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Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

Musical Theory Abound!!!

 #33114  by shakedown_04092
 Tue Dec 18, 2007 10:51 am
tigerstrat wrote:How do you play a lead????

Underage at a funky bar:

1. Step outside
2. Smoke yourself a J.
3. Go back in the room.
4. Everything just seems to move.
5. Turn that amp up loud.
6. Begin to play->
->
IF It's late in the evening
THEN Blow that room away.
ELSE Do NOT blow that room away
:lol: Good one! We just started doing that one. :smile:

 #33185  by Larree
 Tue Dec 18, 2007 9:38 pm
How do I play lead? I don't know. What do you think? How do I play lead?

 #33187  by Larree
 Tue Dec 18, 2007 9:57 pm
Okay. Now. Seriously. How do you play a lead? Well, the first thing you have to do is forget everything everybody ever told you about playing lead guitar. STOP listening to guitar players. Listen to wind instruments. Listen to instruments requiring breath. This will teach you phrasing. Listen to piano players. Pianos are cool because they are percussion instruments that play chords and melodies. Listen to drums. Rhythm is everything. Listen to classical music. LEARN melodies on the guitar. LEARN to improvise off melodies. Scales are cool for practicing, but NEVER build your leads around scales. ALWAYS think melody. Think voice. Listen to opera. I am not kidding. LISTEN to opera. Study breathing. If you can make your solos breath like an amazing mezzo-soprano, you will be a guitar god amongst guitar gods. If you think I am kidding you, listen to my solos and then you may tell me that I am full of shit.

 #33189  by IamDocWatson
 Tue Dec 18, 2007 10:31 pm
Larree wrote:Okay. Now. Seriously. How do you play a lead? Well, the first thing you have to do is forget everything everybody ever told you about playing lead guitar. STOP listening to guitar players. Listen to wind instruments. Listen to instruments requiring breath. This will teach you phrasing. Listen to piano players. Pianos are cool because they are percussion instruments that play chords and melodies. Listen to drums. Rhythm is everything. Listen to classical music. LEARN melodies on the guitar. LEARN to improvise off melodies. Scales are cool for practicing, but NEVER build your leads around scales. ALWAYS think melody. Think voice. Listen to opera. I am not kidding. LISTEN to opera. Study breathing. If you can make your solos breath like an amazing mezzo-soprano, you will be a guitar god amongst guitar gods. If you think I am kidding you, listen to my solos and then you may tell me that I am full of shit.
i do agree...the thing about wind musicians...they dont "noodle" they can only play certain amounts you know like its from their breath so nothing they say (good players anyway) is worthless...theyre phrasings are always important, and meaningfull and they dont waste notes(breath) its all important to the melody..the only trouble i have is decipher the notes with the differences in tone from say a sax to a guitar...but my ear is coming along

 #33191  by Larree
 Tue Dec 18, 2007 10:47 pm
IamDocWatson wrote:
Larree wrote:Okay. Now. Seriously. How do you play a lead? Well, the first thing you have to do is forget everything everybody ever told you about playing lead guitar. STOP listening to guitar players. Listen to wind instruments. Listen to instruments requiring breath. This will teach you phrasing. Listen to piano players. Pianos are cool because they are percussion instruments that play chords and melodies. Listen to drums. Rhythm is everything. Listen to classical music. LEARN melodies on the guitar. LEARN to improvise off melodies. Scales are cool for practicing, but NEVER build your leads around scales. ALWAYS think melody. Think voice. Listen to opera. I am not kidding. LISTEN to opera. Study breathing. If you can make your solos breath like an amazing mezzo-soprano, you will be a guitar god amongst guitar gods. If you think I am kidding you, listen to my solos and then you may tell me that I am full of shit.
i do agree...the thing about wind musicians...they dont "noodle" they can only play certain amounts you know like its from their breath so nothing they say (good players anyway) is worthless...theyre phrasings are always important, and meaningfull and they dont waste notes(breath) its all important to the melody..the only trouble i have is decipher the notes with the differences in tone from say a sax to a guitar...but my ear is coming along
Yeah! And it is all about the ear! And all it takes is some training! I remember Robben Ford when he played with Jimmy Witherspoon. He was dating my friend's girlfriend's mom. (This was back when I was in high school.) That guy played John Coltrane solos on guitar all day and night. He transcribed the stuff off records. He was truly sick! And I got to see him play with Spoon. Man, that was some amazing stuff. Robben's guitar did breath.

