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Re: Do you actually loop with the instrument you are most proficient on? (Re: What would loopers do without power?)

On Thu, Jul 24, 2008 at 5:21 AM, Patrick Suler <patricksuler@gmail.com> 
> That's an interesting question, and quite poignant.
> I actually am most proficient on guitar, but I only loop with a 
> The first reason being, when I used to loop with a guitar, everything 
> out as a surf tune. Not bad, but it all sounded the "same-ish".
> Having learned guitar in the bluesy Led Zep 16 year old sorta way, I had 
> break out of that paradigm, and the only way to do that was to switch to 
> different instrument. With different muscle memories, and different
> textures. I knew a little bit of keyboard, so synth seemed a natural
> progression.

So right on the spot, Patrick! When I was 16 I thought "OMG when I
have learned to play like Hendrix it's gonna be just awesome!" Well,
after learning to play those sounds on the guitar I just couldn't find
the point in it. I wasn't interested in forming a cover band, but
rather interested in what is lurking beyond the music. Some years went
by while I was recruited to different bands and record projects as "a
hired gun" until I finally realized I had to pick up a second
instrument in order to "find my own way".

I don't think piano players may suffer this problem as much as guitar
players. As you're saying we (guitarists) are building up tiny
muscular reflexes in order to access expression through the
instrument, but these "body mutations" also makes it harder to play
differently - if you should want to. Norwegian guitarist Eivind Aarset
told me he took another road to pass this typical barrier by setting
out to deliberately kill his darlings, as opposed to learning a new
instrument. He made up his mind to never play one single note that
"lives in his fingers". Myself, as I later on expanded into sax
playing, I noticed that reed instruments are less "dominating" and
feels closer to your voice, which in turn is even closest to the
origin of your musical inspiration inside your mind. It took me five
mouth pieces (I reshaped their resonance chamber with tools until the
got broke or, finally, sounded great) and about as many different
saxophones to come close to the sound I hear inside. Then I picked up
looping and this "instrument" is just endless. There are no limit to
how you can expand it to explore new expressions (if you are not
mainly interested in "catching a loop and solo over it", that is ;-)
As for my latest babe, the alto flute, I chose it in order to expand
looping. It's a portable instrument with a tone that can acoustically
vary from a clean sine wave to an overtone driven aggressive punch.
And you can mount a mic on it that picks up your voice well too, which
makes for a broader sound palette. Since starting on the flute four
years ago I have felt a growing frustration whith playing guitar and
sax because they do not have the percussive qualities of the flute; I
mean using any combination of consonants to drive the attack of the
sound - almost vocalizing. This frustration is the same that I felt
with non twang bar guitars some decades ago, being a floating twang
bar addict back then ;-)) My way of coping with this new frustration
is to play  fretless guitar, since that offers yet another quality
that the flute doesn't already excel in delivering.

Greetings from Sweden

Per Boysen
www.boysen.se (Swedish)
www.looproom.com (international)