#1
Ok, I know I'm opening a can of worms here in asking this, but I find that I have no other recourse but to ask:

I know that all (western) music is based on a key, and a lead is just a piece which is played over a chord (either in idea or actuality)... but when a musician plays a lead (especially at speed) it is all just upward and/or downward motion. How does one begin constructing leads in such a way that you're not just going up and down a scale or up and down an arpeggio?

Is this where those exorcises that take a key/scale and make you skip around come in handy, in that they start one down the path of discovering how leads come into being?

E.G. going through E minor like such:

E F# G F# G A G A B....... or E G F# A G B A .. blablabla?

Or is there WAY WAY WAY more to this than I'm getting on about? If so, where do I start and what path do I follow? heh.
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#2
There's nothing more to it then you need to take those patterns you know and learn to make them musical.

Practicing sequences, like you said, can help you get out of the rut of just running a scale...but you really should start transcribing melodies and solos and see what's happening in those patterns...

If you just run sequences you're going to sound as boring and generic as if you jsut went up and down a shape...so LISTEN and THINK musically.
Last edited by chronowarp at Oct 6, 2012,
#3
Thing is I find myself in a quandry. I don't know how to transcribe, as that's an ear skill and I haven't gotten myself to where I recognize this nor that when it comes to the aural part of that.


And I don't know any patterns really. Guess I should start there? Any resources for pattern formulii?
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#4
So you don't know any scale shapes at all?

My advice would be to learn the major scale in all positions, and pick 2-3 solos that you really love, that aren't extremely difficult. Learn the shit out of them, then go back and analyze what notes are being used...and HOW they're being used.
#5
No, I know the scales heh. I ment taking a scale/key and making different "patterns" out of it. Like taking E minor and going up 2, and back down 1, then up 2, and back down 1.... et cetera.

E.G.:

E G F# A G B A C B D C E D F# E G........ that to me is a pattern based on a scale/key. The formula for this is Up 2 down 1 and repeat.


Just wondering if this is where I start to learn how to take a scale/key and begin to learn how to craft a lead/solo? And if this is the correct path to go down, then where else should I tread? (Just don't tread on me! LMAO had to go there!)

---

Patterns here can also be referred to as exorcises.
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Last edited by Outside Octaves at Oct 6, 2012,
#6
Right. Practice doing scales in thirds...practice doing it in ascending 3 and 4 note groupings...there are all kinds of things you can do that will give you a bit more ammunition on the fly. But what I think you really need to do is learn to hear what's embedded in those scales you know...because the notes themselves aren't remarkable it has to do with rhythm, motif, and note choice....really analyse some good rock solos.
#7
Quote by Outside Octaves

I know that all (western) music is based on a key, and a lead is just a piece which is played over a chord (either in idea or actuality)... but when a musician plays a lead (especially at speed) it is all just upward and/or downward motion. How does one begin constructing leads in such a way that you're not just going up and down a scale or up and down an arpeggio?


No, it's not all upward or downward movement. You can leap around, or stay in the same place. Andy Summers (The Police) has a few solos where he uses only a handful of notes, and just repeats them a lot.

The way you do leads without just doing scale runs is to put the guitar down, listen to the section where the lead goes, then hum (out loud or in your head) how you want the lead to go. Then pick the guitar up and play that.
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#8
Quote by Outside Octaves
Thing is I find myself in a quandry. I don't know how to transcribe, as that's an ear skill and I haven't gotten myself to where I recognize this nor that when it comes to the aural part of that.


Then I would suggest that you learn to transcribe. Find you an interval training program, miles.b is the one that gets name dropped often around here. I have the free interval recognition app on my phone that I practice to sometimes. Once you learn to recognize intervals it makes playing by ear a lot easier, & this in turn leads to being able think of a melody in your head and immediately being able to play it, which seems to be what you're after.

Basing your leads off of patterns is fine for those cool licks where you step up 2 down 1, but like chrono said if you do it all the time then it makes your leads sound bland and lifeless. Leads are meant to be a melody, and melodies kind of have this singable or memorable quality to them.

While playing those licks you already know, try adding a little different rhythm and break the notes up differently. Concentrate more on your articulation and dynamics. To me these are the aspects that really make a difference by putting your own personal stamp on what you play. Do phrasing exercises where you take only four notes and try to come up with as many different licks as you can with only those four notes. While doing these exercises try different ways of bending like pre bending and coming back down to pitch. The main goal is to just try different things, you can try learning songs in different styles, anything to help dig you out of doing the same things over and over.
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#9
Ah, the things one forgets. (functional ear 2) Thanks for that. I'll also check out musictheory.net again.


So few licks that I do know... gotta learn more .

Man, I can not help but feel like I am going to need a teacher to help me in learning to transcribe and the basic skills needed to make such a thing work.

