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Old 02-09-2020, 10:22 PM
Logdy Logdy is offline
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Default Song Quantity or Song Quality

Just wondering but is it better to learn more songs and make more music at 80-90% accuracy for tone/rhythm or learn less and really focus on 90-95% artist matching. For me itís playing more songs and making more music. Iím not sure what others think or is it just a personal decision?
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Old 02-09-2020, 10:32 PM
L20A L20A is offline
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I usually don't try to match the artist.
I like to make the songs mine.
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Old 02-09-2020, 10:44 PM
Duck916 Duck916 is offline
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I think it depends on your goals.

As a beginner, I work at a new song until I get it to a decent level of playing skill, and then I start work on another. I eventually come back to the earlier song, but I think it's beneficial to my development that I work on a variety of songs/genres/styles rather try trying to perfect one, or even a few, songs.
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Old 02-09-2020, 11:22 PM
jklotz jklotz is offline
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Like Duck there, I think it depends on your goals.

In my case, I find that learning a song properly, with a metronome, feeds into the other stuff, and makes the rest sound better too. I have a tendency to rush things, so I have to force myself to slow down and learn things as close to proper as I can. In the moment, it makes me feel like I am wasting time, but after a while, the pieces all fall into place and allow me to play effortlessly.

Lot's of guys just hack their way through. There is no right or wrong. Just boils down to what you want to do.
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Old 02-10-2020, 12:02 AM
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DenverSteve DenverSteve is offline
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For me quality is the only concern.
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Old 02-10-2020, 12:23 AM
Glennwillow Glennwillow is offline
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The more you learn the better you will get. I don't know why you can't do a new song a week at your best ability, regardless of where that ability might be.

As far as matching the original artist's accuracy for tone/rhythm, with enough practice I don't know why a person can't be at near 100% if that is what a person is striving for. But that takes a lot of experience and practice, which means learning a lot of music so that one gets really good at it.

It's certainly a skill to pull off a good cover. It's also a worthy skill to make your own catchy cover that is not meant to be super accurate but rather your own take on the song. And, of course, writing very good original songs is a challenge and probably the least appreciated, particularly in this world today.

Getting good at making music regardless of the path you take requires a lot of practice, a lot of experience, and the development of special musical skills. You have to develop the right ear, the right feel, you have to become super familiar with your instrument so that the musicality is there. In most instances you also need some technical skills to pull it off.

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Old 02-10-2020, 05:01 AM
RedJoker RedJoker is offline
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I'll add that most artists don't play songs the same as on the record either.
Original music here: Spotify Artist Page
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Old 02-10-2020, 05:18 AM
rmp rmp is offline
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it depends on the song, or more so, artist you're trying to cover.

w/guys like James Taylor, you almost have to get it right since his playing style really comes out in his songs and they don't sound right without it. Just one example, there are more of course.
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Old 02-10-2020, 05:22 AM
RalphH RalphH is online now
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It really does depend on your goals. When professional artists cover a song they normally make it their own - there's really no point in re-releasing an identical copy of the original. As where many cover/tribute bands will attempt to duplicate the original as closely as possible.

If you're in the middle ground where you're sounding very much like, but not the same as the original people may go "that doesn't sound quite right". Not necessarily, but it's a risk.

I tend to do my own rearrangements of songs I'm learning - as much from necessity as anything else - I'm solo. Very few recordings are a single take of a guy with a guitar. I don't see that launching into an acoustic version of a guitar solo with no backing music is particularly effective. I also tend to find that chords vs picking give more 'oomph' in a solo performance unless the picking is really fundamental to the song.

But also just from an efficiency/laziness point of view - in many songs the guitar solo is not a pivotal piece and I don't feel like skipping it lessens the song but it does massively cut down the time spent learning it.

So I'll remove guitar solos, A cappella intro/outro singing pieces I don't have the skill to pull off, and anything else that feels extraneous or will be really long-winded to learn vs benefit of keeping it. I tend to end up with my own 'boiled down' version of a song that's shorter than the original and different enough that someone is unlikely to tell me its 'wrong' rather than different.

Nothing Else Matters - pretty much all the lyrics are repeated (all the verses are repeated at least once and one twice). Metalica get away with it because it's broken up with two guitar solos. I skip the solos and go for an arrangement of the lyrics without verse repetition that makes more sense without the solos, but I keep the intro picking as for me, its a fundamental piece of the music that would gut the song if removed, but I'll just strum through the verses and chorus as I don't see the picking going on in these pieces and particularly important and using chords means I can go from 2 guitars (probably recorded layered) to one guitar without it feeling 'thin'.

