#1
So I've been getting much more serious about my playing and my gear as of late, but I find when I play I've become so caught in the Major Blues scales, power and bar chords, that all of my songs have started to sound the same! I mainly play, blues rock and alternative, occasionally some heavier stuff, so what should I do to stop this bad habit? I would really like a teacher but money's tight you know? I appreciate any advice you can offer, thanks
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#2
Learning new songs that aren't in your usual style usually works wonders in at least seeing the different things you can do with the same exact scales.
#3
learn songs! the number one thing to help you break out of the mold. and if you want to break out of common scales, well if you've got pentatonic, blues, and the major scales (and all the modes down) the next place to start is on the minor scales (and harmonic and melodic). after you got that down, just look up exotic sclaes, there are oh, so many of them to choose from. memorizing the circle of fifths and how it works helps out a lot too, if you haven't done that already. oh, and work on triads, which includes major, minor, augmented, and diminished. start in the key of f and play each 3note chord inversion starting on the high e, b, and g strings, and go up the circle of fifths and continue this trend for each 3string set. if you want to learn about more diverse chords, start with 7th, min7th, maj7th, 9th, 13th, learn how they work, and just look around for chords that you like and that sound good. there are oooooh so many chords as well. pretty much all the advice I can give though, as far as theory goes..
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#4
I had this same problem. What helped me was learning Robben Ford songs. His style is rooted in pentatonics, but he also employs the diminished scale and a lot of chromatic runs that really go outside of the pentatonic boxes, but not too far.

What he's good at is using notes that create tension in his solos, which makes for a better resolution to whatever phrase he's playing.
#6
Think before you play, and listen to what you produce - if you don't like it do something different.

If all you do is move your fingers through patterns withut thinking then they'll just do what they're used to doing and it will all sound the same.
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#7
One thing you can do is continue to use the simple pentatonic scales as your starting point, but also throw in some notes from other scales. So if you're playing the minor pentatonic say, you could try adding in the major 6th (and to a lesser extent the major second) on top of the normal pentatonic notes.
And hey presto, you're playing the dorian scale.

If your starting point is the major pentatonic scale, then you likewise only have to throw in a couple of extra notes and you'll be playing the major scale or Myxolydian. (Depending on whether you add in the 7th or flatted 7th.)
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#8
Quote by theponz
So I've been getting much more serious about my playing and my gear as of late, but I find when I play I've become so caught in the Major Blues scales, power and bar chords, that all of my songs have started to sound the same! I mainly play, blues rock and alternative, occasionally some heavier stuff, so what should I do to stop this bad habit? I would really like a teacher but money's tight you know? I appreciate any advice you can offer, thanks

1. Chord tone soloing will get you away from scales instantly.

2. Create simple motifs of just 3 or 4 notes and experiment with the order of the notes, rhythmic density and octave displacement. Then find the same thing all over the fretboard.

3. Try soloing using non-adjacent strings only. Check out Eric johnson for this sort of thing.

That should be 6 mths worth of homework...AT LEAST.
Last edited by mdc at Sep 19, 2011,
#9
There are LOTS of ways to solve this problem. From learning new scales, to experimenting with new rhythm/dynamics, to improvising with restrictions, to writing songs with different techniques than you're used to...

But one thing that might help you the most right now is by playing a chord progression, and singing a phrase over that progression... Keep singing until you find a cool, new idea that you really, really like. I recommend recording yourself while doing this so you can remember all these ideas... Don't worry if you can't "sing" because it's not really the goal of this exercise. If you can't sing at all, do the exercise anyway!

Then, just transcribe the phrase you created onto your guitar! As you keep doing this exercise, you will get better and better at this, and eventually, you'll be able to sing something and instantly play it on your guitar.
#11
Write guitar parts you can hum. Harmonise the vocal melody. Steal basslines. If you don't like a part, don't play it. Find a selection of notes, a tune you WANT to play. Then work out what they are, theory wise.
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