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#1
You know that feeling when either you or a band member has played a seriously bum note, and you've nowhere to hide? This can induce a sense of panic ... "what should I do"?

Here's a very simple tip, guaranteed to work. Rather than go silent (which will exaggerate the problem since the last note the audience heard was the bum note), try this ...

When your ears detect an unholy racket, move up or down one semitone (one fret either direction on same string), and give that note some strength (vibrato ...). You're out of trouble, and get time to think (work out who's to blame :-) )

The reason this works is that most of our music is based on 7 note scales, where neighbouring scale notes are separated by one or no pitches in between. Grief comes when you land on one of the non-scale notes, when the chord has been made from scale pitches.

Try it ... get a mate to play any chord, with you eyes shut, and just choose a random note on guitar. You may be lucky ... and when you're not, try the above.

Have fun!
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Sep 30, 2014,
#2
if someone hits a seriously bad note, there is no hiding. And who the hell would go silent?
#3
I've heard many people freeze in this situation. The response has been of one of stopping playing, or worse, holding the note, or fumbling around.

Better to have a remedy than a hope in this situation.
#5
Never take yourself too seriously... maybe pull a face or just smile. I can guarantee the only people who knew you f#cked up are musicians and they`ll look at your face to see if you acknowledge it or try to play it cool.
Look at what Hendrix does when he hits an out of tune string ....big grins.
#6
The BB King method. Everybody hits a stinker once in a while and sliding up or down and making the next note really big looks like you meant to do it. "Just playing a little outside jazz"
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#7
There is a lot of truth to the "hit bad note - just exaggerate it"-theory when soloing. Vibrato and bends are key here. I also remember turning a bad note into a chromatic run and it suddenly made sense.
#8
I remember seeing a video from maybe 20 years ago of Clapton playing with Phil Colins and a few other big names. Don't remember the song but he went into his solo a fret off, played the first lick, made a face, corrected and finished the solo. Everyone has a brain fart now and then; it's the characteristic weakness of us humans. The greatest keep those to a minimum
#9
You take this man's advice.

http://youtu.be/3eT8Ip5mpZ0?t=13m23s
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Then yes, I have all four.
#10
You can also turn that bad note into a phrase using this technique, that you can repeat a couple times, and maybe a third, but with a kind of twist at the end of it, which makes it seem even more as though it was intentional.
#12
As fingrpikingood said, you could also just repeat the bad sounding note to make it sound right. Of course end the phrase with a good sounding note.

I think the worse thing to do than stop playing is to start playing random out of time notes when trying to find the notes you are looking for. Solos should have rests in them. So I would say rather stop playing for a while than start looking for the right note. But of course the best advice is to make the note you played sound right. And this can be done by repeating the note or the lick you played.

Also, I think a good improviser doesn't get confused and freeze because of a wrong note. I think you should practice it a bit before going on stage performing. Because to be honest, notes that sound bad to your ears aren't that rare. You are your worst critic.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

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#13
I tell my students that when playing/improvising, if they hit a bad note, do it again, and now it sounds like a lick. Just continue playing in key. Joe Satriani made the point that the brain will hear and forgive up to 11 "bad" notes, as long as that 11th note is on point. I've demonstrated this concept with students many times since.

Best,

Sean
#15
Quote by Sean0913
I tell my students that when playing/improvising, if they hit a bad note, do it again, and now it sounds like a lick. Just continue playing in key. Joe Satriani made the point that the brain will hear and forgive up to 11 "bad" notes, as long as that 11th note is on point. I've demonstrated this concept with students many times since.

Best,

Sean


I've heard him say that before, and always wanted to hear that in action. It doesn't sound possible to me, and I've not been able to replicate it. I'm also curious as to the 11 note barrier. I wonder why it is 11 notes and not 12. I find it interesting it is a note number and not a timing thing also, actually.

Does he mean 11 different notes? Because unless the piece modulates, how I would interpret "notes that need to be forgiven", there are only 5 of those, and they quickly sound like ass, to my ears, if I don't throw some good ones into the mix. But if I throw good ones in the mix, then I feel I could go forever. Like, I could do chromatic runs up and down forever, and I don't find it ever sounds "wrong". Not the most interesting or moving music to listen to though.

