Anyone else never learned a cover?

Discussion in 'Music Theory, Lessons & Techniques' started by ncfiala, Jan 10, 2017.

  1. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive SS.org Regular

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    In other musical circles, "covers" are called "repertoire". Playing other people's music is more normal than playing your own, and it is a great way to improve as a player.

    Bear in mind, when classical artists and such play rep they don't write, they are still expressing themselves musically. It is a bit different to learn from a sheet of paper rather than from a recording, but if I learn a new Clarinet Concerto, I'm not going to learn it to sound exactly the same as the definitive recording of that concerto, I'm going to learn the notes but play it as expressively as I can and with my own interpretation.

    I'm rambling a bit, but the point is this:
    1. there is no shame in playing other people's music - this has been the norm forever.
    2. you can learn a lot from playing other people's music

    (I'm not implying OP or anybody believes covers are shameful, but some people do so I thought this would be interesting to share. And I'm sorry if I sound pretentious - I'm not trying to)
     
  2. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Yes, because the Deftones are known for their inventive and highly unconventional guitar playing... :lol:
     
  3. Andrew May

    Andrew May SS.org Regular

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    I learned a few Sabbath riffs when I was a teenager.....

    ....but I don't know a single song/piece of music by another person. I've been playing on and off for 16 years or so (mainly off). The last year I taught myself to play in a way that actually makes sense to me (nearly all tapping, horizontal) and I'm so glad I never applied myself to learning how to play "properly". I mean, I wasted over a decade of practice but I never became a "metal guitarist". I'm now making music that doesn't really sound like "guitar music" (although if I throw on the distortion I can hammer out some heaviness) and I'm super happy with where I'm going musically.
     
  4. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Let's be realistic for a moment:

    You need to determine why you picked up the guitar in the first place and be true to that.

    If you are a singer holding a guitar, then you probably want to do whatever fits your music.

    On the other hand, if you picked up a guitar in order to join a band, make your own band, jam with buddies, or make noise, you should learn some songs.

    And if you picked up the guitar solely to become a famous guitarist (for glory), then just give up, because that is not going to happen. Even if you have the proper motivation, then it's highly unlikely anyway in today's music industry.
     
  5. Andrew May

    Andrew May SS.org Regular

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    That's why I picked up a guitar half my lifetime ago, I was in a school age band but another lad played most of the guitar parts, I learned the odd riff and wrote some more. We all left school, went our own way and I neglected playing.

    Now I've "matured" :lol: and I'm glad that I didn't indoctrinate myself into "the rules". Now I can approach music on my terms, I've no desire to play someone else's music. I've not nearly got enough time to dedicate and frankly, there's a million kids in their bedrooms that can play the entire history of the guitar's repertoire better than I will ever be able to.

    As an adult I'm more inspired by 20thC and modern composition along with free improv. I can't read music and don't have 6hrs a day free to transcribe and learn Ligeti's piano etudes or screed's of Ornet Coleman solos not that I really want to, I want to make new music. Old music isn't going away without little old me.

    Note, I understand that the conventional approach is great for a whole lot of people but it doesn't make alternative approaches wrong.
     
  6. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear Vendor

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    ^ Yeah :) I don't feel there's any real benefit to it that makes it a must have. Obviously it can help teach techniques and playing conventions (obvious example being open chords and power chords) but that's nothing that can't be figured out by itself. I've known a couple of people to come from piano to guitar also with no desire to learn other music. They write their own things and figure out/can be taught the techniques to play them. For an absolute beginner sure it can be very beneficial but only really because they might not have other guidance/their own written music to learn.
     
  7. ncfiala

    ncfiala Silence you bastard

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    I think part of the reason that I don't know any songs is that I learned to play (well I'm still learning to play, always will be) in a way that's probably somewhat unusual. I'm entirely self-taught and when I first picked up the guitar I looked up various "shapes" online and played them, but it bothered me that I had no idea where these shapes came from and I knew I would never get anywhere if I didn't find out. Then I started studying music theory. I'm sure I probably spent more time reading than playing back then. Anyway, I think a lot of players get their feet wet by learning some songs because it probably gives them somewhat of a sense of instant gratification, and then they just continue that trend by learning harder songs. The way that I taught myself offered little to no gratification at the beginning. I'm not saying one way is right and the other is wrong. They are just two vastly different approaches. I think it would be nice to learn some covers. I think I would learn something. I just don't know if it's the best use of my time.
     
