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Author Topic:  Instrumental Or Side Man Picker
Kevin Fix


From:
Michigan, USA
Post Posted 1 Feb 2018 7:18 pm     Reply with quote

I am curious how many of us play only instrumentals or backing up a band and its vocalists. I went to a friends house to jam with some of his friends. Very good musicians and nice bunch of guys but I was in left field somewhat because they were doing all instrumentals. I told them that I had not done the instrumental thing in 30 years I guess. They asked me what I could play. The only thing I could tell them was to just turn on there radio and listen to any good country station, that's what I can play. They did start singing a few and it was like "Giving The Hog The Key To The Corncrib" I was cooking with gas at that point!!!!! I truly love to hear pedal steel players doing instrumentals. One thing I do remember was that by learning instruments years ago was a good way to learn where the structure and tone was on the neck of my guitar. David Hartley from England is probably one of my favorites. I am sure glad that he takes the time to share his beautiful playing with all of us.

Last edited by Kevin Fix on 2 Feb 2018 7:43 am; edited 1 time in total
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Lee Baucum


From:
McAllen, Texas (Extreme South) The Final Frontier
Post Posted 1 Feb 2018 7:48 pm     Reply with quote

I'm with you, Kevin. I don't know any instrumentals.
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Down On The Rio Grande

Williams Keyless S-10, BMI S-10, Evans FET-500LV, Fender Steel King, 2 Roland Cube 80XL's, Sarno FreeLoader, Goodrich Volume Pedals,
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Kevin Fix


From:
Michigan, USA
Post Posted 1 Feb 2018 8:15 pm     Instrumental Or Side Man Picker Reply with quote

Lee, I am sure glad to hear that!!! I was wondering if I had been doing something wrong all these years.
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Christopher Woitach


From:
Portland, Oregon, USA
Post Posted 1 Feb 2018 8:25 pm     Reply with quote

I perform 95% instrumental jazz, occasionally play some country behind a singer
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Christopher Woitach
cw@affmusic.com
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Christopher Woitach


From:
Portland, Oregon, USA
Post Posted 1 Feb 2018 8:26 pm     Reply with quote

On pedal Steel, I mean

I accompany lots of jazz singers on guitar
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Christopher Woitach
cw@affmusic.com
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Richard Sinkler


From:
Oakdale, California
Post Posted 1 Feb 2018 8:30 pm     Reply with quote

I used to do several, many years ago. Been probably 20 years since then. Just don't care to do them anymore.
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Henry Matthews


From:
Texarkana, Ark USA
Post Posted 1 Feb 2018 8:47 pm     Reply with quote

I am amazed at the really good players that don't play instrumentals. Not knocking them but a lot of good players just don't play them. I just use any tune that I know to play as an instrumental and also know most of the old standbys. I enjoy them as much as I do as a sideman. I really like C6th instrumentals that have a lot of drive also, which Im not that good at but enjoy them anyway.
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Henry Matthews

D-10 1975 Emmons p/p Black Woodneck Bolt-on
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post Posted 2 Feb 2018 1:17 am     Reply with quote

Sideman and Instrumentals all the time, each gig. I'm kinda surprised to read that many here don't play any Instrumentals .

I play one show every two weeks, I am required to play two Instrumentals at each show, and not the same ones ! Of course I may repeat them every few months.

Playing Instrumentals is an incredible study and requires consistent practice and discipline. It's a study we should never overlook even if we just play them at home. Maybe the band thinks we don't know any and thats why we don't play any, Maybe ?


the last 4 that I played out,

C6 , Release Me and King of the Road

E9th, I Just Destroyed the World and My Weakness is Too Strong , is up next.

The amount we can learn by playing even a simple Instrumental is incredible.

Just do it !
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Last edited by Tony Prior on 2 Feb 2018 6:06 am; edited 1 time in total
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Paul King


From:
Gainesville, Texas, USA
Post Posted 2 Feb 2018 2:17 am     Reply with quote

I have played many instrumentals and love to do so. Playing with a band doing kicks and fills was always what I preferred. Playing club meetings and shows requires playing instrumentals. On song I do not like to play is "Steel Guitar Rag". Just me but I never cared for it as an instrumental.
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Patricia Goins


From:
Michigan, USA
Post Posted 2 Feb 2018 5:34 am     side man Reply with quote

Hey Kevin, I hear ya, I prefer intros, turn arounds and singer backup, like Jeff Newman use to say, just play the melody. I like an instrumental where different band members takes a turn, that's what makes it enjoyable for me, I love to hear a good solo by John Hughey, Loyd Green, Buddy Emonds and many more, It all comes down to what you enjoy doing. Jim Goins, Pedal Steel and Reso... Very Happy
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Chris Brooks


From:
Providence, Rhode Island
Post Posted 2 Feb 2018 5:45 am     Reply with quote

Hi Kevin,

>. I went to a fiends house to jam with some of his fiends. Very good musicians and nice bunch

Some of the guys I play with are fiends too! Monstrous, awful fiends!

