Just realised most my favourite solos barely move from the first pentatonic shape..

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Turi, Aug 27, 2014.

  1. Turi

    Turi Member

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    Cheers for the input fellas.

    I might learn position 4.. I do move out of position 1 a fair bit, but I don't know what positions I'm moving into or anything.. I'm a bit of a noob "lead" guitarist, even though I know the major/minor scales, I know the modes (in theory, can't shred 'em out or anything) and I know loads of chords..

    But yeah, I've decided screw it, I'm gonna learn some REAL solos, not crap I make up, and lo and behold, loads of the ones I want to learn are really rooted in position 1.
    They move out of them here and there, but I still feel like it's just extensions of it or something, and I really don't feel like much of it is out of my skill capabilities.. I just feel like I need to sit down and LEARN it.

    The main one that keeps popping in my head is Tunnel of Love by Dire Straits - the final solo in that song has always got to me, I absolutely love - it's what lead guitar is all about to me - not being a show-off, just playing some great lead guitar with some emotion, so I check it out, and it's basically just position 1 minor pentatonic in Dm.
    He goes out of it here and there, and towards the end of the solo he's out of it completely and way high up on the fretboard - but he's probably still in the same pattern just higher up.. but it sounds so beautiful.

    Loads of solos seem to do this.

    I'm starting to think that if I master this position 4 just to give me a bit more fretboard access, then I should be good to go :/

    I feel like I can improv good enough just sticking to position 1 and straying out here and there now.. I've always had it in my head that unless I know and use the entire fretboard, I shouldn't be a lead guitarist because other guitarists will just laugh at me.. always had it in my head I need to be able to shred or play faster too.. but eh, I don't think I need to now.

    Not after listening to loads of Dire Straits and actually looking at what techniques are employed (Knopfler is basically what I want to be as a guitarist btw).. there's just no need for me to waste time learning to shred, or play crazy fast, from what I can see, all his fast stuff is mostly hammer on/pull offs that sound faster than they really are because he finger picks and so he can do them really quickly on two strings one after the other.

    I don't know what I'm trying to say (it's late here), but yeah.. I think this little old position 1 I've known for years is like, all I REALLY need to know (as well as just playing by ear, I don't want to literally only use 1 single position for my entire lead guitar 'career').

    I've learnt the extension for pattern 1 and I've came up with LOADS more cool licks with it, so maybe I should learn the other patterns for this anyway (though I'm sure they're probably doable from pattern 1 anyway? But it'd be in the wrong octave/harder to play?)
     
  2. matte

    matte Senior Member

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    when i started playing(i was 8), all i wanted to be able to play were cream tunes. the pentatonic sandbox worked just fine. then i heard holdsy and it was all over.



    in the end, you need to decide what it is that you want. nobody can make that decision for you. if music is a hobby, then it should be pleasurable.

     
  3. greggorypeccary

    greggorypeccary Member

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    Well that all depends on what you're playing. I've met guys who use the box for everything, because it's pretty much all they know. Sure it often works, but for example, if they should be playing major and they go to the box, it sounds wrong.

    That said, I'm so glad I knew the basics before I started playing guitar. When I learned the "pentatonic box" it was with reference to the major scale, relative minors, etc. Then I learned that a lot of classic rock and blues solos were there. :D

    But a player should really know the whole fretboard...
     
  4. Mark Robinson

    Mark Robinson Gold Supporting Member

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    All well and good till you put together a few sets and work with
    A variety of vocalists. If like Jon R says , you have to work way up the neck, cause a singer prefers D and C, and you have 6-10 solos in D in the space of a set or two. You may want to extend your options to a few more locations.

    I do find that a surprising percentage of vocal lines are pentatonic , but a single position will carry you poorly when playing with a group.
     
  5. FenderBigot

    FenderBigot Supporting Member

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    Just wait till you discover the boxes are actually connected! Start finding the 3rd notes on the same string and a world of fun ensues.
     
  6. Flyin' Brian

    Flyin' Brian Member

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    If this formula works for you, that's all that counts. However you will be severely limited in what you can do.

    Again if that floats your boat and you can go through 10-15 songs worth of solos without getting bored to tears, go for it.
     
  7. RLD

    RLD Member

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    Do yourself a favor and study the major scale.
    You'll find all your "boxes" are part of it and you'll learn other notes that add lots of color.
    With practice, and I mean lots of it, you'll be able to see the entire neck as one scale.
    All the positions overlap into each other whether you're playing G minor or B major...the entire neck as one scale...doesn't that sound awesome?
    Then you'll find you can actually play any note and make it work.
    You'll still be able to box play if and when needed, but you won't feel stuck or find yourself getting lost when you try and stretch out a bit.
     
  8. clamflatslim

    clamflatslim Member

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    playing in different boxes also allows for easier fingering for some licks.
     
  9. badmonkeybad

    badmonkeybad Member

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    Maybe. What I was trying to get across is that the guitar fretboard has the illusion of being more complicated and containing more notes than it actually does. Moving up or down the fretboard doesn't necessarily give you access to that many new notes. (70% of them are always accessible from a more or less fixed position). Take this shape:

    Code:
    ---o-oo-o---
    ---oo-o-----
    --oo-o------
    ---o-o------
    ---o-oo-----
    -o-o-oo-----
    That standard diatonic shape allows you to play 70% of every mode in every key, and every related pentatonic in every key. To me this is surprising, because it represents a tiny portion of the patterns I know.

    They went to the wrong box!
     
