#1
Today, I noticed a funny thing about my muscle memory. I picked up my guitar and decided to just do some improvisation in a key that I rarely, if never, play in. I picked C# major and F# major. I didn't really pay any attention to what I was playing, I just let my fingers wander on the fretboard. I played somewhat fast licks all over the fretboard and I never played a note out of key. I didn't use my ears nor did I think what I was playing, my muscle memory handled all that.

So, it appears that I have memorised the scalar patterns so well that I can improvise without thinking or listening. I then slowed down, closed my eyes and tried to let my ear guide me what notes to play. However, my muscle memory worked, once again, faster than my ear and placed my fingers on the right frets, thus making my ear useless in this case.

So, does anyone else have similar experiences or have their muscle memory acting like mine?
#2
I think that's pretty common. If you play in C# major all the time your fingers naturally go there, that's why people try to switch up keys and such. I think you can think about the notes unless you are playing faster than you are capable of thinking, which isn't creative imo but would probably sound good in that cliche way ya know? But personally I think it just takes practice. Start with small things like centering around a note or arpeggio for your faster passages. Obviously you can't think out every note at that pace.

Edit: Didn't see that you rarely play in that key, but you know all the shapes and such so it still seems pretty applicable.
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#3
^Yeah, what he said. If you practice the scales enough, your fingers will take care of where to place themselves.
#4
to the TS: Don't you find it hard to know all the shapes on each scales? And does that limit you when improvising, like getting stuck on those "boxes"?

I mean, I always wondered if the patterns are really really necessary (even for improvising and stuff)... I just know the notes each scale has, the intervals and the way it sounds. When I'm improvising, I'm aware of the notes I'm playing (to be in the key I want, of course) and I just play and use my ear and interval knowledge. Do you guys think it's bad for me to do this? Knowing the patters makes any difference (or control) to what I'm playing? Because I always thought the patterns and your muscle memory for scales would not make a big difference.
#5
Quote by symba05
to the TS: Don't you find it hard to know all the shapes on each scales? And does that limit you when improvising, like getting stuck on those "boxes"?


Well, not really but I've practiced them quite a lot when learning alternate picking. I just broke the scale into 7 different 3-note-per-string boxes of which each starts on a different note. Then I just came up with different ways to play them and eventually I didn't see any boxes, just the scale on the fretboard.

It doesn't limit my improvisation because, like I said, I don't see any boxes, I just have the notes of the scale all over the fretboard. Those boxes just makes the learning easier, at least it did for me. Of course when you're playing slower licks you can use your ear or theory knowledge to determine which note to play next, but when you're playing fast, you have to have something that is already rehearsed and in your muscle memory otherwise it's impossible to play.


I mean, I always wondered if the patterns are really really necessary (even for improvising and stuff)... I just know the notes each scale has, the intervals and the way it sounds. When I'm improvising, I'm aware of the notes I'm playing (to be in the key I want, of course) and I just play and use my ear and interval knowledge. Do you guys think it's bad for me to do this? Knowing the patters makes any difference (or control) to what I'm playing? Because I always thought the patterns and your muscle memory for scales would not make a big difference.


I think knowing the patterns becomes important when playing fast. At least I can't think in intervals or use my ear very efficiently if I'm playing 32nds on 120 bpm. This is where my muscle memory kicks in, and when I know all the patterns I can play anywhere on the fretboard as fast as I want.
#6
Well, in a new key, there's always the same intervallic patterns. Have you tried seeing how quickly your fingers learn a new synthetic scale? That'd be interesting.

I personally find it easy enough to stay in key playing fast as long as I'm playing simple shapes. I also play a lot of "nonsense" licks that are pattern based but non-diatonic, so the way I view the finger board is more like a collection of "safe notes" and a lot of silly ways to get from one to the other.
#7
My fingers aren't helpful, they tend to go towards making the most obscure melodys
Originally posted by TapMaster
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