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Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #82265  by Billbbill
 Mon Jun 21, 2010 10:11 pm
tigerstrat wrote:
Counterstriker wrote:That's not the lick I mean but that is an awsome lick i would also love to know. The one I'm talking about almost sounds like a scale exercise but I can't seem to get it.
Are you talking about the E maj > E min walkdown over "I might be goin' to hell in a bucket, babe" ?
Wasn't so sure myself tiger but what I tabbed is the little ditty from 43 to 45 seconds as he mentioned. Took me a bit too. Had to slow it down. Not really sure it's even 100% right...
 #82273  by Jon S.
 Tue Jun 22, 2010 5:45 am
I would keep it simple.

(1) You'll always sound like yourself, even if you're trying - and succeeding - at sounding like someone else. So embrace your own style!

(2) Left hand: mixolydian mode, sometimes ionian (only difference from mixolydian = 7th scale tone), sometimes minor, with "special notes" (like the b5) as "seasoning."

(3) Right hand: tasteful use of triplets, in and of itself, will give you a Jerry feel and sound that will recognized immediately as such by your listeners.

(4) Perhaps the single most important thing I learned from Jerry on soloing. Whenever you learn a new song, always work out the *melody* line first. Then, immediately, for every song, you have 2 distinct solo options: with the melody; and against it.

(5) Learn a bunch of Jerry licks and lines verbatim. Called by some "building a riff library," it is a stock approach in some genres like metal and blues, and works for Dead, too. No, don't only play those licks. But deconstruct them, learn from them, throw them in your mix.
 #82278  by ugly rumor
 Tue Jun 22, 2010 6:47 am
But be careful!! There are lots of GD "cover" bands which sound good initially, but if you hear them 2-3 times you realize they are

A) playing the same song the same way every time, or

B) plugging in "riffs" that work musically, but are "tricks of the trade", or crutches to get through the song, or some other description that is NOT improvising and is NOT playing the song, so much as playing what sounds like the song, if you don't listen too closely.

That is why you should know your instrument, know your scales and theory, and know the song. Be able to interpret rather than copy. Many a good sounding GD cover band never makes a mistake, because they have essentially reduced the song to a "monkey see-monkey do" exercise, a circus trick, if you will. If you hear the bass player making the same run in several different songs, or the guitar player reverting to the same exercise repeatedly, then you are NOT listening to the dead! Improvisatory music is creative on the fly, and when the whole band is improvising, then there WILL BE CLAMS!

Why do you think the Grateful Dead was better in the '60s and '70s? The music was fresh, improvisatory, and not reduced to formula. "Drums& Space" was not a known and expected part of every performance.

So, PLAY the songs, bring your talent and perspective to the music, and we can yet again have an interesting version of "Perdido" (raise your hands if you understand that reference!).
 #82286  by dleonard
 Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:25 am
I think the most important thing, is to HAVE FUN
 #82294  by Counterstriker
 Tue Jun 22, 2010 8:58 am
Thanks alot Bill!! That's it! and thanks everyone! I usually mainly play Mixolydian and Ionian in songs like Bertha. I'm not really in a Dead cover band because we don't try to sound like them, I would just love to have Jerry's lick's and learn the way he constructs his solo in my playing, as well as many other players (trey, etc) but Jerry comes first!

Thanks alot guys! I've listening to old Dark Stars from the late 60's and picking up little licks and really starting to see his progression!

thanks again! :smile: :smile:
 #82297  by hogan
 Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:21 am
ugly rumor wrote: Why do you think the Grateful Dead was better in the '60s and '70s? The music was fresh, improvisatory, and not reduced to formula. "Drums& Space" was not a known and expected part of every performance.
The Grateful Dead was better in the '60's and '70's? Thanks for clearing that up for us.
 #82309  by Pete B.
 Tue Jun 22, 2010 10:39 am
ugly rumor wrote:But be careful!! There are lots of GD "cover" bands which sound good initially, but if you hear them 2-3 times you realize they are

A) playing the same song the same way every time, or

B) plugging in "riffs" that work musically, but are "tricks of the trade", or crutches to get through the song, or some other description that is NOT improvising and is NOT playing the song, so much as playing what sounds like the song, if you don't listen too closely.

