Help a Struggling Guitar Player!

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by ibanez4life SZ!, Aug 5, 2008.

  1. ibanez4life SZ!

    ibanez4life SZ! Member

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    Hey guys!

    There are a lot of knowledgeable and respectable musicians on this site, so I'd really appreciate some input and advice :AOK

    I've been playing for about 3.5 years now. I LOVE guitar. I consider myself a decent player...I'm play cleanly, and with some soul...or I hope :p

    Anyways, I've always found my weakness to be in lead playing.

    The root of this, I would guess, is my lack of guitar theory. I am completely self taught. Scales, keys, etc., I know nothing of. When it comes to lead, I try to find stuff that sounds good, but in general, I get lost on the fretboard, and find myself doing the same things over and over.

    So, I would really appreciate some advice on how to jump over this hurtle. Any good site, books, and just advice you your guys, on where to start on being a more knowledgeable player?

    Basically, I believe it would help me to know WHY I'm doing what I'm doing on the fretbaord.

    Really appreciate your help guys. Rock on :dude
     
  2. donostia13

    donostia13 Member

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    You should definitely spend some time concentrating on music without a guitar in your hand. There are plenty of resources online to introduce basic music theory to you; try applying some basic ideas yourself when you think you've gotten the basic conceptual idea by recording yourself, say playing a certain modal scale over a particular chord.

    Challenge yourself to break down the structure of chords you think you know as well--your hands might be able to make the shape of many chords on the fretboard, but can you really identify each note? Start with basic open chords, and call out each note (ex: Cmajor is C...E third...Gfifth, etc). This really helps you to "see" chord and the logic behind the hand position.

    The more time you put into it, the better you'll be...good luck :AOK
     
  3. donostia13

    donostia13 Member

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    Sorry if I didn't really answer your question on how to improve your lead! Knowing what's what about chords has everything to do with lead playing, though...
     
  4. guitarplayaman

    guitarplayaman Member

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    learn your pentatonics up and down the fretboard and practice practice practice
     
  5. shredtrash

    shredtrash Supporting Member

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    +1. Once you know chords and their inversions all over the neck, scales make a lot more sense.
     
  6. bynt

    bynt Member

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    I agree with learning the minor pentatonic all over the fretboard. It's a great place to start and lot's of us started playing lead by doing just that.

    I would then look at the major pentatonic and do the same thing (it's not as much work as you'd think if you know the minor)

    and then maybe look at modes some. I also agree that chord knowledge (not my strong suit) helps a great deal. I really need to devote more time to some of that stuff too.

    This site may help you some, too.


    http://www.all-guitar-chords.com/guitar_scales.php

    Good luck!!! Just hang out here on TGP in the "playing and technique" section and you'll be off and running before you know it!!!!!!
     
  7. ARch

    ARch Member

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  8. gixxerrock

    gixxerrock Member

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    Find a good teacher and take lessons for 6 months.

    Learn your scales, modes, arpegios, and chord inversions all up and down the neck.

    Spend some time transcribing your favorite solos by ear. This can give you a huge insight you can not get from learning TABS.
     
  9. authen

    authen Member

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    Check out www.jamcenter.com. You can play along with tracks and also call up a graphic of the recommended scale for the track you're listening to. I use it a lot just to keep in shape and learn new things.

    John
     
  10. oldschoolguy

    oldschoolguy Member

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    I'll chime in here and vote that you hire a teacher. Tell him what you've just told us. And yep, pentatonics and the theory behind the scales and chords.
     
  11. Flyin' Brian

    Flyin' Brian Member

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    I have to vote for the teacher idea and the pentatonic idea. but just to elaborate, with pentatonics, I'd suggest that when folks talk about up and down the neck, they don't mean just playing the same thing.

    Two exercises that got me out of the "box" a long time ago were this.

    Start something you know, say an A minor pentatonic.
    A-C-D-E-G-A-C-D-E-G-C two notes per string.

    The move up and start another A minor pentatonic on the next note: the C, and play C-D-E-G-A-C-D-E-G-A-C-D again 2 notes per string.

    Do this with all the notes you can, starting next with the D, the E at the 12th fret etc. Remember to move down below your starting A and start with the 3rd fret G and the open low E.

    Do that in all those positions and it will open up the fingerboard for you.

    Then do the same thing but try 3 notes per string.

    Do it in all keys and realize that you're also covering the relative major pentatonic as well. That's a lot of scales and lots of places for ideas, like skipping adjacent notes, playing only on few strings etc.

    It's work but it's a big help.
     
  12. Shine

    Shine Member

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    Honestly, those are all great opinions. I'd go a step further and say take lessons. There is a lot more about lead guitar than just scales. You have to get what playing is about through a mentor, someone who can show you, explain and theorize why and how it feels. Good Luck!
     
