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Thread: "Muscle Memory for all the Modes"

  1. #16
    Artistically Bankrupt
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    The meat of this thread is simple enough (and relatively new). The phenomenon is a bit older.

    Back in the 80's after printed media decided to bombard the world with 3,567,654 different "Guitar God Magazine" type things, the magazines found themselves printing up scales, modes, etc., as grids with li'l black dots. Seymour the 14-year-old could suddenly memorize and fire off melodic bits as well as (if not better sounding) than anything the Claptons, Becks, and Pages had hitherto done. Play a chord progression, and Seymour could finger-flail a lead part rather impressively.

    Suddenly, all the nascent guitar whizkids had to keep their "secret" under their hats. God forbid that someone should point out that the Emperor was butt-naked, eh? Why, if everyone knew that rock guitar's latest batch of superheroes were "only" wailing away on memorized patterns, simply avoiding missing the black dots, then nobody would think of them as elite artists!

    Suddenly, the kid who had the harmonic minor memorized and well-practiced could finger-flail his way to fame as the local guru (as long as the rythym player played the right key). Nobody could diss him, or he'd point out that they were only flailing away on whatever scale it was from which they got the most mileage.

    Bizarrely, an unspoken conspiracy of silence was born among guitarists. (You know, floutists don't have to be quite as pretentious... It must be nice.)

    The meat of this thread is that Trooper has indicated that the emperor is resplendent in his nekkidness. Trooper has dropped the A-Bomb of guitar banter. Trooper has released the feral hound secret that rock's lead guitarists are simply finger-flailing through memorized arrays of black dots on the fretboard. This exposure is usually followed by a pack of pretentious nonsense from other players who claim that they actually internalize and hear the 264'th notes they're playing.

    I just laugh at it all. Christ, I wish I could finger-flail as well as Yngwie. Gang, there is nothing to be ashamed of if one is insanely adept at finger-flailing. I am not just talking about speed. I include all memorized riffs, phrases, etc. There is a reason you enjoy listening to <blank>. And yes, for instance, if Stevie Ray Vaughan was "merely" finger-flailing a pentatonic minor and tossing in a pack of memorized riffs, I'd submit that "merely" is a term that needs to be tossed out on its ear.

    The emperor, as it turns out, is not naked at all. He is dressed in hours of practice, and passion for guitar. I like his clothes. Trooper, hang onto that muscle memory; it is your bread and butter.

  2. #17
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    That's a good way of putting it.

    It just goes to show that any method works as long as you stick with it for a long enough time. If you flail your fingers around a bunch of dots on a fretboard for 20 odd years, eventually you're going to know what the darn thing sounds like.

    there's something to be said about not looking for an ideal method, rather finding something that works right here right now and just going with it and improving it where/when you can.

  3. #18
    iBreatheMusic Modthor phantom's Avatar
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    Well.....

    Weeeeellllllll.....

    Do you really think it is that much of a "secret" that repetition and getting common sequences in your muscle memory makes you a better player?
    Or that it is even "bad" to do that?

    And it is NOT the opposite of being unique or being creative! It is merely a tool that makes you go over a.. or better, if well practiced, any series of notes in a faster pace.

    How valuable you can imagine it is to be able to capture a series of notes and reproduce it instantly as you "know what happens"!
    And then, after that, you are free to take those lines apart and choose what to do with them instead to be left baffled!

    Of course it is your own choice of notes that makes you unique, and if you read my articles - i am a person that wants to push other people to uniqueness and re-thinking their good old learned patterns, but there is a good thing about it. There is a good thing about repetition as it is linked right to the learning process.
    You won't be able to learn something if you don't repeat it.
    If you are able and diciplined enough to repeat something to a amount that makes you memorice it in your sleep - perfect. That doesn't mean that it will be automatically without emotion , but physically managable without that much of a coordination process.

    So, in the end.. for me...:
    Patterns, repetitions, discipline and all that technical stuff that gets bashed around many times was unbelievable valuable, helpful and useful throughout my career.

