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You think scales are going to gte you through? Ha!

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by Telenator, Nov 26, 2020.

  1. jrblue

    jrblue Friend of Leo's

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    Please have GG submit a complete transcription so I can analyze it and giver him a grade. Honestly, the relationship between theory and expression is a dichotomy that is endlessly discussed, generally ignoring how strange it is that the human mind for most of us goes either with one or the other, requiring a breakthrough, such as the one achieved by GG, (or Pat Metheny, or Robben Ford) to have internalized so many musical conventions thereby reaching a point where they have transcended theory and technique, serving expression without having to coinsciously figure out what they "should" play. I learned 4 instruments in my life (piano, trumpet, trombone, guitar) to a reasonable depth, and never once encountered an instructor who could get beyond theory and conventions to have you encounter music. Ideas about music are not music. It's like learning to drive. If you have to consciously conceptualize what you are doing when you're behind the wheel, you're going to kill some people.
     
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  2. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Yeah I sense either snobbery or judgement in music chat quite a bit, and here it often feels like those who say something like “GG is just playing pentatonic scales with a few passing notes thrown in” is a dismissive judgement against all of us who might be so retarded as to play primarily pentatonic leads.

    (Retarded is only the opposite of advanced, no other meaning intended)

    So no matter how we play, there will be those who make comments we can hear as insult or judgement against us!

    I think that’s a mixed bag of us often hearing those comments in the wrong light but also many comments truly intended to be a little insulting.

    Put another way, if you think GG isn’t doing anything special, you must think I totally suck!
    I doubt that but you probably get my meaning about how easily we can react to posts as dismissive or judgmental.

    My “formal” guitar training started and ended with every adult donkey gets big ears! I think I’d been playing for five years when I was taught that so the rest I pretty much had to make up or fake.
     
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  3. hepular

    hepular Tele-Holic

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    ok, go check out the solo for steven wilson's drive home or raven who refused to sing . . . tell me some more about this guy's unbearable tone . . .
     
  4. hepular

    hepular Tele-Holic

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    what's the track title again??? believe that it's Bela Fleck's homage to Giant Steps..
     
  5. loopfinding

    loopfinding Tele-Afflicted

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    i don't like the "you just don't get it" talk.

    the whole thing is basically a C# minor jam. it goes to a minor ii-V type deal with an A7 subbed for the ii, but he's still all going on C# minor blues shred home base. he's doing some dorian stuff in the beginning. he throws some diminished arps in there, some passing tones, some side stepping, and super locrian a couple of times. the nicest licks he has are not shreddy at all, but when he's transitioning into the end section and he starts actually doing nice stuff stuff over the V.

    but the majority of it is blues scale shred patterns with some spicy detours. sorry, not sorry. i'll be generous and call it "sort of modal?" if you really want me to. i'm not saying it's bad at all, but if you think this is really mind blowing, then just listen to the average jazz guitar solo on a standard. i'm not sure why the moment you step out of the pentatonic box in rock, people think it's like messiaen or something.

    i'm not really into GG, but he's undoubtedly a good guitarist. he played something "appropriate" here, but tbh this guy has loads of videos better showing off his abilities, regardless of whether it's my taste or not. when you tell me "scales aren't going to get you through this," aka, people who are not-so-scalar, i think of like jeff parker or julian lage.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2020
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  6. Pineears

    Pineears Tele-Afflicted

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    Do you think of scales when playing lead, and spell the words while you are singing?
     
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  7. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    I agree with loopfinding's analysis....

    I know a lot of players who went to MI (aka GIT) or Berklee and most of them take a predominantly scalar approach to soloing. If it's a dominant chord, they are thinking mixolydian, for example, and also thinking about other related scales that also work. So they might also be thinking at minimum ionian, dorian, phyrgian, hungarian, diminished, and how all of these can be slotted in there in the right context.

    There is also an aspect of shapes on the neck that just sound cool-- some licks, basically. EVH did this a lot-- came up with licks that sounded a little bit outside but were fundamentally created just by messing around with patterns and shapes, mixing in open strings and harmonics, and discovering things that sound cool.

