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Musicians, what are you working on?

Moe_Syzlak

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It seems looking at some recent threads in this forum that we have at least a few musicians. Well, I’m bored on a Saturday night and have been practicing my guitar and thought I’d start a thread. I’ve always got a few different things going on. Recently, especially with COVID, I’ve been working on my solo acoustic stuff. Acoustic has never been my primary instrument and I’ve never had a ton of confidence in my singing so I tend to go for unusual song choices. Right now I’m working on three new cover songs, all solo acoustic (though I do utilize a looper). I’m polishing my version of Bohemian Rhapsody. I transposed it down a minor third (and also downtune to Eb) to get it remotely singable for me. I’m also working on Sweet Child O Mine. Playing that guitar solo on an acoustic is a challenge. Finally I’m just starting on Charlie Parker’s Donna Lee. I play a few jazz tunes but this would be the most ambitious to date if I can get it up to snuff. I also am always writing. But right now I just have a lot of parts but nothing really coalescing into a full song. If I liked writing lyrics more that might help. One of my sons likes writing lyrics so I’ve been helping him add music to them, if that counts.

So I know there are others here that play various instruments. Are you in bands? What’s your practice routine like? What are you working on? Do you write original music? It’s definitely my main creative outlet so I’d love to talk here more about it.
 

The Scribbling Man

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Most of my life is channelled into music. I manage and play in a progressive rock band. We have an album recently finished and prepping for release. I play guitar, keys and backing vocals.

I write a lot solo stuff as well, which tends to be either more experimental or folky. Not much of that is out yet, but I wrote/recorded an album during lockdown, and also a cover EP that I need to finish polishing.

I'd be very keen to write original music for a fanedit re-score at some stage, but I haven't found the right project for that yet.

In regards to practice routine, I barely have the time to think like that atm. I'm either working on my stuff, or working on band stuff, or working on masters stuff. Lately I've been prepping for a research informed performance that's meant to demonstrate a particular guitar technique. So for that, I've been teaching myself hybrid picking. I picked pieces by Yes, Albert Lee, Richard Thompson and Mastodon, alongside some improvisation, to demonstrate the technique.
 

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I'm working on a blues/heavy rock album. My music is always instrumental covers of songs of all genres, usually transformed into a sortof symphonic metal style.

But for this album I wanted to tribute a style of music that inspired me to be fascinated with guitar in the first place: Blues.

So the album will be mostly blues songs transformed into blues/heavy rock. Lots of Freddie King instrumentals (which will make transcribing convenient since they are already meant to be instrumentals) with Johnny Winter/Stevie Ray Vaughan style leads but with a nice thick rhythm section like aerosmith or I guess any other heavy blues inspired rock band. But not just stuff like that, I also plan on having some more mellow stuff without the rock, I'm toying with doing some chill Robert Cray covers as well. (His stuff is very pretty and i think could be transformed into instrumentals).

I think it'll be cool.
 

DigModiFicaTion

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I'm a closet musician. Took years of music theory training and have been playing stringed instruments for almost three decades...wow, never thought about that before. I play lots of guitar by myself and have played with some friends, but only ever performed once with a band. I did have some fun jam sessions on my deck that people would stop by and dance to. That was fun. I suppose I'm insecure with my guitar skills to the point of not taking chances with it. I do work with young people and try to help them experience and play music. I'd love to get a group together and finally play and make some music. I've just never been fond of public performance.

The stuff I hear in my head and that my fingers like tends to be bossanova-ish or jazz wannabe progressions and phrases or heavy riff licks. I'm into jazz, fusion, funk, and rock that grooves.
 

Moe_Syzlak

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Sounds like lots of cool stuff. If anyone would like to share clips I’d love to hear it. I’m pretty terrible at recording and literally use GarageBand or the camera on my iPhone 🤣 so I doubt anyone wants to hear anything of mine. I know a few of you already have other threads sharing your stuff, but hopefully more will follow suit. And don’t be shy about sharing here too even if you do have another thread.
 

Moe_Syzlak

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After a week of transcribing a few measures of the head per day, I’ve got the A section of Donna Lee done (about half the tune), but I’m only playing it at 50% speed. I’m going to get the whole thing under my fingers before working on increasing the tempo. It’s way harder than I thought. Maybe others have figured out easier fingerings but I want to transcribe it myself.
 

Moe_Syzlak

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I’ve been sick with a non-COVID cold the last few days so haven’t been doing as much transcribing. But I do have the whole head for Donna Lee transcribed. Now I’m going to break it into phrases to drill with a metronome. I’m still only at ~90 bpm totally cleanly and that’s only about 1/2 of the speed I’m hoping to get it to, which is going to be tough on an acoustic.
 
