ok so ive been playign blues for a while, and i love it, but i also LOVE the way Trey plays with Phish. his, and the band's stlye, takes a lot from traditional jam bands, a lot from jazz, some from blues. i would like to know some stuff about their playing, maybe some of the technical aspects of trey's playing. ive been listening to their stuff for a long time, but only recently have i started "studying" it from a technical point of view. im talking about the jazz-inspired jams and free improv, songs like Reba, You Enjoy Myself, mostly live stuff. the runs and timing is incredible to me, i'd jsut love to know more about it.

I was actually right about to start this exact same thread, so it'd be doubly appreciated.
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I was actually right about to start this exact same thread, so it'd be doubly appreciated.

ha sweet, all the more reason for help.
Well, it's a tad late for me. However, tomorrow I'm going to look through some of my old guitar magazines: Trey did a few lessons on his solo style that I think might be what youre looking for. I'll post again as soon as I find the stuff.
i don't know phish really. i know with a lot of jam bands they tend to use mixolydian.. lydian and phygrian modes of the major scale. mixolydian especially to get that light dreamy sound.
to do the jam band sort of thing you really need to develop your ear training.. try making your own jams to a chord progession. make a tape or do whatever you have to do. get a decent wah pedal and mess around. try to record what you do so you can figure out what sounds good.

really get on the ear training.. a lot of people put down jam bands .. but they use a lot of different techniques concering theory.
Alright, I have managed to find two lessons. This is the first lesson I found: I will summarize what Trey says. There is an attached powertab of all the Figures he refers to. Here goes...

With Phish, the two launching points for jamming were Dorian and Mixolydian. In rehearsals the band would often fall into the E minot to D chord change: a pretty simple vamp, since any note from the E dorian scale (E F# G A B C# D) will work. In Figure 1, Trey uses this scale to improvise a few phrases over an Em7 to D/F# chord change. You could play any of this over a static Em7 vamp, but by moving through these two chords-even though they still only imply one tonal center, E minor-you'll add interest to the extended improvisation; the jam will seem as if it's going somewhere.

Phish also plays Mixolydian-based jams frequently: it's common in jam bands. Figure 2 outlines a vamp consisting of E and D chords, over which he plays a line mostly in E Mixolydian (E F# G# A B C# D). He begins the line with the tonality-defining flat 7th, D, then uses the flat ninth (F) on the last beat of bar 2, adding some tension through a D diminish arpeggio (D B G# F). This can be thought of as a rootless E7b9 arpeggio.

The first two bars of Figure 3 are a 3 chord vamp similar to the one in "Weekapaug Grove". Since the chords C/E, F/A, and Bb/D suggest a C7 tonality, you could just use C Mixolydian (C D E F G A Bb). However, no one wants to hear you practice your scales; they want to hear phrases.

One way he uses phrases is to go outside the scale. One of his favorites is the sharp 5, which in this case is G#. It can be found in the last two bars of Figure 3. The idea is to first use a few phrases only in C Mixolydian, then start easing the #5 into the audience's ears.

Figure 4 features the #5 in an ascending run. Assuming he has been jamming a while, he can jump right into using the #5 before resolving to C on the high E string.

Then Trey advises you to make a loop of these chords and practice jamming on them...

Hope that helped. If you liked this, tell me and I'll post the other one at some point.
Trey Lesson.zip
yeah man, this was gret, just what i was looking for. please post more if youve got it
Yeah, it'd be great if you did post the other one. Thanks a lot.

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Trey loves his arpeggios, triplet time signatures, Pentatonic Solos when neccessary, and the use of simple barre chords.

