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Old 05-25-2015, 10:14 PM   #151
slunken
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IMO boutique pedals are only for boutique players.

i didn't hear anything in those samples that couldn't be achieved with a combination of big muff (any) with a tube screamer or blues driver.

 
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Old 05-25-2015, 11:53 PM   #152
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"Boutique player"? What's that mean?

I can see how a lot of the milder fuzzes (like the Crush) would be achievable with a Big Muff (though the Noisemaker ones sounded less muddy to me), but I've never gotten the sort of crazy breakup I was hearing in the Donner Party and Super Arcade demos out of the Tone Wicker Big Muff I had (not that that's a criticism of it; it was and will probably still be my favorite pedal). I guess I've never tried driving it with an overdrive, as I've never used one, though. So perhaps you're right (in which case, thanks a lot for giving me post-purchase remorse, buddy).

Too bad I don't still have my Muff to compare them with. I just thought I'd experiment with other fuzzes, because there is a small chance I may get my old Muff back (long story), so I didn't want to buy a duplicate. But if it turns out I won't, I'll definitely re-purchase one down the line. I like all the Noisemaker ones for what they are, but they seem to be on the more treble-ish side, whereas the Muff goes down to the apocalyptic firepits of doom.

 
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Old 05-26-2015, 10:07 AM   #153
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They sound pretty good, I'd definitely pick one up. Big Muffs don't get that cool oscillation to them.

Also be sure to get a variable power source for whatever fuzz you get, to simulate a dying battery; you will get cooler results you wouldn't otherwise get with a constant power source.

Also I finally picked up a Fuzz Factory and I love it to death.

 
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Old 05-26-2015, 02:41 PM   #154
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Hmm. I've never heard about the "variable power source" thing. Sounds cool. I'll look into that!

Some of these pedals have a "starve" knob that does the dying battery thing (similar to the "stab" on the Fuzz Factory, I think). But the variable power source sounds like it'd be really cool to try with my Muff or something when I get it.

Congrats on the Fuzz Factory. From the demos I've heard, those things are really versatile and great. The sort of thing I'd buy if I weren't so cheap. I love how you can get sorta retro classic clean-gated fuzz and octavey oscillating glitchy sustaining fuzz in the same box. Thing is crazy.

I've been looking at some of Devi Ever's pedals, too. Probably not in my price range, but it's still fun to browse. One interesting one was the LP, that I assume uses variable power to get that "skipping record" sound.

 
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Old 05-27-2015, 10:42 AM   #155
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Yep exactly, the Stab seems to control the power-in, so the Fuzz Factory pretty much has a built-in variable power supply.

Our guitarist had Devi's Disaster Fuzz, and it was very cool; it is worth mentioning that he did in fact get a variable power supply for it because it wasn't doing exactly what he wanted. So there you go.

He recently dropped it from his board for a Dwarfcraft Great Destroyer though, I'm not sure why. Both sounded great though. It probably just didn't gel well with the new Awkward Bodies songs, not sure.

The guitarist in a different band I'm in has a cool boutique fuzz that sounds fantastic. I don't remember what it is though, I'll check it out tonight at practice.

 
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Old 06-07-2015, 06:24 PM   #156
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Does anybody know what effects Iha used in his MCIS Pumpkins solos? Like in "Zero" and "Fuck You"? I'm thinking it's a Digitech Whammy in octave up mode or something, but just want to be sure.

I used to not be interested in getting a Whammy pedal, because I'm not big on pitch shifting. However, the cool shit that can be done with octave shifts is making me rethink that.

 
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Old 06-08-2015, 09:51 AM   #157
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It was, with more signal processing as well.

 
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Old 06-09-2015, 12:06 AM   #158
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I see. Now I suppose I need one of those, too. G.A.S. has been bad these days.

I tend to find pitch-shifting kind of cheesy and too artificial sounding in general, but I do like octave effects. So I guess if I get a Whammy, I probably won't use the other sorts of harmonies too often. Seems like a lot of money to spend on something I'll only have a limited use for.

How does the Whammy compare to pedals like the EHX Pitchfork or Boss Pitch Shifters/Harmonizers?

Speaking of G.A.S., I'm also hankering for a phaser. From the videos I've listened to, I like the MXR Phase 90 the best, because it seems to be the most transparent, whereas the Modtone Atomic colors the sound a bit and sort of washes out the tone. The Small Stone isn't bad, but it sounds like it sweeps through the lower frequencies more, whereas the 90 sounds a bit broader.

However, I'm kind of wondering if I'll end up wanting more than one knob, to control the rate and depth independently, which is why I haven't completely ruled out the Modtone yet. Do you guys like having more control over the parameters, or does one knob do enough for all your phasing needs?

On top of that, that Line 6 Verbzilla you linked me to sounds great. It turns out that it doesn't do reverse reverb, but it does other awesome things that are more ambient and ethereal than a typical reverb. And I'm also eyeing the DigiVerb, because that pedal does do reverse reverb, and still keeps your dry signal, unlike the Hardwire.

Those are just some of the pedals I'm constantly browsing online. I really need to stop. Maybe I should just block any gear site and focus on actually practicing my instrument for the next little while.

 
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Old 06-09-2015, 11:04 AM   #159
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Originally Posted by Disco King View Post
I see. Now I suppose I need one of those, too. G.A.S. has been bad these days.

I tend to find pitch-shifting kind of cheesy and too artificial sounding in general, but I do like octave effects. So I guess if I get a Whammy, I probably won't use the other sorts of harmonies too often. Seems like a lot of money to spend on something I'll only have a limited use for.