  10. greggorypeccary

    greggorypeccary Member

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    True. But if one focuses on notes vs. patterns then you can see that range of notes everywhere. Sounds like you made a breakthrough, of sorts! :aok


    Of course they did and that was my point. If someone simply plays boxes with little understanding of music, they'll hear "key of G" and automatically go to the third fret. Or 15th if they want to go weee, weee, weeeeeee! :)
     
  11. Flyin' Brian

    Flyin' Brian Member

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    This makes so much sense. I just had an astounding realization among the local players....how many can't play a major scale in ANY position.

    I find this incomprehensible.
     
  12. Semitone

    Semitone Member

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    To some extent, I agree this is the right attitude. Making things more complex doesn't necessarily lead to making things more enjoyable or more "musical". Lots of great players have done some of my favorite work by keeping things simple. (David Gilmore comes to mind...less is more. BB king would be another.)

    I don't really like the idea of being limited by ones technical knowledge or skill but at the same time trying to cram everything you know into a solo just to look impressive to ( some) other guitar players normally doesn't lead to good ( i.e. good to listen to) music in my opinion or even popular with audiences. I think some of the most technically accomplished guys sound like sh*t and have no soul. YMMV

    Basic three or four chords have built many a great song. As far as I am concerned, nothing wrong with playing music people like rather than trying to impress your friends....

    I don't think players like Jack White are sitting around obsessing that all the bebop and fusion guys are selling records and getting all the chicks...:fisticuffs
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2014
  13. matte

    matte Senior Member

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    to be fair, jack white is a brilliant human with impeccable taste. can't say that about that many "guitarists".
     
  14. sherwoodsix

    sherwoodsix Member

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    Holy Hilarious Saying, Batman!
     
  15. Turi

    Turi Member

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    Checked out position 4. Easy enough to play. Adds a bit extra to work with for lower notes than position 1..

    I'm not a TOTAL noob - I know my music theory, I can play major and minor scales, I know my modes in theory (or at least, that all they are is the major scale with a different starting note), and I know the minor and major pentatonic scales too.

    I'm just finding that hey, loads of guitarists I look up to seem to be cool with staying in the same area for most the songs, so maybe I don't need to clutter up my mind trying to be cool with loads of scales, learning to shred, ultra fast scale runs etc etc..
    I'm finding that for speed, I can just do what Knopfler does and hammer on/pull off - sounds good, sounds fast, and it works.

    That position 4 definitely seems useful. I DO know the notes in the scales, and I know where they are on a fretboard, but I come from a pure rhythm background and have never tried to learn any actual solos before, so I didn't realise loads of it is just plain old position 1.

    I do acknowledge that I should master the other positions so I can play cleanly up and down the fretboard (my physical prowess of the fretboard doesn't match my theory/knowledge of where notes are) and I understand I can help do this by learning the positions.. seems like they will link it all together for me, which will be huge.

    But yeah. Totally cool with spamming position 1 if need be.

    I'm kinda changing my mind as I look at these other positions though - doesn't look like there's any reason to NOT learn them all. If I could change my mind to look at the guitar as a series of boxes to work with rather than as notes or scales, I think I'll start making some progress.
     
  16. MGT

    MGT Member

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    Thank you for that! LOVED it. I have only heard a bit of his music and I go between being inspired by him one day & to wanting to throw out my gear the next.
     
  17. straycat113

    straycat113 Member

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    Glad to see that you are willing to expand and broaden your playing. I started playing at 11 and was a huge Beatles and Stones fan and all I wanted to be able to do during that era was play as many songs possible from start to finish. So I basically played 95% rhythm guitar for 7 or 8 years. It wasn't until I hooked up with a friend in my late teens that was a Blues fanatic and turned me onto a whole new genre and group of players that I got heavily into lead guitar. It also wasn't that he even taught me anything really, but he got my competitive juices flowing as he would go on about how I never really step out and solo. The guy could dead out play incredibly fast using only pentatonic scales but outside of a three chord blues progression he couldn't play any other type of song from start to finish.

    One thing I have always been is seriously patient and using only a turntable back then began learning songs like Hendrix- Red house and Creams Crossroads which turned a bulb on in my head how effortlessly both Hendrix and Clapton weaved both major and minor pentatonics. Santana was another big influence then with Samba Pa Ti and Europa as well as getting the Dorian sound in my head. By the 80's when Tab and instructional videos broke out I would buy just about anything that I was into (as I am totally self taught) and even guys I never heard of at the time.

    I am playing about 41 years now and still get together with that same friend at times lol to play. I can play a slow but very melodic lick and he will make us stop and make me show him. As far as speed I can play fast (not shred 200 bpm) fast but very few songs give me a problem. He regrets not having my patience and is still playing the pentatonic scale faster then almost anyone I have ever seen famous or not= but it gets boring quickly!

    I think most of us picked up a guitar out of the sheer love of making music and I can count on one hand how many guys I played with who I felt wanted to make it competitive. Just make the music that does it for you and keep on transcribing songs you like of your favorite artist and I guarantee you will slowly be moving up and down the fretboard, as well as learning techniques you never used before or used much. You sound like you have a decent grasp on a lot of information which is a huge plus. Also forget about what anyone thinks or those who try to make music a competition, as most of the greatest players are/were very humble guys.
     
  18. dlguitar64

    dlguitar64 Member

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    Spend time playing the patterns up and down individual strings and it will change the way you look the patterns and the guitar in general.You really see the distance between the notes(intervals) in a way that is diguised when playing from a single position.
     
  19. old goat

    old goat Member

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  20. Razorface

    Razorface Senior Member

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    Yes, there is no reason not to learn them all.

    From there, you will see how they connect and how so many great riffs were written from a few boxes.

    Mostly, yes! there is no reason NOT to learn the 5 pent boxes. So easy, and gives you the structure to learn the 7 note scales contained within.

    For more theory, hit me up.
     

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