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Old 06-16-2013, 12:22 AM   #41
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Default Re: Hotel California

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prettymaid View Post
I'm just reviving this thread because I was wondering a couple things about the guitar solo, and I thought, who better to ask than Austin.
Hopefully Cathy and Austin won't mind me throwing in my $.02.

Let me start by saying that these are very observant questions for a non-guitar player (which I assume you are). I'm impressed with your attention to detail.

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Originally Posted by Prettymaid View Post
On the original recording, when Joe starts his part, you can hear the 'zip' sound at the end of the lick as his fingers run up the strings. My question is, is that acceptable? I feel silly even asking; this is one of the greatest guitar players playing on one of the greatest songs. But I just wondered if that is something that as a player you work to eliminate, or is it perfectly okay, and just considered part of the style of playing.
The phenomenon you're describing is known as "string noise," which I would define as a guitar player unintentionally (usually) making noise when his/her left hand transitions between positions on the neck. This problem happens most often when a player is changing chords, especially chords that are being played on different parts of the neck.

Generally, string noise is something which troubles many beginner guitar players and is considered, by most, to be a bad thing. However, I would describe the golden rule of rock-n-roll as: "If it sounds cool, it is cool." Therefore, some players may choose to tastefully incorporate string noise in order to add an element of not-playing-by-the-rules rawness. One of the most prominent examples of intentional string noise that I know of is the beginning of Aerosmith's Chip Away the Stone. Listen at the 0:07 mark, right before the repeat of the initial chord progression.


Now, having said that, what Joe is doing in those instances that you've identified actually is not string noise. I say this because there is no other reason for his left hand to go up the neck in the way that he does, i.e. it is not a natural transition between otherwise existing parts of what he's playing. To say it another way, he is specifically sliding up the neck with the intention of making that "zip" sound.

It certainly is an interesting technique and I have to say I'm not really aware of anybody else doing exactly the same thing anywhere else.

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Originally Posted by Prettymaid View Post
The other thing I notice is that when they play the part at the very end - the part Don F credits Joe for in the doc - the Da da da Da da da Da da da Da da da...on the original recording when they play that the second time it sounds to me pretty much the same as the first. But in almost every other incarnation of the song I've seen/heard, the second one has a very definite slide to it, if slide is the correct term. Do you know what I mean, and is it in the original and I'm just not hearing it, or is it something they've incorporated into it afterward?
Somewhat relatedly, I posted about the writing of the solo (and that part in particular) over here...

Yes, you are exactly right. The subtle variation the second time through is not there in the original recording and it is there in just about every other version. The proper guitar-playing term to describe what Don and Joe are doing is "bending," i.e. they're bending some of notes. You can very clearly see Don himself doing it in this video:
  1. http://youtu.be/JLcL4MkpJQ4?t=5m2s (1st time)
  2. http://youtu.be/JLcL4MkpJQ4?t=5m27s (2nd time)

I once read an interview, I forget where and when, in which Keith Richards talked about how it was important (to him) to record songs before the band had played them live so many times that playing became second nature. He liked to make sure the recording had a bit of an on-the-edge feeling that came from not being overly familiar with the song. This thought makes a lot of sense and it emphasizes the point that many bands probably record songs in a way which allows for some post-recording evolution.

I suspect Don and/or Joe came up with the bending you're referring to while playing live, probably not long after the recording.

I also think these types of variations are pretty common. Another noteworthy example of the same phenomenon is the presence of subtle differences in the way Jimmy Page played Stairway to Heaven live. Specifically, on the recording, the first note is a single note whereas live, he plays two notes at the same time. Additionally, he adds a little slide variation to one of the chords (the fifth one).

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Old 06-16-2013, 01:02 AM   #42
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Default Re: Hotel California

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prettymaid View Post
I'm just reviving this thread because I was wondering a couple things about the guitar solo, and I thought, who better to ask than Austin.

Thanks!

On the original recording, when Joe starts his part, you can hear the 'zip' sound at the end of the lick as his fingers run up the strings. My question is, is that acceptable? I feel silly even asking; this is one of the greatest guitar players playing on one of the greatest songs. But I just wondered if that is something that as a player you work to eliminate, or is it perfectly okay, and just considered part of the style of playing.

It's called a pick slide, where you slide your pick against the string. Joe did it on purpose - it sounds cool.

The other thing I notice is that when they play the part at the very end - the part Don F credits Joe for in the doc - the Da da da Da da da Da da da Da da da...on the original recording when they play that the second time it sounds to me pretty much the same as the first. But in almost every other incarnation of the song I've seen/heard, the second one has a very definite slide to it, if slide is the correct term. Do you know what I mean, and is it in the original and I'm just not hearing it, or is it something they've incorporated into it afterward?

