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  1. #1
    Hot For Teacher psrajam91's Avatar
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    Default Upcoming Guitar Competition. Advice?

    Hey guys,

    as you may know, I go to IU Bloomington, majoring in Business.

    The Business Careers in Entertainment Club is hosting the fifth annual Hoosier Guitar Idol, which is a competition for guitar players. I was wondering if any of you guys had any advice for what to do in the competition, and where I can improve and increase my chances to win. We are NOT allowed to play covers.

    Here's me and who I am up against: http://www.indiana.edu/~bcec/hgi11_submissions.html

    I'm the third guy on the left.

    I like to think I might have won last year if I hadn't been disqualified for some BS. Oh well... thats why IM GOING TO WIN THIS YEAR

  2. #2
    5150 LudwigVonDrumCrazy's Avatar
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    if you were the guy who said are you ready to have you faces melted off
    I can see why you lost. Dont go to a guitar competition trying to be EVH...
    be yourself...
    If cleanliness were next to Godliness, then that would make you the devil...(CLUTCH)...

  3. #3
    Hot For Teacher psrajam91's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LudwigVonDrumCrazy View Post
    if you were the guy who said are you ready to have you faces melted off
    I can see why you lost. Dont go to a guitar competition trying to be EVH...
    be yourself...
    That wasnt even why I lost...It's because I improvised a solo over the chord progression for Comfortably Numb, which was not original enough. I didn't tap or play fast once during the second round.
    Also, totally didnt mean to say that. Just kinda happened.

    I went into this competition trying to bring back that sort of playing in this town. Every who solos comes off sounding like a generic blues player, and I was trying real hard to break from that sort of thing...

  4. #4
    Whoa, this is heavy! Jedi McFly's Avatar
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    Two pieces of advice:

    1) Completely agree with Ludwig, be yourself. Trying to do that when you're heavily influenced by one person with a very recognizable style is pretty tough, I'm sure a lot of us as Van Halen fans struggle with that; I sure do.

    2) Don't blow your load on the first mesaure. In that vid you started with a ton of tapping. Start by laying some ground work, letting the audience hear what key you're in, letting them get a reference will help them hear what you're trying to convey if you're playing just solo guitar. Start with a statement, but make sure you've got room to go somewhere after. Lead up to a climax. Look at Eruption: Starts with a chord and doesn't get too crazy, a couple more chords to set up the next section and then into new sonic territory around the upper frets. Then new technique, then a build to the climatic finish.

    If you're playing to a backing track the same applies. Start small and take the audience to the finale with you.

    This is all only based on the video in the link you posted and is just friendly advice I can apply to myself as well. Rock on.

  5. #5
    Hot For Teacher psrajam91's Avatar
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    Thanks Jedi.
    I've only been playing for like 4 years now. I was nervous as hell when that video was shot, and I completely completely winged it. They told us no covers when I got there so my plan to play eruption or something like that was out the window. Of course I completely forgot about that in the second round.

    There are actually A LOT of things I hate about that entire performance. I got a shout out from the owner of the club (who was also a judge) when i went up to pick up my pedals after I lost.


    Just for reference, the first round is alone, and the second and third are with a backing band.

    Also, what do you guys think of my competition? I really really want to win this year!

  6. #6
    Emperor of VHLinks.com Brett's Avatar
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    Are those the guys you are up against this year? A couple of them are just god awful. Actually they're all pretty bad, that one guy sings decent enough but certainly nothing amazing about his playing. A couple of them, wow...really? LOL You should have a real good chance to beat these guys.

    Ok my thoughts, and please don't take them as a bash, I really am not bashing you at all. Just some of my worthless thoughts.

    I have to agree with the other guys, you gotta get off the EVH thing a bit. I know you love to play like that, but try to develop your own style. I thought you did way too much tapping, shot your wad very early, and it just kind of became monotonous.

    Like Jedi said, you need to build a solo, even if it's just a solo thing without a band. There should be a beginning, middle, and an end. It's cool to use some of the VH stuff, but you need to be careful not get carried away with it and try to find your own voice in there. And it is hard. And your solo needs to go somewhere, it needs flow...start off slow, establish what you're doing, then move into another section, and I would save your best stuff for the end of it.

