#1
I'm very interested in Indian Raga and want to know how to get started (I'm great at Hammer-On and Pull-offs and I think I can do microtonal bends). I know Natabhairavi Raga is the same as the Natural Minor/Aeolian scale but how do I get it to sound so unique? What techniques will help me? Do you guys have any tips. I only play guitar and Bass.

I've posted a similar thread on an Indian Guitar forum but haven't gotten any responses. I've also found a few patterns used in Indian Raga music. I kinda hear the key as being around Em (in the video below) but I'm sure there's an embellishment at the second degree and another one (possibly 5th).

This video is my reference.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fhiv-Fju_Sk
Sorry for posting another thread but at least this isn't another exotic scale thread (it's more along the lines of improv tips). Also I'm really intrigued by the sound in that video. I also want to improve my soloing abilities (any tips for that). What do you guys think of my new quote? ...
"I don't know what you're trying to suggest. There's no shame in taking what you need to hold your position!"

Super Buu (DBZ) on assimilation (it could also apply to blues guitar and guitar soloing in general).
#4
I checked out Derek Trucks and actually found a video where he discusses eastern slide technique. Thanks for the suggestion.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zwaau9mMQ-M

Does anyone have more tips?
"I don't know what you're trying to suggest. There's no shame in taking what you need to hold your position!"

Super Buu (DBZ) on assimilation (it could also apply to blues guitar and guitar soloing in general).
#5
A lot of the sound is in the tone. That is, tone of the instrument and the tone of your playing. Make your slides jerky and your bends slow, but keep them accurate, deliberate and smooth, if you get me? Try picking closer to your bridge, also. It produces a lot of trebly harmonics that produce the 'twang' sound.
Last edited by Joeseye at Dec 18, 2014,
#7
It's in the instrumentation and techniques (especially the slides).

Also, notice how the song lacks harmony. There are no chords. Or it could be seen as a long Am chord.

This just proves that the scale you use isn't everything. So people shouldn't only pay attention to the scale the song uses. That doesn't even tell that much about how it will sound like.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#8
In North Indian classical music the line is the most important (inflection and ornamentation [if you can call it that, I don't know]). By mentioning keys, you are already missing the point. It's highly offensive to Indian musicans when you are asking these really obtuse questions without even trying to percieve their music from their perspective.
If you want to learn how to improvise like them, start finding videos and copying them as closely as you can. This included all the microtonal inflections and bends, because that is what makes it unique.
Note: I'm by no means an expert because this is just stuff I've picked up from talking to people who actually know the craft.
Last edited by GoldenGuitar at Dec 21, 2014,
#9
I only said Em because Natabhairavi is nearly identical to the Minor/Aeolian scale, E seems like the root, and it's the best way to convey the information from a guitarist view.Anyway I've researched the subject from a non-guitarist perspective and learned a few secrets to the sound. One of the most important things is packads (little melodic patterns that help reinforce the Raga) and the main scale/Raga. Other things that seem to help are slides, somewhat slow yet bluesy vibratos, and quick microtonal bends (most important). I'm still learning how to do this but it's starting to sound good.

I'm also running into a different problem. I can play 3 Meshuggah songs ("Entrapment", "New Millenium Cyanide Christ", and "Acid Placidity") pretty well in Standard tuning but not a few beginner stuff like "Hotel California", "Smells like Teen Spirit", and the intro to "Stairway to Heaven". The latters just don't sound right but the Meshuggah songs do. Do you guys know what my problem is or how to challenge me with something complex and impressive. I'm not looking for classical or "Dance Of Eternity" by Dream Theater (a good portion of the song is just power chords and the rest is confusing insanity).
"I don't know what you're trying to suggest. There's no shame in taking what you need to hold your position!"

Super Buu (DBZ) on assimilation (it could also apply to blues guitar and guitar soloing in general).
#10
Quote by RonaldPoe

I'm also running into a different problem. I can play 3 Meshuggah songs ("Entrapment", "New Millenium Cyanide Christ", and "Acid Placidity") pretty well in Standard tuning but not a few beginner stuff like "Hotel California", "Smells like Teen Spirit", and the intro to "Stairway to Heaven". The latters just don't sound right but the Meshuggah songs do. Do you guys know what my problem is or how to challenge me with something complex and impressive. I'm not looking for classical or "Dance Of Eternity" by Dream Theater (a good portion of the song is just power chords and the rest is confusing insanity).

