Jump to content
EdwardMarlowe

Form and Function...

Recommended Posts

I'm interested in hearing from people who gig about the relative importance of form and function. For example, friends who have played in pro bands have often mentioned the importance of having the right 'look' - both for themselves and their instruments - for niche scenes. No reason why you couldn't play rockabilly on a Dean ML through an AC30, for example, but a large chunk of that scene's potential audience will switch off if you don 't have 'the look'. Same for very many scenes. I do wonder how many people in these parts who actually gig choose gear and/or stagewear with audience expectation in mind? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmm, interesting. New projects have certainly dictated a perusal, and often purchase, of new gear. However, these choices have rarely been dictated by genre/audience expectation, more by something I feel was missing in the gear at the time. Having said that, one band I was in was a rockabilly inspired outfit. I initially did this with a couple of PRS’s and a Tech21 Trademark 60 and then a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe, which were more than adequate, but as we went along I started to look at hollowbodies and eventually ended up with a Gretsch, Bigsby equipped hollowbody and a Fender ‘59 Bassman reissue. This was not influenced by the look, but by the tone. Nothing sounded better for the music we were playing and started my love of hollowbody guitars fitted with Bigsby trems. My dream guitar would be a Gretsch 6120, but I can’t justify the cost, thus my current Epiphone, main squeeze.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 08/11/2020 at 19:44, ezbass said:

Hmm, interesting. New projects have certainly dictated a perusal, and often purchase, of new gear. However, these choices have rarely been dictated by genre/audience expectation, more by something I feel was missing in the gear at the time. Having said that, one band I was in was a rockabilly inspired outfit. I initially did this with a couple of PRS’s and a Tech21 Trademark 60 and then a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe, which were more than adequate, but as we went along I started to look at hollowbodies and eventually ended up with a Gretsch, Bigsby equipped hollowbody and a Fender ‘59 Bassman reissue. This was not influenced by the look, but by the tone. Nothing sounded better for the music we were playing and started my love of hollowbody guitars fitted with Bigsby trems. My dream guitar would be a Gretsch 6120, but I can’t justify the cost, thus my current Epiphone, main squeeze.

I'd adore a 6120, though I will eventually settle for a 5240, the Korean--built equivalent (basically the MiM Fender Equivalent in Gretsch terms). It's interesting how Gretsches have become the quintessential rockabilly guitars, though that's really more a revivalist thing. According to everything I've read from "those who were there", Telecasters were actually much more common right at the start.... Shows how you can't beat a good Tele. Even the leads on Purple Haze were recorded on a Tele!  Which is a ways from rockabilly... 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've not bumped up against it myself, but I did pick up a little anecdote when I was shopping around for a resonator on Denmark Street. There was a Dean in one shop which really looked the business - tri-cone, all-metal body, etc - sadly, it was about double my budget at the time! The chap in the shop told me that a guitarist had been in a few months previous and absolutely loved it, but then he said he wouldn't be allowed to use it. Apparently said guitarist played in Jools Holland's band at the time, and the word from on high was that if he wanted to play a reso on the show, it had to be a National or a Dobro. Which, if true, struck me as a bit ridiculous: the only thing which looked noticeably different about this Dean was the badge on the headstock, and would viewers really write in to complain if there were a different maker's name on the head*?

* Actually yes, yes there is probably someone sad and bored enough to write to Auntie Beeb about something so trivial...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 10/11/2020 at 12:04, EliasMooseblaster said:

I've not bumped up against it myself, but I did pick up a little anecdote when I was shopping around for a resonator on Denmark Street. There was a Dean in one shop which really looked the business - tri-cone, all-metal body, etc - sadly, it was about double my budget at the time! The chap in the shop told me that a guitarist had been in a few months previous and absolutely loved it, but then he said he wouldn't be allowed to use it. Apparently said guitarist played in Jools Holland's band at the time, and the word from on high was that if he wanted to play a reso on the show, it had to be a National or a Dobro. Which, if true, struck me as a bit ridiculous: the only thing which looked noticeably different about this Dean was the badge on the headstock, and would viewers really write in to complain if there were a different maker's name on the head*?

* Actually yes, yes there is probably someone sad and bored enough to write to Auntie Beeb about something so trivial...

Interesting. Can't have been a product placement issue, as though pp is legal on UK TV since 2011, the BBC are still not allowed to do it (a big push for the legalisation was to bolster dwindling advertising revenues for commercial channels, while the Beeb of  course retains a guaranteed revenue stream from "the unique way in which the BBC is funded, by you, the viewer".  Could be snobbery, could be the 'right look'.... I wonder if it's also an endorsement thing. I remember hearing tell of how BB King would politely decline when invited to autograph Fender guitars because of his endorsement deal with Gibson.  Some endorsement deals are more exclusive than others. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 11/12/2020 at 10:38, EdwardMarlowe said:

Could be snobbery, could be the 'right look'.... I wonder if it's also an endorsement thing. I remember hearing tell of how BB King would politely decline when invited to autograph Fender guitars because of his endorsement deal with Gibson.  Some endorsement deals are more exclusive than others. 

