I want to be able to play more melodically

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by jconway747, Dec 4, 2007.

  1. Scott Auld

    Scott Auld Staff Member

    Nov 6, 2007

    This has been unbelievably helpful for me over the years. Learning to play the melody of a Christmas tune, as a lead, has really stretched the old noggin. Some of those phrases are downright cool.

    Start with "Chestnuts roasting over an open fire" -- awesome.
  2. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

    May 30, 2007
    Me too, man!

    My frustration with instrumental technique only occurs when I get the sheet music for my viola parts in church orchestra. I usually get less than a week to learn all the parts, practice them at slow tempi, then feel the frustration as I try to play my parts at the anticipated tempi.

    I never experience this with guitar. Probably because I don't gig regularly on guitar and our band's music does not call for intricate guitar parts to be played at high velocity.
  3. MagnumSSS

    MagnumSSS Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Denver, Colorado
    It's probably been said, but I sometimes like to practice by singing what I'm playing, while I play it....so harmonizing my voice with my guitar playing. In a scat style.

    By doing this I find my guitar playing starts to react to what my voice wants to "sing" or "scat." Once I've done this for a while, I end up playing more lyrically when I'm just playing guitar. It's like training....but it's really fun b/c it's very pleasurable to hear the harmony between your voice and your guitar, helps you work on overall intonation skills as well....really hearing the notes.
  4. eddie101

    eddie101 Silver Supporting Member

    Mar 4, 2004
    Cliff, w/o going into too much detail, WHY would these work over A7 please? :confused:
  5. Shredmonster

    Shredmonster Member

    Aug 3, 2006
    YES - this is the winner! This is how you do it.

    You need to develop your own sound and style so you need to learn how to "connect the dots" differently than you are currently doing.
    IMO forget A7. That will bring you back to the blues thing again.

    You need to start basing your chords on other progressions instead of the blues all of the time.

    Start working more with minors and put half steps in your chord progressions. For example in the key of Em (same as Gmaj) try using an E5, D5, C5 and B5 for starters.

    Learn how to apply diminished chords and scales.

    Learn how to apply chromatic passages.

    Learn you scales intimately all up and down the neck as suggested above and start coming up with licks on your own, write them down and play them over and over and add them to your playing. Figure out patterns and intervals.

    It will come to you. You have to learn the theory part - the scales and chords and play your ass off. It will eventually become an ear thing where you will forget the scales and let your ears and fingers do the walking.

    Now comes the hard part. Do you want to take the time over the course of years to put the work in?
  6. TommyStrat

    TommyStrat Member

    Nov 23, 2007
    First start by playing with your eyes shut. Slow down slow down. Start by singing in your head small two and three note melodies or phrases. Then build on them throughout the solo. Then always come back to the theme. The difference between bad players and great players is great players do not play practice exercises over changes. Great players play music and can create it on the spot without notice. If you have specific songs your playing, work on the exact melody first. Then start sliding and bending into the notes. Remember to close your eyes and listen. Also listen to horn players. They have to breath so there are spaces all through their solos. Listen to Clapton on sunshine of your love. He starts with the melody to blue moon and then launches off from there. Record a backing track for each solo and work it out or at least scetch the melody out. Then you have a base for improvisation. Try to come home to the melody at the end of your solo. Do not go over into the vocal unless you have it worked out. It is all about the singer unless your playing instrumentals.

    Spend at least an hour a day listening to the masters. BB is so simple and so melodic. Listen to Jeff Beck play Day in the life. All melody and then he burns it down and comes back to the melody.

    Also a great exercise and tool to use live and in practice sessions is to do call and response. Play two bars on your bass pickup in the low or high register. Then switch pickups and answer in a completely different style. One guy is Larry Carlton and the other is Albert King is something I like to do. Pick your own. Learn to play very soft and then rip it's head off. Then back soft again. The crappy players at the jams play all the time as much as they can. The masters play every note as a milk shake or a master piece. Again bud, slow down.

    Record every practice and listen the next morning.

    God bless.

    Tommy Phillips
  7. JamesHealey

    JamesHealey Member

    Jan 8, 2007
    Leeds, UK
    Listen to as much miles davis 'cool jazz' as possible, and transcribe it.
    pay attention to what notes he's playing on what beats and how it relates to each chord..
  8. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

    May 30, 2007
  9. doyle o'brian

    doyle o'brian Member

    Jun 11, 2007
    I'll offer a suggestion coming from a different angle. Do you have a big archtop jazzbox with heavy flatwound strings? This could be a good first step if you want to develop a more jazz-like style of playing and get away from all the bluesy bends and stuff you would do on a strat-type guitar with lighter strings. I play both types of guitars and find that a jazz guitar forces me to play in a jazz style and a strat forces me to play more in a rock or blues style. Maybe forces is the wrong word, but I think the feel of the guitar is important for what you are trying to accomplish. Of course you still have to know how to play in a jazz style, or as you put it, more melodically. The other suggestions offered here will help with that.
  10. Swain

    Swain Member

    Oct 2, 2005
    N. Little Rock, AR.
    Another approach, is to limit your improvisations to only Diatonic Arpeggios. No "scales". Just Arpeggios.

    Again, limiting yourself to a narrow set of tools.

    EX: GM7

    Low E/3 A/2 A/5 D/4

    String/Fret. E/3 = E string, 3rd. fret
  11. CNOTE

    CNOTE Member

    Jul 7, 2005
    Sugar Land, Tx

    You got to slow the thought process until your focus has found a line, 3 to 4 notes , that remind you of something. Figure out the chord they are a part of and the position on the neck then you got some real estate you can visualize.

    I'm weird, so it may not work for you.:messedup

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