Oh . . . . friends. Well some are actually friends.

Sorry. It's early; and I am an English teacher. :>)

Chris
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Dick Wood


From:
Springtown Texas, USA
Post Posted 2 Feb 2018 6:13 am     Reply with quote

After 38 years of playing in working bands who do top 40 in the typical bar scene, I have never really had or taken the time to learn any instrumentals other than the rare steel guitar rag request.

EDIT: I just read Paul's reply and kinda laughed as I feel the same way about Steel Guitar Rag,Orange Blossom,Wipe Out and Last Date and while it's not an instrumental...Silver Wings..LOL
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Kevin Fix


From:
Michigan, USA
Post Posted 2 Feb 2018 7:42 am     Instrumental Or Side Man Picker Reply with quote

I guess to think back over the many years of PSG I would have to say that we are all instrumentalists in our own right. Going back over the years and even as I play today live I will play all Steel intros and turnarounds and leads as close to the original as possible all of the fill work I do my own thing. Even songs that have no leads the lead player and I always create our own leads or which I like best is a split lead and like my friend Jim Goins said I like to blend in and out with other lead men.
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Kevin Fix


From:
Michigan, USA
Post Posted 2 Feb 2018 7:47 am     Instrumental Or Side Man Picker Reply with quote

Hey Chris!!!! Thanks for the proof reading!!!!! My Aunt who worked for a local newspaper was their proof reader for 30 some years she would have skinned me alive if she were here today and read that!!!!!
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Lee Baucum


From:
McAllen, Texas (Extreme South) The Final Frontier
Post Posted 2 Feb 2018 8:16 am     Reply with quote

Quote:
I went to a friends house...


Well, that should be friend's.

Laughing
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Lee, from South Texas
Down On The Rio Grande

Williams Keyless S-10, BMI S-10, Evans FET-500LV, Fender Steel King, 2 Roland Cube 80XL's, Sarno FreeLoader, Goodrich Volume Pedals,
Vintage ACE Pack-A-Seat
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Floyd Lowery


From:
Deland, Florida, USA
Post Posted 2 Feb 2018 8:57 am     Reply with quote

When I was playing for a living, it depended on the leader of the band. Some never wanted an instrumental, and some wanted a couple a night. I tried to keep a dozen or so ready in case I needed them. I also learned not to pick a popular old song with words or the singer would want to decide to start singing it. Then there was the singer that played the lead guitar. He would take over and give the steel one or two leads, then he would play 15. I never wanted to copy the instrumentals that were recorded by famous steel players. If I played any of those, I played a version of my own. Then there was the young keyboard player that wanted to argue about the chord structure on Faded Love.
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Roger Rettig


From:
An Englishman in Naples, FL
Post Posted 2 Feb 2018 9:27 am     Reply with quote

'Faded Love' is almost a cult. I hear some strange chord sequences that, in my mind, are somewhat over-simplified and detract from my enjoyment of the song.

The gold-standard for me is the guitar-part played by Eldon Shamblin. They're the changes I like to hear!
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Emmons LG3 D-10, JCH SD-10, Zum Encore


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Herb Steiner


From:
Spicewood TX 78669
Post Posted 2 Feb 2018 12:44 pm     Reply with quote

I know a lot of instrumentals and have played them for years on various steel shows, but when working as a sideman, invariably I have to play Panhandle Rag and Sleepwalk if I play any instrumentals at all, or some simple blues.

There are some guitarists and bassists that I work with and can add some more obscure but still easily played tunes. But nothing like the Sinatra and Great American Songbook stuff I enjoy doing when I book a show of my own, several of which are on Facebook, under Herb Steiner Band.
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Texas Steel Guitar Association
Allison String Instruments
My rig: Infinity and Telonics.

Son, we live in a world with walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with steel guitars. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg?
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Roger Rettig


From:
An Englishman in Naples, FL
Post Posted 2 Feb 2018 1:07 pm     Reply with quote

I checked out some clips on Facebook, Herb - stellar!

What is that single-neck non-pedal you're playing? You make it sound gorgeous! That warm, plummy tone is what I love.

Tom Morrell lives on, by the sound of things. Great work.
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RR
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David Mason


From:
Cambridge, MD, USA
Post Posted 2 Feb 2018 1:36 pm     Reply with quote

Quote:
...nothing like the Sinatra and Great American Songbook stuff I enjoy...