How does the Whammy compare to pedals like the EHX Pitchfork or Boss Pitch Shifters/Harmonizers?
OK well first off, the "unnatural sound" of the Whammy is a part of it's charm, something I really liked about it. Check out the song "Waited a Light Year" by Tripping Daisy, there's this simple lead melody played on a shifted-up Whammy. And it's slightly-out-of-pitch-ness really gives it a unique character. Also listen to the end of the solo on "Just" by Radiohead... Johnny is using a Whammy to hit the higher unnatural notes, and the final note is digitally squelching, like it can't quite make it--I love that! Gives the song an extra edge and paranoia.

But with that said, there are several generations of Whammy. Those parts mentioned above were played with either a first or second generation Whammy that did have pitch imperfections. By now, we are on a 5th generation whammy (I just sold my 2nd gen for a 5th) and it is WAY more precise, and doesn't have that out of tune quality as much. So if you are looking for more precision, then the newer models are quite good. That is why I upgraded, because when you though on a really weird delay then the notes really go out of whack, and sounds bad; I needed something more precise.

Also this pedal is useful for playing harmony lines. You can switch to like the "/\5th \/7th" setting and it'll add the high 5th and a lower 7th to your melody, immediately creating a three-part guitar harmony! All at the ease of a foot switch! One of my bands recently played with a sort of early 00s revival emo band and their guitarist was doing this the whole time, it was cool. It's not really what I am interested in, but it's what you can do with the Whammy. I swear I hear it all over Francis The Mute.

In contrast the EHX MicroPog and the delux POG more dials in whatever weird pitch undertones you want and you let it fly (think of Johnny's main riff in "My Iron Lung", it soudns like either a POG or something similar). It's more versatile and WAY MORE ACCURATE but it doesn't have the footwsitch and bending capability as the Whammy. So I would say the are just simply different beasts altogether, which is why I have both! When is more active, the other is more a stand-alone stomp box.

The Boss Pitchshifter is very cool, and I think is less precise than either a whammy or a POG, but it is somewhere in between the spectrum of the two as an active bender and harmonizer, and a box to create standalone pitch undertones. It's like the middle ground.

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Speaking of G.A.S., I'm also hankering for a phaser. From the videos I've listened to, I like the MXR Phase 90 the best, because it seems to be the most transparent, whereas the Modtone Atomic colors the sound a bit and sort of washes out the tone. The Small Stone isn't bad, but it sounds like it sweeps through the lower frequencies more, whereas the 90 sounds a bit broader.

However, I'm kind of wondering if I'll end up wanting more than one knob, to control the rate and depth independently, which is why I haven't completely ruled out the Modtone yet. Do you guys like having more control over the parameters, or does one knob do enough for all your phasing needs?
Good question! Yeah, the Phase 90 is great! But just recently I wanted to do something a bit different (a jet airplane phase) and it couldn't do it. It's REALLY good at doing what it does, but you can't really get anything different out of it.

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Those are just some of the pedals I'm constantly browsing online. I really need to stop. Maybe I should just block any gear site and focus on actually practicing my instrument for the next little while.
Ha! Very true... Remember that an effect is useless unless you 1) know how to use the effect and 2) have the musical know-how to back it up.

Last edited by soniclovenoize : 06-09-2015 at 11:12 AM.

 
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Old 06-09-2015, 09:08 PM   #160
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Ha! Very true... Remember that an effect is useless unless you 1) know how to use the effect and 2) have the musical know-how to back it up.
You left out creativity

 
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Old 06-10-2015, 10:44 AM   #161
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I suppose that was implied.

 
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Old 06-10-2015, 11:38 AM   #162
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You'd be surprised

 
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Old 06-12-2015, 02:12 PM   #163
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OK well first off, the "unnatural sound" of the Whammy is a part of it's charm...
Hmm. Well I suppose I might warm up to the other functions if I do get. I mean, there are recordings I enjoy that use it (like some of the ones you mentioned).

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In contrast the EHX MicroPog and the delux POG more dials in whatever weird pitch undertones you want and you let it fly (think of Johnny's main riff in "My Iron Lung", it soudns like either a POG or something similar). It's more versatile and WAY MORE ACCURATE but it doesn't have the footwsitch and bending capability as the Whammy. So I would say the are just simply different beasts altogether, which is why I have both! When is more active, the other is more a stand-alone stomp box.

The Boss Pitchshifter is very cool, and I think is less precise than either a whammy or a POG, but it is somewhere in between the spectrum of the two as an active bender and harmonizer, and a box to create standalone pitch undertones. It's like the middle ground.
I see. I guess for my purposes, it's between the Whammy and the Boss now, as the expression pedal is a must. Thanks for the info!

BTW, could using the octave-down effects on the lower strings damage a guitar amp the same way that plugging a bass into a guitar amp might?

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Good question! Yeah, the Phase 90 is great! But just recently I wanted to do something a bit different (a jet airplane phase) and it couldn't do it. It's REALLY good at doing what it does, but you can't really get anything different out of it.
I see.

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Ha! Very true... Remember that an effect is useless unless you 1) know how to use the effect and 2) have the musical know-how to back it up.
Definitely. I've been trying to stick to something like a practice schedule, as I feel like my playing has been stagnant for a while, but I never know the best way to go about learning stuff. I've been doing some speed drills, but I don't know if I should practice a single drill until I get up to a good speed before I move on to the next, or if focusing on only one for a week will only make me faster at that particular drill, and not faster in general. Also trying to learn the fretboard better so that I don't get stuck in boxes doing the same old licks when improvising.

