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  #16  
Old 11-28-2017, 10:07 AM
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Put in 10,000 hours playing and 20,000 hours listening...
Gonna be hard to do at my age, but thanks.
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  #17  
Old 11-28-2017, 11:12 AM
Wyllys Wyllys is offline
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Gonna be hard to do at my age, but thanks.
If you just play an hour a day for 100 years you'll live a long time...

W

( turned 71 yesterday )
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  #18  
Old 11-28-2017, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Bob Womack View Post
I work a paper called "The Art of Soloing" and have posted it on my website, HERE. There might something there that you could use.

Bob
Thanks Bob. That really! helped. I've set myself a goal of learning to solo / improv after 5+ years of playing fingerpicking rhythm. Spent quite a bit of time learning the major scale and when I started doing improv along to backing tracks, I was underwhelmed by what I played. My wife said it sounded good (and she's usually my harshest critic), but my heart was let down by it.

It's getting better yet still nothing all that great. I've been planning to do some of what you said, learning existing solos so I have more arrows in my quiver so to speak.

Do you have other material / videos / recommendations beyond what's in that "Art of soloing"?
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  #19  
Old 11-28-2017, 06:42 PM
Johnny.guitar Johnny.guitar is offline
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I think others are missing the point.
I have had the opportunity to play with a gentleman like the OP described who went beyond improvised lead lines based on scales the key the song is in.
Following the melody with single notes and chord inversions fluently. It was at a country jam(I guess you would call it that) in a church in Florida. I was a 25yr old kid and the next youngest would have been 60. Totally eye opening experience.
The gentleman was in his mid 70's and was friends with my ex's father who took me. I desperately wanted to learn from him but we were only visiting from Canada.
Maybe it's a bluegrass style, maybe country but if I ever meet someone who can play like that again I will bug him till he teaches me everything he knows!
So my point is can you talk to the gentleman who normally takes the "lead" and maybe take a few lessons?
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  #20  
Old 11-28-2017, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by tonyo View Post
Thanks Bob. That really! helped. I've set myself a goal of learning to solo / improv after 5+ years of playing fingerpicking rhythm. Spent quite a bit of time learning the major scale and when I started doing improv along to backing tracks, I was underwhelmed by what I played. My wife said it sounded good (and she's usually my harshest critic), but my heart was let down by it.

It's getting better yet still nothing all that great. I've been planning to do some of what you said, learning existing solos so I have more arrows in my quiver so to speak.

Do you have other material / videos / recommendations beyond what's in that "Art of soloing"?
Thanks for you kindness. To be honest, I've been too busy playing to further expand on it. One of the bands I studied when I was learning soloing was the Allman Brothers. Two albums stand out: Beginnings, a repackaging of their first two albums, and Live at Filmore East. As a studio ablum Beginnings featured shorter, more concise solos. Live at Filmore East was live and featured the longer solos that helped me learn to stretch out.

The same was true with Joe Walsh's work with the James Gang. Rides Again and Thirds showed off Joe's habit of stepping into a song and absolutely taking it over with his short solo. When they recorded Live at Carnegie Hall, Joe stretched out and played some longer solos. After he left the James Gang, The Smoker You Drink, the Player You Get and So What? were jammed with really good solos.

The Doobie Brothers in the time range from 1972 to 1977 were great to study for their short, concise solos.

Sorry I can't be of more help!

Bob
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  #21  
Old 11-28-2017, 06:44 PM
Mr. Jelly Mr. Jelly is offline
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I say learn the major and minor pentatonic scales and when that isn't enough start using the frets in between. By then your ear should be educated enough to not need the scales so much.


Years ago a guitar playing friend talked an old old blues band into letting him and I sit in. This wasn't their first rodeo. They kicked the song off and, how about that, it was in the key of F. Luckily I caught it and did my self proud. I guess it was their way of having fun with a couple of young hippies.
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  #22  
Old 11-29-2017, 06:25 AM
godfreydaniel godfreydaniel is offline
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I work a paper called "The Art of Soloing" and have posted it on my website, HERE. There might something there that you could use.

