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Experimenting with New Sounds

Basically, it’s really “all been done before”, but maybe not by you. It’s important, even during your early years to experiment as much as possible with the new sounds you can either create with your guitar, or with “outside” influences, too! I can recall that it seemed that as early as I could play a guitar, I was immediately experimenting with all kinds of different sounds and various creative ideas. I remember experimenting with “mixed media”, such as using a tape recorder playing sounds to go along with our live playing, Theromins, radio playing and miked during our concerts and of course, a controlled use of feedback. I also used to, and still do, experiment with playing the guitar with various objects that percussively hit the strings.

Arlen Roth

Maybe it’s something that is inherently “built-in” for a real youngster who is first discovering the instrument, for I found that this extreme period of experimentation happened for me during ages 11 to 16, which was when I was still “finding” what the guitar was….after that, I was launched into being more of a true “player”, and a lot of the experimentation started to fall by the wayside in lieu of experimental “playing.” Regardless, it all really falls into the same creative category, as we must always be searching for what can be something “new” for us, and what can bring a new side to our playing. Just look at what Jimi Hendrix was able to accomplish with a simultaneous ground-breaking of new played sounds, as well as new sounds that came from sheer physical and emotional experimentation “outside” of the instrument. I always tell students, “remember, Hendrix had to have that guitar first under complete control before he could so let it loose!” That’s a good rule to always follow….make sure the instrument is under control before you let it seemingly go wild!

With all this in mind, you’ll find that there really is no time that is “too soon” when it comes to looking for new sounds and ideas to create with your instrument. It is all something that you may call upon later or will simply reject, at least for the time being, and may revisit sometimes even years later. I find that these ideas may suddenly resurface at any given point; but usually at some interesting recording session or at some live show, where I feel like I just need to stretch that instrument just a little farther than before!

So give it a try…there’s really nothing to lose, and everything to gain when it comes to trying out new ideas. Just like your licks and riffs, it should all come out just as unique as you really are! Happy hunting for new sounds!



Posted: 6/27/2012 3:21:24 PM with Comments | Add Comment | Email Link | Permalink
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