It's been a while since I've actually played any songs. I've mostly been doing exercises. I think I'm at the point where playing other people's songs is a bit boring to me, but I don't have the skill to write a lot of my own that are satisfying to me.

Last edited by Disco King : 06-12-2015 at 02:28 PM.

 
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Old 06-29-2015, 03:39 PM   #164
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I just impulse-ordered a Boss Tera Echo. I keep on organizing my list of what my priority pedals, only to get something not even on it.

 
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Old 07-03-2015, 11:39 PM   #165
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I've lost interest in stomp boxes and effect pedals in recent years... but when I would (or do on occasion) use them, I liked my..

-big muff (I forget the version, but it came in the wooden box, made by Electro Harmonix, etc... just do not know if it was the japan, us, or what version)
-the 1st style of the jekyll & hyde OD/distortion pedals. by visual sound
holy grail reverb (i actually like this one a lot) by electro harmonix
ibanez ts-9 (the 99$ model..) which i like as well.

run through a fender hotrod deluxe. i have a bunch of gear but my pedals and amp have a lot of wear. My guitar(s) of choice are dc-3 danelectro and a 1995 les paul special (doublecut- good wood era still). i like both a ton- the dano being very light with more tone, the LP with a lot of crunch and different but still, a very very nice tone.

i have a few tascams for recording purposes and some decent microphones too.

 
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Old 07-10-2015, 08:37 PM   #166
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I got my Tera Echo a few days ago. I love the thing.

Also got my Noisemaker pedals last night. I love their tones, but they are noisy as fuck, and the volume increase makes it hard to play them in my apartment. They hiss a lot and pop when you engage them. I don't know if I just need a noise gate or if I will end up needing to mod them.

 
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Old 11-27-2015, 01:31 PM   #167
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Anybody try the Nano Big Muff? Is it exactly the same as the regular Big Muff Pi?

It says it has the same circuits, but some reviews I see say that it sounds a bit smaller, whereas others say it's the exact same thing in a different box.

If it's exactly the same, I'd definitely go for it to save space.

 
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Old 11-27-2015, 07:27 PM   #168
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That probably goes for all modern Muffs, right? Or is it the Nano specifically?

Yeah, I hear that they don't cut through the mix well. I don't have a band, so I suppose that isn't a huge problem for me. Maybe it'd be just as bad for recording, though, I dunno. I also hear some people deal with that by driving it with an overdrive in the right way.

 
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Old 12-01-2015, 01:51 PM   #169
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Anybody try the Nano Big Muff? Is it exactly the same as the regular Big Muff Pi?

It says it has the same circuits, but some reviews I see say that it sounds a bit smaller, whereas others say it's the exact same thing in a different box.

If it's exactly the same, I'd definitely go for it to save space.
Avoid ALL EHX Nanos. Their voltage is wacky and inconvenient and you are simply better off shelling out an extra $50 for the "full" or standard models. If space is an issue, then replace it with a pedal you don't use live and/or build a bigger board. Nanos are shit.

As for your other question, I can't speak for Nanos specifically, but in general there is a wide variance in sound between all Big Muffs. I remember back 15 years ago three of us all had different model Big muffs--the silver NYC, the black Russian and the green Slovitek--and we AB'd them all and they were all different! This is not uncommon, as for some reason (I bet someone else more knowledgeable can elaborate the reason, like spguitar) the same circuitry would still not yield the same sound and every Big Muff was slightly different sounding.

Matter of fact, just last week I went in and ABd my 9-year-old Lil Big Muff with a few other ones and lo and behold they were different, even to this day with newer models!

This is a good guide:
http://www.kitrae.net/music/music_big_muff.html

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That probably goes for all modern Muffs, right? Or is it the Nano specifically?

Yeah, I hear that they don't cut through the mix well. I don't have a band, so I suppose that isn't a huge problem for me. Maybe it'd be just as bad for recording, though, I dunno. I also hear some people deal with that by driving it with an overdrive in the right way.
imo They cut through the mix fine. I guess it depends on what your mix is

 
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Old 01-01-2016, 10:32 PM   #170
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Thanks for the responses, fellas

I have some time off, so I'll probably try to get back into the habit of actually practicing. When I do pick up my guitar, I mostly engage in aimless noodling and running through sections of songs I already know.

It's kind of daunting trying to figure out what to start practicing when I pick up my guitar. Do you guys have a practice schedule?

I've tried making one in the past, but I think I put too much shit on it, so it became too long and unrealistic. I can't practice every single area of guitar playing all the time, but at the same time, I can't myopically focus on one until I am satisfied with my skill level, and then move on to another, because you have to keep at everything indefinitely. You don't, like, "graduate" from scales and then move on to chords or something.

There are a lot of goals I have, but breaking them down is kind of hard. Like, I want to just have a better musical vocabulary in general so that I have more to draw on when writing songs, instead of just defaulting to the same power/cowboy chords and pentatonic scales I'm comfortable with (I noodle so much in the minor pentatonic that I hate the sound of it now). I'm trying to drill into my head extended chords, major modes, and exotic scales, but they aren't sticking well. I also want to hone my chops so that I can play faster (maybe even shred), do that fingerpicky sorta thing (not sure what you call it... you know, songs like "Rotten Apples," that are very arpegiatted and I suck at), be able to incorporate artificial harmonics fluidly into playing, etc. Also, transcribing songs by ear (I rely on internet tabs way too much to take myself seriously as a guitar player).

Thinking about all this stuff intimidates me so much that I end up just doing my aimless noodle shit and never improving.

