You Wanted to Get it Right, Let’s Get it Right
This video should be required watching for all musicians. If there was ever actually a class that taught you about actually making music and surviving practically in a tangible world as a musician; unfortunately, you have to learn that stuff through experience…and videos like this. In fact, ya…you know what? I’m doing it. This video is now hereby declared required watching in order to be a musician. The fact that I know how to play Stairway to Heaven (no stairway…denied!) gives me that authority, right?
- “I ain’t dyin’.”
I am now ending with this phrase every time I lose an argument.
- “Leave the amp as I set it. That’s my amp, and I’m setting it the way I wish it.”
Ah, how many times have we wanted to say this to the singer. Or the sound tech at the hole-in-the-wall club. Or the worship leader. Or the drummer.
- “And the way it’s going to sound if I am playing.”
This is actually quite true…individual touch has a good deal to do with tone. Have 3 people all sit and play a G chord on the same amp, guitar, and settings. It will more than likely sound surprisingly different.
- “Don’t touch my amp.”
I think that’s pretty self-explanatory.
- “Why it’s being done is because it’s not recording well.”
If only more of us could get this. Sometimes our guitar tone needs to be ‘ruined’ coming out of the amp, so that it comes out well in the house or the recording. In a perfect world, yes, we would rewire the house system so that not so much tone is sucked, or bass is muddied, or whatever. But we don’t live in a perfect world, I’ve never played on a perfect house or recording system, and a little bump of the treble knob on the amp can go a long way in getting a good mic’d sound.
- “It’ll be too much for you to sing and play the fills as well, right?”
“Well it wasn’t.”
- “The starts and stops is what we’re looking for.”
Oh my. So much wisdom here. As musicians, we tend to quite often overlook two of the most important areas of the song…the starts and stops. Those are the areas that make the song tight; and people who aren’t musicians notice that rhythmic tightness and ‘professional’ sound more than they notice almost anything else, including slightly pitchy vocals and wrong guitar notes.
- “That slur starts…”
I would give my left delay pedal to be involved somewhere (and have the talent myself, haha) where we were that picky about the little parts of songs. Usually I’m just happy if I hacked through all the right chords. hehe The crazy thing is, you don’t really hear the difference at first. But when Keith finally nails it, you realize how much better it is to not play the initial up bend for that particular part.
- “…if it takes me all niiiiiight and day.”
Love how Chuck picks on Keith’s guitar riff, so Keith picks on Chuck’s vocals. So classic, and so…uh…familiar. hehe
- “You wanted to get it right, let’s get it right.”
I think that may now be my new musical motto. Not settling for “pretty good.” A little difficult in the real world, when you’re not two famous musicians recording on the studio’s dime. Especially in worship music…we’re on a limited time schedule, we don’t play the same songs every day, it’s mostly volunteers, and the music isn’t necessarily the overall goal. Still, something to strive for.
- “(Words we are probably glad we cannot hear.)”
I love how mad Keith gets at himself when he can’t get the riff perfect. Makes me feel a little better about myself.
The sound of Keith pulling the classic guitar player move, and messing with settings on his amp when he can’t get the riff right; as if they are to blame.
- “Drrr-nrrr-er-nrrr-er-nrrrrr. (The sound of a beautifully nailed slur).”
To Keith’s credit though, as soon as he changes the settings on his amp, he nails the riff. It’s amazing how being happy with your tone can influence your playing. Also, it’s amazing how different settings on your gear can make such a difference in the different things you play. I really want to know my gear that well, and be able to make changes on the fly that fit any given part I’m playing.
So many incredibly useful things in this video. But most importantly, the passion they put into that song (well, all save for the piano player…haha…best looks ever), the release classic rock ‘n roll gives, and the gutsy beat-your-heart sound of being plugged straight-in to a cranked amp. This weekend, I happened to be at church all by myself after everyone had left one of the nights. Hmm. Plug straight in. Check. Flip the switch from 15 watts to 30. Check. Push in master volume knob to take it out of the circuit. Check. Turn up gain on EF86 channel until it breaks up into full harmonic bliss. Check. Play a few of the most gloriously swirling riffs and chords I’ve heard in a long time. I’m literally still pulling my heart out of my throat. Those of you who have the right-sized church, club, or home that’s not an apartment in which to do this on a regular basis, I envy you. And go do it right now.
I ain’t dyin’.