#1
So quick background is I'm self-taught, been playing about 14yrs now but up until about 2 years ago I was the classic "just play tabs of my favorite songs" player. Not until the past couple years did I bother to learn things like proper fingering and scales and most other techniques that make playing a lot easier. My playing level has increased a hundred fold. I am able to create my own music and improv and jam on the fly now when previously I basically just played other peoples music.

Anyway, given that I'm so far behind in the "fundamentals", I'm having a couple roadblocks in creativity. I'm not sure if these are "music theory" questions, but here goes.

1 - I've been getting into acoustic guitar recently. Branching out I guess. But I'm having trouble writing interesting stuff for it. My main genre is punk rock. I grew up listening to EARLY green day, early Offspring, Bad Religion, NoFx, most other 90s SoCal "skate" punk. I also like classic/80s rock and bluesy/jammy rock stuff. Since I've started writing my own music and jamming with bands the past few years it's always been a punk rock band or just a fun classic/80s rock cover thing for friend's parties. My issue is when I try and come up with acoustic guitar parts they seem to lack something. It's hard to put into words, but the best way I can describe it is it just sounds like electric guitar parts played on an acoustic. I don't know if it's the strum patterns or the picking or the timing or what. What are some acoustic techniques I could practice that would help my acoustic writing have more character and variety to it?

2 - now kind of the opposite question. When doing covers of songs in different styles, say a punk cover of a country song for example, how do you "convert" the chords? Forgive me for the improper terminology, this goes along with all those years wasted being a "learn by tab" player, there's a lot of knowledge in missing. Anyway, taking basic chords and switch to power chords is easy. Play the power chord of the open chord. But what about when you get into the add and sus chords, or even minor chords. If I'm trying to "punk style" asking with say a Cadd9 or a Dm (just throwing random chords out), how would I represent that with a power chord, or other "aggressive" sounding version of the chord? Or more importantly could someone point me to a website or article in which I could read about whatever that process/skil is so that I can learn about it? So far we've picked easy songs (AC/DC and such) because we're a new band and the easy songs help everyone get a feel for timing and other peoples playing styles and stuff. Now that we're getting tighter musically we're ready to tackle more complex song structures so I want to learn about how you cover songs under different styles.

I've been doing this punk rock covers project, pretty much like the band Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, where it's punk covers of non punk songs. I love punk rock for how fun it is to play and how much energy there is, and I love the classic/80s/bluesy stuff for the riffs/licks/solos. So this band project is kind of combining both.

Sorry for the long read, I'm just trying to be a sponge for knowledge lol.
#2
1. well, I don't know what you're missing of course, but my suggestion would be listen to and learn from acoustic players! at first, copy what they do, then start incorporating it into your own style. personally, I've been getting a lot into Neil Young lately, and my acoustic playing has gone in that direction automatically, with the countryrock-esque hammerons and strumming. so yes, listen to acoustic players and let them inspire you

2. try "power chords" with other intervals, like a minor third or major third instead of a fifth - like, if it's a minor chord, you could represent it with the root and the third of the chord. you can't really "simplify" a triad without changing it to a power chord, otherwise you'd just be playing the full chord
#3
First off, listen to some real punk rock- TSOL, Black Flag, the Misfits, Bad Religion, X...

Second, listen to acoustic music and try to learn it by ear. It sounds a little daunting, but it gets easier the more you do it. Find some great acoustic guitar work; check Jimmy Page, Antoine Dufour, Tommy Emmanuel, Andy McKee, and just listen to -how- it sounds. Copying the melody is not as important as the feel; either way, the most important thing is just to listen. If I'm misunderstanding you style of acoustic music, be a little more clear, perhaps.

Third, just take the root and the fifth. You know the power chords you usually use? Same thing, they are all power chords. Get your bassist to play the other notes in the chords if you want it to sound more similar, or if comes from the same school as you, just have him double you. If you're doing punk covers, just mimic the lyrics and play it fast.
#4
Quote by Calymos
First off, listen to some real punk rock- TSOL, Black Flag, the Misfits, Bad Religion, X...

Second, listen to acoustic music and try to learn it by ear. It sounds a little daunting, but it gets easier the more you do it. Find some great acoustic guitar work; check Jimmy Page, Antoine Dufour, Tommy Emmanuel, Andy McKee, and just listen to -how- it sounds. Copying the melody is not as important as the feel; either way, the most important thing is just to listen. If I'm misunderstanding you style of acoustic music, be a little more clear, perhaps.

Third, just take the root and the fifth. You know the power chords you usually use? Same thing, they are all power chords. Get your bassist to play the other notes in the chords if you want it to sound more similar, or if comes from the same school as you, just have him double you. If you're doing punk covers, just mimic the lyrics and play it fast.


I do listen to real punk rock lol, I just named a few of the bigger bands I listen to. My punk rock folder in my music folder is 21.7GB lol. Everything from local no names to the well known bands. Bad Religion is probably my favorite band of any genre.

In terms of the chords, the terminology is what's slowing me down. I've been trying to read about it all, the the building of chords (root notes and all that), but the articles always throw so much new stuff at once that I'm just like "screw it" and I just pick up the guitar and play lol. I know the root note is the base note, the one that names the chord (I think anyway), but say with a power chord. What are the other notes called? Like with an E power chord:

D - 2
A - 2
E - 0

If open E is the root, do the notes on A and D have names too? I know that power chords are/can be just the 2 strings instead of 3, and I've seen them written as their chord with a 5 after (A5, D5, etc), so I'm going to "educated guess" that the string above the rote note would be the 5th note? If that is true then in the above example is the D string also a 5th? What does "5th" mean?
#5
The note on the A string, a B, is the 5th. The note on the D string is the octave (same note as the root just played higher or lower, but in this case, higher).

