Breaking Out Of A Rut

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by ElJay370, Aug 22, 2019.

  1. ElJay370

    ElJay370 Tele-Meister

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    I’ve been playing guitar for about 20 years. I’m pretty much entirely self taught. Like many of you I’m sure, I first learned by listening to records and trying to copy what I heard. Later on, I was shown or figured out all the first position cowboy chords, barre chords, and the minor pentatonic blues scale.

    And that’s kind of where my progress stopped.

    I’m skilled enough to where I can play most of the typical rock stuff and can turn up and wail a decent enough solo, but my chordal knowledge is severely limited. I know the basics, but mostly don’t know chord names or inversions or what notes to put in/take out to change them. My lead playing isn’t melodic...it doesn’t really “sing”. I’ve been stuck in the Clapton/Page/Hendrix/SRV mode of minor key blues-based noodling.

    I’ve bought a few books, but once they start talking about theory and modes and chord substitutions and whatnot my brain just kind of glazes over. I’m more of a show-me-and-I’ll-imitate-it kind of learner.

    Can anyone recommend some online videos that might be helpful?
     
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  2. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    find a really cool song you like like the BIG LOG by Robert Plant ( just an example) and watch how it is played , look for some new chords you dont usually use like minor 7th chords and try to encorporate them into what you already use when you are noodling , this will widen you approach a whole ton and you wont sound so much like you, when this becomes old hat the rince and repeat,
    Dave Gilmour used commom chord shapes but used them in a way that you had to change your fingerings to be able to move to the next chord
    I also look for all my notes on the fret board and start a progression from a new place , eg I look for all the G notes I have under my fingers and will see what G chords there are under my fingers, different shapes give different voicings

    although I havent changed what I know I have found new ways to play it and gain a new proficirncy , and very often will come up with a new run in the process, ( you know the fun stuff about learning )

    just a thought

     
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  3. dreamingtele

    dreamingtele Friend of Leo's

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    Im in the same boat, my approach is a little different, maybe a little bit out of our comfort zone, needs some time to practice and more time to listen to songs..

    I went with Jazz, or Jazz Blues.. Im still in the early stages.. I ask a local guitar jazz teacher to teach me for an hour a day.. only weekends, but due to time constraints we only got to do 2 sessions.. but in that one hour it was enough to show me new jazz scales that I can incorporate into my "library" of licks and what notes can go together, etc etc..

    its very different from what Im used to, I still cant do jazz, but somehow, I can "hear" some similarities on the note choices of Robben Ford and Julian Lage which opened up new things for me to explore in my current skill level.. Im not a good guitar player, I can play, but Im no legend.. but having new note choices refreshes the songs I play and with 1 or 2 notes, I can completely change the flavor while staying in the same progression..

    Im gonna watch this thread for more tips!
     
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  4. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Learn a bunch of cool songs that use weird chords you don't know. That's the most fun way to progress and expand on your playing without going down the theory road. Pick a lead player that does something totally different to what you do. Pentatonic with jazz, fusion style mixed in and steal a bunch of his licks.
    Learn some basic finger style songs, beatles blackbird, dear prudence and mother natures son. They can get you hybrid picking or playing with fingers only. Another way to expand on your playing.
    I wont sit and study theory for hours on end but I will spend countless hours learing a complicated song or new style of playing if I love the song because that's fun. Studying is not fun for me and once you can play those songs well you have already progressed a bunch.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2019
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  5. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    Lots of great YouTube stuff but I would recommend trying a couple lessons with a good live teacher. Find a good one that you click with and it will be the best time and money you ever spend on guitar.
     
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  6. Gyprock

    Gyprock TDPRI Member

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    Open tunings like DADGAD and maybe listen to some old folk like Nick Drake, Bert Jansch or John Martin. Completely different style, fingering, picking and shapes.
     
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  7. NewKid

    NewKid Tele-Meister

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    Learn the three-note basic jazz chord shapes:

    1. Major 7 = Cmaj7
    2. Minor 7 = Cm7
    3. Dominant 7 = C7

    Play them in 2-5-1 progression in every key: Example: Em7-A7-Dmaj7

    Start from there. You can add bass lines and accent notes later. It’s a different sound and the shapes are all moveable like barre chords only with just three notes.

    Good luck!
     
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  8. zeedoctour

    zeedoctour Tele-Meister

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    I have given up the pick and gone totally finger style although I am still a bluesy guy. I'll have to get back to the pick one day but for now I'm trying to develop something not like most other guys I see around the traps. I even built a harmonically super rich strat just for this style, using old fashioned single coil Valco-Supro Vistatone/Hi-Lo Tron and Cooltone type pickup designs. With an old fashioned Danelectro designed Lipstick Tube for a bit of tonal variety. I haven't played in 35 years so a lot of what I'm doing is just trying to develop some bloody chops. I've got a long way to go. I'm beginning to feel I have to pull the trigger on a teacher once a week to provide the perspective I won't develop on my own, and to give me something I *have* to complete before my next lesson ... outside of my weird personal thing I'm chasing. The chordal connection will come faster with a teacher I feel. I also experiment with open tunings and have another strat I built just for this task. Learning all the notes to target outside of just noodling lines is my current task, but it's harder than I'd like when I tend to just get lost in playing. If only I didn't have to do stuff like pay the rent. I need to do this 16 hours a day.