    And if you're getting nervous before you play, then have a beer or something to relax. It does take the edge off. When we've played in front of bigger crowds, I'll get a little nervous still once in a while. I'll have a beer and it helps. I'm not saying become an alcoholic, but one drink before a show won't kill you. I'm not sure if you're 21 or not, but I'm sure a college guy who isn't can figure out a way to get a beer.
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  7. #7
    Hot For Teacher psrajam91's Avatar
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    Thanks Brett.

    It's nice that you think that I have a chance. I've been working on what I'm going to play in the first round for the last week or so. I definitely need to let more space breathe between my notes. Before I became a die hard Ed fanboy, I was really big on David Gilmour, who is all about that sort of thing. I actually need to compose the solo this time, not wing it like i did last year. It was really the guitar playing equivalent of a "deer-in-the-headlights" moment for me.

    I was considering just sampling the beginning of Big Trouble for the opening, as thats a nice quiet opening and let the volume swell up a bit. Like the beginning of this Ed Solo:



    Improvise around there and maybe crank it some chords and play some fast bits. Then Kick in the delay, do some divebomb type stuff, do my new tapping with delay thing I've put together, and then bring in the tapping sort of stuff. End it with the tremolo picking with a bend up on the 24th fret, that Ed often does.
    The reason I'm a little Ed heavy is because, a) I should have been in high school in 1978, and b) No one here is that familiar with EVH beyond the singles and eruption. Like the alternating tapping on the b and e strings that Ed's been using since like 1982 live, and the one thats all over 5150, no one recognizes that as Ed anymore, which kind of helps me out.


    I was thinking for Round 2, I'd do a bluesy thing in G or A with the backing band. Slow rhythm and me playing my ass off.

    Round 3 would be a VH style shuffle song with the beat similar to I'm the One or Hot For Teacher with a riff I came up with.


    As for my equipment:

    Guitars: My custom 5150-style b/w/r Kramer replica
    Black EVH Wolfgang special

    Pedals: Cry Baby-> Wampler Pinnacle Distortion -> Eventide PitchFactor -> Ibanez DE-7 delay

    Amps: Whatever the hell they give us. I pray they give me a clean fender tube amp like they did last year. The "dont bring your own amp" rule fucked over a kid last year who might have been better than me, but he used a 5150 head for his distortion, so when he plugged into the crap tastic fender solidstate amp, he sounded like garbage. Felt bad for him.


    The PitchFactor allows me to do interesting things, especially with the harpiggiator. Doubt I'll really use for much besides getting that Harmonizer tone we all know and love. Don't know yet if I want to take my phaser and Flanger as well.


    Wow, thats a lot to take in, any more advice guys?
    I really do appreciate any feedback you guys give me. I really respect you guys, and I think I'll be lucky if I can play half as well as some of you can.

  8. #8
    Good Enough
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    I also agree with what was already said -- and to go on one of those points, try this:

    Say you're gonna play a take on an EVH riff for part of the intro, then after that you're gonna transition into another faster EVH kind of lick. Well, go ahead and do that, but instead of going from EVH right to more EVH, sit down and write some sort of completely original riff or solo idea to go inbetween.

    So in other words, in that section of the solo, you know what you're starting on, you know where you're going, now take a 20-40 second section inbetween those 2, and fill it with something unique. It might be really hard to come up with something, but just keep playing with that chunk of time inbetween to get something cool that YOU made up. That will help insert some of YOUR style into the solo, and once you start adding stuff like that, you may find you can pretty easily use variations of that same new riff again later in the solo to tie it all together. Before you know it, you might even have half of the solo or more that is all original, which would be great!

  9. #9
    Forum Frontman fudd's Avatar
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    I've played in front of people twice. It is a nerve wrecking experience but it can be fun. Keep it simple, and play from the heart.

    I started out playing wild thing improvised a little and led into too late for love them transitioned into a little ditty I came up with and finished with a switch 625/eruption combo. I killed. But I was also drunk and being sobor now its real hard for me to play live.

