So, I wanna play like Robben Ford

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by memphisrain, Jul 6, 2005.

  1. memphisrain

    memphisrain Member

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    I did a search and really didn't find much.


    Other then his great timing, I'm wondering what types of scales he uses. I hear a lot of pentatonic stuff in there, but I think I hear some mixolydian also. I was wondering if there was some other scales too. May be also some triads, arpeggios, etc.

    I don't want to sound exactly like him, but some of his phrasing and melodic lines are great....



    Thanks,
    mR
     
  2. pbradt

    pbradt Senior Member

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    You are not Robben Ford. So you can 't play llike him.

    Play like you.

    That is all.
     
  3. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    Transcribe every note he's recorded and analyze it. Within a year or two you'll have huge ears, tons of Robben licks, and will understand why he makes some of the choices he does.

    You can also get his video "Blues and Beyond" he talks about using all kinds of stuff from diatonic modes to melodic minor, etc. etc. It's a nice insight into his playing, but nothing close to as good as transcribing him.
     
  4. BFC

    BFC Supporting Member

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    Stealing licks from his albums is usually best. His instructional videos are entertaining and just watching his hands is educational. He also has a column in Guitar Player magazine every now and then.
     
  5. EricT

    EricT Member

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    I agree with the others here, transcribing his solos are the best way to learn his style. Try to cop every little nuance in his playing, not just the notes themselves.

    It's hard work, and you'll probably get really frustrated, but it'll get easier and easier, and it really is the most rewarding way to learn. You'll develop good technique, a good ear and a better understanding of music.

    What pbradt said is true, of course, but imitation is the first step towards your own original voice, IMHO.
     
  6. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Member

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    He digs all sorts of stuff... replacing the b7 in the blues scale with a natural 6th... sharping the 4th/11th in the mixolydian mode... using melodic minor up a half step from the root on V7 chords... he's a king of triad substitutions, and he never makes it sound like he thought too much about it... but of course, he put a bit of thought into it...

    If there's *one* ride from Robben Ford that I'd recommend transcribing, it'd be "Imperial Strut" from the Yellowjackets' first record. That's the epitome of Ford's formidable trick bag, in a nutshell, and it contains a bunch of different lessons within itself.
     
  7. memphisrain

    memphisrain Member

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    pbrat,

    I didn't say I wanted to be Robben Ford, I just said I wanted to cop some of his stuff. Read my post, not just the title of my thread.

    I'm starting to cop some of his stuff, I just wanted to know some of the theory behind what he does. Knowing the scales, modes, etc that he uses will help me learn what he's doing and then use them to develope my own style.


    Thanks to those who offered genuine help.

    I'll have to start playing around with switching up the pentatonic and the mixolydian mode.


    Any thing else?


    Thanks,
    mR
     
  8. Shakkal

    Shakkal Member

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    One thing that helped me get into his frame of mind as far as going through the changes was learning how, within a 12 bar blues, he frequently plays a half-whole diminished scale based on the I chord during bar #4 ... that is the bar immediately before the I chord changes to the IV chord. Nice little trick that can open your mind to other things. Why does it work? In the key of C you would usually say that F is the IV of C ... but you can also say that C is the V of F. Hence you can say that the I chord functions as the dominant chord for the IV during bar #4 and it wants to resolve to that. Playing the hw diminished scale provides an additional tension. Resolve by going back to your mixo or penta, and you're golden.

    I confused myself reading what I just wrote :rolleyes: Hope you got the idea.
     
  9. GeetarGoul

    GeetarGoul Member

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    Listen to a lot of his music. Learn a couple of his songs that you like and try to incorporate a few of ihs ideas into "your" sound.

    I don't have the patience to transcribe much.
     
  10. EricT

    EricT Member

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    The problem with just telling you the scales and modes he uses is that people view theory in very different ways.
    One man's "maj9 arpeggio" is another guy's "minor triad a major third up", and yet another's "ionian mode"...