    Here's my weirdo old school Valco-Supro Vistatone/Hi-Lo Tron and Valco-Supro Cooltone single coil strat .. (harmonically) the richest sounding beast I ever played.
    cancercaster.jpg

    .... and this is my slide guitar, with again a Valco-Supro Vistatone/Hi-Lo Tron type pickup at the neck, and two hot pickups for sizzle at the middle and bridge (the very darkish SDS-1)
    jazzcaster2.jpg

    So I have the instruments for the job and I am enjoying the hell out of my quest but I feel like I'm so far away from the knowledge (theory) that I need to obtain.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2019
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  9. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    very beautiful guitars , I often thought about De Armond Gold tones in a strat , your guitars are gorgeous !
     
  10. ASATKat

    ASATKat Tele-Afflicted

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    GREAT ADVICE HERE,

    In the sub forum Twanger Central there is a growing group of friends that post backing tracks, and the people post themselves playing over the track. This is an excellent activity to take you to new places, I've heard people grow and I've only been there about 9 months. I've grown, my timing is much better, I've confirmed my guitar voice that I'm consistent with.

    All ya gotta to do is slip me $20 and I'll get ya in.

    Come on over, no evil ego stuff, very chill and encouraging. Mjark is bringing cupcakes this week.
     
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  11. cleanheadsteve

    cleanheadsteve Tele-Meister

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    2 pieces of advice.
    first: if u know your cowboy chords already, then just remember that u can turn those into barre chords and move anywhere on the neck.
    second: if u use the same minor pentatonic pattern but move it down 3 frets, then u are already playing the major pentatonic scale. the only difference is your root note is under your first finger on the third string instead of being under your middle finger on the fourth string.
    major pentatonic is used a ton for country, jazz, and elevator music. put your radio on an old country station and play along with every song using the major pentatonic pattern.
    now most of the time, when a country song goes from 1-4-5, your position will have to shift along with the chords. but the pattern and fingering remain the same. unlike rock and blues where if the song is in the key of "A" then you can just wail on the Am pentatonic scale all day long.
    for more info about this, try searching youtube for explanations of major and relative minor pentatonic patterns.
    hope this helps. it got me out of my rock/blues rut and is super easy to understand if explained properly

    Sent from my SM-S767VL using Tapatalk
     
  12. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    cleanheadsteve knows of what he speaks. Once you have that in hand, then take it up a notch. Solo using the arpeggio notes for
    each chord. For example, if it's a C7, then the arpeggio notes are C-E-G-Bb.

    You can also use the related scale for each chord.
    For example, on any dominant chord you would play myxolidian. For a C7 that's just C-D-E-F-G-A-Bb. Same as a major scale
    (ionian mode), but with the 7th a whole step below the root instead of a half step. But the arpeggion notes are the "money" notes,
    so I would focus first on using arpeggios, rather than the scales. The scales are cool but when you focus on scales you are less likely
    to understand the importance of the chord tones as the anchor notes in your solo progression.

    Once you are smoothly linking the arpeggio notes for each chord into a coherent line you are now "playing the changes". Once you are doing that
    you can throw in pretty much any other of the twelve tones as passing tones as long as you are hitting the money notes on key beats such as the 1.
     
  13. McGlamRock

    McGlamRock Friend of Leo's

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    One of the other members on this forum just shared a bunch of great chicken pickin' tabs he worked up. I've been messing with a couple of them and have been trying to cop some of the licks in other songs I'm playing. Sounds like you've done a lot of rock before, maybe some more twang is what you need, good luck!
     