That is why you should know your instrument, know your scales and theory, and know the song. Be able to interpret rather than copy. Many a good sounding GD cover band never makes a mistake, because they have essentially reduced the song to a "monkey see-monkey do" exercise, a circus trick, if you will. If you hear the bass player making the same run in several different songs, or the guitar player reverting to the same exercise repeatedly, then you are NOT listening to the dead! Improvisatory music is creative on the fly, and when the whole band is improvising, then there WILL BE CLAMS!

Why do you think the Grateful Dead was better in the '60s and '70s? The music was fresh, improvisatory, and not reduced to formula. "Drums& Space" was not a known and expected part of every performance.

So, PLAY the songs, bring your talent and perspective to the music, and we can yet again have an interesting version of "Perdido" (raise your hands if you understand that reference!).
Perdido [in my world] is a Pedal Steel "standard", typically done as an instrumental.
The typical solo'ing form is... Play the Melody, Embellish the Melody, Solo in a manner that displays your mastery of the instrument, give the guitar player and keyboard player a solo, Play the Melody, Tag it.
Funn Stuff!

On the "There Will be Clams" thing... C'mon... Guitar is a comparitively "low level of difficulty" instrument. It's not a fretless instrument. There are no Reeds involved. No "Embouchure" involved. You don't use both hands and both feet to play it. etc...
I'm glad to Clam out on my own time (home practice and band rehearsals), but at a gig I try to "Represent".
:cool:
 #82315  by ugly rumor
 Tue Jun 22, 2010 11:38 am
"Perdido" is a jazz standard. The point being, that if there were only one way to play it, then there would be no use in others trying to cover it. Almost every jazzman has made a recording of it since the forties. But they each made it his own.

The reference to Grateful Dead being better in the improvisatory era of the '60s and '70s is, of course, my own opinion, and reflects very accurately my approach to playing from their catalog. Those on this board who have played with me know that my approach can (and has) been described as "interesting", "different", etc., but never as predictable or perfunct. I don't think Phil ever played "Morning Dew" with a prethought that it would be double-stopped (chorded, or "bombed") or played with nothing but interesting note choices, before he started playing that song that night, in the early days. Musically he was a quick thinker, and was completely "in the moment". That is what I enjoy, and try to bring to the table. Of course, although I have listened to his influences from Shopenhaur and Kleinhausen to Scott Farrow, I am not Phil and cannot and would not want to be him. I like me, as a person, and as a musician. Each path is for each person's steps alone. I do not take anything away from those who like a different era of the Dead better, or those who like other forms of music, or have other interpretations of how it should be played. I have my outlook, just as Phil does, Jerry did, or you do. I respect and honor the differences. I try to be the best "me" that I can. Hopefully musically it will resonate somewhere, with someone, but if not, I make no appologies.

Peace to the rest of the family (we are one, right?)
 #82321  by Billbbill
 Tue Jun 22, 2010 2:41 pm
ugly rumor wrote: ...
The reference to Grateful Dead being better in the improvisatory era of the '60s and '70s is, of course, my own opinion, and reflects very accurately my approach to playing from their catalog. Those on this board who have played with me know that my approach can (and has) been described as "interesting", "different", etc., but never as predictable or perfunct. I don't think Phil ever played "Morning Dew" with a prethought that it would be double-stopped (chorded, or "bombed") or played with nothing but interesting note choices, before he started playing that song that night, in the early days. Musically he was a quick thinker, and was completely "in the moment". That is what I enjoy, and try to bring to the table. Of course, although I have listened to his influences from Shopenhaur and Kleinhausen to Scott Farrow, I am not Phil and cannot and would not want to be him. I like me, as a person, and as a musician. Each path is for each person's steps alone. I do not take anything away from those who like a different era of the Dead better, or those who like other forms of music, or have other interpretations of how it should be played. I have my outlook, just as Phil does, Jerry did, or you do. I respect and honor the differences. I try to be the best "me" that I can. Hopefully musically it will resonate somewhere, with someone, but if not, I make no appologies.

