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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-28-2003, 05:14 PM Thread Starter
zEr0's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 1,244
How to play MUSIC?

I'm still kind of a beguinner at guitar playing so I guess this question won't seem completely stupid to all of you accomplished guitar players who I hope will try to help me.
The fact is that since I figured out how to play solos on my guitar they have become the main thing I play. All of this with the hope of improving my technique and some distant day being able to play like my guitar god Joe Satriani. The problem is that even though my technique has clearly improved in this last year I feel like not much has changed musically. I mean I can play my pentatonics way faster than when I was first learning them but they still sound like scales and not like MUSIC. I never worried too much about this problem because I've been playing solos only for a year or so and I thought that it would come as a natural thing but now I really feel like I am only improving my technique. Even on my good days when I think I'm playing awesomely I get bored of myself after 5 minutes because it all sounds the same. I mean I have shredding aspirations but I still want to play enjoyable music.

I guess many of you have gone through a similar process at some time during your playing career so I'd really appreciate if you could help me with your way out of this problem.

I appreciate any help.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-28-2003, 05:34 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Atlanta
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One thing to remember is that music is also about emotion, not just pentatonics. The feeling put into a particular piece has just as much to do with the music as does the various scales or modes being played. Listen to Vai's "Whispering A Prayer", you can FEEL the emotion put into that one.

Also, if you are getting bored, why don't you try something more challenging? Play a different style of music too. And above all, listen to music, all different styles, all the time. Just actively listening to music actually helped my guitar playing more than anything, i think. Course, i do practice a bit in there...
Champagne Mist is offline  
post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-28-2003, 06:32 PM
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Well, try, for example, instead of just playing pentatonics, to play them over certain chord progressions...Try changing things around, i.e. instead of playing 2 notes per string, try playing 3...remember, one pentatonic scale can be played in many different ways, try playing your favourite pattern in a bluesy way, in a jazzy way, in a heavy metal way...Take a break from rock soloing, play some acoustic style singer-songwriter music...Learn more scales...All these are good approaches to make your playing more interesting...
pawel is offline  
post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-28-2003, 07:08 PM
Join Date: Apr 2002
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Why don't you try playing by ear (if you aren't already). It really helps you pick up on what the guitarist is doing on the fretboard, how one phrase leads into another, where certain things (bends, vibrato, whammy bar, etc.) sound good/bad, and hey, at the very least you can steal some licks!

Another thing you can try is taking a backing track, play the song with it until you're comfortable, then try making variations, doing your own thing. Start off with the song to get yourself going, and don't force yourself to improvise- just let whatever happens happen.

Note: pents are great, but they're not everything. Kirk Hammet uses 'em like crazy, but guys like Satch, Vai, Petrucci, and the rest frequently to either the major scale, or scales based on major. Now would be a good time to start practicing major scale patters as well.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-29-2003, 08:45 AM Thread Starter
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Actually, I was just using pentatonics as an example. I can also solo over major and natural, melodic and harmonic minor patterns and I have no problems when learning new scales. I'm simply not satisfied with what i can do with them.

Since I'm not taking classes I've tried learning by myself how to use modes as well and I have been able to understand the way the work without problems but again I don't seem to be able to use them effectively...
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-29-2003, 10:49 AM
Join Date: Dec 2000
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The first thing you have to work out is what exactly does "music" mean to you. Is it the meaninful emotional impact that you feel you're missing? A sense of melody? Both? It sounds to me like you've got a good handle on the mechanics of the instrument and theory, but you're still thinking too technically, and not looking at the bigger musical picture.

Try taking a different approach:
  1. Put the mechanical elements and theory aside. It's good to learn all that stuff, but it's also good to "forget" it, so you stop consciously playing scales and focus on letting the music flow naturally.
  2. Focus on songwriting rather than soloing. It's a lot harder to play a meaningful solo if the song underneath it is unremarkable.
  3. Slow down. Think about your guitar as a vocal instrument. Sing your parts. Do they sound memorable? Do they sound meaningful?
  4. Turn things around. If your playing is becoming predictable, try recording a part, then reverse it and learn it backwards. Try only playing on every other string to allow the melodies to jump around a bit and be less linear.
Just a few ideas. I'm not much of a soloist, myself... i prefer songwriting and creating moods. I'm sure other people have many other strategies to share for breaking out of musical ruts like what you're experiencing.
darren wilson is offline  

backing track , chord progression , chord progressions , guitar players , guitar playing , heavy metal , joe satriani , kirk hammet

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