And Jerry had it, too. He understood breath in music. To the max. As a matter of fact, the first time I saw the Dead I kept looking for the flute but no one was playing flute. It was Jerry's guitar! (Okay. So I was on a horse cap of chocolate mescaline at my first show!)

 #33192  by Larree
 Tue Dec 18, 2007 10:48 pm
IamDocWatson wrote:
Larree wrote:Okay. Now. Seriously. How do you play a lead? Well, the first thing you have to do is forget everything everybody ever told you about playing lead guitar. STOP listening to guitar players. Listen to wind instruments. Listen to instruments requiring breath. This will teach you phrasing. Listen to piano players. Pianos are cool because they are percussion instruments that play chords and melodies. Listen to drums. Rhythm is everything. Listen to classical music. LEARN melodies on the guitar. LEARN to improvise off melodies. Scales are cool for practicing, but NEVER build your leads around scales. ALWAYS think melody. Think voice. Listen to opera. I am not kidding. LISTEN to opera. Study breathing. If you can make your solos breath like an amazing mezzo-soprano, you will be a guitar god amongst guitar gods. If you think I am kidding you, listen to my solos and then you may tell me that I am full of shit.
i do agree...the thing about wind musicians...they dont "noodle" they can only play certain amounts you know like its from their breath so nothing they say (good players anyway) is worthless...theyre phrasings are always important, and meaningfull and they dont waste notes(breath) its all important to the melody..the only trouble i have is decipher the notes with the differences in tone from say a sax to a guitar...but my ear is coming along
Yeah! And it is all about the ear! And all it takes is some training! I remember Robben Ford when he played with Jimmy Witherspoon. He was dating my friend's girlfriend's mom. (This was back when I was in high school.) That guy played John Coltrane solos on guitar all day and night. He transcribed the stuff off records. He was truly sick! And I got to see him play with Spoon. Man, that was some amazing stuff. Robben's guitar did breath.

And Jerry had it, too. He understood breath in music. To the max. As a matter of fact, the first time I saw the Dead I kept looking for the flute but no one was playing flute. It was Jerry's guitar! (Okay. So I was on a horse cap of chocolate mescaline at my first show!)

 #33206  by jackr
 Wed Dec 19, 2007 6:43 am
Larree wrote:
Yeah! And it is all about the ear! And all it takes is some training! I remember Robben Ford when he played with Jimmy Witherspoon. He was dating my friend's girlfriend's mom. (This was back when I was in high school.) That guy played John Coltrane solos on guitar all day and night. He transcribed the stuff off records. He was truly sick! And I got to see him play with Spoon. Man, that was some amazing stuff. Robben's guitar did breath.
I love when people on here mention Robben Ford. Great great player. His leads are among the best. When he played with spoon he was very young and really an awesome blues player. He is very under rated and not known very well, especially for a player at his level.

 #33219  by Larree
 Wed Dec 19, 2007 9:08 am
jackr wrote:
Larree wrote:
Yeah! And it is all about the ear! And all it takes is some training! I remember Robben Ford when he played with Jimmy Witherspoon. He was dating my friend's girlfriend's mom. (This was back when I was in high school.) That guy played John Coltrane solos on guitar all day and night. He transcribed the stuff off records. He was truly sick! And I got to see him play with Spoon. Man, that was some amazing stuff. Robben's guitar did breath.
I love when people on here mention Robben Ford. Great great player. His leads are among the best. When he played with spoon he was very young and really an awesome blues player. He is very under rated and not known very well, especially for a player at his level.
Yeah, man! Next to Alvin Lee (arguably the greatest rock guitarist ever.), Robben is the most UNDER rated cat on Earth!

