How To Improve?

Discussion in 'Guitar Lessons' started by WholeLottaIzzy, Nov 3, 2014.

  1. JonR

    JonR Senior Member

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    I'm not sure :confused:
    Here are the notes in the pattern he's playing:
    4-8 = Ab - C
    5-8 = E - G
    5-7 = C - D
    5-6 = G - Ab
    5-7 = D - E
    4-8 = Ab - C

    In the context of A minor, I'd prefer to call those Ab's G#, but calling them Ab obeys the rule of "only one of each note (letter)". As such, we could call that scale a subset of F melodic minor!
    Which - to go off on a tangent - reminds me that the jazz altered scale on an E7 chord (usually in key of A minor) is often regarded as a mode of F melodic minor. (The 2 notes missing are Bb and F.)
    Main point is, it's consistent through the octaves Ab-C-D-E-G | Ab-C-D-E-G |Ab - C

    Compare the notes in the pattern you posted:
    4-8 = Ab - C
    5-8 = E - G
    5-7 = C - D
    6-7 = Ab - A
    5-7 = D - E
    4-8 = Ab - C

    - you can see the discrepancy. There's nothing necessarily wrong with that set of notes, but (a) it isn't a "scale" as we normally understand it; it's different in the middle than at either end (Ab-C-D-E-G# | A-C-D-E-G |Ab - C); and (b) it isn't the scale the guy in the video was talking about. Obviously, if you're going to use youtube lessons to learn from, you need to be sure you're getting the right notes in the first place..;)
    Yes, but it's useful to understand what it is you're doing there. That's part of the C major scale (E-F-G-A-B-C), and assuming A is still the keynote, that's A aeolian mode. You've added F and B to the pent.
    It would normally be OK to do that if the key was A minor or C major. But it wouldn't work so well if the key was F, D minor, G or E minor - or A major (blues).
    Well it's part of a diatonic scale, yes, and could be part of any mode of that scale.
    If we assume A is still our keynote, then it's a different mode from the one above - which is important. In this case, you're adding F# and B to the pent, suggesting the G major scale - which (with an A keynote) gives you A dorian mode.
    Sure - at least you have more variety of note choice. But these are not random choices. Adding 2 notes to a pent is often a good idea, but you need to know the right 2 notes for your context. (In practice, you should be able to rely on your ear, so knowing note names is less important - but it can help with understanding what works and why.)
    Yes, again. (I take it you mean parallel major and minor ;).) I gives you a very useful and popular set of notes, in a blues, R&B or country context. Mixolydian mode with passing b3, or dorian mode with passing major 3.
    Not according to the transciption I have.
    AFAIK, the solo is entirely E minor pent - although it does have bends and slides.
    However, Hendrix knew his chords, and makes sure his phrases relate to chord tones. Eg the 1st phrase begins on E (3rd of the C chord), and resolves down to G on the following G chord. The 2nd phrase is much the same (relating differently to the D and A chords), but is extended to end on the root of the E chord.
    In the second half of the solo, he plays a variation on the first phrase, with a really nice melodic twist on the G (but still ending on a G note).
    It's true he seems to ignore the chord tones on the D and A chords - there are D's and A's in there, but not as targets.
    When he reaches the E chord this time, his first note is G, but he resolves it down to E on the next beat.
    I'd bet he wasn't just randomly finding phrases from E minor pent. That solo sounds at least partially worked out beforehand, and you can hear how it's shaped to follow the changes
    OK, but IMO you should learn a few notes.... ;) At least it would help in discussions like this, where we need theoretical terms (beginning with notes) to make sure we know what we're talking about.:) (Tab is fine up to a point.)
     
  2. DW4LesPaul

    DW4LesPaul Senior Member

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    Totally get what you are saying now. I don't know why I was stuck on 6-7 instead of 5-6. Yes, I see.

     
  3. DW4LesPaul

    DW4LesPaul Senior Member

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    Indeed I do rely on my ear!

