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Grateful Dead Music Forum

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 #38989  by ker1227
 Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:50 am
What is going through your mind when you are soloing?
im trying to learn more about theory and im confused on some of its applications.
So when you are solo are there any rule of thumbs about sticking to the structure of the song? For instance, should i hit the note when that chord comes up? or if the next chord comming up is higher than the last should i be getting higher in the scale? Or is it strickly just whatever you can come up with in that scale? any help would be appriciated.

 #38990  by st stephen
 Fri Feb 29, 2008 6:20 am
for me the scales have become second nature, and i think thats one of the most important things.

Sometimes i have a certain riff combinations in my head and i am hearing it or thinking it in my head before i play it....when i am all out improvising i am just in the zone listening to the rhythm section around me and just zonning out into my own world and not even really thinking. It almost like meditation for me. Its just me and the scales. HArd to explain though no that i have actually started to type on the subject.

 #38994  by jackr
 Fri Feb 29, 2008 6:39 am
that is a question i have asked many people. it is different for most. at the level of playing that I am at, I think of the scales and arpeggios of the chord. Sometimes the chords change to fast for me to change my scale or mode and I just stay in the scale and have the scale fingering patterns in my mind.

 #38997  by germfisk
 Fri Feb 29, 2008 6:43 am
I am with ya St. Steve. Although my main instrument for soloing is harmonica, I think the idea is still the same. I just listen to (feel) the rest of the band and don't really think about anything...

 #39005  by BuddhaG
 Fri Feb 29, 2008 8:07 am
I usually have some "basic" licks or riffs that I associate with each song. I will usually play those first and then bust out into some exploration building tension and then releasing it into some variation or part of the main riff. At least going out on a tangent and then hitting a few notes from the main riff.

I usually don't try to think in terms of music... I know where the chords are for the song and usually just find myself floating around them/through them. I know what scale I am using but don't think about it too much unless I get lost and have to re-orient myself.

I think about soloing when I am not even at the guitar often times. In fact, my best solos are in my head when I am going to sleep or being stoned. I had this image flash to me once: That playing a solo is like using a bullwhip. You are whipping the string out there farther and farther each time and its all twisting and twirling and the tip of the whip is like the tip of a flame. Striving to go farther and farther yet limited by the amount of fuel in the fire.

Okay thats my abstract rambling for the day. Peace.

 #39008  by drums>space
 Fri Feb 29, 2008 8:29 am
I usually have some "basic" licks or riffs that I associate with each song. I will usually play those first and then bust out into some exploration building tension and then releasing it into some variation or part of the main riff. At least going out on a tangent and then hitting a few notes from the main riff.


yeah man thats one of the techniques i use too. For me i kind of think of it as a safe zone... if my exploration starts to sound iffy, you can go back right into those likcs that you KNOW sound good, and then keep experimenting until you find the notes your trying hit. another thing i like to do is find one root note to a chord, usually the last chord in the progression, get the timing down so i hit it with the chord and just solo around that single note, then find that note on another voicing of the scale and keep playing around.

just trust your ears man
I think about soloing when I am not even at the guitar often times. In fact, my best solos are in my head when I am going to sleep or being stoned.
funny you say that too because the EXACT same thing happens to me, when i'm goin to bed, driving, or really high, i'll think of some of my most creative stuff.

 #39013  by weirimpressed
 Fri Feb 29, 2008 9:02 am
the same thing happens to me all the time as well, but by the time I am able to pick up a guitar and try to play what I am literally SEEING in my head, its gone or I have thought to hard and lost it...

man I hate that, I mean I REALLY hate that haha

 #39015  by Tennessee Jedi
 Fri Feb 29, 2008 9:11 am
I hate when I practice and practice something and then fall into the same old ways when jamming with the band.
Listening to all the instruments at the same time and doing something cool myself is hard for me sometimes.Like patting yer head and rubbing yer belly at the same time thing.
The flip side is when something new works and I love that feeling of Aha!
A new thing Im trying to incorporate into my playing is to try and stop overplaying.To get over the urge to always be taking up sonic space.Let someone else fill a space.Stuff gets too busy.
Sometimes music makes me think in picture terms like the whip thing BuddaG sees.
Remember the Etch - A -Sketch?
The little mark thing that lets you know where you are on the screen?
Reminds me of Jerry soloing - a little tiny light buzzing around.Sometimes his sounds remind me of an angry bee buzzing about - the jam at the end of Truckin' is one of those moments.... :cool:

 #39017  by weirimpressed
 Fri Feb 29, 2008 9:18 am
lol :cool:

 #39023  by Pete B.
 Fri Feb 29, 2008 10:34 am
I've been working to match up the Scales & Modes thing with what I hear Jerry playing.
I pick a tune, then listen to many live versions of it and make like a small library of licks that i want to master in such a way that they are no longer licks, but things I can apply to my playing as a greater understanding of the Modes & Scales thing again.
I now have a pretty strong command of soloing up and down the neck knowing what mode I'm in and using the scales that apply, for several songs that I'm currently interested in.
I am now at the point where I am trying to turn that knowedge back into music in such a way as to play/say something meaningfull and creative.
I hate the sound of blatent mistakes, so one of the things I think when soloing is, I will use this new knowledge in such a way as to not play anything that will sound like a blatant "clam".
The random distribution of reality doesn't always jive with that goal, though!... I like to sprinke on an ample dose of "risk taking", too, as a means of breaking through to the next level.
Live on stage my goal is to come away with zero clams. I feel that I don't have the "can do no wrong" luxury that the GD had in that dept.

 #39026  by Banjomike0319
 Fri Feb 29, 2008 11:17 am
I've had this discustion with many of musicians, and I think we came up with the same idea.

Don't think about what your playing at the time, think about what your gonna play.

With any instrument I do this, have it be Banjo, Mandolin, Guitar, Bass. I'm always looking for that next note, never thinking about what note I'm on at the time, think foward.

Theroy wise, it all depends on what key, scale, mode, your in. You can be in the key of G playing a G scale, but you need you need to think ahead of what your playing and what your about to play.

I dont know if this helps, maybe we were all drunk when we were discussing this.

 #39028  by weirimpressed
 Fri Feb 29, 2008 11:35 am
dont you start thinking too much about what youre about to play though

sometimes i do and it throws off the whole jam, but other times it helps hitting those special spots right on!

 #39048  by warrenMFKNhaynes
 Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:06 pm
haha, sometimes im actually thinking about something totally different than the song im playing. I'll think about what I should get the next time I go to the store, or I'll even think about something funny i herd recently, and actually chuckle a little a bit. Yet somehow, I'm still paying attention to the scales I'm playing.

 #39073  by mrMix
 Sat Mar 01, 2008 10:02 am
I started taking formal jazz lessons a year ago to help me along my journey. I asked my intstructor this same question a while back, as I was thinking patterns, licks,tones and afraid to hit a wrong note.
He gave me the following to think about -

"As you continue to practice, the scales melt away into notes. By default you become more familiar with the fretboard and chord theory - you'll begin to form and use arpeggios based upon the chords played, fill with chromatics and identify the available tensions"

So it's a year later and for me this is all starting to click and be used. I understand chord construction, have become much more comfortable with where I am on the fretboard, and understand and use arpeggios for 3 and 4 tone chords. Still afraid to hit a wrong note, but I find that you are always 1 fret away from the correct note and a slight bend can take an idea into a new direction.
If only I had stuck with the lessons my parents had me taking 34 years ago....