They're listening with their eyes.

Started by Elantric, November 23, 2011, 08:01:10 AM

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Great story.

The best guitarist in Minneapolis when I was playing the bars was a guy named Greg Herzenagh.  I always thought he would be famous because he was tall, photogenic and had chops for days but was very musical.

He's best known for being the lead guitarist for the Peter Himmelman band when they were on CBS records - Peter is a Minneapolis music fixture formerly of bar band legends Sussman Lawrence best known as a singer/songwriter type artist.
Not Greg's main focus when I saw him coming up thru the bars.

But getting back to Greg.  Greg was in three bands that cemented his reputation as the fire breathing monster on guitar to be contended with:  the first band was "The Speed Kings" which was Minneapolis' answer to Michael Angelo Batio's old band Nitro - loudest/fastest/craziest metal ever.  He was also in a jazz rock fusion outfit called "The Outsiders" (I still listen to their two self-released recordings on Logic Records) and a third band called "Life After Dark" who specialized in doing note perfect insane covers of stuff you never thought you would ever hear covers of done well in a live bar context.

Life After Dark would play stuff like PERFECT later Beatles covers.  They could do the more difficult Kansas numbers perfectly. 
Pink Floyd.  Boston.  Basically the AOR staples but some newer stuff too.   

The Outsiders were funny: basically the winners of Knut Koupee music's "Best Guitarist", "Best Bassist", "Best Keyboardist" and "Best Drummer" all in the same band.  Insane.  They could play covers of any fusion song you care to name, Weather Report, Holdsworth, Mahavishnu, without breaking a sweat.   But their originals were just as amazing.

He was ridiculously good.  Still to this day the best two handed tapping player I've ever seen.  His legato and sweeping were perfect too.  In "Life After Dark" it wasn't unusual to hear them covering some AOR hit and he breaks into some Holdsworth lick but always done with taste and musicality.  His tone was right on and his melodies would give you goosebumps.

His rig?  Jackson Soloist neckthru into a Mesa Mark I with some stompboxes.  His tone was perfect for what he was trying to do.  He was no doubt the biggest fish in Minneapolis at the time (I would see the Outsiders live and many of the bandmembers in Prince's groups would be in attendance watching) and flew out to LA where he found he was a big fish among other big fish and found it hard to compete.  He came back here and married his girlfriend and had a kid and played in the Himmelman band which didn't show at all what he could do and also did sessions and jingles. 

I did manage to track him down and found that his latest stuff I've heard was singer/songwriter stuff that is pretty whimsical as well as a crazy surf meets techno project with some of his most insane guitar playing ever - really cool stuff but musical, not just an excuse for crazy chops.

The other thing is, as cool and individual a solo style he had he could ape the players he was covering perfectly, tonally, chopswise and idiomatically.  Greg was the man, I expect he still is today but I still count some of his Outsiders stuff the most impressive lead guitar playing I've witnessed in person in public.  He was fully on the level of a Scott Henderson or a Allan Holdsworth or a Pat Metheny.  Really great.

My music projects online at

GK Devices:  Roland VG-99, Boss GP-10, Boss SY-1000.


Quotebasically the winners of Knut Koupee music's "Best Guitarist"

Ah! Knute Koupee! my friend Dudley Gimpel was master luthier there 1976-1981. I  understand he played in a local Minneapololis 50's rockabilly show band  under stage name "Bo Dudley"

He moved to LA in 1981 and we worked together at Valley Arts Guitar ,

then in 1984 he landed the master Luthier gig at Ernie Ball  / MusicMan.  - He's worked with everybody.


Quote from: Elantric on January 24, 2013, 05:34:27 PM
Ah! Knute Koupee! my friend Dudley Gimpel was master luthier there 1976-1981. I  understand he played in a local Minneapololis 50's rockabilly show band  under stage name "Bo Dudley"

He moved to LA in 1981 to work at Valley Arts, then in 1984 he landed the master Luthier gig at Ernie Ball  / MusicMan.  - He's worked with everybody.

I miss the heck out of Knut.  Theirs was a sad story because towards the end beset by employee theft and not one but two guitar centers hitting town they desperately changed their name to "Musicians Warehouse" and basically faded into the sunset.   

I still have gear I bought from there.


-Bought my #1 guitar there sometime in 1989 but have bought numerous other gear there.  At the time, if you needed your guitar worked on that was one of the places to go if you wanted it done right.  Gimpel was gone by the time I was frequenting their place.


