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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Do you tend to play over / under your capacity ?

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by johnny k, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. johnny k

    johnny k Friend of Leo's

    Jan 15, 2011

    this is exactly how i play.... minus the talent.... i ll just fill in every bit that is not sung.
    danlad likes this.

  2. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 2, 2010
    By the responses it seems the question is pretty clear, but I'm actually not sure I really understand it even having answered.

    I can't say I've ever played stuff I wasn't able to play in a performance, though I play stuff that's a slightly different combination of stuff I already know how to do.
    Even total improvisation employs hundreds of well practiced moves, and never really adds totally new techniques or musical concepts.
    I do try real hard to break free, but there really is no freedom, within structure.

    So if I never play stuff I don't know how to play, then playing above my capacity would be more about playing it better in a performance.

    I'd say there is stuff I really can't play at my full capacity without a performance that includes an audience, because the emotional content and intended impact is kind of connected to the others involved, and not simply a mechanical skill based operation.

    The players, the listeners, the mood of the room, my mood, the sound I'm getting, the week I'm having, all inform the next sound I make.

    Maybe the only way to know I'm playing at or above my capacity is feeling a sense of satisfaction with what I played (without any satisfaction enhancing drugs).
    That satisfaction is pretty rare, but it can be enhanced by the audience, even if I felt I was not playing all that well.

    I may not agree with others who may think I played well, but I also need to accept that my own inability to be completely happy with my playing, may be a part of what the listener enjoys about it.

    And by that standard, I may not be qualified to judge my own capacity.

  3. johnny k

    johnny k Friend of Leo's

    Jan 15, 2011
    to me playing above my capacity is just doing the righr solo or fill in at the right time. Nobody cares until you end the solo right and start playing the rythm again. And sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn t .

  4. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

    Jun 22, 2010
    Osaka, Japan
    I'm white knuckling it almost every time. I don't gig a lot, and yet it's what drives my playing forward, and almost every time I'm up there I've added something that I couldn't do last time. I try to stay right on the razor's edge of what I can play without botching it. Sometimes I overreach...
    Milspec likes this.

  5. Le Jab

    Le Jab Tele-Meister

    Nov 28, 2003
    London England
    I play whats required. Sometimes its a little fancy, most often its not

  6. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Friend of Leo's

    Nov 15, 2010
    It truly depends on who I'm playing with. If I'm playing with people who aren't as good as me, I'll "dumb it down" to help them...if I'm playing with people who are better than me, I'll play above my normal level.

  7. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

    Milspec, it’s really good to learn how to stay on the beat and playing soulful music even if you botch a note or two. I’ve seen top classical players fluff a note here and there but they never miss a beat. Ditto for pop, rock, or any genre. I remember sight reading pieces where I’m missing whole bars here and there, but never losing my spot and staying with the ensemble. Playing with musical feeling and staying on the 1 are key skills. Even if you only learn a small handful of intermediate classical pieces, if you learn them well the technique it gives you can raise your game considerably. For example if nothing else you’ll be able to read classical notation which is fairly rare...

  8. P Thought

    P Thought Poster Extraordinaire

    This is an interesting thread to me.

    I'm in my last semester before retirement now. One of the several things I plan to do when I'm retired is find places to play and sing, and people to play and sing with.

    Thanks in large part to people and threads here, I've gained greatly both in my musical knowledge and playing ability. I'll never be a pro--started too late, studied and played too little--but I think I can carry myself if I pick the right songs, and stay inside my abilities.

    There's a thing I remember from my flying days that might make a good analogy. They call it cruising "on the step" for maximum cruise speed and fuel efficiency. It's achieved by climbing slightly above your cruise altitude, then very gently descending (diving, technically) to altitude, trimming the tabs as you come to it.

    I picture playing in front of an audience as something similar: push the heights in practice, drop to the closest comfort level in performance.

  9. NJ Deadhead

    NJ Deadhead Tele-Meister

    Jan 25, 2017
    Greenville, SC
    I always play at my ability level - on that given day, at that given time. Sometimes I feel great, totally in the zone, every note comes to me without even having to the guitar is doing all of the work and I'm just along for the ride. Other days, I struggle to get through the set and I'm stuck inside my own head worrying about wrong notes, missing changes, etc.

  10. supersoldier71

    supersoldier71 Tele-Holic

    Nov 22, 2009
    Fayetteville, NC
    The setting matters. We are blessed to have some professional musicians among us here, and assuming a paradigm similar to other professions, most employers don't like to pay for your mistakes, so playing within one's limitations, while working on one's own time to increase those limits, seems like the way to go.

    However, improvisational music exists. I have a friend who played in the Army Jazz band, which I regard as having been a professional musician, and it was through playing with him and other jazz musicians that I learned to step out a little bit and try new stuff live and in real time. It's terrifying on one level, but man, pull it off and you feel mighty indeed.