Run Like an Antelope progression is a good example of the progressions explained above, look for the chord tab to it on the site. Main, D>C (and the G>F hit), Jam, Em>D.
so trey uses vamps in his jams?? sry a little confused.....
Last edited by enjoieverything at May 12, 2006,
vamp = a repeating figure (the backing over which you improvise)

another thing I've realised with him is different voicings of regular major/minor chords. Espescially if you take the open C shape and open G shapes and move them over the neck and barre them.
Quote by seljer
vamp = a repeating figure (the backing over which you improvise)

another thing I've realised with him is different voicings of regular major/minor chords. Espescially if you take the open C shape and open G shapes and move them over the neck and barre them.

similar to taht, i also noticed he used some cool barre chords. for example, take a regular Bmaj barre, but leave the E and B strings open. very cool sound.
Bah. Been a busy week and I have a prom tonight, but I will get that lesson up by tomorrow.
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Bah. Been a busy week and I have a prom tonight, but I will get that lesson up by tomorrow.

thats fine man, as long as it gets up some time
Here is the second (and somewhat delayed) lesson.

This second lesson deals with soloing over the changes on Stash, one of my favorite Phish tunes.

There is a powertab on this site here: http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/tabs/p/phish/stash_power_tab.htm. Some of the fingerings are not what I would play, and the timing is different from the lesson's. The powertab on here is in double-time, so its tempo is 170 while mine will be about 89bpm, and a half note in that tab will equal a 16th in mine. I chose 89 bpm because I think Stash is a little faster than 85, which would be half of 170.

Ok, onto the lesson...

The chord progression was lifted from a Charles Mingus tune called ?Jump Monk?. The progression is Dm7-Bb7-Em7b5-A7b9 (I-VI-ii-V). Figure 1 is a basic vamp showing the voicings Trey uses to play it.

The progression looks a little tricky at first. However, as Joe Pass said, there are only three types of chords: major, minor, and dominant 7th. After that it?s just different colorations. Trey usually begins Stash with simple phrases. In Figure 2, he uses arpeggios to outline the chords, which conveys harmonic movement instead of randomly noodling on D minor tonality.

His real key, however, is nailing the ii-V-I (Ebm7b5-A7b9-Dm7) change (common in jazz) at the end of a progression. While many Phish jams revolve around the Dorian mode, this revolves around D minor, or D Aeolian (D E F G A Bb C), which has a flatted 6 (Bb). This scale will sound fine over the progression, but if you want to sound musical, you'll have to break out of the diatonic scale-and the perfect place to do that is over the V chord, the A7b9. The third of this chord, C#, is not in the D natural minor scale; it functions here as a leading tone, since it leads you back "home" to the i chord, Dm7, via a half-step resolution up to the root note, D. So here's the trick:

You can craft scalar phrases from D natural minor all day long, but every time that A7b9 chord comes up, throw in that big, whompin' C#. In doing this, you're using the D harmonic minor scale CD E F G A Bb C#) to change the contour of the line and take the sound "away" for a second before bringing it back home. Tension and resolution. Figure 3 illustrates this approach.

Finally, Figure 4 illustrates Trey just letting loose and playing over Stash. He says space (or silence) is just as important as making the changes; you have to let the audience digest what you?ve played, so you can make a connection.

Hope you enjoyed that, if you have any questions as to how I play Stash let me know.
Trey Lesson Stash.zip
wow man, thats great. lots to digest there. a few questions:

do you have anything on the song NICU?

and, where are you getting these lessons? theres so much to this music theres got to be a School of Trey somewhere
1. No, if given time perhaps I could analyze it. Right now I'm analyzing some stupid Hawaiian song because I have to perform it in two days.

2. Old Guitar World magazines, circa late 2004 I think. I only have two from the period where he was doing lessons though.
ok im bumping this my really old thread cause i think peopel can get more use out of it. also i could really use some more lessons or info. psycho's posts were really great, if youve got somethign like that post it please!
Guys the new Guitarone issue is THE ART OF THE JAM. Trey and warren hayes are the cover story with lots of other jam bands, lots of tips and ideas being thrown around i suggest you pick it up.
yeah ive been meaning to pick that up, looked like it had a lot of great stuff in it. trey and warren are two of my favotire guitarists, so it works out well

can you psot some stuff they have in there?