Originally Posted by Aeolian
The point that I was trying to make, especially for a musician learning the craft, is that "making it your own" is fine. But start with learning the original so that you know and understand what the song is about. Not necessary to the point of transcribing it and playing it note for note. But getting the feel and vibe of the song across. If you don't have the facility to play it note for note, or hit the signature parts they way they were done originally (and by that I mean indistinguishable from the original, not just transcribed and gotten though) then simplify. Listen and think about what stays with you. What part of the pulse makes you think of that song? Break it down until you can play what you are able to play with that pulse, that feel. Then add in more. Maybe some of yourself, maybe as you progress more of what the original musician did. Maybe at some point when you are in the right situation you can turn it on it's head and really make it new and refreshing. e.g. the Dirty Loops guys. But I'll bet you they can also play everything indistinguishably from the record too. "Making it their own" is not a cop out from being able to play it.
I agree, Aeolian, that's pretty much how I approach every song. I know it's not the best approach, but a lot of the time I don't even listen to the original and just play from memory of the signature parts and the feel or vibe of the song from memory of listening to it so many times in the past. A lot of the times I don't even listen to the originals during the week and the days in between practices, then when I do listen I'll hear something different that I'm not doing the same and I'll adjust as necessary. I just don't like getting burned out on a song too quickly. Our lead guitar player gets burned out on songs even quicker than I do. It sucks sometimes because I want to explore it some more. We haven't played Soulshine since we did it on a gig in March, and I can't get them to even play Soulshine any more. ha ha!