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Posts posted by waveheavy

  1. A little late to the show here ..... but ....

    I can't imagine *any* popular musician or band literally "composing" sheet music to any song they may write. They will leave that up to their publishers, after the fact, and hopefully collect a royalty from the publisher for printing their song into sheet music form for the world to play.

    What I do imagine is the song writer to have an idea for a melody in their head that fits their lyrics and then translate a basic chord progression to the band for practice until the song writer gets the results he or she wants. Every one contributes to the final product.


    Yeah, that's pretty much how it's done in a small band situation, where all the band members are taking a part in the actual composition.

    But let's go back to the Big Band days. Band leaders like Glen Miller and maybe a couple others in the band that knew composition would peck out the melodies, counter-point, bass lines, etc., a lot of times just on a piano, and then score it on paper. Then that score would be worked out separately to fit the rhythm section, sax section, trombone and trumpet sections, etc. Pat Metheny's 'Secret Stories' CD is a more modern example of this, as Pat did his compositions on piano mostly for all the different pieces, and then broke it into parts and assigned it to separate instruments, which is what orchestration is about.

    After that stage is done, then comes the time to present the piece to the various musicians that each will play a part, and they work out their individual parts, making suggestions as needed, adding their contributions, etc. This stage is about arranging.

    Composing for orchestra requires a score on paper. But even in today's modern recording studios with a small group of studio musicians and a solo artist, they still create a chord chart for the tune, most often using the Nashville Number System.

    I highly recommend that if anyone is going to write songs, they learn to use the Nashville Number System to make a chord chart at a minimum.

  2. The problem most likely is your fretboard hand. To learn legato (long) technique you have to KEEP the finger in place still sounding the note until it's time to move it for the next note.

    You can easily just pick a guitar position, say the 5th position (1st finger on 5th fret) and play across the fretboard staying in that position. One finger per fret, so 1st finger on 5th fret, 2nd finger on 6th fret, 3rd finger on 7th fret, 4th (pinky) finger on 8th fret.

    As you hit the note of the 1st finger, KEEP IT DOWN while placing your 2nd finger on the next fret to sound it. That's all there is to it. What makes the note sound Legato (long) is KEEPING the struck note finger down until it's time to move it. This should be practiced SLOWLY, with ACCURACY. Then practice building speed gradually, NO MISTAKES ALLOWED.

    The way to attain fret-hand-finger speed is by keeping the fret fingers as CLOSE to the fretboard as possible, at all times. No FLYING FINGERS allowed. This can only be learned by starting out slowly, practiced daily.

  3. You can learn the Pentatonic Minor and Blues Scales, but the Major Scale should be first, in 5 fingering patterns up and down the neck. There are many situations where the Pentatonic and Blues scales won't fit, especially when you begin to get into music that is more than a simple 3 chord Blues or Rock tune.

    If you learn the 5 main fingering positions on the neck from the 1st to 12th frets for the Major Scale, Pentatonic, and Blues Scales, that will cover most Rock and Blues type tunes. Pop, Soul, Jazz, etc., that's a different story.

    The next important tool is Arpeggios of the chords in the Major Scale, like Major7, Minor7, Dominant 7th & 9th, and Minor7b5. Same pattern idea up and down the neck, in 5 main positions, interconnecting each one up and down the neck 1st to 12th fret.

    Then the Half-Whole step Diminished Scale, which is often used as a substitute over the Dominant 7th turnaround chord on the way back to the Tonic chord.

    With most Jazz, especially Mainstream Jazz, it is too much unecessary work to try and figure out what scale to play over each chord. It's easier to learn the chord tones of the chords in a Jazz progression like All The Things You Are, and then improvise from the basis of those chord tones, adding passing non-chord tones in the solo to create tension and release. You can choose to not play any of the progression's chord tones (R, 3rd, 5th, 7th mainly) and instead play just non-chord tone tensions (9th, 11th, 13th, b5, #5, b9, #9, etc.) to get an 'outside' sound, and then revert back to the chord tones for release.

  4. OK, for the more serious-minded, composer approach... pecking out each note...

    I'm self-taught, and have the advantage of years with what kind of music books to study vs. all the filler type books on the market that's stealing people's money.

    For serious music composition I recommend Peter Alexander's books, especially his translated Fux book on 17th century counterpoint. Like Peter Alexander says, the rules for what works and doesn't work in music composition has already been worked out for over 300 years. Beethoven used Fux's counterpoint, many of the Classical greats did. Alexander gives a healthy dose of Bach's use of counterpoint, Mozart, Bizet, Debussy (great for Jazz study), Ravel, etc. And he applies it in a Pop/Jazz/Classical context, all at the same time, with 4 Tutti song composition methods.

