Need More Validation?

Discussion in 'Electric Instruments' started by LSchefman, Jun 8, 2019.

  1. danktat

    danktat Award winning tattoo artist ... Amateur guitarist

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    Yep, you find this to be true of any youtube A/B comparisons. When you can SEE the guitar or pickup or amp or pedal or whatever they are playing, almost EVERYONE picks the name brand or the higher end one. When they do a blind test and don't tell you what they played for a week or two, the early replies are all over the place. After they post what they played however, it goes right back to the name brand having more "fullness" or more "Clarity" or a "tighter bottom end". It is amazing how that happens.
     
  2. BWV548

    BWV548 Custom Title

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    I did say that I was being deliberately hyperbolic. Also, a soloist having demands over what instrument he/she needs to play is very very very..., different, IMO, from a producer demanding a certain guitar brand, and refusing another; specific pickup configurations, fair enough I suppose. But demanding a guitar brand, offends my concepts of sensibility, pragmatism, and prioritization.

    Also, are you referring to recordings/rehearsals of music which is intended to be in support of another medium (film, tv, etc) or concert music?
    While I certainly concede you vastly greater experience in these things, i have been fortunate over the years to be allowed attendance to some sessions of pretty major (by modern “classical standards”) recording sessions. When questions that pertained to the music and it’s performance arose, it was always a discussion with the composer, the conductor (if there was one; a fair bit of chamber music and all) and the instrumentalist, section principles, and/or singers involved. With the composer having the final say on whatever choices/decisions had to be made. I never saw a producer even asked, unless there was a financial impact of some sort.
    Though perhaps this was because these were all “giants” of composition (e.g Elliot Carter and the like) and not a nobody like myself
     
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  3. danktat

    danktat Award winning tattoo artist ... Amateur guitarist

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    From someone who knows, how far can that go? Can someone say, hey, I know you like Ernie Balls and they are comfortable for you, but on this album, you need to be using Elixers because they sound like yadda, yadda, yadda? Or, I know you like the blues driver, but we really need that tube screamer sound. Does that apply?


    I only ask because I am not professional with music. But I AM with tattooing. And I get people who try to control my process all the time. They want to know what machines I use, which inks, what brand of needles, etc......I tell them look, your result is what you more or less have control over. But the process I use to get there is my own. And for those who need to control the process itself, well, many of them don't use ME as their artist. But, I own my own sh*t, so I can do that. And have a good hundred or more awards to back up my methods......but still, I have people who really do try to micromanage my process. I just don't let it happen. Not sure how that works with music.
     
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  4. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    The heavy hitters are treated with more respect than newcomers. It’s all about the clout. However, since none of what I was talking about ever happens in classical sessions, this conversation is going WAY out on a limb.
     
    #64 LSchefman, Jun 13, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019
  5. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Guys, some really weird ideas are being expressed in this thread, but I’m not surprised, since guitar players do tend to assume they’re the most important musicians on a session.

    Here’s the deal: Artists and producers have a vision of what they want to hear in a track. The job of the session player is to help realize that vision.

    The session player is NOT the star of the show - that title belongs to the featured artist. Prima donnas are politely shown the door, and not called back.

    Look, we all know that a Tele sounds different from a Strat sounds different from a Les Paul sounds different from a 335 sounds different from a Gretsch, and on and on.

    This isn’t big, surprising news. Those who feel it’s their mission in life to prove that their guitar is the right one in spite of requests, are going to hold up the session needlessly while 5 or 6 other players are sitting around at triple scale, and getting pissed off.

    If you’re the type of player who says, “Look, you hired me for what I do and I don’t play Teles (or whatever is requested),” well, that’s cool, nothing wrong with that. Except you should have said so upfront when you got the phone call.

    By the same token there’s nothing wrong with the producer replying, “Thanks, but we need to find someone who does that for this track. We’ll call you another time.”

    Just don’t expect the phone to, you know, actually ring.
     
