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Old 06-23-2015, 12:38 PM
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Default Your approach to supporting a solo.

Not your own, someone else's. For me, there's two distinctly different options. Either;

a/ Provide a solid & open foundation for the soloist to play over / around, or

b/ Use accents & other tools to complement the soloist's phrasing /parts.

I tend towards option a/ when there's a high degree of improvisation within the solo, & lean towards b/ when the solo phrasing / parts are pretty much fixed.

In case you're wondering what the hell I'm talking about, here's a brief example of option b/ from last night's rehearsal.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbT5...ature=youtu.be

I frequently mirror patterns used by the guitarist on the exit of each phrase / section.

How do you approach supporting a solo?
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Old 06-23-2015, 01:20 PM
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Default Re: Your approach to supporting a solo.

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Originally Posted by keep it simple View Post
Not your own, someone else's. For me, there's two distinctly different options. Either;

a/ Provide a solid & open foundation for the soloist to play over / around, or

b/ Use accents & other tools to complement the soloist's phrasing /parts.

I tend towards option a/ when there's a high degree of improvisation within the solo, & lean towards b/ when the solo phrasing / parts are pretty much fixed.

In case you're wondering what the hell I'm talking about, here's a brief example of option b/ from last night's rehearsal.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbT5...ature=youtu.be

I frequently mirror patterns used by the guitarist on the exit of each phrase / section.

How do you approach supporting a solo?
Seems, about right, but there is an option c, which involves humorously placed China rides and lots of grace notes on floor Tom.
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Old 06-23-2015, 02:14 PM
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Default Re: Your approach to supporting a solo.

depending on the length of the solo I tend to use a bit of both. I use accents during any modulation and leave out long or busy fills. a lot of times ill crescendo towards the end when it goes back to the chorus to sort of build the energy ( on more upbeat tunes). and also never add wind chimes over the top of a solo, guitar players seem to hate that.
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Old 06-23-2015, 02:28 PM
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Default Re: Your approach to supporting a solo.

Definitely A. The time to be interesting is not during another's solo. That's the time for THEM to be interesting. If the soloist decides she's going to trade fours, or accents, or otherwise integrate the other players into the structure of the solo, I'll respond if asked. But my JOB is to provide the canvas upon which the soloist can create art.
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Old 06-23-2015, 02:44 PM
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Default Re: Your approach to supporting a solo.

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Definitely A. The time to be interesting is not during another's solo. That's the time for THEM to be interesting. If the soloist decides she's going to trade fours, or accents, or otherwise integrate the other players into the structure of the solo, I'll respond if asked. But my JOB is to provide the canvas upon which the soloist can create art.
I am from the other camp. I believe its the overall song that is important, not just a soloist giving it big licks. I try to complement the soloist, along with the rest of the musicians, and integrate the solo into the rest of the song. I believe this also helps the solo fit better into the music. If the soloist is going from moody to melodic to exciting I believe the band should do the same.

So rather than at the end of a solo the soloist taking a bow saying "Wasnt I great", but rather "We were great".
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Old 06-23-2015, 02:44 PM
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Default Re: Your approach to supporting a solo.

Very nice playing, Andy. I love seeing you on the four-piece, by the way!

I understand exactly what you mean, and I don't have a single approach, I let the moment dictate what I do.

For backbeat (rock) music, sometimes it just feels right to play it straight and solid. Other times, it feels like the drums should stoke the fire a bit and maybe push the soloist to go even hotter. My mood is going to be a factor also.
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Old 06-23-2015, 02:48 PM
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Default Re: Your approach to supporting a solo.

I listen for what is needed by the soloist and provide it, just like every other part of the song. I try and read their minds or at least try and feel where where they are going.

It's nice when you know soloist and their tendencies and even recognize some of their vocabulary. You can really make some nice musical connections when there is familiarity with a person's style.
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Old 06-23-2015, 02:52 PM
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Default Re: Your approach to supporting a solo.

I tend to agree with A and B but will state that whichever you choose do not drowned out the soloist during their break. Your time will come.
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Old 06-23-2015, 03:45 PM
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Default Re: Your approach to supporting a solo.

Groove only during our solos. If I fill it's very minimal. It's our guitarist's time to shine. I don't like a lot of busy stuff over a guitar solo.
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Old 06-23-2015, 03:56 PM
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Default Re: Your approach to supporting a solo.

Very nice playing of guitar, drums and the vocals as well..

I would try to go with b........
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Old 06-23-2015, 04:07 PM
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Default Re: Your approach to supporting a solo.

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Originally Posted by mikel View Post
I am from the other camp. I believe its the overall song that is important, not just a soloist giving it big licks. I try to complement the soloist, along with the rest of the musicians, and integrate the solo into the rest of the song. I believe this also helps the solo fit better into the music. If the soloist is going from moody to melodic to exciting I believe the band should do the same.

So rather than at the end of a solo the soloist taking a bow saying "Wasnt I great", but rather "We were great".
I dig you, and agree, because I think we're talking about the same thing. We're using two different routes to get to the same destination.