Bob
Thanks for posting this! Very helpful.
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  #23  
Old 11-30-2017, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Johnny.guitar View Post
I think others are missing the point.
I have had the opportunity to play with a gentleman like the OP described who went beyond improvised lead lines based on scales the key the song is in.
Following the melody with single notes and chord inversions fluently. It was at a country jam(I guess you would call it that) in a church in Florida. I was a 25yr old kid and the next youngest would have been 60. Totally eye opening experience.
The gentleman was in his mid 70's and was friends with my ex's father who took me. I desperately wanted to learn from him but we were only visiting from Canada.
Maybe it's a bluegrass style, maybe country but if I ever meet someone who can play like that again I will bug him till he teaches me everything he knows!
So my point is can you talk to the gentleman who normally takes the "lead" and maybe take a few lessons?
The old guy who plays the leads on a Tele at this jam is in his early 80's. He's had an incredible life, having performed with the likes of Bob Wills, Willie, and a whole host of well known Texas musicians. He once owned a beer joint on the infamous Jacksboro Highway in a stretch of beer joints known for a shooting nearly every weekend. So he even had his own venue to play in. It seems like every old musician I've met since joining his circle has a story about how he helped them along.

I began bugging him as you said early on but that was to see his guitar collection of over a 100 acoustics in his home. The collection includes two Ren Ferguson built Gibsons given to him as gifts from Ren for a guitar construction idea he gave Ren when they first met. I finally got to go to his home and saw the Gibsons with the second paper label inside hand written by Ren as a thank you for his idea. I also learned he lives in a darkened environment with an extremely ill wife he cares for. I saw the other side of him besides the jovial, always smiling from ear to ear you see in public.

I made a comment to him awhile back about him showing me some things and he had no reply so I didn't bring it up again. We've become good friends since then. The 36 year old Yairi I inherited from a friend who commissioned K. Yairi to build it is what got me into this "predicament". The guitar shines so clearly above the Gibsons, Martins and Taylors in the jam session that the guy asked me to take a few solos on it. This reawakened a desire I've always had to be able to improvise leads. I fully intend to bug him to death about showing me some of his bag of licks. In the meantime I've been working on solos for two new songs I intend to spring on everyone at the jam. I'm just having a hard time with the concept of coming up with something other than a melody solo.

I liken where I am right now to how my lifelong career as a master signpainter got started. When I was young and fell in love with the idea of painting signs, I sought out a few master signpainters and became their shadow. It was a somewhat secretive craft back then as they were reluctant to create new competition for themselves. I persevered and gained their friendship and was eventually apprenticed by three of them and a life changing career was the result. I'm too old (physically at least, not in my mind though!) to ever attain any status as a guitarist who'll ever be known for solos. I'd just like to shine a little more on the Yairi I play for a deceased friend. I want a new dimension to my playing. I have a cd from a guy who has a picker named Bill Shute backing him up. The style Bill plays is what I've always aspired to. I'll get there!
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  #24  
Old 12-01-2017, 08:50 AM
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I got to go over to the old guy's house last night who plays leads on a Tele at the Friday jam. I have 3 new songs I'm learning. I had a lead solo worked out thoroughly on one and bits of the other two. I was amazed that he was impressed with the completed solo I worked up. He heaped tons of praise on it. I guess the Toby Walker lessons In the Take a Solo cd came through for me. I also was gratified that a solo he played for one of the other songs was remarkably similar to what I had tried for it already as well. I think I'm getting the hang of this! Improvising has been sorely lacking from my guitar playing skills for way too long. I'm trying one suggestion I got in this thread to play along with a recording of songs I want to learn and work up solos against the recording. That is really helping. The knowledge base and encouragement available on this forum is second to none!
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  #25  
Old 12-01-2017, 10:36 AM
Wyllys Wyllys is offline
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Dave...