-They had a series of custom guitars you could have them build, they had "Knut-o-casters" amongst others.

-I was walking in one day when Sheila E was walking out and she said "Hi!" to me with a big bright smile wearing a jean jacket, t-shirt and jeans looking impossibly attractive and being friendly.  and I was too stupid to realize she was saying Hi to me and my friends teased me about it for months.  Ack!

-Watched Bireli Lagrene destroy minds from less than five feet away while trying out guitars there sometime in the last 1980s/early 1990s - at the time I had no idea who this guy was but he was totally world class and shockingly good.  Even the salesguys came running to see who it was.  He put the guitar back on the rack and left.  I later saw his face on a poster advertising his gig in town that night.

-My friends sister was talking to two guys about an Alesis rackmount effects unit they were checking out and she was just shopping with me and her brother - it ended up being Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.

Knut's yellow pages ad was distinctive - it showed a Gibson Les Paul custom with Donald Duck admiring it. 
My music projects online at

GK Devices:  Roland VG-99, Boss GP-10, Boss SY-1000.


bump for those who may have missed thread

They're listening with their eyes.


Tough times for local bands ??

Robo-performances and live audience reactions



Nobody likes to crack notes, miss shifts, or play out of tune. Especially in front of an audience. But unless we decide to give up the experience of performing live, that's just something that comes with the territory.
And...right about now there's probably a voice in your head saying, "Yeah, ok, Captain Obvious – what's your point?"
Well, I was watching this interview with cellist Astrid Schween the other day, and heard her describe how important it is to understand the difference between practice mode and performance mode (it begins at 8:42 here).
Whereas practice mode is characterized by careful self-monitoring for mistakes and imperfections, analysis, and critique, performance mode is where we are focused more on sound, phrasing, and the beauty in a piece that we want an audience to experience. Which, when you think about it, are about 180 degrees in the opposite direction from one another.
So there is this interesting paradox about practicing, where the more time we spend in practice mode, the better we get at doing something that is a total no-no in performance (?!).
And what's so bad about playing out of tune or a barely perceptible tremor in our sound anyway? Well, for me, the honest answer is that playing less than perfectly made me feel embarrassed, especially in front of friends, teachers, or other musicians. But I suppose the "correct" answer is that the reason why these little imperfections of pitch, sound, rhythm, and so on matter, is that they detract from the beauty of the piece, and the listener's experience of the performance.
But how distracting are they really? And do our musician friends and colleagues who make us the most nervous really notice as many of the mistakes we think they do?
10 pianists. 1 hour. 4 pieces.
Well, these are tricky questions, and I don't know that we can come to a totally definitive conclusion, but there is an interesting Yale study that provides some surprising insights.
Ten Yale piano majors (9 grad students and 1 incoming student) were given an hour to learn and record four short pieces. Given the time constraints, their performances of these pieces obviously fell a wee bit short of perfection. Especially since if you really want to take things to a high level, there are a whole range of different types of imperfections that could exist in a performance, from sound to rhythm to intonation, and many more subtle details. But one obvious category of errors is whether we play the right notes or not.
And in that regard, the collective recordings of the pianists' performance of Chopin's D-flat Major Prelude contained 380 total note errors. Meaning, the pianists either a) played a wrong note, b) left out a note, or c) played a note where there was none written in the score.
Pianists grading pianists
Eight Yale undergraduate piano majors, all of whom were familiar with the piece (and two of whom had studied the piece), then listened to the recordings, uninterrupted, with blank, unmarked copies of the score.
They were asked to circle any wrong, missing, or added notes they heard in the recording. And that if they couldn't quite figure out what happened, circling a group of notes was ok too.
How many errors did they notice?
Before we get into the results, take a moment to guess how many of the note errors the pianists were able to detect. Or even better, what percentage of the note errors they noticed.
Got a number in mind?
Ok. So here's what happened.
Of the 380 errors, the eight pianists as a team, detected only 38% (i.e. 143). The highest individual score was 22% of errors detected, and one pianist caught only 7% of the errors.
There was surprisingly little overlap among the pianists too. Only 6 out of the 380 errors were noticed by all 8 pianists; 3 errors by 7 of the pianists; and 5 errors by 6 of the pianists.
The obvious limitation of this study is that given the sheer number of notes that pianists play, and the polyphonic nature of the instrument, it makes sense that a listener would be less likely to notice omitted or incorrect notes, especially if they occur in the inner voices. A different instrument's note errors, on the other hand, might stand out a little more clearly.
And when we're talking about experienced musicians like our teachers and the performers we look up to, who have cultivated great ears and musical insights over many decades, and also know the repertoire we're playing inside and out, the results of course may be different. Especially if the definition of errors is expanded to include musical nuance and many of the higher-order aspects of music that much of our work ultimately centers around.
Nevertheless, we do tend to be much more sensitive to the imperfections in our playing than others are. Because when we listen back to our own performances, we often realize how much less noticeable most errors are on the recording, compared with how catastrophic they seemed under our ear at the time. So all that energy we devote to beating ourselves up and feeling embarrassed about mistakes and imperfections in a performance is kind of wasted on stuff that not only goes unnoticed, but prevents us from attending to the interesting music stuff that we actually want an audience to hear.
So ultimately, it seems that the mistakes we make are probably much less distracting to the audience than we might assume. More than anything, it's probably the case that these mistakes distract us from the task at hand, and this hijacking of our attention is what gets in the way of our ability to play our best, and bring a little beauty into their world.


