#1
I've been watching a video of Guthrie Govan's improvisation over a backing track, and I love his playing. I don't know much about musical theory, and I would appreciate it if I could get some help on how to learn from his playing.

Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUZK9dasP8s

When I watch him play this, I find myself trying to recognize the shapes of scales he is playing in order to figure out what key he is in. (finding the root note in the shapes)

But his playing is a mystery to me... how does he create such sweet licks? My guitar playing sounds boring and pretty simple. I know all the shapes (positions) of my scales, but I don't know how to go about using these positions to create awesome music from them like Guthrie does.

How would someone figure out, and more importantly, USE the scales Guthrie (or any guitarist for that matter) plays to create some new sounds instead of the same old, overused stuff I always play?

I hope my question made sense, and I appreciate any help at all!
#2
Don't watch him play, listen.

Because Guthrie's playing is so advanced, it will be hard to learn by ear but a worthwhile challenge. Slow down the video using windows media player and try and work out some of the parts, try and listen to the chords and what he's playing over them. Listen to the phrasing, accenting and INTERVALS.

edit: the reason why your playing sounds boring compared to Guthrie's is because he has been playing guitar since he was 3 and i imagine he is now in his 30's. You will get there with time and hard work.

Phrasing is the key to not sounding boring. Someone with incredible phrasing could play the same 5 notes throughout a 2 minute solo and not sound boring.
Last edited by mrbabo91 at Feb 3, 2012,
#3
Thats the wrong approach.. do not try to visualise shapes.. do not try to see what he is playing, llisten to it!

The question to me is actually: how would someone not create some "new" sounds instead of the overused stuff they always play?

Start by imagining melodies in your mind!
play them, try to play your ideas, feelings or toughts.

Stop copying or trying to copy other players, you have an infinite array of unique music in your head waiting to be materialzed.
Quote by Hail
i'm the internet equivalent of ripping the skin off my face and strangling you with it right now


Quote by Steve Albini
Remixing is for talentless pussies who don't know how to tune a drum or point a microphone.
Last edited by Slashiepie at Feb 3, 2012,
#4
Quote by Slashiepie
Thats the wrong approach.. do not try to visualise shapes.. do not try to see what he is playing, llisten to it!

The question to me is actually: how would someone not create some "new" sounds instead of the overused stuff they always play?

Start by imagining melodies in your mind!
play them, try to play your ideas, feelings or toughts.

Stop copying or trying to copy other players, you have an infinite array of unique music in your head waiting to be materialzed.

+1
Ears first, then fingers.

Eyes are nothing to do with it really, playing the guitar isn't a visual activity.
Actually called Mark!

Quote by TNfootballfan62
People with a duck for their avatar always give good advice.

...it's a seagull

Quote by Dave_Mc
i wanna see a clip of a recto buying some groceries.


stuffmycatswatchontv.tumblr.com
#5
First you should get a chart of that backing track (notation showing the chords), and I presume you have some knowledge of chord / scale construction. Listen for the notes he lands and stays on over certain chords - the notes that stand out and grab your ear - and work out what note that is in relation to the chord underneath (eg a ninth, flat fifth etc). Youre listening for the intervals.

To get more stylistically similar you should analyse how he approaches and improvises around these chord tones/extensions and learn the licks. Learning the licks will get the sound into your head and your fingers. Always analysing what he is doing with these licks in relation to the underlying chord (he will usually be highlighting the chord tones/extensions and will be throwing in some chromatic passing tones for flavour) - playing like this isnt really scale based, so you should get to know arpeggios really well and experiment creating melodies (perhaps practice over just one chord) which focus on the chord tones.

On the other hand, he is mixing this approach with some familiar pentatonic / bluesy licks, gives a nice contrast. Just a bit of advice regarding using pentatonics in this style - If the piece is a progression in E minor you dont have to just use the E minor pentatonic. Try using the A minor pentatonic over it (which would emphasise the 2nd, and omit the minor third) or B minor pentatonic (which would highlight the 2nd and the major 6th, giving it a real nice jazz blues sound) - both of these pentatonic scales are contained within the E dorian scale, but rather than just running up and down the scale you would be using only 5 of the notes, like an extended arpeggio. btw I find that if I play these pentatonics in different positions its easier to get away from that cliche pentatonic sound, but that may just be my quirk.

Another way I like to emphasise the 2nd and 6th is to slide up to them from a fret lower - a little chromatic passing tone that makes the note sound so much sexier.

It really is all in the phrasing though, even if guthrie were to just play the boring old blues scale you would still know it was him - focus on things like slides, vibrato, how you execute bends and most importantly your rhythm (including repetition), which should be as catchy as the notes of the melody you play (try tapping out a cool syncopated drum rhythm on the desk and then apply notes). Again, learning your favourite solos should help you absorb this stuff.

Just a few ideas that sprung to my mind, hope something helped.

Also, watch these;

https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1516788

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5777562536751428345
But boys will be boys and girls have those eyes
that'll cut you to ribbons, sometimes
and all you can do is just wait by the moon
and bleed if it's what she says you ought to do
Last edited by Hydra150 at Feb 3, 2012,
#6
Quite honestly, if you describe yourself as knowing little to nothing about theory, I'm unsure how much you can absorb from Gutherie past his phrasing and emphasising chord tones. I'd start with something a bit simpler. It would take you forever to transcribe the solo, and even longer to soak in the theory behind it.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#7
Quote by mrbabo91
Don't watch him play, listen.


Quote by AlanHB
if you describe yourself as knowing little to nothing about theory, I'm unsure how much you can absorb from Gutherie past his phrasing and emphasising chord tones. I'd start with something a bit simpler. It would take you forever to transcribe the solo, and even longer to soak in the theory behind it.


What these guys said.

It's great to have advanced players who inspire you. But you don't learn to swim by being thrown into the deep end of the pool.
#8
I've been watching a video of Guthrie Govan's improvisation over a backing track, and I love his playing. I don't know much about musical theory, and I would appreciate it if I could get some help on how to learn from his playing.


Well, if you don't know the theory, then how am I going to describe note choice or rhythm to you?

What I can do is tell you that the key is listening, listening for the obvious and subtle, and then trying to imitate it, then finding out what your inner voice sounds like, and then externalising it.

Guthrie would tell you what you need to do is listen, figure it out, learn everything you can.


But I'd guess he'd probably tell you to start with something a little easier.