Tuesday 19 October 2010

Take me back

It's funny how when I'm wondering what to arrange next something comes up and totally takes over any previous ideas. I had the radio on in the car one night last week and was channel surfing, and heard an Aussie rock song from the 80's I hadn't heard in years. Because I can't listen to music anymore without analysing it for fingerstyle worthiness, I detected this one as approachable and the more I listened, the more I remembered how much I loved the song back at the time.

Now for someone who wasn't an Aussie/Kiwi teenager in 1986 you will never have heard of the song "Take me back" by Noiseworks. Sorry, but persist with me, it might be worth it. It's probably Noiseworks most recognisable song, quite melodic with strong vocals from Jon Stevens. The song is incredibly heartfelt, basically a guy who doesn't recognise that his girl is seriously depressed and when she commits suicide he can't believe it, he didn't realise the seriousness of the signs, and wishes he could go back because he is lonely without her. Heart wrenching stuff, everyone take note, depression is more than ever the sickness of the times.

Anyway, as I was mumbling about in a comment on another post the song immediately fell into my default fingerstyle "style", and I had pretty much sketched it out in about two hours (involved a bit of internet examination of previous people's works on chords, tabs and bass tabs - don't reinvent the wheel!) The problem is that my style now feels contrived, predictable and just a bit boring to me.

Briefly, my default style is incorporating the basic rock drum beat into a pattern absorbing a bass line and morphing with the melody. Basic drum beat being 4/4, closed hat on all four beats, bass drum on beat one and snare drum on beat 3. So a continuous Boomp-t-tssh-t-Boomp-t-tssh-t. Translating that to fingerstyle you use the chord root note as a bassnote/bassdrum, flick strum a chord fragment for the snare drum, play the melody on top...the high hat kinda disappears/exists in the melody. Kinda make sense?

When you have a listen you'll see it's pretty obvious in the verse; not to mention the song is basically a three chord blues progression, E, A & B.

So because it was uninspiring I tried to jazz it up a bit, and threw in little bit of walking bass into the chorus, as per the actual song. That made it challenging for me to play, and gave it a less boring feel, maybe a little bit cheesy though.

Anyway, enough blah blah, have a listen to a cut down recording I made last night, you can hear that I struggle with it; it's still in forebrain so I have to "think" about I when I play it. When I've moved it to the backbrain and then can "think" on tempo/timing, clean fretting and better feeling/dynamics.

For those curious, here is what I did for the main chorus riff, quite challenging!


Thursday 7 October 2010

What's happening October 2010

Things are chugging away slowly on the guitar front, it's been school holidays here in Oz and the family and I managed to get away for a week, nice!  I was hoping during the week my left pinky would get better...a vain hope because it has been giving me problems for a few months now.

Basically when I was transcribing/practising Naudo's "Something", which has a few left pinky stretches, I overdid it and pulled a ligament/tendon/muscle.  About three months ago.  At first it mildly hurt when I played, so I pushed through, but then after a few months it was still there.  I knew I needed to rest it, but I wasn't going to stop playing guitar for weeks!

I did the same to my thumb last year.  I think it was around 3-4 months where it didn't feel right, but it is fine now.  I don't know how many of you out there have had the same affliction, but I'm quite annoyed, and in fact mildly concerned about it.  You think when you play the guitar you'll be able to play like that, and better, forever!  I follow an older chap Ed on youtube, great fingerstyler, but suffers from arthritis and you can see in his playing.  The skills are all there but the arthritis is crippling his playing.  Take note - we should all enjoy it, cherish it, use it, while we have it.  I guess that can be said about many things.

Meantime, "Something" is transcribed/re-arranged.  I know I put a snippet on a while back, the hard part has been the solo.  I first tried to do the original Harrison solo, but it just wouldn't fit.  So I turned to what Naudo did as a solo - it's only about 6 bars - and transcribed that.  When I say "transcribe" in terms of Naudo, that almost means "re-arrange".  It's not possible for me to work out every minute detail of his playing it's just too complex, so I grab the major concepts put them into my style and tab it out.

You know what?  Pure genius.  The guy, well, he is a genius.  I can't stop playing those six bars - it's just so beautiful, emotional - I have to play it over and over again, even though I've pretty much nailed it.  It's hard to explain, but I'm sure everybody understands when you get some bit of a song stuck in your head and have to play it/listen to it over and over like it was some drug addiction.  And it doesn't have to be anything new, it might be a song you've heard many times but you've only just now really _got_ it, and you can't get enough.

I'll probably churn out a youtube vid of it this month, I think you'll all appreciate the song and the tab.  Naudo is best! :)

I don't have anything else I'm working on at the moment...Dark Side of the Moon is on hold at the moment (I get bursts of passion for it). One thing I've toyed with over the past coupla years is some Rolling Stones covers; in fact I can mostly play two Stones arrangements.  The problem is that they really need singing - they are really repetitive melodically and, sorry, _boring_ as fingerstyle.  The answer I've decided is a three song medley - don't play too much of any one song, but expand three into a ~4 minute medley.

Alternatively I have an AC/DC song that I noodled together something that will work about 6 months ago.  "Songs you wouldn't expect to hear on fingerstyle."  I'll keep you posted! :)