your thoughts on memorization

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by thunderbyrd, Jun 24, 2019.

  1. ASATKat

    ASATKat Tele-Afflicted

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    I like to join in on the weekly backing track challenge, I've probably done around 20 and I noticed something about my playing, I was 90% of the playing better after 2 to 3 hrs of floundering, I take a break and let the blood flow again, say hi to my cats, and when I come back I usually play the best right away.

    My point is, I have memorized the bt, not for scales and such since that usually gives me zero problems, my problem is hearing the song that could be sung, the points where chord and scale merge. No need for scales, imo that's the stuff I strive to move on from, in success that is. So every bt gets memorized by ear before I play.

    Being under the pressure of recording a good solo within one week is the challenge.

    Now maybe you're talking about memorizing a tune, in that case disregard the ramble above, or not.

    Go over to Twanger Central and record this weeks bt, it's a real nice one, and it is an opportunity to achieve in more areas than just memorization.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2019
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  2. ASATKat

    ASATKat Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm sorry. I forgot what we were talking about lol.
     
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  3. ASATKat

    ASATKat Tele-Afflicted

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    Try this memorization idea/trick,

    1.
    Memorize the C note fret location on all six strings

    1-8
    2-1
    3-5
    4-10
    5-3
    6-8

    8 1 5 10 3 8 not too hard to memorize.

    2.
    Know the structure of the C major scale
    C-|--|-D-|--|-E-|-F-|--|-G-|--|-A-|--|-B-|-C

    You know where C is on all six strings,

    That means the B note is 1 fret down on all six strings 7 0 4 9 2 7
    And the D note is always two frets higher than C, 10 3 7 12 5 10

    With that little effort you now can name the six locations of these three notes. Only four more notes to learn on all six strings to complete the memorization of the C scale on the guitar.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2019
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  4. Mark the Moose

    Mark the Moose Tele-Meister

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    Patterns are a double edged sword. They can unlock proficiency in a style, but be careful that they don’t handcuff your creativity later.
     
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  5. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    This approach seems like trying to learn a language by just memorizing a bunch of words. Sure, it's important, but if you don't have a context to communicate in, or to play a solo in, it's truly meaningless. It is far, far, far better to know a few notes that will work / be interesting / say what you want over a set of changes than to know the full fretboard pattern up and down.

    You might be surprised by how much of the guitar work that you really like takes places outside of the harmonized scale format. I'm no expert, but as I get better that is one of the key realizations - the scales are only one way to look at the project of learning to solo, and maybe not the primary one.
     
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  6. Sean65

    Sean65 Tele-Holic

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    Dont just play the pattern up and down from low to high.

    Improvise with it. Pull little melody lines out of the pattern.
     
  7. Digital Larry

    Digital Larry Tele-Afflicted

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    I was a bit surprised that some people liked my previous comment here, so buoyed by self importance, I continue...

    I'd focus less on rote memorization of full neck patterns than trying to apply bits of those against chord progressions which suggest familiar melodies. If you can hum or sing someone else's guitar solo then I bet you can do the same with your own solo prior to learning how to play it. And if you find that what you're humming sounds a bit like cliche'd guitar licks, you are on the right path! I drive around town humming bass parts to an interminable I - IV funk jam!

    If you play a wrong note in there your ears will tell you, at which point you can remind yourself of the pattern.

    I remember some wisdom imparted by Dweezil Zappa in one of those "master classes" he did a few years ago (no audition was required; you just had to pay). He said that the RHYTHM of what you are playing is more important than the melody. Like others have said, you don't just zip up and down the neck playing patterns and call that music. Stay in one place for awhile. Check out what the good notes are there. Go in circles or skip strings or anything to break out of a strict up and down the scale approach.

    Someone posted a clip of Peter Green doing a slow blues with Fleetwood Mac recently. What jumped out at me about that was that most of the time he was NOT playing. This is foreign territory for me because in bluegrass or celtic, you don't really stop playing if you have the melody. But with slow blues, I guess it imparts a sense of someone so overwhelmed with the fact that their baby left them this morning that he can barely pull himself together to talk about it. Or it could be the guy trying to remember the pattern so he can play his next lick!
     
