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Discussion Starter #1
Here is the situation...

I have been gigging playing sax and a little acoustic guitar with a rocknroll band for the past 4 months (I play guitars and piano in other bands here and there that seldomly gig). Rock and roll to me runs from the soulful/bluesy Rolling Stones to bluesy blues to funky stuff like Always on the Run by Lenny Kravitz. I don't play on the Zepellin tunes. The originals are pretty good.

They are quite good and I am improving, it is a lot of fun.

The singer is soulful, the drummer is great and the bass player lays it down nicely.

The two guitarists are very different. One plays with a ton of feeling, sounds great. The other is technically great, flashy, fast and with much less soul and feeling (the band has been together for 10 years, he has been with them for 1 year).

At gigs, it is interesting to see that the crowd likes both, soulful or flashy.

The guys in the band however feel it is not a good fit. This was realized by recording some originals and listening to a groovin' song, but solos were out of place. It seems like he doesn't hear the rest of the band getting funky and grooving- his solos are always ripping, not the mood of the songs. This made me think/feel, 'I do not want to record and put this out with his playing'. I won't be proud of it. Other band members echoed what I thought, one likes having the guitar players with very different styles.

So, he has been asked to lay back, settle down, play smoothe, listen more etc. Unfortunately, he is type A personality(everything is a competition etc.) and gets angry when we try to speak about it.

Can we really tell someone how to play?
Can this be taught? (playing soulfully with feeling, not just playing notes)
How do you tell someone it isn't the right fit, we are letting you go? (in addition, his brother is the bass player:shock: ).

Is it worth trying to work with someone or better/easier to move on?

I'd love to hear comments, experiences and thoughts....
 

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I guess that's what a producer is for. If you are recording in a studio there should be someone overseeing the entire input to the recording. Someone who is not a band member whose job is to make sure everything that goes into the recording project just "fits".
It may be difficult for individuals to give up some of their authority but in the real world that is the way most recordings get done.
 

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It takes a very special musician who can still learn from the input of others once they've reached a level of proficiency they feel is adequate. I find this most often the case with "noodlers"; guys that just play and play, filling every break and stepping on vocals and other instrumental solos. You can never get through to them, and I don't even bother anymore.
 

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My experience has been exactly like Grumps'. When you get to a certain level on your instrument, your personality comes through. You can't change a guy's personality.
 

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RJRusso said:
Can we really tell someone how to play?

Can this be taught? (playing soulfully with feeling, not just playing notes)

How do you tell someone it isn't the right fit, we are letting you go? (in addition, his brother is the bass player:shock: ).
I'll take a stab at these three questions.

1) No
2) No
3) Tell them exactly as you state it here.
 

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If you let him go ,his brother might leave too.Many guitar players are my way or the highway types.Is it in your best interest overall to bite it and make due with this band and maybe start another project as well or let the sh** hit the fan knowing you will be facing regrouping Sounds like egos are sensitive here and unfortunately honesty as the best policy isn't a guarantee of longevity.
 

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Tough situation. But right now its not working so you have to talk to the guy. Either he will change/ advance with his skills (and not in the way he thinks he should by playing faster, louder more notes) or you will have to remove him from the band. Your options are limited.
 

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A few ideas...

RJRusso said:
At gigs, it is interesting to see that the crowd likes both, soulful or flashy.

The guys in the band however feel it is not a good fit. This was realized by recording some originals and listening to a groovin' song, but solos were out of place. It seems like he doesn't hear the rest of the band getting funky and grooving- his solos are always ripping, not the mood of the songs. This made me think/feel, 'I do not want to record and put this out with his playing'. I won't be proud of it. Other band members echoed what I thought, one likes having the guitar players with very different styles.
I get the impression you are writing about the guitar player who has been with the band for a year. I also get the impression that this issue came up somewhat recently after a recording session. If the player had enough potential to make it a year, it seems like it would be worth working at this.

One option that may be worth thinking about is that the band leader could reassign solos for the groovin' songs to the players who's solos fit the music best. Also, one or more songs could be recorded that would provide music that fits the solos of the player who is technically great, flashy, and fast. This seems like a win-win situation.

RJRusso said:
So, he has been asked to lay back, settle down, play smoothe, listen more etc. Unfortunately, he is type A personality(everything is a competition etc.) and gets angry when we try to speak about it.

Can we really tell someone how to play?
Possibly. This is hard to answer without knowing more about the group dynamics. It would seem that the band leader would have the most influence, especially if proceeding with great care and strong people skills.

RJRusso said:
Can this be taught? (playing soulfully with feeling, not just playing notes)
Yes, especially by a great teacher. One idea is to hire someone who is both a great teacher and a great musician for what I'll call a band coaching session. This teacher musician could be asked to offer suggestions to each player and to the group as a whole, for the growth of each member of the group, and the group as a whole.