    If you have a basic knowledge of theory, I think that you're better off finding your own way of putting it all together.
    In other words, transcribe some solos(Imperial strut was mentioned, great choice), and analyze them with your own approach.
     
  11. EricT

    EricT Member

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    This is a very cool trick, and can also be used in bar #6, going back from the IV chord to I.
    Just to illustrate the point I made in my previous post, another way to get almost the same effect is to just play the pentatonic scale a half step up.
     
  12. memphisrain

    memphisrain Member

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    Thanks all for the great ideas. I'll give them a shot!




    mR
     
  13. littlemoon

    littlemoon Member

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    Well, it can be described as a tri-tone substitution, up to F# from C, in the last 2 beats of bar 4. The C dominant diminished scale is the same as the F# dominant diminished which fits over the F# tri-tone sub perfectly. The F# chord in the last 2 beats of bar 4 need not be actually played. You can simply "think changes" and play the C dominant diminished scale (F# dominant diminished) over the implied tri-tone substitution.

    Here is the progression:
    C//// C//// C//// C//F#//
    F//// ....

    Play the F# chord in the last two beats of bar 4, and you'll hear why the C dominant diminished (F# dominant diminished) scale works here.

    littlemoon
     
  14. littlemoon

    littlemoon Member

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    That can be described as the melodic minor up a 5th - a common jazz blues technique.

    littlemoon
     
  15. littlemoon

    littlemoon Member

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    Bingo! This says it all. Take a solo that you especially like, and transcribe it note for note. Play it with him over and over until you have the timing in perfect unison with his. Duplicate every nuance in his technique that you can discern. Do this until a blindfolded listener hearing you play along with his recorded solo could not tell that there is more than one guitar playing the piece. Then take the solo apart and analyze what he is doing, theory wise, over the changes. This is absolutely the best way to get into his head to see what he is doing and why.

    Then bow your head when you realize that he is improvising in real time while your are merely transcribing. Soon, however, you will internalize some of his technique and it will show up in your improvisation - hopefully recombined to a new form.

    littlemoon
     
  16. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Member

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    That's the way I originally learned it. Also known as the lydian dominant scale. I think that the various ways of academically approaching these things has much to do with why some folks get put off, or confused, by such. Which is why, with students that are ready to pursue or continue improvisational pursuits, I push interval recognition and ear training, more than scales and modes.

    On a personal note, the lightbulb over my head really went off with this particular sound, when copping a few of Wynton Kelly's lines from his piano ride on "Freddie the Freeloader", off Miles Davis' Kind of Blue record.

    Which brings me to another point, which I'm sure is not news to yourself... while guys like Robben Ford certainly benefitted from assimilating the work of their contemporary peers, I feel reasonably confident in saying that they got most of the deep stuff by digging back into past lineage.

    Basics are always the best foundation, and for this sort of thing, I can think of no better educational vehicle than the "jazz blues" with the venerable I-VI-II-V turnaround.
     
  17. littlemoon

    littlemoon Member

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    Ah, the voice of wisdom. Agreed. Nothing better that practicing all these new ideas over some good I-VI-II-V backing tracks, striving to make it sound like music, which will happen probably sooner than one might think with dedicated practice.

    Knowing the I-VI-II-V progression and its myriad forms and substitutions is also an excellent foundation on which to build your chops. It can make understanding what maestros like Mr. Ford is playing, and why it works, much easier.

    littlemoon
     
  18. memphisrain

    memphisrain Member

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    You guys are great! The next couple of weeks will be dedicated to digesting some of these things.



    Thanks so much for the help!


    mR
     
  19. beavis

    beavis Member

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    These are some great tips/ideas/suggestions! I've heard some if this before about RF's "style" but you guys are really making it click for me. Thanks!

    I'm so glad I started reading this board and avoiding the Amps and Cabs board.

    Uhhhhh....cool....
     

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