I have a problem in that a lot of very popular, "beloved" songs are lyrically pretty godawful bad. I like language, and I like melodies, and I KNOW IT'S REALLY HARD - but painting a house is hard (especially if you don't know how), you still need paint on your house. It's just safer to stick with the instrumental portions of music to avoid that soiled, stinky feeling. I'm not able to say that J.S. Bach was categorically a better tunesmith than Paul McCartney.

And there are no categories of music that are immune, which Mr. Sinatra himself was happy to point out, and why he or any other singer of any genre could lay into a good Beatles tune with no shame. And why sometimes a "song" is so well constructed and played that you can almost ignore the awfulness of the lyrics; like "Sweet Child 'o' Mine" is one of the greatest rock songs of all time - if only, it wasn't for for the words.... Crying or Very sad
(Hint: ANY time, ANY song lyric builds upon the the "She's got..." or "she has..." sentence formulation, my Stinkipoo Alert Module lights up.)

There's an easy reason why you can really get off on a song sung in a foreign language, because you're far less likely to know how banal it really is. There's also a lot of opportunity for inadvertent comedy/horror, such as when drunk karaoke goofs realize what they're really singing about in "Brown Sugar", or drift into the hardcore line in Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah."
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Herb Steiner


From:
Spicewood TX 78669
Post Posted 2 Feb 2018 2:25 pm     Reply with quote

Roger Rettig wrote:
I checked out some clips on Facebook, Herb - stellar!

What is that single-neck non-pedal you're playing? You make it sound gorgeous! That warm, plummy tone is what I love.

Tom Morrell lives on, by the sound of things. Great work.


Roger, thanks so much for the kudos, coming from a player of your esteem is a high compliment indeed.

That show was about 4 weeks after I had demolished my right foot when I totaled my 240Z. I was in a cast and so I didn't use a volume pedal, just controlled the volume with my hands.

The guitar I was playing is an Allison steel, made by my friend John Allison, who's also a steel player but is most prominent for a line of high-end acoustic and electric standard guitars.

That particular guitar is configured like a Stringmaster electronically. There's a link to John's website in my signature below.

The tuning was an 8-string C6 lo-hi A C E G A C E D
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Herb's Steel Guitar Pages
Texas Steel Guitar Association
Allison String Instruments
My rig: Infinity and Telonics.

Son, we live in a world with walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with steel guitars. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg?
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scott murray


From:
Asheville, NC
Post Posted 2 Feb 2018 2:54 pm     Reply with quote

instrumentals are great. I play in a few bands that encourage them, it's a nice break from vocal after vocal tune and a lot of fun to work up harmony lines with the guitarist.

some of the instrumentals we've done lately include Hold It, Leaving Phoenix, B. Bowman Hop, Blue Jade, Hammin It Up, Buckaroo, and more.

seems like you could jam along with a lot of instrumentals even if you aren't sure of the exact melody or head, as long as the changes are straightforward.

I work on a lot of instrumentals at home, especially Thelonious Monk tunes. and after 20 years of playing At E's, I can just about play Buddy's solo note for note. also learned Kicks to Boot recently and I'm hoping one of my bands will go for it!
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Mike Neer


From:
NJ
Post Posted 2 Feb 2018 4:17 pm     Reply with quote

I choose to play all instrumental compositions as opposed to songs with lyrics played instrumentally. I also sing, but I’ve yet to subject my audience to that.

I like being a sideman as long as it’s original music and they don’t tell me what to play.
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John De Maille


From:
On a Mountain in Upstate Halcottsville, N.Y.
Post Posted 2 Feb 2018 7:23 pm     Reply with quote

I've been a sideman musician my whole steel career. I like playing the intros and the breaks and the endings. However, when I first got involved with steel shows and such, I realized that I had to play a few, if not all instrumentals. I worked really hard at learning some of the basic steel related tunes and then ventured into some vocal tunes. They worked, I guess. I never got booed off the stage or anything.
But, having said all of this, I'd rather back a singer up and get a nice steel solo along with it.
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Donny Hinson


From:
Glen Burnie, Md. U.S.A.
Post Posted 2 Feb 2018 8:06 pm     I don't quite get this? Reply with quote

Well, I'll probably get badged as anal again, but aren't all (vocal) songs just an instrumental melody...with words added? IMHO, if all you can do is back up someone singing, you're missing about 2/3 of the fun (and skill) in playing!

At most steel shows and jams I've been to, the majority of songs played are just instrumental versions of classic vocals, by Price, Cline, Williams, Tubb, Arnold, and all of the other country greats. A few instrumental-only songs are occasionally done, stuff like "The Preacher", "Hold It", and "Bluemmons", but this stuff isn't really that big a big step above the other stuff unless complex arrangements or twinning are involved. I once talked our band into doing a version of Richard Strauss' "Also sprach Zarathustra", Op. 30, and I guess that qualifies as something "instrumental only". Mr. Green
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