Muscle Memory and breaking out of the box

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by rogue.guineapig, May 27, 2008.

  1. rogue.guineapig

    rogue.guineapig Member

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    a tough problem...easy question tho.

    I learned a pentatonic minor blues scale from fretboard logic
    about 5 years ago, and fell in love with it immediately.
    I've used it, and used it, and USED IT, and modded it,
    and learned how to play it in any key, up and down the
    neck. but it has one sort of sound. It's a one-hue palette.
    I want to move one, but my muscle-mem is proving hard to break.
    I need something new, some new scale to break me out.
    Or some new idea. been working on modes some, but I need more.
    help!
    how do you guys break out of your bad habits of one-scale
    or one-flavored playing?
     
  2. russ6100

    russ6100 Member

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    rogue.guineapig wrote:
    Not true.

    If you compare playing a G minor pent against a Gm7, with playing an A minor pent against an Am7, I might be inclined to agree, but -

    How about playing an A minor pent against that Gm7 chord?
    How about playing a D minor pent against that Gm7 chord?

    Different sounds.....

    Maybe try an E minor pent against a Cmaj7, or a B minor Pent.....

    Lottsa different colors...

    Also, try to consciously *not* play "blues licks" when using these pentatonics, play intervals that you dont usually play.

    Pentatonics are great for playing 4ths, 5ths, 6ths, 7ths.....

    Just some food for thought....
     
  3. giggedy

    giggedy Member

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    learn the major scale and the modes attached to it. All you really do is add two notes to the pentatonic scale, or you can look at it like combining 3 pentatonic scales.

    For example; there are 3 minor chords built into the major scale. If you play the pentatonics for all three of those chords, you'll find all the notes, and only the notes from the major scale. If you're in C Major, the major scale consists of the notes that make up Em pent, Am pent, and Dm pent.

    I think it's easier to just add two notes to your pentatonics, but the other way works as well.
     
  4. rogue.guineapig

    rogue.guineapig Member

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    hey russ6100,


    I will try that!
    When I say a "one-idea palette", I'm thinking about what I play and
    how it sounds when I'm sitting by myself and just playing.
    So there's no one there to play a Gm style progression so I can noodle
    with a Dm penta scale over it...hopefully I'll be setup with a band soon.
    maybe the reason that whatever I play sounds *the same* no matter what key I am in would be because of the intervals I am used to.
    hence
    and so I'll give that a go.

    giggedy, I got my major scales down (thank goodness) and have just started learning modes.
    They still confuse me a bit, but with the help of a few Dave Weiner vids, I hope to understand them better. :)
    I hadn't realized that! that's pretty cool...so, technically, if you take a C Major scale, you can quickly change it to a Em, Dm, or Am, pentatonic scale by omitting certain notes? and which scale it becomes is based on
    the notes you omit?
    The Am blues scale I know is in the same area (position?) I play a CMaj scale...I'mma have to check that out!
    Obviously my theory needs work. :O
    do you guys just sit and jam out with your different modes?
    when you play D dorian, that means the note you START on is D, correct?
    I'm still having trouble making practical application of the modes...
    if someone is playing a song in the key of E, with a very not-bluesy-funky-jazzy, straight up kind of feel,
    where would a good starting point be? ie, a P&W song with the open E chords?
    Why would/wouldn't I use E Locrian? or Phrygian?
    I understand the concept of relative minors...if you are playing the song in G,
    the relative minor is Em, thus an Em Penta scale sounds good over the G-progression.
    One could also play a G-Maj penta scale for a slightly different feel. That's correct?
    If so, how do you make that same kind of correlation when using modes?
    "we're playing this P&W song in the Key of E, open chords, the leader doesn't want
    any funkiness, bluesiness, jazziness...just straight pop/rock feel, therefore I will play using the E _______ian
    mode because I want to do something different."
    does any of that make sense? what's the why behind it?
     
  5. giggedy

    giggedy Member

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    I learned a lot from playing a lot of modes. Try Dorian over a blues progression. Try Mixolydian over "fire on the mountain".

    D dorian doesn't necessarily mean you start on D. It would be a good reference point though. If you start on the D and then continue up the notes of the C major scale, then stop at D, then you've played all of D dorian from tonic to octave. I would also suggest not only learning D dorian as a different starting point for the C major scale, but in terms of what is changed from the D major scale. I am trying to break the habit of knowing where to start depending on the corresponding major scale.

    For instance, take D major, and then in order to get D dorian from that, you flat the 3rd and 7th. Trust me, it's opening a lot of doors to learn it this way as well, even though it's easier at first to just think of D dorian as C major starting on D. Learn both.

    If you're playing over G major, you can use Em pent, or G maj pent. Realize though, that it's the same five notes for both scales.

    I kind of got lost on the rest of your questions.
     
  6. Jay Mitchell

    Jay Mitchell Member

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    Some suggestions:

    Compose solos by singing, instead of playing your instrument. Until you can hear ideas in your head well enough to sing them, you will fall back on muscle memory when you solo. Don't worry about whether you'd really want to sing in front of an audience, but do learn to find pitches in your head and with your voice.

