I’m not exactly sure how this happened, but I played for an R&B artist the other night. And I gotta say, I have a huge, newfound respect for that style of music. Not so much melodically in what I played, but in order for the vocals to come through right, you’ve got to be very, very tight rhythmically. I’m not so sure I was, but it definitely triggered in my mind how sometimes rhythm can actually be more important and more difficult to play than lead playing. Secondly, you’ve got to sit way back in the mix…just adding texture; but you don’t want to be too ambient, because then you start to lack rhythmically. So good chords voicings, tight rhythm, and strats help with this. Overall, a lot was learned, I was stretched, and it’s probably the first time ever that my pedalboard has seen six songs in succession without the benefit of a delay pedal. Also, I now like a Beyonce song. Please be gentle.


P.S. Anybody want a Varidrive? 😉

Sad, isn’t it.

29 thoughts on “R&B?!

  1. My fav style of playing… no out front guitars. A current band I play in is R&B Gospel. Rhythmically you have to be on your game and have quite a few chord grips and inversions for those grips to create that “texture”.

    Glad you had a chance to do it and hope you get more chances to learn that style of playing it will only make the style you play now easier.

    Less is best…

  2. Sal–right on! Great insight there. And I totally agree that less is best. :) As for od’s, I’ve got a modded tubescreamer lying around. You’re welcome to borrow it if you like.

    Rhoy–lol I know! The no delay part was killin’ me. hehe But I actually did have a lot of fun. Do you play R&B a lot?

    • hey karl, when I was just starting to play guitar, i thought the best way of learning rhythm was comping some disco music from the 70/80s … so i tried comping a lot of stevie wonder, michael jackson, earth wind & fire, etc … i did learn the a lot but i can’t say i am all that good … hehe

      i’ve gotten away from playing much later on as i got introduced to a much rockin’ genre. maybe it’s time to go do some r&b comping again 😉

  3. ok – thread hijack…

    anyone with experience with a Bugera v22? I am selling my 50watt “valvestate” (lack of knowledge = bad purchase). I have been in the market for a Vox AC4TV due to tubeness and price, but now the v22 has come into my mind and it has pretty good reviews.

    Karl – i know you would say BJ + valve swap + speaker swap, but this is out of my price range. Second hand is also out of the question as Australia just doesnt have enough people for a good secong hand market in amps!

  4. lol Cam, am I that predictable?! You took the words right out of my mouth. haha Personally, I like the sound of the AC4 better than the Bugera stuff. But actually, if you looked into a Blues Junior, and then swapped the tubes…oh wait…

  5. I have plans in mind of one day re-housing the AC4 into a handmade timber cabinet and putting a 12″ speaker in it. Lots of reviews say the AC4 into a cab with 12″ sounds better than the combo, so i figure this would be a good project and look pretty sweet!

  6. Cam-I put JJ tubes into my AC4TV, and run it to a homemade pine cab w/ a 12″ Weber Blue Dog Alnico. WAY better than the “matching” Vox cab. Total cost less than a un-modded BJ. If you decide to hang the AC4 electronics in your own cab, post pictures please!

  7. Cam- I have the AC4TV combo and its good for the portability/practice/jam without drummer times. It really is on its game when run into a 2×12 cab however. A friend had a 212 cab that he brought over and let me run the ac4 through it and we were both blown away. It really made a huge improvement.

  8. yea, i recently played the AC4 (the $250 one) and i loved it. do any of you think it would be a good first tube amp that i can play with as my main amp with a couple of effects. thanks

  9. Cam–right on! Ya, I’ll bet that’d sound way better…just on wood alone. I can’t imagine Vox using the best woods for a combo that comes at that good of a price. Let us know how the project goes!

    JayDub–with a Weber Blue? Nice. Bet that sounds pretty good!!

    Forgivenick–right on. Man, the AC4 seems to have been a great choice for Vox (or Korg…who owns them now?)!

    Nater2–sweet! I think it depends on how much clean headroom you’ll be in need of on the AC4. Because if you need it to be fairly clean, and you’re playing with an uncaged drummer, maybe not. But if you like it a little more broken up, and/or you’re playing in a church with a caged drummer or an electronic drum kit, then it might be just the thing. :)

  10. Hey Karl,

    I was thinking exactly wat Sal wrote while reading this post. It’s just such a different genre to play, almost like picking up a completely different instrument. On the other hand, switching your delay for a wah just might help.

    Speaking of which, (yes… this introduction was as transparant as cellophane) I have a wah-related question for you and anyone who would like to help out. I feel the Matchless HC30 does not like my wah very much. I have recently bought a GREAT wah (RMC-1) and it sounds great on all Fender etc. amps, just not on the Matchless. I guess the best way to explain it is that it just doesn’t sound smooth.

    Does anyone else have the same experience or am I just doing something wrong? I’m plugging in with just the wah between guitar and amp and the same thing applies for both clean and overdriven sounds.

    By the way, if you feel this is not the place for questions like these, I would happily switch to e-mail, just don’t have your address.

    Kind regards,


  11. haha I agree with you on wah for R&B, and I thought your introduction was awesome! hehe

    I actually have experienced that with wah’s on EL84-style amps. Wah’s kind of add their own raw overdrive, and EL84 amps already have that sound. So both together sometimes doesn’t work. I’ve experienced this with the three or four different versions of the RMC wah, the Budda wah, a CopilotFX filter, and a couple others I can’t remember right now. The Ooh Wah seems to match my HC30 very well though, so I’m thinking of trying out the Wah Probe. But thus far, I’ve always gotten more useable wah sounds out of a smooth phaser and a volume pedal than I have out of a wah.

    Nice to know I’m not the only one! :) Oh, and no worries for being off-topic. My posting is so sporadic anyway…there really aren’t topics to be off of. haha

  12. Nater2 – i am going for an AC4 due to the portability and low volume tube crunch. As KArl said it wont have much clean headroom before it starts to break up… that doesnt worry me much as the only time I play with a drummer is at church, and then i have my amp miced and some extra volume from the monitors. I think it will also solve a problem of stage volume from my amp as i dont have to run it very loud to get the edge of breakup….

  13. Rhoy–that’s a great idea! I’m gonna think about doing the same. hehehe We might have a Stevie Wonder Vs. Bono post comin’ up! 😉

    Cam–I agree, it’s probably perfect for that situation. Sound guys will love ya! 😉

  14. that’s sounds like the amp for me. yea, are worship leader plays a tele and usually has a pedal board. he recently got rid of all of them to get some custom ones. while he was ordering them he used a 50W fender amp and it totally dominated everything else. not fun.

  15. Nater2–lol So the worship leader was the one with the loud amp? haha That’s awesome.

    Ben G–lol The Matchless ended up not needing it for solos like the Holland did. The Match has a better natural overdrive, I think.

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