What kind of things do you do when you demonstrate this?
#18
Quote by fingrpikingood
I'm also curious as to the 11 note barrier. I wonder why it is 11 notes and not 12. I find it interesting it is a note number and not a timing thing also, actually.


It was said tongue in cheek...
#19
Quote by MapOfYourHead
It was said tongue in cheek...


Idk about that one. It has been a little while now, but I saw him say that on a YouTube video, which if I recall was one of his modes ones, and I guess at the time, he seemed serious to me.
#20
It is not tongue in cheek. He's demonstrated it, and I have as well, with my students. It's not something you're going to intellectually assent to, you need to try it as he shows. Grab a looper, Pick a chord, play 10 random garbage notes and end on a chord tone. When I've demonstrated it, it sounds intentional, and the ears accept it. I've also played a lot of junk notes and cued the student to play a chord on the 11th note, at the same time I hit a chord tone.

Why 11 notes, and not x? That's above my pay grade mate. Maybe a topic for your next doctoral thesis?

Best,

Sean
#22
Quote by Sean0913
It is not tongue in cheek. He's demonstrated it, and I have as well, with my students. It's not something you're going to intellectually assent to, you need to try it as he shows. Grab a looper, Pick a chord, play 10 random garbage notes and end on a chord tone. When I've demonstrated it, it sounds intentional, and the ears accept it. I've also played a lot of junk notes and cued the student to play a chord on the 11th note, at the same time I hit a chord tone.

Why 11 notes, and not x? That's above my pay grade mate. Maybe a topic for your next doctoral thesis?

Best,

Sean



I'd like to hear that. I have trouble kind of intentionally using notes I think are bad, but making it sound good, if you know what I mean. On piano, If I'm in key of C, and I play a number of black notes in a row and come back, it doesn't sound very awesome to me, or, I can't get it to sound awesome I guess.
#23
Sean,
That makes sense. I often catch the first thing and the last thing my wife says to me, and get a bit fuzzy on the stuff in the middle :-)
Seriously, the ear does pay more attention to the beginning and end of a phrase, and so long as neither is a howler, all can be well.
I quite often play a favourite line but in a key a b3rd or b5 or 6th away (howlers with structure!) but resolve it at the end.
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Oct 1, 2014,
#24
Quote by fingrpikingood
I'd like to hear that. I have trouble kind of intentionally using notes I think are bad, but making it sound good, if you know what I mean. On piano, If I'm in key of C, and I play a number of black notes in a row and come back, it doesn't sound very awesome to me, or, I can't get it to sound awesome I guess.


A lot of this comes down to placement of these notes rhythymically. I put together a short recording for a mate of mine, on soundcloud, showing a few ideas. If you're ok with on- and off-beats, then the meat begins at around 2min 20secs, for about 5 minutes.

https://soundcloud.com/jerry-kramskoy-1/tips-for-using-chromaticism ... feel free to download .. may help you?

cheers, Jerry
#25
I was refering more to the specific '11 notes' that fingr was saying "why 11 and not 12 etc". Could be 12, 13, whatever. It also depends on who the listener is - Holdsworth appreciators - people who think wrong notes = jazz and is therefore shit, will both react differently.

Best,

James

Edit:

Just watched that video. lol

"I was taught the ear remembers 11 notes"

Dead on Joe
Last edited by MapOfYourHead at Oct 2, 2014,
#26
meh... just play inmediatly some diminished stuff, even play the bad note a couple times more... just make it look like you want it that way.
#27
Quote by jerrykramskoy
A lot of this comes down to placement of these notes rhythymically. I put together a short recording for a mate of mine, on soundcloud, showing a few ideas. If you're ok with on- and off-beats, then the meat begins at around 2min 20secs, for about 5 minutes.

https://soundcloud.com/jerry-kramskoy-1/tips-for-using-chromaticism ... feel free to download .. may help you?

cheers, Jerry


Chromaticism is different though. chromaticism drifts in and out of good notes/bad notes. It's not 11 bad notes, and then back in. It's in and out all the time. there is never more than one half step out of key.