    #65 LSchefman, Jun 13, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019
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  6. danktat

    danktat Award winning tattoo artist ... Amateur guitarist

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    Trust me, I have had many a situation where I wasn't called back. Fortunately, I am well enough known for what I do that I don't have to be everything for everybody. I AM that dude who will say, I'm sorry, but I use THIS brand of inks, or I use THESE needles. And am ok if that is not what they want. I am ABSOLUTELY that Prima Donna when it comes to what I do. But, then again, this isn't a "group" business. It is very individual. That is why I asked, how far does it go with music.
     
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  7. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Exactly, You’re the featured artist in your situation.

    In music, the session player is there to achieve what the artist’s vision requests. Different situation.

    In recording music, if it’s a band, it isn’t likely the producer will ask for a particular instrument, because he or she is there to support the vision of the artist. Again, the artist calls the final shots.
     
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  8. BWV548

    BWV548 Custom Title

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    Quite the contrary, at least from where I sit. My take here--and if I had the $$ and time to waste, it would be fun to test it scientifically. but alas... --- is that people seem to massively over estimate their view of "iconic" instruments as "snowflakes". I have 2 Fender strats; build in the USofA. Sure they share timbral similarities, but they sound quite different. My silver sky, as one would expect, fits into the same sonic universe. Which should I assume would fit the platonic ideal of "strat" that some producer thinks he/she has in their heads. Should I assume the Fenders would always be a better fit, for any reasons rooted in sound?? I'm quite skeptical. In a similar vein, I have an Eastman AR372 (think ES175). Sure it does a thing; does it well. However, with a bit of eq, I can make my 594s sound pretty much identical. The Eastman is a good guitar, I really enjoy playing it. However, the sort of bridge that it has is a pain in my ass, and can have it's intonation knocked off if I fart too loudly whilst playing it. I imagine an ES175 suffers from the same, if not greater problems. Given how close I can get I 594 to sound like it (I'd also have to modify my playing, as I approach the arch top differently, but that's not a big deal). Is it better to bring a guitar who's intonation may give fits, just so a producer doesn't blather off some flavor of confirmation bias, lest I bring the more stable and reliable guitar??

    Now to be clear, I'm not debating how players should behave in a session situation. Absolutely NOT. I'm quite certain that any player taking my attitude, save perhaps John Scofield, would be sacked straight away. I am, however, suggesting that we all are subject to metaphorical myopia, in fields that we have been deep in for a long time, resulting in various cognitive biases. So, as an *outsider*, I'm expressing skepticism. I won't get to conduct my experiment, mentioned above. So I'm doing the next best thing: politely, and respectfully, getting on my soapbox and shouting! :)
    After all, isn't that one of the primary functions of the internet? ;)
     
  9. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    That, meeting significant others, and, of course, porn.
     
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  10. shimmilou

    shimmilou Established in 1963

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    I finished the internet last week. :)
     
  11. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    I heard they’re coming out with a new edition.
     
  12. BWV548

    BWV548 Custom Title

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    Do let us know if passing it was/is painful. I hear the internet is pretty low in fiber
     
  13. Alnus Rubra

    Alnus Rubra Loving nature’s wonders

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    Internet 2.0?;)

    Giggle!
     
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  14. markd21

    markd21 New Member

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    While Les said everything I could not figure out how to say in a way better than I could have said, but let me add a little bit about the "strat vs. strat-type" instrument....

    Last month I worked on a session for a singer/song-writer that drives me crazy. She's a great singer, her songs are pretty good, but her ego and expectations in her sessions are difficult. Why do I do her sessions? She pays VERY well and often I am challenged as a player - two benefits.

    Anyway, she was insistent that I use a strat on this set of songs. She had a VERY clear vision of what she wanted on these tracks. It's another cool/frustrating thing about her. In our discussions of the track, I told her I don't have a strat. She was insistent. I told her I have a PRS version of a strat. She said she wanted a Fender Stratocaster on this batch of tracks.

    * For reference, the sound she was after was the 2 position on a strat played clean, with chorus, reverb and dotted eighth delay*

    Our conversation got kind of heated. I told her to just hire somebody who plays a Fender Stratocaster - there are hundreds of them (lol). She agreed, but was also kind enough to compliment me by saying, " The guys around here that play strats can't do what you do!"

