Thursday, June 16, 2016

Jerry Noises

     Let's talk about some of the noises that Jerry makes with his guitar.  Sure he makes some pretty guitar-esque noises that anyone can make, but we Heads know that he makes a whole lot of other noises that are purely Grateful Dead noises.  I've thought about these noises quite a lot in different States of Mind, and have come to some conclusions.  I was going to give some examples of these noises as I go, but it's busier at my real job today than I would like, so maybe just a couple concrete examples.  I'm also going to look into how some popular Dead guitarists compare when it comes to these noises.

Roynk Rankles
     Jerry is a master of rankling his roynks.  He takes some rankles, and roynks them right out.  If you already know what I mean, please come see me so we can meld our minds.  If not, you're probably at least relatively mentally stable.  Basically, a ronyk rankle is when Jerry kind of slides note to note, but with a heavy emphasis on the note he was aiming for when he gets there.  It's something you hear a lot of in "Slipknot!" and "The Other One."  It's a noise born out of fast-paced psychedelia, where the lines between everything are at once blurred and concrete.
     While Jerry is a master of roynky rankles, Johns Mayer and Kadlecik are also quite adept at it by now.  I would even go as far as to say that Mayer's roynks are more rankly than Kadlecik's.  Trey had some good ones too, but they just weren't as sharp as the Jerry or the other two.  Warren Haynes can do this one as well, but he typically has either a more watery tone or a clearer, jazz guitar sound.

Starring Slides
     If you've heard any tuning from the late 80's, you know what I'm talking about.  It's a noise Jerry starting making when they played larger stadiums with bigger sound systems being required.  It's got a bit of an echo, and sounds very "Dark Star"-esque; he would even do it a lot in later "Dark Star"s.  Like with the rankle roynks, it happens when Jerry would slide from one note to another, but the point of this one is the slide itself, not landing on the destination with a puch.  It's a lot more ethereal.
     Kadlecik's got this one down pretty well, he's got a fancy enough guitar and enough pedals to make it work.  Not sure anyone else has it...maybe Stu Allen (the Diet-Kadlecik).

Sewing the Universe
     It's just Jerry on this one.  No one else that I know of can quite do this.  Listen to the "Dark Star" from Dick's Picks 11 (1972-09-27) and you'll hear Jerry do this repeatedly, or most any other "Dark Star" or "The Other One" from Fall '72 - Fall '73.  It's just some fluid musical witchcraft, where I can't imagine what his actual fingers must look like while he's doing it, but it sounds like he's sewing the universe together in mid-air and then unraveling it again before our eyes, forwards and backwards, up and down the fabric of reality...duuuuuude.

     Alright, this was always around and is really more of a technique than a Jerry noise, but still.  It's is a huge factor in the sonic world of Jerry.  He would fan his way through "Sugaree," "Morning Dew," and "Not Fade Away," and even "Tiger Jam" is really just Jerry fanning while melting down in front of his stack of speakers while he Phil stands on all Jerry's pedals at once.  The key is timing; anyone can fan, but not everyone knows when they should or shouldn't.
     I think Trey was a little too prone to fanning at Fare Thee Well.  Kadlecik could get a little fan-happy I think, but was mostly tasteful about when he would throw it in; I think he just jumped the gun a little sometimes.  Mayer has great fan-discipline, and only lets loose when it seems not only appropriate, but necessary to the song.

     These are the only ones that I've identified enough to give a name to, but maybe you all can think of others?  There are plenty of noises he made that were solely to do with effect pedals, like the "Estimated" whomps, but I decided not to list those by themselves.  Maybe as I name more of his noises I can add to this list or do a second part...we'll see!

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