Exploring Your Own Imagination

Exploring Your Own Imagination Justin Fox

Fear. This is the number one factor that dilutes a good player's studio performance. You get to the studio, you set up, the track rolls and all of the sudden your fifteen years old again. It happens to me every time. I don't know why but even now at twenty one I feel like I have some guitar odyssey to burn down onto wax, that is something that should come in due time. The most important task at hand is making sure that your playing caters to the song at hand. In the long run listeners will appreciate a tasty four bar solo than a twenty four bar noodle fest. Not to say that some songs shouldn't have a twenty four bar noodle fest, they are perfectly welcome on a song that calls for that. And if you are not live tracking and you feel lonely out in the studio, ask the engineer if you could record in the mixing room with him and the band. It is much more like playing live and can be very relaxing, for me that is how I get my best studio performances. So, with all that being said lets get to the production.

Preparation is key when it comes to nailing a good studio track, whether it be rhythm or lead. It can save you money and precious time to come up with innovative ideas to separate you from the other thousands of bands doing the same thing, recording and releasing products. After all, you can be as artistic as you want; its your expression., but remember that you are also trying to stand out. Think of some sounds and tones that you really appreciate. How do they apply to your particular project?

Inspiration or emulation, if something seems too "inspired" its probably emulation, which is a great place to start. Try to take it beyond that though, for intense Jimi Hendrix used a Octavia on Purple Haze to get that shredding solo. So, one up it by using a Fuzz Face and an Octavia to really tear apart your sound. These are things that you can do after you lay down a good base of rhythm tracks. And make sure that you have gone over the arrangement many times and that you, the producer, and the band are satisfied.

Now that you have found a sound that you think will fit with the song, make sure that the lyrics really confide the tonal message or vise versa.
Sometimes you might find a very unique sound for a track and musically it floors you, then you sing over it and the vocals get out shined.
If this happens then you should try and re-assess, maybe just use the really cool sound in the bridge, or the solo break. This is what could make not only the vocal stand out, but the guitar track as well. It all comes back to tastefulness, I would much rather have a nugget of delicious lobster tail than a basket of chicken gizzards. Not that all songs must have lyrics, I prefer the instrumental version of "Little Wing". Both Stevie Ray and Hendrix us a little reservation to really make you listen, then they sonic-ally bombard you with passion and power. That is beautiful work and it is not super-human, its just very well played and thought out.
I believe anyone can achieve a comparable sound to that. All they have to do is know themselves and their playing style very well, and apply it so something genuine.

To be genuine is very difficult, I sometimes wonder if it is possible at all these days. Then I go to my local blues jam and plug in with some good friends of mine and realize that genuine is not something that comes from tone, guitar, amp, influence or anything material. Genuine comes from the feeling you get when you and your closest friends and all moving in time with one another and everything else is so small at that moment.
The sound you create with your musical companions should be something you cherish, I could not imagine creating my songs with out my band there with me, helping me through the process.

After all, that's all life is right? A Process? Why not make it a very enjoyable process, I think guitar can bring that to me and many other people. So when you pick up your axe next time, don't think about how you can make your playing better. Think about how much better you can feel from your playing.

-Justin Fox

For more information on my band please visit: www.myspace.com/medusastone

Click on Album Cover to go to Medusa Stone Band's MySpace

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