    All good music is hard work. You won't find a good guitarist who will tell you it all came to him over one night of good dreams and biscuits (hmmm biscuits).

    Of course there are many moments of good music history, when a note sounded perfectly and divine just "by mistake", but believe me, it is invaluable to know what you do and to know how to reproduce it.



    AND NOW READ ON:

    There is only one thing that sequences and patternes and pre-learned structures have to follow:

    Your own personal taste.
    Your own personal taste.
    Your own personal taste.
    Your own personal taste.

    Without that your music is really just the repetition of someone else, and who likes to be a clone heh?

    Sorry if i didn't get the thread right.
    Holding up the flag for muscle memory just bursted out of me i guess.
    Last edited by phantom; 01-04-2007 at 06:58 AM.

  4. #19
    Modbod UKRuss's Avatar
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    My own problem with muscle memory is lack of muscle and problems with my memory.

    Other than that I think the approach rocks!

  5. #20
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    And just to really get my point home...

    There's your maj/Ionian
    -------------------
    ---X-XX-----------
    ---XX-X-----------
    ----X-X-----------

    Dorian using relative
    -------------------
    ---X-XX-X---------
    ---XX-X-----------
    ------X-----------

    Phrygian using relative
    -----------------
    ---X-XX-X-X-----
    ---XX-X----------
    -----------------

    But I prefer to do this

    Dorian shape
    -------------------
    ----X-X---------------
    ----X-X-X--------------
    ----X-XX--------------

    Phrygian shape
    -------------------
    ----X-X---------------
    ----X-XX---------------
    ----XX-X--------------

    and I can remember those shapes easily and off the top of my head
    We hurdle bodies that lay on the ground, and the Russians fire another round...

  6. #21
    Modbod UKRuss's Avatar
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    I was with you until you posted the shapes, I think they only serve to highlight the gap in the understanding of the scale.

    Whats wrong with your G string? What wrong with the rest of fretboard horizontally?
    Last edited by UKRuss; 01-04-2007 at 05:09 PM.

  7. #22
    bitter old fool Jed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UKRuss
    I was with you until you posted the shapes, I think they only serve to highlight the gap in the understanding of the scale.

    Whats wrong with your G string? What wrong with the rest of fretboard horizontally?
    Russ,
    I must have had access to stronger drugs back in the day, . . 'cause I think I see what he meant.

    Trooper dude,
    These are of course accurate but they only account for the lowest (in pitch) 4 strings. Of course things change as you start to and how you stradle that major 3rd between G & B strings.

    There are also a lot of different patterns for each of these modes and each mode is of course available all over the fret board. You've made a good start certainly. have you tried to hear the same scale sequences in other positions, other starting fingers, other string groups, etc, etc?

    edit - According to my quick calulations the attached positional finger forms illustrates approximately 10 different 1-octave fingerings for for each of the modes. If my calulations are right that means there are some 70 unique 1-octave mode fingering for all of the modes combined (within 12 frets). Like I said you've made a good start but do be aware that you can take your system quite a bit further (if it suits your purposes / goals).

    cheers,

    Jed
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by Jed; 01-04-2007 at 05:57 PM.

  8. #23
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    Well I don't straddle the 3rd between the G and b...simply because I only have 4 strings

    I'd be glad to attempt to demonstrate that I cna probably come up with something good by using my method. I'll probably use my mate's chord progression in Bm or something and post it up.


    Wow, can't bleieve I just said that. Bet you I'll get it all wrong now. I'll have a go now
    We hurdle bodies that lay on the ground, and the Russians fire another round...

  9. #24
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    "Muscle Memory for all the Modes": might imply that the modes are nothing more than patterns on the fretboard. Romp may have expected people to respond to that idea,......I might have expected that too.

    I'm happy to see folks sticking up for patterns. What guitar player didn't start out flailing away at these patterns ?,.....it's still kinda' fun, isn't it ? And it can yield some great results.
    The "real" fun starts when you start breaking those patterns down to learn what's in 'em,.....maybe I should've put fun in quotes....

