Set Short Term Goals with your Guitar Playing

Set short term goals with your Guitar Playing By Kyle Honea

Hello I’m Kyle Honea. I am an ex-Shrapnel records recording bassist and I have self released four solo albums. I also recorded all the bass tracks for Francesco Fareri’s Lion records release “Forbidden Dimension”. I am currently co-writing an album for “KFproject” with Francesco. It is a new instrumental project we created. I’m nowhere near “famous” but I guess you could say I am well known as an over the top, shred style bassist.

On my recordings I often play keyboard and on rare occasion, guitar also. I receive a lot of inquiries about my sound and style and technique, and to me, the answers are really simple. But describing the facts often leads to confusion. I use very little effects at all. I use one Boss effects pedal that offers me the proper amount of compression and sustain that I need for my style of playing. That’s it! I run my bass directly into this pedal and into my recorder. No racks or super computer generated tones. Simple stuff huh?? Well to do this you also have to have your techniques down and hard. Hard? What do you mean,” hard”? I mean mastering your technique so that each note you play is clipping the air. Moving air!! Strong aggressive playing. No silly “finger plucking” the notes or “quietly hammering on”. The note must have sustain and ring out strong.

Recently I watched a video clip of some new guy who just put out a solo bass DVD for a popular instructional site and while watching the clip I kept turning the volume up trying to hear the notes. I could see the guy moving his fingers really fast trying to play patterns similar to my two handed tapping arpeggios. The guy seemed to know what he was doing, but the notes weren’t audible enough! In the words of an old comrade Bill Dempsey, he just wasn’t “nailing it”. If you are going to play solo style bass, play it strong with conviction. And for bassists out there, who play solo style also, make it known that your solo should be brought up in the mix if you are playing solos in a band context. If you don’t, you might get buried in the mix. The bass guitar itself is naturally a very low frequency instrument so as I said, it helps to have the proper amount of compression and sustain.

My new approach to the bass truly started in 99’ when I decided to change everything about my playing. It came from nowhere yet somewhere. You can’t explain everything. Since 99’ my techniques have changed and grown in different ways. I blame J.S.Bach for a few of the newer patterns I’ve recently incorporated and I blame Corsicana, Texas and the back roads of Emhouse and Barry for all the rest of it. I don’t know why, I just know that those places have influenced my writing and development in unexplained ways.

Most importantly though is the function of practice. What do you think classical musicians do?? Sit around and wonder what to do? No. The have studied and practiced for years yet they STILL practice daily. For years I have practiced no less than two hours a day no matter what. You can do this as well. "It just takes a little lifestyle modification and some good motivation." I One thing I would’ve done different though. Set short term goals! I don’t know exactly which ones exactly for you, but make them and be realistic about attaining them. There is a little magic involved in music as well and I don’t want to leave that fact out. You can practice your head off and get nowhere if you don’t receive the magical transmission of creativity into your mind.

I have had the opportunity to record and play with some great musicians and I hope to have more opportunities in the future. Francesco Fareri has been my best friend for a few years now and I owe him for all his advice and help. We are very similar in many ways, but he picks at warp speed!!! Somebody throw me a pick!!! I would like to say that I will continue writing and recording my ideas and getting as much of it heard as possible. "I think you can do the same!" 

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