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There is a problem with a slow blues…

Chris98

Senior Member
Messages
1,115
... it’s painfully revealing!

I’m just listening back to a recording I did earlier today of a slow blues, not a performance just a work in progress. I was anticipating the painful intonation on some of the higher notes, which I know I need to work on as it’s 50:50 if they will even come out, but there was a lot of iffy goings on with the bits I thought I could play comfortably!

I really need to concentrate on what I want to do on some of the long sustained notes, I was under the impression my vibrato and dynamics were pretty smooth and tastefully added! Oh and I was getting the timing of the diminuendos wrong so that the note disappeared just too early.

Recording really is proving to be a useful, if painful learning tool at the moment!

I fear it’s a case of having played the tune a number of times I’ve grown accustomed to how I play it and my brain blurs the lines between what I’m actually playing and what I think I’m playing.

Just wondering if I’m alone in this self delusional state?
 

sharkfin

Member
Messages
198
Playing 'We'll meet again' out of an upstairs window to the street party below on VE Day was instructive. One of my friendly neighbours video recorded it unknown to me and emailed me the result. Still, they were very kind about it...
 

Jazzaferri

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,616
One of the best things we can do to improve is to listen to a recording of oneself that has a click track or other rhythm keeping device. Pick out the one thing you think most needs work and focus on that. Repeat ad nauseam. You will improve.
 

tenorviol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Subscriber
Messages
5,791
One of the problems playing most instruments, but especially wind instruments is it's rather like hearing recording of you speaking. What we hear as we speak/play is not the same as what the outside world hears because the sound we hear is affected by the resonance inside our head for example. That's part of the reason it sounds different. I hate the sound of my recorded voice...
 

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
Messages
4,545
I think we can all sympathize with your plight but I’m always encouraged by a story of Michelangelo (the artist- not the teenage mutant ninja turtle). Apparently when he came down from painting the ceiling of Sistine chapel in Rome and the scaffolding was removed, he looked crestfallen and announced he wasn’t really happy with the way it had come out. A true story apparently
 

randulo

Playing alto 2 ⅓ years
Subscriber
Messages
4,138
As others have said,
  • You are your harshest critic.
  • You know what you wanted to play
  • Slow is hardest
  • People who aren't saxophonists often won't hear the mistakes you hear
  • It's common to most artists to doubt their work. Orson Welles was considered a genius in his time. I'll never forget what he said when asked if he ever had doubts about the quality of his work. "Every morning when I wake up!" he said. I think that was posturing, though. But Oscar Peterson said he cried when he first heard Art Tatum saying, "Daddy, that can't be one many playing that!". I'm more inclined to believe that one.

One suggestion, though, is to make sure you are able to use repeats for structure. When you listen to all the old blues/rock greats like Lee Allen, they play a phrase, play it again, then play it a third time with the minor third for the 5th and 6th bars of a 12-bar blues. If you can do that in a solid and confident way, that's a long way towards playing slow blues. L-Hearing it that way makes sense, even to non-musical folks.
 

Hammie 1982

Member
Messages
46
Ive resigned myself back into the absolute darkest of corners for my playing for the next while!!
Decided to record myself playing something and listened back!!!!! 6 months work and ill try again lol
 

sharkfin

Member
Messages
198
I'm trying Garageband after someone here said it was free with MacBook Pro. Have recorded myself playing a twelve bar on piano and playing along with my T J. So far, so very average.
The question is, should I buy the keyboard to input other built in voices. I'm not sure how I would then use it. If I don't do it before the lockdown finishes, I'll never do it and then possibly regret it.

If anyone has the time and inclination to offer their thoughts that would be much appreciated.
 

randulo

Playing alto 2 ⅓ years
Subscriber
Messages
4,138
The question is, should I buy the keyboard
Assuming you can play something on a keyboard, it's well worth getting a M-Audio Mini32 or something similar. I do not play keyboard, but I do input chords faster just stumbling around. Worst case, I play single notes and fill in the chordal harmony by hand using copy/paste. It goes in via USB and is powered. Best investment of my career and I don't even play piano!

Screen Shot 2020-05-19 at 16.52.29.png
 

Caz

Member
Messages
267
My thought process about a recording usually goes something like this: “That was quite decent” -> “Holy ****, that was terrible i shouldn’t have posted that at all”
But i remember being proud of them all at some point, at least for a few hours or so.
 

TBay

Member
Messages
42
It’s also important to remember why you are doing the recording, do yu want a perfect example of you at your best technically? Or are you looking for a high energy dynamic performance? As an example (all on bass not sax, but the principle is the same) I have recently been doing some band stuff in isolation for the special school some of us work at. One is a reworking of another brick in the wall (different lyrics rewrittten to be positive about what is happening at the moment). The four of us recorded individually and the bass is so distinctive it had to be spot on and by some miracle I managed a first and did it in one take. The other is a reworking of a song we did at last years school festival, there are a couple of bits I am not 100% happy with but the ‘feel’ is spot on as it’s such a high energy sing the odd mistake really doesn’t matter. I know of several occasions when playing live where we have made a real howler and no one notices - even had one guy complimented us on a song we murdered once!

I am sure most people who have really analysed a song they thought of as perfect have found some bits that were wrong - there are some really famous ones left in. I think that musicians are sometimes their worst enemies and whilst a desire to improve should always be there, you must be careful not to let this stop you enjoying what you are doing now. The guy who is teaching me is a perfect example of that, the most talented musician I have ever met but who hates playing live as he feels he isn’t good enough!

TLDR - it may be worth letting someone else hear it as they may think it’s fine.
 
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Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,640
Now here’s a fun thing that I do. Slow blues can be tricky things, trying to think up what and how to play. As someone else said, players learn licks, short runs of notes that just fit. so here’s the rub, download a number of different slow blues tracks all in the same key, but make sure they are all different. Play around with them until you feel comfortable and you will start to recognise these different licks forming for each tune. Now comes the fun part. Try playing the lick you used on one track on another and so on. You may find that your playing a B.B King style lick to a Peter Green tune and so on. It’s a really fun way to spice up a practice or even a jam session!
 
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