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Improving at guitar

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darreldo

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« on: July 16, 2012, 08:41:52 PM »
Im very capable of picking up my guitar, strum a few chords, hum a melody and add lyrics. I struggle at the lead guitar parts and need tips on how i can improve this, im ok with solo's, its the guitar parts during the verses where i struggle.

I need help on how i can get over this, any tips or guidance. finding other musicians to play with has been a struggle.

i like such bands as the la's, stone roses, cast, byrds. they are the style id like my guitar playing to be like. i play a few of their songs on guitar but i just have a mental block and i can never suss out their secrets or style

Boydie

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« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2012, 09:28:56 PM »
Hey Darreldo

There are a few of us around here that can help you out so relax...

The first thing I would suggest is that you divide you time between "playing" and "practicing"

This is a key distinction to make for your development

Playing is where you strum a few chords, have a bit of a "noodle" with lead and perhaps start writing a few songs

Practicing is where you play chords, scales, arpeggios that you are NOT comfortable playing

Also, make sure that you back up your technical abilities with a grounding in music theory - this will help you out with your songwriting as well

I am not sure at what skill level you are at but here is a quick "off the top of my head" priority list:

For rhythm guitar playing I would make sure that you learn all of the "open" chords (i.e. chords played within the first 3 frets incorporating open strings - including B  ;) )

Then progress to “barre” – known as bar - chords – with the root note on the 6th (low E string) – i.e. using the E Major chord shape – e.g. F Major at the 1st Fret, G Major at the 3rd Fret, A Major at the 5th Fret, B Major at the 7th Fret, C Major at the 8th Fret, D Major at the 10th Fret and back to E Major at the 12th Fret

Repeat this for the Em and E7 shapes

I would then move on to the same thing using the A Major shape with the root note on the 5th (A) string

i.e. B Major at the 2nd fret, C Major at the 3rd fret, D Major at the 5th Fret, E Major at the 7th fret etc. etc. (you should start seeing a pattern developing)

Repeat this for Am and Am7 shapes

Once you have this nailed you will be in a much stronger position to emulate what you hear in the bands you like so that you can ensure you are not only playing the right chord – but you are playing it in the right place as you will notice they sound very different

i.e compare the E Major chord played open, at the 7th Fret as a bar chord with the root on the 5th string, and as a bar chord with the root note at the 12th fret of the 6th string

They are the same chord but sound VERY different


For your lead playing I would make sure that you are comfortable with the following scales (in my own order of importance for the styles you referenced)

Minor Pentatonic Scale

Blues Scale (Minor Pentatonic with an extra note so it is an easy one to get under your belt)

Major Pentatonic Scale

Minor Scale

Major Scale

Harmonic Minor Scale

Melodic Minor Scale

Most of what you hear on guitar is a mix of Minor and Major pentatonic scales (which are very “forgiving scales”)

This is mostly due to the evolution of blues to rock to pop

I would suggest getting the above “nailed” and then you can move on to other techniques, tips and tricks

I really like the “Watch & Learn” videos and there is plenty of free stuff in there to keep you busy for a little while!

http://www.freeguitarvideos.com/


Finally – to answer your questions – if I am understanding you correctly you want to write the little runs that seem to “stitch” the chords together in a song

To do this effectively you need to find the scale shapes that sit where the chords are and you need to understand a little about the theory

Hendrix is a great reference for linking chords together with little runs – I am sure there are loads of free “how to play Hendirx” videos out there

I hope this helps kick you off in the right direction but if there is anything specific just ask – I would be happy to help and guide you through the minefield!
To check out my music please visit:

http://soundcloud.com/boydiemusic

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BoydieMusic

darreldo

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« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2012, 11:23:19 PM »
I know all my chords, major, minor, 7ths, barre etc.