    This scalar approach, often based on scalar exercises-- fast triplets, or three notes per string runs, etc., makes for a certain "MI sound" that I hear a lot. He also definitely has some riffs that are based on basic pentatonic or blues scale runs, often with a few interesting notes sprinkled in there that are "outside".

    There is also an intervallic approach-- thinking in terms of interesting intervals....but then making scalar runs from a related interval-- for example maybe doing a diatonic scalar run but up a b5th for an outside sound.

    The stereotypical MI/Berklee shredder approach is very different from a traditional jazz approach, which also recognizes and is aware of scales, but tends to come at soloing from a much more arpeggio-based perspective. Building leads mainly from the arpeggios of the underlying chord as well as really extending-- 9/11/13....into the higher related arpeggio notes. There's a reason why Charlie Parker, Coltrane, Wes, and all the classic jazz cats just have a different sound-- because they're coming at it from a totally different angle. Jazz lines also tend to stair step-- not straight up or straight down, but let's say up 4 notes, down 2, up 4, etc. So it is more lilting.

    The really good MI/Berklee types start delving into diminished and arpeggios, too. I heard a little bit of arpeggio based licks in there in one run, I think. They respect jazz, know the theory, but the licks they build are very different from what a classic jazzer would create.

    As far as the shredders go, I actually think his playing is relatively interesting. He really does mix it up a lot. I also think he's pretty far along harmonically and as an earlier poster suggested he has a giant bag of licks/tricks at his disposal, and for him it's mainly a matter of stringing them together in a manner that he thinks is pleasing. EVH was much the same way a lot of the time, IMO....except that EVH was also able to write real hits with real melodies, too.

    Of all the true shredders that are out playing right now I think I like Joe Satriani the best-- every album from Surfing with the Alien on up has real melodies in it. Each song is actually a song, not only a bunch of licks thrown together over a backing track. It's all relative of course. If you are used to more classic pop it may still sound a bit too mechanical for you.

    But some of the really fast country leads can be similar-- they can sound mostly like a grab bag of licks rather than something melodic and musical that actually is customized to suit the song. The best players, like Vince Gill, can use licks but not have them sound like a bunch of licks strung together. Instead the result sounds like an integrated musical statement.

    But going back to the OP...I am hearing mostly a mix of scale patterns but using a wide assortment of scales, combined with interesting fingerboard-shape patterns and a few arpeggio based ideas here and there.
     
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  8. sonicsmitty

    sonicsmitty Tele-Holic

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    I'm just trying to understand the point of this thread. It almost sounds as if the premise is that you don't need to learn scales and you're wasting your time if you're working on them. I'm pretty certain Guthrie Govan would disagree with that. Like his style, tone, phrasing, speed, or not, he has certainly mastered his instrument. It isn't my thing, but that could partly be because I am incapable of shredding like that, and at my age, the likelihood of me ever attaining that level is very low.

    Maybe we're just supposed to listen in jaw dropping amazement? I have seen people post videos of 9-12 year old kids who are way better shredders than I could ever be. While I am impressed with his skill, there are many other things I would prefer to listen to. Still, judging from the comments it would seem that many are in the technical snob camp, while others are in the dismissive of technical ability camp, and some may be envious of his skills but don't wish to admit it. I am envious and I'll admit it. I know some scales and modes, and have a fair understanding of them at my own pace, but my slow head doesn't process all those notes played at furious speed. Maybe that's a good thing that I can't do it, because I might be tempted to overuse that ability.

    Those are my disjointed thoughts anyway.
     
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  9. lammie200

    lammie200 Friend of Leo's

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    Easy to recognize. It’s the wankatonic scale.
     
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  10. Toast

    Toast Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm not sure what point the title of this thread is trying to get across about scales. I interpreted the point of the thread to be more like a check-this-player-out thread with a harmless bit of provocation to motivate people to check it out. It worked. As a two minute+ piece of art, I found it satisfying to listen to. Parts of it reminded me a lot of Joe Perry's guitar runs in early Aerosmith. In fact if you're really into that GG snippet, I'd recommend you go and listen to the Aerosmith Rocks album (best thing Aerosmith ever did, imo).