 
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Old 01-02-2016, 12:15 AM   #171
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you have to have a clear direction of where you want to go.
i find that the most important thing is to develope your musical 'brain', not your fingers.

i've been playing for around 14 years (man i feel old as shit typing this) and now i'm at a place that i can honestly say i don't get intimidated by amazingly technical guitar players anymore. i mean of course i get jealous when i see somebody playing something very technical that happens to be really cool or musical, but these two ends don't often meet.

the reason i'm saying this is, do you want to be a better guitarist to be able to impress people at guitar stores, or do you want to develop your playing to become a better musician?
even though you'd probably pick the latter, learning exotic scales, being obsessed with technique, and wanting to play faster - are pretty much the former.

just to be clear, this is not to shit on technical and theoretical proficiency. it's just that, imo, the real question is, do you want to be a great guitar player, or do you want to develop your skills as a tool for songwriting and musicianship.

a musician i greatly admire always says that 'you should only strive to be as technically good as you need to be to facilitate the ideas in your head'. now that doesn't mean you should slack on your playing and not give a shit about how good you are - but rather, that you need to focus on the right things.

my tips would be:
1. play a lot, until you're able to anticipate what the phrase you're GOING to play is going to sound like. shorten the distance between what you want to hear, and playing it. improvise over songs. play along to songs.

2. always be in tune, and work hard on being precise with your timing. these two things alone will make your playing sound a thousand times better, and are absurdly underrated. play along to a metronome. learn to identify when you're behind or after the beat.

3. determine what skills you lack in, and find songs that address those problems. work on them until you get them right.

4. write songs.

 
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Old 01-04-2016, 01:50 PM   #172
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you have to have a clear direction of where you want to go.
i find that the most important thing is to develope your musical 'brain', not your fingers.

i've been playing for around 14 years (man i feel old as shit typing this) and now i'm at a place that i can honestly say i don't get intimidated by amazingly technical guitar players anymore. i mean of course i get jealous when i see somebody playing something very technical that happens to be really cool or musical, but these two ends don't often meet.

the reason i'm saying this is, do you want to be a better guitarist to be able to impress people at guitar stores, or do you want to develop your playing to become a better musician?
even though you'd probably pick the latter, learning exotic scales, being obsessed with technique, and wanting to play faster - are pretty much the former.

just to be clear, this is not to shit on technical and theoretical proficiency. it's just that, imo, the real question is, do you want to be a great guitar player, or do you want to develop your skills as a tool for songwriting and musicianship.

a musician i greatly admire always says that 'you should only strive to be as technically good as you need to be to facilitate the ideas in your head'. now that doesn't mean you should slack on your playing and not give a shit about how good you are - but rather, that you need to focus on the right things.

my tips would be:
1. play a lot, until you're able to anticipate what the phrase you're GOING to play is going to sound like. shorten the distance between what you want to hear, and playing it. improvise over songs. play along to songs.

2. always be in tune, and work hard on being precise with your timing. these two things alone will make your playing sound a thousand times better, and are absurdly underrated. play along to a metronome. learn to identify when you're behind or after the beat.

3. determine what skills you lack in, and find songs that address those problems. work on them until you get them right.

4. write songs.
Holy shit THIS

One thing I would add is pick an album you really like that's just a bit beyond what you think your current skill level will allow you to play, and then learn the whole thing. Everything I've learned on guitar came directly from learning songs via careful listening, tabs, and watching videos of the artist. I have never once sat and memorized a scale just for the hell of it; that's way too boring for me. I need context to get excited, and it sounds like you might also.

 
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Old 01-04-2016, 10:58 PM   #173
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teh b0lly!!1 View Post
you have to have a clear direction of where you want to go.
i find that the most important thing is to develope your musical 'brain', not your fingers.

i've been playing for around 14 years (man i feel old as shit typing this) and now i'm at a place that i can honestly say i don't get intimidated by amazingly technical guitar players anymore. i mean of course i get jealous when i see somebody playing something very technical that happens to be really cool or musical, but these two ends don't often meet.

the reason i'm saying this is, do you want to be a better guitarist to be able to impress people at guitar stores, or do you want to develop your playing to become a better musician?
even though you'd probably pick the latter, learning exotic scales, being obsessed with technique, and wanting to play faster - are pretty much the former.
Yeah, I'm also typically not interested in technical skill for the sake of it. Like, Yngwie Malmsteem and Steve Vai and all those guys, they may be good, but I find them boring as hell.

So, I'm not aiming that high in terms of technical skill, but I still wanna have some chops in order to broaden the range of things I'm able to play and create. Like, I find shredded solos in death or thrash metal kind of boring, but I'd love to be able to use shredding to link more melodic solo phrases in order to spice up solos. And I wanna learn interesting scales to create solos that sound different from the typical minor pentatonic stuff that's in a lot of rock music.

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just to be clear, this is not to shit on technical and theoretical proficiency. it's just that, imo, the real question is, do you want to be a great guitar player, or do you want to develop your skills as a tool for songwriting and musicianship.
I want to increase my skill level increase my songwriting ability, I guess. I feel like everything I write sounds kinda old hat. Like, generic chord progressions mostly using open chords or power chords, minor pentatonic leads, etc. I feel like I have no idea how to go about melody, and I usually write progressions without knowing how to go about writing the leads or the vocal line.