  8. twangjeff

    twangjeff Tele-Afflicted

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    I'll chime in with three quick points, as I agree with the majority of what has already been said.

    1.) In order to be musical, you have to break out of the position. If you are working on a scale, don't stick in a box. Try playing the scale on different string grouping, shift between boxes moving up or down the neck, etc.

    2.) Chord Tones Beat Scales 100% of the time. If you are working on a scale, then harmonize it and learn the arpeggios. This will help you sound more musical and less like a Do Re Mi Fa So... EX: If you are in G, G A B C D E F#, G B D F#, A C E G, B D F#A, etc. etc.

    3.) If you really want to work on the musicality of it. Pick a chord progression and do what I call the connecting game using chord tones. Let's say you have a I-IV-V in G. Then with 8th notes 1 bar per chord, you could play G B D F# 8va G B D F#, G E C B, G E C B, A F# A C, D F# A C... etc. When the chord changes, move to the nearest chord tone of the next chord. Preceding example for a I IV V in G in 3rd position. You can do this with any chord changes. Than you can do this with upper extensions, alterations on the V chord, etc. etc.

    These things will also help you get the shapes under your fingers, but will help your ears as well.
     
  9. beninma

    beninma Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    What seems to be working for me (I've been playing about 4 years and taking lessons about 2.5, so I'd say I'm intermediate at best) is to not focus super hard on memorization and let it come over time.

    Without killing myself on memorization it has just gotten easier and easier over time. Play the songs, don't worry as much about memorizing the scales & chord patterns and such, as I get used to playing those scales & chords in songs they get drilled in.

    I've been trying to learn all the triad shapes for quite a while.. focusing on playing songs that use them seems to be the key. After a flurry of such songs the last few months I've finally got most of the triads on string 1-2-3 or 2-3-4 down. Triads on 5-6 I am still behind on.

    Way more fun this way I guess since I am doing this for fun.
     
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  10. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    I want to add one more idea or alternative to learning the whole darn thing: Take ONE of the scale patterns - I generally take the "G shape" one - and get to know it a lot more intimately than the basic pattern suggests. Which notes are the 1,3,5 of the root, 4th, and 5th chords? Where are the flat 7 notes for each chord? Where are the flat 5th notes? Where are the minor thirds for each of those chords? Where inside that "box" are the minor 2 and minor 6 chord shapes? In order to improv over a progression, you have to know that stuff, if not intellectually then instinctively. That actually takes a long time to really understand, but it is a lot more useful to know - and by know, I mean know in your fingers not only in your head - than all the various scale patterns.

    The step after that might be to play around with all the notes not in the scales and chords, and determine what sounds weird, bad, kinda works etc. - within a song structure. A note might be a real clam in certain spot but two beats later it could be just the right note. This is all within a single box. The other "boxes" will give you the same thing but with variations - the chords you find inside them will have different voicings, you'll have more opportunity to play low, then play high, etc. but all the essential stuff you need is inside any single position.

    Anyhow that is how I'm progressing and what my teacher is encouraging. Yes, eventually I'll know all of that stuff in every position, but even just being able to do most of that stuff out of ONE position means I can "pick one out" with fair confidence.
     
  11. kennl

    kennl Tele-Afflicted

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    If those patterns are like Jimmy Bruno’s “5 Shapes” then your practice is worthwhile. It will help your improvisation by connecting sounds in your head to finger placement on the instrument so you can play what you hear.
     
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  12. ASATKat

    ASATKat Tele-Afflicted

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    Huh? I have yet to be handcuffed and no pattern or system is going to throw me off course. I'm too aware and in control with my music and guitar to just give it over.

    And you said "handcuff your creativity later". And my response is creativity, your personal sense of creativity is always there. It was there in the beginning and it really should be burning bright when advancing on the guitar.

    Creativity on the guitar is our goal, the difficulties with learning the guitar is our obstacle, what activity has goals and obstacles to winning? A game. That's what the guitar game is, having a purpose, to express your creativity, having a goal and sticking to it relentlessly, and getting past the obstacles and challenges along the way. To me that defines a game.

