#1
I've been playing guitar for a few years now. For the most part had stuck to basic rhythm/acoustic stuff but been practising playing lead for about a year now. I play mainly bluesy stuff and have the pentatonic down in all five positions but was wondering where to go next. I can pull of a solo or build a riff and people says it sounds great but to me it comes off as static/a bit stale.

I was surfing youtube stoned for live vids when I came across this John Mayer performance:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32GZ3suxRn4

From 4:27ish onwards it pretty much sums up what my playing lacks and what I'm going after. The solo goes on for two minutes without getting all jam-rocky. It sounds great but not in a show-off kind of way, the playing fits the emotion/vibe perfectly.

Do I need to learn more scales or was that all done on pent?

I don't have great technical knowledge and I know that saying I want to play with more 'feel' or 'emotion' might not get my point across exactly, but any help at all would be much appreciated.
#2
I loled when I read "more scales" learning all the scales in the world wont make you a better guitar player. I can see that you really enjoy John Mayer's style of playing if you want his feel transcribe his songs it's that simple really..


#3
^
Wow you're an understanding and supportive son of a devil, aren't you?
Quote by AlanHB
It's the same as all other harmony. Surround yourself with skulls and candles if it helps.
#4
Quote by Black_devils
I loled when I read "more scales" learning all the scales in the world wont make you a better guitar player. I can see that you really enjoy John Mayer's style of playing if you want his feel transcribe his songs it's that simple really..



I really don't like the word transcribe. It's only suggesting notating the music rather than playing, which is useful for analysis. But if you want to capture the feel of his playing, you'd better play the songs as well.
#5
Quote by Elintasokas
I really don't like the word transcribe. It's only suggesting notating the music rather than playing, which is useful for analysis. But if you want to capture the feel of his playing, you'd better play the songs as well.

Playing John Mayer's songs won't do TS anygood if he doesn't internalize it.
#6
Quote by GoldenGuitar
Playing John Mayer's songs won't do TS anygood if he doesn't internalize it.

And notating it will help him internalize it better than playing? LOL, sure.

It's like saying reading scales on a sheet of music will help you learn them better than actually playing them with your instrument.

I transcribe songs all the time by ear using notation, so I'm not biased. I didn't even have any use for sheet music until I started playing piano and composing orchestral music.
Last edited by Elintasokas at Aug 15, 2014,
#7
I can't actually read sheet music, does this mean I will never be able to play with feeling or learn another guitarist's style?
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#8
Quote by AlanHB
I can't actually read sheet music, does this mean I will never be able to play with feeling or learn another guitarist's style?


Yes... *cough*
#9
Quote by KingBoard
I've been playing guitar for a few years now. For the most part had stuck to basic rhythm/acoustic stuff but been practising playing lead for about a year now. I play mainly bluesy stuff and have the pentatonic down in all five positions but was wondering where to go next. I can pull of a solo or build a riff and people says it sounds great but to me it comes off as static/a bit stale.

I was surfing youtube stoned for live vids when I came across this John Mayer performance:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32GZ3suxRn4

From 4:27ish onwards it pretty much sums up what my playing lacks and what I'm going after. The solo goes on for two minutes without getting all jam-rocky. It sounds great but not in a show-off kind of way, the playing fits the emotion/vibe perfectly.

Do I need to learn more scales or was that all done on pent?

I don't have great technical knowledge and I know that saying I want to play with more 'feel' or 'emotion' might not get my point across exactly, but any help at all would be much appreciated.


If you want to learn better phrasing, which is what I decipher from your post, work on these players ( learn by ear!):

1) Albert King - any 60's recording
2) Mark Knofler - any of the slower solos will do - Brothers in Arms for example
3) Stevie Ray Vaughan - pick somthing slow like Riviera Paradise, Little Wing, Lenny et5c. ( Mayer is basically a rehashing of Stevie's playing, who was a rehashing of Albert King and Hendrix).
4) Bill Frisell - this may be above your skill level, but anything recent and bluesy of his is a goldmine in terms of phrasing.
5) Hendrix - the guy is just all emotion all the time - check out Voodoo Chile on Electric Ladyland ( the slow blues original - not the wahwah rock version which is more popular for some reason). Little wing is another good example of great phrasing and the solo is accessible.

