How / want to play better

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by Far To Many, Jan 19, 2019.

  1. Far To Many

    Far To Many Gretschie

    Age:
    46
    109
    Dec 31, 2018
    Upstate, NY
    I couldn't figure out where to stick this on the forum, so I decided here in the general area...maybe it will help someone else too.

    So here I am, I have played guitar, on and off none to seriously for 35+ years. I can play quite well actually, played in a high school cover band for two years, took lessons for 5 years BUT, in my opinion was to young to want to learn the technical side of things, I really only wanted to play the new song of the week and totally faked my way through the rest and not retaining it. About 8-9 years ago, a couple times a year I would jam with a drummer I used to work with and his friend that played guitar. I tried out for a couple bands but I ended up quitting after a very short time because I don't want the commitment. But they all liked me and my playing and timing, even if it was not technical.

    I don't try to write songs, am quite happy just fudging my way through learning songs from my favorite bands--usually by ear--tabs if I get stuck---which basically means nothing overly technical.

    I would like to figure out how to play a little better without getting way overly technical, and studying a lifetime. So I am stuck on where to go really. If someone says this song is in the key of G, I couldn't tell you what that means other than there is going to be a G in it somewhere. I am SURE I play stuff that I have no idea what the technical name even is, and just don't know it.

    I can tell you every note on the fretboard, I know some basic bar chords that look like a Am and just move up and down the neck, as well as other basic "cowboy" chords. A, C, E, Em, Am, D, F, G. Quite often I resort to what my teacher called a "Rock and Roll Fifth" and using it with and without the octave note above the root note.

    I also use these two scales a ton

    upload_2019-1-19_13-44-51.png


    I just am unsure where to go to extend my playing. What should I try to learn? I am willing to put in some time to do this, but have a house, wife, and other life commitments and hobbies to tend to. Winter time is always best for these activities even though it's half over now. I am probably not going to practice every night. Thought about trying new chords and learning names, thought about scales--which ones--so many! Heck, even thought about trying to take lessons, but it is expensive and tough to find a teacher who understands what I want.

    So what are some suggestions for this seasoned player, who can play well, even in a band setting, but has no idea what the heck he is technically playing?
     
  2. Rock Lajoint

    Rock Lajoint Gretschie

    389
    Nov 16, 2014
    Sussex, England
    Look into the CAGED system.
     
  3. johnny g

    johnny g Synchromatic

    619
    Sep 2, 2017
    union, ms
    Man I hope some-one at GT has the answer. I would love to read it. Don't just say practice. I know that one. If it is a secret I want tell a soul.
     
  4. gtttrrr

    gtttrrr Synchromatic

    Age:
    51
    721
    Dec 7, 2011
    United States
    Wow, thanks for typing this,,, bout where I’m at,,, soooo you save me a lot of finger taps!
    I recently took to learning the A blues scale up and down the neck, and soloing over YouTube backing tracks,,, switching up between rhythm and lead, playing along, but not exactly note for note with the rhythm, kinda as you would do if there were a second guitarist. This has been helping me get out of the pentatonic (position 1 ) rut that I always fall back into by habit.
     
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  5. Rock Lajoint

    Rock Lajoint Gretschie

    389
    Nov 16, 2014
    Sussex, England
    I struggle with soloing, mainly because I don't have time to practice it, I sing and play rhythm and have a busy family life.

    I play some bluegrass and bought this book, I got it used and cheap, https://www.amazon.com/Fretboard-Roadmaps-Bluegrass-Essential-Patterns/dp/063400140X
    It is in effect CAGED Lite and made a huge change to how I think about soloing, as in the past I was thinking in terms of pentatonic scales etc and now I think in terms of chord shapes. For example, playing around the D shape further up the neck made a lot of rockabilly solos click into place in my mind, things that Eddie Cochran and Grady Martin were doing. I still need to do more practicing but I can solo around the chords of the songs I'm singing without resorting to the blues scale in one position.
     
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  6. Far To Many

    Far To Many Gretschie

    Age:
    46
    109
    Dec 31, 2018
    Upstate, NY
    I knew I couldn't be the only one out there in this spot.