    As far as blowing my mind as a piece of abstract art, it didn't really bowl me over like something from Thelonius Monk or James Ulmer, but I don't think that was the point of this piece. To me it felt a like a rock and roll/blues piece that didn't have too many surprises. Impressive playing though. The following link isn't supposed to be an example of something I think you should like. It's simply something I find interesting that provides a bit of contrast to GG's piece. I like it best after listening to Puff The Magic Dragon.

    James Ulmer - Are You Glad to Be in America? [Warning: The record is scratched :)]

     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2020
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  11. Toast

    Toast Tele-Afflicted

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    That's the one where you flatten the wank note, right?
     
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  12. lammie200

    lammie200 Friend of Leo's

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    I think you bend it but if it is a problem you should consult a physician.
     
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  13. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    No actual jazz musician refers to general chromatic playing as necessarily "out" or outside. Players that don't really play or even listen to much jazz just lump it all in with out playing.

    Jazz in general employs chromaticism, Be-bop as a specific era is defined by it's use of chromaticism but is not really what any contemporary jazz musician would refer to as out (anymore). Even Dolphy isn't really considered to be that out anymore. And yeah, just a bunch of chromatic lines that go nowhere is boring and generally uninspiring. Out is only defined by what's "in" and speaks to my post earlier regarding conditions. In some situations (conditions) the outest thing a player could play would be a major triad. Don't believe me, start listening to a lot of Keith Jarrett. Also phrasing and feel (and/or the lack of it) have a lot to do with the perceived outness of a solo or a melody.

    And to relate that back to the OP, Guthrie is not what any jazzer would classify as an 'out' player.
     
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  14. SecretSquirrel

    SecretSquirrel Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Whatever we call Guthrie Goven's theoretic approach, I think the solo is terrific — it's energetic, musical, intelligent and creative; it's tight but it swings, it's polished but raw, and I just got a big kick out of the whole thing. His playing is confident, if not inspiring, and the guitar tone is killer; I could listen to music like that for hours.

    I've seen Guthrie Goven before on YouTube, but not real familiar with him; I think I'll watch more. Anywaw, thanks for posting it, Telenator.!


    I noticed that too — that's a good device for those dominant-chord progressions, and for breaking free from pentanonic boxes. I picked up on it in the video maybe because I've been over-using that trick, I think of it as "the funk scale."
     
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  15. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    With scales, modes, and chromaticism, you have the pull of resolution from one note to another. With the out playing in my earlier years, I felt there is not very much resolution at play.
     
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  16. Cheap Trills

    Cheap Trills Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    No, I don't spell the words when singing, but I do know how to spell them, how to use them, and how to substitute completely different words or phrases to achieve the same meaning. :)
     
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  17. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    This is what I've been trying to say.

    Sometimes things are just plain good, and that's that. Personally, I have learned a great deal from the Govan clip. He posted it as educational. And yes, if some people must, the piece can be reduced to a guy playing a solo where 5 notes make frequent appearances, and based on that, massage it to what some would consider to be a pentatonic scale. To a certain degree, that's true. It just makes sense. But the effect is then dismissal. Not exploration.

    If it goes down easier, I think Govan did a masterful job of expanding a typical theme. Not a single b3 was misused in the entire performance! LOL!
     
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  18. Manual Slim

    Manual Slim Friend of Leo's

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    Thank you muchly. When I first heard JBU I wasn’t ready to appreciate what he was up to. This revisit is the kind of thing that makes me glad to be here.
     
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  19. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    This record was a total revolution for me when I first heard it in the early 80s. Completely changed my way of hearing and approaching music.
     
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  20. Pineears

    Pineears Tele-Afflicted

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    Yes, humans learn to speak then years later are taught the reading and writing stuff. They are not tied together.
     
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