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deltabluesman

One Rule For Improv, Keep It Simple

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It's great to know scales and modes I guess, but you have to remember one thing, scales and modes do not make a great guitarist, FEELING does. You could know every scale but it doesn't mean you're going to be a great lead guitarist. I have said this to anyone I have ever taught to play and now I'm saying it here. The main thing to remember is to play what you feel and feel what you play, and remember there's nothing wrong with using the notes from the chord you're playing to create a lead break, plus if you're a beginning guitarist, you know you can't fail if the lead you're playing is derived from the notes of the chord you're playing. And there are numerous places on the neck you can play the same chord. All I'm saying is that if you're going to play the blues or any other type of music, don't make it too technical. It takes the fun out of playing. Of course there will be some here that will disagree, but I KNOW from experience when you over complicate things you ruin them.

Sorry had to vent, if this is out of line, just delete it.

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I would contest that it depends on the style of music, and that someone's percepton of a great guitarist is purely subjective.

Maybe someone who knows lots of scales will not be a great player, but it also doesn't mean they won't be. Larry Carlton, Mike Stern, Robben Ford, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Steve Lukather; all great players with a consumate comand of theory.

And a technical approach to music may work for some people, even if it doesn't work or appeal to you. To play something akin to Dream Theater demands technical expertise.

Playing from the chords is a great approach for a number of styles, but it is not the only approach. Yes it works very well, but it is not something that appeals to everyone. And that is OK.

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It's great to know scales and modes I guess, but you have to remember one thing, scales and modes do not make a great guitarist, FEELING does. You could know every scale but it doesn't mean you're going to be a great lead guitarist. I have said this to anyone I have ever taught to play and now I'm saying it here. The main thing to remember is to play what you feel and feel what you play, and remember there's nothing wrong with using the notes from the chord you're playing to create a lead break, plus if you're a beginning guitarist, you know you can't fail if the lead you're playing is derived from the notes of the chord you're playing. And there are numerous places on the neck you can play the same chord. All I'm saying is that if you're going to play the blues or any other type of music, don't make it too technical. It takes the fun out of playing. Of course there will be some here that will disagree, but I KNOW from experience when you over complicate things you ruin them.

Sorry had to vent, if this is out of line, just delete it.

Sorry, no deletions of good posts!

This is what I usually pound out on the keyboard as well. It just makes good sense for beginning guitarists to think of the guitar in this way.

As Scotty says, there's more than one way of looking at it. But it doesn't make sense for beginning guitarists to over-complicate the approach to learning how to be a musician. One could argue that you could fill your head to the explosion point with scales, modes and the like and eventually some of it will take. But I would argue that the majority of people learning to play guitar will not succeed in this manner and it might be likely that they may not spend the time learning musicianship.

Sure, there will be people who will and who do. It's all a matter of opinion. The bottom line for me is this saying: All things may be good, but not all things may be beneficial. Applying that to learning to become a guitarist and musician, and the majority of learners will be better off building from the basics. Some never leave the basics and become pretty good guitarists.

pennies.gif

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This is a response i submitted on the "learning Blues improv." thread, but it is relevant here too.

Deltabluesman i enjoyed reading your comments and can understand your annoyances. My ultimate aim is to just play my guitar and make it sing, I really don't want to think about boxes, notes, scales, but i believe that all guitarists even the greats had to go through a period of listening, watching and trying things out and finding patterns and rules that worked for them. They worked it out for themselves and the information was all in their heads (that plus a large dose of natural talent helping them along). For someone like me without their natural talent and without time to spend, these tools are the means to learn from others and move slowly towards my aim.

These techniques are a way of conveying information between musicians. Overall i totally agree with you about how this type of music should be played, maybe one day i will be able to.

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Sure, there will be people who will and who do. It's all a matter of opinion. The bottom line for me is this saying: All things may be good, but not all things may be beneficial. Applying that to learning to become a guitarist and musician, and the majority of learners will be better off building from the basics. Some never leave the basics and become pretty good guitarists.

pennies.gif

I think you make two really good points in there. It is all a matter of opinion, and that not all things may be beneficial.

I am actually a very well-educated musician, and have found the knowledge of scales,modes, and other aspects of theory to be very helpful with the different aspects of my career. I have been able to earn money writing and arranging music for various bands, ranging from country to show tunes, and a working knowledge of these things has really helped me in that. In fact I am not sure I would be able to do that sort of work without such knowledge. Similarly, being a reasonable reader has allowed me to pick up gigs at the last minute with show bands that suddenly need a guitarist, or if I am booked for a session and am going to play it 'cold'.

Now while these things have been very benefical to me, they are not useful for everyone, Not everyone wants to be able to write and arrange for horn sections for instance. Not everyone needs to be able to read well enough to pick up gigs in that fashion. And that is quite OK as well.

If I was to analyse my playing I still think in terms of the overall scale, but know the target points whithin each pattern that I would like to aim for, depending on the context of my playing. When doing a jazz gig I will opt for different notes to target than when I am playing in a pop band. However, I don't consciously think of scales as I play these days, I just try and play what I hear. I don't think I sound like I am running scales up and down ( maybe to others I do?) but I would be able to stop and say which scale I was using to play at any time.

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Scotty--

Higher learning has certainly served you well. The tools you have are worthy goals for any player. Your comments really drive home the point that it is good to set specific goals for yourself as a musician and player and go for it.