Street spirit - I keep it basically as-is musically. Strumming chords rather than playing the arpeggios would wreck the song. But I remove all the la la las from the vocals as I can't seem to get it right. I may go back and revisit.

Runaway train - strip out the solo, and the repeat of the chorus that happens soon after it.

As for matching tone... I play everything on the same acoustic guitar. It is what it is. I don't worry about it. There is no way I can tone-match the vocals and that's 90% of what people listen to anyway. Only other guitar-nerds would even notice clean electric vs acoustic.
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Last edited by RalphH; 02-10-2020 at 06:05 AM.
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Old 02-10-2020, 07:18 AM
Mojo21 Mojo21 is offline
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I stopped trying to mimic other artists songs because whilst I could certainly get good renditions of the likes of James Taylor and Paul Simon I got bored of doing it. Now I play other people’s songs my own way, although I don’t stray from the essence of the song.

For me, a very good example of an artist taking a song and making it his own is Ryan Adams’ cover of Iron Maiden’s ‘Wasted Years. In fact Ryan Adams plays loads of covers and gives them his treatment.

Last edited by Kerbie; 02-10-2020 at 07:24 AM. Reason: Fixed video
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Old 02-10-2020, 07:29 AM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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I try to learn the original in every detail, 100% if possible.

Then I do it my way .

I mean, it obviously depends on how much I like the song, or how much of it I like.
When I learn 100% of a song, I do it because I love the song, not because I'm going to perform it the exact same way. I know very well I would just sound like someone performing a feeble attempt at a copy. But I want to know the exact notes, because then I understand how it works. I want to get right inside it - but then I also get out of it afterwards.

When you perform someone else's song, you have to own it. Unless you're a tribute act, there's no sense in pretending you're just a cheaper, more available version of the original artist . Presumably you love the song because it means something to you, so you have to explore that personal meaning, bring it out in your way. That might well end up as a very different-sounding version - but it has to be yours and not theirs.
"There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in." - Leonard Cohen.

Last edited by JonPR; 02-12-2020 at 03:52 AM. Reason: Removed language
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Old 02-10-2020, 09:06 AM
BallisticSquid BallisticSquid is offline
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I used to try to nail songs as close to the original as I could. It prevented me from learning many songs. Joining a band cured me of this affliction .

It depends on your others have said. Some people are really good at quickly nailing a song much like the original. I think it gets easier as you gain more experience. I'll try to nail songs that include a technique I'm working on or solo phrasing that I'm trying to achieve.

I personally enjoyed making songs my own and developed my own style along the way in doing that.
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Old 02-10-2020, 11:42 AM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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To use the OP's terms - quantity. Why?

1. Note-for-note perfect copy of a record will only impress yourself. Your audience not only won't care but won't even notice.

2. So you got one song perfect! Great. Now you song. Learning one song even just rudimentary helps you learn the next, and then they grow exponentially.

3. An artist connects by putting real feeling in their playing and singing. I find it hard to focus on my true feelings while trying to parrot the original note-for-note.

4. I don't always sing in the same key as the original. So I'm not going to sound identically like it from the outset.

5. Do you seek to express yourself musically or be a human jukebox?

6. Even if you learn a perfect note-for-note copy, you'll likely make a mistake or two when performing. We all do occasionally. Its better to learn to play through that. IMO a fixation on note-for-note perfection interferes with this.

7. You can ALWAYS learn a basic version and hone it over time.
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Old 02-10-2020, 01:37 PM
jaymarsch jaymarsch is offline
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For me it is both but accuracy in playing well technically and bringing the emotion of the song out rather than 100% copying the original artist. I tend to simplify new music that I am learning so I can get the groove down and then add elements as I feel more comfortable with playing expressively. So, it just depends on what you are trying to accomplish with your music and your playing.

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Old 02-10-2020, 02:00 PM
Misifus Misifus is offline
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Years ago, I put together a band with my brother and a couple of other guys. I played bass, which was a new thing for me. We played about two thirds covers and a third originals. On one cover I was having trouble working out a bass part that I liked a that fit the song. One of the guys suggested that I try playing it like record. Obviously, it worked, but I also realized that was the first time we had referenced the originals we were covering.

Everything we did, we did our own way. I still recommend that approach.
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