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Plane Talk... Jerry Garcia style?


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#1 OFFLINE   nicolisp

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 09:40 AM

Hi all,

I have been playing guitar for 15-16 years. I specialize in the style of Jerry Garcia in May 1977. I am looking for a way to improve my improvisational ability.

Jerry knew his basic scales and a little theory, but in all my research I've concluded that he didn't use much theory while improvising. If you listen to his live solos... you can hear that he was just following the melody/chords. What's cool about his style, though, was that he followed the melody while doing all those cool, fancy, speedy runs and licks.

My questions:
Is it possible to hear an example of how the Plane Talk system would apply to a Dead song? Say, for example, the first solo in a live version of Eyes of the World? If you listen to Eyes, please look for a live version from the mid to late 70's. '74-'78 are good years. Check out the Dead on archive dot org (9-18-74 is good... solo at 2:53). The first solo is just over 2 bars of Emaj7 and 2 bars of Bm (two different keys). In order for me to improv, I am locked in to using E major ionian over the first 2 bars, and B dorian over the last 2. I just know Jerry wasn't thinking modes like this. Perhaps in his practicing, but not live on the fly (the guy was probably too high to be thinking scales and modes, anyway).

Will the plane talk system help me in this style of playing?

Sorry for my rambling. Also, sorry if this is in the wrong forum... I'm new here.

-nicolisp

#2 OFFLINE   allthumbs

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 03:20 PM

Took a peek at a clip. it certainly sounds like something a plane talk player would do. You should be able to find some of kirk's improv vids which will give you a better idea.

#3 OFFLINE   davidjones774

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 07:15 PM

Nico,
I don't know if this will help, but I noticed a 1978 Interview of Jerry Garcia in the December 2009 Issue of Guitar Player Digital (It's free) - I think it's pages 42-52... http : // guitarplayer.com / GP2 . I scanned through the article and I think he discusses his some of his approaches to improvising at that time.
Hope that helps,
David

#4 OFFLINE   nicolisp

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 09:05 AM

davidjones774 said:

Nico,
I don't know if this will help, but I noticed a 1978 Interview of Jerry Garcia in the December 2009 Issue of Guitar Player Digital (It's free) - I think it's pages 42-52... http : // guitarplayer.com / GP2 . I scanned through the article and I think he discusses his some of his approaches to improvising at that time.
Hope that helps,
David
Thanks jones774!

Well, like I said in my original post, I specialize in Garcia style and have been doing so for 15-16 years now. The article you mentioned is well known in Dead Head circles and I, of course, already have it. Thank so much for the info, though!

Jerry knew a little enough about music theory (mostly maj, min, dim scales and arpeggios; some modes), but I have concluded that he didn't think modes and scales too much in the live moment. Jerry did mention in one of his 1977 or 1978 interviews that he made some sort of breakthrough on the guitar that year having to do with seeing the fretboard. He didn't reveal much else other than some mention of repeating patterns. I wonder if this mysterious "breakthrough" of his is similar to Kirk's Plane Talk approach.

I guess to be more specific, I am just curious if this Plane Talk approach would work for styles, like Jerry's, that involve the faster playing (speedy melodic runs, etc). From what I've read so far here and from the other response to this post, it looks like it may work.

Are there any video examples of the plane talk technique, that involve more speedy playing? Perhaps something with some longer jazzy lines? Suggestions welcome. Thanks for your replies!

#5 OFFLINE   allthumbs

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 11:11 AM

YouTube - Red Strat Blues - 12 bar guitar improvisation
Try some of his other vids on you tube. The jazz stuff and you will get a better idea.

#6 ONLINE   Kirk Lorange

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 04:11 AM

Hi, nicolisp, sorry I missed this.

I've never been a speedy player and I'm not awfully familiar with the Dead, but I'm very confident that the PlaneTalk mindset will open up all kinds of new ways for you to solo. I'm listening to that solo right now (Ithink) on YouTube. It sounds pretty scalar to me, mainly because it's being played over the one chord. The PT mindset is particularly helpful when playing over several chords, especially when they're those 'outside' chords.

You might find the video below a little more helpful as it's not a 12 bar blues. It was played over a pretty cheesy sounding midi backing track, but the chords are more complex that usual, moving in and out of key ... and I do play a little faster ... :winkthumb: No scales or modes entered my thinking. If you have any other questions, ask away.



#7 OFFLINE   nicolisp

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 08:53 AM

Wow! Thanks, Kirk, and everyone else, for the reply.

You saw a video on youtube? Was it the '74 video? I ask because I very much dislike his soloing style after '78... it changed drastically after that and not the style I am after.

There is a good one on youtube. Just type in "eyes of the world 74" and the first thing to come up should be "grateful dead - eyes of the world [winterland '74]." The solo is at ~2:42 or so if you can hang with the vid that long. The chord progression for this particular solo is 2 bars/measures of Emaj7 followed by a half bar of Bm and a half bar of A. The progression I spoke of originally was not much different (just Emaj7 and Bm) and I still tend to use the same modal approach for this solo (E ionian over Emaj7 and B dorian over Bm and A).

Jerry was quite scalar, he was known for his long "trailing" phrases. What I love about him, though, is how he played through the changes. You can tell he wasn't thinking modes too too much... at least I can. He had more of an intuitive approach of following the changes. I personally want to break out from thinking modes when the next chord change is coming. It is too time consuming and I always end up feeling rushed.

I am dying of curiosity now to see this Plane Talk package. I am therefore purchasing the package in just a few minutes. I have been playing for 15-16 years and am also a trained chemist. My playing experience and my scientific background make me quite skeptical about getting this package..... BUT I am going for it anyway. I tell you, if it weren't for all the awesome testimonials and the fact that Kirk participates in these forums himself... I wouldn't be buying.

Check out the solo I mentioned on youtube if you haven't already.
Oh, BTW, I did check out the jazzy improv vid. Smooth stuff, quite impressive... especially with all those changes. That's also what sold me.

Here goes. Off to make my first major purchase of 2010. I intend to keep everyone updated. I'll be back. Sorry for the long post(s).

-nicolisp

#8 OFFLINE   nicksdad12

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 06:42 AM

Kirk,
I've been reading your ideas about chord tones for an hour; the light bulb finally went off! Thanks.

If you haven't heard it yet, get a copy of George Barnes "Don't Get Around Much Anymore". He does a version of "When Sunny Gets Blue" that's a masterpiece in chord tones. Now I realize why it sounds so pure, and why I can listen to it over and over again.





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