  10. #10
    Eruption donkost's Avatar
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    We're going to collect money in order to send each of the judges a copy of the Live Without A Net DVD so they can watch Ed's solo spot. That will make you create your own solo passages or run the risk of being disqualified. LOL

    Actually, I thought your playing was great for someone who has only been playing for 4 years. You are copying the licks of your heroes (we all do) and you do a great job- the execution is quite smooth. I'd like to know how a college kid can purchase a new Wolfgang Special and an Eventide pedal but that's another story. I'm just jealous since all I had in the late 70's was a crappy Strat copy. hehe It was white though and I striped it up similar to Ed's.

    I WAS in high school when the first Van Halen album hit the scene. We didn't know what he was doing, it was almost like he was an alien being. I saw them open for Black Sabbath on the first tour but I was across the arena and still couldn't really see what he was doing. I recall trying to do tapping afterward and I was just basically muting the strings with my right hand. The guy sure was a genius to put together all of those fretboard tricks, even if some of them had been done before him.

  11. #11
    Sinner's Swing!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brett View Post
    Are those the guys you are up against this year? A couple of them are just god awful. Actually they're all pretty bad, that one guy sings decent enough but certainly nothing amazing about his playing. A couple of them, wow...really? LOL You should have a real good chance to beat these guys.

    Ok my thoughts, and please don't take them as a bash, I really am not bashing you at all. Just some of my worthless thoughts.

    I have to agree with the other guys, you gotta get off the EVH thing a bit. I know you love to play like that, but try to develop your own style. I thought you did way too much tapping, shot your wad very early, and it just kind of became monotonous.

    Like Jedi said, you need to build a solo, even if it's just a solo thing without a band. There should be a beginning, middle, and an end. It's cool to use some of the VH stuff, but you need to be careful not get carried away with it and try to find your own voice in there. And it is hard. And your solo needs to go somewhere, it needs flow...start off slow, establish what you're doing, then move into another section, and I would save your best stuff for the end of it.

    And if you're getting nervous before you play, then have a beer or something to relax. It does take the edge off. When we've played in front of bigger crowds, I'll get a little nervous still once in a while. I'll have a beer and it helps. I'm not saying become an alcoholic, but one drink before a show won't kill you. I'm not sure if you're 21 or not, but I'm sure a college guy who isn't can figure out a way to get a beer.
    I totally agree with this!
    A lot of times in a scenario like this, it's easy to blow your load early because of the pressure and nerves. This is a competition so you go out guns blazing, tapping, divebombing, going crazy, then by the middle you've got nothing left to say. As Ludwig said also, Saying what you did at the beginning comes off as arrogant, and sets the bar for yourself far too high.
    I any musical situation it's about building your performance in layers, right? An arc. You start off with a groove, or a cool riff to capture interest, and the audience or judges wanting more. Add a little pepper here and there for interest, then when it comes time to really let loose in your solo, like the others said, just let go and be yourself, and by the way...forget tapping. Honestly, these days unless you're EVH, or other well known shredders that are known for that style, it's seen as pretty cliche, and some actually find it real annoying. Trust me...I know.
    I got into the same mindset as you a few years ago in a startup band because like you, I wanted to do something different than the other generic bands playing ahead of us as you described, basically as tired old bluesey solos, so I pulled out tapping and more pinch harmonics, and guess what. I stopped getting the call. I'm being totally honest. it hurt, but I had myself to blame because I simply took it too far.
    Lesson learned. I think if you take the advice given by all on here, you're gonna be aces.
    Just play from your heart. Pull out stuff you're real solid on, and utilize that, and again build your performance methodically and that will leave them floored.
    JJ
    Last edited by we die young; 01.27.11 at 12:13 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by we die young View Post
    and by the way...forget tapping. Honestly, these days unless you're EVH, or other well known shredders that are known for that style, it's seen as pretty cliche, and some actually find it real annoying. Trust me...I know.
    I got into the same mindset as you a few years ago in a startup band because like you, I wanted to do something different than the other generic bands playing ahead of us as you described, basically as tired old bluesey solos, so I pulled out tapping and more pinch harmonics, and guess what. I stopped getting the call. I'm being totally honest. it hurt, but I had myself to blame because I simply took it too far.
    Lesson learned. I think if you take the advice given by all on here, you're gonna be aces.
    Just play from your heart. J
    totally agree with that 100%

    as much as I love EVH and tapping,there is a really fine line *epsecially nowadays* between cool tapping and shred/feel-less garbage. The reason ed was so successful with it is 1, he kinda pioneered it in the way he used it,and 2,his tapping ALWAYS had a musical purpose. Most people that tap nowadays are just trying to cram in more notes per minute than the next guy whos shamelessly sweep picking over and over...