The soloist should be soloing for the song. Her solo should follow the tune. If the tune goes from moody to melodic to exciting, so should the solo. If she's not, no amount of work on my part is going to bring her back. If the band is playing So What and her solo is more A Night In Tunisia, there's not a whole lot we can do to bring her back. All we can do is provide the framework - the song - for her to solo over. The song is the canvas I referenced earlier.
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Old 06-23-2015, 04:20 PM
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Default Re: Your approach to supporting a solo.

I think the guy watching outside the window liked your approach just fine. :-)
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Old 06-23-2015, 05:00 PM
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Default Re: Your approach to supporting a solo.

Another point is comping; there's almost a call-and-repsonse interplay that can happen when a melodic player is soloing. Also, dynamics are important and should change with each soloing instrument. For instance, I might play a little more aggressively when a piano player or horn player is soloing, but when a quieter instrument like bass or guitar start soloing, I might switch to riding a different cymbal, and play a little more sparsely, but still comping of their solo.

I think the comping is what makes the band sound like a cohesive unit, even when one instrument is soloing. If the whole band just keeps a pattern going, it sounds like the soloist is playing over a recorded track, and it loses any sense of personality. What makes a group exciting is the ability to see the band converse and interact with each other, whether playing the head or taking solos.
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Old 06-23-2015, 05:18 PM
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Default Re: Your approach to supporting a solo.

I'm generally a bit of A and B combined, depending on the tune. When playing covers, my approach tends to be dictated by the original if we are playing it fairly close to the original, but if we are doing our own version of a song, the way I play under a solo may differ depending on the direction we have taken the song in. In other words, so long as you support the soloist and they are happy with the approach, then its all good!
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Old 06-23-2015, 06:16 PM
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Default Re: Your approach to supporting a solo.

Some great responses guys, & I'm really enjoying reading your replies / POV's :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by 8Mile View Post
Very nice playing, Andy. I love seeing you on the four-piece, by the way!
Thanks Larry :) I'm playing totally 4 piece right now, but that's only because I don't have a 6 piece at my disposal. Thinking I should do something to rectify that :) I have a plan, but it's secret for now - something you'll never expect if I pull it off ;) ;) ;) ?????

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryace View Post
You can really make some nice musical connections when there is familiarity with a person's style.
& that's the space I'm in here Larry. I've known our guitarist for long enough to pick up on where he's going next, & this particular song is fairly well scripted - hence approach b/ :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnotherDrummernamedJoe View Post
It's our guitarist's time to shine. I don't like a lot of busy stuff over a guitar solo.
I agree, but I'm commenting in the context of a supporting roll wether I'm just keeping time or really working in close harmony with the soloist.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pachikara-Tharakan View Post
Very nice playing of guitar, drums and the vocals as well..
Thank you :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by mmulcahy1 View Post
I think the guy watching outside the window liked your approach just fine. :-)
Hahahahaha - that's a reflection of our singist in the window :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigiainw View Post
so long as you support the soloist and they are happy with the approach, then its all good!
Bottom line right there Ian!
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Old 06-23-2015, 06:45 PM
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Default Re: Your approach to supporting a solo.

For me, it depends on which instrument is playing the solo as well. If it's the guitar, I'll accent along with his phrasing. Piano? Lay back a bit more, while still accenting the really tasty bits. But if my saxophonist is soloing, I'm very laid back, and try to not draw any attention to myself.

If the solo is more of an improv, I'm more likely to "join in" as it were, and have fun with the soloist.
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Old 06-23-2015, 07:05 PM
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Default Re: Your approach to supporting a solo.

I feel the need to point out, if you or anyone else is playing along, it's not actually a solo :)
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Old 06-23-2015, 07:41 PM
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Default Re: Your approach to supporting a solo.

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Originally Posted by New Tricks View Post
I feel the need to point out, if you or anyone else is playing along, it's not actually a solo :)
That's not strictly true musically; the performance of a solo doesn't necessarily exclude accompaniment, or in some cases even one player.

In fact, the first documented solos are from the 9th century, where manuals described ways for singers to add new melodies (improvisation) on top of a chant. This really took off in the renaissance period of music, when bands would play ostinati while soloists (voice or instrument) would improvise counterppoint as well as embelishments on the melody, or new free-form solos. By the time we get to the Baroque period, solos (soli?) were played by multiple players. In the case of a concerto grosso, the "solist" was actually a group of players referred to as a concertino.

According to The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, a solo "could refer either to a piece for one melody instrument with (continuo) accompaniment, or to a sonata for an unaccompanied melody instrument"
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Old 06-23-2015, 07:42 PM
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Default Re: Your approach to supporting a solo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by keep it simple View Post
Thanks Larry :) I'm playing totally 4 piece right now, but that's only because I don't have a 6 piece at my disposal. Thinking I should do something to rectify that :) I have a plan, but it's secret for now - something you'll never expect if I pull it off ;) ;) ;) ?????
A couple of square bass drums wrapped in blue satin flame???

Misbehaving today,
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Old 06-23-2015, 10:36 PM
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Default Re: Your approach to supporting a solo.