I can relate to that article, we had a gig last weekend, and many of our local 'who's who in the music bizo' were there.
At that moment when all the eyes seemed to be on me, I dropped a clanger bum note (right fret-wrong string), then panic overwhelmed me and suddenly I forget what song we are playing, so I decide to pound out some animated freestyle solo piece, a bit of quick composure while doing that - and pulling some meaningful facial expressions, remembered the song, then away again.... pheew!!
The crowd cheers and the rest of the band grin and smile like it was a planned part of the song.
It seemed like an eternity, but probably only endured for a few seconds, but there was one important thing that we had previously discussed as a band.
In the event of an unforeseen mistake, do not point the finger, grimace, or make accusations, instead smile, laugh, and make that mistake with intent like we practiced our hearts out to make it that way.
Free "GR-55 FloorBoard" editor software from


As I play improvised music it's the " mistakes " that are interesting.
When used wisely they can take the music in a different direction.
swimming with a hole in my body

I play Country music too, I'm just not sure which country it's from...

"The only thing worse than a guitar is a guitarist!"
- Lydia Lunch


Yes, that's the professional approach to a mistake 8)


I remember seeing a jazz Trio in Baltimore about 35 years ago in a small Jazz Club.

Probably one of the best guitar players I've ever seen.

Well during the break I overheard the guitar player almost yelling at the bass player for mistakes he made with the harmony.

As an audience member I could not tell that any sort of mistake was made and I think that's pretty common with audiences. Heck most of the time ,at small Club venues, the audience does not even seem to be actively listening to the music.

What the guitar player was displaying I believe is referred to as the 'Jazz disease.'



Go to 4:00 minutes for a crucial explanation of why Les wanted a solid body guitar


I saw this on TV and wondered why it didn't make any big waves .

I guess the state of art was way ahead of the mindset of the times .

Loopers rule , so many new talents have gotten huge because of a
simple Digitech or Boss looper .

I would venture to say these are a fantastic evolutionary devices only
eclipsed by the electric guitar's appearance in the 1930's/40's .

Now Variax and the like with on board FX and preset guitar sounds .

I'm temped to put a modded Boss DS-1 circuit board in one of my electric
guitars they are so small .

EZ :



Good demonstration of "Their Listening with their eyes"


This video talks about it with examples as well as some foul language so YMMV:

Basically - a A-B test with 3 tube amps versus one solid date and the (probably) inevitible results:

My music projects online at

GK Devices:  Roland VG-99, Boss GP-10, Boss SY-1000.


Josh Scott has been poking at this truth for some time.  Most notably at some point in the last couple of years he switched from a 'proper' amp to a Kemper for his YouTube show, only recently breaking cover.

The most recent one is where he demos a Digitech Bad Monkey along side expensive/unobtainable drive pedals, and extracts very similar and sometimes (Klon!) identical sounds.

Barden Hexacaster and Brian Moore i2.13 controllers
Boss SY1000/Axon AX100 MkII/Line 6 Helix LT
Vox AC30S1
Laney LFR112
Marshall JMP1
Marshall EL84/20-20
TC GMajor
Marshall 1912 (x2)
Apple Mainstage/Emu E5K/Novation Supernova II/Roland JV880/Oberheim Matrix 6R