Curious, does anybody just...play the guitar?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by John Backlund, Jul 16, 2020.

  1. John Backlund

    John Backlund Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    I know virtually nothing about scales, but do know the basic, first position chords, and play other finger formations that I have stumbled upon over the years and use, especially in an open tuning, which I use a lot.

    I really only play fingerstyle anymore, haven't used a flat pick for a decade or more, and then only as a 'strummer', never lead stuff.

    Finger style playing on an open tuned guitar is an adventure in discovery and improvisation, and that's where I often find my most satifying guitar experience, extra points if it's while using a 12 string.
     
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  2. stepvan

    stepvan Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    That's how alot of what I write begins these days start out noodling then the brain kicks on after a few minutes and the creative process begins
     
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  3. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Telefied Ad Free Member

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    See: Tom Bukovac’s comments regarding all this in his YouTube Homeskoolin’/Corona Lessons videos .


    He touches upon it in many of the clips and, while it’s obvious his chordal and scale knowledge is beyond vast, he can’t read - and he’s one of the busiest session players in Nashville.

    With a cat like him, I think his musical knowledge frees him.

    It’s like he’s doing something really dangerous (race car driver, mountain climber) but all his preparation frees him to just do the thing, and not have to think/deliberate .


    Myself ? I know enough to play with others , unless the others are jazz or classical players.
     
  4. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Poster Extraordinaire

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    I am not creative enough to do just noodle and make it musical.
    I love learning songs- entire songs.
    I’ve tried to become a good improvisational blues players but I suck.
    I’ve turned my attention to songs. Songs that I enjoy playing. Some are simple, some are complex.
    I make music. It’s others music but who cares? The folks who wrote it were talented and, in some cases, brilliant.
     
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  5. trapdoor2

    trapdoor2 Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    I like to think of it as just letting my subconscious out. I can watch the world go by on my front porch and set some sounds free.

    I have a head full of theory, sight read treble, bass and viola clefs...and tab, etc. It is sometimes nice to not think about all that and just enjoy.
     
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  6. darkwaters

    darkwaters Tele-Afflicted

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    When I was young ? Yes.

    When I hit about 35 I realized that I was bored to death with playing the same old stuff and cowboy chords. I actually stopped playing for several years because I was so disillusioned.

    Around 40 I found that my interest in playing was becoming rekindled, but I knew I couldn't go back to the tired, repetitive, strummy stuff that I had been doing and decided to knuckle down and actually get serious. I started with a few fingerpicking books. I'd always loved fingerpicked guitar, but felt it was beyond me. I put those negative thoughts aside and really applied myself. It was hard going, but I mastered it. Then I focused on more difficult classical pieces. Then theory and learning to read tab/musical notation with a focus on Jazz. Then altered tunings focusing on Middle Eastern music.

    Years later I'm still working hard at it. I'll never know it all, I'm just enjoying the journey. It's all been a blast and about the smartest thing that I've ever done.

    I've had friends over the years who've watched me expand my horizons, but claim that they're afraid that if they really studied music they might "lose their mojo". Sorry folks, but if studying and getting knowledgeable and better will cause me to "lose my mojo" all I can say is "So long mojo!" I call that B.S.
     
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  7. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Holic

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    I was thinking of this recently just sort of out of the blue (and tangentially related to the threads about playing pentatonics and such..). [IMHO..] Classical is mostly: 'read it, play it' -- so, some decent music reading with tons of practice (technique and precision is everything) -- it's do-able, just takes lots of practice and discipline. Jazz, I think, requires a lot of on-the-fly thinking (which I don't like to do when I am playing LOL). It takes a fast-thinking musical brain to crank out jazz lines amidst a backdrop of changing chord progressions. I can't play Jazz -- wish I could, but my brain 'doesn't work that fast'. Kudos to you jazz players that can pull it off credibly.
     
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  8. John Backlund

    John Backlund Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    At the moment, I'm currently learning Harrison's 'Here comes the sun', and doing a relatively proper job of it, and although it will never be note-perfect, it sounds pretty good, if I do say so myself. It's a natural for a fingerpicker. I did use a clamp-on headstock tuner I bought just yesterday to get my guitar where it should be (for the first time EVER, mind you), and even use a capo on the seventh fret.

    This is just a great song, uplifting, melodic, and recognizable by just about everyone in the world within the first few notes.
     
  9. naveed211

    naveed211 Tele-Afflicted

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    I have a very basic knowledge of theory, and I mean very basic.

    I know enough to know what the general chord might be (if it’s one of the major ones) and I can figure out what an individual note is. I can at least communicate with mediocre musicians like myself, but I tried to play in a group that had sheet music and couldn’t do it, totally got lost.