    Once you have some ideas in mind well enough to vocalize, play a solo entirely on one string. That will force you to forget about memorized licks, shapes, and patterns, and it will graphically illustrate the intervals in your lines.

    Make up - or cop from other players - some short motifs of three to six notes. Then play around with putting them together in different sequences, shifting their rhythmic relationship with the measure, reversing them, shifting individual notes up or down an octave, etc., etc. You may be shocked at how much musical content you can create from a handful of brief melodic phrases.
     
  7. The bear

    The bear Member

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    Go to a spot on the guitar where you usually don't play too much.
    Play some random notes and intervals without really thinking about which key you are in or what scale you use.
    You might be able to come up with something you haven't played before and something that actually works. You can always try to transfer the idea into a something from a chord and scale later.
    If you get a new idea and come up with a new combination of notes, that might open up some new doors.
     
  8. KRosser

    KRosser Member

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    Learn some music that demands you use more colors. Study and absorb them through that application.
     
  9. The Captain

    The Captain Supporting Member

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    Ther is no such thing as muscle memory.

    It's habits of thinking that are the issue here.
     
  10. KagakuNinja

    KagakuNinja Member

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  11. Swain

    Swain Member

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    Here's a way to get out of a rut, and play more melodically. I got the idea from a Scott Henderson interview. Here's my feeble attempt to demonstrate and explain it:

    Single String Chord Tone Exercise
    Playing chord tones over the changes, 1 note per chord.
    Working up a single string, and then back down.
    --0----|-3----|-5----|-7----|-10---|-12---|-14---|-15---|-19---|-20---|-17----
    -------|------|------|------|------|------|------|------|------|------|-------
    -------|------|------|------|------|------|------|------|------|------|-------
    -------|------|------|------|------|------|------|------|------|------|-------
    -------|------|------|------|------|------|------|------|------|------|-------
    -------|------|------|------|------|------|------|------|------|------|-------
    Em7 Am7 D7 GM7 Em7 Am7 D7 GM7 Em7 Am7 D7
    -|-15---|-12---|-8----|-5----|-3----|-0----|----------------------------------
    -|------|------|------|------|------|------|----------------------------------
    -|------|------|------|------|------|------|----------------------------------
    -|------|------|------|------|------|------|----------------------------------
    -|------|------|------|------|------|------|----------------------------------
    -|------|------|------|------|------|------|----------------------------------
    GM7 Em7 Am7 D7 GM7 Em7 etc.



    And here's a method for learning a lot of Arpeggios:

    Stacking Diatonic 3rds.

    ------------------|------------------|--------------------|-----------------|-
    ------------------|------------------|--------------------|------8----------|-
    ------------------|------------------|------7-------------|---8------8--12--|-
    ------------------|-----7------------|---8-------8---12---|-----------------|-
    ---7--------------|--8-------8--12---|--------------------|-----------------|-
    -8--------8--12---|------------------|--------------------|-----------------|-
    M3rds.
    ----7------------|------------------------------------------------------------
    -8------8---12---|------------------------------------------------------------
    -----------------|------------------------------------------------------------
    -----------------|------------------------------------------------------------
    -----------------|------------------------------------------------------------
    -----------------|------------------------------------------------------------

    ----------------|---------------|---------------|-------------|---6---------|-
    ----------------|---------------|---------------|---7---------|-8----8--11--|-
    ----------------|---------------|---6-----------|-8-----8--11-|-------------|-
    ----------------|---6-----------|-8-----8--11---|-------------|-------------|-
    ----6-----------|-8-----8--11---|---------------|-------------|-------------|-
    --8-----8--11---|---------------|---------------|-------------|-------------|-
    m3rds.
    -------------|-------------|------------|-----------|-------------------------
    -------------|-------------|------------|-----------|-------------------------
    -------------|-------------|------------|-----------|-------------------------
    -------------|-------------|------------|--------5--|-------------------------
    -------------|---------10--|-----7--10--|-----7-----|-------------------------
    --8--12--15--|--8--12------|--8---------|--8--------|-------------------------
    M3rd. with m3rd. on top = Major Triad
    ------------|-----------|-----------|--------3--|-----------------------------
    ------------|--------8--|-----5--8--|-----5-----|-----------------------------
    --5--9--12--|--5--9-----|--5--------|--5--------|-----------------------------
    ------------|-----------|-----------|-----------|-----------------------------
    ------------|-----------|-----------|-----------|-----------------------------
    ------------|-----------|-----------|-----------|-----------------------------

    -------------|-------------|------------|-----------|-------------------------
    -------------|-------------|------------|-----------|-------------------------
    -------------|-------------|------------|-----------|-------------------------
    -------------|-------------|------------|--------5--|-------------------------
    -------------|---------10--|-----6--10--|-----6-----|-------------------------
    --8--11--15--|--8--11------|--8---------|--8--------|-------------------------
    m3rd. with M3rd. on top = Minor Triad
    ------------|-----------|-----------|--------3--|-----------------------------
    ------------|--------8--|-----4--8--|-----4-----|-----------------------------
    --5--8--12--|--5--8-----|--5--------|--5--------|-----------------------------
    ------------|-----------|-----------|-----------|-----------------------------
    ------------|-----------|-----------|-----------|-----------------------------
    ------------|-----------|-----------|-----------|-----------------------------