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Moe_Syzlak

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I’ve been sick with a non-COVID cold the last few days so haven’t been doing as much transcribing. But I do have the whole head for Donna Lee transcribed. Now I’m going to break it into phrases to drill with a metronome. I’m still only at ~90 bpm totally cleanly and that’s only about 1/2 of the speed I’m hoping to get it to, which is going to be tough on an acoustic.
Well I’m up to 140 bpm. But I still have brain farts at that speed, so it’s not one hundred percent in muscle memory yet. We leave for an almost two week vacation on Wednesday so I’m hoping that the time off doesn’t diminish my progress too much. At 140 it is starting to sound right. I’d like to get it to at least 180, but preferably over 200.
 

Last Impressions

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Right you lot...i want to see some edits with your music in them...like personal music videos 🤟 :)

Put your tunes over shots of the local street cats if you like. Ive been working on a video of my brothers band for about 15 years ...i must finish it :)
 

ArtisDead

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Found some old unmastered recordings from 2001 that we recorded at a famous studio in Muscle Shoals, AL before it was restored into a museum. Some serious raw jam band type stuff with congas, keys, etc. We were all so stoned!

Now that I know Adobe Audition as well as driving a car, I'm going to take those old reels and mess around with them...

Who knows where that will lead
 

The Scribbling Man

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My hybrid picking masters performance is out of the way now. Went reasonable... I think. Life circumstances meant my practice wasn't as consistent as I wanted it to be.

Now to crack on with the next major performance - a 30-minute "performance portfolio", and my tutor will oversee that I pick pieces that challenge me. Currently considering a trimmed version of "Eruption" by Focus merged with a bit of "Hocus Pocus" at the end (the riff is actually referenced in "Eruption" briefly, so it felt like a natural link). Being a faneditor, I've naturally already made a rough draft edit of the sections i'd like to perform:

(FYI this is around 30 minutes worth of music edited down to 6.5 minutes - gotta make room for other pieces!)


Eruption plays the Hocus Pocus riff very fast, so I sped hocus pocus up to match that... which sounds crazy, but isn't actually too far off the speed they play it live. But I imagine for the performance it might be worth striking a medium between the two.

I'm also considering doing a Dream Theater medley. "The Clap" by Steve Howe had to be dropped from my Hybrid Picking performance to make things more manageable, so I'll be playing that for this performance instead.
 

Moe_Syzlak

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We’re currently in Budapest, but I did bring my acoustic. But we’re only home brief periods of the day and so I’m only practicing about 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening, and very little with a metronome. Still Donna Lee is at about 80% of full speed. @The Scribbling Man , do you ever work on jazz? I was mildly surprised at what a finger twister this tune is. I did my own transcription so there are probably easier ways to play in on guitar but it jumps around quite a bit.

On another musical note, we took the kids to the symphony in Vienna. We saw Bruckner’s 7th and the kids quite enjoyed it and want to go more often. We plan to see some jazz while here. My old guitar teacher and voice coach (two different people; a married couple) are jazz musicians from Hungary and gave me some good club recommendations.
 
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The Scribbling Man

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@The Scribbling Man , do you ever work on jazz?

I like Jazz, and I used to play a little back in college, but generally I haven't had much opportunity to get into playing it in recent years. I listen to it more than I play it; I have some go-to albums when the mood takes me. I feel like there's music and then there's jazz. To play it, you have to commit to it. I'm the sort of guy that likes to dip into a lot of genres, and that's a hard one to dip into and do justice to. I'd really like to put some time aside to get more into it though.
 

Moe_Syzlak

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I like Jazz, and I used to play a little back in college, but generally I haven't had much opportunity to get into playing it in recent years. I listen to it more than I play it; I have some go-to albums when the mood takes me. I feel like there's music and then there's jazz. To play it, you have to commit to it. I'm the sort of guy that likes to dip into a lot of genres, and that's a hard one to dip into and do justice to. I'd really like to put some time aside to get more into it though.
Oh I agree 100%. For me, it is totally a toe dip every now and then. No one is going to mistake me for a jazz player. And I’ve never been the fastest player. To me it’s just about thinking changes and trying to be melodic. Here’s a quick example of All the Things You Are. It’s nothing that will impress the real jazz guys, but I find it fun to stretch myself every now and then.

ATTYA (solo starts ~1:05)
 
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ThrowgnCpr

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Covid and normal life for dudes in their 40s put a fork in my band, but we have been sloooooooowly working on new material remotely. I've also been going through recordings of practice sessions from one of my old bands to try to archive some of the songs (we never properly recorded anything). It will be a while before I finish that up, but it has been fun to get a lot more comfortable with Reaper. I had previously used Logic, and I am super happy to not have to deal with a Mac. I am loving Reaper.
 

Moe_Syzlak

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After an almost two week vacation and no real practice, I didn’t get worse at Donna Lee but I’m still hovering around 140-145 bpm. Kids are back in school tomorrow so hopefully I can get back to regular practice.
 
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