Michelle

Discussion in 'Songs in the key of Gretsch' started by L Robbins, Nov 19, 2020.

  1. L Robbins

    L Robbins Gretschie

    138
    May 3, 2017
    USA
    I have had little or no success trying to play this so far so, why stop now!;)
    Having a difficult time with this one...any advice from you folks is welcome.
     
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  2. L Robbins

    L Robbins Gretschie

    138
    May 3, 2017
    USA
    To be clear, I am looking for advice on smoothing out my rough edges. Cant seam to get the choppy-ness out of my playing lately.
    I am finding it harder and harder to just relax and play. Hoping for some help from some of the fine players here. Thanks.
     
  3. flip

    flip Electromatic

    92
    Jun 22, 2020
    Manchester UK
    I’m always careful about commenting on other people’s work because invariably they are doing things that I wouldn’t or can’t. My response is therefore subjective, conditioned by what I like and don’t like, nothing to do with right or wrong. If you’ll allow those pretty heavy caveats, I’ll offer my thoughts.

    When you get into the melody, frankly I don’t find much choppiness at all. What I think you mean by that term is the arpeggio runs of harmonics - at least that’s what they appear to be unless you’re adopting a sort of Van Halen tapping technique.

    Harmonics are always tricky. I have a very good friend, now a retired professional guitarist who, in his own words, ‘plays constantly in some of the finest lifts (elevators) in the world’. With three other session musicians he was inveigled (it’s a long story so I’ll leave it at that) into taking part in a TV new talent show some 30+ years ago and they performed an arrangement he’d written of Rimsky-Korsakov’s ‘Flight of the Bumble Bee’.

    I was working in television then and when I saw the tape I asked him why he pulled an ‘Ugh’ face while still smiling as they started playing. He explained that ‘with more idiocy than I can usually summon up, I started the piece with an arpeggio run in harmonics’. Even after a career in music the result was a classic bum note. Happily for him, it was the MD on the show who’d inveigled him into performing and the same man arranged for him to sample the right note and have the VT editor drop it into the edit. ‘I can’t do anything about your face’ the editor said.

    My suggestion (with all the caveats) is that you try modifying the arrangement, keep the main melody style and maybe save a pretty arpeggio run in harmonics for the big finish - and save the vibrato effect for then too. Earlier in the piece, the use of the Bigsby whilst quite subtle, seems to break up the flow.

    Finally I can’t bring the original L&M piece to mind but if they don’t do it already, I think I’d resolve last phrase to the major, not the minor.
     
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  4. L Robbins

    L Robbins Gretschie

    138
    May 3, 2017
    USA
    Well stated. I tried many arrangements of this and ended up just sitting down and playing whatever came out. I tried to steal some of it from Tommy Emmanuel.... thats what I get for steeling, haha! As of late I seam to try and play things too far beyond my ability. Not sure why. At 65 I am glad I can play at all. I think I may just let this one go and find another tune to work on. Thank you so much for taking the time to reply and for the advice. Off to practice I go . Happy Holidays to you snd yours.
     
  5. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Gretschified

    Age:
    54
    Oct 18, 2015
    Germany
    I am not qualified to comment on other peoples playing. Especially when they are playing in a style so different to mine.
    So first of all: You got my respect for trying yourself at this ambitious piece of music.
    Here are my 2 cents:
    The old saying "pratice makes perfect" prevails to every art.
    You are praticing a song that is very complex. So you have to be very concentrated to play it through.
    Being not relaxed sometimes leads to stiffness. I strongly believe that you will get a great result/the edges that you are feeling will round out when you reach the point of being completely relaxed when playing this song.
    Until then: Enjoy practising it.
     
    L Robbins likes this.
  6. L Robbins

    L Robbins Gretschie

    138
    May 3, 2017
    USA
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2020
    loudnlousy likes this.
  7. pmac11

    pmac11 Country Gent

    Mar 4, 2018
    Toronto, Ontario
    I didn't hear a damn thing wrong with it. Could be the choppiness you feel is just nerves from having the camera on you. Happens to me all the time as soon as I hit record...