The important part of "feel" is mostly rhythmic and in the articulation of the notes, it's not about scales per say. This is why learning by ear is so important, you need to interiorise how to make your guitar sing basically. Also, the use of silence and sustain is absolutely crucial.
#10
Quote by evolucian
Yes... *cough*


Nooooooo
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#11
I would definitely learn a few solos note for note. I have been "transcribing" for 25 years. It really helps your technical ability and getting into the soul of the player. don't worry you're not going to sound like another person just because you learn their solo. You may sound "influenced" by that person over time but only stevie can be stevie.

Also, put on backing tracks, grab your guitar, get all of the thoughts and (pre-conceived) ideas out of your head and just start bending the crap out of notes and make yourself have an emotional session. strum hard, bend notes, shake the notes with a lot of vibrato. hold one note really high for a minute or two. Over exaggerate everything and feel the emotion. once you break through then try to harness what you just did and have more productive practice sessions everyday.

If you're not in a band and don't normally perform live then go to an open mic, pick you're 2-3 songs. prepare them at home by practicing over backing tracks. then go to the open mic with the purpose of playing soulfully, not worrying about trying to impress people with scales and just focus on playing with a lot of feeling. Connecting with the crowd and getting a "high" off playing for a crowd is a great opportunity to build your ability to play soulfully. this is the goal. It's not easy to always being inspired at home in your bedroom while you practice. I practice at home to make myself a better musician. it's when i get on stage that i unleash my soulfulness.

Ultmately things like vibrato, bending notes, holding a note and things like that, are a technical means of expression. you need to find your technical means of expression.
"How to Become a Better Musician" - is my online course at www.MyOnlineMusicLessons.com. Phrasing and Rhythmic Development, Improv Techniques, Jazz Theory, Ear Training and more. I'm also available for Skype/Hangout lessons.
#12
Quote by John Tutino
Also, put on backing tracks, grab your guitar, get all of the thoughts and (pre-conceived) ideas out of your head and just start bending the crap out of notes and make yourself have an emotional session. strum hard, bend notes, shake the notes with a lot of vibrato. hold one note really high for a minute or two. Over exaggerate everything and feel the emotion. once you break through then try to harness what you just did and have more productive practice sessions everyday.

I just want to emphasize this.

It's very easy now to just search on Youtube for "Backing Track in Gminor" (or whatever key) and find a backing track that you like. Experiment with backing tracks in different styles too. Maybe you do a Pink Floyd style track one day and then a Funky track the next. Try to really capture and add to the emotion of the backing track. Improv a basic melody and use that as a jumping-off point for the rest of your track, too.
#13
Quote by Elintasokas
And notating it will help him internalize it better than playing? LOL, sure.

It's like saying reading scales on a sheet of music will help you learn them better than actually playing them with your instrument.

I transcribe songs all the time by ear using notation, so I'm not biased. I didn't even have any use for sheet music until I started playing piano and composing orchestral music.


You guys are insane, when the hell did I say anything about notation?
#14
Quote by GoldenGuitar
You guys are insane, when the hell did I say anything about notation?



There's a lot of creative reading comprehension going on here for sure!
#16
Not surprised as everyone on Ultimate Guitar are always misinterpreting posts. What I meant by transcribe is to slow down the record, and figure out the song note by note you're absorbing the phrasings of songs and internalizing what you've figured out.It doesn't matter if you write down what you've figured out as long as you've figured out the record by ear then no one gives two shits.


By the way Not once in my post have I ever stated not to play along to the record which is also a good idea. There's a lot of people that know 100's of scales, but can't seem to sound musical they sound more like robots lol... I am not saying scales are bad because I practice scales everyday for technique purposes, and not to mention it gives you a good understanding of how something could be played. If you want to develop your musical ability just transcribe records if not then don't it's really that simple. If you can't read music notation then you could just tab it out like a lot of people I know..


Last edited by Black_devils at Aug 15, 2014,
#17
I think you guys are missing the most important bit. Those faces he pulls. Can't bring teh feelz without that.




