Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

Musical Theory Abound!!!
 #18099  by Shaggy
 Tue Jun 12, 2007 10:57 am
Just to make things interesting. In terms of our playing and our music.

Are you in a band, or flying solo, or just playing at home or with friends or just starting out?

If so tell us about it.

Also what are you working on at the moment, we all have things we want to improve on and aim for, if so where are we at?

I'll start off. Living in England I am cut off from any dead or jamband style scene, so meeting likeminded musicians in that sense is more or a less a non starter. But I am currently playing bass in an electric band, I was the last guy to join and they already have two guitarists and just wanted to someone to play bass. I took it because you never turn down chances of possible work. We've played a few pub gigs so far and it's fun.

Meanwhile I'm still working away mainly on acoustic, trying to write some songs and hopefully get some proper playing in public soon and some gigs off the back of the band I'm in.

Playing wise I am working a lot on slide and trying to improve playing in different times structures and spicing up chord changes. It's really tough sometimes to break out of the same old stuff.

 #18101  by mutant_dan
 Tue Jun 12, 2007 11:09 am
I have 2 young children, a 40 hour work week and I play the role of soccer dad 100% of the time. Finding time to get the groove going with others is very difficult. I spend any free time I have at work jamming in the park across the street. I am flying solo at this time. Mostly working on my mandolin chops on songs that I play on guitar.

I am hoping to get a weekend acoustic jam going soon.

 #18111  by amyjared
 Tue Jun 12, 2007 11:53 am
Yeah, I'm also the father of two youngins, 5 and 2, both girls, and work 40+ hrs, but I'm a teacher, so during summer I play full-time daddy while my wife still works. Doesn't leave much time. That being said, I am in a band, Basement Jelly, and we have a few gigs lined up this summer including a short one one next weekend. We are a classic rock cover band and our setlist for next week is:

Dead Flowers
Rock and Roll (Lou Reed version)
Low Spark of High Heeled Boys
The Core
Up on Cripple Creek
White Room
Casey Jones
Steady As She Goes
The Weight

We get together about twice a month in my basement to play. Other than that, I play acoustic each night after the kids are asleep. Also have a friend this summer setting up every-other Sunday acoustic jams from 1-4, which I'm hoping to fit in on occasion. There you have it.

 #18113  by Shaggy
 Tue Jun 12, 2007 12:19 pm
You guys mention work, I took a little time out a while ago to try and write a book. I ended up writing two. One started out as a book on the shifts in music through people from the uk and Ireland to America and it ended up a book solely on the Irish Folk group The Dubliners. The other book is fiction, but based on experiences. Both are yet to find a publishing home after many rewrite's and I doubt they ever will. But there's hope. In the end I think I'll end up sticking them both on line in a blog somewhere.

So I am back at work doing full time hours again, so music and the rest comes when I can fit it in.

 #18123  by BlobWeird
 Tue Jun 12, 2007 1:04 pm
Hey Shaggy I'd love to read your fiction novel if youd care to share it.

 #18129  by Shaggy
 Tue Jun 12, 2007 1:22 pm
Yeah sure. I'm trying to rewrite it again and get it together. If I put it on-line I will put up a link on here or send out a file.

 #18130  by hesgone95
 Tue Jun 12, 2007 1:23 pm
Like Shaggy, I live abroad as well, in a place where the Dead is unknown. Most of the time I fly solo at home on my acoustic. Reacently though I just picked up a very cheap Washburn electric and a no name amp. Also I've been playing a couple times a week with this guy from Australia. But he's leaving the country in a few weeks, so I'll be solo again for awhile.

I guess what I'm working on at the moment is getting up my chops on the electric. I'm pretty inexperienced with the electric. Also I'm trying to develop as a lead player, trying to get away from the noodly-improvised aproach and be more focused on following the changes and/or vocal melody. Good thing all this work gives me such a great deal of enjoyment! Oh, and I'm also trying to develop my voice, but that's a losing, never-ending project....

 #18132  by Banjomike0319
 Tue Jun 12, 2007 1:56 pm
I am currently in a Folk/Bluegrass band, me and another guitarist and his guitar teacher play all the time. Usually its me on banjo the Teacher on Mando or fiddle and the guitarist.

We play open mics all the time and sometimes go out to the frisby golf course and play there.

We play usually 2 sets:

Set 1: Bluegrass

Pig in a Pen
Midnight Moonlight
BlackBerry Blossom
Kisimme Kid
Wild Horses
White Dove
Some times land of the navajo

Set 2:
New Speedway Boogie
Deep Elm
Dont Ease Me in
U.S. Blues

 #18137  by gratephulphish123
 Tue Jun 12, 2007 2:40 pm
i'm in a band who used to cover rhcp, i'm trying to break new material in because rhcp gets boring, quick. trying to break in some phish or dead tunes, i get em to play fire on the mountain and i turned my bassist on to moe so... maybe no more chili peppers... please god?

 #18148  by golfnutt
 Tue Jun 12, 2007 8:34 pm
Like some of the others I am a father of two and work 40+ hrs a week.

My favorite time of the day is when the kids are in bed and I can play my guitars.