Whenever I play a song new to me I listen to as many individual/stylistic versions as possible. This used to mean buying records. Now there's YouTube and such. Different vocalists on songs, different instruments, different styles...it all adds to the angles of approach and the library of sounds. For instance...

"Don't Blame Me"

vocal: https://youtu.be/lwrxGTWpGYs / https://youtu.be/3v5MitIbfKU

sax: https://youtu.be/Vlci2sp91H0

trumpet: https://youtu.be/UWCe3lyMqZ0

keys: https://youtu.be/KshrtLXBdl8 / https://youtu.be/pwseOqLoFYw

and guitar: https://youtu.be/ehLzos_zMFY

So I guess I'm saying listen. Listen until it's coming out your ears. Then it'll come out of your hands...

Have fun.
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Last edited by Wyllys; 12-01-2017 at 11:09 AM.
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  #26  
Old 12-03-2017, 08:01 PM
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Knowledge of each chord's coloring notes together with a working knowledge of the progression of each song is essential to soloing. Once known, the use of coloring notes and chords can be very effectively used to create some interesting solo work. But, development is what it's all about. The only turbocharging aspect about learning I know is called work.
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  #27  
Old 12-04-2017, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveKell View Post
Gonna be hard to do at my age, but thanks.
The good news is, you've already done a lot of the 20,000 hours listening, often without being aware of it. The more music you've heard (even without properly listening) the more the rules seep into your brain. You know a lot about music even before you ever pick up an instrument.
Of course, it's better if you pay attention, listen actively.

And of course, you've done a fair amount of the 10,000 hours playing already.
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  #28  
Old 12-04-2017, 10:10 AM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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I haven't posted much in a while so I thought I'd bring up a few things about my playing lately. The best I ever got with any kind of soloing was about 35 years ago when I was heavily into bluegrass and had a custom Martin D28. I stopped into a small local music store a few times to check out a bluegrass jam they had every Saturday morning. I picked on the tunes I knew and had rehearsed, never trying once to improvise a solo.

Skip ahead to the past 6 months. I inherited a Yairi DY90 super abalone from a wealthy friend who had traveled to Japan to commission K. Yairi to be very hands on with the building of this guitar. My friend was a collector with a basically unlimited budget so a lot of awesome guitars came and went in his collection. This 36 year old Yairi from 1982 was the one guitar that stayed in his collection. He maintained it in near mint condition. Since it was his favorite, he wanted me to have it.

I've been going to a jam every Friday where country music is played every Friday night for over 6 months. There are a lot of older guys there with awesome old Martins, ancient Gibsons and some high dollar Taylors. Since showing up with the Yairi, I can be heard above all of them and most eyes are usually on me. An old Texas music legend who plays breaks on all the songs with the only electric there has been prodding me to do my own leads on the Yairi since I embellish my chord phrasings a lot.

At first I was terrified of the idea since he is always spot on with an appropriate solo for every song played. The first few I did were disasters, mainly because everybody else faltered on the progressions while following me. My solos were totally melody based so I never understood the problem. I got out my Toby Walker Take a Solo cd a few times and went through every exercise. I have started recording myself singing new songs with chord accompaniment to practice lead breaks. So far I have to learn each solo by rote practice in hopes the guys chording along will follow perfectly. I record two or three runs throughs of the progression to practice with.

I'm having a somewhat hard time jumping in on the right note. Actually, I'm having to look down the neck in anticipation of when and where to start. I'm nowhere near being able to improvise solos on the fly and am getting discouraged because of that. At least I can't improvise anything that isn't tied closely to a scale yet. I intend to get there though since the Yairi is a very motivating guitar to play.

Anybody got any suggestions on how to turbocharge my soloing and become more adept at it? Seriously, no suggestion could possibly be too basic. I'm devoted to accomplishing this. It's where I should be by now.
Arpeggios and embellishments...and the melody and embellishments...