     
  4. DW4LesPaul

    DW4LesPaul Senior Member

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    Jon,

    Please see "Hey Joe" solo:

    Starts at 13:35 (breaking out of the pentatonic shape playing major scale):
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qM3IBh8M4lA

     
  5. JonR

    JonR Senior Member

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    Ah-ha!
    I was going by some old net tab I'd copied out way back, which had sounded fine when I played along. Duh! :facepalm: Thanks for the correction :).

    In fact there's just 2 notes (as you say) out of the pent, but I'd hardly call it "major scale". It's major pent, a common little device of Hendrix's. (ie, an example - however brief - of mixing parallel major and minor pents.)
    He slides up to the 6th, then plays root and 2nd before the final G-E.
    Hendrix would never have played major scale on something like this, but major pent was a favourite sound of his. He rarely mixed the pents as one whole scale (eg as Chuck Berry did), but usually kept them separate - some major pent phrases, some minor pent. Even this short phrase is half major and half minor, not a run up the mixed scale.

    You can hear much more major pent riffing in his more ballad-style tunes, such as Wind Cries Mary.
     
  6. DW4LesPaul

    DW4LesPaul Senior Member

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    Thought you'd like that.

     
  7. WholeLottaIzzy

    WholeLottaIzzy Senior Member

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    I was thinking earlier about recording myself with a backing track, then in six months record another to see how much guitar lessons helped. It would also help me hear what I need to improve on.

    My guitar teacher recommended doing this without me mentioning it. Mainly for confidence. I have massive confidence issues with my playing. Everyone tells me I can play well and sound good, but I've always had issues believing it.

    Anyway, this is how I play now. Sounds alright, I guess. A few nice licks but you can definitely hear a lack of confidence. Strangely enough, usually on the bridge pickup. My guitar teacher told me to listen back, find two things I like and one thing I need to improve on. Thoughts are greatly appreciated.

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GncTW_RSTrI]YouTube[/ame]
     
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  8. Shortscale

    Shortscale Premium Member

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    Argh! It says the video is private.
     
  9. WholeLottaIzzy

    WholeLottaIzzy Senior Member

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    Oh. Hang on. I'll fix that.

    OK. Good to go. Be kind ;)
     
  10. Eddie 70

    Eddie 70 Senior Member

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    I like it. In 6 months you should be smokin!
     
  11. Shortscale

    Shortscale Premium Member

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    Good stuff. I started hearing a BB King/Thrill is Gone kinda thing going on once in a while there. Or maybe it's just the key of B always reminds me of BB...

    I agree with your own comments; some really sweet licks and you do sound more soulful and fluid on the neck pup. (Maybe keep it in the middle as a compromise). I kept waiting for you to throw in some palm muting. Seems like it would fit your style well.

    IMO you just need to keep playing the hell out of that LP and good things will happen. Maybe do an up-tempo dirty rocker vid to compare also.

    :thumb:
     
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  12. WholeLottaIzzy

    WholeLottaIzzy Senior Member

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    BB King always comes out in my playing with that backing track. That's awesome that you noticed it! Thanks!

    OK I'll mess around with something more upbeat. I usually like slower tracks though as I have room to think then.
     
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  13. JonR

    JonR Senior Member

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    I like it, and (more importantly) your own impression is exactly right: "a few nice licks but you can definitely hear a lack of confidence".
    One thing you could try is to turn the backing track up a lot more, and keep your volume down (relatively), so you have to play loud just to hear yourself.
    I realise the balance we're hearing on the video may be different from how it sounded to you while playing, but your hesitancy sounds a little as if you're afraid of losing time with the backing, which is common if it's too quiet - you don't want to let rip.

    The only criticism I'd make (other than the hesitant feel) is there's slightly more emphasis on technical tricks than on melodic phrasing. You definitely have a promising sense of the latter, but there's the occasional thing like a repeated pull-off which serves no purpose other than technical practice - as if you feel you ought to sling in something like that.
    Otherwise I like the discipline and focus, and the use of space. I agree with the others: in 6 months you should be smokin' (you probably could now if you let yourself go a little, be less polite).

