Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

Musical Theory Abound!!!
 #15887  by KeithW125
 Fri May 04, 2007 12:46 pm
So here's the deal. In the past 6 months, I've finally broken out of the box, and can play my pentatonics all over the board in whatever key. But I want to take it to the next level. But I have no idea where to go. Which scales, what intervals, etc etc... I can jam along with alot of stuff, but it gets repetative. I want to create something memorable. Any direction would be much appreciated. thanks!

 #15890  by spilly
 Fri May 04, 2007 1:33 pm
once you've got the pens down it's usaully time to move on to your full scales. Start working on the modes and basic fingering for 7 note scales. From there you can move onto the diminished 8 note scales.

 #15891  by Robey
 Fri May 04, 2007 1:35 pm
I'm sure many here could give you better advice, but how about making sure you can add those extra blue notes to the pentatonics. Then, I would say tackle the major scale in all five positions. That seems to be a logical next step in the evolution, since essentially you already know 5/7ths of the scale.

For me, however, since the muscle memory is a bit different, it took a while for me to figure out and get it hard-wired into my consciousness that pentatonics comprise much of the major scale. Learn those major scale fingerings across the fretboard in all keys. Get them into the old muscle memory. But take time to "see" the pentatonic scale as it overlaps the major scale. Even though your fingerings might be somewhat different, I think it helps to keep this tidbit in mind as you lock into the major scale.

Also, have you begun to see the CAGED sequence laid across the fretboard, and begin to see chords really just as locked scales?

Another thing that has helped me is going back to the archives and printing out all of the stuff that Kenny posted a year or two ago. What a unique style of teaching, really. And humorous to boot. I keep rereading all of that stuff and find much in there to keep me interested for a while.

I'm sure others here can say this better, but I hope this helps some....

 #15901  by IamDocWatson
 Sat May 05, 2007 12:13 am
just move on...i never even bothered to learn the penatonic scales because they seem overused and as you said boring, learn the entire major scale and really think about and hear the intervals, practice building melodies out of them like think about a melody ingrained in your mind like "happy birtday to you" for any melodies you know well, and try to figure them out, build up to the point where you can think of meldoies and then play them...

work on all chords and using scales to make unique runs inbetween chords that will liven up parts of your songs also

 #15905  by zoppenheimer
 Sat May 05, 2007 8:38 am
Not only know the scales, but also know what to play over different chords! That too makes your lead playing much more interesting.For instance, if you're playing in the minor scale, throw in a major seventh over the five chord (because the major seventh is in the five chord). It sounds much more intersting than the dominant seventh.
Also, find ways to combine the scales. Saint Stephen is in E Major, but it's still okay to add the dominant seventh and the blues note. Throw in the major sixth in a pentatonic scale song, etc. Try to sound out solos from your favorite guitarists and then analyze what they're doing and why it sounds good, it really changes the way you play.
If you don't know much theory, than that might of been a bit confusing, but I hope it helps!

 #16268  by KeithW125
 Mon May 14, 2007 11:47 am
Thanks! That is helpful! I do have a basic knowledge of music theory, and I am starting to crack into the CAGED stuff. Where are these archives of Kenny's lessons?

 #16280  by lostsailor8782
 Mon May 14, 2007 3:20 pm
you got a bunch of good advice here ... and I take it ... but also let go some ... when your soloing over something and playing your pentatonic's just start adding notes here and there .... you'll be able to tell which ones worked and which ones didn't ... take chances and you will amaze yourself .... I had the opportunity to play several gigs with Kenny Withrow (Lead guitarist from The New Bohemians) and four other amazing players ... I was the weakest link ... and we improvised a bunch and it forced me to take BIG chances and yes I caused some train wrecks but it formed me as the player I am today ... your ears know best ... trust them ..

 #33008  by jjbankhead
 Mon Dec 17, 2007 1:57 am
i haven't taken the time to read any of the other posts here. and i am no way a guitar guru as some of the posters here are. as a beginner trying to learn as much as i can from books and internet.

this is what has helped me.

take a class in basic theory somewhere, at the local Junior college i found music theory for non music majors i took it over the summer, it is a music class for people with no music knowledge, and it helped break down some concepts i was struggling with. it was about 6 weeks long.& helped me to understand scales and chord relationships a great deal and was much cheaper then guitar lessons any where i could find.


this gives you a diagram of the scales in any or all positions and a tabbed form of the scale. practice them. they help.

 #33013  by old man down
 Mon Dec 17, 2007 5:18 am
jjbankhead, that was a smart move taking that course. I took a music appreciation course in high school. Everyone should know things like four four timing, what a major scale is, how chords are derived, motiff repetition, even an introduction to Gregorian Chant to see a little background on where the modes really came from.

To help get direction, if you have an electric guitar and amp, buy yourself the Boss RC 20XL looper and resign yourself to being a hermit since you won't have much choice in the matter. I'm going to get one for Christmas. I hear time flies by when you get one and your playing begins to soar.

 #33112  by Pete B.
 Tue Dec 18, 2007 10:44 am
FWIW, Having used both, I would reccomend the Digitech Jamman over the RC20XL.
It has more user friendly features.