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Thread: Why doesn't the G major pentatonic scale box pattern include the notes C and F#?

  1. #46
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    If you are teaching yourself your instructor does not know what he is doing. You'll eventually get it but it will take you twice as long and you will go down a bunch of dead end streets.

    If you are relying on Internet buddies, problem there, the answers are 1.) too much, more than you need right now and 2.) come in bits and pieces that do not hook together.

    Nothing beats knee to knee with a good instructor. I found that I was spending, about the same amount of money, on books, DVD's etc that a month of instruction would have cost and his homework assignments had much better information than I was getting from the books I purchased. Course the secrete is getting a good instructor. Word of mouth is the best way to find a good instructor. Ask other musicians who they use and what do they like about his/her instruction. Expect to be on a waiting list before you get a slot.
    Last edited by Malcolm; 08-21-2011 at 02:35 PM.

  2. #47
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    OK, well Malcolm's experience and advice is slightly different from mine. Which is fine .

    But I found plenty of great books and DVD's for self teaching. And a small selection of those will give you so much great practice material that it would take a decade or more to play through it all!

    It's not that everything on the internet is wrong. Most of it's fine. But it just does not provide anywhere near the amount of great practice material that youd get even in one single book such as Speed Mechanics (for example).

    If a private teacher were to attempt to give you the sort of practice material you find in something like Speed Mechanics then you'd be talking about lessons lasting years and costing a fortune! That's apart from the fact that the teacher is getting his stuff from books like Speed Mechanics anyway!

    If people think Speed Mechanics & rock/metal/shred is somehow "weak", then there are plenty of similar quality instructional books for classical students and jazz musicians.

    None of this takes the place of guys here answering specific questions such as Robert raises. That's all fine. But I think we do him/anyone a huge disservice if we give the impression that specific answers like that are the solution to his more general wish to play well and compose attractive songs.

    In order to play well you have to practice. You have to practice a LOT. And to do that you need a lot of well organised printed/written practice material.


    That practice material is ultimately going to come from books (hundreds of years back it originally came from musicians who wrote stuff down ... but now, for all practical purposes, it's coming to each of us from books). Even if it appears to come from a single private teacher, that teacher is ultimately getting the stuff from his/her books.

    Even if you are trying to learn purely from listening to records/CD's and from analysing printed sheet music, what you are discovering in that extremely slow and painful haphazard way is precisely what you could have found clearly explained in a book.

    In short - if you are teaching yourself, then buy, beg or steal a small selection of the best books and DVD's and practice and learn from those each day. Anything else is just not going to work imho .

  3. #48
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrJamesVagabond View Post
    Well when I first started learning the guitar, I had some instructional to teach me how to play a lot of different chords and then I would watch video tutorials on youtube and other sites that would teach me how to play songs I liked, but once I was able to play chords and progressions smoothly, I was able to put all my focus on making my own music(the reason why I wanted to learn guitar in the first place). Once I started to focus only on songwriting, I stopped learning songs written by others and I stopped focusing on technique, which has left me a very unbalanced guitar player. I am really good at playing chords, progressions, singing and playing at the same time and rhythm, but I am still a terrible lead guitarist and I still haven't fully memorized all the notes on the fretboard, although I can figure them all out with a moment to think(I want to know them by heart without having to think). Besides analyzing leads written in songs that I like to get a better understanding of how they work...do you recommend any other sources to look into or any other sources for better understanding the guitar in general?
    I'm going to echo what the others are saying - sort of. (Dissing the internet, but not quite recommending a tutor. The latter is a quick, reliable route, but can be expensive; and not all tutors are worth the money anyway. And I speak as a teacher myself. If you can afford it, do it. If not, read on....)

    Think about how all the great rock players we still admire learned their craft - in fact jazz and blues players, and all non-academic musicians of the 20th century.