Seriously, though, while I didn't exactly analyse it, it didn't sound that complex theoretically. I think I heard a few more notes there than just the pentatonics (probably just natural minor, if I had to guess, but as I said, I didn't analyse it), but the feel is the thing (plus hitting appropriate notes where they sound good... you can use scales and theory for that or just your ear).

it's very hard to explain "feel". people who have it generally have it (or leant it long enough ago that they forget how to put it into words). it's like the difference between reading a script in a monotone and acting. if that makes sense. it's all the wee inflections, rests, good vibrato, how long you hold a bend (or take to reach the target note of a bend), etc. etc.

but yeah i agree that learning more scales won't help with the feels. if anything, it could be a hindrance. you can put feel into one note, and someone without feel can play a million different scales and still not have it.

EDIT: just listening to solos will help with the feel. Don't even worry about working it out by ear on the guitar or anything like that. If you can hum it (including all the inflections he does) you're more than halfway there.
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
Last edited by Dave_Mc at Aug 15, 2014,
#18
Like everyone's saying, figure out his stuff by ear and play it.

But I think you should ALSO learn the major and minor in every key. If you know how scales and keys work, the things you learn from "transcribing" their songs will be far easier to understand. How the melodies interact with the underlying harmony, which notes build tension and how it resolves, etc.

If you're playing tonal music, scales ARE important and so are chord inversions. There's no way around it. You also want to learn the basics of functional harmony (and also voice leading if you want to create smooth harmony)

I don't think you'll learn shit from just transcribing if you can't connect it with some theory. You will only learn patterns, but don't understand WHY they work like they do.
Last edited by Elintasokas at Aug 15, 2014,
#19
Quote by GoldenGuitar
You guys are insane, when the hell did I say anything about notation?


You may not have intended it, but by quoting elintsokas at post #5 you came off as stating that you cannot internalise a guitarist's style if you don't notate one of their songs.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#20
Quote by John Tutino
stuff
Also, put on backing tracks, grab your guitar, get all of the thoughts and (pre-conceived) ideas out of your head and just start bending the crap out of notes and make yourself have an emotional session. strum hard, bend notes, shake the notes with a lot of vibrato. hold one note really high for a minute or two. Over exaggerate everything and feel the emotion. once you break through then try to harness what you just did and have more productive practice sessions everyday.
stuff
Ultmately things like vibrato, bending notes, holding a note and things like that, are a technical means of expression. you need to find your technical means of expression.


Pretty much. Speaking of getting ideas out of your head, try taking strings off, and randomly tuning them and seeing what you can make of it.

Some pretty simple techniques can make a big difference though. I'd list them out, but it's probably easier to just try and learn a bunch of different solos, or just parts that you like or something.

Oh, and also when learning some techniques, start off super super slow, and make sure you're playing it properly, i.e. getting the sound you want to hear. Playing in a dark room helps too, or just closing your eyes and letting your ears do the music.

I'll be quiet now
STRIKING MINORS
#21
Quote by Mources
Pretty much. Speaking of getting ideas out of your head, try taking strings off, and randomly tuning them and seeing what you can make of it.

Some pretty simple techniques can make a big difference though. I'd list them out, but it's probably easier to just try and learn a bunch of different solos, or just parts that you like or something.

Oh, and also when learning some techniques, start off super super slow, and make sure you're playing it properly, i.e. getting the sound you want to hear. Playing in a dark room helps too, or just closing your eyes and letting your ears do the music.

I'll be quiet now



Well said. Definitely good idea...dark room. very effective in inducing concentration.
"How to Become a Better Musician" - is my online course at www.MyOnlineMusicLessons.com. Phrasing and Rhythmic Development, Improv Techniques, Jazz Theory, Ear Training and more. I'm also available for Skype/Hangout lessons.
#22
Quote by Black_devils
Not surprised as everyone on Ultimate Guitar are always misinterpreting posts. What I meant by transcribe is to slow down the record, and figure out the song note by note you're absorbing the phrasings of songs and internalizing what you've figured out.It doesn't matter if you write down what you've figured out as long as you've figured out the record by ear then no one gives two shits.

