My phrasing is SHIT!

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Thread: My phrasing is SHIT!

  1. #1

    Join Date: Jan 2011
    Location: Columbus, OH

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    My phrasing is SHIT!

    I've pretty much spent my time for the last 6 months getting the 5 minor pentatonic shapes and 7 major scale shapes (I only know 5 at this point) under my fingers. Trying to get the notes I can use so I can start to work on my soloing.

    So I noodle around the shapes periodically come up with something I think sounds good until I hear it back then I think it's just lame/shitty.

    I learned the solo to You Shook Me All Night Long this week - arguably one of the best rock-n-roll solos ever. I listen to that and I look at the pentatonic shapes in use and I'm thinking "I see that - why doesn't my stuff sound 'good' ??"

    I realize now the downfall of approaching the guitar from a near pure academic perspective - I know lots of stuff (probably less than most here lol!) but I can't put it to the fretboard. And I have no phrasing skills at all - I just wander through the shapes mostly ascending/descending with little distance between intervals - everything just sounds flat.

    I'm looking for ways to improve my phrasing and I'm thinking that the best things I could do would be:

    1. Play more music instead of playing exercises
    2. Academically keep working the scale shapes with an added emphasis on increasing the interval distance between notes to get out of the "just going through the shape top to bottom" mode of thinking.
    3. More bends/vibrato/slides being careful not to over do it.

    Any other ideas to work on?

  2. #2

    Join Date: May 2010
    Location: Portland, OR
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    Stop playing straight scales for a while. You're mad because your playing sounds academic, but you're practicing academically. There's merit to what you are working at - but limit the time in "academic mode" and move to "feel mode." Listen to how the various intervals fit into chords in a progression as you're playing.

    When you do practice scales - STOP at the tonic note (e.g. if you're playing eighths, give the tonic a quarter or half note). Also try stopping at any "flavor" notes - in pentatonic minor that would include the minor third interval, and don't forget to flirt with the passing tone between the fourth and fifth (THE DEVIL NOTE, SON).

    Try moving through the scales in patterns - up three, down two, up three, down two... or skip one up, come down one, skip one up, come down one...

    Definitely practice bends. You can't over do this. Bend slowly. Hear the transition from one interval to the next and learn which ones sound shit and which sound awesome. Learn the most important ones - for example, the b7 interval bent up to the tonic. Or bending to/from the 3rd interval.

    Food for thought. You've made the patterns fall more easily under your fingers - now learn some music and allow your fingers to take you away on autopilot. That's the point of exercises - liberating your hands from your brain. So now it's time to feed your brain!
    Making metal every night and day.

  3. #3

    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: West Seattle, WA
    ME: PRS / Gibson
    MA: Yamaha
    MB: Jazz 6-string
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    Look up Paul Gilbert lessons on Youtube. As ridiculously good as he is, the man is an excellent teacher & explain things in a way that anyone could grasp the lesson. Making the seemingly complicated uncomplicated. I've learned a lot about phrasing from him.

  4. #4

    Join Date: Apr 2010
    Location: Norman, OK
    ME: Gibson SG Special
    MA: Yamaha FSX700SC
    Rig: Fender Deluxe VM

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    Find some solos you like and want to sound like and learn them! Also, listen to other things besides the normal guitar solos. Listen to a guy like Derek Trucks who has incredible phrasing, or listen to sax players, or listen to awesome vocalists.

  5. #5

    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Seattle
    ME: Blackjack C7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joey View Post
    listen to sax players, or listen to awesome vocalists.
    Also, listen to other horn players, piano players, fiddle, etc. Any of those instruments with notes that are laid out different than guitar, learning that stuff gets you out of the box.
    I play bass in a band called Weaponlord.

    I also play bass in a band called Northern Crown.

    I used to play bass in a band called Faethom.

  6. #6

    Join Date: Apr 2010
    Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
    ME: Hacked tele and RGs
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    Limit yourself to only playing 3 note phrases... 4 note phrases.... 5 note phrases...

  7. #7

    Join Date: Oct 2008
    Location: King of Prussia, PA
    ME: PRS CE22
    MA: Richard Cogger Classical
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    Just play. That's all it takes. Keep practicing your technique so it doesn't fall apart, but dedicate most of your time to figuring out your sound and you'll be able to get it.

  8. #8

    Join Date: Jan 2014
    Location: Texas
    ME: Kramer Focus 6000
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    try playing with backing tracks, whenever I play with a backing track I end up doing things I never would have done otherwise.

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