Instruments as Percussion

guitars.jpgI have a Blockbuster home delivery deal with DVDs, similar to Netflicks. The cool thing is that I could order home music DVDs, live shows, instructional videos and so forth, then my wife takes it to the local Blockbuster store and could get another free DVD rental by just returning the one that arrived home earlier. I’ve watched a lot of live shows and other instructional videos — still waiting for the Frank Zappa Baby Snakes DVD; suspect I need to purchase that one.

Anyway, I watched through Nils Lofgren‘s guitar instructional video yesterday, interesting techniques even if he uses a thumb pick and somewhat I think it would not work out well with my playing.

But there was another note of instructions that got stuck in my brain. Nils said that he got this from hearingĀ  Keith Richards (Rolling Stones) playing. And this was to treat a guitar or actually any other instrument as a percussion instrument. It means playing in the pocket, use percussion elements and in all ways let the guitar playing work like another melodic drum playing.

It’s easy to forget this when you are up on stage and playing, but a band or setup sounds even more tight if your rhythm or even lead playing is tight and has percussion syncopations that work well. This is then true of playing keyboards or anything else, even voice. During the heat of a solo it’s easy to forget this — I think Frank Zappa was a master with his guitar solos, they were very evolving and abstract, but super-tight.

It might even help to think like a drummer from time to time to see how the percussion world works. If all instruments work together like a gigantic drum system, it’s sounds really well and you get the groove, especially a groove needed for any cases where you also want the audience to dance.