#1
I just started learning some of my favorite songs so I can develop my technique. While playing the song I always stay in time. However, I subconsciously tend to follow the vocalist, as in I change from verse to chorus or chorus to verse when the vocalist finishes singing a certain part of a song rather than remembering how many times the particular part of a song is actually played. Is it a good thing or should I change my habit so it wouldn't affect me in the future?
#2
Assuming you're playing with the recording, how would you know if you're following the vocalist or not?
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#3
Quote by AlanHB
Assuming you're playing with the recording, how would you know if you're following the vocalist or not?

I just play the mp3 file of the song and play along with it. So , I hear the vocals and drums and just follow that.
#4
You're probably better off developing the habit of counting how many times you play the parts, but it's also good to be able to listen to the vocals and know where to be that way too. If you end up playing in a band, you can avoid a train wreck if the singer screws up or ad libs. But it's also good to be able to do instrumentals and songs with long gaps between words without getting lost.
#5
Quote by SpeedSterHR
You're probably better off developing the habit of counting how many times you play the parts, but it's also good to be able to listen to the vocals and know where to be that way too. If you end up playing in a band, you can avoid a train wreck if the singer screws up or ad libs. But it's also good to be able to do instrumentals and songs with long gaps between words without getting lost.



I agree with all this. However if you're just playing one guitar with one vocalist and they miss their cue it would be good to notice this and be able to go back around so they get a second chance at it. Obviously this won't always be the best thing to do so practice without vocals too. You can never know a song too well.
#6
I think it's best to learn what a number of rotations feels like. After playing for a while you learn what it feels like to do something 4 times, especially in 4/4, it feels whole and even, 5 feels like that, but with one more, which makes it feel like it should go on longer, 6 is even. but not as "complete" sounding as 4 or 8, etc. It just takes some getting used to and I don't know how to explain it perfectly. I think you just have to learn a song well enough (while counting) that you can stop counting and as you do this with more and more songs you get better at it.

It is also a good idea to be able to listen to the singer to know when the changes happen in respect to the singing, mostly for when the singer messes up it makes it easy for you to cover it up and roll with it. You can tell pretty quickly if you're paying attention if they skipped a round or sang something extra or whatever and you can adjust accordingly. Similarly if you're playing rhythm for someone improvising a solo you have to listen to what they're playing and adjust for it more than you need to count exactly how many times you're doing something.
Last edited by The4thHorsemen at Jun 6, 2015,
#7
I rarely count when I'm playing. It's pretty easy to feel when something is played 4 or 8 times - that just feels natural (that's how most songs go). If it's played more or less times than that, it usually feels a bit incomplete (though sometimes that's the whole point - not everything is always played 4 or 8 times). Drums usually play fills in transitions, so also pay attention to them.

I would suggest listening to the other instruments, rather than blindly counting how many times you have played something. Because sometimes somebody messes up and starts something too early or late, or jumps to the wrong part. For example if the intro is 8 bars and the riff is the same as in the verse, but the singer comes in a bit too early, you need to listen to that. Know how the melody goes. Know what the other instruments are doing.

When I play in an orchestra and have lots of rests, I don't usually count them. I just learn to hear it. Of course the first time I'm playing it, I need to count the bars. But after that I start focusing more on what the other instruments are playing. That way if I for some reason mess up with my counting, I still know when I should start playing.

You clearly can "feel" it, and that's great. Counting of course helps, but it should not distract you from listening to the other instruments. You should always also be listening. And in band playing you will get clues from other musicians. If the drummer or the singer messes up, you pretty much need to follow them. In a band you can always communicate.


I remember when in some school band the bassist was playing one bar ahead or behind the others and it sounded horrible. All he was focusing on was what he was playing (and he did play the right notes, it was just one bar ahead or behind). He didn't listen to the others and just kept on playing. That's not what you should do. Always listen! If what you play doesn't fit what the others are playing, use your ears. It's always good to know how the part you are playing and also the parts the other guys are playing sound like. That way if you mess up, you always know what is coming next, and you never really get lost.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#8
I agree with all of this. I'm sure in my earlier days of playing I counted measures during intros and between verses etc. but I have always had a pretty decent feel for where I am in a song. The way MaggaraMarine described above is very much how I approach a song and it works for me 99% of the time. I think that is just a natural thing that happens the more you play and the more live experience you have. Once in awhile someone records a song with an unusual time signature or plays a 5 measure into instead of a 4 or 8 measure but it's rare and those I may have to remind myself to count. Otherwise I just get really familiar with the songs from repeated listening's or playing so I just relax and go with the feel of the song. I do follow the singer however so if there is something that changes in the songs I am be ready to go with it. Maybe I have been lucky but most singers and bands I have ever worked with have follow each other well.
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
#9
^ I think you shouldn't even play live if you need to think too much about how many times a part should be played. If you can play it without needing to think, then you are also ready to play it live.

When you can just "feel it", it means that you know the song really well.


People always make mistakes on gigs. Once we skipped the second half of the second verse of Stevie Wonder's "I Wish". Nobody even noticed it. People just listened to the singer who lead the song to the chorus a bit too early. That's why it's important to use your ears more than just count how many times you play the riff.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115