Playing vs Noodling


Country Gent
Feb 12, 2011
Iowa City, IA
@Highroller Oh yeah, a live setting is totally different. Sometimes, and I have seen this, the (usually) solo acoustic artist will literally noodle and retune and what not, and you think it's just space-filler till the next song...then they keep going and maybe change the tempo...and the next thing you know it's a cover of some (usually really old) song and it may even end it with "wow, that just kinda happened. I haven't played that song in years." You can kinda tell if it was all staged, but usually there is some kind of hesitation here and there trying to remember the next chord. Heck, I've actually done the same thing at a gig or two, and if my band-mates didn't know it they just didn't play. It was kinda cool, but really just a space-filler, and only for a small intimate audience of 20 or so, so not a big deal.
That kind of noodling has led to my various bands over the years actually, on occasion, pick up the song and incorporate it (a straight cover or an interpretation) into the set list.
Don't discount the noodle! There is power in flour!!


Country Gent
Jun 17, 2020
SoCal, USA
I have never been a comfortable soloist, and have never been a very good one as a result. In big band I'm being asked to solo occasionally on sax. Since I've started learning guitar and finally bought a looper, I can kill two birds with one stone by looping the chord progressions of the solo breaks on guitar, and working out sax solos over that. Somehow it's more satisfying than playing over a "real"/canned track.


Friend of Fred
Gold Supporting Member
Aug 15, 2018
Auburn, Maine
I play songs. The only reason I play an instrument is so I can make the song.


I couldn’t noodle if you paid me. I dunno how, and don’t care to learn.