Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #145763  by James-T
 Mon Apr 06, 2015 8:32 pm
I was watching a video a few months back looking for inspiration. It was 10 tips on being a better guitar player.

It wan't what I was expecting. Suggestions like:

Don't be an asshole. Get along with folks. Playing in a band after all is a team sport.
Exercise and eat healthily food, get lots of sleep. Sounds pretty basic.

But the one that got me was play the blues - even if you are shredding heavy metal. Because most of what we do in modern guitar playing has its roots in the blues.

I've been studying slow blues stuff on again off again since then. How to start a solo, what notes to target, how to manage the turn around. Really basic stuff, but its got great spill over.

Here's a clip of late. Sort of what I learned, and the best part of the blues and how it relates to Dead stuff I think at least is dynamics.

And hey it's a chance to show off my great Canadian guitar eh?

Just something to throw out there and see if it resonates with anyone.



 #145825  by eric
 Tue Apr 07, 2015 8:41 pm
Cool man.. I'm picking up what you're putting down..

Whenever I feel a bit lost, stagnant, meh, or whatever, in terms of the the progression of my playing abilities (which is just about everyday), I revisit the basic blues stuff.. I'm sure it goes without saying, but I really feel that a strong foundation in the blues is the key for being able to rip it up in the 'Jam Genre'.
 #145860  by PaulJay
 Thu Apr 09, 2015 3:37 pm
It's evident that The Warlocks and then the early Grateful Dead's music was heavily influenced by the blues. It's to bad that blues players of today seem to stay in their comfort zone and tend not to go off into improvisational jamming.
Last edited by PaulJay on Thu Apr 09, 2015 7:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 #145861  by Searing75
 Thu Apr 09, 2015 4:29 pm
I play a good deal of blues tunes. Dig it.
 #145862  by TI4-1009
 Thu Apr 09, 2015 4:42 pm
PaulJay wrote:It's evident that The Warlocks and then the early Grateful Dead's music was heavily influenced by the blues. It's to bad that blues players of today seem to stay in their comfort zone and tend not to go off into improvisational jammig.
Yup, PigPen was a blues guy and his dad was an R&B/blues DJ. In the Warlocks formative year(s) they were really a blues band with some pop and R&R thrown in. That's the roots of the Dead.
 #145864  by Lephty
 Thu Apr 09, 2015 9:47 pm
Yeah I feel like one of my faults as a player tends to be over-playing, never coming up for air. Listening to some blues can help cure that (Miles Davis too). There's also a certain sense of drama, or swagger, or mustard, or whatever you want to call it, to good blues playing. Big dramatic licks, and very expressive--emphasizing certain notes by digging in harder, lots of bends, slides & vibrato. In that respect you can hear a LOT of blues in Garcia's style.
 #145865  by James-T
 Thu Apr 09, 2015 10:26 pm
Coming up for air, wow. That's a great way of looking at it. What I like about John Kadelic's playin is he really lays off. His hand even leaves the neck between licks on the odd occasion. I used to think it was carpal tunnel or something. Pretty sure it's just technique.

I'm so guilty about leaving space in my solos. Garcia was a master. I remember listening to the Eleven on live dead for a year before i realized that he layed off for about a minute before he even starting his solo. Probally having a smoke.


 #145866  by Searing75
 Fri Apr 10, 2015 3:52 am
The blues scale can be used as the foundation for all major and minor scales. It's a very simple pattern and offers great movements sonically! You can't do The Dead without knowing it.
 #145867  by hippieguy1954
 Fri Apr 10, 2015 4:01 am
Ya can't escape the blues that's for sure. It naturally seeps into your soul with it's attractive selection of deep soul ripping melodies and expressions and combinations that are endless.
Phrasing is so important and fun too. Sometimes, "It's not the notes you play, it's the notes you don't play" - Miles Davis
 #145869  by Lephty
 Fri Apr 10, 2015 6:40 am
I actually kind of mean "coming up for air" almost literally. I was taught to think like a horn player--a horn player HAS to take a breath once in a while, forcing him to phrase in such a way that allows for it. Definitely something us guitarists can learn from.
 #147896  by Franklin
 Thu Jul 16, 2015 12:52 pm
Most great guitar players can play the Blues well, it's where even shredders add some "taste" or feeling to their solos. Paul Gilbert for example specifically cites the Blues for his inspiration and his ability to play slowly. I know an old trick for auditioning people (esp guitarists) is to play slow Blues, the slower the better. If they can hang with it, they have good technique and timing.