Posted: Fri Jun 05, 2015 5:50 am Post subject: Guitar
I got an electric guitar for Xmas, an instrument I never really played before, I didn't realize how fun it is even at my advanced age. I have a few video lessons from this Grateful Guitar lessons fellow, name of Seth Fleishman. One thing great about Garcia but also annoying is how melodic his playing it is, rare are the songs one can just pick a scale and fish around and have it sound good.
Anyway I was thinking about the epochs of Garcia's guitar playing the other day when I was listening to a couple of versions of The Other One. The first was the one from Harpur College 1970, and the other was from the late 80s (87-89) but I honestly can't remember which it was (it was on youtube).
The 1970 version is fiery and full of the sense of exploration of the early days, even though it doesn't go as far out or last as long as some of the other older ones the option to take it long and far always seems to be there. In the late 80s the song is kind of set, it's a lot shorter--I think this one is less than 7 minutes--and even though it rips into some peaks it never goes anywhere surprising any more...the sense of possibility is less, the energy is high but more controlled.
Still it seems undeniable to me that Garcia's playing is much better on the late 80s one (and probably the band as a whole also in many ways, as sloppy as they could be in the late 80s). His tone, sense of attack, dynamics, and range of expression seem incontestably greater. The 1970 guitar attack is cruder and rawer which can be good things at times, and it's definitely a great version, but I give the nod to late-80s Garcia here...
I find Weir's songs much harder to play than Garia's. Because his tunes are more melodic they are easier to play (at least for me) Mind you I'm playing acoustic guitar and tunes around the campfire stuff. I'm just a strummer-I'm not trying to figure out his solos or anything. I'm talkin' tunes like Ripple, FOD, To Lay Me Down, Mission In The Rain, Gomorrah, Whiskey in the Jar etc. Although I did feel pretty proud of myself after learning High Time-Ouch! My fingers were killin' me.
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