    I play mostly by ear. I create shapes that sound good to me and it’s a lot of trial and error. I’ve taken about a year of lessons over the 20ish years I’ve been playing, otherwise learned a bit to tab, YouTube videos, and by ear.

    It’s gotten me by. Do I wish I could play like this shredder or this chicken picker or this jazz guy? Sure, but I sound like me because of how I’ve learned my way.
     
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  10. bftfender

    bftfender Poster Extraordinaire

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    35 years ago Got a bass, took 1 lesson. The teacher said go join a band. The following week was in a punk/metal band. Been all originals since day one & have a great ride over the years. switched to guitar 5 years ago & recently learned to drum. 6 months into also recording at home...the music in my life is my creative happy place amngst a tragic life last few years.

    I say play..let out whats inside. The Originals have led me down my path..not a copy & forced learning & instead ..right from the heart to the studio to the stage.

    During this time have sat with jazz, punk, rock P&W, acoustic bands, recorded in many studios..the self taught dedication with massive practice allowed an understanding of how to play in a band & know my role
    .non genre restrictions..hey what,,12 notes in the western scale..use em for all their glory & make music
     
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  11. Lucius Paisley

    Lucius Paisley Tele-Meister

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    Sometimes, I pick up a guitar and say "today's the day I learn how to REALLY play this thing", but five minutes later, I'm looking up various YouTube playlists and "challenging" myself with how many songs I can play along to. Then I put the guitar away and pretty much forget everything. If I had a focus, played in a band or whatever, I'd probably make it stick - I do still remember how to play songs from a band I was in almost 25 years ago - but I feel more comfortable just having fun. At almost 45, who needs that pressure?
     
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  12. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Holic

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    Great choice. Love that one.
     
  13. John Backlund

    John Backlund Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    By 'restrictive', I guess I meant that in the way of learning to play faithful covers of existing popular songs without the benefit of some degree of relatively formal musical knowledge.

    If I was to do it all over again, from the beginning, knowing what I do now, I would have chosen to follow a more regulated, disciplined, musical path, and combined that musical knowledge with my natural creativity and passion to create my music. Though it's not the do-all, end-all, to be a virtuoso, it sure wouldn't hurt. But that virtuosity comes with a dedication that I simply don't possess, so I bumble through with what I have, and amazingly, some good things still manage to come from it now and then.

    On weekdays, I'm playing almost three hours a day now, mostly learning new songs rather than to specifically improve my playing, though that is incrementally happening as a result as well.
     
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  14. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Ad Free Member

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    +1 I agree. I think the adventure of playing guitar and creating music can only benefit from learning as much as possible about music. Certainly there are some very creative folks out there and I would not hinder their creativity, but on the whole, I think it is wise to learn music theory, and from other musicians. For me, I can't count how many times that I have learned some new chunks of theory or where a musician's song can expand into unusual territory that has unlocked yet another door into the magic of music for me.
     
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  15. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    AKA self taught?
    Sure!

    Or maybe you mean never really bothering to keep learning new stuff/ improve/ become awesome?
    No I'm still trying to become awesome...
     
  16. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Telefied Ad Free Member

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    One thing I don’t do that I know that a lot others do (and take satisfaction in accomplishing) is learn/play covers close to the original arrangement.

    Not for me.

    I’ll play Won’t Get Fooled Again on gut string by myself and guys in the band want to work up a band arrangement of it . Why ?

    Different thrills for different folks I guess
     
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  17. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Nope, I do lots of other music stuff.
    OK, maybe not lots.
    I play bass.
    OK, I don’t play bass too well, but ......
     
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  18. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    When we were kids, we all learned to make noise. Gradually pitch and rhythm became a greater and greater part of the noise. At some point it became music.

    Music exists on many levels. There was Billy banging on his desk in 5th grade, even hitting different parts to change pitch and timbre. Then there was band, chorus, and orchestra where kids not only learned to play and sing, they learned the formal structure of music.

    I don’t see guitar as being different. I use the formalities. I play notes arranged into melodies. I group notes into chords. I know the scales I rely on and have been exploring new, to me, modes of late. I don’t often pick up sheet music but I thoroughly understand the formalities of what I’m playing. Improvisation sounds like noise without structure.

    I can understand how folks can make music without understanding its structure, but I can’t help but think they’d make better music if they learned more about it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2020
  19. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

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    I like that.

    I would even go as far as to say theory doesn't explain how to make music. It's a way to explain music made by humans.

    Some of that music sounds good. And some doesn't.
     
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  20. KW1977

    KW1977 Tele-Meister

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    Give me coffee, a couch, a dog, a Television to distract my mind just enough but not too much, and a guitar in my hands and I'll do this all day.
     
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