where are the girls ?? wub.gif

i'm gone..... tongue.gif

Laurent


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bleez
post Sep 24 2015, 09:32 PM
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QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Sep 24 2015, 04:32 PM) *
Poor finger independence:

You know that feeling when you want to move your 3rd finger and your 4th finger moves along with it? Yeah, we've all been there. Freeing up the fingers so that you can use each of them confidently is an absolute must for any guitarist in any genre. We all need it.

Good finger independence along with good hand coordination is the foundation of being able to play guitar.

Ive got right into john frucuantes style of playing lately. Ive been trying to learn a lot of his stuff and its quite amazing how much I suck at chords. I didnt even know 90% of these chords existed. How does he do it! ( you're gonna say practice aren't you huh.gif ) Its like I picked up a guitar five minutes ago. I blame powerchords.

any tips on a good approach to improving this area?



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fzalfa
post Sep 24 2015, 09:36 PM
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QUOTE
You know that feeling when you want to move your 3rd finger and your 4th finger moves along with it?


even with fingers, education is long and hard smile.gif

Laurent


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Mudbone
post Sep 25 2015, 02:34 AM
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Did my latest REC take inspire this thread? laugh.gif


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Ben Higgins
post Sep 25 2015, 09:02 AM
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QUOTE (n3m57 @ Sep 24 2015, 07:53 PM) *
Yes !
Inter alia ...
My last REC was a big fail : bad tone, front of the beat ...

I don't wanna be like Ass again biggrin.gif


The word 'failure' is a word that humans all try to avoid. But.. if you think about it..

What is the most important question that people should ask themselves who are looking to successfully do something?

Most people would ask "How hard are you prepared to work?" or "How bad do you want it?"

I think it's the wrong question. I think the question should be

"How many times are you willing to fail?"

If the answer is "As many times as it takes" then you've got the right stuff smile.gif

Failure is good. It means you've taken a step in the right direction. We should treat failures as the results of an experiment. An experiment gives a result. It is neither good nor bad. In that way, we should regard the results of our projects. The end result gives us feedback and knowledge. So is a failure really a failure?

Too deep? biggrin.gif

QUOTE (fzalfa @ Sep 24 2015, 08:19 PM) *
suck, ass, that's sound good !!

where are the girls ?? wub.gif

i'm gone..... tongue.gif

Laurent


tongue.gif

QUOTE (bleez @ Sep 24 2015, 08:32 PM) *
Ive got right into john frucuantes style of playing lately. Ive been trying to learn a lot of his stuff and its quite amazing how much I suck at chords. I didnt even know 90% of these chords existed. How does he do it! ( you're gonna say practice aren't you huh.gif ) Its like I picked up a guitar five minutes ago. I blame powerchords.

any tips on a good approach to improving this area?


Tbh, I'd probably be the same when dealing with chords. I don't have much of a chord library so I'd probably have a hard time remembering and playing them too smile.gif

But... even though I know I'm lacking in that area I don't mind - I know that I'm playing what I want to be playing. But I've gone OT

Give yourself just one or two new chords to work with and allow yourself to absorb them over a period of time. Too much and you'll struggle to retain it. You'll be whipping them out on future collab takes and making us all go "What the...?"

QUOTE (Mudbone @ Sep 25 2015, 01:34 AM) *
Did my latest REC take inspire this thread? laugh.gif


Yes, because when I think of ass - it's always your fault! wink.gif







But no, it's all playing in general. Not just REC takes but many guitar videos I see posted on Facebook or videos I get sent / directed to. I think it makes sense to continually remind people of the pitfalls to avoid in playing!

This post has been edited by Ben Higgins: Sep 25 2015, 09:02 AM


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n3m57
post Sep 25 2015, 11:25 AM
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Yeah Ben, you are right.
thank you for your analyse so "deep" biggrin.gif
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