B is called the 5th because it's the 5th note from the root, E.

1=E
2=F#
3=G#
4=A
5=B
6=C#
7=D#

In a power chord, you just need the root and 5th notes. That's why the chord is shown as E5, A5, D5, etc.

Some of the notes are sharp because the chord is made from the E major scale. The formula WWhWWWh (W=whole step or two frets. h=half step or one fret) is often used to build major scales. Like with E, whole step up to F#, W to G#, h to A, etc.

If you were looking at an A5, you would find the 5th note from A, using the A major scale. It's all relative to the root when building chords.
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”


-Max Planck

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#6
Quote by Agent51



1 - I've been getting into acoustic guitar recently. Branching out I guess. But I'm having trouble writing interesting stuff for it.


Check out some of Zac Browns's work. He plays mostly acoustic and has some very creative chords, voicings etc
#7
Thanks Metal (well thanks everyone so far lol). An explaination like that is what I'm looking for. Like I know some scales (mainly the major/minor pentatonic stuff because they are pretty easy "shapes" to remember, but I didn't know about the pattern thing and other stuff you said. This is what I want to learn, because that gives me the skills and tools to advance my own original playing. I have "learned" a few cool sounding techniques/tricks on Acoustic just from playing along to some of my favorite songs, but the problem is when I use them later in my own stuff it feels more like I'm just reciting their stuff instead of making it my own. Like it seems like I'm just cutting/pasting their little riff or lick or whatever ito my song as opposed to creating a total original just using that technique. Like I recognize certain techniques being used (for example arpeggio picking) but that's the extent. I can do it, but it just sounds like I'm copying what's done. Is there a good website (or section on UG) to learn about theory and different scales and all that but kind of "ease" into it so I'm not overwhelmed but so much new info at once? Right now I can create music, but I just pick tothe guitar and play what sounds good to me, i don't know WHY those things sound good though.

Or with scales for example. I learned A and E major and minor pentatonic all over the fretboard, but I did it in the most impractical way possible (which I don't know at the time lol). I looks at them like a tab and just memorized all the frets used. That's a terrible was though because for one, the frets are different when playing alternate tuned guitars, so given that all I did was memorize the frets I would get slowed up at first picking up a new guitar. Now it's fine ecause muscle memory has the scale patterns ingrained. But had I known, for example, about the WWh..... Pattern you just said then I'm sure it would have been WAY quicker to learn, because I'd stop visualizing fret numbers and just go for hand positions. I'm not sure if anyone else made my mistake and self taught with just tabs and just learning other's music, but that set me back so much (along with a solid 6+ year period of not really playing that much). When playing back tab songs I'd start to just visualize the fret numbers for where I was going next, and that's be over thinking the playing. Once I learned hand position patterns instead of fret numbers playing those same songs were a breeze, I could keep proper time and not be slightly off because I was constantly thinking of what is next in the song. Now that I've started realizing its a lot of hand patterns my playing has gotten much better. Ido t feel "strained" playing songs anymore, and I've even learned to sing on a few while playing too. That was impossible before since my head would be trying to recall lyrics AND fret numbers haha.

Anyway I'm rambling now, but I definately appreciate the info so far and if anyone has a good "basic theory" starting point I'd be stoked to check it out. I want to know WHY certain things are played one way over another, or learn how to know which scales to use when, things like that. I don't just want to be able to play the technique, for the most part I've got the actual act of playing down, I'm curious to learn the CREATING side now, like the skills to say "this is what I want to create, and know how to do it the proper way, to play it accurately and easily, not struggle through things. Like scale patterns, seems like learning and applying new scales would e much easier just knowing that they follow a whole/half pattern as opposed to learning them fret # note by note, if that makes sense.
#8
There are a million lessons in the lessons section of UG. Try looking through and see what's right for you. Personally, I liked this lesson. Learned it all with a lot of guidance from the forum.

This is a great site.
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”


-Max Planck

☮∞☯♥
#9
Quote by Agent51
I do listen to real punk rock lol, I just named a few of the bigger bands I listen to. My punk rock folder in my music folder is 21.7GB lol. Everything from local no names to the well known bands. Bad Religion is probably my favorite band of any genre.

In terms of the chords, the terminology is what's slowing me down. I've been trying to read about it all, the the building of chords (root notes and all that), but the articles always throw so much new stuff at once that I'm just like "screw it" and I just pick up the guitar and play lol. I know the root note is the base note, the one that names the chord (I think anyway), but say with a power chord. What are the other notes called? Like with an E power chord:

D - 2
A - 2
E - 0

If open E is the root, do the notes on A and D have names too? I know that power chords are/can be just the 2 strings instead of 3, and I've seen them written as their chord with a 5 after (A5, D5, etc), so I'm going to "educated guess" that the string above the rote note would be the 5th note? If that is true then in the above example is the D string also a 5th? What does "5th" mean?


A power chord isn't always considered to be a chord. It's an open fifth - root and fifth, so yes the "5" does mean fifth. Learning intervals would help answer this question.
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