    In essence, what those works teach you how to do, is let's say you've come up with this great bass line, and you need to find chord structure and a melody line to go with it. You'd write the melody line for the bass line, and then figure out the two middle voices to come up with a 4-part chord structure. He teaches how to do the same starting with a melody line only, and how to write a counter-melody line (second melody below the original), etc.

    What that means is you're no longer just hunting and pecking for chords that might go with a bass line or melody line. You're using time-tested methods that Fux defined back in the 17th century to know also how to go outside the Classical rules for writing in the Pop, Rock, or Jazz styles. To do that means pecking out each note for each line to fit together, real music composition that you know will always work.

    (Peter Alexander is a Berklee School of Music Boston graduate, and a professional composer. Several modern composers, like Henry Mancini, praised his books).

  5. What Kirk is talking about is the real... secret to guitar improv in my opinion, especially in Jazz where you can't just find one scale to play over the whole song.

    The method is simple. Take a simple Jazz tune like Autumn Leaves (All The Things You Are would be better), pick an area on the fretboard to start, then find the 3rd and 7th for each chord in the tune. Create a solo just out of those 3rds and 7ths for each chord first with the tune playing.

    Then if you want higher extensions of the chord to create interest or tension-release, add one other note like the 9th, 11th (or #11), or 13th of the chord, and play that with the 3rds and 7ths in the solo, over each chord, etc. Then try it with other chord tones or passing tones, mix up the combinations and listen to what each combination of notes solo'd over the chord creates.

    To get a really 'outside' sound, only play the higher extensions of each chord for the solo, like the 7th-9th-11th-13th, or 9th-11th-13th, or b5, #5, #9, #11, 13th, etc.

    Merely playing a certain scale over each chord is not the best way to define the harmony 'within' the chord structure at the moment. You really want to get 'inside' the chord harmony, and a mere scale-chord approach will not often get that done. This is one of main differences (IMO) between the great mainstream Jazz soloists and Rock or Blues players new to Jazz.

  6. A particular bad habit I do not recommend getting into is planting a pick hand finger on the guitar while playing lead or rhythm. It is a type of cheat that will eventually limit what you can play with more difficult guitar styles.

    The hand-wrist movement should remain free all the way to the elbow. Palm muting with slightly resting the pick hand palm on the strings is OK. Speed and accuracy comes from practicing slow with no mistakes then gradually increasing speed. Allowing the pick hand to float above the strings is best and will setup the beginner for playing more difficult things later, either with rhythm or lead soloing.

  7. Intonation can also affect the sound and string tension. I used to play lead for a country-rock band and our lead singer/rhythm guitarist used a Strat that I picked up and played once. The string tension was so tight that I could hardly bend the strings. I told him it must be a struggle to play the thing that way, and told him it's because the intonation of the individual strings was way off, and that's why the string tension was more than it should be (and that his chords were slightly off when he played). I offered the next meeting to bring my allen wrenches and fix it for him.

    Intonation means the open string note should be the exact same note fretted on the 12th fret, just an Octave higher in pitch. If the note sounds flat or sharp when fretted and played on the 12th fret, then you adjust the string length using the string saddle screws on the guitar bridge. His saddles were moved way forward which increased tension (shortened the string length).

    I set it up for him, and while we played the gig he kept looking over at me with funny frowns that said like, "what did you do to my guitar man?" He had gotten so used to overcoming the string tension that he was now pressing the strings down too... hard, slightly bending them out of tune when playing chords. I told him he'd to have ease off pressing so hard, and overall he'd have more playability. He just needed to get out of his old bad habit with the previous bad setup. The next gig he shows up with a completely different guitar. He traded the Strat for a different one.

  8. Amen to that. What makes the guitar a fun instrument is all the different ways of playing it to get a variety of sounds. When I first learned to play, I was using songs and music books like Bob Dylan and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, etc., and I was singing with rhythm playing mostly with open position chords. When I heard Jimi Hendrix in 1968, that changed, as it made me more interested in the instrumental character of the guitar. But I still had to learn rhythm chord playing with barre chords first, which songs from the Doobie Brothers, etc., helped a lot in that era, since they included acoustic and electric guitar rhythms, and lead soloing.