    The compromise? I would show up with my Strat-like PRS, which happens to be a 1990 EG3, I'd let her hear it and we'd go from there. Where would we "go"? Whether or not I got the job. We met up at the studio - ironically the producer was REALLY digging the guitar. His words? "Dude, that's from when PRS made them right!!!" I smiled, but rolled my eyes inside....

    Wrapping this anecdote up, Courtnee (the artist) heard the guitar/rig and was MORE than satisfied by what she heard. I got the job, which I wasn't surprised by...I'm pretty much the ONLY guitarist she uses these days. If she ever starts a band it wouldn't surprise me if she'd want me in the band.

    But, again, to reassert what Les said....

    When a guitarist is playing on somebody else's song, it's not about the guitarist. It's about the song. What the artist hears. It's not always as intense and "picky" as I have said. But, there are times where it is "safer" to bring multiple guitars to a session and let the artist or producer (whoever is really calling the shots) pick the instrument they think sounds best. In the end, what do I care? I don't own any guitars that are uncomfortable to play. I am getting paid to perform a service. I am cool with doing what I need to do in order to keep getting work and making my clients happy.

    * Now, if I showed up to a session and was handed a 1940s Kay archtop with OLD flat-wound strings and super-high action, then was told I had to do 13 songs on it, YEAH....there would be a problem and I would "argue" about the merits of my own guitars. But that has NEVER happened. I have been offered instruments that producers own - but I haven't be FORCED to use them, they are just there if I want to give them a try.
     
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  15. markd21

    markd21 New Member

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    I have never had it go that far. In truth I would say that 85% of the sessions I do it really isn't as intense as it's coming across. I have never had an artist or producer make me change strings or effects. Even with guitars, the only real time I have to go through a couple is when I do country. With country music a Tele, Strat, or Humbucker guitar COULD work - it just depends on what id going to sound BEST for the track.

    If I am doing leads - which is the bulk of my work...just doing solos on people's tunes - then it doesn't matter. I have NEVER had a producer/artist ask for a different instrument. Of course, I get a rough mix of the tune first to get the vibe and overall feel down. I pre-pick my guitar during my "pre-production" period. If I am working out of my own studio, doing DI'd tracks that will be shared via the Cloud, then I have some fun and play around with several guitars on separate tracks with different types of leads to give the producer/artist some stuff to chose from.

    Now, to share something on the flip.....from a producer/artist perspective.

    Before I decided to learn a little bit of piano, I would need to bring in a session player to play piano on my tracks. As a multi-instrumentalist/producer I was VERY brutal (not mean, but just very controlling) on what she, Dianna, would play on the tunes. We just used a MIDI controller and Arturia V Collection software, but I picked ALL the sounds she used, the octaves she used on various parts of the song, some of her chord inversions....

    It was hard for her because she has a style. It was hard for me because I KNEW what I wanted to hear, but I just couldn't play it. I wanted her to play and sound the way I wanted to play and sound. Thank God we're great, old friends. She worked her way through it, gave me some lessons, and while she still does some work for me, I have moved on to doing most of the keyboard work on my own.

    Point?

    As the artist/producer, I KNEW what I wanted to hear - down to the types of organs and pianos used on my songs. If I wanted to hear a Vox Continental, then that's what I wanted to hear. A lot of times the song parts were written around those specific sounds/instruments. I couldn't play them myself, but I HAD messed with the sounds and knew what was going to fit in the mix I was creating.

    I don't know, I hope that gives another perspective.....
     
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  16. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Speaking of client instrument requests, and things not to do in a session...

    Years and years ago I was doing some work for a car company’s ad campaign. The client had requested an original Americana style demo track. If approved, we’d record it with a live band.

    So anyway, the client showed up at my place to hear the demo sync’d to picture (in those days, I synchronized a 3/4 inch video machine to my multitrack tape machine, it was the only way clients could hear the music and watch picture to see how they matched up). He liked the track, but...

    “Les, this is pretty much what I want, but for the guitar part, you know what would really sound good? A big ol’ Rickenbacker like Tom Petty plays.”

    In those days, I was a little too full of myself [editorial note: you guys are all surprised, right? :rolleyes:] and got up from the console, grabbed a guitar case, opened it, and held up a Rick with a flourish that only a drama queen, dickweed such as myself would be dumb enough to do.