At the same time, I feel like part of the reason I want to use some less common scales and extended chords is because I'm not a good enough songwriter to make something unique out of the standard stuff, so I wanna write a song using a Byzantine scale or something because that's an instant ticket to making something sound different. Sometimes I think about how the vast majority of music I like uses the same major scale and triads and pentatonic scale, and how rock music doesn't tend to stray very far from the rudiments of classical theory and blues, and yet the music still sounds unique and interesting to me. If I were a better songwriter, I could probably also do something unique and interesting with the standard toolkit, but I am usually so bored with anything I come up with that I can't even bring myself to finish writing any songs.

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a musician i greatly admire always says that 'you should only strive to be as technically good as you need to be to facilitate the ideas in your head'. now that doesn't mean you should slack on your playing and not give a shit about how good you are - but rather, that you need to focus on the right things.
Even though I only have to be as good as necessary to express my ideas, I will never know exactly what skills I'll need to play whatever I will want to play, so I feel like just being a well-rounded player in general is a good idea. Plus, I might even get ideas from the things I learn.

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my tips would be:
1. play a lot, until you're able to anticipate what the phrase you're GOING to play is going to sound like. shorten the distance between what you want to hear, and playing it. improvise over songs. play along to songs.
Yeah, this is something I really want to do. I just kinda noodle around, and what comes out comes out. I can't hold an idea in my head and just crank it out, or do anything intentional and purposeful. It's more like, "hey, the song is in this key, so I'll just wank around in that key by playing random phrases using notes from the scale." Because I tend to get stuck in box positions because I have trouble linking them so that I can utilize the entire fretboard, it's always the same tired bluesy licks that sound like I'm doing some variations on going up and down a scale.

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4. write songs.
I should probably do more of this. I haven't written much for the past few years, because I feel like I'm not good enough to bother writing, and that I should increase my musical knowledge first so that I write better songs. But writing songs is probably the best practice for writing songs. I just have a hard time doing things I know are shit because it's demotivating and frustrating.

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Holy shit THIS

One thing I would add is pick an album you really like that's just a bit beyond what you think your current skill level will allow you to play, and then learn the whole thing. Everything I've learned on guitar came directly from learning songs via careful listening, tabs, and watching videos of the artist. I have never once sat and memorized a scale just for the hell of it; that's way too boring for me. I need context to get excited, and it sounds like you might also.
Yeah, I think I need to learn the discipline to learn songs all the way through. I'll pick a song I like and want to learn, will learn bits and pieces of them, and will get bored from working on the same song, and then will file it away with the intention of coming back to it later, but will never just finish the job. There are very few songs I have in my "repertoire," so if I were sitting around a campfire holding a guitar, I would probably have nothing to play.

I recently told myself I'd suck it up and learn just one easy song. Started learning "Into the Void," and I have everything memorized but the solo. And I keep telling myself I'll finish that part, too, but I'm so bored by the song that I just can't get myself to do it.

 
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Old 01-04-2016, 11:38 PM   #174
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At the same time, I feel like part of the reason I want to use some less common scales and extended chords is because I'm not a good enough songwriter to make something unique out of the standard stuff, so I wanna write a song using a Byzantine scale or something because that's an instant ticket to making something sound different. Sometimes I think about how the vast majority of music I like uses the same major scale and triads and pentatonic scale, and how rock music doesn't tend to stray very far from the rudiments of classical theory and blues, and yet the music still sounds unique and interesting to me. If I were a better songwriter, I could probably also do something unique and interesting with the standard toolkit, but I am usually so bored with anything I come up with that I can't even bring myself to finish writing any songs.

Yeah, I think I need to learn the discipline to learn songs all the way through. I'll pick a song I like and want to learn, will learn bits and pieces of them, and will get bored from working on the same song, and then will file it away with the intention of coming back to it later, but will never just finish the job. There are very few songs I have in my "repertoire," so if I were sitting around a campfire holding a guitar, I would probably have nothing to play.
I have hit a total block when it comes to songwriting. I have between 50-100 "ideas" that I have recorded, like little parts of songs, chord progressions. I struggle with the same thing you are describing; my tastes are mostly fairly simple rock and folk music, and when I listen to music that is good to me, I never sit there and think damn this is the same four chords as a thousand other songs and it's a typical pop melody and it's in 4/4 time, how boring." But when I write, these things hound me. It all feels very stale to me. Sometimes I hit something in particular and I "know" it is good, but it rarely happens with whole songs, usually just little pieces. Even when I do manage to do something I believe is compelling on guitar, it's even harder for me to match it with a good vocal melody, which is weird because I'm a better singer... but my melodies sound very very unoriginal and generic.

Do you sing? I would never be able to learn songs through and not get amazingly bored if I couldn't sing to them. That's like the part that connects me to the guitar I feel like. Also, in a campfire type setting or whenever you play for others, I have found that people will react more positively to you if you sing even if you are bad. It feels nice getting praised for doing something as simple as singing and playing a song, and this has always been a big motivator for me.

 
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Old 01-05-2016, 12:21 AM   #175
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discoking, i think you kinda missed my point man.

you sound very uninspired (not saying that as an insult), so you just figure you "might as well become a more well rounded player" by being able to pull off exotic stuff.
i mean, if you are not inspired and don't have a clear direction of where you want your playing to take you, it won't matter even if you'll have the biggest skill set in the world. your imagination and creativity need to drive everything else, and not the other way around. that's exactly what makes all those youtube player wankers. it's like trying to paint without knowing what it is you're trying to convey, but you figure you better work hard on your photorealistic painting skills.

what matters is telling a story, expressing yourself, being your own man through music.
it may seem easier to just buff up on scales and technique, but it's a dead end. focus on becoming excited about what you do, no matter how. the rest will fall into place.