Yes, it was added on afterward. Probably to spice it up.


The whole thing about the solo was to have it move WITH the chords in the song and change with the chords and play over the chord changes. That is why it's so complex and has so much going on.

That's why it's so amazing. And as a guitar player who's played it in a tribute band - it's very fun to play.

The tone on the record is fabulous. THAT is why I bought a '55 Tweed Deluxe (Fender amp) - just for that guitar sound. They both used a Narrow Panel 5E3 Deluxe. Joe with a Telecaster, Don with a Les Paul. My '55 Dlx nails the sound and it is great. With a big stage amp I use a special overdrive pedal I had made to get that exact sound into a clean Super or Twin Reverb amp.
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Old 06-16-2013, 09:36 AM   #43
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That slide up the neck ain't a pick slide - he just slides his finger up the neck. He does this twice. To me that says a lot about Joe's personality - introducing some humour to an otherwise serious recording. I love it. I wouldn't find those slides funny if they were slower. But done as they are they bring some comic relief without disturbing the integrity of the song.

EDIT (added later) :

I just realized that there are, of course, two kinds of slides in there. There are pick slides as well as regular "fingers slides". If I remember correctly (can't listen to the song right now) both Don and Joe do one pick slide each. The pick slides go down the neck, while I was talking about those two quick finger slides up the neck at the end of Joe's first two phrases.

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Old 06-16-2013, 01:35 PM   #44
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I think that sound is Joe's "Signature" he does it quite a bit.
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Old 06-16-2013, 02:24 PM   #45
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Default Re: Hotel California

Thank you Turf, WF and chaim, and thanks Turf for the compliment. I certainly wouldn't normally consider myself an 'attention to detail' person when it comes to listening to music, but HC is a song I have heard over and over again, on the radio, live, and in live recordings. It took me awhile (30+ years), but I started noticing these things fairly recently.

You have all answered my questions. I would agree now that Joe is intentionally sliding his fingers up the neck to create the zip sound, which I think is so cool!
I'll have to listen to a recording of the song to hear the pick slides going down the neck. If I can't figure it out I'll be back! Lol!

I think I first noticed the bending at the end of the song at a live performance, and I remember wondering if it was something new they had started doing. (Not hardly - I've only seen them live recently, in 2008, 2009 and 2010, and now I know they've been doing it since right after the song was recorded.) Again, I like the change from the original recording and think it adds so much to the song.

Turf, I found the Keith Richards reference very interesting. I love stuff like that. Artists sometimes have a reputation for being creative in a very loose way,not following rules or guidelines, but the more I hear and read I find that their craft follows 'rules of thumb' just like any other occupation, and that they work very hard to get the sound they want. It doesn't just happen.
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Old 06-16-2013, 03:48 PM   #46
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Default Re: Hotel California

Quote:
Originally Posted by chaim View Post
That slide up the neck ain't a pick slide - he just slides his finger up the neck. He does this twice. To me that says a lot about Joe's personality - introducing some humour to an otherwise serious recording. I love it. I wouldn't find those slides funny if they were slower. But done as they are they bring some comic relief without disturbing the integrity of the song.

EDIT (added later) :

I just realized that there are, of course, two kinds of slides in there. There are pick slides as well as regular "fingers slides". If I remember correctly (can't listen to the song right now) both Don and Joe do one pick slide each. The pick slides go down the neck, while I was talking about those two quick finger slides up the neck at the end of Joe's first two phrases.
Yes, the one down the neck is what I was referring to and thought was being discussed. It's a pick slide, you can see him do it and then he hits the chord. A pick against a wound string makes a more pronounced sound.
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Old 06-17-2013, 02:37 AM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prettymaid View Post
I'll have to listen to a recording of the song to hear the pick slides going down the neck. If I can't figure it out I'll be back! Lol!
I still don't have a chance to listen to it on YouTube, but those pick slides come right after Joe and Don start trading licks. I'm not sure if there were two of them, but at least in some live version I remember one of them doing it first and the other guy just after him. It's the "SCREEEEEECHHH" sound in there that is produced with the pick sliding down. I'm sure you'll notice it.
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Old 06-17-2013, 07:40 AM   #48
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This is from the Christchurch show. I can see and hear Joe doing the pick slide. Thanks, you guys. I learned something new!

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Old 06-17-2013, 02:54 PM   #49
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Oh wow... I haven't watched Christchurch in a long time! Love it.
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Old 06-17-2013, 05:44 PM   #50
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Love that video.
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