RJRusso said:
How do you tell someone it isn't the right fit, we are letting you go? (in addition, his brother is the bass player:shock: ).

Is it worth trying to work with someone or better/easier to move on?

I'd love to hear comments, experiences and thoughts....
These seem like decisions for the band leader, who should proceed very, very carefully in such situations.

With the limited information I have here, my vote is to work through this.
 

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RJRusso said:
Here is the situation...

I have been gigging playing sax and a little acoustic guitar with a rocknroll band for the past 4 months (I play guitars and piano in other bands here and there that seldomly gig). Rock and roll to me runs from the soulful/bluesy Rolling Stones to bluesy blues to funky stuff like Always on the Run by Lenny Kravitz. I don't play on the Zepellin tunes. The originals are pretty good.

They are quite good and I am improving, it is a lot of fun.

The singer is soulful, the drummer is great and the bass player lays it down nicely.

The two guitarists are very different. One plays with a ton of feeling, sounds great. The other is technically great, flashy, fast and with much less soul and feeling (the band has been together for 10 years, he has been with them for 1 year).

At gigs, it is interesting to see that the crowd likes both, soulful or flashy.

The guys in the band however feel it is not a good fit. This was realized by recording some originals and listening to a groovin' song, but solos were out of place. It seems like he doesn't hear the rest of the band getting funky and grooving- his solos are always ripping, not the mood of the songs. This made me think/feel, 'I do not want to record and put this out with his playing'. I won't be proud of it. Other band members echoed what I thought, one likes having the guitar players with very different styles.

So, he has been asked to lay back, settle down, play smoothe, listen more etc. Unfortunately, he is type A personality(everything is a competition etc.) and gets angry when we try to speak about it.

Can we really tell someone how to play?
Can this be taught? (playing soulfully with feeling, not just playing notes)
How do you tell someone it isn't the right fit, we are letting you go? (in addition, his brother is the bass player:shock: ).

Is it worth trying to work with someone or better/easier to move on?

I'd love to hear comments, experiences and thoughts....
I've run into this problem before. This guy plays the way he does because it's a reflection of his personality. He's of the chops school, a machine. I've played with guys who have amazing 'machine' chops, but know how to use them. However, when you run into a guy who doesn't, and who reacts defensively when he's called on it, then my experience is that it's best to do what's best for the band. It sometimes helps to look at it in reverse...if you had a band of chopmeisters (and that was their focus...their overriding aesthetic principle) and one of the guys was a great soulful player who just didn't do the chops thing...would he stay in the band? Probably not....

A musician just can't do what he's not psychologically suited to do. I'd have THE talk with him....

bigtiny
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you all.

I told ya it was kind of interesting.

In the past I've seen fights etc. due to different feelings/styles. It isn't that someone sucks, the playing just doesn't fit with the band as a whole. This usually ends up in someone saying 'I'm done, bye'. As someone said my way or the highway. Musicians can take things so personally sometimes.

It is tough...a personality can't be changed, and therefore playing can't. If we can't get the player to maybe make a realization, it is, to me, time for THE talk.

I have no say as I am still a bit of an outsider, but they like me.

If it were me, and someone said, relax, play more melodic here, I would get it. And work hard at it. Or leave because I was certain this is how I want to play!

Thanks again, feel free to add more thoughts...
 

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Why, not give him solo's on the songs that fit his flashy technical style. It will still go with the music and sound good. While the other gutair player who plays with sould give him the Blues, and so on.
If the fans like him, you got to keep the techinical one.
Just my 2 Cents
 

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Put another way, your problem is not an artistic one (although there are artistic elements to it), it's a management one.

Push comes to shove, any group of more than two or three people needs to come up with some structure, the better to sort out problems like this. Even though you may not be making much money, you are still part of a group that needs to go in one direction at a time, not wherever the members choose to roam.

When it comes to talent, you need to make a value judgement: Is this or that person worth the disruption that they are causing. When the answers turn to more than 51% "No!" a leader (de facto or [de jure[/i], it matters not who) needs to "enforce" the group's policy.

What? You don't have such a policy? In that case, the all ways at once attitude may have become so institutionalized that changing now will make no difference. It might be time to restructure and find some new staff that are going the way you want them to.

Once money comes into the picture, it's a very good idea to elect a "leader", entrust him or her with the power needed to make the group work, and then go forward from there.

I've known a lot of musicians who were not the absolute tops in their field. (I probably fall into that category myself, save only for my bass clarinet playing...) However, they have qualities that make them far more valuable to a group than a prima don or dona who can knock people's socks off with performance, but who are real pains in the *** in the bargain.
 
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