#160543  by nuthatchwinters
Ive been playing over 30 years, heavily into blues for most of that but about 5 years ago focused entirely on Garcia. Been a dead head since high school but only took to seriously studying his playing and trying to replicate fairly recently. Anyway I have found one of the most helpful things, for me anyway, has been to zero in on the noodling. The in between songs stuff, etc. Jerry had a very unique approach, one that I seriously struggled with but through many, many hours of practice have begun to get a pretty good handle on it. For all the players out there, you know how you have those "go-to" licks whenever you first pick up the guitar. Like the stuff that just comes very naturally to you when you begin playing? If you really pay attention to Jerry noodling between songs and all the little licks he was always playing (Jerry was always, always picking something) you find a common theme that for me has provided a very solid base for how Jerry approached his playing and has helped me immensely! And in keeping with this train of thought have taught myself all the little Jerry fillers from when Bobby was fussing with his rig, i.e. Tico Tico, Funiculi Funicula, Addams Family etc. Anyway just curious if any other players out there have taken this same approach and curious to anyone elses thoughts. thanks. MK
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 #160546  by Poor Peter
Yes!!! I listen to "space" a lot also. Or I used to anyway. Ive never been into copping Jerys licks. That's not to say that I haven't, but for me Ive always been interested in the thought process. Jerry rarely IMO just picked for the sake of picking. He always had purpose and a direction. Once I was able to grasp that thought process all those licks and runs that had been burned into my brain over the years started to surface. I can effortlessly run through stuff like Deal just because Ive learned to think like he did. And that's without sitting down and copping certain licks. They were already in my head. The acoustic stuff he did with the JGB acoustic band is a treasure trove of insights as to how he approached much of his playing and Ive probably gotten more mileage out of that than a lot of the electric stuff. I came across a transcription of Ragged but Right that someone with some fancy software tabbed out. I buried my head in that for months never really learning the actual solo itself but instead dissecting every single measure and how it related to the chord change. Minor, maj, dom7 ect. ect. Where the bends came, the chromatics, everything I could find. Im sure some will say they have gotten to the same place in their own playing using a different approach but, I couldn't agree with you more that the noodling offers a huge insight as to how his mind worked.
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 #160549  by nuthatchwinters
yes poorpeter. funny you mention that about the acoustic stuff. Not long ago i was just working exclusively on the pizza tapes stuff (only the Jerry parts, Tony Rice is just too much for me, just amazing. At one point between songs Tony is just tearing it up and Jerry says to him "stop that, stop that right now" funny shit. As far as my style goes I'm not trying to get "Jerryesque" or in the ballpark in my playing, i admittedly try to cop Jerry lock, stock, and barrel. Its become an obsession. and has made me a much, much better player in the process. And while we're on the subject another great learning technique I have found extremely helpful is picking apart the transition jams to the likes of China/Rider, Scarlet/Fire, the extended jams in Bird Song, Playing in the Band(when they jam in d major and d minor) and of course Dark Star. All great stuff for getting right down to the essence of what makes Jerry so special. All of the above basically mixolydian stuff but with just the indescribable touch to it that for me is just the shit. I love going through it all and breaking it down and learning it piece by piece, has been tremendously rewarding. anyway thanks for the reply. MK

 #160622  by Tennessee Jedi
It took me awhile to notice but the way Jerry solos out of chords shapes was a eye opener for me
Before i took the "find a scale" approach when soloing; now its a "see the chord shapes" and build from there approach
I kinda thought Jer just noodled his way thru all the tunes back in the day but there is so much music and purpose behind everything he played
Lots to learn from Jerry - his approach to chords and the way he used them is just one technique of his I like
 #160624  by Jedstein
I'm always blown away by how Jerry changes what he's playing around each chord in a song. A lot of the guys who teach this stuff, like Lefty (who is sometimes on this Forum -- highcountryguitar), and Seth from gratefuguitarlessons.com (both of whom are awesome) highlight this aspect of his playing. I was going over Seth's lesson last night for Looks Like Rain, which is a song, I felt that I could, at least, fake pretty well. But in going over it, I'm realizing, yet again, that Jerry is doing all kinds of things that were previously going over my head, in recognition of each chord he's soloing over.

He's playing chord shapes and scales, and intertwining them, for each change, and he's doing it, all over the neck, and he's doing it differently all the time. This to me -- this the most challenging thing about studying Jerry. Getting to that point where you recognize the chord shapes, and corresponding scales, and modes, for each chord in the song, and being able to reference it all over the neck.

And then all you need to do is figure out a million different ways to articulate these ideas using these tools, and play it as effortlessly and elegantly as he did. Piece of cake, right?! The dude was endlessly creative (to state the obvious). I think I heard Jerry say in an interview once that he was actually incapable of playing anything the same way twice . . . . Feel like I could spend the rest of my life studying this stuff and I would continue to pick up new things, which I suppose is why so many have been hooked playing this music for so many years . . . that -- and the fact that it's so much fucking fun!
 #160627  by nuthatchwinters
and one of Jerrys best and most difficult techniques is following each chord change with flowing, what seem to be effortless runs and licks. Deal and Mississippi Half Step come to mind because of the many changes, into minor and 7th chords among many other and Jerry just flows over it, his soloing following each and every change with the occasional arpeggio in there for good measure. that's what really makes him unique and so challenging to replicate.
 #166703  by TI4-1009
LaZyLightNing415 wrote: Fri Dec 27, 2019 11:57 pm Nuthatch.... agreed! Except the highlight of the China cat > rider segue is Bobby. All the flavor and drive of the transition, the accoutrements and embellishments (essentially the lead) is Bobby.
I was on the bus in the 60s, but I never realized that until I watched video of those early 70s shows! WTF?!

As far as Jerry and the chord shapes and scales, Seth and Stich are very insightful. I've read that when the Dead lived at 710 Ashbury, Jerry used to walk around all day just running scales on his guitar.
 #166711  by Searing75
The term "noodling" does not in any way apply to Jerry's playing! So degrading.
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 #166712  by Pete B.
Bobby and Jerry basically invented the CAGED system of playing out of the chord positions. There are many tutorials online and has also been discussed here before so you could search this forum.
Here is an example of using the CAGED system to solo on Ionian mode:
 #166721  by nuthatchwinters
searing75, i have to respectfully disagree. case in point, jerry himself. i believe its the pizza tapes im thinking of but regardless there is an acoustic recording, garcia and grisman and if its the pizza tapes, tony rice also and there is a lot of between song banter. so they are all going back and forth and then garcia says, "how do you want to start it, shall we noodle for a while?" and i pretty sure he's quoted often using the phrase. thats why others have picked up on it
 #166724  by bcresci
Agree 100% on the acoustic playing. That stuff is a gold mine for challenging yourself. Don't claim to be an expert, but there are two things I've always thought Jerry which make a big difference. 1 - it wasn't always just single notes - not sure if that's what you are reference by chord shapes - I'm not talking about playing notes around the chord shape, but throwing in some chords in the middle of single note runs. 2 - playing chromatically. There are some chromatic runs he does which are more obvious to me on the acoustic playing. And honestly, I would never think to play this way on my own - it just amazes me what he throws in out of left field.

Both of these things, in my mind, can turn turn monotonous single-note noodling into something that has way more texture and complexity.
 #166741  by nuthatchwinters
"mk eyes of the world" on youtube for a little sample. and a look at the Garcia set up all together after a long process. but I digress. mk