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When I do covers I try to make them mine. I try to keep them recognizable but with my own interpretation. I listen to as many different versions as I can find then come up with my own version. This may be because I'm not a good enough player to copy exactly but for the most part I find it boring to play someone else's version. I like to find what the song means to me and try and get that across. What do you do?
 

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Depends on the song.

Norwegian Wood is straight up, cause it's already perfect in it's simplicity. But, I cover People Are People as a solo acoustic act, so it really has to change.

For the most part though, I'd say they are fairly true to the originals. I guess I'm not very creative.
 

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We tend take liberties with most covers. That being said, we don't gig, so are just entertaining ourselves. If I was in a gigging cover band, would try to keep them closer to the originals since that is what the audiences like.
 

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Auditioned last night for a band that it looks like I’m gonna join, very hard rock to some metal. They’re doing heavier versions of some great songs, I dig it.

I was in a band for 5-6 years where the leader, who was my good buddy, insisted covers be as close to original in all aspects as we could do. It was one subject we disagreed heavily on, though I stopped pushing after a while. I really feel it held us back as a band in the post mortem. Left them this spring, they’ve done very little since, but my buddy is still my friend.
 

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Both.

Sometimes it's nice to really nail a cover. I like to think it honors the original artists, somehow. But sometimes it's fun to just totally bend it to your will. That's the fun of live music. Much like throwing together some weird medley that you'd probably never hear anywhere else. It's crazy the way some very different songs kinda fit together.
 

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Check out the whole album Fast and Bulbous which is a compilation of UK bands paying tribute to Capt. Beefheart. Interesting to see in one album, the full range of cover options as being discussed here.

Only XTC nails it 100%. Lots of fair-to-good guitar copying, but nobody gets the voice except XTC. Some of the groups just do their own thing (again fair-to-good, but never better than the original).
 

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When I do covers I try to make them mine. I try to keep them recognizable but with my own interpretation. I listen to as many different versions as I can find then come up with my own version. This may be because I'm not a good enough player to copy exactly but for the most part I find it boring to play someone else's version. I like to find what the song means to me and try and get that across. What do you do?
I agree with all of the above. I too only do songs that I have some sort of connection with, and those songs become "mine" over time. Not that I set out to alter them, it just happens. Playing to a group of people, most will know the song, a few will think it was an original or something. And like you, when I'm interested in a new song, I will listen to every cover of that song I can find before I give it a go myself. I don't think people mind songs altered (as much) in an acoustic 1 or 2 performer setting. In a group though, they seem to expect/want something much closer to the original. And the closer, the better. In a group, if you do a different version of a popular song, you better knock their socks off, or you'll be getting a lot of funny looks.
 

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I only play songs that mean something to me. My only hope is that it comes across like I believe it. So I don’t worry too much about getting it exactly right like the original - I’m more concerned about whether I can do a decent version that fits my range and style etc.

I was learning an old Stanley Brothers song from a Scaggs and Scruggs version and Earl was kickin out a guitar riff between verses and I realized I wasn’t going to live long enough to learn what he was doing so I made up my own version that had one or two of his riffs. It was easier to learn and remember my own stuff with a bit from the original here and there. People seem to like my version of that song and probably never heard the version that I got it from anyway.

Looking at the list taped to my D18 right now it’s all songs that people wouldn’t fuckin well know anyway so I can do what I want with them ... lol
 
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Sometimes I sing the lyrics to the song on the left of my open songbook while playing the song on the right hand side. An example is the lyrics to Needle and the Damage Done to the guitar and melody of Pride and Joy.
 

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Sometimes I sing the lyrics to the song on the left of my open songbook while playing the song on the right hand side. An example is the lyrics to Needle and the Damage Done to the guitar and melody of Pride and Joy.
That's different, and you could also play the song on the left of your open songbook while singing the lyrics to the song on the right hand side to mix things up. Me, the more the cover I'm playing sounds like the original, the better I like it. I even try to copy the singer if I can. (eg Elvis and Glenn Frey) I avoid songs sung by guys like Don Henley and Neil Young. Way out of my vocal range.
 

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It's struggle in one of the jam bands I'm in. I have no interest in doing exact covers; I want to play a version of the song I hear in my head. One of my band members wants to do exact covers. We discuss that a fair amount.
 

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When I do covers I try to make them mine. I try to keep them recognizable but with my own interpretation. I listen to as many different versions as I can find then come up with my own version. This may be because I'm not a good enough player to copy exactly but for the most part I find it boring to play someone else's version. I like to find what the song means to me and try and get that across. What do you do?
I was going to say the same thing. It’s hard to replicate the style, complexities, etc. It becomes my own style whether I want it to or not.
 
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