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osoz

So is Jimmy Page a 'sloppy' player?

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and remember 99% of live recordings were never meant for fans to listen to multiple times and notice their mistakes

Hear that? Looks like y'all can put away your treasured EV bootlegs and just stick with TSRTS and HTWWW :P...

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Thanks for posting the videos woz70, it certainly demonstrates the point both visually and audibly.

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I think it would be useful to add this quote to this thread, because it partly explains why people ever started bandying around the word 'sloppy' in connection with his playing:

“Terrible. Really sloppy. I'm just totally uneducated. An illiterate guitarist, really. But it doesn't make any difference because now and then something good will come through.”—Jimmy Page defining himself as a guitarist, from Melody Maker Sept. 1974

When Page said this he was being self-deprecating to some extent (he is English, after all). That is an exaggeratedly negative self-assessment.

As has been said earlier, the imprecisions and limitations of his style were hardly unusual in the time-frame when his style was formed - i.e. the mid-60s to early 70s. Rock guitar was considerably less technical back then. But they are an important part of his style. I think most rock guitarists would give their right arm to be 'sloppy' if it meant they came up with the solos and riffs which Page came up with.

Some of what people might perceive as 'sloppy' is actually timing. Page's classic solos often play 'late' on the beat. I've been a professional guitar teacher for 35 years and everyone whoever came to me and played the studio Stairway to Heaven solo never got it right even when they had all the notes in the right place - why? Because they never get his late timing. They play it right on the beat, with a kind of 'oh this is easy' attitude. To really play it you've got to make it sound like its an almost impossible struggle to get the notes out - a good example would be the solo on 'I'm Gonna Crawl' where he really weights a lot of the phrases by playing late. It sounds fantastic, of course.

The earlier observations about the change from wrist to 'scrubbing' are very true.

Page's tragedy as a musician is that he could not escape the persona he created for himself in the mid-70s - the problem was, who would want to? But then the band ended, and he could not find a vehicle in which to place that persona. Jimmy Page was the person who never left Led Zep. Jones and Plant did not allow their musician impulse and creativity to be so restricted by a persona, hence the diversity of their solo careers. Page has always been reluctant to do anything musically which might be perceived as 'not very Jimmy Page' as defined by that persona. Hence the archivist role, and the attempts to play Zep songs again in various formats and bands.

Sorry this has gone on a bit ...

Edited by Earl of Court

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I think it would be useful to add this quote to this thread, because it partly explains why people ever started bandying around the word 'sloppy' in connection with his playing:

“Terrible. Really sloppy. I'm just totally uneducated. An illiterate guitarist, really. But it doesn't make any difference because now and then something good will come through.”—Jimmy Page defining himself as a guitarist, from Melody Maker Sept. 1974

When Page said this he was being self-deprecating to some extent (he is English, after all). That is an exaggeratedly negative self-assessment.

As has been said earlier, the imprecisions and limitations of his style were hardly unusual in the time-frame when his style was formed - i.e. the mid-60s to early 70s. Rock guitar was considerably less technical back then. But they are an important part of his style. I think most rock guitarists would give their right arm to be 'sloppy' if it meant they came up with the solos and riffs which Page came up with.

Some of what people might perceive as 'sloppy' is actually timing. Page's classic solos often play 'late' on the beat. I've been a professional guitar teacher for 35 years and everyone whoever came to me and played the studio Stairway to Heaven solo never got it right even when they had all the notes in the right place - why? Because they never get his late timing. They play it right on the beat, with a kind of 'oh this is easy' attitude. To really play it you've got to make it sound like its an almost impossible struggle to get the notes out - a good example would be the solo on 'I'm Gonna Crawl' where he really weights a lot of the phrases by playing late. It sounds fantastic, of course.

The earlier observations about the change from wrist to 'scrubbing' are very true.

Page's tragedy as a musician is that he could not escape the persona he created for himself in the mid-70s - the problem was, who would want to? But then the band ended, and he could not find a vehicle in which to place that persona. Jimmy Page was the person who never left Led Zep. Jones and Plant did not allow their musician impulse and creativity to be so restricted by a persona, hence the diversity of their solo careers. Page has always been reluctant to do anything musically which might be perceived as 'not very Jimmy Page' as defined by that persona. Hence the archivist role, and the attempts to play Zep songs again in various formats and bands.