 #33225  by tigerstrat
 Wed Dec 19, 2007 10:55 am
Larree wrote:
jackr wrote:
Larree wrote:
Yeah! And it is all about the ear! And all it takes is some training! I remember Robben Ford when he played with Jimmy Witherspoon. He was dating my friend's girlfriend's mom. (This was back when I was in high school.) That guy played John Coltrane solos on guitar all day and night. He transcribed the stuff off records. He was truly sick! And I got to see him play with Spoon. Man, that was some amazing stuff. Robben's guitar did breath.
I love when people on here mention Robben Ford. Great great player. His leads are among the best. When he played with spoon he was very young and really an awesome blues player. He is very under rated and not known very well, especially for a player at his level.
Yeah, man! Next to Alvin Lee (arguably the greatest rock guitarist ever.), Robben is the most UNDER rated cat on Earth!
Kind of strange that RF on lead guitar didn't translate into particularly astounding Phil & Friends shows in 2000. I caught the lineup in Portland and at the Gorge, 3 shows in all and nothing truly caught fire, nothing at all like in the first year or so of the Herring/Haynes config.

 #33229  by jackr
 Wed Dec 19, 2007 11:21 am
I had listened to them on archive.org and I agree. As much as a Robben fan I am, the shows didnt seem great. Robben was more in the background and didnt really shine like I would have expected.

If you really want to see a good show, go see Robben with Larry Carlton. They are touring in the spring. You can see the tour schedule on Larry's site.
http://www.mr335.com/

 #33253  by Billbbill
 Wed Dec 19, 2007 4:00 pm
I like whistling instead of humming :-)

Sometimes I'll whistle a melody to a song, sometimes made up, sometimes the actual melody, then play it and study it's shape within the tune and as others have stated, build off of it.

 #33264  by IamDocWatson
 Wed Dec 19, 2007 7:33 pm
i like whistling too just becuase whistling perfect pitch is like almost second nature...people with no musical ear can whistle in tune without thinking about it

 #38248  by cunamara
 Tue Feb 19, 2008 5:21 pm
shakedown_04092 wrote:hum the melody, and play what you are humming
That is so basically it. Howard Roberts taught this to his students. If you ever listen to a live Keith Jarret recording (e.g. the Köln Concert) you'll hear him doing this except what he is humming is a rough guide for his fingers to expand upon.

If you watch Herb Ellis or, for that matter, video of Jerry, you will often see them obviously humming or singing as they solo. BB King talks about soloing feeling just like he is still singing.

 #38272  by pappypgh
 Wed Feb 20, 2008 9:55 am
I know I'm a year late on the RF comments, but I WHOLEHEARTEDLY DISAGREE with him not "catching fire". I sat front row in Camden, NJ in 2000 and he was ASTOUNDING. FAR less busy than Herring and/or Haynes. WAY less "in your face" the entire song. I LOVE both Herring & Haynes, but they just dueled the entire time...it got insanely boring for me after 2 songs. Great players, but 2 hours of masturbation without the BREATH....letting the air OUT of the balloon....the QUIET moments....that's what I loved about the GD. RF had that going ON w/ P&F, I thought. Plus his tone was not that same tone that Herring AND Haynes AND several other hot players have. They all have a VERY similar tone...Robben's is all his own.

I'll never forget at the end of the show, Phil introduces the band and lastly says, "THE MASTER, Robben Ford." He OWNED that night and I thought he brought way more to the table than either Jimmy OR Warren, creatively speaking.

Just my humble opinion... :roll:

 #38276  by broomhead
 Wed Feb 20, 2008 11:37 am
Somebody mentioned breathing and quiet. For me and in my opinion that is some of the greatest advice. A friend of mine works w/ a band called RAQ, they are extremely talented musicians who have some really nice songs and a growing fan base. But for me it's too full tilt all out, they don't really observe silence in their songs. For me, nobody was able to play silence like Jerry and the boys. Always left you wanting just a little bit more. ALWAYS left me wanting to come back. never give the listener too much.


I'm a big Robben Ford fan. I remember I had tix to the Amnesty International 25th Anniversary show at Giants stadium. We were due to fly out for the dead's Greek shows that were the upcoming weekend. For some reason we decided to drive out there and seeing that show would have cut it too close. I cant even imagine just jumping in my car and driving across the country. It just didn't seem that odd back then. lol

joe