Friday, October 12, 2012

Thoughts on playing sad songs and easy guitar parts

I'm working on a major project that involves me playing cover songs. I hope to eventually release it to the public once it's finished, but that won't be for a while (maybe years). Of course, I'll post something on the blog if and when I do release it.

(If you want to receive an email alert once it's released, send me an email with "album alert" in the subject heading, and feel free to leave the rest of the message blank. You can find my email address in this blog's sidebar. I won't use your email address for any other purpose.)

A couple things that have come to mind while working on this project:

1. The easier a guitar part sounds, the harder it is to play. The audience expects perfection in the seemingly easy parts — which are often clean and exposed. But they'll overlook flubs in the seemingly hard parts — which are usually blurred with distortion.

2. Every good sad song has an ironic subtext: "Yes, life may be miserable at times, but hey — at least we're making this great music about it." Happy songs are more straightforward: they're supposed to make you feel roughly the same feeling expressed by the music.

That second point was prompted by covering this song:

I saw the Zombies in concert recently, and I highly recommend seeing them if you get the chance. Their normal show has the full five-piece band, though the two in that video are the only original members. The keyboardist, Rod Argent, is the genius who wrote "She's Not There," "Tell Her No," and "Time of the Season."


Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

#1: Can I assume, then, that you love Neil Young's guitar playing? The same note 40X in a row!

#2: Yes, it's the well-known difference between having the blues and having blues consciousness.

rcommal said...

Cool, John.

Patrick said...

The easier a guitar part sounds, the harder it is to play.

I agree. Lots of guitar parts sound deceptively easy. One thing I've noticed is that if often has to do not with the guitar parts, but the singing. When I play, I don't usually sing (and never sing when someone is around). The particular qualities of the singer's voice really affects how I hear the guitar.

Unknown said...

I think any tune is not easy till it reach to the people hearts, and singing is most important along with the guitar - Fabfurnish offers