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Hey Steve

Thanks for the encouraging comments. As stated, they have worked for me, but not everyone needs those skills. Some time ago I wanted to move from being just a guitarist to being a musician.I have found learning as much as possible about music has helped me greatly as well with some of the other things I do (recording, arranging, working or leading bands, etc) but there are many other guys I know who play well and have no desire to go beyond that.

I am in awe in one of my friends who is not only one of the finest trombonists in this country, but can also play every instrument in a concert band, as well being a reasonable bassist and drummer. He can also read any clef and transpose it to any other clef by sight. The guy really annoys me at how much knowledge he has!

My own goals have changed several times, and I often feel like I am just a wandering musical soul.Soemtimes I wish I had just stayed with one thing...but then I would not have been able to make a living out of playing the guitar.

However, I think having set goals and working towards them is a great thing. When I was a kid I wrote down a list of goals, starting with the most ridiculous thing I could, and then going back one step to work out how to get there; and I kept going back until I had a couple of things to work on that would be achievable in the short term. Though some of my goals have shifted, and I have played things I never imagined I would when I made up that list, it has been very helpful. It has also been good to go back and look at some of the things I have achieved that were seemingly impossible at one stage. I even have some tapes I made when I was a kid - I used to think the band I had at 13 was pretty good, but we sound like a truck starting up.

Anyway, I am really getting off-topic now, so should shut up!

Take care everyone

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Nice bit of sharing, Scotty.

Make goals! A player doesn't have to have the goal of 'becoming the next Steve Vai' in order to make great strides. Make achievable goals and take a hunk out of it!

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Thanks for all the support and Scotty you're right too of course, I was just ranting because I hear alot of new guitarists fussing that they can't do anything with the scales they know, and even you will have to admit the main rule is to play what you feel and FEEL what you play.

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Let me attempt to sum up this thread thus:

The best sounding leads come from the notes you don't play.

...and what the notes sound like that you do play.

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Nice bit of sharing, Scotty.

Make goals! A player doesn't have to have the goal of 'becoming the next Steve Vai' in order to make great strides. Make achievable goals and take a hunk out of it!

Not to be critical but to be honest I don't really like that much of Vai's material, he's too mechanical for me.

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Not to be critical but to be honest I don't really like that much of Vai's material, he's too mechanical for me.

Yeah, me too. He was sort of the beginning of the revolution of the type of guitarists that favored mechanical over feel, in my humble opinion. But, the man is successful at what he does.

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Not to be critical but to be honest I don't really like that much of Vai's material, he's too mechanical for me.

Totally agree. Its nice to lookup youtube videos of this guy to gasp at the level of speed and control he has, but i can only recall -one- song of him that actually sticks :)

This discusson kinda reminds me of the final scene of this movie :

Crossroads (1986)

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Not to be critical but to be honest I don't really like that much of Vai's material, he's too mechanical for me.

And that is cool - you are entitled to your opinion and it is as valid as anyone elses. But I think you get into trouble when you say that there is a 'rule' for improvisation (as stated in the titled of this thread).

I actually think Steve's music has a lot of feel, or emotion, in it. He is superb technically, but he adds a lot of personality to his playing. Some of his ballads are just lovely. 'Whispering a Prayer' is bursting with emotion.

Personally, I find Michael Angelo Batio's playing to be lacking in anything other than sheer speed, but I know guys who think he is brilliant. They are able to make some sort of connection with what it is he does.

I love tomatoes. They are my favourite food ever, and I would eat them everyday if I could (and normally do). I have a little boy who hates tomatoes. Who is 'right' in this instance? Well, both of us. It is impossible to say one is right or wrong over a matter of taste.

It is the same with improvisation.

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And that is cool - you are entitled to your opinion and it is as valid as anyone elses. But I think you get into trouble when you say that there is a 'rule' for improvisation (as stated in the titled of this thread).

I actually think Steve's music has a lot of feel, or emotion, in it. He is superb technically, but he adds a lot of personality to his playing. Some of his ballads are just lovely. 'Whispering a Prayer' is bursting with emotion.

Personally, I find Michael Angelo Batio's playing to be lacking in anything other than sheer speed, but I know guys who think he is brilliant. They are able to make some sort of connection with what it is he does.

I love tomatoes. They are my favourite food ever, and I would eat them everyday if I could (and normally do). I have a little boy who hates tomatoes. Who is 'right' in this instance? Well, both of us. It is impossible to say one is right or wrong over a matter of taste.

It is the same with improvisation.

scotty i just listened to whispering on a prayer that was awesome thanks for mentioning it or i probably would never have heard it

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scotty i just listened to whispering on a prayer that was awesome thanks for mentioning it or i probably would never have heard it

It is a lovely piece.

Steve Vai is a really interesting musician. I think he has a lot of range in his playing, but often gets put in the shredder category.

And I had forgotten all about this thread!

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..and what a really good thread it is. I hope some more chime in on this.

If that Keep It Simple "Rule" is for Blues improv, i'd totally agree with DBM (generally speaking :thumbup1: )

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Robben Ford's version of Ain't Got Nothing But The Blues is anything but simple, but still very bluesy and emotive.

The complexity comes from jazz, the blues element is still simple

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Monte Montgomery is anything but simple and still has an amazing amount of feel and emotion in every lead he plays.

But classical guitar also has an amazing amount of feel and emotion.

Monte is obviously very skilled and has a pretty unique way of playing but i personally wouldn't use him as an example for someone wishing to learn to play blues. He has his devoloped his own style.

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