Welco me

Guitar Techniques - - Contents - Neville Marten, Ed­i­tor neville.marten@fu­turenet.com

Nev in­tro­duces our fea­ture packed is­sue...

HAV­ING JUST COM­PLETED a 30-date rock’n’roll tour it struck me that dis­ci­pline is vi­tal when be­ing in a band. It can sim­ply mean get­ting to the shows (I drove 6000 miles in five weeks and nei­ther I nor any of the 13 band and crew, missed or was late for a gig). That kind of dis­ci­pline should be a given - as should be­ing in a sober state, ar­riv­ing on stage dressed ap­pro­pri­ately and so on - but of course there’s also the dis­ci­pline in the play­ing.

This par­tic­u­lar gig is not tough from a tech­nique per­spec­tive, but it’s a pro­fes­sional show so things need to be right. I had to cre­ate a few new so­los on songs I’d not done be­fore - an in­ter­est­ing chal­lenge. I’m al­ways torn be­tween a set piece that I recre­ate ev­ery night; wing­ing it to­tally, or us­ing a ba­sic tem­plate and de­vi­at­ing from it as the mood strikes. I almost al­ways go for the third op­tion, as I like to give my­self some­thing to aim for, but also to sur­pass. The dan­ger is that one can come un­stuck - I found my­self in un­ex­pected ar­eas of the neck once or twice but never messed up com­pletely; I pre­fer this ap­proach though, as gives me a feel­ing that I’m more mu­si­cian than par­rot!

I played a pair of electrics - a Tele mostly and a Strat for the last bit - I needed the vi­brato for some Hank stuff and it’s nice to have a change any­way. One night I got the strap caught around my neck and to­tally missed my cue, which gave me pal­pi­ta­tions and the rest of the band a laugh! It went well ev­ery other night, thank good­ness.

I also played acous­tic for about a third of the songs. Sev­eral had a fast ‘gal­lop­ing’ rhythm that not only re­quired stamina, but also de­manded con­cen­tra­tion - the op­po­site of my solo­ing stance, you might say. Oddly, while I for­gave my­self for an im­per­fect solo, I was livid if I messed up my strum­ming!

Dis­ci­pline is also im­por­tant when play­ing the same songs night after night after night. It’s tough to stay fo­cused and not drift off. I found that try­ing to beat last night’s ra­tio of ‘per­fec­tion to cock-up’ usu­ally did the trick. Come to think of it, GT is all about dis­ci­pline, con­cen­tra­tion and get­ting it right. So good luck with your own ‘per­fec­tion to cock-up’ ra­tio this month! See you soon.

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