Yeah, you're right. I just like to make the distinction because years ago I, myself, as a beginner got confused with the word transcribe and thought I had to write down the music. Because, you know, that's what it actually means. lol.

I think it's better to say something like "play by ear", "figure out the notes by ear" so no one gets confused.

Actually transcribing without your instrument using solfege (singing pitches) and stuff is great, though. It is the best ear training by far. I don't think trial and error with your instrument and trying to match the pitches is nearly as effective.
Last edited by Elintasokas at Aug 16, 2014,
#23
Quote by Elintasokas
Yeah, you're right. I just like to make the distinction because years ago I, myself, as a beginner got confused with the word transcribe and thought I had to write down the music. Because, you know, that's what it actually means. lol.

It's funny, because 2 seconds with a dictionary confirms this. I'm always amused that people even argue dumb things like this.

Like, come on, guys! It's in the fucking dictionary; look it up before you shoot your mouth off, if you're gonna be the guy who has to argue over the meaning of a word.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Aug 16, 2014,
#24
Quote by Elintasokas
Yeah, you're right. I just like to make the distinction because years ago I, myself, as a beginner got confused with the word transcribe and thought I had to write down the music. Because, you know, that's what it actually means. lol.

I think it's better to say something like "play by ear", "figure out the notes by ear" so no one gets confused.

Actually transcribing without your instrument using solfege (singing pitches) and stuff is great, though. It is the best ear training by far. I don't think trial and error with your instrument and trying to match the pitches is nearly as effective.



It's all cool man I understand where you're coming from completely.

#25
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
It's funny, because 2 seconds with a dictionary confirms this. I'm always amused that people even argue dumb things like this.

Like, come on, guys! It's in the fucking dictionary; look it up before you shoot your mouth off, if you're gonna be the guy who has to argue over the meaning of a word.


can we argue about which dictionary we should look up?
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#27
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#28
you either feel it or not, learning more musical things like scales and patterns and techniques are things that have nothing to do with emotion. john isn't good because simply because he "feels" it, he's good because he has practiced a lot for a long time. the way you play with more emotion is simply getting better at the instrument. you need to get to a point where you don't think about the patterns, the notes, the scales... you just hear the music in your head and your hands do the work. why is this how you play with more emotion? well because when you don't have to think or "try", then your emotional response to the music is what you are focusing on. the more techniques you have under your belt, the more you can do in more musical situations, and the less you have to think about what to do.

the other thing is listening to lots of music and playing a lot of music. learning what others o in musical situations gives you ideas for your own playing to build off of. listen to artists the give you that feeling you want, and try to understand what they are doing. look at the principles/concepts behind what they play, not just what they play.

the other thing is RHYTHM. everything in music is rhythm. even a melody has rhythm, it's the most basic part of music. you cannot have a good solo without rhythm, and also people tend to like solos more if they are rhythmically interesting. this is why playing fast all the time seems "soulless" to some. musically, it's very flat and uninteresting. humans like to hear wider intervals used and different rhythmic ideas. it doesn't have to be fast either, straight 1/4 notes would be boring too. also sometimes not playing exactly on the beat can be good.

another thing, seeing as you mentioned a blues influenced player, is to try and make your guitar sound more like a human voice. listen to soul singers do runs, listen to scatting, try it yourself as well. try to sing some lines over a track and then try to play that on guitar. another thing would be listen to other instruments like horns or strings for phrasing ideas, guitarists tend to stick to a lot of the same stuff and play very scale like or linear. bending to and from notes helps with this too. try bending notes you don't normally bend, try bending a bad note into a good one. you'll probably start to see you can use all the notes in any song if you want, it's just how you use them and what comes before and after them.

for faster runs, think of drummers. try to find drums fills that are rhythmically interesting to you, and try to put notes to it, but keep the rhythm the same. this also works i find with just coming up with fills, slow or fast. it goes back to thinking more rhythmically.

those are some ideas that helped me anyway. it's really more of an understanding that the music and emotion is already in you, you have to learn techniques to get it out and learn a musical language so people can understand what you are trying to say with your playing. the techniques themselves do not contain the emotion, neither do the notes.