#my2cents #justsomethingtothinkabout

 
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Old 01-05-2016, 12:29 AM   #176
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redbreegull, i totally get what you're saying, and i try not to let my own overanalyzing to get the best of me as well.

i've got two things to say to you though:
1. i find that if you'll play straight through a song you are writing, from beginning to end, and just be free with it in real time, you'll have a much easier time understanding how to construct it without becoming too self aware. if you like your own voice that's a big advantage for you.

2. don't come up with ideas and just toss them in the bottomless drawer. when you come up with something, do your absolute best to make it into something, then and there. i've been guilty of doing this myself too, and at least for me, i know that if i have a great idea and i just record it and let it sit there until it gets cold - that's the way it's going to stay, because nothing you try to add later will ever feel right, or be 'good enough'.

 
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Old 01-05-2016, 03:07 PM   #177
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I have hit a total block when it comes to songwriting. I have between 50-100 "ideas" that I have recorded, like little parts of songs, chord progressions. I struggle with the same thing you are describing; my tastes are mostly fairly simple rock and folk music, and when I listen to music that is good to me, I never sit there and think damn this is the same four chords as a thousand other songs and it's a typical pop melody and it's in 4/4 time, how boring." But when I write, these things hound me. It all feels very stale to me. Sometimes I hit something in particular and I "know" it is good, but it rarely happens with whole songs, usually just little pieces. Even when I do manage to do something I believe is compelling on guitar, it's even harder for me to match it with a good vocal melody, which is weird because I'm a better singer... but my melodies sound very very unoriginal and generic.
I'm in a similar boat. I have a bunch of unfinished ideas, and even when I come up with an idea I do like, it's hard for me to add anything to it. Like, I'll come up with a good riff as a verse or something, and then will try to create a chorus by trying random ideas in the same key, but being in the same key doesn't guarantee that it'll "fit" the song, and I don't feel like the song is going where it should be going. The extra section I add feels like it may as well be any other song but the one I'm writing. I don't know how to let the song go where it needs to.

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Do you sing? I would never be able to learn songs through and not get amazingly bored if I couldn't sing to them. That's like the part that connects me to the guitar I feel like. Also, in a campfire type setting or whenever you play for others, I have found that people will react more positively to you if you sing even if you are bad. It feels nice getting praised for doing something as simple as singing and playing a song, and this has always been a big motivator for me.
I don't sing very well at all. I only sing while playing if nobody is home to hear me, because I'm pretty embarrassed by it. It's something I also want to practice, but I suck at guitar, so all of my practice time goes to that.

Plus, learning how to sing seems really daunting. The guitar is a human-made instrument, so learning what you are "supposed" to do is a bit simpler. But with the voice, it seems to be trickier.

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discoking, i think you kinda missed my point man.

you sound very uninspired (not saying that as an insult), so you just figure you "might as well become a more well rounded player" by being able to pull off exotic stuff.
i mean, if you are not inspired and don't have a clear direction of where you want your playing to take you, it won't matter even if you'll have the biggest skill set in the world. your imagination and creativity need to drive everything else, and not the other way around. that's exactly what makes all those youtube player wankers. it's like trying to paint without knowing what it is you're trying to convey, but you figure you better work hard on your photorealistic painting skills.

what matters is telling a story, expressing yourself, being your own man through music.
it may seem easier to just buff up on scales and technique, but it's a dead end. focus on becoming excited about what you do, no matter how. the rest will fall into place.

#my2cents #justsomethingtothinkabout
I dunno, it all sounds kinda abstract. Like, I have ideas about the sorts of music I want to do and stuff, is that equivalent to "expressing yourself" and "being your own man through music"? It's not like I don't know what my musical tastes are at all. I do have ideas about how the skills I want to learn would factor into what I want to do. Like, exotic scales would be cool for sort of psychedelic-stoner-doom music I'm kind of interested in making. I think it would be cool to do music with a slight jazz tilt, so learning about jazz theory seems like it'd be cool (but I haven't even approached that yet because I wouldn't know where to start and I feel like I need to get down some basics in regular classical theory first). And I'm sort of sick of typical major or minor triads (majors sound too happy a lot of the time for me, and minors sound sad in a sort of cartoony "funeral march" sort of way, and I'm kind of seeking that more bittersweet tense sound that I think some extended chords could offer me), so that's part of why I want to learn new chords. Learning my scales in depth, I think, would also help me be able to do the thing you were talking about with "anticipating" what I want to play and playing from my imagination rather than just hitting random frets that are in key. And learning to play faster would help me play the sort of solos I want to play.

I do agree about the thing about me probably being "uninspired," though. I don't feel like I have clear aspirations or anything that I'm engaged in that I feel proud of. Not just in guitar playing, but in general. I dunno, it seems to me that I'm at the age where my peers have their domains in life and some are doing pretty interesting things, whether it be in music (people I know in bands and shit) or just in general (people who are artists of other sorts, are politically active, I have one friend who's doing research in Germany with underwater lasers or some shit), and I'm just kind of aimlessly wandering around not really doing anything or working toward anything, and feeling to drained to really pursue any of those things I have an interest in. I can't really remember the last time I was just immersed in something that I really wanted to do. It's just shit I feel like I have to do interspersed with doing pointless shit like shuffling between a few websites I browse because I lack the energy to do anything actually fulfilling.

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Old 01-05-2016, 06:48 PM   #178
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When I came back from my terrible relationship/kidnapping thing, I got really inspired right away. I had also not been allowed to play guitar for like, 4 years. I found some freedom in it, expressing myself, and I would call it "being my own [person]" - so I do know what teh bolly means. It was all very inspired and whenever someone I know hears it because it comes up or something, they are generally impressed.