    The pentatonic is my go to also. I really know nothing else, but discovered I was playing alot of the second position without realizing it.

    And yes, Habits, good or bad, they are habits indeed and sometimes put us in a rut.

    Well, practice is very key, but WHAT to practice is more important and what I want to know.
     
  7. Bertotti

    Bertotti Country Gent

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    I am also trying to get better, one thing I have noticed with threads like this and what helps someone isn't necessarily what will help me or someone else. Sure doesn't hurt to help or look but I have decided that for me I need to know where I want to get then see what steps will take me there, not just decide I want to get better. So for me I know I need to do some ear training learning that will help me a lot the other side is I need to learn the fretboard I need to know where a tone I hear is on the board instantly. I started listening to and guessing then playing that tone on the board until I can find it. I also have started looking at different arpegio patterns and trying them on different chords. One thing I didn't want was to play other peoples music. I want to make my own but recently decided learning different songs would be a great way to learn the board. Amazing slow downer helps a lot. lastly working on my major minor chords and pentatonic scales and how to play within the scales and learning the circle of fifths and how to actually use it seems like a lot and having a set path and lessons I'm sure would help. My beginners two cents.
    So, in a nutshell, you need to know where you want to go then question how to get there.
     
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  8. Far To Many

    Far To Many Gretschie

    Age:
    46
    109
    Dec 31, 2018
    Upstate, NY
    OK, at less than $10 delivered, I'll bite. It's on order.

    I struggle with soloing also. Really Really bad. I don't need to be Eddie Van Halen, but dang, I'd like to have an idea of what I'm doing.

    Bluegrass based book or not, in the end it's all theory. So much is a crossover to everything. Inspiration is where you least expect it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2019
  9. gtttrrr

    gtttrrr Synchromatic

    Age:
    51
    721
    Dec 7, 2011
    United States
    I keep revisiting the circle of fifths, but I can’t get it to click. Gonna keep at it, because I do write a lot of my own stuff, and always struggle to get to the next part, when I come up with a cool piece. Maybe the circle is not clicking because I don’t know enough basic theory, i’m Hoping to get “this is where this progression would logically go to next” ,, out of understanding the circle.
     
  10. Far To Many

    Far To Many Gretschie

    Age:
    46
    109
    Dec 31, 2018
    Upstate, NY
    @Bertotti, Part of the issue is, I don't know where I want to go.

    I just get so jealous at the guy who can pick up a random guitar at a store, or party / gathering, and start busting out stuff that sounds amazing.

    Don't get me wrong, I noodle around, but if I was to walk into a music store and pick up a guitar, I would just be mortified and sound like I have been playing for 3 months. Go ahead, laugh, because it's happened many times. Online instrument shopping is my friend..... Problem is I am buying more higher end stuff so It's nice to try it first.

    Also reminds me of what a gentleman I sold a guitar to recently told me when I mentioned I am not a good player, but I owned 4 Gibson Firebirds. He said " You don't own guitars like Firebirds and not know how to play"
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2019
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  11. Rock Lajoint

    Rock Lajoint Gretschie

    389
    Nov 16, 2014
    Sussex, England
    Well, as I said, it suited me as I play some bluegrass anyway. The song choices may not be to everyone's taste. BUT it introduced me to the CAGED concept of playing around movable versions of the cowboy chords and that clicked with me.
     
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  12. Jelly Roll Horton

    Jelly Roll Horton Gretschie

    247
    Nov 10, 2017
    Portland, OR
    I would suggest learning all five pentatonic major and minor scales, as well as a basic understanding of intervals and how they influence chord structure. These are the mechanical things (theory if you wish) that moved me along my learning curve in the last year. Also, I bought a couple DVD lessons, and these have helped improve my skills in the genre that I am interested in (rockabilly, early RnB, early 50's blues). If that interests you too, I can highly recommend Damian Bacci's DVDs, "Ultimate Rockabilly Guitar". Damian has a lot of good free stuff on line too. MartyMusic.com (Marty Schwartz) also has a lot of free lessons on line, as well as some good lessons you can purchase.

    I tried to learn -and did learn- the CAGED system and how it would apply to my music, but I couldn't make it fit. I know many swear by it, but it just didn't make sense to me.
     