Arpeggios in the musical sense of the notes of a chord played in succession-- not just holding a chord and picking out the notes one by one.

Arpeggios are a roadmap...they ARE the strong notes, on each chord. They need not be played in order.

Triads...even if you're playing songs with simple major and minor chords, you should know at least 5 places to play every chord you encounter. In those shapes live the arpeggio.

As you get used to playing the "right notes" you'll be training your ear to hear and "look for" them naturally.
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  #29  
Old 12-04-2017, 11:39 AM
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This might sound odd, but...

think about how you learned to communicate.

Think of the many different aspects of language: sound, tone, phrasing, dynamics, when to speak, when not to speak, vocabulary, letters, words, sentences, paragraphs, stories etc...then there was body language, facial expressions etc. etc.

How did you learn each of those?

Think about being in conversation with others. Compare this with 'jamming'. The way your mouth acts as the 'mouthpiece' for the ideas that form spontaneously in your mind, how your lips move and change shape to push out the air generated down inside into coherent, recognisable, and meaningful sounds (observe this process next time your engaged in any kind of conversation).

Again, think about how you learned the many aspects of language that enabled you to communicate effectively. Sometimes you studied theory (at school, likely reluctantly, but most likely because it's just what you had to do?). Sometimes you read books, starting with extremely basic stuff and slowly progressing. You practiced how to hold a pen/pencil and/or use a keyboard (technique). And there were no time frames, because you were young - and you might not be so young now but that's no excuse not to learn new tricks (I've seen so many people spend a lifetime exploring shortcuts that lead to nowhere when that time would have been so much better spent with a healthy sense of humility, humour and perspective).

Thinking again about how you learned to communicate - mostly you listened and copied (especially those who made an impression on you, for better or for worse!), making lots of mistakes in the beginning but because you hadn't been 'domesticated' at this time in your life you just got on with it regardless, with the frustrations, the up and downs, but, despite the setbacks, you probably didn't take it too seriously, shrugged off the (necessary) 'mistakes' and just kept going. (My parents made tape recordings of me when I was younger and it's really funny hearing my early attempts at 'communicating' now!)

Essentially, you learning to talk/communicate would have been an holistic and balanced process, involving, as mentioned: theory, technique, practice, observation, copying, jamming...and lots of unselfconcious 'mistakes'.

And I'm sorry if this ended up coming across as patronising as my intention is purely to help, but how about transferring all the learning skills and experience you already possess from learning the above into playing/soloing on guitar?
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  #30  
Old 12-04-2017, 02:22 PM
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I went to the last jam with 3 new songs I worked out solos for. I had them thoroughly worked out. One of the regulars there brought a friend with him who was visiting from Louisiana. A real dyed in the wool Cajun with a Blueridge guitar that had highly visible player wear all up the neck on the ebony fretboard. I sensed we were in for a treat and I wasn't disappointed. I decided to keep my soloing debut for another time. In fact, after this guy's awesome playing I almost considered my guitar to be more suited to kindling wood in my fireplace.

I played Margaritaville after I heard him mention having played with Jimmy Buffet. The guy was all over the neck with one phrase after another that made this about the best song I ever heard played live. If Jimmy Buffet had heard it he'd realize he recorded the song all wrong in the first place! I asked this bearded old dude how you get to a point of playing like that and he said "learn every scale ever thought of". UGGGGHHHH!!! There it is again! Oh well, I've been practicing them every day since meeting him but have yet to make a connection as to how this mind numbing exercise will get me there.

One cool thing that happened is he asked to play the Yairi DY90 super abalone I inherited from a recently deceased friend. I got to sit across from my guitar and hear it do things that will most likely never happen on it again. He asked how old it was. When I said 36 years he asked if I'd like to trade even up for the Blueridge. For the second time I got to say I wouldn't trade it for all the guitars in the room, including a 1961 J45 in near mint condition, as well as a few high end Tayors and Martins. He said "I don't blame ya. That's a fine sounding guitar and it's so easy to play".
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