#1
I've been playing guitar for about a year and a half now, i can safely call myself intermediate as a songwriter, jazz musician, and guitar player in general. I recently attended a jazz concert at my local church, the artists were unbelievable and very talented. The drummer was a blind brazilian man, he talked to the crowd about his knowledge of knowing many different styles of brazilian rhythm. This started to make me think about sounds that i hear in my head as i play. I realized that i have a harder time hearing things i want to play in my head as i play guitar. So i have come here to ask you, how do you memorize the sound of a specific style and then apply it as you play? I listen to music constantly and sometimes can't even sleep because im conducting music in my head. I don't know how to approach this issue. Thanks in advance.
#3
It's very much about "building a bridge" that connects your mind, ears and playing. You want to be able to play everything you hear, both directly and mentally.

There are various ways to go about this, but the most beneficial way is just to study musical language as much as possible and doing so by ear. Learning tunes you enjoy off the records. That will help you develop your ears and your creative mind, aswell as absorb the style you are trying to learn more easily.

Other than that, there are a few ways to work on getting more creative in general (about just having lines just appear in your mind and such) and also working on getting stuff out of your head.

One of the things is basically sing everything you play, whenever you learn a phrase you should practice it in 4 different ways. Firstly, just practice playing it over and over so you can play it without thinking about it. Secondly, play it and sing the notes at the same time, as accurately as possible. Thirdly, sing it while "ghosting" the notes. Meaning you put your fingers on the frets, but don't play. The lines has to be in your head, in your mind, not something you only know when you have the instrument in your hands. The last thing is simply practicing just singing the line, away from your instrument.

Another thing you can work on is taking a chord or a progression, and while playing it just trying to sing a phrase that fits over it and then trying to figure that phrase out on guitar. This is great cause it helps getting rid of that awful habit of being restricted by having to know the key of the song. I have often stumbled in on jams and wanted to play along but i didn't know what key they were in, so i couldn't play. Until a saxophone player asked me "So can you only play when you are given the key? That's like only being able to write while having the whole alphabet laid out in front of you." Just play a chord and hum/ sing some notes, what sounds good sounds good, doesn't matter what notes you are playing or what key.

That's the things i can think of of the top of my (very tired) head. Hope that helps.

Best Regards
Sickz
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

Quote by Guthrie Govan
“If you steal from one person it's theft, and if you steal from lots of people it's research”


Quote by Chick Corea
"Only play what you hear. If you don't hear anything, don't play anything."
#4
It's a tough one, I can relate as sometimes I have an entire orchestra playing in my head of music that seems independant of me, seems to come from some other 'source'. I can not record it and there are so many different Simultaneous musical directions that it leads to that simply saying i'll play it on a guitar from my head is just impossible.
I suppose alot of people have this problem but the genius comes from transposing to instruments before all is forgotton and well, not forgetting (memory).
I suppose learning a framework of theory to relate to it can help.
Last edited by mattjamesrenn at Mar 10, 2014,
#6
Ill try not to NewDayHappy. Thanks guys, i remember a friend of mine (who's better than me) say,"real music comes from the instrument not written music." And now I realize I don't agree with that, its all in the mind.
#7
Get acquainted with music and playing as pitch collections. So, for example when I'm in E I hear a certain array notes as being part of a common collection of pitches that I can draw from when playing. It's built by exposure and time. I dont think of these as scales though. They may be the same thing, but I may not be playing by step through them, so instead I hear them as individual pitches that I can go to and find regardless.

Best,

Sean
#8
Quote by ja3k3l
Ill try not to NewDayHappy. Thanks guys, i remember a friend of mine (who's better than me) say,"real music comes from the instrument not written music." And now I realize I don't agree with that, its all in the mind.


i'd be more inclined to study from bach, beethoven, and mozart than your friend. but hey, if he knows better...
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#9
Sickz has hit the nail on the head. Singing the notes when playing scales, licks, chords etc is the way to go. Then when you have a melody in your head you should after a while be able to play it on the guitar

Edit:

Quote by AeolianWolf
i'd be more inclined to study from bach, beethoven, and mozart than your friend. but hey, if he knows better...


I'd be more inclined to study from Frank Zappa myself, he's easily in the same League.
Last edited by arv1971 at Mar 12, 2014,
#10
If you've been playing for a year and a half and you're already an intermediate jazz player, I'd say you're doing just fine.

One thing that worked for me to help build that bridge between what I hear in my head and what comes out of my guitar was (ironically) to get away from the guitar. I learned flute, also spent some time on piano. And spent a lot of time improvising on both. It forced me to break away from the patternistic thinking that was becoming a detriment to my guitar playing.
#11
Some great advice here. I also would encourage you to learn songs/solos by ear on guitar. Eventually, combined with theory etc., it'll get you to a point where you can play what you hear in your head on the instrument.
#13
Quote by ja3k3l
So i have come here to ask you, how do you memorize the sound of a specific style and then apply it as you play?

You listen to it, internalize it, and evaluate it. Know the "what" (what is being played; notes/chords/rhythms, etc.), the "how" (how it is being played; what techniques are being used to play it), and the "why" (why does it work; the basic theory behind the idea). When you can do that, you know i a song fairly well. To learn a style, do that with lots and lots of songs in that style. As you continue to learn the what, how, and why for a style, you will begin to apply the concepts of that style in your playing.
#14
Quote by arv1971
I'd be more inclined to study from Frank Zappa myself, he's easily in the same League.


frank zappa is excellent, but you haven't studied bach to any real degree if you think that.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.