    And in the end you win by achieving the ability to showcase your creativity, the creativity you've had all along, and it's just waiting for the body to catch up.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2019
  13. Mark the Moose

    Mark the Moose Tele-Meister

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    When I was playing for a living (10-15 gigs per week) as a jazz pianist, over time I found myself "settling" into the patterns and had to do some digging/musical soul searching to break out. Maybe you're immune, but I offer the cautionary tale.
     
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  14. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    exactly, Kennl. I don't know Jimmy Bruno's patterns, but it's the same general idea.

    what seems to be misunderstood in my OP, and maybe I didn't make it clear enough, is that the 5 patterns are a foundation for much to follow. the next phase is to match these patterns to chords, then to connect the patterns all over the neck. I would not have bought this book and taken up this study if it didn't come highly recommended by a player who knows what he's talking about.

    both the author of the method and my friend insist that the 5 patterns must be mastered before moving on and that it can take quite a while to do it right. my question in this post is "what is the best way to get those patterns firmly "mastered"?" I want to know if someone knows a good way to accelerate this process beyond the mindless rote repetition i'm doing now.

    there have been a few suggestions in that direction and I'm thankful for those.
     
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  15. Beachbum

    Beachbum Friend of Leo's

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    I'm 72 I can't remember my thoughts on..........What were we talking about?
     
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  16. ASATKat

    ASATKat Tele-Afflicted

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    I can see that, sounds like the creative flame went dim maybe? The remedy for that is regardless of whatever tune you're playing, you stop and break into Pappa-'s Got A Brand New Bag, followed by a 20 minute long ABB style jam. Works every time.
     
  17. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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    Not sure how others do it, but when I practice fingering patterns (which I do frequently, maybe a third of my practicing), I'm relegating the info just to muscle memory in my fingers. Often in front of the TV on an electric without an amp. Yes, I do play some of them in keys, but I don't see them as theory practice - they're strictly for building up chops, creating variety in my leads, and developing/maintaining speed - and yes, I am an old '80s shredder at heart. I save the theory for my songwriting or transcribing, and then work on memorization when I add a song to my repertoire. For me patterns are just patterns so I don't get boring when I solo.
     
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  18. Sounds Good

    Sounds Good Tele-Holic

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    I am not sure how you are using the patterns you are learning, if they are a fixed amount of notes on each string etc. I use to learn allsorts of patterns similar and then later i would break them up into different amounts of notes on each strings so as to mix them up abit, also string skipping sometimes as well to add different tonal effects to these patterns.

    Also then later i mixed certain scales together in this way also to experiment as well for new ideas if i could. But if your patterns are rooted in chromatic or whole tone ideas then the first idea i started with can mix them up to suprise the listeners ears more because the effects are not in more expected orders

    The chords you mention personally i add rhythm with power chords and double stops but mainly play rock and abit of jazz fusion and find to my ears they fit in well.

    But yes to close it is best to get the patterns ingrained as your friend says, it all starts from knowing the sounds and note patterns, i use to to play songs then work on patterns and scales then a few more songs to break the routine of learning new stuff up abit.

    Still best of luck with your project and i hope it all works well for you.
     
  19. ce24

    ce24 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I use this in conjunction with my Jamman looper ... Find the right beat send it to the looper, lay down a progression and of you go. Save it to the looper for instant practice session later. Do one for every key in different genres and your set. Only takes a few hours to do. Anymore I used BIAB to create some songs render to wave and download to Jamman and I have perfect backing tracks that are giggable
     
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  20. Endless Mike

    Endless Mike Friend of Leo's

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    I went through that many years ago. What later figured out, that I wish I'd known then, was two things. One, how to make it one big scale along the length of the neck (laterally) and two, how to shift from one scale to the next on the fly without thinking about it. By that I mean from say A Majot, to D major, then from say D Major to E minor, E minor to Bb Dorian, etc, etc. I've known guys who can do that. Seems a better use of time than memorizing a bunch of scales in a position.
     
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