Help me!

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by makethemost, Feb 15, 2009.

  1. makethemost

    makethemost Member

    Aug 28, 2008
    Excuse me if this post is rather convoluted. That's how my thoughts are!

    I've been playing for a couple years, but just now am wanting to you know... develop style. I can run the pentatonic scales up and down, but how do I incorporate them? How do I play something worth playing?

    Again, this isn't just limited to Pentatonic scales, that's just an example. What do I do to get better?

    Do you have any help? Any advice?
  2. Ooogie

    Ooogie Member

    Feb 21, 2008
    Listen to the music you love and pay attention to the phrasing, really listen to their note choices, melodies, licks and how they play over the changes. It's all about the phrasing, scales are just exercises to learn the notes...running up and down scales really doesn't have any musical value.

  3. The Captain

    The Captain Member

    Dec 5, 2007
    Stop learning scales and learn some music.
  4. derekd

    derekd Member

    Sep 10, 2007
    In a van down by the river
    Take some easy solos and transcribe them. That is, learn them note for note and especially paying attention to the phrasing. There are tools out there to assist with this, such as The Amazing Slow Downer software.

    You will get more milage out of this than just about anything else. Good luck.
  5. Jon

    Jon Member

    Oct 20, 2004
    Birmingham, UK
    +1 on the previous advice.

    All the great improvisers seem to have gone through a period of learning other players' solos note-for-note. I think you have to go through this process to build a vocabulary - otherwise it's like having a basic understanding of grammar and wondering why you can't write a great novel. It takes A LOT of practice AND thought to become a great player and no-one can do it for you. There are no great internet resources, transcription books or DVDs that anyone here can point you to that will make it happen - only YOU can make it happen with lots of hard work learning other people's solos and guitar parts from CDs.

    On a practical note, can you listen to a backing track and either hum out loud or at least hear in your head, a solo that you're much more happy with than what you can actually play? If yes, you need to work on connecting what you can hear in your head with what comes out of the instrument, If not, you need to listen to a lot more music to develop an ability to hear musical elements that you want to reproduce.
  6. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

    May 30, 2007
    Excellent advice already posted!

    I would just echo what Gene just posted on another thread - start writing out your own solos, in addition to studying the solos of players you like. Doesn't matter if you write in tab or standard notation or make up your own notation. Write something down then make yourself play it.

    Don't like what you wrote? Write another solo and learn that one. And just keep doing it.

    If you don't have a recording device (computer software or standalone multitracker), get one ASAP, and a timekeeping device (metronome, drum machine, etc.). Then record chords in time with the time keeper. Then record your solo(s).
  7. Swain

    Swain Member

    Oct 2, 2005
    N. Little Rock, AR.
    Here's another idea, to supplement the great advice others have given:

    Compose some Lead Breaks for some Tunes you really dig. Take a Tune, and write 5 different Leads.

    1st. Lead? Maybe all Bluesy.

    2nd. Lead? Maybe imitating a famous Singer? (How would Billie Holiday sing this?)

    3rd. Lead? Maybe "How would Jim Carrey sing this?" Seriously, personality has a huge impact on playing, phrasing, approach, style, etc.

    4th. Lead? Imitating a famous Piano player. (Art Tatum? Bill Evans? Bruce Hornsby? etc.)

    5th. Lead? Thousands of possibilities.

    Also, maybe re-do a famous Tune. Maybe do "Freight Train" as a Jazz Tune? Or, maybe take the Theme from Beethoven's 9th Symphony, and do it as a Bluegrass Tune? Or, maybe a Reggae Tune?

    By re-organizing and re-thinking the things you've already got, you will start sorting out what your preferences are. And, what you might like to add to them.

    Hope this helps.

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