  13. indravayu

    indravayu Senior Member

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    Aside from learning the scales that the others have mentioned (pentatonic is a must for rock and blues, modal scales a big plus), and finding a more-skilled jam partner in your area to show you the ropes (if you can't afford lessons), you can do what I did - play along with your music collection/the radio all day and night - just try anything until you start hitting the right notes! As long as you have a tuner and can figure out what tuning the bands you listen to are using, you should be able to start picking out passages and develop your ear.

    I took six months of lackluster lessons from a jazz guitarist when I was fourteen, but really everything I know about the guitar (especially soloing) I learned from jamming along to Zeppelin and Sabbath albums (plus a little theory picked up from the guitar mags of the '80's). It worked out well for me. :)

    - Chris
     
  14. Mattbedrock

    Mattbedrock Silver Supporting Member

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    Yoy guys are way ahead of me. I just bought the ABB Live at Fillmore East and played it 'till I got it.
     
  15. JSeth

    JSeth Member

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    good posts here already - learn some diatonic chord theory, basic modal interchange, work your pentatonics and major scales REALLY SLOWLY up and down the neck, alternating down stroke and then up, REALLY SLOWLY (did I say that already?); whole notes halves, 1/4's, 1'8's, triplets, 16th's, 16th triplets and 32nd's... by training very slowly VERY SLOWLY, you'll hear things at speed and just do them... listen to the guys you hear who you like, listen to the guys THEY like -

    and always keep having fun, enjoy your relationship with this marvelous instrument!!!

    all the best to you,

    John Seth Sherman
     
  16. Flyin' Brian

    Flyin' Brian Member

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    One additional thing about pentatonics in that you can use them in many ways.

    Take a song that has a typical repeating progression like Am7 to D9 or Am7 to Bm7. It's very easy to use an Am pentatonic a Bm pentatonic or an Em pentatonic against that change.
     
  17. spectreman

    spectreman Member

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    Here's what worked for me:

    Keep the guitar by your side and play lead along to everything you hear....the radio, your favorite music, tv shows, commercials, anything and everything.

    Yes it will annoy anyone in the room with you, but it will help your ear and expose you to all types of music and styles and open up the fretboard as you realize what sounds good and what doesn't.

    Hope this helps!
     
  18. edward

    edward Supporting Member

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    I will concur:
    -Pentatonic in maj and minor
    -Major and Minor scale with root notes on the 6th and 5th string.
    -Learn the above up the neck.

    But ONE person has said what I think was pivotal in making my single-note playing muuuch better and tasty: Listen to and analyze the music you love (and guitarists you revere) in your head! Don't try to play it. Don't try to figure it out. Just listen to it. Is it melodic? Are there lots of spaces? Lots of notes or few? How's it make you feel? Thinking about these things changed the way I looked at single notes ...and notice I didn't say "soloing." There are lots of tasty spots for single notes that doesn't constitute a "solo" but can really add flavor to the tune ...works really great if another guitarist is holding down the tune. Oh yea, then practice, practice, practice. Hope this helps.

    Edward
     
  19. johnh

    johnh Silver Supporting Member

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    I think that what spectreman suggested is good - keeping the guitar by your side and playing what you hear.

    Another way to develop this is to sing the notes while you play. The aim for me is that your fingers can play what your imagination is coming up with, rather than simply repeating shapes.

    One of the best feelings for me is when I'm improvising live and a phrase comes to my mind, and my fingers jump to it immediately.
     
  20. Rocket Brother

    Rocket Brother Member

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    Agree
    But don´t expect get all that done at once, don´t rush it. Start of with the minor pentatonic scale in all positions and get an experienced teacher, not just some guy who is slightly better than you.
    Then move on to the other stuff, especially the chord inversions.
    Also somebody mentioned recording yourself.....I can highly recommend it.
    I have learned a lot by recording myself, when you work a songs or phrasing do a recording every week or so. That is a very revealing progress report, I learned that some of the things you think are well played while playing sound very off on playback and some of the thing you think are off while you play them are actually quite ok - it helped my phrasing a lot and help weed out a lot of the mindless wancking from my lead playing. And when you thing you are stuck in a rut you can either hear that you are actually getting better - fast, or let you identify the rut...
    Lastly but very important, when you listen to music/players that you like, and even those that you don´t like, listen closely to their phrasing, the reason Hendrix, Clapton, Gilmour, BB King or "insert famous player here" apeal to as many of us as they do is becaurse of their phrasing, not speed or anything else. For instance, Hey Joe is a very simple song with a simple solo, think about just how many times you have heard that song played poorly becaurse the phrasing was way off.
    Now go play that guitar - Have fun
    RB
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2008

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