    I'd use it in limited transitions, or get rid of it entirely.

  13. #13
    Sinner's Swing!
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrjstudios View Post
    totally agree with that 100%

    as much as I love EVH and tapping,there is a really fine line *epsecially nowadays* between cool tapping and shred/feel-less garbage. The reason ed was so successful with it is 1, he kinda pioneered it in the way he used it,and 2,his tapping ALWAYS had a musical purpose. Most people that tap nowadays are just trying to cram in more notes per minute than the next guy whos shamelessly sweep picking over and over...

    I'd use it in limited transitions, or get rid of it entirely.
    Oh yeah. It's to the point now that no matter how tastefully a guy taps, or integrates it, it seems to have a real polarizing effect nowadays. That said, it also depends on the venue, and your audience. As this is a competition, the judges are most likely expecting tapping ad nauseum, and are already coming in with a bias because it's a goto technique. I like to think I tap pretty well, but it's not part of my public, or recording vocabulary any more.
    I think some of that decision also came from meeting BB king back stage years ago at the Queen E. Theater. I remember a guy asking him do you have any advice for guitar players trying to make it, and he said basically the same thing. Play from your heart, and think "the economy way". What one guy can say with a hundred notes, another guy can shout with one." I thought that was really cool. Get the most of the notes you choose with bends, vibrato, and precision.

    Take those two guys in the band Trivium. I saw a vid of those guys and was blown away at their speed, but honestly it's all bluster.They play so fast from beginning to end, it's not just blowing their wad, it's a wad shooting drive-by! I admire their dedication to what they do, they've obviously worked real hard, but it's just way too much. at least to an old fart like me! lol
    Last edited by we die young; 01.27.11 at 01:08 PM.

  14. #14
    Hot For Teacher psrajam91's Avatar
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    i agree about that. But the thing is I'm not a big fan of shredding either. But when I tap I'm not just throwing it all over the place. The judges are two local club owners, and the guy who won last year who is/was a huge Andy McKee fanboy and won with this:


    I don't how it is for you guys, but I never ever see anyone here tap Eddie style anymore. It's like that style is just gone. It's a blues guys, or hipsters with acoustic guitars making plinky noises, and slapping the strings every 2 seconds for rhythm. Thats one of those polarizing techniques that annoys the hell out of me.

    I don't like cramming too many notes and sweep picking and what not, and thats why I try to tap like Ed, with purpose and economy. I want to avoid using it as a a crutch and as a gimmick, and be more versatile unlike the other guys. If you want an example of that, look at this


  15. #15
    Sinner's Swing!
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    Quote Originally Posted by psrajam91 View Post
    i agree about that. But the thing is I'm not a big fan of shredding either. But when I tap I'm not just throwing it all over the place. The judges are two local club owners, and the guy who won last year who is/was a huge Andy McKee fanboy and won with this:


    I don't how it is for you guys, but I never ever see anyone here tap Eddie style anymore. It's like that style is just gone. It's a blues guys, or hipsters with acoustic guitars making plinky noises, and slapping the strings every 2 seconds for rhythm. Thats one of those polarizing techniques that annoys the hell out of me.

    I don't like cramming too many notes and sweep picking and what not, and thats why I try to tap like Ed, with purpose and economy. I want to avoid using it as a a crutch and as a gimmick, and be more versatile unlike the other guys. If you want an example of that, look at this

    No, and that's my point. I didn't mean it as a dig on you man, I was speaking in generalities. I get where you're at. I think you stand a real good shot. I mean those other guys...C'mon! That's why I included my past experience and saying no matter how tastefully it's applied, it just seems to fall flat. it's not the mind blowing technique it was in the eighties.
    And by the way......I find those acoustic plinking hipster douches annoying as hell too!

    "I call it.....Water"

    You'll be fine buddy. Just prepare, and feel comfortable and own it!
    Last edited by we die young; 01.27.11 at 01:46 PM.

 

 

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