Peace to the rest of the family (we are one, right?)
Very well said... If there are anymore 'best era' discussions please have this post handy to copy and paste before they degenerate into ridiculousness. 8)
 #82325  by crazyfingerssotm
 Tue Jun 22, 2010 5:10 pm
Jon S. wrote:
(5) Learn a bunch of Jerry licks and lines verbatim. Called by some "building a riff library," it is a stock approach in some genres like metal and blues, and works for Dead, too. No, don't only play those licks. But deconstruct them, learn from them, throw them in your mix.
I wonder if you anyone has a basic list of such riffs, for I wonder often how to make the most of transcription when going note for note on solos can be counterproductive, but having a repertoire of licks that he used all the time during songs would be helpful. Any suggestions?
 #82448  by williamsaut
 Fri Jun 25, 2010 4:07 pm
I started trying to grab Jerry's sound soon after my first show in '83. Put down the acoustic and bought a '68 SG Custom I did. Paid $400 for it and boy I wish I still had that guitar now. It's worth 7K!! Right from the beginning there were licks I heard that I wanted to replicate. Almost every song has parts which are obligatory and pretty much must be played or it doesn't sound like the sound anymore. These are my core jerry licks. The rest was just a jam. Everyone here probably has traveled a similar path. From Young and full of energy but no musicianship and limited repertoire to older and listening more to your band mates as well as yourself. Along the way you hear/find more of what jerry was playing and it gets added to some of the 'obligatory' stuff and the jam goes on. I've gone back and listened to some studio stuff after many years and heard subtle things that I didn't hear before. I used to play stuff to death when I found something I liked. Only later did I realize the value in learning licks in more than one position.

Developing your own style of playing and putting together a reliable, versitilel rig with your own signature sound is more important than 'sounding like Jerry'. If you play the 'obligatory' parts and remember the words, people will dig it. It's jam band music number one and when I'm what I like to call 'Gettin' lucky', I milk it for all it's worth and when I'm out of material I back off and let someone else carry me. My bass player can 'read' this in my playing after 20yrs together. He know's when I want to blow and when I'm all done.

Get some tab for some studio stuff and play along. Make these your core 'jerry licks'. Steal other licks from live stuff along the way and use them when you’re improvising. Jerry used to pretty much run the gambit in live versions of songs like Me and My Uncle, Cumberland blues and El Paso. I like to make the music my own and try to stay true to the spirit of the music. Two of the hardest things I committed to memory and learned totally by ear from CDs were Bobby's Weather Report intro an the Peak part in the Slipknot jam right after the three diminished runs when it goes up in Em and comes back down in a bunch of coils and ends on A.
 #82455  by Jon S.
 Sat Jun 26, 2010 6:43 am
William, if I'm reading your post correctly, your approach and mine (described earlier) to "Jerry tone" are extremely close. Image
 #82479  by Counterstriker
 Sat Jun 26, 2010 7:42 pm
I don't go for a Jerry Tone, I;m trying to get my own unique tone down, I have a pretty good one going but the Single Coils aren't doing it for me (In the market for an SG at the moment).

I was listening to some Cover bands on Youtube and am seeing a repeat of theses Familiar Jerry licks - One band I came across "Splintered Sunlight" who are awsome! The Garcia player even sounds like him vocally! But I can relate to his playing, His style is heavily Jerry Influenced but I think I'm hearing a good amount of Trey and maybe some of his own style.