#1
Hi UG.

I'm stuck in a big rut. After thinking yesterday, it sort of dawned on me that, even when I'm playing different scales and the like, or different chords, they still sound like everything else that I play. I think (although I'm welcome to other suggestions!) it might be a phrasing problem? I'm just wondering how to get out of it.

I've been learning a lot of music theory in the hope that it will help give me ideas, and while I know it (or at least I think I do!), I never seem to apply it to my playing.

I need help UG!!

Thanks.
Tom

Edit - Also, is it silly to practice things like how hard you hit the strings, and making sure I can make things like double stops sound clear? It sort of sounds silly to me, and not the kind of goals guitarists set themselves.

One more thing, I'm only practicing with a clean amp. I usually do, although at the moment I'm spending a week in a hotel, so I've brought my small 10w clean amp. Is that the best way to practice, or should it be a healthy mix of clean and drive? Thanks
Quote by strat0blaster
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Last edited by sTarbuck at Jul 26, 2009,
#2
ive found that knowing theory doesnt help really, i find it better to hear if it sounds good instead of listening to a set of rules and abiding by them. Listen to players like Santana, he doesnt sit down looking at a set of rules seeing if his playing makes sense musically.
Even Vai doesnt really do that, he will structure it around theory and then break the rules to make it sound unique.
Try learn some songs by Santana, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani or The Human Abstract. Dont try to play the songs exactly like them, just learn the basic melodies and improvise the rest, the more you practice doing this the better you will get..
#3
What helped me move past all my stuff sounding 'samey' was to improvise in a style other than my prefered genre i.e. other than hard rock/metal. That way you come up with different sounding music using licks and phrases you know already. Also playing in keys and chord progressions you don't usually use helps mix it up. The main thing I found though was that whilst to a degree you can sound 'samey' a lot of it is in your head. If people listened to you play they might not think it all sounds the same.
#4
Yeah, I see what you mean

I mean, I don't really play music abiding to music theory rules, because I don't apply it to playing. And I think I should because surely it's good to have some form of basis?

The sort of thing I do when I try and practice is mostly play chords, but try and play them differently (for example, different fingerings for common chords, and some more abstract chord extensions. Eric Johnson is a big influence ).
However, when I end up doing this, I always seem to strive for major sounding chords. I can't seem to play much "minor sounding" music, which is probably why I end up playing Mixolydian style lines.

I think my big problem is phrasing and rhythmic choices. Are there any "preferred" methods of breaking out of the same rhythmic choices?

And finally (I'm finishing this essay now :p, how many people "think" when they're playing? I mean, does everybody think "Right, I'm going to hit that note at this part of the bar, and then this one etc..", or, like me at the moment, do you just think that "If I'm playing the relevant mode, I can hit anything and I should be safe."? I'm trying to break out of that mindset, because I don't think it's doing me many favours musically, but I just want to know if people think that's a good idea?
Quote by strat0blaster
HA!

Well played, my friend.

I'm going to edit that awful grammar right now


Yay, I'm sigged!!
And a grammar nazi..
#5
Haha I wouldn't say I'm an expert in music theory so when I play I'm mostly "thinking" about what sounds good. What I do sometimes when I'm stuck is a rut is to try to come up with a riff or solo without using any scale/mode as a foundation and just jump around the fretboard until I find something random which sounds good.

Maybe your sub-conscious mind is trying to tell you something by always returning to major chords Maybe just try injecting minor chords into your playing more often and see what comes of it.
#6
Hehe forgive me, but it sounded like you were insinuating something, but I'm not sure what!
Am I subconciously happy?

Ahh, so a bit of organised guitar-related chaos is in order?
Quote by strat0blaster
HA!

Well played, my friend.

I'm going to edit that awful grammar right now


Yay, I'm sigged!!
And a grammar nazi..
#7
Theory isn't a set of "rules", it's just a way of describing wat's going on in music. All music can be explained with theory.