Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

Musical Theory Abound!!!
 #59324  by tigerstrat
 Sun Apr 12, 2009 2:56 pm
Nobody's yet mentioned using different tempos! Think of FOTD: there's 70-74/American Beauty bluegrass rocker, the 76-95 GD(and Godchaux-era JGB) slow, soaring quadruplet style... and then there's the Garcia-Grisman, which is sort of a considerably faster quadruplet style, but still a much farther cry from the early version.

But changing the tempo is almost a sure-fire way to change the feel and effect of almost ANY song I can think of, but more to the point it usually forces you to change the way you play it. Your note selection, phrasing, etc etc.
 #59359  by Pete B.
 Mon Apr 13, 2009 9:34 am
bodiddley wrote: Songs I've been working on... are "Sugar Mags", "UJB" , "Eyes", "Ripple", "Sugaree".
fwiw, I wouldn't worry about it if you are playing the rhythm guitar part to any of these tunes the same way every time.
I'm guessing most folks play through the chords in a pretty standardized fashion while singing these tunes.

Here's a rut-buster fo you:
 #59423  by heavynylon
 Tue Apr 14, 2009 6:20 am
Pete B. wrote: Here's a rut-buster fo you:
Wow! That is a cool page. I've been through some of the theory and I guess I understood it, but I haven't really internalized it to the point that I can actually play a good improvisational lead. But that page explains the theory very well. I'll try again.
 #59433  by wisedyes
 Tue Apr 14, 2009 8:02 am
Okay, what I was getting at about arpeggios is to play the chord tones as a series of single notes. Yes, you can do this by individually picking the strings in a chord rather than strumming it, but the best way is to use the arpeggio shapes found in the Major scales forms. Which, if you already know your CAGED system, you should already have a good head start on.

Chords are built from the 1-3-5 tones of the Major scale, and with a flatted 3rd for minors. Adding in the flatted or natural ( Major ) gives you either a minor 7th, dominant 7th, or major 7th sound. So take a simple song like Franklin's Tower. Over the A chord, play A - C# -E - G as a single note line. Over G, the notes to use would be G - B - D - F, over the D they would be D - F# - A - C. These give you the dominant 7th sounds ( a.k.a mixolydian ).

Note how the arpeggios share some common notes and also notes that are a half-step away from chord tones in the related arpeggios. Start using these notes as connectors between the arpeggio lines, and you will start to have "a-HA!" moments.

Now, once you get fluent at these things in a couple of different positions, start "singing" what you play. Come up with short little melodies and play those instead of aimlessly wanking the pentatonic box like way too many guitar players. Use repeating motifs, build on the song's melody line, stuff like that. You will start to sound very Jerry / Dickey Betts like before you know it.