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I was recently in LONG AND MCQUACK and there was a fellow banging away and driving us nuts. Distortion up the ying yang. A young fellow learning I suspected.
Soooooooo I asked him to play me something without the distortion.
He looked at me like I was from outer space.
So I said let me try.
I played a few licks with distortion and than without.
He said that is how he wants to be able to play.
I told him drop the distortion until you are satisfied with your playing and that distortion masks his true ability.

My question is how many people start out on the wrong foot and get discouraged. I can play clean or distorted but I learned to play clean first!
 

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The common advice is to learn clean first. I subscribe to that. But there is a pretty compelling counter point that you shouldn't ignore distorted (or more precisely, high gain) play and practice because that has it's own technique requirements required to achieve musicality and competence.
 

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Good question. My first band was in the mid 90's playing the country scene. I played through a silverface Bandmaster and no pedals. Always clean. To this day I can't play with lots of distortion. Love fuzz but it's not really the same.
When I hear a guy playing "cleanly" with a lot of distortion, I wonder how he does it. It's a technique all it's own.
 

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I agree when you're learning clean is the way to go. Personally, at home practicing or even just noodling I keep it pretty clean. Live I mostly play rhythm and find some crunch fits in the mix better and it covers up my mistakes. It's easier to hit the root while forming a chord and still sound good in the mix. Doing that clean is much harder.
 

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I always ask for a clean amp when trying out a new guitar. If the guitar really grabs me, then I will try an Overdrive platform.

I went through a bunch of guitars last weekend at various shops and there were a bunch of metal heads around me. It made me laugh - as soon as I started playing they turned their volumes down or stopped playing (and I'm an intermediate player at best.) - I may have caused a few loss sales :D
 

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Clean for me.Just a bit of gain is all i want or need. The type of music i play does not require distortion but if you are a metal or heavy rock player i guess it cant hurt.
 

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I started with fuzz and distortion - didn't even know what overdrive was. But hey, it was the 80's. At least I didn't get sucked into that SS/FR vortex.

Sometime in the 90's I decided to go another direction - the commonality of blues at jams just made it logically to go that way. More blues, country, MOR, etc. That meant reinventing my idea of tone. It was a bit of a learning curve 'going clean'. I found out that with distortion, you get a lot of things for free, like sustain and compression and to some extent, note masking. Suddenly I couldn't do hammer-on/pull-off stuff so easily without that compression and sustain making the level of all the notes the same, no matter how I played them. And extraneous ringing strings didn't blend in or get masked but stood out like a minor over major (sometime they were). It took a few years of slowing down and being more precise.

Funnily enough, I've noticed similar things with good acoustics. They are less forgiving but also more rewarding when you get it right.

I still play with gain when it's called for, but less than before in any given circumstance. And I'm a much bigger fan of OD's than distortion or fuzz pedals now.
 

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I was recently in LONG AND MCQUACK and there was a fellow banging away and driving us nuts. Distortion up the ying yang. A young fellow learning I suspected.
Soooooooo I asked him to play me something without the distortion.
He looked at me like I was from outer space.
So I said let me try.
I played a few licks with distortion and than without.
He said that is how he wants to be able to play.
I told him drop the distortion until you are satisfied with your playing and that distortion masks his true ability.

My question is how many people start out on the wrong foot and get discouraged. I can play clean or distorted but I learned to play clean first!
Sounds like you're a dick lol.

There is no "right" way to learn the guitar. Most of the greatest modern players currently went completely against the grain.
Tosin Abasi, Jared Nichols, Jason Richardson etc.
 

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Those aren't the greatest modern players...
"greatest" is obviously subjective, you should know that. Regardless whether you agree or not, those guys are leaders in their respective styles, and that was a quick list off the top of my head.
I'm curios to who you'd consider the "greatest"
 

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Totally subjective for sure. I love punk rock and its a love that has never died. I am always impressed on how a simple 3 chord rhythm can totally grab a person.

I started learning on an acoustic as that is all I could get my hands on at the start. As soon as I got my electric, it was 99% distortion after that. I had as much fun on the acoustic as I did the electric as with the right attitude, any style can be played convincingly on clean or dirty. Look at Nirvanas unplugged album. They still had tons of balls and angst just like the way they regularly played.

I believe when you are learning that you should have fun doing what you are doing. If you want to play like Eddie, an acoustic probably won't cut it. If you want to play like Johnny Cash, an Ibanez shredder with a Soldano probably isn't going to cut it.

I once played Bro Hymn by Pennywise in L&M. Some kid came up to me after and said "That was awesome! What's that song called?"

 

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yeah, playing clean all the time is cool if what you are playing, is played clean. then there are some who dance on the edge of grit. that's fine, if every song you play is blues, country, or written before 1967. try playing black sabbath with no distortion. or judas priest, or pantera. playing clean isn't for everyone, and it doesn't work across the board for everything. some folks are happy eating vanilla. good for them. i want cherry chocolate fudge brownie marshmallow.
vanilla is cool too sometimes.
but it's not all there is.
there's more than one way to do things
if this were not so, there would not be all those pedals and other fx.

me, i'm not playing guitar to be the best.
all those obscure guys some folks love because they're soooo good.
but the only people you ever hear speak of them are guitar nerds like us here at gc.
the entire rest of the world has no clue they exist.
i'm good enough to write cool riffs and make music i enjoy.
using dirt in various forms.
because it's what i like to hear.
different strokes and all that
 

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I was joking but to entertain the conversation here's Mateus Asato
That's cool, but I gotta say Nick Jonas for the win. He's so far ahead of the rest of the world, no one had a clue where he was going with avante garde solo. Those other guys can't velcro his shoes..............

 
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