    When I'd had enough of showing everyone I could play songs close to the record, that started to become old hat. I scratched a lot of LP's moving the record player needle back and forth to learn rhythms and solos piece by piece while not knowing music theory. After a while of doing that I think natural to want to know just how they came up with song structure and scales to build those solos from. But for someone with a good voice for singing, it doesn't matter if they do nothing but play open position style rhythm to accompany their vocals, and let someone else do the other icing-on-the-cake stuff.

    • Like 1

  9. I did not mean to infer not... playing the root, 3rd, 5th, and 7th of chords. It's about playing only... the chord tones required to express the chord, even trying to do this with Open Position chords, for rhythm. Like the D Major chord, you'd want to stress high four strings, not the bass E and A strings. With an open A Major chord, you'd want to stress the root A open string, etc.

    In Rock and Metal guitar, many times only two notes on the guitar are used in rhythm playing to define a chord, like C5, which means a C Major sound with the root and 5th only. With the old rock n' roll boogie chord rhythm (a la Chuck Berry), it's mainly the bass string notes that are used.

    In Jazz there's different approaches depending if you comping behind another instrument or vocalist, or playing solo. It's common to play 4 note chords on the 6th (bass E) through 3rd (G string) strings when comping behind a vocal or lead instrument. Then with solo guitar the bottom treble strings are used for chord melody playing.

  10. You really don't need an instruction book, not with all the excllent teaching videos on the Internet.

    Here's a good website that will take you into fundamentals of harmony in the soloing vein, and then give you some insights with many playing examples. The guy is a Canadian Jazz guitarist, but don't let his main style of Jazz guitar fool you. What he covers can apply to any... and all styles of guitar. And it's FREE!


  11. Kirk hit the nail on the head.

    I learned the Major scales for guitar using Spanish guitarist Andres Segovia's recommended fingerings. Then I learned five main fingerings for the Major, Pentatonic, and Blues scales, up and down the fretboard. I got stuck in the 'playing patterns' rut when soloing.

    Then I got into Jazz, and knew I would have to change that earlier approach totally. Lot of Jazz tunes have so many different chords and mini modulations to different keys within the song, that it forces a different soloing approach.

    And the secret is to learn the chord tones of each chord, and improvise off them for Jazz improv. This is not a bad idea for other styles either vs. just learning licks to go with a certain key. Nothing wrong with learning 'licks'. That's how many great guitarists started developing their repitioire.

  12. Sorry guys, but yes, do... worry about not... hitting strings you don't need; that is, if you want a 'cleaner' rhythm sound, and you plan on eventually learning to play more than one style of music, and not stay with open position chords all your life.

    This is especially needed in guitar styles like rock, pop, blues, country, etc., not just jazz. And it is even more a requirement on an electric guitar, especially when using distortion like heavy metal style.

    If you look at the notes in many Open Chords you'll notice some of the notes repeat (doubled). That's a good sound for acoustic rhythm, fills things out. But even with acoustic playing, strumming all 6 strings might be too much for some songs. (check out some of the old Doobie Brothers stuff with their acoustic parts, like Black Water, Dark-Eyed Cajun Woman, etc.).

    Ideally, you want to be able to stress the root chord tone when playing acoustic rhythm. With the A Major chord in the open position, if you hit the bass E string with that A Major chord, it's going to stress not the root of the A chord, but the 5th chord tone. And the 5th tone is a Perfect 5th in the scale, which gives a stationary type sound (which is why with most keys the leading turnaround chord is built off that 5th note of the scale).

    Same way with playing a chord where the 7th note of the chord is played in the bottom bass. The 7th chord tone is really... a strong leading tone sound, like it wants to resolve somewhere else (usually back to the Tonic chord, the first chord of the song). This is why it's important to be able to stress only the chord tones of the chord used at the moment, otherwise it could create confusion in the song. This is not a matter of just playability; it's matter of musical harmony.

    With distorted rock guitar, play chords in the open position like you would an acoustic strumming all the strings, and I'll bet you'll eventually turn the guitar way down, or turn a lot of the distortion off. You'll take up most of the musical space if you try that in a band situation. Other won't think you're cool, because you either will be drowning them out, or you won't be heard with having to lower the amp volume. But be selective with playing just the right number of chords tones to 'define' the chord with rhythm, and others will... say how tasteful of a guitar player you are.

    • Like 1

  13. I'm going to break out of the box with this, so yal please don't get angry:

    Who says you have to... play someone else's song exactly the way of the original? or with some special tuning that was used for the original? It's still following the concept of musical harmony with chords and scales.

    Do we really... need to impress others with learning to play someone's else's songs exactly the way they did, just so we can hear others say, "Hey, that's <the other guy>!", or, "That sounds like the <other group>!"