You understand me fully when it comes to playing over the chords. thats where my problem lies. I think i may have to brush up on my scales and know their positions. The technique i was using was playing solo's from cover songs i know that have the same chords as my originals and cover songs. it is very limiting tho, hence me hitting a brick wall when it comes to doing it myself.
The advice is really useful and i shall be searching them scales and downloading the page to my computer for reference.

thanks, Darreldo

Boydie

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« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2012, 11:36:21 PM »
If you do not know the Minor Pentatonic inside and out, in different positions up and down the neck, then this is definitely the place to start...

Placing the right scale over the right chords is all about identifying the key the song is in, using a bit of theory, and most importantly using your ears

Get the Minor Pentatonic sorted and then look at the Major Pentatonic

We can then look at some chord progressions and try some different idea out
To check out my music please visit:

http://soundcloud.com/boydiemusic

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BoydieMusic

estreet

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« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2012, 01:18:43 AM »
Firstly, let me say Darreldo, that Boydie has given you good solid advice here - I teach guitar and I would have said almost exactly what he has said. I do want to add a few things though.

Knowing your scales isn't the same as knowing how to use your scales. Being able to play them end to end is great, but there's a whole lot further to go. Being able to hear what you are going to play before you play it is what counts - because not being able to do so sounds like (and is) aimless widdling. To this end , I would rather listen to a guitar player who only knows a couple of scales, but can really hear and know how to use them than one who knows millions, and knows where and when he can use them - but is relying on the fact that they will fit rather than expressing himself by playing directly from his soul to his fingers. Listen to BB King - it's an object lesson in this. Great solos are about so much more than scales - they are about the sound you make out of the guitar with your hands: your phrasing - a solo is like a conversation, not a string of notes that fall on 16ths or 8ths .... you get louder, quieter, faster, slower .... leave gaps .... play fast ... play slow .... PLAY NOTHING (it's surprising how so few people ever stop or pause!) How is your bending? is it accurate? - it stands out like a sore thumb when a guitarist isn't in control of his bending - also your vibrato .... can you bend a tone accurately then vibrato smoothly? I'd say this takes more practice that scales to be good at!

You say you can 'solo ok' and for all I know you are great, and I mean that. However, I will point out that I know an awful lot of people who think they can 'solo ok' who are absolutely unlistenable to. This remark encompasses all the reasons in the paragraph above. The only reason I say this is because if your soloing is really sorted - then I find it hard to believe that you are having the problems you describe - the techniques required are the same.

I absolutely agree with Boydie on the theory thing too. You need to know some. You don't have to be able to read music or anything like that - but you do need to understand and be able to communicate with other musicians. Showing them where you put your fingers is not communicating lol.

Big secret that no-one believes - GEAR HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE QUALITY OF YOUR PLAYING. Did I shout? You can have a squire Strat and plastic amp - but if you know how to use your hands - it's worth more than all the money and gear in the world. Again, not saying you don't know this but I can't say it often enough anyway, so any excuse.

Anyhow - hope that's helpful. It's all so subjective - everyone has different criteria on what they call good. I'm sure a lot of people would see me as a simplistic and 'old school' guitar player: I can't widdle to save my life and I know nothing about inside/outside picking and stuff like that. I'll put my money where my mouth is tho - you can hear me play here:



If you think it's a load of crap then that's absolutely fine with me. Ignore everything I've said and plough your own trough with my best wishes!! Good luck with it.
Youth & enthusiasm are no match for age and treachery.

Boydie

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« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2012, 02:14:33 AM »
That is some beautiful stuff there - absolutely gorgeous playing

The harmonies were a nice touch and a great example of everything you have said above, which is all spot on

I would love to hear from DARRELDO to see how he is getting on
To check out my music please visit:

http://soundcloud.com/boydiemusic

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BoydieMusic

S.T.C

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« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2012, 02:26:44 AM »
Nice playing, which one are you  (checked or dark shirt)?

estreet

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« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2012, 03:09:56 AM »
.... Dark Shirt.
Youth & enthusiasm are no match for age and treachery.