My first run through with major, c, 20, always as options: 65%... not bad I guess? Heh. Gotta REALLY work on this.
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Last edited by Outside Octaves at Oct 6, 2012,
#10
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#11
Quote by J-Dawg158
Then I would suggest that you learn to transcribe. Find you an interval training program, miles.b is the one that gets name dropped often around here. I have the free interval recognition app on my phone that I practice to sometimes. Once you learn to recognize intervals it makes playing by ear a lot easier, & this in turn leads to being able think of a melody in your head and immediately being able to play it, which seems to be what you're after.

Basing your leads off of patterns is fine for those cool licks where you step up 2 down 1, but like chrono said if you do it all the time then it makes your leads sound bland and lifeless. Leads are meant to be a melody, and melodies kind of have this singable or memorable quality to them.

While playing those licks you already know, try adding a little different rhythm and break the notes up differently. Concentrate more on your articulation and dynamics. To me these are the aspects that really make a difference by putting your own personal stamp on what you play. Do phrasing exercises where you take only four notes and try to come up with as many different licks as you can with only those four notes. While doing these exercises try different ways of bending like pre bending and coming back down to pitch. The main goal is to just try different things, you can try learning songs in different styles, anything to help dig you out of doing the same things over and over.
Ear training programs are great, but don't limit yourself to that at first. Take simple pieces of music and just noodle along. By trial and error, you should be able to figure out what's going on if you start simple enough. As you start simple and work your way into more complex pieces of music, your brain will start to make connections between the aural center and the visual/physical centers. This is what is considered a "good ear" in music.
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#12
"simple pieces of music" I'm curious as to what you are thinking of here specifically?

Myself, I always find myself in hard territory heh, cause I'm into classic metal and rock. (Mr. Tinker Train, Never Forgotten (Joe Stump- Night of the living dead),March of the Crabs (Anvil) , the solos to iron man... I know that last one is an introductory solo, but damn lol that's got some doozies in it.

I'm betting you have WAY simpler in mind? If so, I'd love to take them on .

Cya later tonight. Work To get to
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#14
So what songs/pieces are you thinking when one sais simple in this context?

I mean everyone's idea of simple is different. Mine is as of yet not defined enough to matter.

And my voice can't hold a pitch to save it's life. So solfege is out of the question.
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Last edited by Outside Octaves at Oct 7, 2012,
#15
Melody.
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
#16
Obviously you need to learn modes.


No just kidding, don't do that.
#17
I'm not sure how much use just noodling around on the guitar until you get it right actually is. It doesn't seem like you're really 'transcribing' as such with that approach so much as flailing about randomly until you happen to hit on the right notes. You're not really training yourself to hear intervals. Interval training and attempting to notate simple melodies might seem a bit tedious but it has the benefit of being a definite method of improving your ear rather than improving your ability to wiggle your fingers until you touch on just the right way of wiggling.

TS, when we talk about simple tunes, to start with we're not really talking about anything that anyone would actively listen to on a regular basis. More things like 'Jingle Bells' or 'Happy Birthday'. Simple melodies like those that the student probably already knows how to sing without difficulty are usually the best starting place. There's also some simple melodic notation excercises on this site, which could be useful.
.
#18
Quote by Outside Octaves
So what songs/pieces are you thinking when one sais simple in this context?

I mean everyone's idea of simple is different. Mine is as of yet not defined enough to matter.

And my voice can't hold a pitch to save it's life. So solfege is out of the question.

twinkle twinkle little star, happy birthday...that kind of shizzle.
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#19
Quote by Outside Octaves
And my voice can't hold a pitch to save it's life. So solfege is out of the question.


absolutely not - that makes solfege that much more important. how are you supposed to hear a note in pitch if you can't say or sing it? learn that. take an hour long vocal lesson and start working on being able to sing on pitch. it'll help you ludicrously later on.
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#20
Just want to repeat:

Until you can HEAR a lead, you can't play a lead. And if you can't transcribe a lead then you can't really play it.

So yes, get the functional ear trainer from miles.be. I found it to be much more productive than interval recognition. And transcribe simple melodies like the ones suggested. The thing that makes them simple is that they're songs you know, so any melody you know should work.

The reason your voice can't hold a pitch is because your ear is untrained. Your mind doesn't really know what pitches are. This makes transcription incredibly difficult but interval exercises and the functional ear trainer will help.

I don't think you particularly need to take a vocal lesson for this, but you should start singing scales. Play the major scale. Sing it. Check your pitch at the end. Did you get it right? Sing along with you instrument and then just play the first and last pitch. That sort of thing.

These are essential skills - they are not optional if you want to be a decent musician.
#21
^^ A singing lesson might help. Although he probably can't hold a pitch due to the untrained ear, it is much easier to do it if you know how to breathe properly and use your diaphragm.
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#22
Probably, no definitely all true I would guess, but my problem in holding a pitch is more due to the production of pitch... which my voice is just useless at. Ever hear someone who doesn't know how to sing try to sing? All off key and up and down in the same space ... eww, and yea that's me... You see it in comedies all the time, and well...

