Jerry Garcia playing style?

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glassynails
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Jerry Garcia playing style?

Post by glassynails » Wed May 03, 2017 3:53 pm

Hi.

I was wondering what form of music, style, etc Jerry Garcia's lead was? Did he favor certain modes or scales? What about his guitar setup? He seemed to have a very distinctive lead playing style and sound. Was he considered a gifted guitarist? I would say so.
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Re: Jerry Garcia playing style?

Post by Pat Dodson » Wed May 03, 2017 6:04 pm

glassynails wrote:
Wed May 03, 2017 3:53 pm
Hi.

I was wondering what form of music, style, etc Jerry Garcia's lead was? Did he favor certain modes or scales? What about his guitar setup? He seemed to have a very distinctive lead playing style and sound. Was he considered a gifted guitarist? I would say so.
Put "Electric Etudes Jerry Garcia" into the big search engine and you'll find a very good article covering much of what you ask.

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Re: Jerry Garcia playing style?

Post by Rick Hutt » Thu May 04, 2017 2:46 pm

I think Jerry was a tremendous guitarist and a well schooled musician as well. His playing was distinctive and easily identified. He often said that the silence between the notes was as important as the notes. I characterize his lead work as "crystalline", meaning, to me, that the line stands out clearly and brightly. His playing was infused with jazz, bluegrass, and blues influences. The Garcia/Hunter songs were pretty much centered aroung I, IV, and IV as their base, but he wove in and out of them at will, and his improvising was amazing.
He started out using lots of electric guitars, but his last ones, made by Doug Irwin and Stephen Cripe ware the ones that stand out. There is a lot written about those guitars, so I won't go into them. Suffice it to say, he was an amazing musician and I miss him to this day.
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Kent
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Re: Jerry Garcia playing style?

Post by Kent » Thu May 04, 2017 3:06 pm

He was also the best pedal steel player on the planet, but rarely played it.

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Re: Jerry Garcia playing style?

Post by pogmoor » Thu May 04, 2017 3:31 pm

Pat Dodson wrote:
Wed May 03, 2017 6:04 pm
Put "Electric Etudes Jerry Garcia" into the big search engine and you'll find a very good article covering much of what you ask.
I see there's an article entitled The Other Side of Paganini on the same site - eclectic as well as electric :mrgreen:
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Re: Jerry Garcia playing style?

Post by henders » Fri May 05, 2017 10:00 pm

Kent wrote:
Thu May 04, 2017 3:06 pm
He was also the best pedal steel player on the planet, but rarely played it.
Yes, that's him on pedal steel on Teach Your Children Well, by Crosby Stills and Nash. He was a good banjo player too. And not to mention, imho, his greatest instrument, his wonderful voice.

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Re: Jerry Garcia playing style?

Post by Andrew Pohlman » Wed May 17, 2017 9:19 pm

Wait? We are talking about the Jerry Garcia of the Dead? Now, I've been to many Dead concerts here in the SF Bay Area, but nobody I know would ever say Garcia is gifted. I remember a year or two before he died, he was voted guitarist of the year at BAM. All of us immediately thought it was political, simply because there were so many of his contemporaries who were so much better.

I enjoyed every Dead concert I ever attended even though I was one those nerds who was sober 99% of the time. Yeah, I loved the improvisation at Dead concerts. I loved the polyrhythms (3/4, 4/4, and 5/4 simultaneously). But Garcia's soloing was terrible - it was more like "noodling", lacked focus, lacked impact. Garcia's strength was participation in the Dead and collaboration with Hunter and Lesh. Together, those guys exceeded their status as drug culture icons from the 60's. But Garcia? Excellent musician, yes. Gifted guitarist? Amazing soloist? Sorry to disagree guys.
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Kent
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Re: Jerry Garcia playing style?

Post by Kent » Thu Aug 17, 2017 11:54 pm

Andrew Pohlman wrote:
Wed May 17, 2017 9:19 pm
Wait? We are talking about the Jerry Garcia of the Dead? Now, I've been to many Dead concerts here in the SF Bay Area, but nobody I know would ever say Garcia is gifted. I remember a year or two before he died, he was voted guitarist of the year at BAM. All of us immediately thought it was political, simply because there were so many of his contemporaries who were so much better.