The easiest way for the people of the forum to help you out is if you do a recording of the tunes you think don't sound right. We aren't psychic so there's no way I can know why it doesn't sound right?
Last edited by GoldenGuitar at Dec 22, 2014,
#11
GoldenGuitar, I was mainly asking for suggestions but I still find it odd that I can't play those "Beginner songs" yet am able to play advanced stuff. What do you think about my suggestions on Raga playing above that.
"I don't know what you're trying to suggest. There's no shame in taking what you need to hold your position!"

Super Buu (DBZ) on assimilation (it could also apply to blues guitar and guitar soloing in general).
#14
Quote by RonaldPoe
GoldenGuitar, I was mainly asking for suggestions but I still find it odd that I can't play those "Beginner songs" yet am able to play advanced stuff. What do you think about my suggestions on Raga playing above that.

I don't think anything or have any suggestions for your raga playing.*
#15
Quote by RonaldPoe
I'm also running into a different problem. I can play 3 Meshuggah songs ("Entrapment", "New Millenium Cyanide Christ", and "Acid Placidity") pretty well in Standard tuning but not a few beginner stuff like "Hotel California", "Smells like Teen Spirit", and the intro to "Stairway to Heaven". The latters just don't sound right but the Meshuggah songs do. Do you guys know what my problem is or how to challenge me with something complex and impressive. I'm not looking for classical or "Dance Of Eternity" by Dream Theater (a good portion of the song is just power chords and the rest is confusing insanity).


It's likely that the Messhuggah songs don't sound right either, considering the common techniques that they share with Smells Like Teen Spirit (I'm thinking power chords).

Slow down, turn down your gain, lower the volume.

Also I'd note that from what I've heard of Meshuggah, their songs are actually easier than Stairway to Heaven and Hotel California.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#16
^ Yeah. And just because beginners try to play Hotel California and Stairway to Heaven doesn't mean they are easy songs. Most of the time beginners just make those songs sound terrible.

Also what does "doesn't sound right" mean? Maybe you could post a clip of you playing those songs. We can't tell what you are doing right/wrong by just reading your comment.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#17
Really the best advice I can give is to actually learn the basics of Indian music before even thinking about trying to apply them to guitar. Indian music differs significantly from western music in many respects. For example, the concept of "keys" and absolute pitch (an E note, a C# note, etc) does not exist, with harmony (both vertical and lateral) being based entirely relative to an arbitrary pitch.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#18
Sorry for bumping but I have some important raga updates/basics. First the intervals of Indian Ragas generally go Sa (1st/root) Re (second) Ga (third) Ma (4th) Pa (5th) Dha (6th) Ni (7th) and back to Sa. Because of unspecific pitches, many packads (melodic patterns inherent to the raga) are written in this format as opposed to regular notes. Apply this format to the key of the Raga. The Vadi and Samavadi are the 2 notes that should get the most emphasis. As I mentioned you must be good at slides and microtonal bends to play this type of music on guitar. Here's some information on some of the Thaats (modes of raga).

First Natabhairavi is the raga equivalent of the Aeolian/Natural Minor scale as is Asavari. Kaylan and Yaman are the raga/That equivalent of Lydian. For Asavari, it has been suggested that the vadi is Dha (6th) and the samvadi is Ga (3rdth). In Kaylan, Ga (3rd) and Ni (7th). "Ni Re Ga M'a" is a telltale sign/Packad for Yaman.

Also Bilawal is the Major/Ion ian scale and it's vadi and samavadi are Dha (6th) and Re (2nd) respectively. A pakad for Bilawal is G R G P D N or Ga Re, Ga Ma Dha Pa, Ma Ga, Ma Re Sa.

Bhairavi is the Phrygian scale of Indian raga. It's vadi is Ma (4th) and its samavadi is Sa (1st/root). A packad would be Ga Ma Pa Dha Pa Ma Ga Re Sa. It's a very interesting thaat containing characteristics of Phrygian mode and to an extent, Natabhairavi (Indian equivalent of Aeolian/Minor).

Finally chord changes (you're lucky if you hear a chords at all in this music) are very rare due to a preference for drones (notes that ring and repeat throughout the piece). However if you're into new tonalities, you can experiment over various chord progressions and vamps (this is untraditional and frowned upon but ...). Generally you'll be playing over drones so remember to be rhythmically interesting.

That's most of what I know about this stuff. I believe Indian Raga has a very interesting and unique sound. It also takes some brain work to play on guitar. Hope someone else finds this helpful.
"I don't know what you're trying to suggest. There's no shame in taking what you need to hold your position!"

Super Buu (DBZ) on assimilation (it could also apply to blues guitar and guitar soloing in general).