Arlen Roth on Playing off Players with Differing Styles
Last week, I had done the Roy Buchanan Tribute at the Iridium with Jim Weider and Tom Principato rounding out our trio, and it was amazing what similarities as well as differences there were between our styles and our sounds. It brought to mind how many people have to from time to time, deal with this kind of situation, and just what it all means.
In our case, it was great because a single common “thread”, that of Roy Buchanan, was running through everything we played, not to mention that they were almost all songs that he did during his lifetime, so even with varying tones and approaches we were still able to pull it all together, and make it work.
We had several parts of the shows that were designed for us all to play together, and that of course is when taste, restraint and most of all, experience come into play! I can say that that was extremely successful, and even though we differ quite a bit, we were able to in a way, make a “uniform” joint statement together, almost as if we were one guitar player!
The key also was, no egos involved, supportive “teamwork” and most of all having “open ears” when it came to each other. We have more of these gigs planned, and I feel they can only get better the more we do it! Of course, when you come up against players who have totally different styles and sounds from you, that becomes a whole different ballgame, and you must really try to be able to adapt to what is going on. In a case such as this, it really pays to defer at times to that other player, and essentially take his or her “lead” when it comes to what direction you may go in. Hey, what the heck….it can only help you to become a more well-rounded player, and will certainly add, hopefully in a positive way to your experiences!
Don’t mind the criticism that may take place such as “you’re too loud” or “you play too many notes”, because I’m sure you could dish it out to them too if you wanted! The main thing is to stay “open” to all the differences you players may have from each other, because really, that’s just where the similarities may just as easily lie!
Gibson.com’s Arlen Roth, affectionately known The King of All Guitar Teachers, is music lesson pioneer and the quintessential guitarist. An accomplished and brilliant musician — and one of the very few who can honestly say he’s done it all — Roth has, over the course of his celebrated 35-year career, played on the world’s grandest stages, accompanied many of the greatest figures in modern music and revolutionized the concept of teaching guitar.