  13. Bertotti

    Bertotti Country Gent

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    I live on youtube for the circle of fifths stuff. One lady teaches it counterclockwise and I am not sure which is right but I have always seen it working clockwise, either way, watch a bunch and take what you can from it.

    And I am sure if any of these vids are wrong someone here will put us straight!





     
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  14. Gretschmen65

    Gretschmen65 Synchromatic

    513
    May 20, 2016
    Australia
    Wow,
    Talk about cart before the horse.
    Pentatonics, blues scales, even basic chords can only be explained with relation to the major scale.
    If you really want to progress you must start there.
    If you don't know what "the key of G" means except that the song has a G in it somewhere you need to learn about the tonic, dominant and sub-dominant chords ( 3 main chords in any key).
    The circle of 5ths follows from these basics.
    Any good teacher will cover these for you in a few lessons.
    Alternatively use these steps and Google the internet.
    Without this knowledge you are going nowhere and will be of little use to a competent group of band musicians.
     
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  15. radd

    radd Synchromatic

    708
    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa cruz
    Take lessons from someone good.

    I started in lessons one year ago after not having had lessons in decades. I was not sure at all what I thought about his approach, he is an accomplished blues guy having been on the same bill as a number of the top blues guys we all know. I decided to give it 6 months and do exactly what he said. What a difference it has made in my playing after years of doing things myself and getting marginally better.

    Find someone good, and listen to them.
     
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  16. hogrider16

    hogrider16 Gretschie

    213
    Oct 18, 2017
    charles town wv
    Great minds think alike. I got tired of not knowing what the hell I was playing. After playing guitar for 48 years, I started studying jazz with an instructor from the local university and I've learned a lot. It's a little easier for me than some because I was a classically trained Upright Bass player and also studied jazz and theory in college, but that was a looooooooooong time ago.
     
    radd likes this.
  17. Jelly Roll Horton

    Jelly Roll Horton Gretschie

    247
    Nov 10, 2017
    Portland, OR
    For me the value of the circle is it taught me relative minors, which make soloing over major chords more interesting.
     
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  18. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Friend of Fred

    Age:
    53
    Oct 18, 2015
    Hildesheim, Germany
    Sorry for disillusioning you.
    Only practice will make you better.
    There is no secret trick. That is a fact.

    I observed that I myself lost lots of finger skill during the last couple of month where I did rarely pratice because of illness. So I have to really sit down and woodshed to get back to an acceptable level until next month when my band will start again.

    I am a piano player who came to the guitar later.
    So I have the advantage of knowing theory. That made learning the guitar so much easier. In fact it makes everything musical easier (like communication with other musicians or writing songs/arranging/decoding the songs of others).
    If you desire to play Chet-style you will have to go a different route than if you want to play the blues or rock.
    I strongly suggest to look for a good teacher if you want to play highly technical stuff.

    If you "simply" want to rock out I would suggest to get some backing music that you can jam to (you may record it yourself but use a clicktrack).
    Always record what you play.
    I would personally not pratice scales all day at first. That is a dead end street, imho.
    I would whistle or sing what I would like to play to the backing, record it and learn it on guitar then.
    (Then maybe you will want try to transpose it into another key. This will open your eyes to the simple and easy to learn system of your fretboard.)
    That way you will avoid playing the same lame things that all the others play.

    Playing in a band is always a good learning-courve, too.

    We are all on a constant journey getting better and improve our playing.
    Progression does not come linear. Sometimes it comes fast in major steps sometimes it takes lots of time and baby steps.
    We have to be patient and disciplined to improve.
     
  19. hcsterg

    hcsterg Country Gent

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    Well yes, I'd say you're right, loudnlousy...

    Even if I play nearly only by ear, as an autodidact, for 38 years, I need to know what to do in time, so yes indeed : practice, Far To Many :confused: - and like me, play in a band as far as you can... ;)

    [​IMG]

    A+!
     
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  20. gtttrrr

    gtttrrr Synchromatic

    Age:
    51
    721
    Dec 7, 2011
    United States

    Looking for a YouTube that actually puts guitar with the circle, came across this dude,,, imma have to watch this a few times...
     
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