Moved to Arizona a few years ago.My youngest daughter spent the first 4.5 months of her life in the hospital it was during this difficult time I got reaquinted with my guitar. It was a great release and theropy for me.

I play solo but now that she's doing so well I have tried to get plugged into the music scene a little here. They a couple cool Dead cover bands here locally and a pretty cool scene hope to hook up with some people in the near future.

 #18158  by d-v-s
 Wed Jun 13, 2007 3:12 am
I with Shaggy and hesgone, in that I'm also living abroad, in Turkey, where there's not much chance to find anybody to jam with. The only people that listen to American music are the kids (under 18's) and they're all into either rap/pop, or punk (Megadeath, Metallica, Slipknot, etc.), so I'm pretty much jamming alone all the time.

My free-time got shot about 6 months ago when my wife and I had our first child. Then about 2 months ago, my wife got into an accident, broke her arm in a bunch of places, and had to get titanium plates and screws installed to put her back together. Well, that meant that I had to pick up the slack on the house-work and baby watching, and give up what was left of my guitar time. I'm lucky if I get about 5-6 hours of playing in per week.

When I do play, I've been trying to get some songs down that I can sing-play without looking at any written notes. Up to now, I was trying to learn as many songs as possible, and not really focusing on making them sound good. That was good for me to experience a lot of different timings, chord changes, and figure out what I can and can't sing/play.

I have this huge stack of tabs from all over the place. I chose about 30 songs that I know all the lyrics and music to, and I try to play all 30 on the weekend when/if I find some free time. That pretty much takes up all my guitar time at the moment.

Things I'm trying to improve on: learing how to use a slide (got some great advice from y'all on this one - thanks), and finger-picking.

 #18162  by G'Dad
 Wed Jun 13, 2007 5:20 am
Having taken early retirement I am living in France (I am English).

I do not work in paid employment but my ‘work’ is getting the old Breton cottage we bought and its garden sorted out. We are nearly there!!

Musically this does give me time to concentrate on my playing. I did play bass in a band when I was younger and started playing again about 5 years ago now on acoustic and feel with the help of this site my musical understanding and knowledge has much improved and this has given me renewed enthusiasm to continue and improve further.

I am now playing acoustic/electric mostly on my own but do have a friend living close by who is an ex guitar pro and we do get together to play now and again and while he is not heavily into the dead there are several dead songs we play. By luck my friend recently met a bass player and there is a possibility of all three of us getting together.

I do feel that playing with other people would be of great benefit to my playing.

Working on learning different chord shapes to enhance my playing rather than the basic chords I used for so long.

 #18163  by germfisk
 Wed Jun 13, 2007 5:22 am
Since all the cool kids here are doing it (apparently), I also am the father of 2 young kids, and have a regular job. I live near Indianapolis and play guitar and harmonica, usually by myself after the kids go to bed. Every now and again I will play with a blues band or with someone else at a bar.

 #18171  by AugustWest
 Wed Jun 13, 2007 6:43 am
I too work a 50 hour a week and hang out with my wife. No kids yet but I have 3 dogs who are active parts of my faimly. I also take in foster dogs and cats with health issues and they take a bunch of my time as well. I still find time to play in a band one night a week. Not gigging or anything. I play bass when we play electric but I play acoustic guitar if we want to break it down bluegrass style. The banjo/saxphone/keyboard player in the group should probably be playing out somewhere he is one of the absolute best musicans I've ever heard. We play mostly covers and a few songs that I wrote a while back. cover mainly dead, allmans, traditonal bluegrass and blues tunes, but usally we just jam around a random chord progression for 20 minutes or so. I keep an acoustic guitar at work in the mens bathroom (only have 5 males that work at my job and there is 6 male bathrooms so we all agreed to designate our own personal bathroom.) And I waste at least an hour of my work day playing and singing very quietly.

 #18176  by BuddhaG
 Wed Jun 13, 2007 7:45 am
golfnutt wrote:Moved to Arizona a few years ago... They a couple cool Dead cover bands here locally and a pretty cool scene hope to hook up with some people in the near future.

I was on youtube the other day watching vids of the dead and this came up, thought you might be interested as these guys are from Tuscon...

AugustWest, that is really quite funny dude. How is it that you have that many bathrooms at work?

I put this off till last because I am pretty lazy with working on new stuff in my playing. Mostly spend my time learning/finding cool progressions to jam on and introduce to people when a group gets together and needs something to jam on. Also work on my leads by jamming along to the dead and other blues/rock/jazz stuff.

My passion is finding other people to play with. When you play on your own, you only have to deal with one person keeping time, but when you are with a group of musicians, the dynamics are much more interesting. I am trying to find ways to create space for everyone in the group to do their own groovy thing while finding my own voice at the same time.

I'm home for summer now so I have been playing alone a lot and that gets boring pretty quickly for me. I have been trying to sing songs but I am not a great singer though I took a voice lesson last week and am taking another one this week. But those lessons are damn expensive...

I need to push myself to memorize more songs instead of just playing whatever pleases my ear at the moment, and to start recording my musical ideas in writing and audio. I like to write poetry in my free time so I'm trying to find a way to blend my music with my words.

Always searching for my true self in music...