    -best,
    Mike

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Trooper
    ..simply because I only have 4 strings
    ....we could take up a collection to get you the 2 you're missing

  11. #26
    bitter old fool Jed's Avatar
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    Sorry, I thought you were talking guitar. But even for bass there are lot's of different forms and positions for each scale / mode. I'm guessing about 5 different patterns for each scale mode (single octave) based on 4 strings / 5 frets per pattern / 12 frets.

    I guess my understanding is more note-based so I tend to think in terms of notes first then patterns. I came to studying guitar after having studied music theory & comp so my approach is probably not the norm.

    But like Phantom said (although I'm still not sure who he was addressing), there's nothing evil or wrong with learning via patterns and a lot of people have made a lot of music using just that approach. As ears get stronger, people add more patterns and connections. The audience can't tell and doesn't care whether or not the player knows the note / scale names. They just listen to the music.

    cheers,

  12. #27
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    What guitar player didn't start out flailing away at these patterns ?
    Wait, I know this one... The answer is: "the good ones." Okay, I lied. If there is one, I cannot imagine who he is.

    But one thing is for sure... After they become learned maestros, those flailers no longer flail. They "improvise modal melodic lines over rythymic accompaniment," by golly. I wonder how many sets of dots one has to use in order to become learned?

    It strikes me that a lot of rock guitar players spend a lot of effort learning theory while still simply playing via "not missing the black dots." Unless, of course, memorizing a new 3nps pattern counts as learning theory.

    Keep in mind that my cynicism is reserved for pretentious rock guitarists. (You, dear reader, are surely not one.) Certainly a study of jazz or classical requires a sound understanding of theory. Does this make jazz or classical "better" music? Nope. Does it make them "better" guitar players? No. But it does - and rock players will simply have to live with this - make them better musicians.

    Being a better musician will in few ways help one impress a rock audience. In fact, it can be a hindrance. Being a better guitar player and rocker will impress a rock audience. Many people fail to understand the difference between a guitar player and a musician, or they erroneously assign spurious status points to them.

    I know it's only rock and roll but I like it.

  13. #28
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    of course, knowing these patterns means I can focus on palying something that sounds nice. What notes to reinforce and other things like that will come to me easier hwen I don't have to think about where my fingers will go
    We hurdle bodies that lay on the ground, and the Russians fire another round...

  14. #29
    Registered Axe Offender Romp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjo
    "Muscle Memory for all the Modes": might imply that the modes are nothing more than patterns on the fretboard. Romp may have expected people to respond to that idea
    Bingo.
    "The definition of definition is reinvention."

  15. #30
    iBreatheMusic Modthor phantom's Avatar
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    Jed, i adressed my post to no one specific but to the community.

    Many people fail to understand the difference between a guitar player and a musician
    Yes, i agree.. there are great guitar players and there are great musicians, and rarely but sometimes there is a great musician who happens to be a guitar player.


    Just to get everybody to raise his hand:
    Music and it's whole theory and emotional and technical aspects can be quite overwhelming to one who starts out, right?
    Give me a loud "aaaaalright"!


    Good.

    Now, to learn something it is the best to chop it into digestable (sp?) pieces first ok? Patterns are great for that. As you progress the patterns grow bigger and more abstract maybe, but it is easier to learn if you have something like a guiding line, a sequence, in the beginning.
    Now, as you internalized all those lines and patterns, as you are able to physicaly know what your hand is supposed to do next, the brain and heart should drop in and take care of your selections and even question those patterns you learned.

    Rules of the thumb:

    1: Patterns are not really musical.

    2: Patterns are not really personal.

    3: Seeing modes as patterns is just going half way.

    4: Reproducing patterns is playing save but should be avoided.


    If you take a look closely, going from one note to another in a specific and efficient way could be seen as a pattern, and then as a pre-learned way to handle a problem (one note to another in that case) in its best possible way.
    Last edited by phantom; 01-05-2007 at 06:57 AM.

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