Re: Lead Guitar Players (Again).

> Knowing when to fill and give space has always been the key.

Very true!  There's this 10 year old harmonica player who is quite good, 
but he plays all the time.  Still, he can get away with it on "cuteness" 
:-)  Most of us can't, and have to know when to be quiet, as well as when 
to play.

My general rule is: "When in doubt, lay out".

I've worked with some groups where we had differences of opinion as to
when to play.  When these are serious and consistent, I try to get all
pertinent parties together over a cup of hot chocolate (coffee tehds to
fray the nerves), ask him/her/them what their playing philosophy is,
explain what I'm trying to do (e.g.  they're background licks like horn
riffs, or fills not solo's, etc.), and see if we can't work it out 
amicably and comfortably for all involved.  This is usually successful, 
but sometimes there are serious differences and the best thing we can do 
is part company while still friends.  There's a strong likelihood 
they'll throw some studio work your way, even if they find a new harp 
player.  They're used to hearing _you_ on a lot of tunes, and so is the 
bands following.  The new harp player probably won't play it the same, 
and everyone wants to put the best possible on their CD.  No sense in 
ruining a potential session :-)

As far as "what to play", I've had negligibly few cases.  I don't know if 
others have run into this much, but if it's a problem, you might ask the 
"offended" party to write out what they want played - and when it's wrong 
(as it invariably will be), point out a few of the subtleties of 
arranging for diatonic harp.  A few sessions like this and they'll tend 
to give you your "air space".

Of course, if you play chromatic (or play the diatonic chromatically), you
may find yourself stuck with some rather awkward arrangements.  I
personally don't object to this, though.  It forces me to master yet
another difficult lick on the harp, and I become a better player because
of it.  It also helps to keep my reading reasonably sharp, which is a big
plus.  I think every bands needs a good harp player who reads (and 
sings!)  (Of course, most don't know this :-(

Along these lines (well, sorta :-), I enjoy trading licks with guitarists,
keyboardists, and (especially!) horn players.  Playing these licks on 
harp makes them "original" and gives you a unique sound.  You can also 
impress the dickens out of people if your guitarist is an Eddie Van Halen 
emulator :-) (Of course, you also might find your tongue tied around your 
neck, too - but that's a different topic :-)

 --  mike curtis

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