  8. Carvinkook

    Carvinkook SS.org Regular

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    Learning other peoples music is challenging, rewarding and often leads to new inspiration and ideas for your own music.. I do it from time to time, never complete songs but usually the pieces i find most interesting. Ive been playing forever it seems and could really do with some knowledge but when i actually took lessons i found myself thinking more than playing and then i (temporarily) lost my ability to just play.. I always thought it wouldve been or could be better to just have someone who wants to point out certain "musical highlights as a general concept" than actual music theory rules. All that being said if i were a young man just beginning and serious about become a "musician" theory,lessons and other peoples completed works would be my emphasis.
     
  9. extendedsolo

    extendedsolo SS.org Regular

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    I will agree in part with Stephen Carpenter. Many hip hop, EDM, trap, etc don't know how to play other peoples music. I mean it would be ....ing weird if they did. Instead that kind of music drives innovation in my opinion. A lot of that stuff is tearing down traditional structures and doing their own thing. Granted those have more to do with other things (drops, dramatic parts of songs, lyrics) but it's still the same.

    The issue is that rock music isn't that. I think there are a handful of guitarists that are incredible listeners. They can listen to something and capture the feel in their own playing. Or they can hear an idea in their head and play it. Frank Zappa comes to mind. The issue is that SOOO many people aren't this way. If we are going to cherry pick players, Nuno Bettencourt said that transcribing and learning other peoples stuff helps give you your own voice. Yeah you might not play it like the original, but it gives you some vocabulary. Also it helps you take things from your head to the fretboard. Unless you have a knack for that, I think trascribing is invaluable.

    I mean really you can do whatever you want. Not required to learn other peoples music, but it can be a way to give your own playing a little jump start. I find that just listening to music can give me many many ideas at this point.
     
  10. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I'm not in those scenes by any means, so maybe I don't know what I'm talking about, but I tend not to think of those quite as much as perfomance-based genres. Metal people (some of them) tend to get very elitist about how we're "super great instrumentalists" and "better musicians than mainstream" and all that nonsense, which is part elitism, but part just because rock/metal/etc. are very performance-driven. There's a lot of physical skill, muscle memory, etc., that make it worth practicing techniques and studying "how it feels to play" existing music. Something like electronic music or something like that doesn't really have that performance bit to emulate or learn from. I mean a cover would mean, what, downloading the midi and hitting play? There's no muscle memory to hone for that. It's still worthwhile studying existing material, but the learning value of "playing a cover" is non-existent.
     
  11. big_aug

    big_aug SS.org Regular

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    This is something that plagued me over the years since I started learning on my own. I learned many riffs and parts of solos and such but I wouldn't finish learning the whole song. It's a major detriment to actually getting better at making music. I did too much ....ing around making up my own riffs and stuff.

    I can't imagine how much faster I would have progressed as a player if I sat down and learned entire songs all the way through and played them consistently all the way through to perfection. There is no way to get that kind of practice if you play by yourself and you aren't coming up with your own full arrangements on all the instruments. Getting that feel and groove actually playing along with songs. A metronome isn't the same. It's just not. There's a big difference playing a song to a click and playing along with all the instruments and vocals.

    I started forcing myself to do it now instead of moving on or getting distracted when I get bored. It's much better practice. It's practical application. Playing covers is like good on the job training. I don't think there is a more effective way to become a better player.

    Obviously, if you're a skilled musician, then it is probably less necessary. If you aren't exactly an expert, then I can't see how anything would be more beneficial overall.
     
  12. Karmaic

    Karmaic SS.org Regular

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    This isnt about "highly unconventional" guitar playing. Its about finding your own voice, through your own guitar. Every guitarist worth his weight in salt can pick out a Deftones song just by the guitar signature. Id say that is good enough...
     