I can guitar pretty good. I just don't understand the "11 notes" thing he is talking about. Neither on piano, nor guitar. Idk, I guess I've not been able to find anything that I can do for 11 notes, but can't for more. I could wail chromatically all the way through an entire song no problem.

For some reason it's something I do on piano a lot, but never really guitar.
#28
Quote by MapOfYourHead
I was refering more to the specific '11 notes' that fingr was saying "why 11 and not 12 etc". Could be 12, 13, whatever. It also depends on who the listener is - Holdsworth appreciators - people who think wrong notes = jazz and is therefore shit, will both react differently.

Best,

James

Edit:

Just watched that video. lol

"I was taught the ear remembers 11 notes"

Dead on Joe


I don't understand. Are you making fun of Joe Satriani?

I'm not sure exactly what he's talking about, but he is an accomplished guitarist, and is talking about something. He is not just taking someone else's word for it, it is something he experiences. What that is exaclty? I'm not too sure. I'd have to watch him play some thing, and show me 11 notes working, and then 12 or 13, not.

I think he might be saying that if you modulate out of the key, you have 11 notes until your brain creates a new tonal center, but I'm not sure.

I would like to test all of that out. Try notes and timings. Idk, I would like to get a more hands on explanation for it.

To me, there are only 5 outside notes. If you play even 3 of those, I'd say you're already quite screwed. He is saying something different then I think.
#30
Quote by Elintasokas
That 11 notes thing is BS. Try playing 11 quarter notes that all have semitone clashes with the harmony. lol.


It's Joe Satriani saying that. If what you're thinking he is saying is BS, then he must be saying something you aren't thinking. Right? This is not some random forum guitar enthusiast. He is famous for playing guitar.

Idk wtf he's talking about either. But he is talking about something. If I ever make a guitar tutorial video, I promise you, I won't teach you anything that I don't find important. I'm not gonna say some shit I read in an article, or heard someone say on a forum. I'm gonna teach you stuff I know from experience. He must be saying something. Right? He guitars pretty good. Probably better than all of us here.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Oct 2, 2014,
#31
Quote by fingrpikingood
It's Joe Satriani saying that. If what you're thinking he is saying is BS, then he must be saying something you aren't thinking. Right? This is not some random forum guitar enthusiast. He is famous for playing guitar.


So Joe Satriani can say nothing wrong then?

hahahaha
hahaha
ahaha
ahaha
ahaha
#32
Quote by MapOfYourHead
So Joe Satriani can say nothing wrong then?


I never said that. I said that he was saying something. I know that everything that is obvious to me, is obvious to him. Or, not everything, but he knows how to guitar.

There is no real right or wrong. I just want to know what he is saying. Everything that makes it seem like obvious BS to me, can't be what he is saying, because that would be obvious BS to any musician of my caliber.

So then, he must be saying something that I don't know. Idk what exactly that is. But I'd like to find out.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Oct 2, 2014,
#33
The problem is that saying "the brain remembers 11 notes" is too vague. Those 11 notes can be of any length and at any tempo.

I'm not disrespecting Joe Satriani. I know he's a great guitarist, but that doesn't mean he can't "accidentally" say stuff he doesn't completely think through.
Last edited by Elintasokas at Oct 2, 2014,
#34
I watched the video and it looks to me like he's talking about altering the scale and playing in a style that doesn't match the style of the song. He's saying you can get away with playing stuff that doesn't really fit for 11 notes, but as long as you come back you're fine. If you continue past 11 notes that's where the audience stops thinking 'oh that's cool' and it turns into 'what is he doing? that doesn't sound right"
#35
Quote by Elintasokas
The problem is that saying "the brain remembers 11 notes" is too vague. Those 11 notes can be of any length and at any tempo.