But that was after 4+ years of trauma and being unable to express myself at all. It was all the pain but all the wonder at being a free person again. It was finding normalcy, not having to be worried about being assaulted sexually or otherwise. It was finding drugs for the first time, doing stupid young adult things, having a job that paid shit but I liked a lot that I wouldn't be forced to quit arbitrarily just as I was getting comfortable. I think that kind of feeling of freedom and transcendence is really hard to pull off without such an extreme and extended event happening right before it. For example, I had strategies as to how I slept - position of body, of blanket - in an attempt to not draw my bf's attention so he wouldn't come rape me basically. Just being able to lay however I wanted was so amazing! Taking LSD was amazing - being able to have that kind of "control" over my environment, patterns and shit, and really being able to feel it without worrying what would happen in 5 hours or 5 minutes because no one was going to hurt me.

And even though it was so abnormal, I still had just ended a 4+ year relationship which does inspire extreme feelings by itself.

I've never been able to replicate it but I do have those songs to revisit sometimes.

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Old 01-06-2016, 05:05 AM   #179
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I dunno, it all sounds kinda abstract. Like, I have ideas about the sorts of music I want to do and stuff, is that equivalent to "expressing yourself" and "being your own man through music"? It's not like I don't know what my musical tastes are at all. I do have ideas about how the skills I want to learn would factor into what I want to do. Like, exotic scales would be cool for sort of psychedelic-stoner-doom music I'm kind of interested in making. I think it would be cool to do music with a slight jazz tilt, so learning about jazz theory seems like it'd be cool (but I haven't even approached that yet because I wouldn't know where to start and I feel like I need to get down some basics in regular classical theory first). And I'm sort of sick of typical major or minor triads (majors sound too happy a lot of the time for me, and minors sound sad in a sort of cartoony "funeral march" sort of way, and I'm kind of seeking that more bittersweet tense sound that I think some extended chords could offer me), so that's part of why I want to learn new chords. Learning my scales in depth, I think, would also help me be able to do the thing you were talking about with "anticipating" what I want to play and playing from my imagination rather than just hitting random frets that are in key. And learning to play faster would help me play the sort of solos I want to play.

I do agree about the thing about me probably being "uninspired," though. I don't feel like I have clear aspirations or anything that I'm engaged in that I feel proud of. Not just in guitar playing, but in general. I dunno, it seems to me that I'm at the age where my peers have their domains in life and some are doing pretty interesting things, whether it be in music (people I know in bands and shit) or just in general (people who are artists of other sorts, are politically active, I have one friend who's doing research in Germany with underwater lasers or some shit), and I'm just kind of aimlessly wandering around not really doing anything or working toward anything, and feeling to drained to really pursue any of those things I have an interest in. I can't really remember the last time I was just immersed in something that I really wanted to do. It's just shit I feel like I have to do interspersed with doing pointless shit like shuffling between a few websites I browse because I lack the energy to do anything actually fulfilling.
you're right, it is pretty abstract stuff, and i'm probably doing a poor job conveying my own realizations that have come after long years of search. i don't mean to make myself out to be a master guru of songwriting and guitarplaying, i have just worked at it very long and only recently really started to feel like i'm finding my own voice.

what i mean by the "being your own man" part, is that if you try and write a song, and continuously doubt and second guess yourself, you're destroying your own inspiration. if you take a song and write it and rewrite it dozens of times and still hate it (god knows i've been guilty of this for a loooong time), you are ultimately just obscuring who you really are, by trying to be like music you like from other artists.

the idea is to teach yourself to accept what comes out of you and try to go with it, rather than force it into being everything you ever liked about music. no one song can encapsulate everything about you. just let it be what it is - a picture of you in time. just say what you want to say. hum a melody that comes to mind. fuck around with it. see how it evolves.

when you revisit it much later, i think you'll find many times, that it wasn't nearly as bad as you thought. i'm probably still not very clear but anyway.

and also, just to clarify - i absolutely don't think knowing your shit or being a great guitar player is for wankers. so if that's where your heart's at, go for it.
but keep in mind that so much of what you like about music, is probably mostly very simple chords and songwriting. soma is based on around 5-6 chords.
there's an infinite amount of songs with 3-4 chords in them that come to life and become "three dimensional", because what's around it is beautiful. that's what counts. and that's what i mean when i say you need to find your inspiration. you can write amazing songs with the simplest chords and zero guitar histrionics. ok i'll stop.

 
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Old 01-06-2016, 02:52 PM   #180
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When I came back from my terrible relationship/kidnapping thing, I got really inspired right away. I had also not been allowed to play guitar for like, 4 years. I found some freedom in it, expressing myself, and I would call it "being my own [person]" - so I do know what teh bolly means. It was all very inspired and whenever someone I know hears it because it comes up or something, they are generally impressed.

But that was after 4+ years of trauma and being unable to express myself at all. It was all the pain but all the wonder at being a free person again. It was finding normalcy, not having to be worried about being assaulted sexually or otherwise. It was finding drugs for the first time, doing stupid young adult things, having a job that paid shit but I liked a lot that I wouldn't be forced to quit arbitrarily just as I was getting comfortable. I think that kind of feeling of freedom and transcendence is really hard to pull off without such an extreme and extended event happening right before it. For example, I had strategies as to how I slept - position of body, of blanket - in an attempt to not draw my bf's attention so he wouldn't come rape me basically. Just being able to lay however I wanted was so amazing! Taking LSD was amazing - being able to have that kind of "control" over my environment, patterns and shit, and really being able to feel it without worrying what would happen in 5 hours or 5 minutes because no one was going to hurt me.