But I'll give it a crack. My own voice just ... it is not something I like to hear lol.
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#23
nobody likes their voice. nobody's telling you to have a perfect timbre or sing across 5 octaves - just be able to reproduce a pitch accurately and cleanly. everybody can sing, it's a learned skill. your personal tone is another thing, but everybody can at least carry a tune.
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#24
I think that first you've got to develop your own understanding of what a solo is.

If a lead guitarist is playing one note at a time he can either go up, down, or stay the same on the next note. If he doesn't think ahead on what the song is doing this will just sound random or directionless.

He's got to aim for certain peaks or goals in line with the dynamics of the song. It's at these moments that the solo will sound great, so he's got to know which note will be effective at that moment. It can't just be any note from the scale; some scale notes won't sound great against the backing chord. Safest bet would be a chord tone but sometimes an outside-the-chord tone works great too.

In between these moments of greatness the note choice is less crucial. The importance of dynamics and rhythm remain, however. So you're thinking am I heading for a crescendo? Do I speed up? Do I repeat a lick over and over? Do I just play up or down a scale pattern until the next crucial note of the solo? Do I use chromatic passing notes? Get bluesy? Trippy section? Play in octaves? Shift a pattern up or down one position of the circle of fifths? Mess around with a single note bend? Play some low notes with palm muting? Go for legato with hammer ons and pull offs?

Instead of these tricks you might just come up with a melody, a tune that fits over the progression or riff.

With practice you can do all these things by ear. With more practice you can do them better.

My main point is that the solo should be constructed holistically with a knowledge of where it's going to go and when it's going to go there.
#25
Quote by Outside Octaves
Probably, no definitely all true I would guess, but my problem in holding a pitch is more due to the production of pitch... which my voice is just useless at. Ever hear someone who doesn't know how to sing try to sing? All off key and up and down in the same space ... eww, and yea that's me... You see it in comedies all the time, and well...


Yes. I have seen it all the time.

And some of it is technique. There are technical things you can do which will improve your ability to hold a pitch.

But that's about minor improvements, really nailing each pitch precisely. You're at a point where the problem is almost certainly that your brain doesn't actually have a good understanding of what each pitch is relative to each other.

So when you open your mouth to sing, your brain is basically guessing. And then it hears the sound you make and knows that it's not right, but (again) because it doesn't have a well-defined idea of what the pitch is supposed to be is basically says, "Okay, let's try something else!" and you shift pitch. But, of course, sometimes that guess is just wrong, so your brain (and all of this is happening subconsciously) tries again.

Meanwhile, your voice is jumping up and down and sounding like crap.

Ear training is really mind training - really teaching your brain how to think in pitches. When you try to sing, then, your brain will know exactly what sound to make and viola, as if by magic it'll come out.
#26
Quote by HotspurJr
Just want to repeat:

Until you can HEAR a lead, you can't play a lead. And if you can't transcribe a lead then you can't really play it.

So yes, get the functional ear trainer from miles.be. I found it to be much more productive than interval recognition. And transcribe simple melodies like the ones suggested. The thing that makes them simple is that they're songs you know, so any melody you know should work.

The reason your voice can't hold a pitch is because your ear is untrained. Your mind doesn't really know what pitches are. This makes transcription incredibly difficult but interval exercises and the functional ear trainer will help.

I don't think you particularly need to take a vocal lesson for this, but you should start singing scales. Play the major scale. Sing it. Check your pitch at the end. Did you get it right? Sing along with you instrument and then just play the first and last pitch. That sort of thing.

These are essential skills - they are not optional if you want to be a decent musician.

+1

Keep in mind though, pitch is just one of the elements of music. What makes a solo interesting is creating tension and then resolving it, dynamic build up, keeping it coherent with the feeling of the song,etc... Just staying in key won't mean anything by itself.

It's kind of like telling a story, your phrases should have a "meaning" and work together to convey a message. The best way to start to develop these skills is what HotspurJr said, work on your relative pitch.

This won't come overnight. To me this is what I define by talent, anyone can memorize shapes and know what would be the "correct" notes in the music, making art out of that is the difficult part.
#27
Quote by Guitarra_acores
To me this is what I define by talent, anyone can memorize shapes and know what would be the "correct" notes in the music, making art out of that is the difficult part.


Yeah, it's analogous to the difference between knowing all the rules of grammar and being able to tell an engaging story.
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#28
Ok, I'll try to learn to sing the C major scale from 3rd fret A string up to the next C up on the B string 2nd fret... I find I can almost hold those pitches when I play the appropriate note on the guitar... thing is, the note fades on the guitar, and .... it's like a punch to the gut at how bad I sound, even if it is ok-ish in terms of being relatively close enough for now to what note is being produced from the guitar. The voice is cracky, wavering almost into vibrato, ugh! It is an affront to my sense of hearing to the point of almost making me puke at times. But, at least I'm close enough for now, and will continue over the next week to see if there's any improvement or memorization. I bet though, there won't be.
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