Sorry this has gone on a bit ...

Welcome, and excellent post almost right out of the gate. As a player for 30+ years I could not agree more.

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I have always taken "sloppy" to be live performances where, when taking solos, he often seems to have an almost total disregard for the rhythm being laid down by Jones and Bonham. I have heard and seen (Earls Court for example) several versions of Sick Again and, more often than not in the coda solo at the end, he loses the plot completely as regards staying in time with the others. It's almost as if he's not listening to them and just doing his own out-of-time thing. This happens again and again, pretty much anywhere where there is an extended solo to be had. I do think it is the band's live "achilles heel". I cannot understand how such a brilliant talented musician can lose the plot timewise so often when soloing. Just to be absolutely clear, I'm not thinking of playing ahead of or behind the beat, but rather losing all connection with the beat. But I ramble on... :zzz:

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Music is all about the feeling! I've seen plenty of "non-sloppy" guitar players: Satriani, Vai, McLaughlin, etc. They mostly left me cold. Page is not trying to recreate the song as played on the album, he's trying to "get that feeling". The players I like, Page, Hendrix, Zappa, Duane Allman, Jerry Garcia, etc. always played it different at each show, Duane called it "hitting the note".

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Let us take the word "sloppy" and switch it out for a slang version of the word "play", which in this case refers to "tight But Loose". There is "play" in his technique. This "play" or looseness combined with the tightness of the rhythm section is what causes a lot of the magic in their music. Jimmy's looseness allows him to move in and out of the beat with an uncanny ease. This ease of playing is what the likes of EV,YM and the rest are lacking in their own playing. Every time I hear Jimmy rub or bump a string in studio I consider it part of what he wanted to play and not some mistake which he could not overcome. Even live Jimmy can incorporate a mistake and make it seem intended. This is why Jimmy is my fav guitarist of all time

Edited by juxtiphi

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His "sloppy" playing is his shtick. JP's mark in history will be his songwriting - not his playing.

Having said that, I love his playing and consider it part of the whole band sound. If he were perfect, it wouldn't be Zeppelin.

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Excellent points being made here in this interesting topic. I think the guitar playing of JP is one of the reasons why we all love Led Zep.

I for one like Page his playing live better than his playing on the studio albums. Sure, he could be sloppy, he made mistakes and missed notes, but he took the studio songs so much further. And most important: there's so much 'feel' there.

I like Toto and Dire Straits for instance. I like the solos in Hold the Line and Rosanna. But it in the end....it all sounds too 'clean'. Too polished. Too 'eighties'. I like my rock 'n' roll dirty. Imperfect. Warts and all. And with a lot of feel. Handsful of soul. That's why I LIKE Toto and Dire Straits for example. But that's why I LOVE Led Zeppelin.

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I'm on my IPad so quoting a post and then trying to edit is not good!

Totally agree with nutrocker's post top of the page. I have heard lots of guitarists say the same thing "Page IS sloppy, but plays with a lot of emotion".

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Woz70 pretty much nailed this. Page went from being technically proficient, artistically brilliant and sloppy to moments of brilliance and sloppy. His lack of playing time and practice showed in the latter years. I think a 1980 version of Bron-Y-Aur-Stomp would have made me cry for what he once was.

One thing I'm surprised that is not mentioned more is his horrible pick technique. Partially a function of playing low slung but he was forever hitting strings with his pick edge, leading to a lack of fluidity in the sound at times and his abundance of broken strings,

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Hear that? Looks like y'all can put away your treasured EV bootlegs and just stick with TSRTS and HTWWW :P...

C'mon! You know what I meant! lol They really did play great every night, but when they knew they were being recorded like TSRTS, they were perfect and didn't try anything too different from usual. If you do put your bootlegs away I'll send you my shipping address.. I'll even help you out with shipping fees... ;) lol

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To go more in detail, sometimes even in the early years, he got a bit entangled in the fast low lines, for example in Dazed or I can't quit you babe, or perhaps messing up a repetitive high lick which he repeated several times when it seemed like he wanted atleast once more and he somehow saved it with something similar at the end,

but those things were rare and if you repeat something, no one knows how many times you actually wanted to play it, although I'm shure Van halen could repeat it for a minute!