  13. extendedsolo

    extendedsolo SS.org Regular

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    But Carpenter is more the exception than the rule. I really wish guitar players would stop with this cherry picking of guys that "can't read music" or "don't know other people's songs" in an effort to justify their laziness.

    What's more is that Carpenter's guitar work and the deftones are about the entire band working together, not Carpenters guitar work only.
     
  14. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I guess that's where I was trying to point out a distinction a while back between "don't want to play other peoples songs" and "*can't* play other people's songs". I'm all for people just doing their own thing, but I've definitely met some guitarists who just weren't very good and use the "I just do my own thing" line as an excuse to call themselves "good" musicians despite being unable to follow along with a basic jam.

    At the end of the day, it doesn't matter as long as you're enjoying it, but I'd much rather people just be upfront about it. Don't tell me you only do your own music, just own up to the fact that you're not a virtuoso. It's perfectly ok to suck at guitar, but still do it cause it's fun. :lol: It's equally ok to be good at playing in an unconventional way, as long as you're still willing to admit if you suck at playing conventionally, if that makes any sense.
     
  15. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    He plays power chord riffs just like anyone else - he got to a very conventional point. If the point of not learning other music is to not sound like anyone else, well, I'd say he failed. :2c:
     
  16. Karmaic

    Karmaic SS.org Regular

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    Opinions vary. No offense, but Id say his platinum albums speak louder than your forum post. If he was a failure at what he does, the band wouldnt have went far. Especially in the rock/metal genre. Its kinda hard to fake a sh*tty sounding guitarist. Right? His rhythm sets him apart from everyone else. Hes groovey. Anybody can play a powerchord. Not everybody can make 2-3 power chords sound good. He can. 90% of guitar playing and making good music is rhythm and melody. I think we can all agree on that. Or can we? Its also a fair point in saying, that some guitarists are only interested in covers or technique because their own creativeness sucks. So, may as well learn to play fast if you cant create anything that sounds good. At least you can shred that bitchin solo and hit them squealies to impress other guitarists, online, or in the garage. Steph will be busy playing his failed guitar riffs in front on sellout arenas worldwide.


    Lol
     
  17. prlgmnr

    prlgmnr ...that kind of idea

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    I keep writing and deleting this post because I can't quite work out how to say it.

    Of all the guitarists to come out of 90s nu metal, Carpenter stands out by a country mile precisely because of how much he does with "just a few powerchords"*.

    Like, every couple of years I'll chuck on White Pony and be blown away by how fresh and urgent it still is. At no point do I get part way into Digital Bath and think "if only he played a bit more guitar".


    *No, I'm still not happy with this, it's the band as a whole, not him. Which is probably even more important to note.
     
  18. extendedsolo

    extendedsolo SS.org Regular

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    I'll agree 100000 percent on it's the entire band. If we are talking about the important members of the band I would say Carpenter isn't as important as Chino or the drummer. He knows how to get out of his own way to fit what the SONG needs, which is a skill in and of itself.

    Justin Bieber and Kenny Chesney are the modern day equivalent of Bach and Mozart because they sell out stadiums everywhere.
     
  19. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Sigh.

    I was going to stay out of this, but the whole "X guitarist from well-known band is better than you, and therefore my point is correct and I'm better than you" argument is horse.....

    Drew is a killer player in his own rite. To be honest, there are a lot of phenomenal players on this site, and most never get a big break. It doesn't mean .... about how much skill anyone has acquired in their mechanical techniques, songwriting, nor anything else short of an outright popularity contest.

    So, firstly, the popularity of Stephen Carpenter has no correlation to how correct or incorrect your point is, and secondly, the popularity of the Deftones has no correlation on how good of a guitarist Drew is.

    Let's get that straight.

    Now carry on.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2017
  20. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I'm reminded of one time how I tried to make a point about the importance of a bands name in terms of brand and discoverability, to which the first response was "if you're not successful, it's because your band sucks". :lol:

    It's important to remember that huge successes tend to be exceptions to rules, not the other way around, I guess. I suppose you could factor that into the conversation about unconventional playing in any number of ways.
     

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