    Anyway, this sounded to me like a cool blend of 20% Chet Atkins and 80% Tommy Emmanuel. Thanks for sharing!

    My 2¢ worth.
     
    L Robbins likes this.
  8. L Robbins

    L Robbins Gretschie

    138
    May 3, 2017
    USA
    Thanks for the kind words
     
    pmac11 likes this.
  9. sgarnett

    sgarnett Synchromatic

    510
    Apr 14, 2020
    Kentucky
    I agree that the early Bigs use is interrupting the flow.
     
    L Robbins likes this.
  10. flip

    flip Electromatic

    92
    Jun 22, 2020
    Manchester UK
    In fairness to the OP, I stand by my earlier remarks. Of course, you're right about practice and perfection, no dispute but, as I tried to convey, it's not the original song that's complex, it's a delightfully simple melody, but the arrangement is very complicated. Full marks for offering it for comment anyway.
     
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  11. Stefan

    Stefan Country Gent

    Jan 20, 2016
    Germany
    Nothing wrong with your playing!
    I highly respect your right hand flageolet tapping- a technique that is not accessible to me :rolleyes:
     
    L Robbins likes this.
  12. johnny g

    johnny g Country Gent

    Sep 2, 2017
    union, ms
    I think it is great. Don't be so hard on yourself.
     
    L Robbins likes this.
  13. Roger49

    Roger49 Country Gent

    Feb 18, 2015
    Germany
    A very interesting rendition of a beautiful song.

    On the technical side.
    I absolutely love your command of single and double note harmonics.
    While you appear quite intense in the way you hug and almost smother the guitar to be as close as possible to your fingers and the neck, the sound still comes out quite open and relaxed.

    I also just love the feeling that you are injecting into the song - you love this song and it shows!

    I cannot and will not presume to offer advice to somebody who, like your good self, clearly masters his instrument better than I but I will offer my thoughts.
    Intro:
    To my ears the harmonics play of the intro does not offer an introduction to the song we all know so well. It doesn't make me (at least) say. "That's Michelle!" and it is in stark contrast to the flow of the song.
    Main body of the song:
    I always think of Michelle as having a definite 'swing' to it and this was always how it seemed to come out when I played it on stage with my band.

    I have listened to Tommy Emanuell playing Michelle and his intro is also purely harmonics. Personally this does absolutely nothing for me. I respect his technical ability and don't blame him for his use of harmonics - or yours either of course! It just doesn't (to my mind) give the song anything additional that fits with the rest of the song in my humble opinion. Also adding harmonics within the body of the song in this way breaks the flow of the song in my opinion but it has to be said that I have trouble with any improvisation that strays too far from the core of the song's basic substance!
    It's hard with a simple yet beautiful melody like that of Michelle NOT to overdo the accompaniment.
    I also listened to Chet Atkin's version and there is the melody with that swing that Paul injected all those years ago..

    Dear L. Robbins,
    There is nothing wrong with your playing, quite the opposite in fact. You are clearly a very proficient guitar player who approaches his playing with great feeling.
    If I remember correctly it was George Martin who came up with the intro to Michelle and if I may presume to give any advice at all it would be to see if you can't work around that simple yet perfect intro (with or without harmonics) and concentrate on keeping the flow of the song going.
    I was fascinated with your rendition and would never have commented if you hadn't specifically asked..... !
     
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  14. L Robbins

    L Robbins Gretschie

    138
    May 3, 2017
    USA
    Many thanks to all who responded and took the time to offer help with their well thought out remarks and advice. Arrangement aside, my biggest concern was the lack of flow in my playing as of late. I guess there is just no substitute for practice! Haha! Please, I did ask for your help so no worries about hurt feelings thanks again to all and happy pickin!
     
    Roger49, loudnlousy and flip like this.
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