Right, it is vague. It might be a timing thing, or it might be some situation, where 11 notes coincides often with what is actually the cause. It's difficult from videos like that because it is often vague that way. If a chord progression doesn't modulate, I don't ever feel comfortable going more than one note out really. If it is blues and I can play many different modes that work, I don't feel like there is ever a limit on that. So, idk exactly what he means.

But I'm sure it's been demonstrated to him, and I'm sure it is something he comes across in practice, whatever it is. he didn't think about it willy nilly for the video. he thought it was important relevant information to share.

There might be some chance he just heard his teacher say that, and he is just repeating it, but that would be pretty weak. I find it hard to believe any world renown guitarist would teach something they heard their teacher say, which they never understood, nor found relevant.


I think we have to assume that he is an expert guitarist giving information that he knows is not just some BS.

I mean ok, so we might not understand it, we might misinterpret to think he is saying something we know is BS. But he is a good guitarist. We are not far superior guitarists than he is. It's Joe Satriani. We know his name, only because of his reputation as a guitarist.
#36
Lol. You need to understand that if someone is popular, it doesn't automatically make them gods that are immune to mistakes. Do you think Justin Bieber is the best singer in the world who never makes a mistake and knows more about singing than anyone else just because he's popular?
He's freaking Justin Bieber man, EVERYONE knows him! He can't be wrong!!11

I honestly think it was just some filler comment he thought sounded clever or something.
Last edited by Elintasokas at Oct 2, 2014,
#37
Quote by The4thHorsemen
I watched the video and it looks to me like he's talking about altering the scale and playing in a style that doesn't match the style of the song. He's saying you can get away with playing stuff that doesn't really fit for 11 notes, but as long as you come back you're fine. If you continue past 11 notes that's where the audience stops thinking 'oh that's cool' and it turns into 'what is he doing? that doesn't sound right"


Right. So, that's why I think he might be saying 11 notes until the brain loses the reference of the previous tonic. But in what context does he mean? When it is something like blues, I feel like I could just modulate to my heart's content. Maybe you forget a bit the reference from before, but that's ok I find. Does he mean that? When the progression is simple and can suit many things? But then why only 11 notes?

Idk, I'd like to experiment with this, and really know exactly the deal without doubt. It's a little ambiguous to me. I wish I could ask him live.
#38
Yea, I feel like him saying 11 notes is kinda weird. I would think it would make more sense to say a bar or two, or something like that.
#39
Quote by Elintasokas
Lol. You need to understand that if someone is popular, it doesn't automatically make them gods that are immune to mistakes. Do you think Justin Bieber is the best singer in the world who never makes a mistake just because he's popular?

He's freaking Justin Bieber man, EVERYONE knows him! He can't be wrong!!11


Idk why you felt the need to tell me that. I don't think you understand what I was getting at.

I think Joe is saying something that I don't understand exactly what he means, and it is something I would like to know, and understand better.

You think that somehow what appears obvious BS to you, about guitar, escapes a world renown guitarist, who is only famous for guitar, not looks, or singing, or songwriting, only the exact subject he was talking about.

I'm just saying I'd like to be able to speak to him about it, and get a clear picture of what he is saying. You're free to think he's full of shit if you want to.
#40
If you can play fast as Satriani, of course you can get away with 11 little tiny notes.

Playing outside does NOT equal chromaticism. Two radically different things.

Now Satch did study with the great Lennie Tristano, but the guy isn't really a hardcore jazz player. He is however, a hell of a player, and not the kind to spout out BS to be cool.

11 notes that sound bad is still 11 notes that sound bad. Don't take what Satch said literally. It was a clever line, and I'm sure he was trying to condense this into a sentence:

Connect the chords with melodic lines. If you know where the good counterpoint is, you can play anything you want in between, with a little finesse. Outside playing and using chromatics are not the same thing, and a harmonically general solo can get away with even more, if the line has internal strength.

Perhaps the reason 11 is the magic number is because after you play the twelfth and "right' note, every possible interval over the bass has already been played? Maybe 11 is the magic number of "wrong" notes because there are, by definition of equal temp., NO MORE wrong notes left to play.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
Last edited by Jet Penguin at Oct 2, 2014,
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