    Keep thinking melodically and rhythmically. In fact think much more about the rhythm than the notes. I agree you should try a more uptempo track, such as a medium shuffle (I guess you probably have, but it would be good to hear it). Think about where you place accents within the bar, maybe dig into some syncopation. Play very short phrases, then think of a response to what you just played. Don't be afraid to repeat a phrase, and develop it a little; don't always try to think of new phrases all the time. One idea developed always sounds better than a lot of random ideas, however good they are.

    Check out some Charlie Baty:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afN451wOxDo
    - puts the hairs right up on the back of my neck... groove don't get better than this. And with all the inventive wit, he doesn't lose that groove. This is what being "in the pocket" sounds like...
     
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  14. WholeLottaIzzy

    WholeLottaIzzy Senior Member

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    Thank you so much. It's nice to hear some encouraging words. I know what you mean about timing. My timing is usually pretty good, but it went to shit for this track for some reason. But, I wasn't going to redo the track as it shows mistakes, and this is what it's about.
    I've always shied away from the technical aspect of playing. Faster playing has never been something I've tried to learn and although I use hammer ons and pull offs, they're not used that much. I use mainly slides and bends. Maybe I should try to incorporate them a bit more.

    I'll do another video later and try let go a bit more. But I feel when I do that, my phrasing suffers.
     
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  15. JonR

    JonR Senior Member

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    A bit less if anything, IMO.
    It would be a good exercise (if not very bluesy ;)) to try playing a solo with no bends, slides, hammer-ons or pull-offs at all. (Yes, damned hard, I've tried it...)
    Picking each note separately makes you concentrate on note choice and timing. Those little legato tricks (ie ways of playing more than one note without picking all of them) tend to make you play too many notes, and avoid thinking about each one.

    Also, playing to a faster backing track doesn't mean playing faster - think about that. ;)
     
  16. WholeLottaIzzy

    WholeLottaIzzy Senior Member

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    Ah. Less hammer ons and pull offs. Okay, I'll try. A problem I have is faster backing tracks mean more notes to me. I have trouble playing less with uptempo stuff. Perhaps I'll do a faster track and record it tonight, we'll see. Thanks for the advice.
     
  17. JonR

    JonR Senior Member

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    A nice tip (thanks Hal Galper) about playing at fast tempos is to think in half-time. It makes you more relaxed, while still being able to play at the same speed (same notes-per-second rate). It's an old jazz trick - it's why those beboppers, steaming along at 300+ bpm, can look so relaxed.
    Eg, if you're playing 8th notes at 200 bpm, think of them as 16ths as 100.

    At medium tempos it shouldn't be much of an issue. It's for when the tempo starts feeling frantic (and that can vary from person to person). Instead of counting "1-2-3-4", start feeling it as "1-&-3-&".
     
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  18. WholeLottaIzzy

    WholeLottaIzzy Senior Member

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    That sounds like some good advice to me. I'll definitely give that a go tomorrow, thanks!
     
  19. DW4LesPaul

    DW4LesPaul Senior Member

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    You have nothing to worry about. You started this thread saying you needed to learn more solo type playing, and that's your only problem--practicing solo type stuff, which, really, isn't a problem proper at all. I give you one month to double your soloing skills.

     
  20. WholeLottaIzzy

    WholeLottaIzzy Senior Member

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    Gonna take more than a month until my skills double. I don't think you can measure it that easily.

    Lately I've been doing something different. I've been figuring out vocal lines by ear. Trying to make my guitar sound as close to the singer's voice as I can by just changing what I do with my hands, no eq or messing with tone controls, all in the hands. It's quite a challenge to do it well but I got a surprising amount of variety. I was doing Adele's Rolling in the Deep. I don't like her other stuff, just that one. Really bluesy song. Trying to get a tone to suit her voice, then trying to match her vibrato was a lot of fun. It was making me really focus on dynamics, tone and playing in a way I don't usually.

    Also been on a BB King binge lately. Mainly taking licks from as many versions of Thrill is Gone as I can find!
     
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