    This is why I really love Jazz. It is a very free style, and you're expected... to play other's tunes your 'own' way, forcing you to develop your 'own' sound. The musicians that make it inevitably get out of copy mode, and start concentrating on their own sound, finding what sounds good to them, and hopefully it will be unique enough so when others hear it they say, "Hey, that's <YOU>!" If your sound has richness to it, is unique and tasteful, then you can expect other musicians to call on you, and maybe others that want to record you.

    Unless you want to play classical music professionally, which is all about performance of other's compositions perfectly in the composer's viewpoint and not your own, then after around 5 years of studying and playing, you ought to think about looking for your own sound. This doesn't mean totally leaving what you learn from others. It means taking what you learned from others and taking it further, or as only a tool in developing your own sound.

    When Chuch Berry became a hit, not everything he played was his own. He copied quite a bit from T-Bone Walker, including part of the famous Jonny Be Goode licks. Chuck simply took it further, developed it with his own sound along with other things.

    That's all those guitar players are doing with using various guitar tunings. It's the sound they're going after. And it has to fit the particular type of song or style. If you study harmony and composition, you can take a simple 4 chord song and add a lot more chords to it, re-arrange it, and come up with a completely new sound for the same song. Then your arrangement of it is yours that even the original artist cannot claim nor take away. To me, that's when things really begin to get fun!

    OK, just me sounding off, trying to inspire.

  14. It's my understanding Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn tuned down a half step. Their singing key was probably Eb and it made string bending easier.


    That's correct. They also used heavier gauge guitar strings, which probably equaled out the tension to what most of us are used to when bending the strings. Jimi and Stevie both had huge... hands. So I imagine the heavier strings helped them a bit with playabiity with the strings tuned down a half-step to Eb.

  15. I don't think its cheating at all. Its just another tool in the arsenal of composing. However, if your instructed not to use this and do it from scratch well then you have a conscience.

    Old post, but for the benefit of others...

    In my day (1970's), using a MIDI instrument for anything instead of playing the real instrument, was cheating. It was looked down upon by most musicians of that era.

    Lot of the musical greats before my era that have died are probably rolling over in their graves with how much MIDI is used today in professional music. I thank God for all the hard working instrumentalists in various musical styles today that still refuse to use MIDI.

    Yet I cannot deny, samples of orchestral instruments like Vienna Instruments are impressive sounding, and used a lot in film scores, etc.

    Band-In-A-Box software is a great tool. One can learn a whole lot just by how chord progressions are played and voiced, and it will even design a melody and solo to play over a chord progression according to Grove School of Music's chord/scale approach (used in Jazz especially).

    So in the 1980's when Band-In-A-Box first came out, it was tempting to use it to create a MIDI file for various song parts to use in recording. Many frowned on that. But today... I think it more pratical to use than trying to peck out single MIDI notes in a piano roll. One can always find a style to fit close enough for their song, and then manipulate the MIDI notes later to make it more personal.

    The musicians that created Band-In-A-Jazz are Jazz musicians, the main creator is a Jazz pianist.

  16. But tuning down (or up for that matter) would not work if playing with others, right? So tuning down would work great for going solo, but not if you're playing with a couple others. Or am I wrong? I use a capo, but of course that's only going to allow me to tune UP......just curious.

    You don't really need a Capo.

    The ONLY reasons for using a Capo on the guitar is so you can play only the same Open type chords you already know in the Open Position, and/or just to get a higher chord pitch sound to stay out of the way of other instruments or vocalists in the band.

    Electric Blues guitarists like Albert Collins (deceased) used a Capo for a lot of his lead guitar solos. Gave him a different sound.

    With tuning the guitar's open strings down a Half-Step, it is the SAME thing as if you had a Capo where the guitar nut is, and moved it down one fret.

  17. But tuning down (or up for that matter) would not work if playing with others, right? So tuning down would work great for going solo, but not if you're playing with a couple others. Or am I wrong? I use a capo, but of course that's only going to allow me to tune UP......just curious.

    Does not matter one bit what tuning others are in. What matters is what notes you hit on your instrument if in a different tuning. It depends on the key of the song you're playing, not how the guitar is tuned.

    Commercial music has many, many examples of guitarists in a non-standard tuning playing in a band situation, just to get a certain sound.

    Ever heard of Blues slide guitar? Bonnie Raitt uses an Open A or Open G tuning for most of her slide playing, which is 99% of the time. Open A means her guitar's open strings are tuned to an A Major chord. Duane Allman of the Allman Brothers Band used Open E and Open D mostly for his slide playing, which was 99% of the time.

