Little Guitar

sergiodeblanc

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Apr 26, 2012
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Everybody likes BIG guitar tones and parts, the mighty feeling of power chords, overdrive and distortion, full out hum bucker tones, and songs that are driven by BIG guitar parts, but what about the "little" ones?

The past few years I have been way into little parts and tones, the smaller the better. The songs where guitar is an important part of the recipe, but not the focus, players who dodge and weave between the other instruments, players like Steve Cropper, Al Anderson, and Al McKay. They rarely dominate the song or the mix and never play on top of the other guys, they "float like a butterfly and sting like a bee", all the while creating the groove.

The hardest thing I have ever learned to do on the guitar was to just "shut up", and play only what was necessary for the song.

How do you feel about "little" guitar? What are some of the tunes that you think of when thinking about this approach?

Here is a tune that I feel everyone involved played only complimentary parts, nobody showing off, nobody over-playing, just everybody doing their "little" thing to create a BIG sound.

 
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I love this little riff and can't stop playing it!
 
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Cool idea for a topic. To me, these guys were always masters at not overplaying. I always thought that was/is one of the greatest things about G.E. Smith's playing. (Likewise for John Oates, but in my mind G.E. is the guy.) Taste and understatement personified. It's hard for me to pick just one example, but I think this is a good place to start...


Goldtop
 
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I believe that when most people think of Willie, his guitar playing isn't the first thing that comes to mind. But I think he's an amazing player. His phrasing, his choice of notes, his economy, and especially his tone(!) - incredible in my book. One of the best 'less is more' players ever in my opinion.


Goldtop
 
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Don't know how to imbed a video but The Fixx doing 'Saved by zero' has a nice understated part I always liked.



Here you go!

I forgot about this tune, nice pick.
 
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I believe that when most people think of Willie, his guitar playing isn't the first thing that comes to mind. But I think he's an amazing player. His phrasing, his choice of notes, his economy, and especially his tone(!) - incredible in my book.

Goldtop

And in my book as well. I remember seeing an interview with some of Willie's bandmates where they describe the tempo and feel of playing with him as being in "Willie Time", he somehow always manages to play slightly between the beat, but it is totally "on".
 
I like Chromeo! Those guys really bring the nostalgia for me. Guess I'll be pumping some Midnight Star today.
 
]-[ @ n $ 0 |v| a T ! ©;28912 said:
Guess I'll be pumping some Midnight Star today.

As we all should be. Just to get it started:
 
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Last one for the day, see if you can count how many cool "little" licks are in this tune, if you only watch one of these make it this one.

 
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Last one for the day, see if you can count how many cool "little" licks are in this tune, if you only watch one of these make it this one.


Loved it!

Very, very cool little fills, from the percussionist to the bass to the keyboard to the guitars...

A very even tempered arrangement. Of course, it doesn't hurt that SADE is hot hot hot!
 
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Listen to the rhythmic muted strums of Glen Frey's tele for one of my all time favorite 'little guitar' parts.

[video]www.youtube.com/watch?V=edKq2tQcC_c[/video]

 
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I did Reggae for 10 years. It's all about the layering and the blending of the little things to get the groove on.
 
Heres one I like a lot. Listen to the conversation between the voice and the semi-hollow. The solo is also very understated and yet tasty.
 
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Heres one I like a lot. Listen to the conversation between the voice and the semi-hollow. The solo is also very understated and yet tasty.

This is a nice version of a classic tune, who is it?
 
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