I enjoyed every Dead concert I ever attended even though I was one those nerds who was sober 99% of the time. Yeah, I loved the improvisation at Dead concerts. I loved the polyrhythms (3/4, 4/4, and 5/4 simultaneously). But Garcia's soloing was terrible - it was more like "noodling", lacked focus, lacked impact. Garcia's strength was participation in the Dead and collaboration with Hunter and Lesh. Together, those guys exceeded their status as drug culture icons from the 60's. But Garcia? Excellent musician, yes. Gifted guitarist? Amazing soloist? Sorry to disagree guys.
I respectfully disagree. 3 notes on a guitar and you know it's Jerry Garcia. That what defines an artist.
Check out the the song Althea #8 below. Written as a self biographical song about his drug addiction. His playing is just magic. That is what being a guitarist is all about! Of course it is my opinion!
https://archive.org/details/gd1981-03-1 ... d1t08.flac

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Re: Jerry Garcia playing style?

Post by Jeffrey Armbruster » Fri Aug 18, 2017 12:01 am

"3 notes on a guitar and you know it's Jerry Garcia"

Because they're always the same three noodling notes.

O.K, that's unfair, but you know every Garcia solo because each one is the same solo, no matter the song.
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Rognvald
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Re: Jerry Garcia playing style?

Post by Rognvald » Fri Aug 18, 2017 1:17 am

I would agree with Andrew and Jeffrey. In comparison to serious CG's or Jazzers, Jerry Garcia's skills are best described as a prolific "guitar banger." And three notes? . . . that's really funny! Playing again . . . Rognvald
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Re: Jerry Garcia playing style?

Post by Laudiesdad69 » Fri Aug 18, 2017 6:05 am

I think he was a better steel player than a guitarist. As a guitar player, I liked listening to him better on the live stuff, after a few tokes...but yes a lot of it still sounds like noodling IMO.

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Re: Jerry Garcia playing style?

Post by bear » Fri Aug 18, 2017 12:11 pm

I was never a "Dead Head" but maybe on life support. I liked the music but never considered JG to be "great". I have a couple of his solo albums and played them a couple of times. I haven't played them in years, I wasn't impressed. It's all a matter of taste, I liked the group more than the individual.
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Re: Jerry Garcia playing style?

Post by scubarookie » Sun Sep 10, 2017 10:17 pm

I would say Jerry's style was like, Folk Guitar Lead, if there was such a thing.

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Re: Jerry Garcia playing style?

Post by montana » Mon Sep 11, 2017 5:52 am

Kent wrote:
Thu Aug 17, 2017 11:54 pm
Andrew Pohlman wrote:
Wed May 17, 2017 9:19 pm
Wait? We are talking about the Jerry Garcia of the Dead? Now, I've been to many Dead concerts here in the SF Bay Area, but nobody I know would ever say Garcia is gifted. I remember a year or two before he died, he was voted guitarist of the year at BAM. All of us immediately thought it was political, simply because there were so many of his contemporaries who were so much better.

I enjoyed every Dead concert I ever attended even though I was one those nerds who was sober 99% of the time. Yeah, I loved the improvisation at Dead concerts. I loved the polyrhythms (3/4, 4/4, and 5/4 simultaneously). But Garcia's soloing was terrible - it was more like "noodling", lacked focus, lacked impact. Garcia's strength was participation in the Dead and collaboration with Hunter and Lesh. Together, those guys exceeded their status as drug culture icons from the 60's. But Garcia? Excellent musician, yes. Gifted guitarist? Amazing soloist? Sorry to disagree guys.
I respectfully disagree. 3 notes on a guitar and you know it's Jerry Garcia. That what defines an artist.
Check out the the song Althea #8 below. Written as a self biographical song about his drug addiction. His playing is just magic. That is what being a guitarist is all about! Of course it is my opinion!
https://archive.org/details/gd1981-03-1 ... d1t08.flac
Put that in my library Kent.,,.thanks!

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