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Author Topic:  What Is Your Niche?
Ben Lawson

 

From:
Brooksville Florida
Post  Posted 13 May 2022 1:04 pm    
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The guys I get to play with here in Florida play a lot of different kinds of music. Our lead player formerly played for David Allen Coe and Johnny Paycheck. At 82, Roy Hunt likes real country and blues and does a good job on both. The licks vs melody is kind of a flexible thing. We play J.P.s' "Old Violin" and Chuck Berrys's "Johnny B Good. The melody on JBG is kind of boring. Mostly one note. Old Violin has a distinct melody but requires that distinct lick that pretty much defines the song. Papa John seems to have flowed around the melody on "Look at Us". To me, every song kind of suggests what to play. How many bands play "Folsom Prison Blues" without the original intro, lead break and outro? I guess as long as the folks you're playing for like what they hear you're doing OK.

Last edited by Ben Lawson on 13 May 2022 5:37 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Frank Freniere


From:
The First Coast
Post  Posted 13 May 2022 3:15 pm    
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Ben Lawson wrote:
How many bands play "Folsom Prison Blues" without thin original intro, lead break and outro? I guess as long as the folks you're playing for like what they hear you're doing OK.


I love to harmonize the solo riff with the lead guitar - the drummer says “It’s like stereo, man!”
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Ben Lawson

 

From:
Brooksville Florida
Post  Posted 13 May 2022 5:36 pm    
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Frank, that's what we do too. We don't play it too often but when we do, it's usually Roy and I together.
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Robert B Murphy


From:
Mountain View, Arkansas, USA
Post  Posted 14 May 2022 5:31 am    
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When I play an iconic standard I try to pay homage to the original without trying to clone it. When my band mates are doing highly improvisational solos I will stay pretty close to the melody. The idea is to give depth to the overall band sound. Too much noodling or just playing the lead sheet are both flat sounding to me, I like a mix. I also try to do backup and soloing in a way that accentuates the character of the song. For instance: Sway or Besame Mucho backup will use different latin rhythms and solos will use El Paso intro type single/dual string stuff or melody chord comping. I have also found that when you can get a really authentic iconic sound, say Don Helm's fills or Grady Martin's rhythms, my audience, generally my age or older, really respond.
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Bob, small o.
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 14 May 2022 8:28 am    
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That is a great post, Robert B Murphy.

I remember hearing “iconic’ sounds when I was a younger person. I didn’t know they were iconic, I just thought they were cool, and they were completely new to me even though those sounds were 30 and 40 years old at the time. The point is, you never know who is going to respond positively to your honest and heartfelt representation of older material.


Quote:
Too much noodling or just playing the lead sheet are both flat sounding to me

Couldn’t have said it better. I hate performing with charts and lead sheets and listening to bands that do it is usually crashing bore.
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Chris Sattler

 

From:
Hunter Valley, Australia
Post  Posted 16 May 2022 4:20 am    
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Erv, when you play chord melody solo, do you use backup tracks? I hope it is not all country. Do you get into the back neck too at these jobs?
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post  Posted 16 May 2022 7:14 am    
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Chris,
If I play by myself, I use backing tracks and it's not all country.
I play a lot of gospel, old standards and Hawaiian.
But I really like to perform with a rhythm guitar and bass.
I'd even like to try it with a drummer using brushes, if I could find one.
I played a lot of C6th on non-pedal but I haven't done much with pedals.
It's on my bucket list! Very Happy
Erv
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Roy Carroll


From:
North of a Round Rock
Post  Posted 17 May 2022 7:06 am    
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I am a singers steel player, I do my best not to expand into his space. Listen to the records from the 80's and 90's. They are a good teacher. The vocal is my que when to play and when to lay out. It is not necessary to play all the time even when it is your turn to fill. When it comes to the ride, I do my part, try to play the signature lick (if any) and basically be color for the band and singer.
If I am booked for an unknown (to me) Singer, I usually ask the singer or the other lead players what they need me to do to enhance the show.
Show up early, dress like you intend to be there, that is to say, it's not ball caps, torn T-shirts and holy jeans, bring all the equipment you will need, and be as courteous and friendly as you can be.
After all, it is show business.
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Just north of the Weird place, south of Georgetown
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Donny Hinson

 

From:
Glen Burnie, Md. U.S.A.
Post  Posted 19 May 2022 3:53 pm    
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Roy, you can call me an old curmudgeon, but what you look like only matters to (some of) the older crowd. These days, the vast majority of young people, a reasonable chunk of the middle-agers, and even some old music "outlaw types", don't give a diddly damn what you look like these days! Laughing
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John De Maille


From:
On a Mountain in Upstate Halcottsville, N.Y.
Post  Posted 19 May 2022 4:22 pm    
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My niche is classic country to the 90's and Western swing. I don't dislike jazz or contemporary or big band music it's just that it doesn't do anything for me to play it.
I prefer a 3 to 5 piece band. That way I can play stuff that doesn't require me to play backups and fills all the time. I get to mix it up with a guitar player and switch backing up the singer, which, I enjoy to do. I've played with many people over the years and have done many recordings in my lifetime, however, I still keep coming back to my niche and enjoy doing it. I've made a good side living from it and hopefully I'll continue to do so in my "niche".
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Robert B Murphy


From:
Mountain View, Arkansas, USA
Post  Posted 20 May 2022 4:51 am    
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My niche is the American Songbook, I love it all although I tend to play '60s and earlier. Ray Price, Bob Wills, The Four Tops, Tommy Dorsey, W.C. Handy, and Duke Ellington are all fair game.
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Bob, small o.
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Christopher Woitach


From:
Portland, Oregon, USA
Post  Posted 20 May 2022 8:48 pm    
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My niche is mostly playing jazz with my quartet, plus various oddball recording gigs.

I play melody, chords, chord melody, bebop type solos where I accompany myself, all kinds of stuff.

Very little country, but I love it all - simple to crazy complex. Music is fun.
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Christopher Woitach
cw@affmusic.com
www.affmusic.com
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Harold Dye

 

From:
Cullman, Alabama, USA
Post  Posted 21 May 2022 4:55 am    
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To me playing what needs to be played at the time is best, intos, fills, breaks, licks. Overplaying causes problems with the band, whether it's the steel, guitar, piano etc. I have been in bands where the guitar player started playing when he walked in the place and didn't stop until he left. Jeff Newman said it best "sometimes you sound better when you are not playing"
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