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Why was Jerry Garcia Different than other Rock Guitarists?


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Showing 1-15 of 15 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 7, 2008 9:41:22 PM PST
Trout Voice says:
Nobody sounds like Jerry and people either Love it or Hate it. What is it about the way he played that was so unique. I feel that I understand it in my own way but am curious what the major appeal was to so many Deadheads?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 8, 2008 7:03:45 AM PST
Woody Thomas says:
Jerry was the most versatile guitar player in rock music. He didn't just play rock. He played from his soul, and his playing was more LYRICAL than anybody else I've ever heard. On the cowboy songs like Me and My Uncle and El Paso, his licks made you feel like you were in the old West. And of course the psychadelic stuff took you out into space. And the ballads like Stella Blue or Comes a Time, it was just pure heart and soul coming from his guitar strings. Even the very last show 07/09/95 at Soldier Field, which for the most part was pathetic compared to the earlier years (as were most performances in the later years), Jerry played a twangy little solo in Lazy River Road that just took you to a country shack in Mississippi or somewhere, with a hound dog sleeping on the front porch. And of course his performance of So Many Roads at that final show is an all-timer, just heart-wrenching.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 8, 2008 8:24:04 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 8, 2008 8:25:53 AM PST
Tyler Durden says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 8, 2008 9:46:43 AM PST
Most of his middle finger on his right hand got lopped
off-

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 8, 2008 9:54:44 AM PST
K. Carter says:
That'll do it......

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 8, 2008 10:23:01 AM PST
D. Morgan says:
I think that what made him unique is that he played modally (though he could play blues licks with the best of them). In other words instead of playing in a particular key with classic 1 4 5 progressions, he might play (write) in the dorian mode of the key of c. A classic example of this is Dark Star which is in the Mixolydian mode of C. So instead of a resolution of c-f-g-c the resolution is G-C-Dm-c (i'm doing this by memory but I think that's right). Note that any mode can be played in any key or perhaps better to say that all keys have one of each of the seven modes corresponding to it. The sound that this produces is quite different from the typical rock and roll or blues scales.
Tyler Durden might find it interesting that in my senior year at Umass I asked my music history professor what composers of the 20th century would be remember one hundred years from then (now almost 30 years ago). The only rock and rollers in the group were john lord and garcia. You are probably asking "Who is john lord?".

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 8, 2008 10:44:04 AM PST
Trout Voice says:
My comment in the post regarding Love or Hate is basically like a rating scale of 1-10 and I've met many people over the years who have little or no respect for Garcia or the Dead which is balanced by the people that I've known who ONLY will listen to Garcia or the Dead. Luckily there are plenty of folks in between these marks. I found it quite interesting that as I was growing up in the Bay Area there were plenty of DeadHeads around me trying to convince me how great the Dead were. I remember really liking "Lovelight" and "Mexicali" and found "Dark Star" pretty interesting, but nothing was enough to convince me to go hear them. Then on 12-27-77 I saw them play at Winterland and it changed my way of thinking completely. I'd never seen a band take so many chances musically. Sometimes they'd fall flat and other times they'd soar to amazing heights with astonishing views, and this could happen within the same song. I was really blown away by the musical communication between all members of the band, like they knew 5 seconds before one was going to make a left turn without using there turn signal? I got up really close so I could watch Jerry concentrate and see his expressions and it was all very incredible. Jon Lord is a wonderful composer/musician as well. He put the Deep in Purple !!!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 8, 2008 11:04:41 AM PST
LSD

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 8, 2008 12:54:24 PM PST
Walter Five says:
Oh, I think they'll be remembering Frank Zappa as well, as he's the only *real* write it down in full 32-part orchestration "composer" of the three that have been mentioned, but your point is well taken.

Personally, I think Jerry's 4-finger picking method certainly had something to do with it, I can think of another guitarist with a disfigured hand who created a guitar style all his own-- one Django Reinhardt. His bluegrass roots had a lot to do with it too; you listen to him back in '63 with The Sleepy Valley Hogstompers, and he was already as technically proficient on banjo as any of the Dillards. Most non-Deadheads aren't aware of Jerry's Folk, Jugband & Bluegrass roots.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 8, 2008 1:18:56 PM PST
nothing face says:
One major aspect is a Folk and Bluegrass backround...He went on a sabbatical into the southern Bluegrass area(Tennesse, Kentucky) in his formative years, where he jammed with a lot of local talent. It left a indelible mark on his style of play, that pushed His over all sound beyond the common 'Rock' style. After His coma, in the early 80's I believe, Jerry essentially had to learn how to play all over again. I have to think that fact alone shows true dead-ication to His art...

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 8, 2008 5:22:40 PM PST
Trout Voice says:
As I recall on that Bluegrass trip to Kentucky Jerry and Robert Hunter were supposedly toting a fairly large reel to reel tape recorder with them to bring back fresh recordings of Bill Monroe that they hoped to learn from ?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 8, 2008 6:02:21 PM PST
He did his own thing just like most players. It's not like everybody was the same except Garcia. He was no more or less unique than most other good guitarists.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 8, 2008 10:21:33 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 8, 2008 10:23:19 PM PST
Trout Voice says:
If thats the case then who else sounds like him? I can only think of one...

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 9, 2008 5:18:32 AM PST
Who else sounds like Martin Barre? Who else sounds like Ritchie Blackmore? All these guys were unique in their own regard and even if a player inspired hundreds of imitators, it doesn't make the originator any less unique. The fact that Garcia was unique is irrelevant to the originality of other players. He does not stand alone in that regard. That is my point.

Posted on Apr 11, 2012 1:54:02 PM PDT
Mister Gwyn, is indeed very correct.
Jerry Garcia has a tone and style that can be heard and identified with just a few notes.
Many hate Jerry and The Grateful Dead but he was an original and very imitated by many other players.
A great guitar player Jerome Garcia!
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This discussion

Discussion in:  Rock forum
Participants:  11
Total posts:  15
Initial post:  Dec 7, 2008
Latest post:  Apr 11, 2012

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