  11. johnny k

    johnny k Friend of Leo's

    Jan 15, 2011
    Makes me wonder how many of you play because they re hired, and how many of you play their own songs. If I got money to play guitar, i d play the part. I d even dress up if there was a dress code.

    But i play my songs, which gives me every right to over play. I mean, who s going to play them right if i don t ? That s how i want them to be.
    cloink50 and Mike SS like this.

  12. Special Tom

    Special Tom Tele-Meister

    Nov 5, 2013
    Mobile, AL

  13. Area51

    Area51 Tele-Meister

    Nov 4, 2016
    New Mexico
    This is essentially leads to an idea I had to start a thread but didn't know how to articulate it:

    How do you play?

    To this thread, when I sit down to learn a song or riff I usually try and learn it note for note. However, that doesn't mean I'll ever play it again that way. If there's a part that doesn't suit me, for whatever reason, I'll figure out a way to play through it while keeping it musical and having the same feel. Often it'll take a good ear to figure out I'm playing it different.

    Then to: how do you play? I tend to free lib solos a bit, rarely playing them exactly the same way every time. Then, once I'm warmed up and in the zone, I'll often be playing something then realize that I'm playing it on a different part of the neck or moving it differently up and down the neck, but playing the same notes. I often dislike when I notice because it drops me out of the zone.

    What's strange is I'm always floored by the people who can play something exactly the same every time and nail it! Watching a guy like Govan playing over one of his songs and hitting every note and micro bend perfect is mind boggling to me. The harder I try to do that the more I mess it up!

  14. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 28, 2006
    NELA, Ca
    That's related to this thread but it is also a whole nother thing.
    I call it "doing the gig" and it really has very little to do with one's actual ability (assuming of course you can play the material).

  15. nosuch

    nosuch Friend of Leo's

    Apr 4, 2008
    As a guitar player: under
    As a singer: over
    As a singing guitar player: way over

    I used to sing in top 40 bands (JOB) in the 90s – the leader (BOSS) just pushed me in front of the microphone. Did only background vocals in any of my "musical" bands until a couple of years ago. Now that I am doing lead vocals I have to work on it (slowly improving). And i still want to keep the rhythm guitar interesting – so this is really hard work.
    Chicago Matt likes this.

  16. tfarny

    tfarny Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 4, 2008
    Hudson Valley, NY
    I've been a teacher all my adult life, and I can tell you this teacher is doing you a disservice. He might be right about his point, but good teaching means you only criticize what you're going to correct. "You're still not getting the theory behind the piece, and I've noticed that, so I prepared this lesson to help you, here look at this" is good teaching. If a teacher stops at the criticism without giving you the tools to overcome the problem, they are not doing their job. It is very, very hard to find a good music teacher in my experience though. I have found one, but he only teaches drums and bass...

  17. tfarny

    tfarny Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 4, 2008
    Hudson Valley, NY
    Another way of saying this is that if the teacher doesn't have an actual plan and lessons to help you become "more musical" then he / she should shut their yap about it.

  18. Mike SS

    Mike SS Poster Extraordinaire

    Aug 9, 2012
    If performing, don't pick something you know you can not do well. You end up being that guy who "blew that out his a..".
    Some times while performing you enter the "zone" and pull of something amazing, but you can't force those moments.
    It all comes back to practice, practice, practice.
    I "play". Not over, or under. Just play.

  19. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Friend of Leo's

    Apr 3, 2015
    Winchester, VA
    Here's what I've learned over the years: what you play at 100% of your capacity, your limitations being to show (think the "Heartbreaker" solo by Jimmy Page). But if you play at around 70%-80%, it sounds awesome (think the "Ten Years Gone" solo by Jimmy Page). In other words, if you hold back to about 80%, the audience never knows what your true abilities are, and it remains mysterious and sounds good. But if you go flat-out 100%, the audience knows where your ceiling is because they're hearing you have trouble executing what you're trying to play. This does not sound good.

    That said, the songs my current band plays don't have any guitar solos for the most part. And when they do, I play simple melodies with a a lot of vibrato on the notes, nothing fast, and it sounds really good. At least I tell myself that it does... But I maintain my lead guitar chops while at home practicing, so that my 80% continues sounding respectable.
    codamedia likes this.

  20. codamedia

    codamedia Friend of Leo's

    Apr 4, 2009
    Western Canada
    Way under .... I save my capacity for my own practice and self indulgence :D

    I like @3-Chord-Genius opening line in the post above this one... thats my thoughts exactly. If you stay within your comfort zone you will have a great night, every night and only "YOU" will know if you are struggling. If you never let the audience or other musicians see your limits, they won't think you have any ;).
    3-Chord-Genius likes this.

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