Jimmy could still successfully repeat it in the middle of Stairway solo though! And he was a far better improviser(phraser) and composer then Van Halen and had a far better band!

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Every time I hear Jimmy rub or bump a string in studio I consider it part of what he wanted to play and not some mistake which he could not overcome. Even live Jimmy can incorporate a mistake and make it seem intended.

"Honour thy mistake as hidden intention." - Brian Eno

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"Honour thy mistake as hidden intention." - Brian Eno

Yeah his sound is very cool, but it's harder to achieve the sound of 80's virtuosos, in particulary Vai!

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Yeah his sound is very cool, but it's harder to achieve the sound of 80's virtuosos, in particulary Vai!

Bottom line though -and I suppose this applies for all these "80's virtuosos"- take Steve Vai's effects gadgetry and seven string custom Ibanez away from him and stick a goddamn Martin D-28 in his hands...how would he fare?

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Yeah his sound is very cool, but it's harder to achieve the sound of 80's virtuosos, in particulary Vai!

:-/ confused :-/

Brian Eno is not a guitarist

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Bottom line though -and I suppose this applies for all these "80's virtuosos"- take Steve Vai's effects gadgetry and seven string custom Ibanez away from him and stick a goddamn Martin D-28 in his hands...how would he fare?

Pretty amazingly I should think. Frank Zappa wouldn't have employed him unless he was an outstanding musician, and that encompasses far more than the widdly lead work that he's known for.

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Bottom line though -and I suppose this applies for all these "80's virtuosos"- take Steve Vai's effects gadgetry and seven string custom Ibanez away from him and stick a goddamn Martin D-28 in his hands...how would he fare?

Well he certainly wouldn't phrase as good!

:-/ confused :-/

Brian Eno is not a guitarist

Haha, I replied to the first quote!

Another good example of great early precision is the bonus material on disc one, especially Danish TV and most of the main feature is like that too, although Jimmy's sound is a bit more distorted than ussualy that night!

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Yes nice post all the bases were covered, but I hear nuances in a lot of Paget's work, are nuances a way of trying to hide the sloppiness ,or are they 2 different things altogether, I play at intermediate level and get sloppy when I practice to much . always wondered if page was just careless about that?

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I would personally say the nuances you hear Jimmy Page play were picked up by his learning to play early on from recordings of other musicians. They form part of the feel of the pieces and are typical of blues and folk. I can give you many examples where the written music for Led Zeppelin sounds slightly lacking when played as written, but working with a recording it becomes possible to hear just that slightest pull-off from a note, say when changing position that isn't significant enough to be written down, but the piece sounds not quite right without it. It really isn't carelessness, it can take time to add that form of nuance to a piece and I'm sure many are totally deliberate to create colour or facilitate playing in one way or another. They tend to flow quite easily when the right and left hands are relaxed and the fingerings used by the original artist are replicated. They form the signatures or particular styles of course too.

It's always worth taking the time just to put on a recording and replicate what you hear now and then, there is much to be learnt from it and incorporation of nuances becomes second nature very quickly.

I'll just add also that replication of the nuances often gives an indication that one is playing the piece in the same way, some say you shouldn't bother but it really depends what one is attempting to achieve or learn at the time.

As a final edition to this post, It's all about how the music sounds, if a particular nuance works it was meant to be there!

Edited by osoz

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I have said this before that my pet hate is his sloppy solo on Hot Dog,but I would rather have his solo than have someone like Yngwie Malmsteen or John Petrucci murder it.Don't get me wrong I am impressed by the precision and speed of their ilk but when I hear Page fluff a note or two I know he is only human and adds that bit of charm to his playing.Still I hope there is a different take of Hot Dog on the upcoming companion disc.

P.S.Hendrix ar Isle of Wight,worst case of sloppy playing but he was in a bad space.

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Most guitar technicians = Boris Vallejo
Tight, precise and soulless......
boris_vallejo_89thorandkrungnir.jpg

Page = Frazetta
Loose, emotional and brimming with fury....
frank_frazetta_thedestroyer_mc.jpg

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