And even though it was so abnormal, I still had just ended a 4+ year relationship which does inspire extreme feelings by itself.

I've never been able to replicate it but I do have those songs to revisit sometimes.
That makes sense. A lot of artists seem to be able to express their personal experiences, especially harrowing ones, through their music in a way that really connects to other people. The things you went through sound awful, and it's really amazing that you could be doing what you're doing now despite it, when many other people in similar situations probably aren't fortunate enough to recover to that extent. Kinda reminds me of how Corgan said "Tonight, Tonight" was sort of a message to himself to believe in himself because of how he persevered despite his abusive childhood.

I've tried in the past to write songs about my personal hangups, but each time, it'd just come off as so trite and cringeworthy, like high school poetry (well, I guess a lot of it literally was high school poetry...), so I'd always scrap it. I guess that has more to do with lyrics than guitar, but I also have a hard time creating lyrics and music that symbiotically work with each other and say the same thing and reinforce each other's meanings, rather than just being arbitrarily paired. If I start with lyrics, it just ends up being bad poetry. If I start with music, I just end up filling it in with nonsense words that rhyme and fit in the bars.

I think that I always just end up feeling that my personal woes or whatever just aren't profound enough to not be cringeworthy to write about, and I just feel like I'm being melodramatic and whining when I try to use that stuff in music. I mean, when I hear about the things you went through, I'm like "I had it pretty easy. How can I whine about my life after that?" One of the most trying experiences I've recently had didn't really inspire me to create art from it. It just drained me to the point that I didn't even pick up my guitar for a long time. Even reflecting on it now doesn't give me any retrospective thoughts on it that I could do something with. I just go "ugh that was so shitty."

I think for a while, I tried giving up the angst thing and trying to write sort of heady psychedelic lyrics. But that's not me, either. I'm not some cool far-out space shaman guy. I'm a textbook square. I mean, I barely even go to parties or drink or anything, most of my time is spent going to school and playing Lego Marvel Super Heroes these days.

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you're right, it is pretty abstract stuff, and i'm probably doing a poor job conveying my own realizations that have come after long years of search. i don't mean to make myself out to be a master guru of songwriting and guitarplaying, i have just worked at it very long and only recently really started to feel like i'm finding my own voice.
I don't think you're conveying yourself badly. I just tend to need more clarification when it comes to things that are more intuitive than operational. I've totally dug your posts so far, though.

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what i mean by the "being your own man" part, is that if you try and write a song, and continuously doubt and second guess yourself, you're destroying your own inspiration. if you take a song and write it and rewrite it dozens of times and still hate it (god knows i've been guilty of this for a loooong time), you are ultimately just obscuring who you really are, by trying to be like music you like from other artists.
I kind of agree and disagree. On the one hand, I think a good part of what somebody's identity is is their tastes and what they like and dislike. So, if you dislike something you've written, that in itself says something about who you are and how much the thing represents you. It may be that you feel you aren't really expressing yourself.

But I do agree about me probably just trying to ape music from other artists. I don't feel I've found my "voice" yet. It's more like, "hey, I like The Cure, I'm gonna write a song that sounds like The Cure. I also like Slowdive, so I'm gonna write a song that sounds like Slowdive." I haven't gotten to the point where I can just write something that sounds like me. At the same time, though, I wonder if that just comes with the territory of being a beginner. Like, if you listen to the early music of various artists, it seems to be more derivative than their later stuff, when they would grow into their own sounds. Corgan in The Marked sounds like he's trying to do the new wave/gothy/post-punk thing. He even dressed goth in those days. Maybe I just have to write some derivative shit before I write some unique shit.

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the idea is to teach yourself to accept what comes out of you and try to go with it, rather than force it into being everything you ever liked about music. no one song can encapsulate everything about you. just let it be what it is - a picture of you in time. just say what you want to say. hum a melody that comes to mind. fuck around with it. see how it evolves.

when you revisit it much later, i think you'll find many times, that it wasn't nearly as bad as you thought. i'm probably still not very clear but anyway.
Yeah, I think one hurdle I need to get over is that I just need to let myself write for the sake of writing, and let myself write things that I'm not in love with so that I can get the practice. I feel like I'm crippled by not wanting to create shit, as if I'm supposed to come out with music on par with the music I admire straight out of the gate, when the music I admire weren't the first-ever songs by their respective artists. I'm pretty much immobilized, which means I can never improve and progress.

Much easier said than done, though. Trying to just power through something I don't have my heart in is like trying to push my head through a lightyear of saltwater taffy.

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and also, just to clarify - i absolutely don't think knowing your shit or being a great guitar player is for wankers. so if that's where your heart's at, go for it.
but keep in mind that so much of what you like about music, is probably mostly very simple chords and songwriting. soma is based on around 5-6 chords.
there's an infinite amount of songs with 3-4 chords in them that come to life and become "three dimensional", because what's around it is beautiful. that's what counts. and that's what i mean when i say you need to find your inspiration. you can write amazing songs with the simplest chords and zero guitar histrionics. ok i'll stop.
Yeah, I think I need to find balance. I don't have scales other than the minor pentatonic completely ingrained in muscle memory yet (I have to think about them if I want to play them), so I default to mindless bluesy noodling, and in a lot of cases, it just doesn't express me or the kinds of things I have in my head. So, that seems to be a case where increasing my technical knowledge of scales would increase my ability to express myself.

But in other cases, I could probably create something good out of basic cowboy chords, and I just need to learn to be a better songwriter to make something of it.

 
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