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Old 01-12-2013, 12:39 PM   #1
Acousticmon
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Question having a huge mental block in lead guitar

hi guys, it has been 5 years since i picked up my guitar and still playing it now, though i feel that i should be playing better than i already do. i do not really have a strong interest in a specific era of music, but my favourite band is GnR and i am working towards sounding more and more like slash (or at least die trying.)

heres the main point: ive been fiddling around with the pentatonic scales for months, and can't see an improvement in my playing. i also feel like ive been "dead set" into pentatonics; whenever i try to think of solos over a chord progression it sounds boringly "scale-y" despite adding in bends, slides or hammer ons.

i tried to study slash's style in his licks and songs but i end up sounding "scale-y" in the end. is there a way to break out of this mental barrier?
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Old 01-12-2013, 12:58 PM   #2
Soccerguy
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Start practicing more than just pentatonics. You'll probably find that the extra notes will open up new licks for you. Also try learning things like string skipping to get away from that scaleish feel.
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Old 01-12-2013, 01:05 PM   #3
Zaphod_Beeblebr
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Stop thinking in guitar terms, that's something a lot of people make the mistake of doing.

Take a step back from the guitar and just think of melodies while listening to a backing of some kind. Not guitar parts, just musical ideas. Once you've got some in your head, apply those ideas to the guitar.

That should help a lot, practice this often enough and you should be able to do it quickly enough to make it look like you're doing it on the fly while playing... that's a good few years away though.
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Old 01-12-2013, 01:05 PM   #4
Geldin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acousticmon
i tried to study slash's style in his licks and songs but i end up sounding "scale-y" in the end. is there a way to break out of this mental barrier?

Don't think about playing scales or even inside of scales. Think about what *you* want to hear. The reason people get into a box with scales, especially pentatonics, is because they have this idea in their heads that solos are composed of scales and learning scales will make them great.

The reality of scales is that they are a convenient way of organizing notes, but they don't tell you what to play. Consequently, when you get into thinking that scales are the be-all end-all, you end up sounding like you're just running scales because subconsciously, that's exactly what you're doing.

The way to bust out of that is to hear what you want to play and not worry about scales. They're there to organize your thoughts later, to communicate to other musicians or to remind yourself what you played, but in the moment, scales don't exist.
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Old 01-12-2013, 01:45 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Geldin
They're there to organize your thoughts later, to communicate to other musicians or to remind yourself what you played, but in the moment, scales don't exist.


That was beautiful! Reminds me of all those pretentious dikholes foaming at the mouth telling me to learn theory or I'll always be limited in creativity.
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Old 01-12-2013, 02:00 PM   #6
KG6_Steven
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You need to study phrasing. Phrasing is the art of taking notes from one or more scales and turning them into the riffs we catch ourselves humming later on.

I think it's important to learn scales, but it's also important to learn how to apply them and use different ones in the same song. It's equally important to learn all the notes on the neck of your guitar, so you're not stuck playing scales up and down the neck. When you do that, it sounds like you're doing nothing more than running scales. As I already mentioned, learn phrasing. We don't always talk using the same words or the same pitch and our music should be approached the same way.

Oh, and stop trying to play like someone else. Create your own style and use it. You can certainly borrow from someone else's style, but to try and copy their style and be like them is too much. Be you. Be unique.

Last edited by KG6_Steven : 01-12-2013 at 02:03 PM.
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Old 01-13-2013, 07:00 AM   #7
Acousticmon
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thanks for your feedback guys. i just spent hours playing with the fretboard not caring about any lessons or scales and see if i'd gain some insight in my playing. i actually prefer it this way and enjoyed it.
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