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Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #20425  by Tom Banjo
 Fri Jul 13, 2007 6:16 pm
okay so here is where i'm at. i've been playing guitar for about three years so far. i can play the major and minor scales and most of the modes in any key up and down the fretboard, i also know a few blues scales and otherwise "exotic" scales. i understand the whole CAGED deal and i know some basic chord theory, enough to compose and solo and whatnot. i know and have mastered basic and somewhat intermediate playing techniques like hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides, trills, ect.

but my predicament is that all of my playing is starting to sound the same. i'll play a song and solo and it will sound nice but the next solo won't sound any different. don't get me wrong i still have the passion and i still feel it but it isn't as exciting as it once was. so does anyone have any tips for me on becoming a better, more exciting guitarist? i mean i ultimately want to be able to entertain an audience with my playing, so i feel my playing should be more diverse and maybe more technical? i'm not sure, but if anyone has some pointers i would really appreciate it.

 #20426  by jackr
 Fri Jul 13, 2007 6:26 pm
I love hearing a technically great guitar player but even more so I love someone who isnt so technically corrct and plays with feeling. It does come through.

I dont know how to tell you what you need to do to add more feeling into the music.

But technically speaking there is no limit. I didnt see you mention arpegios, that is a good thing to learn as well as other finger picking techniques and chordal melodies, copying and then expanding on some licks from other great guitarist such as Robben Ford, Joe Satrinani, Larry Carlton and a very diverse group of others. Even old time blues player would be good.

By the way, I am in the same boat as you but I dont feel stuck because I am getting better all the time. But it is not a quick process for me. I wish I had more time to practice.

 #20490  by Shaggy
 Sat Jul 14, 2007 11:29 am
Have you recorded yourself playing?

Listen to other types of music, it will inspire different things you'll want to bring into your playing.

Do you play with anyone else?

It helps to bounce ideas off with someone else and playing together will tighten you up and hopefully push you on as long as the other person is with it themselves.
 #20498  by StringCheeseSector9
 Sat Jul 14, 2007 12:44 pm
well i am not a technically sound guitarist yet not know what a mode even is lol but one tip from me is listen to music you usually do not. listen to as much music as you can and keep it diverse

 #20507  by Erictw83
 Sat Jul 14, 2007 4:09 pm
Been you to have any spike mon?

 #20532  by cuznt
 Sun Jul 15, 2007 11:59 am
i used to get up on a free day and put in a bb king cd and play along with it. Loud. heh. I know it wasnt nessessary but hey....
I also played with eric clapton and dead shows, There was an old blues tape from stormy monday blues shows from a local college radio. We all get hung up on riffs. Finding the way to break out of it is key. learn others riffs then make them your own. Sometimes in the middle of playing you just lose all your sense of direction and are not even sure what song you are even playing. Its times like that when you learn the most.

 #20561  by deadguise
 Sun Jul 15, 2007 8:48 pm
Go see quality live music, in places where you can get up comfortably close to the musicians so as to watch and listen to them. Observe the position of their hands and fingers and watch how they use the tone and volume controls for dynamics. Most often this can be an inspiration to try new techniques or methods on what you saw live.

 #20645  by IamDocWatson
 Mon Jul 16, 2007 12:48 pm
try to work on some jazz...wes montgomery or django stuff...u can pick up one lick of theirs and it will open a whole new dimension in your playing. also, maybe take a break playing everyday is really key i think, i play about 4 hours a day...but when i realize im stuck in a rut and keep following similar patterns and different songs sound the same as the last one...i take a break maybe a day...i had a busy vacation where i didnt play for a week straight, i came home and all my pre determined routines and patterns were gone i was exploring more and more and came up with an interesting song the first day home...
also just analyze what you are doing that sounds "the same" and DONT DO IT...force yourself to take a lead without relying on those patterns or shapes

 #20949  by toastandjam
 Fri Jul 20, 2007 12:49 pm
Shaggy wrote:Have you recorded yourself playing?

Listen to other types of music, it will inspire different things you'll want to bring into your playing.

Do you play with anyone else?

It helps to bounce ideas off with someone else and playing together will tighten you up and hopefully push you on as long as the other person is with it themselves.
Seconded. Listen to yourself after the fact, and be open to your own playing. Try to play with as many other people as you can, especially if they play something totally different from what you're used to.

Also, having your playing sound 'the same' could also mean you're developing a style, sound, voice for yourself. Is it like that, except its not what you want?

 #21048  by xero92
 Sun Jul 22, 2007 11:16 am
Well tom, its funny to me reading your post because I felt exactly the same way as you at 3 years (got down a few scales, chords, can solo good). It is definently frustrating.

I feel now, two or so years later, that my playing has improved much due to a few things, including playing along with more people and more recordings, listening to as much music as i could cram in my head... but primarily by simple expirementation. I will try to explain how my playing evolved:

for a very long time i could only solo in the Pentatonic and blues scales, although i had it down across the fretboard. However I began to notice more and more that some songs became easily boring or even didnt sound so good as I soloed in pentatonic. So i basically cleared my head and decided that if i wanted somethign newer and more interesting, i would have to... forget the scales. Or not so much forget them, but enhance them. With ever song I put often (quite often Jerry and the dead or perhaps Phish) I would mess around with notes that were outside of the pentatonic and blues scales. Some were evidently out of key, but others fit strangely, a new sound for me outside of the blues scale. I began to incorporate these "new" notes into my blues scale until i had essentially reinvented it in my mind (i am sure there are names for these scales and such, but it felt great just to figure them out).

anyways, i slowly began to recognize how different sounds of songs (Major or minor for instance) fit better with my different "new" scales. trying out all these new notes felt great and sounded sooo new to me. The more i played with them to more proficient I got and the more I could place one "scale" with one particular sound in anysong.



So what am i really saying... play outside of your box of comfortable notes, and mess around to see what sounds weird and cool and strange and new and GOOD.

 #21126  by Built2Last
 Mon Jul 23, 2007 12:07 pm
what are good scale excersises up and down the fret board. i get stuck in one spot when im playing a scale or mode and dont no where to go from there.

 #21131  by jackr
 Mon Jul 23, 2007 12:31 pm
Here is a little video lesson that will do just what you ask.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_qw03-3gFg