    “You mean like this one?”

    The guy’s face got red. Not a good sign. This was a demo. Getting the go-ahead gig was contingent on the subjective opinion of this client.

    Fortunately, I was able to smooth things over...



    Today I’d just say, “We’re on the same wavelength, I have one in the track, I’ll bring it up so you can hear it better.”
     
  17. BWV548

    BWV548 Custom Title

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    When I express skepticism about all of this stuff (not skepticism about the veracity of what’s being told. Skepticism about the approach that’s being taken), it’s not from the perspective of a me as a guitarist (it would be generous to call me that). It’s from the perspective of a composer. And I’ll fully admit that it may just be where the bulk of my experience has been. However, as much as I love quality gear, and understand how personal instruments can be, what I’ve read along this thread sort of screams of the kind of gear specificity fetishism that I just find overkill.
    I’ve written some really specific (perhaps pointlessly specific) music in my life, and the idea of asking a musician to use a specific brand of instrument over another, is just not something that comes near my prioritization radar. Perhaps if I really knew a given musicians playing and, say, really liked the sound that he/she got out of their gold vs their platinum flute, I’d ask for the gold flute to be played. But beyond that sort of situation, it’s important to me that THEY have a connection with their instrument, not that I have a connection with it. Not my role, as composer, in this collaboration. And getting involved to that extent would, IMO, be deleterious to the outcome.

    But perhaps it’s unfair of me to assume these two cultures to value the same things

    Edit: I should probably add that, at this point in my life, I’m firmly in the amateur camp, with zero professional aspirations. So these days, if my music is being played by humans (vs computers), I’m paying them, so have the roles of composer and client
     
    #77 BWV548, Jun 13, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019
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  18. markd21

    markd21 New Member

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    Yeah, really it's apples vs. oranges, right? I'm only speaking from the experience/perspective of being an electric guitarist that works in forums of pop music. The "world" I'm working in does contain some "fetishism" regarding sound. Believe it or not, some of my bassist friends get it worse. My friend, Sophie, does sessions on cello and NEVER gets told what to play. My drummer bud, Vance, brings at least 3 snares and 15-20 different cymbals in different sizes.

    I doubt that happens in the world you are speaking of. I would imagine that once a player reaches a certain level - like when they are loaned a "fine" (rare) instrument - a producer isn't going to say much. Also, in the classical world a "producer" is more of an engineer - setting up mics, pushing buttons, etc. The people calling the shots would be the composer and the conductor (to simplify things).

    So, really, as much as I can tell, we're talking apples vs. oranges. It's all good though - lol- learning perspectives is always fun.
     
    #78 markd21, Jun 13, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019
  19. BWV548

    BWV548 Custom Title

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    Indeed. And it’s not like the classical world doesn’t have its share of annoying and absurd **** to deal with
     
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  20. danktat

    danktat Award winning tattoo artist ... Amateur guitarist

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    It's funny how creative fields are similar. The shop I worked at in the early 2000s (just before I opened my own), was owned by a person who didn't actually tattoo. He was a business man who's main concern was the bottom line. He had friends from Vietnam that tattooed when they were stateside that taught him about the business while he was overseas. In his mind, the style that he wanted coming out of his shop was American Traditional. Old School. Sailor Jerry kind of stuff....with thick, solid outlines, pepper shading, lots of negative space and primary colors. (Which is exactly how I do NOT tattoo). He was wound up tight on the fact that fine line work didn't hold up over time and everything that comes out if his shop he wanted to last forever. To the point where he didn't want any of his artists using anything smaller than a tight 5 as a liner. Well, that wasn't going to fly with me because I was primarily a fine line artist.....so....I did a few pieces "illegally" out of my house after hours.....a couple of them ended up published in some tattoo magazines within a couple of weeks of each other with HIS SHOP NAME as to where I worked. A couple of days later, he approached me and said that he needed someone to handle some of that "new fangled" fine line crap.

    Nothing more, nothing less.....but that was my permission to tattoo a piece however I saw fit. But, I bet if his shop name wasn't published world wide, I would have been just like everyone else....subject to his bias on what a "real" tattoo was.
     

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