    1. Most Jazz musicians learned in two ways.
    (a) Most of them were classically trained; that is, they learned their instrumental skills - and a degree of theory - from classical tutors, because that was the only way. There were no jazz schools.
    (b) Secondly, (more importantly) there was what is often known as an "apprenticeship scheme", whereby young players would join a band and be mentored by a more experienced player of their instrument. This was how they learned the specifically jazz skills of improvisation, syncopation, swing, etc etc. - the things that couldn't be taught in college (and still can't, even though some try). They wouldn't be given lessons as such, but a few cryptic tips, and made to sort the rest out by trial and error - always with the older guy on hand to criticize and guide.
    These two strands made for a very solid foundation, on which they could build their more personal styles. IOW, they didn't learn to copy note for note, but to pick up the attitude, the overall way of playing.

    2. Recordings. This was how almost everyone learned after the 1920s, when recordings of jazz and blues became widely available. Certainly blues musicians of the 30s learned from the 20s recordings of the original guys like Blind Lemon Jefferson, Charlie Patton, Blind Blake, etc. Some (like Robert Johnson) might have the luxury of a mentor like Son House. But people like Buddy Guy learned by copying records by John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters and B B King.
    There were even a few jazz musicians (eg Wes Montgomery) who learned their craft almsot entirely from listening to records.
    The great rock players of the 1960s (Clapton, Hendrix, Page, et al) learned from recordings in their turn. Nobody gave lessons in that stuff! Nobody published books of blues!

    So, in a sense, they were all self-taught, the way you are. But what was distinctive about those days was (a) the material they learned from was all top quality. A record, by definition, is a commercial product, the result of various kinds of professional input. Compare with the internet, where anybody can post stuff with no editorial control; there's no way of assessing quality, or of finding your way to the good stuff (there is good stuff out there, but even a lot of that is not very well presented).
    Secondly, (b), they did it all by ear. No books, no tab, no DVDs, no youtube demos. (Sheet music was available for some folk and pop music, and even if you couldn't read you could at least get chords from this; assuming you could find the songs you wanted, which wasn't certain. And if you could read, you would only get a vocal line, maybe a bass part from the piano accompaniment. You wouldn't get any guitar solos.)
    The more you have to do by ear, the better your all-round musicianship gets. That's why those guys are still revered today: they had a solid aural basis to their skills. (That's not why they did it that way; they didn't want to be all-round musicians, or be regarded as geniuses. They just had no choice.)

    Thirdly, of course, they were a relatively small bunch of enthusiasts, who found each other and jammed together, formed bands as soon as they could.
    You really learn a hell of a lot that way, about what's important and what isn't. Eg, you learn the importance of rhythm, groove, timing, and of song structure; and of entertainment value. The ability to play a scintillating guitar solo is some way down the list (prized, to be sure, but a long way from essential).

    Now, we ain't going back to those days! We are where we are. But there are still lessons to be learned there. The music we are talking about (which I guess is rock, broadly speaking) is a vernacular music. Some aspects could be(and probably are now) taught in college. But what makes it exciting - and worth learning - is not.

    IOW - in short - you have to go back to what you say have stopped doing: learning other people's songs. When I began, I was also very keen on writing my own stuff (I wrote 4 tunes the first week I owned a guitar); but I never stopped learning other peoples song too. That's where the vocabulary that you use comes from. You can't write songs in a vacuum; inspiration doesn't magically come from the air or your own fevered imagination - well, it does come from the latter, but it has to get in there first! And constant listening to recordings (and trying to copy them) is the way it does that.
    Ie, DON'T learn other people's songs by following demos on youtube. That's second-hand at best. Learn them by listening to CDs, MP3s, whatever. Don't consult internet tab unless you're really desperate - and be aware that's it's often inaccurate and ALWAYS incomplete. (I mean always. Will it give you a vocal line? Nope. Yet that's the most important part of any song.)

    Here is what I regard as the most useful tool you can ever have as a musician (I mean aside from your ear and your instrument of course):
    http://www.seventhstring.com/xscribe/screenshots.html
    - it costs nothing for the first month, and is insanely cheap to register after that.
    Be thankful you're not in those old days, where you'd have to keep lifting a needle off a vinyl disc, or shelling out several weeks wages for a tape recorder... (But feel free to admire the dedication of those that did.)

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