    -----------------|------------------|-----------------|----------------|------
    -----------------|------------------|-----------------|----------------|------
    -----------------|------------------|-----------------|----------------|------
    -----------------|------------------|-----------------|----------------|------
    -----------------|-------------14---|---------10--14--|-----7--10--14--|------
    --8--12--15--19--|--8--12--15-------|--8--12----------|--8-------------|------
    M3rd. with m3rd with M3rd. on top = Major 7th. Chord
    --------------|--------------|--------------|---------------------------------
    --------------|--------------|--------------|---------------------------------
    --------------|--------------|-----------4--|---------------------------------
    -----------9--|--------5--9--|--------5-----|---------------------------------
    ----7--10-----|-----7--------|-----7--------|---------------------------------
    -8------------|--8-----------|--8-----------|---------------------------------


    Hope this helps.
     
  12. Jon

    Jon Member

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    I think this is a major part of your problem - you aren't playing over a chord progression. Practicing lead guitar without any kind of chord structure behind it is often going to be uninspiring and will make it hard to develop past a certain point as you will not be hearing how strong or weak certain notes sound in relation to the chord you are playing over. More advanced players will be able to 'hear' the chord progression without it being there, but initially you need the backing - there are loads of backing tracks available on CD or mp3 and you could get something like 'Band-in-a-Box' to create your own backing. Don't wait to form a band before you do this.
     
  13. Birddog

    Birddog Member

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    I recently bought the Boss loop station pedal (the cheaper one) and it has enhanced my practices tremendously. You can make up changes and tempos on the fly, and then solo over them. Great for practicing scales, arpeggios, improv, you name it.
     
  14. Litsa

    Litsa Member

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    FOLLOW THE CHODS By USING THE CHORD TONE OF THE MOMENT!!!! Learn all your TRIADS...Learn Root position, first inversion and second

    Start playing them major and minor. But more thany thing write out a chord progressiom! BASIC I IV V and once you can find them in all 12 keys start breaking the lines of arpeggios to form lead lines

    I can elborate more later! Good luck! Litsa
     
  15. Austinrocks

    Austinrocks Member

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    Sounds like your stuck in the diatonic, would suggest learning the Harmonic Minor and Melodic Minor Scales and bebop scales, and playing in those to spice up your playing, also learn the other scales as well. the scales are where the music comes from, they color the music.
     
  16. rogue.guineapig

    rogue.guineapig Member

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    thanks for the ideas guys!
    I'mma definitely give some of these a good run.
    I have started looking into the Harmonic and Melodic Minor scales,
    and learning how those two sound.
    What's a "bebop scale" Austin? :)
    I should be further along then I am..I do realize that.
    Playing solo in the bedroom all the time doesn't help, but it
    can be worked around.
    I also will try humming the notes I want, then finding them.
    Also have taken to trying to play Hank Marvin riffs note for note,
    since they are easy to ear out, but different then the stuff I usually
    play.
    Thanks for the ideas so far!

    RGP
     
  17. Austinrocks

    Austinrocks Member

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    Several Bebob scales, they are 8 note scales, four listed in Guitar Grimore modes and scales a book I will recommend for expanding your playing

    Bebop locrian natural 2 is 1 2 b3 4 b5 b6 b7 7

    Bebop Dominant is 1 2 3 4 5 6 b7 7 four notes together

    Bebop Dorian is 1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7 7 four notes together

    Bebop Major is 1 2 3 4 5 b6 6 7

    they tend to be really fun to play with all the notes together

    you might check out

    http://www.guitarbt.com/ for some good backing tracks
     
  18. Swain

    Swain Member

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    I find that playing Diatonic Arpeggios, and super-imposing Arpeggios over chords really helps me to break free from scales in general. Did you check out my earlier post on Arpeggios? Was that helpful, in any way? Too rudimentary?
     
  19. Litsa

    Litsa Member

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    Swain,

    You are right about learning diatonic apreggios & superimposing apreggios! I am probably going to get reamed for saying this but even if one learns all those modes by pattern, one still will have to know the CORRECT notes to play over chords.

    My teacher is a die hard JAZZ player and he NEVER thinks modes!!! He can play jazz like nobody's business as a matter of fact he can play any style he wants....

    Think chord tones and if you have to think scale use the outside notes as the passing tones....
     
  20. rogue.guineapig

    rogue.guineapig Member

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    Hey Swain,


    I've just been playing thru the tabs you posted...
    that's REALLY handy, not only as an exercise, but as a
    teaching tool too.
    (this note, and this note are the same note even though they're on two different strings and frets).
    I think I'm under the wrong idea of what an arpeggio IS...

    is an arpeggio the 3 (or more) notes of a chord, but played one at a time?
    Or something along those lines?

    for practical application in riffing and soloing, do you then
    play the current chord's notes in a riffing/solo fashion, keeping
    in mind you might add notes that would be included in a say, 7th note,
    for flavor?
    is this kind of the idea here, or am I way out in left field?
     

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