The thing I always try to be careful about is my dynamics during a solo. When a guitar starts soloing, my volume level comes down more than half usually. I don't want people to notice me, but want to keep it solid. In this way, when I keep my levels down, I can also incorporate little accents that follow along, and really it doesn't tend to get in the way.
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Old 06-23-2015, 11:39 PM
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Default Re: Your approach to supporting a solo.

In general though, a true soloist is neither here nor there. They don't need you to hold down the groove, they've got it covered, and they don't really need accents either, kind of like a drum solo. Though, many people interpret a solo as their turn for a gratuitous ego massage from the band.
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Old 06-24-2015, 12:13 AM
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Default Re: Your approach to supporting a solo.

Glad to see an intelligent conversation regarding the role of the drummer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GRUNTERSDAD View Post
do not drowned out the soloist during their break. Your time will come.
Exactly when will my time come? The current score is:
Songs with guitar solos = 100%
Songs with keyboard solos = 95%
Songs with brass solos = 80%
Songs with drum solos = 0.7 %


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Old 06-24-2015, 12:39 AM
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Default Re: Your approach to supporting a solo.

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Originally Posted by Hollywood Jim View Post
Exactly when will my time come?
.
Endings, transitions, breakdowns, buildups etc?

I like listening for the spaces in a solo and do a little something just to say, "yes I'm listening".
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Old 06-24-2015, 01:47 AM
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Default Re: Your approach to supporting a solo.

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Originally Posted by tcspears View Post
That's not strictly true musically;...
There are exceptions to almost everything but generally, a drum solo is the drummer playing by himself.

A guitar or other instrument playing a featured part is an instrumental.

It's really no different than a verse or chorus of a song, it's just that an instrument is featured instead of the vocals.

As far as supporting a solo, I think the drum parts should be dependent on the type of guitar solo being played. In my experience, in my genres, an instrumental guitar solo requires more drumming than the verse/chorus.
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Old 06-24-2015, 12:58 PM
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Default Re: Your approach to supporting a solo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hollywood Jim View Post
Glad to see an intelligent conversation regarding the role of the drummer.



Exactly when will my time come? The current score is:
Songs with guitar solos = 100%
Songs with keyboard solos = 95%
Songs with brass solos = 80%
Songs with drum solos = 0.7 %


.
Here is your sign you are listening to the wrong kind of music.
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Old 06-24-2015, 03:58 PM
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Default Re: Your approach to supporting a solo.

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Originally Posted by New Tricks View Post
There are exceptions to almost everything but generally, a drum solo is the drummer playing by himself.

A guitar or other instrument playing a featured part is an instrumental.

It's really no different than a verse or chorus of a song, it's just that an instrument is featured instead of the vocals.
Whether or not the soloist is accompanied doesn't really matter, it's still a solo (look back at the definition of solo that I provided). The word instrumental just means that there are no vocal parts, it has nothing to do with solos, or how many instruments are playing.

Drum solos may often be unaccompanied, but you're still playing the form of the songs, whether it's a verse or chorus. Drums are no different than guitars or piano in that when you solo, you're taking a section of the song and reinterpreting/ornamenting it. Otherwise if the drummer is just soloing free-form and not as part of a song, it's simply a solo piece/sonata.
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Old 06-24-2015, 04:29 PM
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Default Re: Your approach to supporting a solo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by keep it simple View Post
a/ Provide a solid & open foundation for the soloist to play over / around, or

b/ Use accents & other tools to complement the soloist's phrasing /parts.

I tend towards option a/ when there's a high degree of improvisation within the solo, & lean towards b/ when the solo phrasing / parts are pretty much fixed.
That's pretty much exactly it... a modicum of rhythmic ornamentation during the solo is almost always good in my view so I listen in to the improv solo and try to mimic some things, or work out some little licks based around the written solo. The mood is the most important factor so during a solo I never try to do anything too far outside the vocabulary of the song.
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Old 06-24-2015, 08:14 PM
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Default Re: Your approach to supporting a solo.

In addition to all the excellent comments about why to vary approach between a) and b), I'd also throw in the "gel factor" - how long has the band played together, and how much? Is it easy to read the soloist and the rest of the guys, do you all change direction together like a shoal of fish, or are there constant audibles and signals and shapes being thrown around, or does the whole thing feel like "keep it simple because we barely know each other it seems" or "I am a slave to the road map"? None of these are necessarily wrong, and it will be different with each playing sitch.

Some of it also depends on the ears and experience of each individual musician. I go to the blues jam now and again and I get asked to show up more often than I actually can make it. I like to think it's because I got dynamics and a solid foundation for the music; I understand the structures really well and I can hear where the soloist is going most times. And that means you cannot be playing for yourself in a chopsfest sort of mode. You have to be playing for the song. And sometimes at those jams, that can be pretty durn hard.
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Old 06-24-2015, 09:38 PM
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Default Re: Your approach to supporting a solo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tcspears View Post
Whether or not the soloist is accompanied doesn't really matter, it's still a solo (look back at the definition of solo that I provided). .

You definition was too wordy but Websters simplified it.

a ) a musical composition for a single voice or instrument with or without accompaniment

b ) the featured part of a concerto or similar work


I stand corrected. I will quit telling guitar players "it's not a solo!" :)
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