I suspect it was down to snobbery / the right look, as you suggest!

4 hours ago, EdwardMarlowe said:

Possible. He's always seemed pleasant enough, but he *is* pally with Prince Charles. Never trust anyone keen to hang out with royalty. 

Well, quite - I'm certainly in no hurry to dine in the Pizza Express next time I pass through Woking!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are no absolutes. 

At a gig you might expect ZZ Top to be wearing denims, or you might expect them to be wearing suits. They're gonna be awesome regardless.

Flying V's may be associated with metal, but when they came out lots of Country bands were using them.

Billy Duffy uses his Gretch in The Cult. No Rockabilly in sight!

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I must be very near the end of the sartorial scale; if any 'look' was to come back in fashion, I might be considered 'smartly dressed' if it was medieval Viking (and even then, hardly...). It's not, and never has been, a criteria in my life. Decent, clean, hard-wearing... I'm rather of the 'Einstein' model, as I have a medium stack of rugby shirts folded on their shelf. I put the clean one on top, and take the one from the bottom. Same for all other items. I can't really imagine any reason for dressing otherwise, except, maybe, for a 'themed' fancy dress party, and even then I'd go as an old rugbyman, I suppose. To me, life's far too short to bother with such notions, and, as with many other things, if I don't understand the 'rules' (and I don't...), I just don't play the game. I have one pair of shoes. B| 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 09/11/2020 at 01:25, EdwardMarlowe said:

I'm interested in hearing from people who gig about the relative importance of form and function. For example, friends who have played in pro bands have often mentioned the importance of having the right 'look' - both for themselves and their instruments - for niche scenes. No reason why you couldn't play rockabilly on a Dean ML through an AC30, for example, but a large chunk of that scene's potential audience will switch off if you don 't have 'the look'. Same for very many scenes. I do wonder how many people in these parts who actually gig choose gear and/or stagewear with audience expectation in mind? 

I don't think look has anything to do with function, it's got more to do with marketing and memorability as you suggest.  

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 02/06/2021 at 17:46, MacDaddy said:

There are no absolutes. 

At a gig you might expect ZZ Top to be wearing denims, or you might expect them to be wearing suits. They're gonna be awesome regardless.

Flying V's may be associated with metal, but when they came out lots of Country bands were using them.

Billy Duffy uses his Gretch in The Cult. No Rockabilly in sight!

 

It definitely varies from scene to scene. A lot of the retro / vintage scenes are particularly unforgiving that way. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I read somewhere that you should make a bit of effort with your stage clothes at smallervenues like a pub, where the "stage" may just be a space where the tables have been pushed aside. Not necessarily complete Ziggy Stardust, but at least not look like you've just stepped out of the crowd.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Si600 said:

I read somewhere that you should make a bit of effort with your stage clothes at smallervenues like a pub, where the "stage" may just be a space where the tables have been pushed aside. Not necessarily complete Ziggy Stardust, but at least not look like you've just stepped out of the crowd.

On the other hand, I very much like the 'flash mob' style, where the spectacle appears as if by magic from hitherto anonymous folk. There are no rules. :|

Link to comment
Share on other sites

34 minutes ago, Si600 said:

I was pushing my band to do all our load in, setup, break down and leave wearing brown storemans coats and flat caps.

They weren't interested in it as a gimmick. 

When I was doing the PA, then the Lights, for Kiemsa or other outfits, I wore a blue boiler suit. Very practical, until I out-paunched it. :$

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 09/06/2021 at 15:28, Si600 said:

I was pushing my band to do all our load in, setup, break down and leave wearing brown storemans coats and flat caps.

They weren't interested in it as a gimmick. 

Funnily enough, I was watching that film Yesterday at the weekend, and they had a scene on this - a musician saying he was not into creating an image, the label bod stating that if you don't construct an image, then your lack of one becomes your image. I've seen all sorts work for an act, but context is definitely important. I remember going to a black tie do years ago and being very disappointed when the band, such as it was, turned up to perform in ratty jeans and old faded t-shirts. Not sure whether that was meant to cock a snook as we squares or what, but for a covers duo formed to play exactly that sort of function it seemed a bit of a miss-step. Nothing on the eejit drummer I saw perform once as a wedding, though, who made a show of turning up in ratty jeans and a t-shirt with a tuxedo print on the front - and then proceeded to vocalise how clever he believed himself to be for not owning a suit. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.



×
×
  • Create New...