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Thread: being "AT ONE with your instrument"

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2002

    being "AT ONE with your instrument"

    hi guys, i would like to talk about a subject that is shrouded in mystery and confusion(to me at least) and see what you guys think. i have heard many critics describing some of the greatest guitar players as being "at one with their instrument" or "the guitar is an extension of their mind".my techer says that what is meant by this is that the guitarist can play anything that he hears in his mind effortlessly.he doesnt "CONSIOUSLY" think scales,arppeggios,triads,or ill play this scale over that chord.but what is acctualy happening is he "SUBCONCIOUSLY" thinking.
    let me give a better example. he is playing on stage in a jazz quartet. it is his turn to improvise.the other band members are providing the backiing.he is ready to go.now STOP!!. lets ask what is going through his mind right now?is he thinking his theory? is he thinking his scales?is he thinking what chord is playing?.the answer is, he is NOT thinking "CONSIOUSLY " about anything.!!what is happening is he can fell the drums druming in his head,he can feel the groove beeing provided by the other band members,the whole groove is just reverbarating through his body.this groove is his inspiration for what he is about to play.he will base his solo around this groove.he will instantly compose a solo from his SUBCONCIOUS mind .the notes he plays ,the rythums he gives those notes,the articulation he uses will all come AUTOMATICALLY from his SUBCONCIOUS. his SUBCONCIOUS mind will direct his fingers to the arrpegios,scales,triads,modes.etc;etc,that are needed to create the solo.all this is done as if by magic.he plays his solo perfectly and we all wish we could play just like him.so the BIG question out of this is how do we get to the stage where we can be at ONE with our instuments??every day for the past 2 years i sit and pracise all my arppeggios ,scales etc etc ,sining them as i go playing them over backing tracks,trying to create some melodies,but still i cant improvise anything that would entertain an audience.there would be many guitarist like me thinking what did the greats practise to get them to that level.i keep thinking there must be a perticular practise exerscice to develop this skill one that only few know about. what is the truth? show me the way!!.if you read this far ,THANKS for listening to me ramble for so long,but i would love to hear anyones thoughts about what i have talked about here.thanks again and hope you reply.

  2. #2
    some guy Doug McMullen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002

    How do you (or I, or anyone) talk? Where do the words come from? I mean I speak... but in some conversations I'm speaking so fast, thinking on my feet as it were, that the words are just pouring out of me, in a way I'm listening to myself speak. I'm thinking coherently, certainly, but I'm hardly aware of it... the evidence of my thinking is in the fact that my sentences follow, one from the next, and they make sense and address the topic at hand... but I'm not aware of any great difficulty in doing this... I'm really not aware of thinking. Conversing like this, when it's a topic I know and enjoy, is quite easy.

    The idea is to sing music from your guitar as coherently and 'effortlessly' as you do producing speech in conversation. There's no magic formula for this... it is a life's work. Practice. Speak. Read. Practice more. Immersion. Learning music is like learning a foreign language... and the level you are describing is learning to speak a foreign language with the ease and fluency of a native speaker. Children spend years stumbling through their first language -- they don't converse well, or very interestingly or sophisticatedly for many years. Music is the same.

    How many years would it take you to study madarain chinese to the point where you could speak your mind on any topic without struggling for words? You could do it... but you'd have to really dedicate yourself to that effort. A half-hearted effort would not get you there.


  3. #3
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Colorado Springs CO
    Nice analogy, Doug.

    I'm not sure I believe that 'effortlessly' will ever happen, but I know it appears that way to the observer--just as it does in say figure skating or acting. When it's being done right, it looks effortless.

    I use that idea when I practice (when I remember). I try to emulate the 'effortless' part, at least part of the time. What I mean is, I just 'let go' and 'pretend' I'm like a natural player on the instrument. It certainly makes for a lot of fun, and from time to time I actually hear myself get in the groove. When that happens, it sound more like music than it does some dork practicing the guitar.

    Pulsing the System with Confirmed Nonsense.

  4. #4
    I love Guitar. UltimaRage's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    I am reaching this level daily. It is the theory upon which I base my technique and sound off from. I don'tpractice scales, chords, or arps. I don't have the need to. I guess I just sort of developed the ability with dedication and a burning will to succeed. I am always at one with my guitar. I always get told how important scales and chords are, but for me, they are not important. I know what sound like what on the fretboard and where. They key thinks to remember are:
    Don't think, just do.
    ALWAYS keep a positive attitude, NO MATTER WHAT!

    I am constantly told how essensial scales, modes etc. are to a soloing guitarist, but I don't know..... Whenever I try learning scales, it is just too boring for me. I would much rather play what I am feeling than to learn some pre-determined pattern.

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