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  14. LKB3rd

    LKB3rd Friend of Leo's

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    Basic theory and harmony are pretty simple and if someone makes your eyes glaze over they are making it more difficult than it has to be, OR you stumbled onto more advanced stuff.
    It's all about taking a major scale that everyone knows, do re mi fa so la ti do, and learning how to build a chord off each note. You'll discover that your I IV V fits right in, you have all the notes available to play for melodies in your do re mi fa....
    Building chords is easy. The first one (In the default key of C) is a C chord, the I chord. the notes are do mi so (1 3 5 of the scale). The second chord starts on the second note and goes re fa la (246). See the pattern? That's it! You can now build 7 chords of the key, and you know what notes are available to solo or melodify. Mix in some blues and you're off to the races. It all builds from that and links back to that. If you get that simple thing, then a lot more will click. 7th chords? You've got it, just go 1 3 5 7. 9 chords? Keep the pattern going! Use this pattern starting on the 7th note, and it makes your mysterious diminished chord. You wouldnt even have known how fancy you were if I didn't tell you. Other stuff is like that, you'll run into it if you learn a C scale like this. If you have a piano or keyboard, the white notes are the key of C. It's easy to visualize and understand on piano. You don't even have to be any good, just learn how to find C, then make your chords using the 1 3 5 (7 9 11 13 even)pattern.
    Blues is its own thing which breaks the "rules" so it's unfortunate for guitarists that it's the first thing we learn if you want to go into "standard" theory.
    Don't let it intimidate you, if it sounds complicated, the teacher is probably showing off :p
    Here's Julie Andrews with a lesson for children on this topic. It's a great song and a lesson all in one.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2019
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  15. MonkeyJefferson

    MonkeyJefferson Tele-Holic

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    Get a notebook out, and "roadmap" out what you're doing. Your problem, I suspect, is you're stuck on an endless three or four block of one-way streets.

    So get out of there!

    I'm not disagreeing with any of the suggestions above, they're all sound. My suggestion is, when you solo, play the chord you're playing. No scales or any of that bananas. Just chord tones. The day I started playing m9 arpeggios with some zest was a landmark day for me, guitar-wise. This film-noir inspiration just comes over you.

    Write down a key in your notebook, and write out every chord, arpeggio, associated mode in that key, however it helps you. Pretty soon, you've reached a new plateau of understanding. Also, watch some youtube vids on the Circle of Fifths until you feel it. Keep going!
     
  16. TeleTex82

    TeleTex82 Friend of Leo's

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    Get on Justin guitar.com and go through some lessons. I'd recommend starting with learning the major scale all over the neck and some arpeggios. Dominant 7th arpeggios might be a good place to start as they are great for blues and you already have that foundation.
     
  17. LKB3rd

    LKB3rd Friend of Leo's

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    Try googling up CAGED system, which is a way to visualize and play even over standard I IV V in a non pentatonic way. This would be a good way to expand on music you already know and like.
    And don't feel like you ever have to avoid pentatonic and blues, styles like jazz use blues all the time mixed in with other stuff.
    You could try listening to different music that has players doing things you'd like to learn. Then learn songs you like in that style.
    If you try to just learn "theory" or what have you in a vacuum without applying it, you won't learn it in a useful way I don't think. Try to apply it right away.
    Guthrie Trapp uses the CAGED way of visulalizing stuff and has a lot of good instructional videos. He even does Skype lesson I believe! A lesson or two from him could be a huge help
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2019
  18. Toast

    Toast Tele-Meister

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    Here are the three things that have opened my eyes.

    1. [Edit: If you don't know what a triad is, then start there and follow it with harmonizing the Major scale.] If you want to learn theory, then I'd start with learning how to harmonize the Major scale. Just go to Youtube and search on harmonizing the Major scale. There are loads of good lessons on it.


    (I think this might be a lesson from one of the forum members, AWasson. Great lessons. His lesson on tuning a guitar is one of my favorites because he gets you listening to the guitar in and out of tune. He calls attention to how things sound as they go out of tune. There's a weird kind of oscillation that occurs when things go out of tune that I never paid attention to before.) By the way, I've watched lots of harmonizing the major scale videos so if one lesson is too difficult or jargony, then watch another and another until the jargon becomes easy to comprehend.

    2. Buy the Chord Wheel book (around $12) or make your own. I use my chord wheel every time I practice. You can find one at GC or buy it online. I know it looks like a one page book, and it kind of is, but it's essential in my opinion.

    3. Once you have your Chord Wheel, watch this video on chord progression rules.



    The video shows a chord rule chart and I just pressed Print Screen on my keyboard and printed out the rule chart. Once I had the chart in front of me, I grabbed my chord wheel and started experimenting with the chord rules and familiarizing myself with the different changes. That's a fun rabbit hole you can fall into.)

    Those three things have been an enormous help for my understanding of theory and song writing. By the way, music theory is actually pretty simple. Don't let it intimidate you because it's really not hard to learn. I think most people psych themselves out on it and that's silly. Hope that helps.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2019
  19. Toast

    Toast Tele-Meister

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    I actually find it easier to visualize harmonizing the Major scale when I see it on a piano keyboard. I'm starting to see the interval relationships on a guitar fretboard, but I still have to think about it. On a piano, however, it's a hell of a lot easier for me to see. I'd also recommend approaching the subject by sticking to the key of C (no sharps or flats, all white keys on a piano).



    Edit: Saw the following video and thought I'd throw it in the mix. I've included it because minor chords have been frustrating me with their harsher qualities. Now I'm turning to the 7th chords for a little more levity and they're working better for me.

    Signal Music Studio - How To Write Progressions Using min7, maj7, Dominant 7th chords
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2019
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