    For quite a few rock songs, and country and folk, in song that in the key of D Major, some drop the E bass string tuned down to the note D. That is a non-standard tuning.

    But with all the strings tuned down a half-step, you're sacrificing where the notes on the fretboard are played in order to get a slightly different 'tone' out of the guitar strings, because the strings will have less tension on them. Less tension means being able to use heavier gauge strings, which equals a change in more 'tone'. This is what Jimi Hendrix did, and what many later that copied his sound, like Stevie Ray Vaughn, Robin Trower, also did.

    Now what James Taylor does to have a different guitar sound has nothing... to do with this.

    James Taylor did not learn to play guitar chords the standard way. He's an ear player. He listened to the sound of other instruments and found HIS OWN fretboard fingerings for those chords (YES, there are many more ways to play a single chord type on the guitar). What that has to do with is called 'chord voicings'.

    With an open G chord, when I was learning after a while I began adding the D note on the 2nd string-3rd fret when playing the G Major open chord. It made the open G sound fatter. There's on average 7 to 12 other areas on the fretboard to play the same G Major chord notes, and each one has its own sound. That's chord voicings, called Inversions of the chord. This is why it's so difficult to try to copy exactly the kind of chord voicings those like James Taylor plays.

    • Like 1

  18. I agree with part of this, "Others don't have to tune down with you." If you're the guitar player with the 1/2 step down tuning or a dropped D, whatever, it's really up to you to ensure you're playing the same note as everyone else. Think about all the different tunings in an orchestra. Does the violinist really care how the cello or piano is tuned? What's important is that everyone is tuned to the same reference pitch, commonly A440.

    More commonly in 'gtr bands', different tunings on the gtr are pretty common but you won't find the piano/keyboard player or bassist coming with you. It really shows the versatility of the guitar and how some fine musicians can really play. :online2lo:yes:

    Exactly, which was my point that the musician in a different tuning is responsible for being in the same key as the rest of the band.

    Hasn't anyone ever heard Robin Trower's Bridge of Sigh albumn? Heaven Stratocaster guitar tuned down to Eb like Hendrix tuned, using the open Eb note a lot.

    Not all orchestral instruments are even tuned in the same key, which is why in music using horns (like Jazz and Classical), certain flat keys are used to match the pitch of the horns. You can't simply retune horns like a string instrument.

    I guess I was assuming that most here understood these matters. Appears I was wrong. Sorry to seem like I was creating confusion.

  19. I've got an idea learn how to play Eb and don't force the band to tune anything. I play a lot of James Taylor stuff and I capo just like he does, except when the band has to play those changes in some odd key. That stuff isn't easy and it's not fair to make them play something I wouldn't.

    I think some are misunderstanding what I'm saying. Playing the key of Eb on the guitar is not the same thing as tuning the guitar down a half-step.

    If you tune to standard on the guitar, i.e. concert pitch, that means a particular frequency for the bass E note (329.6 Hz; the bass A note is 440Hz).

    Tuning the guitar to Eb means tuning that bass E string down... to Eb, and then tuning the rest of the guitar strings to that. So the note frequency for Eb on that string tuned lower will be LOWER than concert E (329.6Hz). It also means when you play the open chords all of the open strings will be in a lower frequency. You will get a DIFFERENT SOUND, especially when using those open strings.

    It will also mean LESS TENSION on the guitar strings, which = a slightly different TONE, even when playing barre chords up the neck, including the use of a capo.

  20. When you tune flat those who play with you have to do the same. If you want to bend strings easier. Buy lighter strings. I do not for the life of me understand tuning down a half step.

    Others don't have to tune down with you. You only have to move your playing up a half-step to be in the same Key as they are. The fretboard disadvantage is that the G is no longer on the 3rd fret, it's on the 4th fret. (i.e., open string = Eb, 1st fret = E, 2nd fret = F, 3rd fret = G#, 4th fret = G, and so on.) Playability per the original fretboard layout is sacrificed for the 'sound' which the lower Eb tuning produces.

  21. Guitar > either the guitar amp mic'd XLR to XLR input on your computer sound card, or guitar to sound card input using a Direct Box.

    Should have an input/output channel on your Guitar Rig which you'd have to match an input channel within Pro Tools. I'm assuming Guitar Rig 4 is stand alone software.

  22. If you've been playing music for a while, I'd recommend RME for the soundcard option. It's a little expensive, but one of the most stable cards and software on the market. And it's the start point of high end production. M-Audio has great cards, and a great history. I've used their Delta series for years.